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King James Error

Hi Kent

Thanks for your mail. It reminded me I hadn't answered the rest of you last letter, so I'll do that now. You had told me the old 1611 TR was translated into other languages and yet the KJV is the "
only version". I mentioned texts are not 'corrupt' in the sense you people use the word. Nor are they based on "secular rationalism". It's well known the discovery of older and better MSS for both Testaments enables today's scholars to have a sounder text of the original to translate. And you responded -

>>The assumption that older is better is flawed. That argument is one example of the secular rationalism.<<

Fail to see how "secular rationalism" has anything to do determining the reading of Greek texts and MSS. You wrote,

>>There is no Biblical basis to favor a text type that is older. The older manuscripts are not the majority of the manuscripts, and they were not used. There was a reason they were not used.<<

True older does not necessary mean 'better'. And it's also true many MSS don't mean more reliable. Some errors were multiped when they were copied into many MSS. Some bad MSS were copied often; some good were copied scarcely at all. The KJ translators [and Erasmus] had but a half dozen minuscule MSS, none of which is earlier than the 10th century. In about a dozen places the TR reading is attested by no known Greek MS witness. You wrote,

>>The reason the Byzantine manuscripts are not as old, I would hope you know, was that when they made copies, they burned the older copy. They will result in few to no older Byzantinue manuscripts.<<

Well how about that? They "burned the Scriptures" but in 350AD stopped burning them? It's far from certain that exemplars were destroyed and if they were, it is indeed certain that they were not always destroyed. But even accepting what you say, it does not explain the absence of clear Byzantine citations in the ante-Nicene fathers, nor the absence of early versional evidence supporting the Byzantine text-type. Your hypothesis is built on silence Kent and it cannot bear the weight you rest on it. Greek papyri from the 2nd and 3rd centuries have shown up, none of which reflects a Byzantine text and most of which have a mixed Alexandrian & Western text. The famous papyrus p75, which dates from about 200 AD and is perhaps earlier, is astonishingly close to Vaticanus. This find definitely proves the early date of the Vaticanus text-type.

However, I agree in the Byzantine tradition scribes did indeed make copies and more copies. In fact so many that errors were introduced. Ever tried to copy a lengthy piece of written material without introducing some errors? Try it and then check it for errors, then give a copy to a friend and watch them correct it again. And so, no two MSS in the Byzantine tradition agree perfectly. But by the way, to keep a correct perspective, it is important to note that the TR is not exactly the same as the Byzantine tradition. The Byzantine text-type is found in several thousand witnesses, while the TR did not refer to one hundredth of that evidence. You wrote,

>>As well, and perhaps primarily, to improve the text would be to change it, which would be to say that it was not preserved.<<

When scribes copied MSS sometimes they thought they would correct a mistake, sometimes they tried to improve, sometimes they thought to correct a mistake the previous a scribe had made. The KJV was based on texts that had been corrupted because they were hand copied for centuries. Not 'corrupted' as to be totally unreliable but cause enough to need corrections. You wrote,

>>God said He would preserve it, so we just believe that, enjoy the agreement of whatever it is that we find, but we make no changes.To do so is to admit mistakes. That does not fit with the doctrine of preservation. Finding a new manuscript cannot improve Scripture. If that were the case, then give me a shovel. It isn't though.<<

If a scribe, translator or printer added anything [made changes] it must be corrected, otherwise the Bible will only be good for "a shovel" in time. Surely you 'admit' the 1611 KJV had many mistakes and is not the same as today's KJV? But the fact is, finding new MSS has improved our knowledge of the language of the originals. Eg. For the OT there is the Dead Sea Scrolls discovered in 1947 and since. The scrolls among them are remarkable because they have carried our knowledge of the Hebrew Bible back a thousand years. Earlier translations [& KJV] did not have the advantage of these tremendous discoveries. There is less excuse today for not believing the Bible is the genuine article than ever before in the history of the church. Instead of [some] modern versions moving away from the originals they are becoming closer. You wrote,

>>Your whole deal on the words being spirit, etc. sound neo-orthodox to me. The term in 2 Timothy 3:16 is graphe, and that applies to the actual product of verbal, plenary inspiration. I was trying to point out the living nature of Scripture. Why it's alive and powerful today as it was to those in the past. It is the kind of argument that is used for "thought inspiration." No one has disputed the living nature of Scripture, so your bringing it up in this argument as you did, speaks of neo-orthodoxy. "Living" does not preclude "words" any more than "internal" will preclude "external." They go together.<<

Yet Jesus said - "The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life." Jn.6:63 In 2 Tim.3:16 Yes graphe = scripture. But 'inspired by God' is 'theopneustos' which means 'God breathed'. Warfield's definition 'produced by the creative breath of the Almighty.' No version can claim this, neither can it be said of any version is "produced by the creative breath of the Almighty". God inspired men to write Scripture to bring the knowledge of God to men [done before 1611]. So, its not repeated in “translating” Scripture into other languages [including English]. Divine Inspiration does not entail holding rigid ideas that do not allow for mistakes or differences in translations.

I mentioned you hold to what the Roman Catholic Church once taught. You wrote,

>>Wrong. 'Latin to English' cannot be spun into 'Older English to Newer English from different text.' It would be very convenient if it were true. No one is trying to keep the Bible away from people. You can only dumb English down so low and then it is the rap version, or perhaps ebonics would be more politically correct<<

But you are keeping the Bible away from people when people can't understand the only version you insist they read. My point was that the RC church once held to a version free from error and it was in a particular language [Latin] they believed chosen by God. Any who translated that version [in a common language] were regarded as 'corrupting' or watering down Scripture. By their stubbornness they kept "the Bible away from people". Any other language to them would be like 'the rap version'.

With only one correct version - to be sure about salvation (or any doctrine) one must learn a language to read "the words". This adds works to the Gospel of grace. You wrote,

>>Again, it is not what I said. I was not jumping to that at all, and you know that. This is an adolescent-like argument.There is implied preservation in the Lord's quotation in Matthew 4:4, sir. The next thing I might expect is that argument toward preservation is secret code for 'jump off the cliff.'<<

Your problem is within the KJ group who differ from you. The radicals link salvation to the KJV. THEY are telling people that we can't be sure of salvation. I’m sure you know this and disagree with them. The KJ sect requires the convert to repent, believe the Gospel and to know God's words, learn Elizabethan English. To this you wrote,

>>I have to believe that you don't believe this. My 8 yr. old son was saved at 5 yrs old using the KJV.<<

That’s good to hear. I have a 7yr girl [saved]. Radicals tell me repeatedly all doctrine is uncertain unless checked in the KJV. Whether you admit or not, KJ doctrine regarding the KJV makes it vital to eternal life. But you differ from them of course (?)

Like I said having "every word" in the literal sense is having the original MSS. God did not promise to preserve the original autographs, which are "every word". To this to wrote -

>>The graphe of 2 Timothy 3:16 were copies.They were equivalent.You can try to argue this kind of thing, but you would be better to just receive it.<<

Then, if they were just 'copies' and thus 'equivalent' so are all versions [just copies] and "you can try to argue" against them "but you would be better to just receive" them. So why would the phrase "every word" exclude other translations? I know you would quote Mt.24:35 Jn.17:8 as though Jesus was referring to the KJV. And Deut.4:2 Psa.119:89 Pr.30:5-6 Rev.22:19 as though their very existence refers to the KJV. To this you write,

>>Quoting Scripture on this issue is the biggest problem for people like you, and I believe it is what fuels your passion, resulting in spending all the time you do arguing a position that says we can't be sure about every word of Scripture. My position comes from Scripture, not rationalism, "historical theology," or tradition. It is based on the verses that he preserved Scripture, and you didn't answer this one. You just ridiculed it. Believing these verses puts the textual critic out of a job. It is the equivalent of getting people off welfare results in putting the welfare worker out of work.<<

Like it or not, Jesus was not referring to the KJV neither do those verses mention a KJV and reject other versions. NOTHING in them even remotely implies a KJV but not a NIV etc. How can you wrongly interpret Scripture? You reinterpret verses and words with meanings the Bible writers never intended [just as cults]. The fact is, having "every word" in the literal sense is having the original MSS. God did not promise to preserve the original autographs, which are "every word".

So I suggested your favourite is likely Psa.12:6-7. However, this Psalm is not describing the work of scribes, nor God promising to preserve "
every individual" word on MSS forever. God didn't preserve the original autographs and this is evident in that we don't have them. No one can produce those 'very words' in any MS. So nothing in this Psalm necessitates that a future English translation is referred to while other translations are not ! (We don't even have the original 1611 KJV). A correct meaning Ps.12:6-7 is discovered in a modern translation when read in context. To this you wrote,

>>I like Psalm 12:6,7 a whole lot on preservation, but I wouldn't call it my favorite. The modern versions base their interpretation on a textual variant. Their only argument is not valid, and that is the agreement of pronoun and antecedent in gender, something not required in the Hebrew. The overriding rule of choosing the antecedent is the proximity of the pronoun to the antecedent, therefore, "preserve them" is not speaking of preserving people, but preserving words. That is also the historical interpretation of the Hebrew rabbis. The theme of the passage is the trustworthiness of God's words versus the trustworthiness of man's words. Context determines an interpretation of preservation of words.<<

Yet even if I accept that interpretation. The fact is, having "every word" in the literal sense [which is the way you want me to interpret it] is having the original MSS. God did not promise to preserve the original autographs, which are "every word" proven by the fact we don't have them.

If the KJV is the only true version you rob Christians of God's Word. They can't get a translation from you people you offer them NOTHING they can read. To this you say -

>>This was some interesting sentence structure you provided here. It is no wonder you want a dumbed down translation. There are many people right now that believe in perfect preservation that are using the text behind the KJV to translate and publish into foreign languages. People that have in long time past departed from the faith were not people that were willing to sacrifice for getting the Bible into their language like the ones that do have it in their language.<<

Get a good book on modern translations, on who published, who translated and which texts used. Believe me, the old text underpinning the 1611 is NOT used today in translation work [The KJV is one of a kind, you would agree]. The only version that remotely comes anywhere near it, is the NKJV. Yet even that text of the NT is based on Scrivener's text of 1894, which differs from all previously printed editions of the RT [differences are minor]. So not only do you offer foreigners nothing they can read, there are not "many people right now --- using the text behind" the 1611 KJV and translating it. No foreign version uses that old 1611 text we don't have.

So fewer English today understand KJV words. It abounds mysterious pronouns and phrases that can be misunderstood. It has complicated language, (as mentioned in my first email) which holds little or no meaning for most who try to read the KJV. To this you wrote,

>>Accuracy is what is important.This is also where preachers come in. There are many helps for the person willing to look them up, and to obey 2 Timothy 2:15. The pronouns are more accurate in the KJV, in the plural form of you, ye. That does not come out in the modern versions, which is integral to a correct interpretation.<<

Yes accuracy is important. But the KJV is not talking the language of the people any more. Authoritative translations don't exist without accuracy and clarity. If what I read is confusing, obscure, or incomprehensible [because its in old English], I won't comprehend accuracy or authority. As Paul said, "Unless you speak intelligible words with your tongue, how will anyone know what you are saying? You will just be speaking into the air... If then I do not grasp the meaning of what someone is saying, I am a foreigner to the speaker, and he is a foreigner to me." And Paul says, "my mind is unfruitful" [1 Cor.14.9-11].

I mentioned the aim of KJV translators was to make Scripture easy to understand for the common man. Yet they were accused of not using certain "old ecclesiastical words". To this they replied that words were not "images to be worshipped". They realised words change and no word in one language can fully express the meaning of a word in another language. To this you wrote,

>>The aim of the KJV translators was to get the Bible into the language of the people. They did not speak or understand Greek and Hebrew, so they translated it. Besides this, I don't argue with the points made here.<<

Good. The purpose of modern translators also is to make Scripture easy to understand for the common man. The KJ translators had no thought their translation would be final for all time. They KNEW God desired His Word be readable to every generation and every nation. They did not go on about "every word of God" is in their translation. In fact the 1611 had so many mistakes it had to be revised one year later. That's why each generation must find the best way to express the truth of the Biblical text. To this you wrote,

>>There is no Scriptural basis for this.<<

There is. Every generation 'must' seek the Lord [Ps.24:6 22:30 145:4]. Just as one "generation consider the word of the Lord" [Jer.2:31 Isa.53:8] so another generation also [Lk.11:30-32] need to search “the Scriptures” [Jn.5:39].

I mentioned you have a different definition of "faith" than I do. You think 'faith' in the KJ translation is identical to faith in God. Its not, Biblical faith is not faith in a language translation. To this you wrote,

>>My faith comes from my own observation from knowing Greek well myself. My faith in God's preserving power comes from what He said in His Word about having preserved it. Faith cometh by the hearing of the Word of God. He said He would preserve it, so I believe that. I see availability and every word preservation to be a part of a Biblical doctrine of preservation.<<

What’s said here can be said about any Bible version and anyone who uses it. But if Lutherans claimed Luther's German translation of 1522 only was Gods Word and others were all "Satanic". Then Christians must learn German to read the "very words of God". This divides the church into two classes - learned intellectuals who can read German and those who can’t but use "Satanic counterfeits". A recipe for division.

And clearly, it effectively removes our focal point of faith in God's Word, to faith in a human translation. Faith in a translation is different to faith in God. Biblical faith is - trusting God and the message of His Word. Biblical faith is not - trusting human translations whatever their words, simply because translations are the work of men who make mistakes. You wrote,

>>Your position is rationalistic. You have no Scriptural basis for your position. Look at your arguments. None of them are Scriptural. That makes it difficult to argue with you. It is like arguing with a Charismatic. You show them Scripturally the purpose of sign gifts and they come back at you with their own experiences. This is the nature of your arguments as well. I do see the nature of our faith to be different. You place faith in the textual critic and popular books on textual criticism, and I place it in God based on His Word.<<

I think everything said here must apply to you. Your position is 'rationalistic' and improvable. You take the KJV, read a verse and claim it refers to the KJV and nothing else. You haven't a scrap of evidence that God promised the KJV and His Word was in limbo until 1611 and remains locked-up since. Or that any verse refers to certain MSS [those you select] and not others [those you reject]. You can’t deny foreigners [or English readers] a modern version they can understand. And you don’t imagine the whole truth of God is blocked from certain people simply because they don't use a certain version. Much of what you say is interesting however.

I hope the best for you.