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Pastor T and the KJV

Why the KJV? The argument you gave simply gave me a desire to re-examine the majority-text--not to say that the KJV is the only Bible. In fact, based upon your argument, any version that used the majority-text would be a version that God would endorse. Would it not benefit the people of God today to have an accurate, modern English version that based upon the majority-text?
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Pastor T and the KJV

Article#: 934

Satan’s master plan for the destruction of man is simply to eliminate the absolutes. Truth is absolute. For example, two plus two must always equal four. A sum of five or three or even 4.1 or 3.9 can never be the truth. Truth has no companions. In the Garden of Eden, Satan’s plan was clear, and that plan was to destroy the singleness of God’s truth—the absolutes. The first words Satan speaks to man (in particular our great-grandmother Eve) are, "Yea, hath God said...?" If you remove one word, "hath," and the question mark, the sentence would begin, "Yea, God said..." Eve’s faith in the absolute, in the inerrant truth of God’s Word, was challenged by the second voice in the Garden—by one word and a question mark. She chose unbelief and disobedience. She chose the dead spirit of Satan whose pleasure is to kill, steal, and destroy. Consequently, the law of sin and death reigns over the vast, very vast, majority of this globe who pays homage to the god (little “g”-o-d) of this world. Satan continues to attack the absolutes—to attack the truth, to change the words.

One man wrote to GodSaidManSaid and upbraided this ministry for wasting time on the issue of Bible translations. He viewed debate as a minor issue, but I tell you this, there is no greater issue in the history of all time than the absolute, untampered truth of the Word of God. Psalms 11:3:

If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?

On this website, there are six features that deal specifically with translations. Please take a moment to consider them. They will be listed at the end of this article. May the face of the Lord shine upon us with Light and Truth.

The following e-mail came from Pastor T:

I have just finished re-reading your article "Which Bible" followed by the dialogue you had with "Brian."

I will admit that you made a good case for the majority-text. I am a Bible college graduate and currently working on a Master of Divinity degree from a Christian church seminary. In both my college and seminary training, the majority-text has been labeled as "corrupted." You gave a good argument for its acceptance.

I have one concern, and one question based upon your work.

Concern: The research you showed as used in the article was very limited. Not only that, but the books you consulted (outside of the Bible) were very swayed in their thought. You gave no documented, sound arguments that stand against the majority-text. (And please do not respond by simply saying that there are none. You may not agree with them, but there are indeed a few good arguments.) I understand that you mentioned Westcott and Hort, but the works you cited did not give a fair balance to the argument.

Question: Why the KJV? The argument you gave simply gave me a desire to re-examine the majority-text—not to say that the KJV is the only Bible. In fact, based upon your argument, any version that used the majority-text would be a version that God would endorse. In fact, the prologue to the KJV simply states that what the translators are presenting to the king is "one more exact translation of the Holy Scriptures into the English tongue." I do not believe they thought the KJV to be the final authority. I believe they were trying to present the best translation of the day for the English-speaking people. (By the way, to do this, they did not use the majority-text alone. They also consulted the Latin Vulgate.) Based upon your presentation, would it not benefit the people of God today to have an accurate, modern English version that based upon the majority-text? After all, it was the majority-text you defended, and not the KJV. How would you defend the translation of the King James over a modern translation using the majority-text?

I am not trying to attack. I am just simply trying to wrestle with the question of "Which Bible." You see, when I stand to preach and teach, I want to "rightly handle the Word of Truth." I would appreciate your response.

Thank you.

Pastor T

Dear Pastor T, thank you for your e-mail.

Pastor T outlines his first concern when he writes, "The research you showed as used in the article was very limited." [End of quote] In the article, "Which Bible," the following credentialed scholars were noted:

Pickering, Hill, Hodge, Metzger, Kenyon, Sturz, Klijn, Zuntz, Burgon, Morris, and Riplinger.

The above scholars were noted and documented in the text of the article, but not listed in the references. They were lifted out of G.A. Riplinger’s 690-page tome, New Age Versions, which was listed in the references. At the end of this answer, more sources will be listed for information on the subject of translations.

Pastor T’s second item reads, "You gave no documented, sound arguments that stand against the majority-text." [End of quote] There has only been one challenge to the majority-text (which is the source of the New Testament of the King James Version). The challenge was that the minority-text preceded the majority-text in age. This argument was certainly addressed. The following excerpts are from "Which Bible:"

Westcott and Hort totally reject Textus Receptus (majority-text) to be the original text of the New Testament, which was honored as such for nearly two centuries. They claim three main types of evidence support their judgment:

1. The Syrian (Majority) Text contains combined or conflate readings, which are clearly composed of elements current in earlier forms of text.

2. No ante-Nicene Father quotes a distinctively Syrian (Majority) reading.

3. When the Syrian (Majority) Text readings are compared with the rival readings, their claim to be regarded as original is found gradually to diminish, and at last to disappear.

Kenyon’s 1937 text book supports Westcott and Hort. It reads, "The relatively late date...must now be taken as established. The majority text may be dismissed from further consideration." However, he added, " If it can be shown, that the readings which Hort called ‘Syrian’ existed before the fourth century, the keystone would be knocked out of the fabric of his theory."

Researcher G.A. Riplinger weighs in with the following:

Out it comes! Harvard scholar, Hill writes, "This...[theory] has been abandoned by most present day scholars." The ninety-six papyri (ancient writing materials), with the exception of P3, 4, 7, and 14, were all discovered after 1890. Pickering observes:

In Hort’s day...the early papyri were not extant (existing)—had they been, the W-H theory could scarcely have appeared...Each of the early papyri (A.D.300 or earlier) vindicates some Byzantine [KJV] reading...Bodmer II shows some Syrian readings to be anterior (preceding in time; prior) to corresponding [Aleph and B] readings...[T]he early papyri vindicate Byzantine readings in 660 places where there is a significant variation.

Remember, the Byzantine text is what you have in the King James Bible.

Pickering cites H.A. Sturz, who wrote The Byzantine Text-Type and New Testament Textual Criticism, and summarized his research concerning the superiority of the KJV text-type based on the discoveries in the papyri:

H.A. Sturz...surveyed all the available papyri...each new MS discovered vindicated added Byzantine readings...The magnitude of this vindication can be more fully appreciated by recalling that only about 30% of the New Testament has early papyri attestation...[I]f we had at least three papyri covering all parts of the New Testament, all of the 5000+ Byzantine readings rejected by the critical (eclectic) texts would be vindicated by early papyrus...Henceforth no one may reasonably or responsibly characterize the Byzantine text-type as being...late (meaning not as old)...[A]lthough modern editors continue to reject these readings, it can no longer be argued that they are late.

A.F.J. Klijn, in his book A Survey of the Researches into the Western Text of the Gospels, compared Aleph and B (fourth century) readings with the papyri (second century). Pickering added to his research and compared the Textus Receptus to Aleph and B. He concluded that the KJV readings (TR) dominated the early papyri to a greater percentage than the readings of the Aleph and B, seen in the new versions.

Pickering concludes, "[T]he TR has more early attestation than B and twice as much as Aleph—evidently the TR reflects an earlier text than either B or Aleph."

Other scholar’s findings reveal results which vindicate the KJV readings.

G. Zuntz in The Texts of the Epistles writes, "[KJV type] readings previously discarded as late are [in] P46...[A]re all Byzantine readings ancient?...G. Pasquali answers in the affirmative...Papyrus 46 and 45 support the Majority text readings..."

Metzger says, "Papyrus 75 supports the Majority-text dozens of times. In relation to the [majority] text, P46 (about A.D.200), shows that some readings...go back to a very early period...P66 [has] readings that agree with the [majority]...text type."

Hill notes, "Byzantine readings, which most critics have regarded as late, have now been proved by Papyrus Bodmer II to be early readings."

The Journal of Theological Studies (London: Oxford University Press) says, "Papyrus 66 supports the readings of the Majority text."

Remember now, that’s the King James Version.

John W. Burgon, Dean of Chichester was a contemporary of Westcott and Hort. He said, "...the two manuscripts honored by Westcott and Hort are the most depraved."

Burgon went on to say, "...without a particle of hesitation, that B and D are two of the most scandalously mutilated texts which are anywhere to be met with: have, become, by whatever process (for their history is wholly unknown), the depositories of the largest amount of fabricated readings, ancient blunders, and intentional perversions of truth, which are discovered in any known copies of the Word of God.

Finally Burgon writes concerning dissenting manuscripts Vaticanus (b), Sinaiticus (ALEPH), Bezae (D), and Papyrus 75: All four are discovered on careful scrutiny to differ essentially, not only from the 99 out of 100 of the whole body of extant manuscripts, but even from one another. [End of quotes]

In regard to the Authorized Version (KJV) translators, they surely compared previous translations, but the majority-text was the ruling authority.

Pastor T writes, "In fact, based upon your argument, any version that used the majority-text would be a version that God would endorse… How would you defend the translation of the King James over a modern translation using the majority-text?" [End of quote] It should be noted that all modern English translations are translated from Westcott and Hort’s minority-text. Regarding Pastor T’s question concerning a new translation from the majority-text, the following excerpt is from the GodSaidManSaid feature article "Pastor A.J. Contends With King James:"

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, he 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. [End of quote]

Finally, Pastor T offers a modified quote of the minority-text Revised Standard Version from II Timothy 2:15 saying, "rightly handle the Word of Truth." The majority-text King James Version renders II Timothy 2:15 as follows:

Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, in its Greek dictionary, defines the word dividing as "to make a straight cut, i.e. (fig.) to dissect (expound) correctly (the divine message)." Noah Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language defines divide in its primary definition as "to part or separate an entire thing; to part a thing into two or more pieces," [End of quote] The definition of the word divide in light of the verse quoted would include such issues as separating the letter of the law from the principle of Christ’s fulfillment of the law, dividing light from darkness, walking in the spirit from walking in the flesh, and so on. Handle just doesn’t seem to fit quite as well. The entire issue is majority vs. minority—M&Ms.

Related Subjects:
Which Bible?
Pastor A.J. Contends With King James
Disappointed and Critical
King James Version, Apocrypha, Septuagint, Canon
Brian’s Disagreements


Authorized King James Version

Burgon, D.J., The Revision Revised, (Paradise, Pa.: Conservative Classics)

Burgon, Dean, The Last Twelve Verses of Mark

Clark, K.W., Today’s Problems with the Critical Text of the New Testament, Transitions in Biblical Scholarship, ed. J.C.R. Rylaarsdam (Chicago: The Univ. of Chicago Press, 1968)

Colwell, E.C., The Origin of Texttypes of New Testament Manuscripts, Early Christian Origins, ed. Allen Wikgren (Chicago: Quadrangle Books, 1961)

Colwell, E.C., What is the Best New Testament? (Chicago: The Univ. of Chicago Press, 1952)

Early Manuscripts and Modern Translations of the Bible

Hills, E.F., The King James Defended, (Des Moines, Iowa: The Christian Research Press, 1973)

Metzger, B., Manuscripts of the Greek Bible (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1981)

Pickering, W., The Identity of the New Testament Text (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1980)

The King James Version Debate (Grand Rapids, Mich: Baker Book House, 1979)

Zuntz, G., The Texts of the Epistles (London: Oxford Univ. Press, 1968)

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