A CREATIONIST'S DEFENSE OF THE KING JAMES BIBLE, cont.
Lancelot Andrews, a leader of the Old Testament translators, had been chaplain to Queen Elizabeth. He was fluent in
fifteen modern languages, as well as Hebrew, Greek, and the cognate Biblical languages. He served as Dean of
Westminster and later as Bishop of Winchester.
Dr. William Bedwell was expert in Latin, Arabic, and Persian, preparing lexicons in these languages, as well as in the
Biblical languages. Edward Lively, who died after only a year, had been Regius Professor of Hebrew at Cambridge and
had an unqualified knowledge of the Oriental languages. Dr. John Harding was Regius Professor of Hebrew at Oxford.
Miles Smith was a noted Orientalist who became Bishop of Gloucester in 1612. He was the last man to review the
translation and was selected to write the translator's Preface.
Dr. Andrew Downs spent forty years as Regius Professor of Greek at Oxford university and was on the final committee
of the translation. George Abbott became Archbishop of Canterbury in 1611. Sir Henry Saville was Provost of Eton and
was scientist as well as a bible scholar. His works include an eight-volume edition of the works of Chrysostom. And on
and on. All the translators were great scholars, deeply fluent in the Biblical languages, the writings of the church fathers
and other relevant materials, as well as accomplished writers in English. It is almost certain that no group of Bible
scholars before or since has ever been as thoroughly fit for the task as well as the King James Translation Team.
The result of their consecrated labor was that the so-called "Authorized" version eventually displaced all those that had
gone before and then has withstood the test of wide usage in all English-speaking countries ever since. To suddenly
abandon it in just one over-stressed, pseudo-intellectual, largely apostate generation may well prove to be a decision
with sad and entropic consequences.
Which New Translation Could Replace it?
This is not a new question. As a matter of fact, there have been no less than 120 English translations of the complete
Bible published since the King James, as well as over 200 New Testaments. Even in my own lifetime there have been at
least 45 Bibles plus about 100 New Testaments, and I have tried to use at least 20 of them.
My wife and I were given an American Standard Version for a wedding present when we married in 1940, and I later
bought a Berkeley Version, then a Williams, and a Phillips-each time thinking the latest might be the best. I was
especially pleased when the Revised Standard Version was finally marketed in 1952 with great publicity. Each time I was
disappointed, however, and soon went back to the KJV.
Later came he Amplified and the Expanded and the Basic English and the Living Bible and many others. I even studied
some of the older translations (Alford, Weymouth , Goodspeed, etc.).
Each of these provided interesting variations in wording, as well as updating the archaic expressions and old-style
English, but something was missing, so I continued using the King James in my writing and speaking, and God continued
to bless its use, in spite of its Elizabethan-age English.
On one of these-the New King James Version-I was even a member of the North America Overview Committee, reviewing
the proposed translation of Genesis in particular, . . . Even so, after trying to use it and endorse it, finally went back to
the "old" King James, convinced that it is still the best, in terms of poetic majesty, spiritual power, and over-all clarity and
Therefore, even if one really feels that he ought to switch to a modern translation, how does one decide which? With
apologies to Judges 9:25, it seems today that "every man does that which is right in his own eyes," as far as selecting a
Bible is concerned. But how can he decide which, if any, best preserved the inspired, authoritative Word of God? After
all, God did say that His Word had been "for ever settled in heaven" (Psalm 119:89) and had given sober warning to any
who would presume to supplement, delete, or distort any of the words of Scripture (Revelation 22:18, 19; II Peter 3:16).
Is God the Author of Confusion?
For a long time, the "official" English version used in each Bible-believing church was the King James, with the others
used occasionally for reference study by teachers and pastors. Now, however, confusion reigns. Congregational
unison reading is no longer possible, and church members often don't even bring their to church. The pastor preaches
from one version and the people in the congregation each have their own, so they can't follow the pastor anyway, and
thus they just listen, and soon forget.
Scripture memorization, which has been an incalculable blessing in my own Christian life, is almost a lost art these days.
I remember back in 1943 when Dawson Trotman, founder of the Navigators, first got me and others in our Gideon Camp
back in Houston, to start memorizing Scripture, he used to stress that the verses should be quoted "word perfect," with
their respective "addresses" cited fore and aft. But such meticulous attention to the very words of a Scripture verse
becomes anomalous when even the supposed authorities all disagree on what it says, so why bother? In addition, the
musical phrasing in the King James makes it easier to memorize than the more ponderous English of the other versions.
And what becomes of our long-cherished belief in verbal inspiration? If it's only the "thought" that counts, then the words
are flexible. Yes, but then the thoughts themselves easily become flexible also, and we can adjust the words to make
them themselves easily become flexible also, and we can adjust the words to make them convey whatever thought we
prefer. We forget that precise thoughts require precise words.
Another fast-vanishing form of Bible study is that of comparative word studies, comparing the various usages and
contexts of a given key word or phrases as it occurs throughout the Bible. This has been a highly fruitful means of
obtaining many precious insights into the mind of the divine writer who inspired all of them. A given word may have been
rendered in various ways by the King Jams translators, of course, but they have assured us (in their preface) that this
always done very carefully and in accord with context and the known range of meanings carried by the word itself. A
Bible student may easily discern and compare all of these-usually with real blessing to his mind and heart-even without
knowledge of Greek and Hebrew, simply by using one of the complete concordances based the King James translation
(Strong's or Young's). But this type of study is far more difficult, if not practically impossible, with most modern versions
in which the translators have often either resorted to paraphrasing the supposed thought of the writer, or even to using
their own interpretation of they think he would have said if he were aware of our modern scientific knowledge of things.
One can only wonder-and speculate-about why our ecclesiastical leaders have felt it necessary to keep producing so
many new English translations all the time. The Bible, of course, is the best selling book of all time, but surely publishing
profits and translators' royalties don't have anything to do with it. Anyway, in spite of the rising popularity of many
modern versions, there are still more King James Bibles and Testaments being printed and distributed today than any
Which Version Best Renders the Original Manuscripts?
Even many King James Bibles now have added footnotes referring to what are said to be "better manuscripts" which
indicate that certain changes should be made in the King James text. The most famous such changes are the omission
of the last twelve verses of Mark and the first eleven verses of John, chapter 8, but there are many other important
omissions, as well as some additions and many word changes that have been incorporated in these new versions, with
the implication that all these changes have been derived from theses "better" ancient manuscripts.
But what are these better manuscripts, and are they really better? The whole subject of New Testament criticism is too
complicated to discuss here (or for me to try to discuss anywhere!), but it is significant that almost all of the new versions
of the New Testament are based on what is known as the Westcott-Hort Greek text, or some modification thereof (such
as the Nestle-Aland text), whereas the King James is based largely on what is known as the Received Text (also known
as the Textus Recsptus or the Byzantine Greek text). As far as the Hebrew Text of the Old Testament is concerned, the
King James is based on the Masonetic text, while the modern versions rely on the Masonetic but also on the Septuagint,
the Latin Vulgate, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and various others, especially the Kittel Hebrew reference text, Biblia Hebreice,
in its "Stutgart" edition.
The Masonetic text was completed from the ancient manuscripts of the Old Testament by the Masoretes, who were
groups of Hebrew scholars dedicated to guarding and standardizing the traditional Hebrew text as "handed down" (the
basic meaning of "Masonetic") from the earlier Hebrew scribes, who had in turn meticulously copied the ancient Hebrew
manuscripts, scrupulously guarding against error. There seems no good reason why the Masonetic text as preserved
and codified in its present form by about 600 A.D., which has served as the basis for the King James translation, should
not continue to be accepted as the most accurately preserved Old Testament portion of the Bible.
Most scholars would agree that neither the Greek Septuagint nor the Latin Vulgate are comparable to the Masonetic
Text inaccuracy or reliability. As far as the Hebrew text changes proposed by Rudolf Kittel are concerned, it is worth
noting that Kittel was a German rationalistic higher critic, rejecting Biblical inerrancy and firmly devoted to evolutionism.
The Dead Sea Scrolls were produced by a heretical Jewish sect called the Essenes, but for the most part they do agree
with the standard Masonetic Text.
The two men most responsible for modern alterations in the New Testament text were B.F. Westcott and F.J.A. Hort,
whose Greek New Testament has largely replaced the Textus Receptus in modern seminaries, especially in revised as
updated by the German Eberhard Nestle and Kurt Aland. All of these men were evolutionists. Furthermore, Westcott
and Hort, although they were Anglican officials and nominally orthodox in theology, both denied Biblical inerrancy and
promoted spititism and racism. Nestle and Aland, like Kittel, were German theological liberals.
Westcott and Hort were the two most influential members of the English revision committee that produced the English
Revised Version of the Bible, published in 1881. The corresponding American revision committee which developed the
American Standard Version of 1901 was headed by another liberal evolutionist, Philip Schaff. Most new versions since
that time have adopted the same presuppositions as did those 19th century revisers. Schaff was tried for heresy by his
denomination and taught at the very liberal Union Seminary. As chairman of the revision committee, Schaff not only was
greatly influenced by Westcott and Hort, but also by the Unitarians Ezra Abbot and Joseph Thayer, of Harvard, as well
as other liberals whom he placed on the committee.
Furthermore, the changes adopted by the Westcott-Hort (or Nestle-aland) Greek texts were predominately based on two
old Greek manuscripts, the so-called Sinaticus and Vaticanus textsa, which were rediscovered and rescued from long
(and well-deserved) obscurity in the 19th century. Since these are both supposedly older than the more than 5000
manuscripts that support the Textus Receptus, they were accepted as "better."
|"Father, forgive them; . . ."