God Said Man Said

Pastor AJ Contends With King James

It is Pastor A.J.ís position that "the Bible is only inspired in the original language it was given," inferring that the English Authorized King James Version--as well as other translations as far as that goes--is no longer the inerrant Word of God.
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Pastor AJ Contends With King James

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There is nothing more important than your copy of the Word of God, and equally as important is your ability to believe in the reliability of your English-translated text. Therefore, the debate concerning "Which Bible" is serious business. On this website are several subjects which deal with this matter including "Which Bible," "Brian’s Disagreements," and "Which Religion." A pastor sent us the following e-mail challenging GodSaidManSaid’s position on which Bible to use. I feel the matter is a serious one, so I am compelled to respond one more time—publically, so that others who have questions can hear our response. The e-mail message reads:

We must all understand that the Bible is only inspired in the original language it was given. Your comparison of the KJV and NIV is not fair. Please read the introduction to the KJV in the front of the Bible and then try to explain what it means. We did this test in our church using the pew Bibles and no one was able to answer it. It came down to this: Kings James wanted a Bible translated so that the common man could be able to pick it up, read it, and understand it. The NIV and other contemporary translations have the same purpose. While it is true that some of the newer (Gender-neutral translations) have diminished the truth of God’s Word, I don’t believe you can use that same argument when referring to the NIV, which I have personally found to be the best version to use to reach the average person. [End of quote]

It is Pastor A.J.’s position that "the Bible is only inspired in the original language it was given," inferring that the English Authorized King James Version—as well as other translations as far as that goes—is no longer the inerrant Word of God.

GodSaidManSaid responds: The New Testament, which was written in Greek, cites quotes from and refers to the Old Testament Hebrew Text nearly 200 times. Why didn’t Jesus, who quoted from the original Hebrew and Aramaic many times, and the apostles and disciples who penned the New Testament and quoted the Old Testament Hebrew and Aramaic sundry times, inform us that, because of their inability to convert the meaning of the original tongue, it was no longer possible to call that rendering "inspired?" The reason why they didn’t is rather simple—it’s simply not true. God’s Word declares in II Timothy 3:16-17:

16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

It must be noted that nearly 60 of the world’s greatest translators, holding impeccable credentials, labored for almost seven years, meticulously translating from the original tongues, passing their labor through a maze of professional reviews, to write the King James Version. It is the inspired Word of God in English.

Pastor A.J., just what in particular are you referring to in the introduction to the King James Bible that you and your congregation found so hard to understand? I read it and I assume you’re referring to the section titled, "The Translators To The Readers." I found it to be perfectly cogent copy.

Pastor A.J. states, "It came down to this: King James wanted a Bible translated so that the common man could be able to pick it up, read it, and understand it." Of course this is true, but be careful to note that it was not "dumbed down" to facilitate this purpose. The King James Version is a word-for-word rendering of the original text, a text that we can be sure was penned by His holy prophets to communicate to all men—especially the common man. The Lord Jesus Christ created the universe by the Word of His Father (Hebrews 1:2) and created man’s ability to speak. He could have dazzled us with His considerable vocabulary, but that would have been a failure in communicating with the common man and the children to whom He ministered. Isn’t it amazing that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ—who knew everything—was able to communicate so deeply yet that communication so easy to understand? God’s Word states in I Corinthians 1:26-29:

26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:

27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:

29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.

Pastor A.J.’s written positions (of which I doubt not his sincerity) are ill-founded, but the real debate is none of these.

Remember M&Ms. They stand for majority-text vs. minority-text. All English translations (New Testament portions) that were translated after the King James were translated from Westcott and Hort’s Greek New Testament, put together in the 1880s, and translated from the manuscripts they could count on one hand. The Authorized King James Version translators examined over 5,000 handwritten Greek manuscripts of the New Testament. If the majority of the manuscripts said a certain word was there, they counted it authentic. When I say "majority," I don’t mean 51%: well over 90% of the manuscripts attest to the King James Version’s authenticity, and these manuscripts were gathered from all over the known world. The debate is over majority versus minority.

The final point is also rather simple. Even if someone were to do the impossible and go back to the original Masoretic text and 5,000-plus Greek manuscripts to re-translate the Old and New Testaments, one would not be able to improve upon the King James Version. Language in the days of the KJV translators, as it is at any time, was a finite science. There are just so many letters in the alphabet and so many words in the lexicon. To add new letters or new words modifies the original. After a period of time, the original language evolves into a new understanding.

Nearly 60 of the world’s finest English translators translated the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek into English. They were selected from the centers of English knowledge: Oxford, Cambridge, and Westminster. They were the authorities on the finite language of that day and were also the educators who taught the next generation Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. That generation taught the next, ad infinium. For today’s scholars to disagree with the outcome of the original 60 who were the source of knowledge of that day would be akin to the kindergartner telling the teacher he is wrong. When one reads the Authorized King James Version, one is reading what the original Hebrew and Greek says in English. It is the majority text translated by the world’s authorities. To disagree would be to fail Language 101.

Westcott and Hort could not discredit the King James Version scholars, so the only other recourse for Satan was to discredit the manuscripts. But again, Mr. Devil has failed. However, Satan has succeeded in other areas. He has succeeded in creating confusion. This is the result when more than one voice speaks with authority, such as when Satan’s voice was heard in Paradise. Our great-grandmother Eve was confused and chose Satan over God. That day, she died, was cast out of Paradise and all her progeny since then have been spiritually still-born. On grounds of age, scholarship, and the majority-text, the Authorized King James Version is the English-speaking authority. Pastor A.J., it’s time to get back to one voice.

I Corinthians 14:33:

For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

 

References:

Authorized King James Version

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