Is the Bible the Word of God? Or at least does it claim to be? And what about all the different translations, what’s the final verdict? Does it even really make a difference? I mean, at the end of the day is it really just a matter of preference/opinion?
There’ve of course been thousands of books and articles written over the last half-century or so on these matters, and my intention is certainly not to re-invent the wheel, neither to belabor the point. The aim of this article will be to present a general overview, cover some of the most crucial points, and in as concise a manner as possible (and hopefully to bring some unique insights and perspective, while serving as a “hub” to bring together the many different angles from various sources). Consequently, I will be assuming the reader has a general understanding of the scriptures, history, and theology. My intentions are simply to furnish you with the information necessary to arrive at an honest, balanced, and reasonable conclusion that the believer may be confident in. Following the article I will provide a list of some of the resources which I’ve found to be helpful in researching these matters.
This post will be divided into several sections. I believe that the order in which the material will be presented is in about the most logical manner and with most continuity that’s possible. Therefore I recommend mindfully and prayerfully reading all the way through from the beginning to the end (while taking breaks if necessary), to avoid missing critical content. Nonetheless, if you do feel like jumping around, to facilitate navigation, you can click the title of any section of the table of contents below to jump to that respective section. Additionally, following each section, you will find a link to return back to the table of contents, or you may just keep scrolling down to continue to read ordinally.
This Post will be divided into the following sections:
- Does the Bible Claim To Be The Word of God?
- Is it infallible?
- Which language is it contained?
- My Preferred Translation
- A Survey of History
- Intent “is 9/10ths of the Law”
- Line vs. Line
- Ye Shall Know Them by Their Fruits
- The King of King’s Translation?
- Potential Beauty of The Modern Bibles
- The Perfect Bible?
- Easter vs. Passover
- Opportunity for Today? vs. KJV as Standard Bible
- Additional Resources
Does the Bible Claim To Be The Word of God?
To begin, let’s discuss whether or not the Bible claims to be the Word of God. When Jesus the Messiah underwent the temptation in the wilderness by the devil, he responded by saying “…It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (Mt. 4:4). So his very first response was to quote scripture, stating that his actions would be determined by the Word’s that came out of God’s mouth, i.e. the Word of God. Satan evidently understood that by this he referred to the scriptures, because he immediately quoted scripture, albeit misappropriating it’s application, as he understood in light of Christ’s declared recourse, he could only have a chance of causing Messiah to stumble by using the scriptures against Him. And how did Yeshua respond to the future temptations? By continuing to quote scripture. Therefore not only does satan’s response indicate the scriptures to be the Word of God, but so does Messiah’s continued quoting of them after stating he would live only by the Word of God.
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God [Strong’s G2315, “theopneustos: God-breathed“], and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness“-2 Tim. 3:16. If according to the apostle, the scripture is “God breathed”, since just as when we speak we are exhaling with those words, so he’s equated the scripture to be God’s very Words.
Now of course it must be addressed that at the time the canon of scriptures consisted only of the Tenakh, or Old Testament. So what does that mean for the new testament?
Well the first thing we must acknowledge is that God, if he be a god, must be sovereign (in control of all variables), outside of space and time, and all powerful. Therefore there can be no accidents or coincidences. So that begs the question, if God was able, through men, to ordain the perfect compilation of inspired manuscripts once before, would he not be able to see that additional portions be added to that in time? Of course he could. And not only could he, in a sense he’d have to. Because after all the jews didn’t really understand the Scriptures (John 5:39-47 for one example); and especially having established the new covenant, there should be an addendum not only to bear historical record of Yeshua fulfilled those hebrew scriptures, preserved for all future generations, but also in order to serve as proper example and means to interpret the scriptures of the old testament, which of course he’d naturally do through the apostles whom he ordained, and who indeed inform us of the old testament “Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” (2 Cor. 3:6) and regarding it’s mode of interpretation, “Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” (1 Cor. 10:11) and throughout which contain many examples of employing such interpretation (for instance Gal. 4:22-31).
So it can reasonably be concluded that their would be nothing left to chance and no accidents concerning what would become ratified in the Holy Bible for His church bought with His own blood (Acts 20:28). Often times folks are too ready to attribute to men (most often the Council of Nicaea, Catholic Church, etc.) what God has ordained, forgetting that he’s sovereign, omnipotent, and careful, and that even if he did use such men he would still exercise the same care and control over all outcomes. But knowing the great battle of truth and error the ages over, even and especially amongst those that profess Christianity, how could a loving God who demands truth (Jn. 4:24) not leave those that love The Truth (Jn. 14:6) a final authority? And for the record what became accepted as canonical by the 1st century churches and those that proceded, far from having anything to do with the romish church (which actually contains additional apocryphal books and condemns the vernacular Bibles) , those writings which would become accepted as inspired and make up the new testament today, were done so only on two simple grounds that: 1) they were consistent with Tenakh (old testament), 2) they were written by Jesus’ Disciples.
Surely, if we have true faith in God, we’ll trust nothing got in that shouldn’t have, and nothing left out which should’ve been included.
Is it infallible?
“The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O Lord, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.“-Ps. 12:6-7
Well again, God of course by implication must be infallible (never erring) or he’s not truly god. The Bible, being God’s Word then (as previously established), would likewise then have to be without error. But in regards to the scripture quoted above, Seven being a number of completion in the Bible, (7 day week, 7 churches in Revelation, God described as having 7 eyes/spirits in revelation, 7 plagues, etc.), we see this scripture claims God’s Word to be completely pure, and likewise He promise to to preserve His Word.
Which language is it contained?
“For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost“-2 Peter 1:21
Naturally, common sense would indicate that ultimately God’s words would ultimately be contained in the language of the prophets themselves whose very hands God’s chose to write (i.e. the Koine Greek of the New Testament, and the Hebrew/Aramaic of the Old Testament). Everything else would therefore be a translation. Hence why it’s customary for Bible scholars refer to lexicons, concordances, dictionaries, etc. to understand the original meaning of the words of the underlying text (more on this later).
So just to be clear, to say (as some of the “KJV-Onlyist” would) that the King James Translation is the Word of God but that the underlying manuscripts upon which that translation is based and that the prophets wrote, are not, cannot be correct. Neither is it technically correct to say that the subsequent translations (even be they corrupted translation) are not the word of God (more on exactly how the translators of the KJV viewed their translation later).
My Preferred Translation
I want to be very candid and state my position up front. I use primarily the (“old”) King James translation, but I am not a “King James Only-ist” per se. I still believe that other translations may be useful and also that it’s possible a person could come to faith through another translation, etc. Nonetheless, and as shall be demonstrated throughout the course of this exposition the translations which have followed the KJV are in many places corrupted, contain complete omissions of passages, and renderings of words that tend to ecumenism and heresy.
A Survey of History
From the very beginning, satan’s attack was upon..? you guessed it, the Word of God: “Yea, hath God said….?“ (Gen. 3:1). Should we then be surprised if there is yet an attack on God’s Word?
Wicked men have always sought to destroy and repress the Holy Scriptures. Not only in ancient history, every time the Hebrew people were taken into captivity, but even leading up to the modern age. During the Papal Supremacy of Europe, the great controversy was between the errors of the formalized church (which were based nearly entirely on superstition and tradition) versus what the Word of God said. This was what sparked what’s come to be known as the Protestant Reformation that broke the world from the feudal dark ages and birthed western civilization. And of course those who appealed to the plain and simple teachings of the Word of God were ridiculed for “rejecting the authority of the church”, “leaning on their fallible conscious/understanding”, and told that “only the pope and his priests could correctly interpret the scriptures”. And as prior to the advent of the movable-type printing press, only the priests and certain elite families of nobility even had access to the Holy Writ, it was indeed all to easy to hide their contradiction of practice in light of the Word of God, and no wonder they didn’t want anyone else to know what It said.
While at the onset of this movement of God men were busy laboring for months to years to produce a single Bible (which Bibles were officially condemned being in the “Vulgar Tongue” of the common man (i.e. in any language but the Latin Vulgate of Jerome), and whose translators had to endure worst physical tortures and death at the hand of the so-called church, Thus this period has become to be known as “The Dark Ages”, with the Light of truth being so suppressed.), God in his sovereignty did not leave the world in darkness. In His impeccable timing, God gave man the moveable-type Gutenberg Printing Press, enabling Bibles to be printed quicker then they could be destroyed.
But did you know that papacy has never officially removed the Bible from their forbidden book index? (specifically any Bible Translations which is based on the Textus Receptus New Testament (which was essentially based on the ‘Byzantine Text, or ‘Majority text’) and the Masoretic Hebrew of the Old Testament are condemned in the Council of Trent, which as far as english Bibles are concerned can only said to be wholly true of the KJV). Only those based on Jerome’s Latin Vulgate are accepted by the church of Rome (more on this later).
After the first Bible translations appeared of Luther, Tyndale, Wycliffle, Geneva, Etc., it was decided a more excellent translation was necessary in the English language that incorporated the best aspects of all the preceding translations. This translation has since become known as the A.V. (Authorized Version) or the 1611 King James Bible. This Bible being based on the Textus Receptus, do you know what happened? The devil using his agents sought to foil this translation entirely through a plot to blow up the parliament in which King James who authorized and was financially supporting this great work resided. This has become known as ‘The Gunpowder Plot‘ and can be read about, for instance, in most editions Foxe’s Book of Martyrs (or at the previous link). But by the Grace of God, in His providence, the plot was discovered and prevented.
Naturally, when the Devil discovered that he wasn’t able to keep the scriptures out of the hands of the common man anymore, he would only have one other alternative course of action in seeking to carry out his attack on the Word of God: mimic and counterfeit it. Create translations which would be 99% truthful but contain the 1% critical errors conducive to his mystery iniquity. Even better for him if by that time the 1611 language would seem archaic and therefore people would naturally embrace the newer versions, and if through apostasy and liberalism he could get church leaders to purport these new translations to be based on “Better/older” manuscripts (similarly to how after three centuries of extreme persecution using wicked men in seeking to destroy the early primitive church off the face of the earth under the pagan roman empire, Constantine was inspired to declare “Christianity” the official state religion, albeit nominally, incorporating all sorts of pagan practices.)
Intent “is 9/10ths of the Law”
Whether it’s to promulgate one’s dearly coveted opinions, or rather to relay just the facts in as honest and true a manner possible; to control others and create an earthly empire, or rather to set men free and extend that heavenly The Kingdom; to gain power, or rather to empower; everyone and everything, whether it’s realized or not, has an ‘agenda’, whether it be good, bad, or indifferent. Nothing is neutral of directionless unless it be dead. Hence why the Savior could proclaim, “He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.” (Matthew 12:30), a statement lumping all men into only one of two categories. So before we compare scriptures from various translations as the ultimate “touchstone”, let us first see what we can glean regarding the intentions of the translators.
The 1611 KJV
William Tyndale, who’s translation a great majority of the King James Version draws directly from, in light of centuries of papal persecution, is famously quoted as saying “If God spare my life, before many years I will cause a boy that driveth the plow to know more of the Scripture, than he [the pope] does.”, “I perceived how that it was impossible to establish the lay people in any truth except the Scripture were plainly laid before their eyes”, “I call God to record against the day we shall appear before our Lord Jesus, that I never altered one syllable of God’s Word against my conscience, nor would do this day, if all that is in earth, whether it be honor, pleasure, or riches, might be given me”, “The preaching of God’s word is hateful and contrary unto them. Why? For it is impossible to preach Christ, except thou preach against antichrist; that is to say, them which with their false doctrine and violence of sword enforce to quench the true doctrine of Christ.”
Like the 40+ Godly and learned men who gave us the King James Bible, underlying the work was a belief in importance for the common man to have access to the scriptures, because of Their power to transforms life and society for good. Especially in light of the abuses of “church traditions” that were contrary to the scriptures, outright hypocrisy, ungodliness, and even pagan superstitions which had snuck in to practice, all because of the neglect of those who alone at that time had access to the scriptures, while seeking to keep them inaccessible to the common man.
From the preface of the KJV we read statements such as “…the preaching of God’s sacred Word among us; which is that inestimable treasure, which excelleth all the riches of the earth; because the fruit thereof extendeth itself, not only to the time spent in this transitory world, but directeth and disposeth men unto that eternal happiness which is above in heaven“, “…out of the Original Sacred Tongues, together with comparing of the lanours, both in our own, and other foreign languages, of many worthy men who went before us, there should be a one more exact translation of the holy scriptures into the English tongue…reap good fruit thereby“, “”, “…maintaining the truth of Christ, and propagating it far and near“, “…writing in defense of truth, (which hath given such a blow unto that man of sin, as will not be healed)”, “things of this quality have ever been subject to the censure [condemnation] of illmeaning and discontented persons..who therefore will seek to malign us…Popish persons“, “…to make God’s holy Truth to be yet more and more known unto the people, whom they desire still to keep in ignorance and darkness“, “we may rest secure, supported within by the truth and innocency of a good conscience having walked the ways of simplicity and integrity as before the Lord”, etc.
And regarding the manner of the undertaking the translators state in their preface, “Neither were we barred or hindered from going over it againe, having once done it. Neither did we disdaine to revise that which we had done, and to bring back to the anvil that which we had hammered: but having and using as great helps as were needfull, and fearing no reproach for slownesse, nor coveting praise for expedition, wee have at the length, through the good hand of the Lord upon us, brought the worke to that passe that you see”
So as you can see, these people literally believed that they were handling the Inspired Word of God, and therefore for were concerned above all else, with producing an unbiased, honest, reverent, and accurate translation of the Word. And likewise, in perceiving its sacredness, and inherent goodness and power, to get it into the hands of as many men as possible. They also understood the necessity to ‘call a spade, a spade’, and expose the hypocrisy and evil done in the name of Christ, especially as these matters were actually foretold in the prophecy of the Sacred Scriptures themselves.
“Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall…God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.”-Pro. 16:18; Jam. 4:6
I think Laurence M. Vance in the third chapter of his Book King James: His Bible and its Translators nails it, “Pick up the promotional literature about the translators of any modern version of the Bible and you will invariably read about the many degrees they hold and how godly and scholarly they are. Peruse the preface or introduction to a new translation and you will probably see ac critical attitude toward the Authorized Version. Read the typical work on the history of the English Bible and you will likely find a bias against the translators of the Authorized Version. In the “Epistle Dedicatorie” to their work, which is still printed at the front of some editions of the Authorized Version, the translators modestly stated: “We are poore Instruments to make GODS holy Trueth to be yet more and more knowen unto the people.” In their preface, “The Translators to the Reader,” they further explain: “There were many chosen, that were greater in other mens eyes then in their owne, and that sought the truth rather than their own praise. Againe, they came or were thought to come to the worke, not exercendi causa (as one saith) but exercitati, that is, learned, not to learne. And in what sort did these assemble? In the trust of their owne knowledge, or of their sharpnesse of wit, or deepnesse of judgement, as it were in an arme of flesh? At no hand. They trusted in him that hath the key of David, opening, and no man shutting they prayed to the Lord, the Father of our Lord, to the effect that St. Augustine did; O let they scriptures be my pure delight; let me not be deceived the, neither let me deceive by them. ” These are not things one would read form the translators of any modern version. And yet, the King James translators were in fact the choicest instruments to undertake the proposed new Bible. They truly were “learned men,” as King James (1566-1625) referred to them in a letter he wrote regarding the translators.”-Pg. 23-24
Now that we’ve laid forth the agenda behind KJV ‘Reformation’ Bible, lets see if we can discern the agenda behind the manuscripts which for the basis of some of the most popular subsequent translations.
NIV, ESV, ASV, RSV, AMPLIFIED, NKJV, NASB, etc.
What do these translations have in common? Rather than being based on the Textus Receptus, which has roots that can be traced back to the very 1st century church of the apostles (you will find several documentaries on the history of the Bible linked under the resource section of my website), they are rather based Wescott & Hort’s Roman Catholic pro-Jerome’s Latin Vulgate counter-reformation Greek texts, which is based on manuscripts (chiefly Vaticanus and Sinaiticus), which do not agree with the majority of extant texts. Proponents who advocate these line of translations essentially argue because they’re “older” manuscripts, they must be more accurate. This of course requires us to overlook fact that “older” doesn’t necessarily equate to more accurate if it’s not ultimately a copy of the original manuscripts, and the more recent copies, though not as old, are in fact copies of a line leading back to the originals. It also requires us to overlook such matters of fact as the Sinaiticus agreeing with the manuscripts of the pagan-msytic school of Alexandria, and literally being found in garbage can awaiting to be burned; or that Wescott & Hort had a totally unbiblical theology (which we will demonstrate just below); or for instance the influence of secret socities for instance the Jesuit Carlos Martini’s on the NIV.
But lets examine a couple quotes from Wescott and Hort themselves:
Oct. 17th – Hort: “I have been persuaded for many years that Mary-worship and ‘Jesus’-worship have very much in common in their causes and their results.” (Life, Vol.II, p.50).
Dec. 23rd – Westcott: “My faith is still wavering. I cannot determine how much we must believe; how much, in fact, is necessarily required of a member of the Church.” (Life, Vol.I, p.46).
(If you care to invest more time researching these gentleman’s heretical, anti-christ beliefs, refer to: Wescott & Hort: Fathers of Modern Bible Translations, Heresies and Baslphemies of Wescott & Hort)
So the bottom-line is that the translations which have subsequented the advent of the AV1611 KJV, at the very least have an inherent lean towards popery (chief abusers of scriptures/doctrines in previous centuries, which still to this very day hold the same doctrines to be true and binding) and paganism/ecumenism. Whether this was an intentional conspiracy by those who seek to restore the former temporal power of the papacy, or the natural byproduct of a translation by a majority of men who have beliefs and an understanding of theology not solely and strictly based on the Word/Spirit of God it’s hard to say.
So this begs the question, how can using a translation by compromised men who held heretical beliefs not effect the translation, and likewise therefore the theology which would naturally result were one to use such a translation as a final authority in determining doctrine?
Let’s take for instance the “New King James Version”, which is supposedly based on the Textus Receptus although in many instances it agrees with the corrupted Greek manuscripts, ignoring the T.R. some 1,200 times. What if I told you that certain critical words were omitted from this translation, for instance, “blood” (23 times), “repent” (44 times), “hell” (22 times), “Lord” (66 times), “heaven” (50 times), “God” (51 times) (see previous link for source)? Or that certain entire verses are omitted altogether as being “not in the original manuscripts” and therefore are at best bracketed or relegated to footnotes at the bottom of the page, if not totally removed? (See article Bible Verses Not Included in Modern Translations) Could that have an impact on the theology?
These are the types of corrupt departures, manipulations, and omissions observed over and over again in the modern translations, and that tendeth to error and heresy. Additionally and also noteworthy, while the King James Version is Public Domain, and can be freely distributed, quoted, reproduced, etc. nearly all of the subsequent Bible translations are copyrighted, meaning that not only are you supposed to get written permission to quote from them, but additionally the translators are making money every time one sells (so that begs the question, if you have to get their permission to quote their Bibles, and they’re making money off of every sale, are they not then their words and not God’s? (Rom. 11:35-36)).
Line vs. Line
At this point I’ll demonstrate some of the corruptions of the various versions comparing them to the KJV, obviously I’m not going to be able to cover every perversion or every Bible translation out there, this is just to serve as an example using a few of the most popular versions. If in doubt, take a few months to compare your favorite version with the KJV throughout your daily use and Bible study (consulting the underlying greek or hebrew), and really think about the possible immplications of each rendering.
The Living Bible
The first verse we shall compare has a little back story. I was working for a lady year or so ago who’s husband had recently died of cancer and who was grieving. I was seeking to impart to her faith and hope in the scriptures as she was a believer, albeit more religious than spiritual. We both had our Bibles, and I told her to open to Isaiah 48:10, as I was speaking on how God uses trials to make us more pure and christ-like. I didn’t know she was not using the KJV, and when she read out loud the verse from her version to me, my jaw almost dropped on the floor and she started crying:
“I refined you in the furnace of affliction, but found no silver there. You are worthless, with nothing good in you at all.“-Isaiah 48:10, The Living Bible
“Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction“-Isaiah 48:10, KJV
(this translation of the Bible also has a footnote for 1 Sam. 20:30 which uses the language, “Son of a bitch”)
In this translation (also known as The New International Version) God’s promise to preserve His Word forever is removed:
“The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O Lord, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.“-Ps. 12:6-7, KJV
“And the words of the Lord are flawless, like silver purified in a crucible, like gold[a] refined seven times. You, Lord, will keep the needy safe and will protect us forever from the wicked“-Ps. 12:6-7, NIV
The New King James Version repudiates the historical reliability of the Old Testament, which states not all of Israel rebelled when coming out of Egypt:
“For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses.“– Heb 3:16, KJV
“For who, having heard, rebelled? Indeed, was it not all who came out of Egypt, led by Moses?“– Heb 3:16, NKJV
(Even more heretical it makes the promises to Abraham’s Seed in the Old Testament, which the Apostle Paul says in Galatians refers to Christ and His spiritual seed, instead a promise based on racial descent, see Gen. 22:17; Gal 3:16.)
This is perhaps the most dangerous translation of all because it masquerades as being faithful to the Textus Receptus and as a “King James Bible”, that supposed only “removes antiquated old english” neither of which are true. It’s also worth noting that when this translation was first being printed they contained the triquetra (a pagan witchcraft symbol of sun worship) on them. As was previouesly mentioned, in actual fact it contradicts the Textus Receptus in it’s renderings some 1,200 times, omitting critical words such as “blood” (23 times), “repent” (44 times), “hell” (22 times), “Lord” (66 times), “heaven” (50 times), “God” (51 times).
(There’s several articles linked at the end of this article which deal specifically with this translation)
NASB, ESV, RSV, ASV, AMP
Almost all children are at least somewhat acquainted with the story of David and Goliath. Well, according to all of these translations (New American Standard Bible, English Standard Version, Revised Standard Version, American Standard Version, and the Amplified Bible), David did not slay goliath, rather “Elhanan Son of Jaare-Oregim” did. To save space, I wont quote them all here, just click the links below to see them all:
Also known as the Complete Jewish Bible, this is a popular translation among Messianic communities. Like most modern Bibles it completely omits Mt. 17:21 altogether. Additionally if you consult the Author’s commentary you will find he’s anti-protestant/pro-papacy (see comments on Revelation 14:8). This version also removes the prophecy of the virgin birth contained in Is. 7:14 rendering the hebrew “Alma” instead “young woman”, removes Acts 28:29 altogether, renders “Son of God” as “like one of the gods” in Dan. 3:25, removes second coming from Mt. 25:13, and Messiah from the Godhead in Mt. 24:26, etc.
Also known as “The Scriptures” this is another Messianic translation. It has similar issues regarding Is. 7:14 and Dan. 3:25 as does discussed in the CJB section above. The reader will find that like the CJB, it generally agrees with Wescott & Horts texts. Worst of all, it removes the Messianic prophecy and second coming contained in Job:
“For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.“-Job 19:25-27, KJV
“For I know that my Redeemer lives, and as the Last shall rise over the dust; and after my skin has been struck off, then in my flesh I shall see Eloah, whom I myself shall see on my side, and not a stranger. My kidneys have failed within me!“-Job 19:25-27, TS2009
The New World Translation
I don’t see much use in going into much detail here with this one. This is the translation utilized by the Jehovah’s Witness cult, who deny the deity of Christ, so virtually every such scriptural reference is rendered to the contrary. Yet believe it or not, in the providence of God they overlooked a few and so His deity can still be proven using their own corrupted translation, however, more on this when I do my post on witnessing to Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Ye Shall Know Them by Their Fruits
We’ve already addressed the intent of the various schools of translations, which could technically also fall under this section, but there’s a couple other aspects that merit consideration as it relates to historical happenstance. As we addressed earlier, God is sovereign and in control of all variables of history, current events, and future outcomes. Therefore it must not be esteemed lightly or by chance that God chose to evangelize the entire world using the KJV for over 400 years. Furthermore, this was achieved primarily through America which was also founded on the KJV (well, technically speaking, the pilgrims did initially bring the Geneva Bibles with them, but within a very short period of time, they were using the KJV, see article: The KJV in Early America for more details.) And what’s so special about America? Well for one thing, in Bible prophecy she’s identified as a Christian nation (see article: America and The Two Horned Beast of Revelation 13, USA In Bible Prophecy, or, Protestant-America). And in light of scriptures such as “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.“(-2 Cor. 3:17), when one considers the fact that America was historically known as “The Land of the Free, Home of the Brave“, founded on the principles of freedom of conscience, speech, religion, by men seeking asylum from religious persecution and political tyranny, this makes perfect sense. So one can see what a pivotal role God has chosen the KJV to have in shaping world history, and therefore perhaps we should meditate on why that may be (Also noteworthy, arguably the greatest piece of western music ever written was set to the text of the KJV, namely, Handel’s Messiah.) And fascinatingly enough, prophecy indeed indicates that America would eventually “spake as a dragon“ (Rev. 13:11, the dragon being a symbol of Satan/persecution, (Rev. 12:9)). I wonder if these satanically inspired Bibles could in anyway be considered a related fulfillment!
Another fruit of the KJV is that it’s generally attacked (persecuted) and just as unpopular as Jesus Himself was. It’s a fact that the majority of church leaders nor their flocks recommend or use the KJV any longer (which of corse naturally this tends towards the opposite extreme of reverencing and holding a superstitious view of the KJV, which is of course also unbalanced and not advisable). But the point is, let us consider that perhaps this attack and unpopularity of the KJV consistent with how Messiah was treated (Mt. 7:13-14; Jn. 15:20; 2 Tim. 3:12), and perhaps that too, is no coincidence.
And finally, aside from the KJV being in fact easier to read than the modern translations, it’s written in the most beautiful and poetic prose of all time (all of which factors facilitate the memorization of scripture) additionally, the “thee’s”, “thous”, and “ye’s” actually have a purpose for being there, and some of the meaning of the scripture gets lost without them (see article: Why Thee and Ye is So Important in the KJV, or Do We Need Thee and Thou.)
The King of King’s Translation?
Is it possible that King James Translation could actually have the King of kings and Lord of Lord’s seal on it? Well interestingly enough, as it turns out, the name James was used synonymously with Jacob in the translating of the Bible (see article: James Was Not a Disciple of Yeshua (… But Jacob Was)). And it just so happens that Jacob is actually used as an epitaph of Messiah in Ps. 24:6 where God is referred to as “Jacob” (Yeshua, or God Manifest in the Flesh, being the ultimate epitome of the birthright recipient, of which Jacob’s promise to was a type or foreshadowing, see notes from Charles Spurgeon’s Treassury of David commentary). So in this sense, the “King James Bible” could also be called the “King Jacob”, “King God”, or “King Messiah Bible”.
Potential Beauty of The Modern Bibles
At this point we’re going to start to transition to address the opposite extreme, namely, holding a superstitious or unbalanced view of the KJV Bible. The first thing we need to note, is that although the modern Bibles do have many terrible and deceitful renderings, just as Joseph realized and proclaimed after his brothers betrayed him and sold him into slavery, “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.“ (Gen. 50:20). In spite of the devil, God is yet able to use his inspired Bible perversions, which were intended for evil, for good. Not only, I’m sure, have many people come to faith through these translations, they have additional value, which I shall now convey by relaying a story based on my own personal experience.
I’m really into classical music (Beethoven is my favorite composer), and one day when I was driving and listening to the radio, his Symphony No.2 came on. I was so used to hearing the particular recording that I have on my ipod, that I was absolutely awestruck when I heard this other recording (which was of a different orchestra, playing different instruments, directed by a different conductor, and thus a different interpretation of how the piece is supposed to sound)! All the sudden this piece of music which I was so used to came back to life for me in a very exciting and exhilarating manner! The way certain sections were phrased totally changed the feeling and brought out different aspects of what could be realized of the notes on the paper. It literally gave me chills, and renewed my love for Beethoven as my favorite composer. And so, likewise, while it’s most wise to use primarily the KJV (especially for serious study and doctrine, being he very best and most honest/careful/inspired translation to date, and also being the most prolific vehicle providing access to innumerable commentaries, dictionaries, concordances, etc. which are based primarily on this translation) the other translations may yet be valuable for general reading, to bring certain passages to life, and renew our love for God’s precepts and word (The irony is of course, in spite of this conviction I have, I still find myself seldomly using any other translation). But let me reiterate, these other translations should be used ONLY supplementally, and for “refreshing” (if at all), because as was previously demonstrated, they cannot be relied upon!
The Perfect Bible?
So now we shall demonstrate that while the KJV is the best translation, it is not perfect. We will start with some basic reasoning, and then prove it to be case the case by looking at some scriptures. To begin, common sense would indicate that the KJV cannot be considered a perfect translation, for were it, one would never need to consult underlying hebrew or greek texts of the original manuscripts through the use of lexicons, concordances, etc.
As we’ve demonstrated throughout this exposition that the attack on the KJV is ultimately a battle between two schools of manuscripts (namely Higher Criticism vs. Textus Receptus, the modern translations all being based on the former, and the KJV alone on the later), let us realize the following; the implications of esteeming the KJV to be a perfect translation, are really no different than what the higher critics are guilty of, namely attacking the foundation of the KJV, i.e. the Textus Receptus and Masoretic; or Majority Texts.
Think about it, were the KJV the exclusive Word of God (as opposed to any translation based on the Textus Receptus), the implications are A) that the Word of God is only accessible to English speaking people (specifically the old Elizabethan English), and that all the Bibles in every other language (even those faithful to the the Textus Receptus) are not the Word of God. B) The Word of God didn’t exist until the KJV was translated in 1611 (I don’t think I need to explain how this defies common sense and all reason.)
And in fact, fascinatingly enough, originally the 1611 King James Bible included a much longer Epistle Dedicatory with a section titled “From The Translators To The Readers” where they outlined the fact that they merely saw their work as a translation of the Word of God from the original tongues. Here are some of the chief quotes:
“we do not deny, nay we affirm and avow, that the very meanest translation of the Bible in English, set forth by men of our profession, (for we have seen none of theirs [i.e. the translators opponents, the Roman Catholics] of the whole Bible as yet) containeth the word of God, nay, is the word of God. As the King’s speech, which he uttereth in Parliament, being translated into French, Dutch, Italian, and Latin, is still the King’s speech, though it be not interpreted by every Translator with the like grace, nor peradventure so fitly for phrase, nor so expressly for sense, everywhere.”-Original 1611 Epistle Dedicatory
“Translation it is that openeth the window, to let in the light; that breaketh the shell, that we may eat the kernel; that putteth aside the curtain, that we may look into the most Holy place; that removeth the cover of the well, that we may come by the water, even as Jacob rolled away the stone from the mouth of the well, by which means the flocks of Laban were watered. Indeed without translation into the vulgar tongue, the unlearned are but like children at Jacob’s well (which was deep) without a bucket or something to draw with.”-Original 1611 Epistle Dedicatory
“That out of the Originall sacred tongues, together with comparing of the labours, both in our owne and other forreigne Languages, of many worthy men who went before us, there should be one more exact Translation of the holy Scriptures into the English tongue;”-Original 1611 Epistle Dedicatory
(See also article: What Did the King James Translators Believe About Translation?)
Easter vs. Passover
Aside from instances such as in Dan. 8:13; Dan 12:11 where the word “sacrifice” was supplied by the translators in attempt to give clarity (not explicitly being in the actual underlying Hebrew), but being in fact based on a wrong understanding of the nature of the prophecy, and therefore resulting in a rendering which totally confuses what’s actually being said (for the correct interpretation of what this prophecy is saying see: Unsealing the Final Events of Daniel 11 and 12), the most obvious demonstration that the KJV is not a perfect translation is the Occurrence of the word “Easter” in it’s pages:
“Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. And he killed James the brother of John with the sword. And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.) And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.“–Acts 12:1-4
The word “easter” appears a single time in the KJV, and the fact of the matter is that the word is pagan not only in it’s etymology, but also in its rites, both historically, and as it’s celebrated in this present age (i.e. fertility symbols such as eggs, bunnies, etc. sunrise services (sun worship), etc. it merely has Christian elements incorporated into it, like all of the Holidays which ultimately come from the Roman Catholic Church). So the question then becomes, what exactly is supposed to be being referred to in the original manuscript, that’s translated as “Easter” in the KJV? There are only two possibilities:
1. It’s actually referring to the pagan festival, in which case it’s an accurate rendering
2. It was actually supposed to be referring to the Passover of the Jews, in which case, the word was unfavorably rendered by the KJV translators.
So the first step one must take in order to come to a sound conclusion is to consult the underlying greek rendered “Easter”, which is “Pascha” (G3957). Let’s consult several different resources to what we can glean:
“The Greek spelling of the Aramaic word for the Passover, from the Hebrew pasach ((H6453))”-Vines Expository Dictionary
“of Aramaic origin, cf. ((compare with)) pesach; the Passover, the Passover supper or lamb”-NAS Exhaustive Concordance
“of Aramaic origin, cf. ((compare with)) H6453 ((pesach))”-Theological Dictionary of the New Testament
“Of Chaldee [Hebrew] origin (compare ((Pesach)) H6453)”-Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance
“Aramaic Transliterated Word”-Strong’s Concordance
” 3) the paschal supper 4) the paschal feast, the feast of the Passover, extending from the
14th to the 20th day of the month Nisan”-Thayer’s Greek lexicon
So in conclusion we see, that the underlying greek word “Pascha” which was in the KJV translated “easter” a single time, is A) a transliteration of a Hebrew word B) refers in fact to the Jewish Passover, and C) was translated as “Passover” every other time it occurs (21 times in total). As the underlying greek is a transliteration of Hebrew/Aramaic “pasch” it must be referring to the passover and not a pagan celebration. There is no historical evidence to substantiate the greek word “Pascha” as ever having referred to a pagan festival. They may use that word in Greece today to refer to easter, but even if this be so, we we must bear in mind that even 99.9% of Christians don’t realize the different connotations of the passover of the scriptures that Christ fulfilled vs the traditionally celebrated easter, rather these are terms are generally used almost synonymously. And finally, but most importantly, the Bible itself actually gives us the answer to which is being referred in Acts 12 (the pagan holiday vs. the hebrew holy day), and the intent of the author. Not only do we find in the gospel of luke (the very man who wrote the book of acts) using the word Pascha to refer to the entire week of Unleavened Bread (Lk. 22:1), we also find in Ezekiel 45:21 the same, namely, the referring of the passover as feast of 7 days. Luke 22:1 (see also Matthew 26:17). So when we consider the context of the word translated “easter” (“Then were the days of unleavened bread.”) we can be sure it was actually referring to the Passover, and therefore that the KJV is not a perfect translation.
But returning once more to reasoning outside of the scriptures, let us consider the following, which makes more sense; that the actual autographs of the actual prophets through who’s hands/minds God chose to inspire would be ultimately be the infallible/inspired Word of God? Or a bunch of men some 1500+ years later, who were not the the original authors but rather translators, and were still coming out the catholic church, and still being set free from her traditions, pagan superstition & practices? I don’t see how there can be any doubt the first century church had a purer faith. Starting as early as the 2nd-4th centuries, and continuing at an exponential rate, the primitive church was destroyed and supplanted in its place was the nominally christian greco-roman church filled with its many babylonian superstitions, rites, and practice, thus departing more and more from purity and practice of certain precepts as found in the Old Testament, the source of scripture for the primitive church.
Let us also consider, does not God hide his gold, gems, precious stones, and precious metals deep in the earth, requiring mens toil to retrieve and refine? Or does he just toss them on the ground where they may be trodden by swine? Why then would God not likewise treat His Word, requiring His people to have to academically “dig” and “sweat” through concordances, dictionaries, and commentaries, to get to the real hidden treasures contained in the depths of His Word? Is this not consistent with scripture that says, “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.“-Jer. 29:13. I’m certainly not the first to come to such a conclusion, I just recently came across the following which comes from Chapter 4 of E.G. White’s Great Controversy, “As the mine has rich veins of gold and silver hidden beneath the surface, so that all must dig who would discover its precious stores, so the Holy Scriptures have treasures of truth that are revealed only to the earnest, humble, prayerful seeker. “
Opportunity for Today vs. KJV as Standard Bible
At one point in my journey seeking answers and reconciliation on these and related issues, I had obtained a book titled “The Answer Book” By a Samuel Gipp, which was in Q&A format and dealt with the KJV and other translation related issues. Up until that point, this book of his offered the most satisfying answer to the KJV’s “easter” phenomenon. He maintained that the scripture was actually supposed to be referring to the pagan festival. In any case, I still was not totally satisfied with this answer, and had additional questions, so I managed to find Mr. Gipp’s number online, and gave him a call. I explained to him how that his answer to this paradox was the best I’d come across so far, but asked, if what you purport is in fact the case, what then are the implications regarding the reliability of the Textus Receptus? He didn’t have an answer for me, so I told him I was going to keep researching the matter, and that I’d get back to him if I found answers. And so it was that scenario that ended up leading to all of the research and conclusions relayed in the section above. So I called Sam back, and spoke with him, telling him with excitement that I’d finally found satisfactory answers, and would love if he reviewed and gave me feedback on the results of my research. So he told me to print it out and mail it to him, which I did. After a couple weeks, having not heard back from, I decided to call him back because I was really excited to hear his response to my discoveries. He didn’t answer that time, so I left a voicemail reminding him who I was, and asking for him to call me back. After a few more days of anticipation and still not hearing anything, I called a final time. All the sudden it stopped ringing (evidently he answered it, as and I could hear extemporaneous background noise), and immediately the call was ended from his end. At that point, I kind of “got the picture” and decided to just let it go. Sad to say, it’s been several years, and I never heard back from Dr. Gipp.
I suspect that one of the things that really bothered him (aside from the fact that results of my research were essentially irrefutable, and put him in a situation where he either had to renounce (or revise) his published works as containing errors; or contrawise try and repress knowledge of the information which indicated he was in error in order to persist in his ways), was that I proposed several reasons why I believe we are in a sense anyways, actually in need of a new translation (I would later change my mind, and settle upon the need to maintain the KJV as the standard Christian Bible (more on that in a few minutes), but I yet include this as it was part of the process of realization, and I believe it is important to consider all sides here), albeit one that IS actually faithful to the Majority Extant Manuscripts. Here’s how I conluded that letter to Him:
“I believe and propose that perhaps the issue here being discussed, and now being in the best possible way resolved [(i.e. the issue of easter in the KJV)], presents a wonderful opportunity. Just like in the dark ages when the Bible was in the dead language of latin, and thereby precluded the majority of the population from access to the Word of God, we today find ourselves in a similar situation (no coincidence). Don’t get me wrong, I find the old english of the KJV absolutely beautiful, and while men like you, myself, and many others have no problem with the KJV, it is nonetheless, by and large, especially for younger generations, and women, because of it’s old english, and since the meaning of words having changed: rendered redundant. This is why so many flock to the subsequent translations despite their unreliability. I believe once more, we as the church, are in need of another “reformation” (and by the grace God, I do believe this began sometime ago, especially with the advent of the internet, and is most certainly still happening).. the protestant reformation did not come out all the way. Most protestants immediately “creed-alized” and stopped there. The church is still far away from it’s hebrew roots, and filled with traditions of men and precepts and practices based on greco-romanism. And therefore, so likewise, we are in need a new translation today, that is accessible to the common people, simple to read and understand; but unlike the translations subsequent to the KJV, that is honest, pure, and spirit filled, based on the masoretic/textus receptus.”
My reasoning here essentially due to the fact words in the KJV that are extremely confusing because of their modern day connotations include “Unicorns”, “Dragons”, and “Satyrs”, all of which represent mythological creatures. The words were in fact used to describe actual living creatures such as certain rhinos, scorpions, etc. and hence their presence, because of their meaning today, really does a disservice to the apparent historical/scientific reliability of the Word of God, and therefore tends towards unbelief.
My initial conclusion to this exposition was: “I think the final verdict is a perfect translation of the Word of God is not possible. And I think this in a sense is a good thing because of the possibilities it presents. And to be completely honest, I really don’t expect a new translation considering the prophetic lateness of the hour. Endtime prophecies are being fulfilled and coalescing as no other time in history, and indicate the end of the world imminent and the return Yeshua Jesus the Messiah very soon. And I must confess, at the same time, I also have my doubts whether a team of truly able and willing men men could even be assembled at this point to carry out such a work, or whether a new translation in general could in the truest sense truly improve upon the KJV. Nonetheless I am very much open to the possibility, and should it be the will of God, it will certainly happen. And should I by some miracle be blessed with such an opportunity to be part of such a great and noble work even in the most minute way, would gladly accept the duty.”
But here’s my final conclusion on these matters: The King James Version, being generally held as the standard by english speaking people for over 400 years, and being a most honest, careful, and evidently blessed translation might as well be adhered to, to create another “translation” would only tend to more sectarianism, it would not gain wide acceptance, would create dissonance and inconsistency with the concordances, commentaries, etc. which God has inspired men to lighten the world with the last 400 years, etc. The majestic language is befitting the Word of God, it aids in memory, and by clinging to this most widely used version, in adhering to the “tried and true” as the standard, instead of hazarding “reinventing the wheel”, the body of Christ as a whole is more likely to reach a consensus on sound doctrine, and truly become one in Spirit and Truth as the Lord Jesus prayed we would. If it’s not broken don’t fix it. It’s evident the hand of God aided in the KJV translation, and it takes very little extra work to look up words in the dictionary, etc. to come to an understanding of archaic words. I will end with some quotes from Laurence M. Vance’s King James: His Bible, and It’s Translators, which served greatly to help me realize my final verdict:
“Although it is apparent that the Authorized Version does contain some archaic words that need explanation, many would contend, including this writer, that it should still be considered the standard by which all other versions should be judged. Just as a certain vocabulary is necessary to understand science, medicine, engineering, or computers, so to learn and understand the Bible one must be familiar with its vocabulary instead of dragging it down to one’s own level. And just as no one revises Shakespeare or Milton, but instead learns the vocabulary necessary to understand those particular works, so every man who desires to read the Bible should become acquainted with its vocabulary instead of seeking to revise it…The archaic tone of the Authorized version is deliberate, and has the effect of elevating the language of the Bible…The Authorized Version “was born archaic” says David Daniell, English Bible historian and Emeritus Professor of English at University College London…one result of the Authorized Version being the heir and representative of a long line of literary ancestors is the archaic tone and old-fashioned diction which lend a becoming dignity and distinction to the Sacred Narrative…A certain aloofness from the familiar and banal language of everyday life is felt to impart solemnity and reverence to the truths which it expresses. MacGregor adds that “this slight archaism in the language of the King James Bible was one of its greatest charms. The style was sufficiently modern to be plainly understood at the time, yet just old-fashioned enough to carry with it the dignity of the recent past. For this and many other reasons the King James Bible had both the appeal of a new version and the authority of the older version which it was technically a revision”. And, it should especially be noted, that when the Authorized Version appeared, as explained by the Aforementioned George Marsh: “It was by no means regarded as an embodiment of the everyday language of the time. On the contrary, it’s archaisms, its rejection of the Latinisms of the Rhemish Romanist version, and its elevation above the vulgarisms of the market and the kitchen, were assailed by the same objections which are urged against it at the present moment.”…Contemporary publications often use words that are unintelligible to the average reader, yet they are either ignored, guessed at, or looked up in a dictionary. No one ever cancels their subscription to a newspaper or magazine or writes a letter to the editor of the respective publication to complain that it uses archaic words.”–Pg. 148-151
“And Most recently, at the close of the twentieth century, English Bible historian ALister McGrath reminds us: “In popular Christian culture, the King James translation is seen to possess a dignity and authority that the modern translations somehow fail to convey. Even four hundred years after the six companies of translators began their long and laborious task, their efforts continue to be a landmark for popular Christianity. Other translations will doubtless jostle for place in the nation’s bookstores in the twenty-first century. Yet the King James Bible retains its place as a literary and religious classic, by which all others continue to be judged”…As the standard Bible, the Authorized Version functioned as the unifier of English Protestantism. According to the distinguished American philologist George Marsh (1801-1882), in his lecture on the English Bible: “Though English PRotestantism has long had its one unchanged standard of faith, common to all who use the English speech, yet PROTESTANT Christianity, from the number and diversity of the languages it embraces, has no such point of union, no common formulas; and this is one of the reasons why the English people, with all their nominal divisions, and multitudinous visible organizations, have not split up into such a wide variety, and so extreme a range of actual opinion, as the Protestants of the Continent…The importance of the Authorized Version to English Protestantism was recognized by Fredrick WIlliam Farber (1814-1863), the Anglican priest who converted to Catholicism: “Who will say that the uncommon beauty and marvelous English of the Protestant Bible is not one of the great strongholds of heresy…it is part of the national mind, and the anchor of the national seriousness…”…English writer Hartley Coleridge (1796-1849) believed that “the language of the Authorized Version is the perfection of English, and it can never be written again, for the language of prose is one of the few things in which the English have really degenerated. Our tongue has lost its holiness…George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), the Irish playwright and Nobel Prize winner in Literature was certainly no friend of the bible or religion, but he nevertheless acknowledged about the Authorized Version: “The translation was extraordinarily well done because to the translators what they were translating was not merely a curious collection of ancient books written by different authors in different stages of culture, but the word of God divinely revealed through his chosen and expressly inspired scribes. In this conviction they carried out their work with boundless reverence and care and achieved a beautifully artistic result…The King James BIble, though indeed the greatest literary monument of the English-speaking world, has never been merely a literature. It has guided through the path of life and the valley of death a billion hearts and minds that it has taught, consoled, and enlightened. It has much formed the characters of those who have led the English-speaking peoples in the development of such virtues as they may possess. Even those who have propounded religious and political idealisms far removed from the faith of the men and women whom the King James Version was devised have owed more to it than they have always been ready to admit…Americans were predominantly interested in their first text, the King James Version, which to them was ‘The English Bible.’ All other bibles were ‘barely Bibles in English.”…Until quite recently conservative evangelicals were extremely closely tied to the Authorized (King James) Version. The symbolic and practical importance of this tie with a particular and traditional English version is difficult to exaggerate. This was not, indeed, a matter of doctrine: no one laid down that only the Authorized Version should be used or cited. But in practice the Bible was very seldom quoted in any other form. The exact wording of this version was prized if it were the holy of holies, and any phrased quoted from it was carefully demarcated in print by quotation marks to make clear what were the exact biblical words as distinct from mere human comment and discussion. It goes without saying that if the Authorized version was the standard Bible, then no other versions in tEnglish were necessary…as there is no present necessity for a revision, so is there no possibility of executing a revision in a way that would be, or ought to be, satisfactory even to any one Protestant sect, still less to the whole body of English-speaking Protestants. To revise under present circumstances, it to sectarianize, to divide the one [universal] Bible, the common standard of authority in Protestant England and America, into a dozen different revelations, each authoritative for its own narrow circle, but, to all out of that circle, a counterfeit; it is a practical surrender of that human excellence of form in the English Bible, which, next to the unspeakable value of its substance, is the greatest gift which God has bestowed on the British and American people…But over two hundred versions later, multitudes of Christians are still contented with it. And it is still recognized as the standard even by its enemies: “The Bible will always be read , and read by the multitude who are the great corrupters of language. Its words will always be those most upon the popular lip. Not only therefore will it remain “a well of English undefiled,’ but there is a certainty that its pure waters will be resorted to by all the hundreds of millions who shall be born within the reach of British and American influence till the end of time” [(Philip Schaff (1819-1893), president of the American Revision Committee, after publication of Revised Version)]…So, as even recognized by its critics, we have a standard Bible—the King James 1611 Authorized Version”-Pg. 111-124