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King James Error

Hi Kent,
Good to hear from you [compared to many KJ advocates]. And thanks for answering my email. You wrote,

>>You are frustrating to talk to. In my first sentence, I said "text behind the KJV four times," and then you proceeded to talk to me as if I believed preservation was represented by the translation.<<

But I understood you perfectly. You wrote,

>>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<<

Compare your two statements. “His Word” [you understand to be the KJV] is preserved and “represented by the [KJV] translation”. You DO believe “preservation was represented by the translation” [the KJV translation].

We agree God preserved His Word, but differ as to the form of His Word [Yet we don’t even have the original 1611 KJV]. I believe only the autographs could provide the ultimate proof that “the text behind the KJV” or the KJV is the recovered original wording. Those we don’t have. And you are unable to show either the text or the KJV is without serious problems. You wrote, “There are things I can't answer about this". Very true, you can’t explain how parts of the Vulgate got into the text or the KJV. And why verses and words are in the text or the KJV that have no MSS support whatever.

The classic example is, 1 Jn.5:7-8 KJV. That has no support in the Byzantine family and Erasmus could not find the words in any Greek MS and was criticised for leaving them out. A MS was made [by the RCC] to fool him that the reading was genuine, so he inserted the words with reluctance and under pressure. In the footnotes he mentioned with suspicion the MS was not genuine. So the words are in the KJV but missing in modern versions and KJ radical’s cry-out of a “satanic conspiracy against the trinity”. Yet they are not found in any MS prior to the 16th century. You wrote,

>>You also said that it had to be original manuscripts or that these words on preservation meant something different. Why are we talking about the preservation of the original manuscripts as if anyone believed that they were still around? The words are still around.<<

God never promised to preserve the original words and that is proven by the fact we don't have the original MSS. They had “all” the original words on them and God has not preserved them. So those words are NOT still around. What we have is a translated message of those words. Scripture is God’s Word not because of style, or phrases or even the words, but because of what the words say. Words together form the message; words themselves have little or no meaning. It's when they are put together they make meaning. You wrote,

>>The Scriptures are replete with verses that are very specific teaching the preservation doctrine. We accept canonicity by faith. My faith is in God's preservation, not in the decisions of the King James translators.<<

Ok, “We accept canonicity by faith [and] faith is in God's preservation”. But there’s a difference from faith in Scripture as God’s Word – to faith in human translators and their translation. Like I said, in the end you trust the KJV translators far beyond what you should. In the end they are like apostles to you, because every translation requires ‘decisions’ by 'translators'. You wrote,

>>The churches agreed on those words. Yes, some were Anglican and state church people, but it was also all of the other churches as well. The majority text was the basis of all the great English translations, as well as the foreign language translations.<<

The KJV compared with the ‘majority text’ [MT] is based on a Greek text published from only a few MSS. There are readings in the KJV that have no support by the MT and the TR departs from the MT in a number of places. The MT is a form of wording of the NT found in the majority of more than 5000 manuscripts. It’s a modern theory held by some textual critics who realise most MSS differ in wording. So they determine a reading by following the wording of the majority of the MSS without considering their age or textual quality. Today [as far as I know] the only Greek NT based on this textual theory was constructed by Zane Hodges [1969 publ.1982]. So the MT and the TR are not identical. They have some things in common but the TR is a late and corrupt form of the MT or the Byzantine text-type, which only dominated the Western world for only 250 years. But a few versions before 1881 were based on this text.

Most Greek testaments are built on the concept of following the oldest and best MSS, which are in the minority. It’s the quality of a NT that counts, not the quantity of its adherents. Witnesses should be weighted, not counted. You wrote,

>>It was called the received text, obviously looking to those verses about receiving. The receiving was not from God, but from God's people.<<

No not, “obviously looking to those verses about receiving” at all. The phrase [‘textum – receptum’] was an advertising blurb in Latin. Yes it was received by God’s people, but not in the sense it was somehow received from God over and against other Greek MSS. Rather it was received in the sense that it was the standard one at the time of the Elzevir brothers. For a time it was all they had. And with this there were hundreds of Greek NT words they didn’t know the meaning of. And hundreds of MSS yet to be discovered, which have helped us with our appreciation of Scripture and what the originals must have said.

The task of translators is to understand correctly the meaning of the original. At times the original meaning cannot be precisely known, not only because the meaning of some words and phrases cannot be determined with a great degree of assurance but also because the underlying cultural and historical context is sometimes beyond recovery. Translators use aids – ancient versions, modern translations in English and other languages. And after ascertaining as accurately as possible the meaning their next task is to express that meaning in a manner and form easily understood by the readers.

In order to do that [and this is true of the KJV translators as well], they must avoid words and forms not in current or widespread use. Every effort must be made to use language that is natural, clear, and simple and unambiguous.You wrote,

>>They received God's Word. They continued to do it all through that time and then up until 1881.<<

However, the KJV was not accepted without a struggle, many wanted to replace it. It had to compete with the Geneva Bible for years. And the Great Bible was published for 33 years after the KJV. Sharp criticisms of the KJV forced the Cambridge University Press to publish a further revision in 1629. And then again, in 1638 another to produce a “authentique corrected Bible”. And in 1653 another revision because of printing errors. In 1660 Presbyterian and Puritan ministers called for a new revision to be introduced [“The Worship of the English Puritans” C.F Horton Davis. Pg14ff]. In 1675 a spelling revision was made. In 1762 another corrected edition. And yet another in 1769. Do you know anything about these changes and corrections Kent? Which KJV has less errors, the 1611 or 1769?

We can no longer over-look the archaic English names regarding objects that are known by other names today. And meanings of old English words, which have changed, so the KJV is becoming less help to those who want to understand God’s Word today. Words have changed their meaning, so verses becoming misleading, a serious problem. Verses in the KJV conveying a meaning to the modern reader, which God never intended to say. You want that? Would you rather see the Bible in a Museum none can read or understand? In time, the radicals would have that, if they could. In their passion to preserve, guard and protect Scripture they instead rob or deny Scripture from people. You wrote,

>>You say that the translation was because an English revision was needed. It was a different text, not just a revision. The text itself was changed over 9000 times. Those textual critics did not believe in preservation. They had a humanistic, rationalistic, evolutionary textual criticism.<<

Perhaps 9000 improvements? If you desire purity surely translators must remove from the text scribal additions which are not part of the autographs? I don’t want sacred text removed any more than you, but surely we don’t want additions which crept into the text and published as part of the Word of God.

But what about the 24,000 changes/corrections/alterations from the 1611 KJV to today’s KJV? The “24,000” is not my figure but provided by a KJ radical. The radicals who insist the 1611 KJV did not “contain any error” are speaking absolute nonsense. There has been a long history of changes and errors. In 1631 an error resulted in the KJV been called the “Wicked Bible” and in 1795 been called the “Murderer’s Bible”. So the same criticisms made by you people about other versions are also true of the KJV. You condemn the errors in other versions as corruptions and evil while the errors in the KJV are ignored. This double standard saturates all the writings and comments of the KJ radicals. When they say, “an inaccurate word is not a pure word" they ignore the simple basic mistakes of the 1611. You wrote,

>>We don't need the original manuscripts for proof (except you signs and wonders, you won't believe), because God promised. His promise is good enough.<<

But it does matter for proof. You can’t prove the KJV is “His Word, all of them” without the ultimate proof. A JW could have your same argument and claim his version [NWT] is “His Word, all of them”. If I contest, he insists “but this version is God’s promised preserved words” and then accuses me of ‘lack of faith’. You wrote,

>> For years it was hand copies, then it was printed editions beginning with Erasmus, and then it was a standard with the text behind the King James, a text, a text, a text, behind, behind, behind, the KJV, (did you catch that, and don't say I am belittling you---you are not listening) that was accepted by a majority of the Bible believing churches. The Spanish, French, and German was also translated from the same line of manuscripts. The whole CT, critical text, philosophy, and oldest is best group is 7% off of those manuscripts.<<

Spanish, French, and German versions didn’t come from the TR. [Spanish - 12th, German - 13th century etc]. The Greek text of the KJV was essentially the Greek text of the NT as edited by Beza [1589]. He closely followed that published by Erasmus [1516-1535] and based it on a few medieval MSS. The earliest and best of the 8 MSS Erasmus consulted was from the 10th century, and he made little use of it because it differed most from the common received text. Beza had access to 2 MSS of great value dating from the 5th and 6th centuries, but he made very little use of them because they differed from the text published by Erasmus. What a mess! Now we have many more MSS and are far better equipped to seek to recover the original wording of the Greek text. Our MS evidence is far better than for any other ancient book both in number of MSS and their dates. You wrote,

>>For people that believe in and care about preservation, that is not acceptable.<<

Surely if Erasmus made mistakes why can’t they be corrected? Surely in the interest of sacred truth and preserving Scripture errors should be removed? The KJV of the NT was based upon a Greek text that was marred by mistakes, containing the accumulated errors of 14 centuries of MSS copying. The fact I care about ‘preservation’ is the reason I take my stand against the KJ sideshow. Why ignore the fact that languages change? From 1611 to 1881 English changed so much the RV was necessary. That’s why no translation can ever be considered final, words change yet the message stays the same. You wrote,

>>Instead, you come up with really a whole new view of inspiration, the "dynamic inspiration" theory, which is nothing but a newly titled "thought inspiration" position for which you are too embarrassed to take.<<

That’s strange. I have a view of inspiration that I’m 'too embarrassed to take'. Your definition of 'inspiration' is different than mine. You allow for any kind of error as long as it is in the KJV. You have a 'Divinely Inspired Error theory'. My view of inspiration means I’m not embarrassed regarding translation errors. A simple test of inspiration is that the Bible finds me, not that I find the Bible. And it’s appeal to all people. It’s never out of date. Millions are printed every year, in various languages, but translations do go out of date. The Bible appeals to all ages and nations only because God could have given it that adaptability. KJ radicals would deny people the right to read a Bible version they can understand, because of their strange views on inspiration. You wrote,

>> Your "dynamic inspiration" position allows you to chop up 2 Timothy 3:16, and, therefore, all the other preservation verses as well. We are left with whatever the textual critics or gurus give people.<<

Get a copy of Vines Dictionary of NT Words and READ! Paul in 2 Tim.3:16 is speaking of the writings of the O.T, which, because they came by Divine inspiration, he terms the Holy Scriptures, 2 Tim.3:15; and it is of them alone that this passage is to be understood; and although all the NT came by as direct an inspiration as the OT, yet, as it was not collected at that time, not indeed complete, the apostle could have no reference to it.

The KJV reads, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God”. Meaning? If “Scripture” means the inspired Word of God, how are we helped by being told, “All inspired words of God are given by ‘inspiration’ of God? If the word “graphe” is understood in its wider sense as merely being “a writing”, then of course, the statement would include Wesley’s hymns for instance, and clearly this would be far too wide. The RSV reads, “All Scripture is inspired by God,” this gives a dignified, God-honouring meaning. The word 'theopneustos’ - 'inspired by God' means 'God breathed'. Warfield's definition is 'produced by the creative breath of the Almighty.' No translation can claim this; neither can it be said 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; this is not repeated in “translating” Scripture into other languages [including English]. So Divine Inspiration does not entail holding rigid ideas that do not allow for mistakes or differences in translations.

KJ radicals see inspiration everywhere in the KJV and in no other version. If there is so much as a slight word change (ie “them” – KJV or “they” - NIV), then the radicals will find a 100 reasons why one is right and the other wrong. And they conclude by saying the ‘NIV has made a lair out of God’. The arguments put forward for the KJV inspiration are so excessive and never ending that one wonders why they must go on and on over something that should be so obvious. In the end, they are also telling us that the English language is inspired. Whether old or modern English, it is only a man made communication code, which is entirely arbitrary. The codes of weights, measures and length in Scripture must be converted into modern equivalents to be correctly understood. This is another area where understanding is universally impossible without continual up-to-date translating. You wrote,

>>What you need to do, Dr. Purchase, is open your Bible and study the doctrine of preservation. Look up the words for "keep" in Scripture. You'll find out that God promised He would do it, but He would use Israel and then the church, His two institutions (the local church, by the way). That same word is used within the great commission, translated "observe" in Matthew 28:20. In 1 Corinthians 4:1,2, it is what we are to be faithful stewards of, not only the teachings, but also the very words. Until you know what the Bible says about this issue, you are not ready to get into history. History is unreliable (and I teach it every day in our school), but the Scriptures are not (Psalm 19; Matthew 5:17,18; etc.).<<

Try as I may, I seem unable to get one simple truth into your mind. I believe God has ‘kept’ His Word. Yet you offer nothing convincing that God’s promise of preservation is seen in the KJV alone.