A CREATIONIST'S DEFENSE OF THE KING JAMES BIBLE, cont.
This was in spite of the fact that they frequently disagreed with each other as well as with Textus Receptus, and also
contained many serious and obvious omissions. The Vatican manuscript, for example, leaves out most of Genesis as
well as all of Revelation, in addition to the pastoral epistles of Paul, 33 psalms, and over a third of Hebrews.
The fact that these two manuscripts are older obviously does not prove that they are better. More likely it indicates that
they were set aside and not used because of their numerous gross errors. Thus they would naturally last longer than
the good manuscripts which were being used regularly and thus wore out sooner.
The Sinatic manuscripts were reportedly rescued from a wastebasket in a monastery on Mount Sinai by another German
evolutionist theologian, Fredrich Tischendorf. The orthodox monks evidently had long since decided that the numerous
omissions and alterations in th manuscript had rendered it useless and had stored it away in some closet where it had
remained unused for centuries. Yet Tischendorf promoted it widely and vigorously as representing a more accurate text
that the thousands of manuscripts supporting the Byzantine text. Furthermore, he assumed that it came from about the
fourth century, but never found any actual proof that it dated earlier than the 12th century.
A similar mystery applies to the famous Vatican manuscript, which had been kept in seclusion in the Vatican Library
since 1480 or earlier, though no one seemingly knows for sure when it was originally written or how it was acquired by
the Vatican. Again, it was only conjectured to date from around the fourth century. Tischendorf learned of its existence
and again was instrumental in promoting its antiquity and superiority to the Textus Receptus.
There a few other manuscripts, even including fragmentary Greek papyl, whose textual character seems to conform
more to the Sinaticus and Vaticanus readings than to the Textus Receptus. These all have been traced, by liberal and
conservative scholars alike, to a probable source in Alexandria, Egypt, in the second or third century. At that time,
Alexandria was a great center of both philosophical and theological scholarship, including a relatively large population of
both Jews and Christians.
The most influential man among the Christian community of Alexandria was the learned Origen, and it is believed by
many that he was largely instrumental in developing the so-called "Alexandrian" text of the New Testament, of which the
Vatican and Sinai manuscripts are representative, in contrast to the "Byzantine" text, from which the Textus Receptus
has largely come. It is barely possible, some think, Origen may also have been involved in developing the final form of
the Septuagint translation of the Old Testament.
With all his immense learning and zeal, however, it is sad that Origen's views of theology and Biblical interpretation were
heretical in respect to numerous key doctrines. Like modern theistic evolutionists, he felt constrained to harmonize
Christianity with pagan philosophy, especially that of Plato and Stoics. This led him to excessive allegorizatioin of
Scriptures, especially Genesis, and into denigrating the actual historical records of the Bible, even that of the bodily
resurrection of Christ, as well as the literal creation of the world.
Whether or not Origen and his associates were first responsible for the differences in the Alexandrian text from the
Byzantine, the fact remains that significant differences do exist, and that practically all modern English translations have
been heavily influenced (via Westcott/Hort) in favor of the former, whereas the King James translation has its basis
primarily in the latter.
In many cases, . . . it is true that far too many do involve significant watering down of even such basic doctrines as
Biblical inerrancy, the perfect divine/human nature of Christ, and the Trinity. . . .
In any case, one of the serious problems with almost all modern English translations is that they rely heavily
on Hebrew and Greek manuscripts of the Bible developed by liberal, rationalists, and evolutionists, none of
whom believed in the verbal inspiration of the Bible.
Are we to believe that God would entrust the preservation of His eternal Word to men such as these?
Would He not more likely have used devout scholars who believed in the absolute inerrancy and authority
of the Bible?
What About the Archaic Language in the King James?
The beautifully poetic prose of the King James is a great treasure which should not be lost or forgotten. It has been
acclaimed widely as the greatest example of English literature ever written. Apart from a few archaic words or words
whose meaning has changed, which can easily clarified in footnotes, it is as easy to understand today as it was four
hundred years ago. That is why the common people today, especially those without higher education, still use and love
it. It is usually the "intelligentsia" who tend to favor the modern versions. These modern translations commonly tend to
use long words and pedantic rhetoric, but the King James uses mostly one and two-syllable words. Formal studies have
always shown its readability index to be 10th grade or lower. There is nothing hard to understand about John 3:16, for
example, or Genesis 1:1, or the Ten Commandments, in the King James.
There are some sections of the Bible, of course, that are quite complex in the original language and thus a faithful
translation should preserve that same complexity (after all God inspired it that way), but all the basic histories,
doctrines, and precepts are easy to follow by anyone who can read at high school level. Many sections can easily be
read by children as soon as they learn to read at all. In fact, in earlier times here in America, children were actually
taught to read by means of the King James Bible.
It is also noteworthy that King James was produced during the period when the English language and literature (as well
as knowledge of other languages by English-speaking people) had reached their zenith of power and expressiveness.
That was the age of Shakespeare, for example. Modern English, on the other hand, has become merely a decadent
remnant of its former beauty and clarity.
This phenomenon seems to be a universal characteristic of languages-as well as people, cities, and institutions of all
kinds. A period of youthful growth and vigor reaches a zenith and is then followed by a gradual decline and eventual
death. Albert Baugh, in widely used textbook on this theme has said:
The evolution of languages, at least within historical period, is story of progressive
simplification . . . . language may reintroduce previously lost complexity but over-all
the superfluous and redundant aspects are systematically streamlined from the complex
structure of language. (A History of the English language New York. Appleton
entury-Crofts, 1957. p. 10.)
This trend is exactly opposite to any evolutionary concept of languages origins, but is analogous to the law of entrophy
in the physical realm.
With respect to the English language, the authors of a more recent study, comparison to a PBS television series, note
the literary accomplishments of the Elizabethan period in England as follows:
The achievements of these astonishing years (i.e. 1558-1625, the reigns of Queen
Elizabeth and King James I) are inescapably glorious. Elizabeth I came to the throne
in 1558 at the age of twenty-five. William Shakespeare, her most famous subject, was
born six years later in 1564. Her successor, James I, ho gave his name to another
famous masterpiece, the Authorized Version of the Bible, died in 1625. During their
reigns, about seventy years, the English language achieved a richness and vitality of
expression that even contemporaries marveled at. (Robert McCrum, William Cray and
Robert McNeil, The Story of English New York, Viking. 1966. p. 91.)
These writers call the King James Bible "probably the single most influential book ever published in the English
language" (ibid., p. 109). They also make an important observation concerning the beautiful simplicity of the King James
The King James was published in the year Shakespeare began work on his last play, The
Tempest. Both the play and the bible are masterpieces of English, but there is one crucial
difference between them. Whereas Shakespeare ransacked the lexicon, the King James
employs a bare 8000 words-God's teaching in homely English for every-man. From that
day till this, the Shakespearean cornucopia and the Biblical iron rations represent, as it
were, the North and South poles of the language, reference points for writers and speakers
throughout the world, from the Shakespearean splendor of a Joyce or a Dickens to the
Biblical rigor of a Bunyan or a Hemingway (ibid., p. 113).
It is no wonder that a Bible translation produced at that special time in history has (except for changes in spelling and
letter form) endured for almost 400 years, meeting the needs and guiding the culture of over ten generations of English
speaking people. In fact, ir has been very instrumental in standardizing the language itself, providing a common bond
among its million of readers, and restraining what would otherwise have been a more rapid deterioration of the
language.. . .
I believe, therefore, after studying, teaching, and loving the Bible for over 55 years, that Christians-especially
creationists!-need to hang on to their old King James Bibles as long as they live. God has uniquely blessed it in the
history of England and America, in the great revivals, in the worldwide missionary movement, and in the personal lives of
believers more than He has through all the rest of the versions put together. . . .
The King James is also the most reliably accurate of all translations, seeking to translate the words of the original than
"dynamically equivalent" thoughts, and instead of our modern jargon
The King James Bible is the most beautiful, the most powerful, and (I strongly believe) the most reliable of any that we
have, or ever will have, until Christ returns.
(Printed with permission from: Institute for Creation Research - 08/01/2003)
A "recommended" website link which will introduce
Authorized Versions Publications Corp.
Box 280 * Ararat, Virginia 24053 USA
G.A. Riplinger, B.A., M.A., M.F.A., D.D.
(please select "continue" to proceed)
|"Father, forgive them; . . ."