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Hi Kent,

At last, time to reply. The Lord has preserved your email for me in my Unanswered Folder. You wrote,

>>In answer to the latest of your answers, I have one point to make. We are starting to get to that in this argument. Your major argument, as I read,is that the text behind the KJV, and I repeat, the text behind the KJV---is that the Scriptures do not promise the preservation of a text called the "text behind the KJV." That is true. However, God said He would preserve His Word, all of them, and that they would be available, all of them.<<

I would agree God preserved His Word, but we differ as to the form of His Word. Your phrase "all of them", does that mean the originals words? Because those we don't have. Only the autographs could provide the ultimate proof the KJV is the recovered original wording. Instead we have a translation of those words from one language into another. And God has not just preserved His message for 5-6 generations but for every generation. Not for a single dialect but a translatable message for all. You wrote,

>>neither of us are going to be able to prove what those are by using some form of human reasoning, whatever we want to call it---textual criticism, rationalism<<

I believe the Scriptures clearly indicate the disciples were to take the gospel and make disciples of all nations and peoples. Meaning that God intended the gospel message to be read and understood by all. If the KJV alone is the form of those words that bars millions from the message. But then, you might think God's words are 30% in one translation and 60% in another and 100% in the KJV. The radicals insist 'all the words of God' are in the KJV nowhere else. I had interesting emails from a "Doc Henley". Went like this -

Doc
Where are the words of God?
Me
God's Words are in the Bible.
Doc
But in which Bible, they are all different?
Me
Yes, God then obvious uses different words for different people. He speaks to them in their language using their words. We are the recipients of a Divine revelation not a Divine translation.
Doc
I don't mean that, where are the words, the ones He promised to preserve?
Me
Well, God never promised to preserve the original words and that is proven by the fact we don't have the original manuscripts. They after all, had all the original words on them. And God has not preserved them
Doc
Then what did God promise to preserve?
Me
The translated message of those words. Words together form the message; words of themselves have little or no meaning. It's when they are put together they make meaning. Scripture is authoritative not because of style, phrases or even the words, but what the words say.
Doc
Answer the question. Where are the words of God?
Me
Are they in the KJV?
Doc
Yes
Me
Then they have changed from one language into another. And for millions of people who don't know English, they must learn English to read the 'words of God'. In order to read the very 'words of God' and be sure about salvation or doctrine they must learn English. If not they are at a disadvantage, for God has not spoken to them. You are adding works to the gospel, in fact it's not the gospel taught in the Bible. God never intended the gospel message to be locked up in one language because the gospel is for all tongues and languages of the nations 'Whosoever will'

Haven't heard from Doc for a while. Most Christian's realise we need new translations because languages and words change over time. Some words change meaning; others are no longer used. So if we don't revise an old version it becomes confusing. The 1611 was a revised version and proof of the need and value of Bible revision. Revision does not seek to change the message but make the message clearer. The Great Bible (1539), and Matthew's Bible (1537), and Bishop's Bible (1568) were all revisions. And Tyndale after he produced his version (1525) he also revised it (1534). You wrote,

>>There are things I can't answer about this, just like there are things I can't answer about canonicity. I can't fully explain Erasmus, the possibility of back-translating from the Latin in Revelation, texts that do not fully agree, and differences in the editions of the TR. However, God said He would preserve all the words and that we would have them<<

Yes, many radicals know very little about these important matters. There are words and verses in the KJV with no manuscript support whatsoever. The Vulgate was the basis for the 1st complete Bible into English by Wycliffe and its translation into English had a marked influence on the KJV. But in the end you place your trust in the KJV translators far beyond what you should. In the end the KJV translators have become like apostles to you.

When you say - '
preserve all the words'. Are you referring a literal preservation of "all the words"? Having "all the words" in the literal sense is having the original MSS. The Scriptures say God will preserve His Word. But we don't have "all" [those exact Greek or Aramaic] words" but we do have something better. With His blessing His Word is translated for all nations and their generations. Why would God promise to 'preserve all the words' but only in English? Yet in contradiction they were written in Aramaic Greek Hebrew but not preserved in the original forms. In your next paragraph you suggest the words were not finalised until 1611. You wrote,

>>When the era of printed edition began, at the end of that period, like at the end of a period of canonicity,<<

Does this belittle the revelation and inspiration of the apostles and include translators? I believe the early Christians decided the cannon, text and what was genuine or fraud. The 1611 translators in comparison didn't even know which Greek the NT was written in Koine or Classic. Even present-day scholars are better able to distinguish delicate shades of meaning in the tongues in which the original Scriptures were written, than the scholars of King James day. How much more those of the early church? If "all of the words" are decided on the era you mention and in the KJV, then that includes the Apocrypha among those "words". You wrote,

>>the majority of the Bible believing and teaching churches agreed on the text behind the KJV - The churches agreed, so you should bow to what God said would be the pillar and ground for the truth (1 Timothy 3:15).<<

I bow to what God said, but your idea that the "churches agreed on the text" is not that simple. For many years after the first appearance of the AV, it had to encounter bigotry, criticism and opposition. There were many scholars who objected to it and rubbished it. Most new versions suffer unreasonable prejudice today also. Also the TR is not the received text in the sense that it has been received from God, as over against other Greek MSS. Rather, it is the received text in the sense that it was the standard one at the time of the Elzevir brothers. The Reformers had no other.

The Great Bible continued to be publicised until 1644 which is 33 years after the KJV appeared. The one reason why the KJV became accepted was that it was appointed to be read in the Church of England. An ecclesiastical body sufficiently hierarchical that formal uniformity could be made to prevail, and so influential as to touch all others in that restricted, English speaking world. A number of very capable scholars called for a revision of the KJV on textual grounds and this call also sprang from diverse circles.

The argument to the effect that what the majority of believers in the history of the church have believed is true, is ambiguous at best and theologically dangerous at worst And as applied to textual criticism, the argument proves nothing very helpful anyway. What do your terms "
Bible believing" and "churches" mean? Do we place the terms in the evangelical tradition and mean regenerate believers and "believers' church"?

Might not this exclude Erasmus himself the man behind the TR? Or by "
believers" do we mean "adherents to the Christian faith" "Christian faith" being loosely defined and related vaguely to Christendom? How many believers in either case have ever thought through the problems of textual criticism and "believed" anything about the textual tradition? Most have just used what others around them have used. Your argument, could also be used to justify infant baptism, Arminianism (if not semi-Pelagianism!), and other viewpoints to which at least some Christians would not appreciate. Since when has the majority opinion defined what is true, even majority evangelical opinion? You wrote,

>>It was the text of the Bible for 270 plus years. If it was not, then we must disregard the promise of preservation.<<

It was 270 years because the English language changed so much from 1611 to 1881 that people demanded a new version. We could apply the same argument to the Latin Vulgate about the time of Wycliffe, it also survived all those years. The KJV has not competed against the NASB or NIV for 270 years either! The KJV language is going to become much more antiquated during the next 50-100 years.

The manner in which God has preserved His Word is shown by the vast array of manuscript evidence. Consider of the frail state of the original MSS on parchment and in the form of scrolls. No scroll was large enough to contain more than one book and the OT was not bound together.

In the papyrus scroll era the NT also could never circulate as a whole. Yet God wonderfully preserved His Word. For example, the Codex Ephraem [discovered after 1611 in Paris] is called a 'palimpsest' because it came from the time when the Scriptures were held in little esteem. And writing materials were so valuable that someone rubbed the words of Scripture until they became barely legible and then wrote over them some theological treatise or something of no value. That manuscript was found and carefully restored. We have found that it dates from the 5th century.

The Alexandrian Codex also dates from the early 5th century and that was preserved for centuries in the very centre of the wicked Turkish dominion. Yet God in His wisdom and power, as Ruler over men and nations in His providence fulfilled His purposes, however rebellious men may be. The Church of Rome also was used by God to preserve another of these ancient witnesses to the text of the NT. The Codex Vaticanus was also preserved through the centuries when the Word of God was considered unimportant. The Vatican refused permission to any scholar to do more than look at it under supervision and only for a belief space of time. When God's time was ripe, it was photographed and studied further.

Another proof of God's marvellous preservation is the failure of the NT Apocrypha. This was the result of a flood of spurious writings, yet those books were rejected by the whole Christian Church. And Text Criticism is another proof. The KJV has readings found in no Greek MS at all, but are traced to the Vulgate. The text-type on which the KJV is based has no two MSS that agree perfectly, so God has used Textual Criticism to guard His Word. And the result is that men have less excuse today than ever before in history when rejecting the Bible. Instead of modernism destroying the Bible by unbelieving claims, it has caused men to fervently study and research MSS and new discoveries and thus verify the faithfulness of God in giving us and preserving for us an infallible Word of God. So God has preserved the Bible by its enemies and friends, by circumstances and calamities as no other writing has ever been preserved. You wrote,


>>I don't have to be able to humanly explain every Bible doctrine. The cults fail in many cases because they try to fit the Bible into human reasoning, like the doctrine of the trinity, etc. God wants us to receive what He did by faith. This is where you are left with human reasoning, Dr. Purchase - At some point, you have to start receiving, and stop criticizing.<<

Now you ask me to simply believe all the claims about the KJV. In other words 'have faith in the KJV'. This would effectively remove faith in Gods 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 [and have made] mistakes and they don't know everything. You wrote,

>>You are also left with a position similar to the neo-orthodox, an error free original with an error filled possessed Bible in your case. I don't accept that there are errors in the text behind the KJV.<<

Just as I said before!! The word 'error' is used as it suits you. "Errors" are in other versions, never the KJV. You cannot admit to one incorrect verse or word in the KJV or even a few archaisms. For that would mean you have lost the whole argument. You believe the KJV could not have ONE mistake for that would suggest 'God has a mistake'. If anyone questions the KJV they question God, for the KJV is regarded perfect, even as God. Cults have a similar problem. Their leaders or belief system is also revered as infallible. Dedicated cultists never question what they are told or believe.

In the 1611 the orthographical '
errors' alone verified a huge numbers of 'errors'. I have two pages photocopied from the 1627 KJV. I count 139 changes compared with today's KJV. The changes in today's KJV, from the 1611 have been estimated to be 75,000. It only takes one 'error' to fail the perfect test. Why argue all other versions have corrections and 'errors' and avoid using these words concerning the KJV? You wrote,

>>People that do not believe in preservation will always be doing textual criticism. There is no Scriptural basis to do that<<

Textual criticism is a highly specialised science. Some of the KJV translators were no less textual critics than those of the RV. Erasmus also fits the description and again he revised his text which stands behind the 1611 [A text that rests on no less than half a dozen minuscule manuscripts, none earlier than the 10th century]. Textual criticism allows us to say Shakespeare wrote, "To be or not to be', even though we do not have the autographs to prove it. If we had no Textual Critics we could not be sure of anything we read in the Bible. You wrote,

>>In John 17, the Lord told us to receive His Words.<<

Yes and again no mention of the KJV as apposed to the NIV etc. Or that rejecting the Byzantine text cuts a person free from all possibility of knowing God's will. Or embracing the KJV alone entails faithfulness to the Word of God and users of other versions are faithless.

Well, that's it for now.
Mark


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