Archive for the ‘KJV’ Category

400th Anniversary

May 2, 2011

As the Virginia Hugenot reported, May 2, 2011, is the 400th anniversary of the first printing of the King James or “Authorized” Version of the Bible. Whether or not you agree with my assessment that it is still the best widely-available English translation of the Bible or not, this is cause for celebration. Notwithstanding the motives the King who authorized its translation, the King James Version has proved to be a treasure for the last four centuries, and will doubtless continue to be in the next one.

Presbyterians – Give me an AV

March 1, 2011

Presbyterians’ [Fn1] new hit single, “Give me an AV”[Fn2] (tune)

Hey over there
Please forgive me
If I like the good “King Jim”[Fn3]
Hate to stare
At your Bible
While they play my favorite hymn[Fn4]

So come here
‘Little closer
Wanna whisper in your ear
Make it clear
Little question
Wanna know just how you feel

If I said I miss my “thees” and “thous”
If we could escape the crowd[Fn5] somehow
If I said I want your Bible now
Would you give me an AV?

Cause it speaks of paradise
And I need a translation tonight[Fn6]
So if I said I want your Bible now
Would you give me an AV?

Hey you might think
That I’m crazy[Fn7]
But you know it sounds just right
I might be ‘little hazy[Fn8]
But you just cannot deny

There’s a book inbetween us
When we hear the preacher preach
I want more
Wanna see it
So I’m asking you tonight

If I said I miss my “thees” and “thous”
If we could escape the crowd somehow
If I said I want your Bible now
Would you give me an AV?

Cause it speaks of paradise
And I need a translation tonight
So if I said I want your Bible now
Would you give me an AV?

If I said I want your Bible
Would you give me an AV??

(Yeah) (Uh huh) (Oh)

Gimme something good
Don’t wanna wait I need to read (na-na-neat)
Read it like you should
And show me how you exegete[Fn9]


If I said I miss my “thees” and “thous”
If I said I want your Bible now
Would you give me an AV?

If I said I miss my “thees” and “thous”
If we could escape the crowd somehow
If I said I want your Bible now
Would you give me an AV?

Cause it speaks of paradise
And I need a translation tonight
So if I said I want your Bible now
Would you give me an AV?[Fn10]

  1. “Presbyterians” is an anagram of Britney Spears, the singer whose song (“Hold it Against Me”) is being parodied.
  2. AV is an abbreviation for the “Authorized Version” also known as the King James Version, which is celebrating its 400th anniversary this year.
  3. I don’t know anyone who actually refers to their King James Bible as “King Jim,” but they could!
  4. I don’t actually endorse hymns of merely human composition, but “King Joms” to rhyme with “Psalms” was even more of a stretch.
  5. The crowd of modern translations, of course: NASB, ESV, NKJV, Message, Living Bible, Amplified Bible, HCSB, etc.
  6. After the Sunday evening worship service, or perhaps after the mandatory (see Hezekiah 3:16) Wednesday night Bible study.
  7. And not just because I turned a Britney Spears’ song into a song about the King James Bible.
  8. Hazy from trying to wade through all 15 of the archaic words found in the book.
  9. You knew it was coming.
  10. I hope this has been “relevant” enough for you.

Response to Scott Windsor (regarding Steve Hays and Sola Scriptura)

January 25, 2010

I see that Scott Windsor (Roman Catholic) has responded to Steve Hays (Reformed) on the topic of Sola Scriptura (link to response). Steve is more than capable of carrying on the discussion himself. I’d like to simply address a few of the issues in Scott’s post:

1) The definition of Sola Scriptura

I realize there may be a few folks out there who use the definition “If it’s not in the Bible, don’t believe it!” but Scott knows full well that’s not the standard meaning of the phrase Sola Scriptura: it’s neither what the Reformers meant nor what the Reformed churches today mean by it.

2) Distinguishing between the Doctrinal and Historical Aspects of Sola Scriptura

Scott complains that Drs. Godfrey and White define Sola Scriptura in terms of the sufficiency of Scripture, which Scott feels leaves the “sola” out of Sola Scriptura. However, Scott seems to be unaware of the fact that the “sola” aspect of Sola Scriptura is not so much a doctrinal claim as an historical claim.

It’s unclear whether Scott is unaware of this, or not. I hope that he’s simply unaware of this, and that (now that it is pointed out to him) he’ll stop looking for a definition of Sola Scriptura in which the “sola” is a doctrinal claim.

There is, of course, a sense in which Sola Scriptura‘s definition includes sola. When we explain the formal sufficiency of Scripture, we are explaining that the Scriptures are themselves (i.e. alone) able to make one wise unto salvation.

That said, the full sense of Sola Scriptura is the application of the formal sufficiency of Scripture to a time in which there are no other sources of direct propositional revelation: for example, a time when the prophets are dead and Jesus is ascended.

3) Scott wrote: “This discussion is about sola scriptura, a statement like ‘you’re no better’ than we are is not a defense of sola scriptura (even if the statement were true).”

What Scott seems to miss with that comment is the fact that the argument “you’re no better” (if true) undermines the significance of the criticism. It’s kind of like if a “Protestant” were to argue: “clearly your (the Roman Catholic) rule of faith is wrong, since the pope isn’t God.” The Roman Catholic response might be to say, “OK but the Bible isn’t God, either.” That response doesn’t actually dispute the fact that the pope isn’t God, it just demonstrates that the criticism is misplaced as a criticism.

4) Scott wrote: “For nearly the first 400 years of Christendom the Canon of the New Testament was in flux. If it were so clear, why all the debates on the canon?”

a) There weren’t lots and lots of debates on the canon in the first 400 years. Or, at least, if there were we don’t have records of them. Even when there were some discussions about the canon, there was widespread agreement as to the bulk of the books.

b) The Canon itself wasn’t in flux. The Canon is an objective historical reality grounded in inspiration. The knowledge of that canon was more or less certain (generally progressively more certain as time progressed).

5) Steve had written: “Why does knowledge [of the canon of Scripture] have to be infallible? What’s wrong with plain old knowledge?” Scott replied: “I was going with James White’s definition which includes the term “infallible.””

This is another mistake on Scott’s part. Dr. White’s definition says that the Scripture itself is infallible. Dr. White didn’t say that we obtain an infallible knowledge from Scripture (and certainly not an infallible knowledge of the canon of Scripture). Quite to the contrary, on one occasion Dr. White wrote:

Know for sure, or infallibly? I don’t know the exhaustive teachings of the Bible. I don’t have infallible knowledge of what the Bible teaches on *any* subject. But I do have *sufficient* knowledge of what the Bible teaches on the *central* subjects. The difference between infallibility and sufficiency is vitally important to recognize.


And on another occasion:

The Protestant openly admits his fallibility in approaching the infallible Scriptures.

You see, once Rome puts an interpretation of the Bible into writing (and there are precious few of these infallible interpretations around, I might add), that writing now becomes subject to interpretation. Shall we begin to look for an infallible interpreter of the infallible interpretation of the infallible Scriptures? The series would never end, of course, for one simply can’t get beyond one fact: we as human beings are fallible. And you, as an individual human being, will always be fallible in your knowledge of any infallible source, whether that be the Scriptures, or some other source you hold in esteem.


5) Canon Closure vs. Canon Recognition

Another area of confusion in Scott’s comments is on the difference between canon closure (when the last writer wrote the last book) and canon recognition (this was more gradual as to the worldwide church, for obvious reasons). Here’s the exchange:

[Scott now]: Except of course if it were true what Mr. Hays said earlier, that “the canon was closed by writer of the last book of the Bible,” at that point in time all the “raw materials” would have been available to generate this list – but he (that would be St. John) never put together such a list for us.

[Scott earlier]: “The truth of the matter is that for the first four hundred years of the Church the canon was not set…”

[Steve’s response]: i) Trobisch has argued on text-critical grounds that the NT canon was standardized in the mid-2C AD. For a useful summary and evaluation of his argument, see the discussion by Kellum, Quarles, and Kostenberger in their recent intro. to the NT.

[Scott now]: So now Mr. Hays posits the canon was not closed when the writer wrote the last book, and does not even put forth evidence it was “closed” but that it was “standardized” in the second century A.D. I suppose we can accept that as concession of the earlier point.

Notice that Steve is arguing that the recognized canon of the NT was possibly widely standardized as early as the 2nd century A.D. That recognition does not change the fact that objectively the canon was closed at the end of the writing of the last book.

Interestingly, it seems that Steve had already pointed this same thing out to Scott:

Steve continues: iii) Scott is also confusing internal evidence for the canon with various forms of ecclesiastical recognition.

Scott replies: Mr. Hays does not seem to understand what a “canon” is. A “canon” is an ecclesiastical form of recognition of a standardized list.

Scott is confused. The word “canon” can have that sense – but that is not the sense that it has in this discussion.

As Bruce Metzger explains:

By way of summary, ecclesiastical writers during the first three centuries used the word κανών [canon] to refer to what was for Christianity an inner law and binding norm of belief (`rule of faith’ and/or `rule of truth’). From the fourth century onward the word also came to be used in connection with the sacred writings of the Old and New Testaments. Scholars today dispute whether the meaning ‘rule’ (that is, ‘standard’ or ‘norm’) or the meaning ‘list’ was uppermost in the minds of those who first applied the word to the Scriptures. According to Westcott and Beyer, it was the material content of the books that prompted believers to regard them as the ‘rule’ of faith and life. On the other hand, according to Zahn and Souter, the formal meaning of κανών [canon] as `a list’ was primary, for otherwise it would be difficult to explain the use of the verb κανονίζειν [kanonizein] (`to include in a canon’) when it is applied to particular books and to the books collectively. Both the material and the formal senses eventually were seen to be appropriate, for the recognized custom of the Church in looking to a certain group of books as providing the standard for faith and life would naturally cause the books that conformed to it to be written in a list. And thus the canon of Scripture became equivalent to the contents of the writings included in such a list.

– Bruce Manning Metzger, The Canon of the New Testament (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1987), p. 293.

6) 1611 KJV and the Apocrypha

Scott wrote:

Even the initial King James Version includes the deuterocanonicals – without putting them in a separate appendix, that would come later – and then later still they would be left out entirely.

This is highly misleading. Although the 1611 KJV did including the apocrypha, and though it didn’t use the mechanism of an appendix, it did place them in a separate section under the heading “The Bookes called Apocrypha” between the testaments (evidence), and the heading of every page in that section read: “Apocrypha. [Name of Book] Apocrypha.” or “Apocrypha. Chap.[chapter number] Apocrypha.” (evidence)

– TurretinFan

Simple Challenge for Kent Brandenburg

February 18, 2009

Mr. Brandenburg has posted an article in which he states:

Bart Ehrman, in Misquoting Jesus, had nine propositions that he developed in the course of the book. In his debate with Ehrman, James White could not challenge the assessment that he himself agreed with eight and a half of the propositions in Misquoting Jesus. The only thing they disagreed about was the interpretation of the evidence. And this is the kind of thing that is the source for non-KJS bibliology.

(source – Article titled “Brainwashed Bibliology”)

Now, the last sentence of this paragraph is just wrong. It is true that Dr. White disagrees with Dr. Ehrman about the interpretation of the evidence, but that is far from the only thing that Dr. White disagrees with Dr. Ehrman about.

But here is the challenge for Mr. Brandenburg. It is a simple challenge with two parts:

1) Demonstrate that you know what the nine propositions are by listing them, and
2) Identify which, if any, of those propositions you yourself disagree with.

After all, just because Dr. Ehrman is an apostate and agnostic doesn’t mean that every proposition he states is wrong. Surely you don’t think that Dr. White has to defend the truth by disagreeing with true statements, do you? So identify the erroneous propositions from those nine that you believe Dr. White should have disagreed with.


Textual Variant in 1611 KJV

October 1, 2008

The KJV, 1611 edition, was printed on more than one printing press. While the text printed was generally the same, there was at least one variant. At Ruth 3:15 the text correctly reads (in the current 2/3 majority of extant copies) “she went into the city” instead of “he went into the city”, but the remaining about 1/3 have the variant with the misspelling.

Standard version of the KJV:

Ruth 3:15 Also he said, Bring the vail that thou hast upon thee, and hold it. And when she held it, he measured six measures of barley, and laid it on her: and she went into the city.

The KJV-1611 in the form provided with e-Sword reflects the variant:

Ruth 3:15 Also he said, Bring the vaile that thou hast vpon thee, and holde it. And when she helde it, he measured sixe measures of barley, and laide it on her: and he went into the citie.

The Schoenberg Center for Electronic Texts also has a copy of the KJV1611 with the “he” variant (link).

Copies of both variants can be purchased (though the price is quite steep: for an example, click to this site that I cannot vouch for).

For those people who believe that the KJV1611 was itself the subject of verbal plenary inspiration, I suppose the solution to the problem of this variant is to assert that one of the two variants (hopefully the “he” variant) was a later corruption. The problem, of course, is that there is no historical basis for this assertion, as it would appear that the two printings were performed at roughly the same time on at least two printing presses.

I should note that I still think that the KJV is the best English translation that is widely available, and it continues to be my preferred translation for study of the Scripture, for that reason.


Dr. White Explains Textual Transmission to Kent Hovind

June 16, 2008

Dr. White has provided a series of three video responses to some rather uninformed comments by Kent Hovind on Bible versions. Hovind’s comments appear to be gleaned from the book he recommends, a book by Gail Riplinger, one of the prominent promoters of KJV-Onlyism.

The problems in Hovind’s presentation are numerous, and even Dr. White’s presentation is unable to snag all of them.

Part I

Ultimately, the video series demonstrates that one has to be careful in who one listens to. Hovind probably sounds like he knows what he is talking about to someone who doesn’t understand the history of the transmission of the text of Scripture. In fact, however, he’s wildly off the mark.

Some of his points may ring true (for example, a manuscript in constant use is less likely to survive for more than a millennium while a manuscript in disuse will last a long time). On the other hand he makes such egregious errors as to identify the Textus Receptus with the Majority Text and to imagine that the Textus Receptus was based on 5,000 or so Greek manuscripts (when, in fact, more realistic estimates are at least a couple of orders of magnitude less), as well as to confuse the manner of transmission of the Hebrew text by the Jews with the manner of transmission of the Greek text by the Christians.

All in all, I found the video series enjoyable and educational. I hope that if the transmission of the text of the New Testament interests you, you’ll also find the series profitable.


P.S. As an aside, I would be very cautious about relying on Hovind’s work. That’s not to say that everything he says is wrong – for example he has many right things to say in other areas than the areas noted in the video series above. The problem is that Hovind doesn’t appear to have a good idea of the limits of his own knowledge, as demonstrated in this video series.

KJVO vs. KJV Translators

May 22, 2008

A while back I came across the following article that is germane to the KJVO debate (link). This article relies on the testimony of the translators themsevles in discussion the issues. Doug Smith appears to have prepared this as part of a series – though I don’t recall seeing the rest of the series. If he is still in the process of preparing it, I hope he’ll continue, as this topic continues to be of importance.


Redundancy in James?

February 23, 2008

In the King James Version, the James 5:16 seems to contain a little redundancy and/or truism:

James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

The redundancy is “effectual” and “availeth much.” If it is effectual (in modern usage) then it means it works.

The apparent redundancy is a result of a slight semantic shift and an attempt to convey a Greek word in English.

The underlying Greek is:

Jas 5:16 εξομολογεισθε αλληλοις τα παραπτωματα και ευχεσθε υπερ αλληλων οπως ιαθητε πολυ ισχυει δεησις δικαιου ενεργουμενη

In this, the phrase in question is: “πολυ ισχυει δεησις δικαιου ενεργουμενη”

πολυ => greatly
ισχυει => enables/has force
δεησις => (a / the) prayer
δικαιου => righteous
ενεργουμενη => [(the thing that) is (itself) empowering]

The tricky word, as you can guess, is the last one – it is a present middle participle, which is a bit challenging to express in English. The KJV translators tried to express its meaning using the phrase “effectual fervent.” The point of the passage is that we should pray for one another, and that we should have confidence to pray for one another on the basis that an empowered prayer by a righteous man can accomplish great things, both as to physical healing and also conversion: with Elias’ prayers for and against rain provided as an example.

Pray to God and pray boldly, for if God gives your prayer power, you may save a soul by prayer!


Revelation 14:1 – How Many Greek Texts Match the TR?

February 19, 2008

I recently heard a radio interview in which the person advocating the position against the KJV-only position, asserted that none of the Greek manuscripts match the Textus Receptus in omitting “his name and” in Revelation 14:1. The KJV, however, follows the Textus Receptus precisely in this place and omits the “his name and” from the text.

I thought this was interesting, so I checked the UBS4 and the NA27. Neither even makes reference to the variant reading. Perhaps that is the reason that the person on the radio assumed that there was no Greek manuscript support for the omission.

However, Tischendorf’s 8th Edition identifies at least two manuscripts (P and 1) that omit the phrase. It also appears that the Slavonic version omits the phrase.

Using standard modern textual critical techniques, one would expect that the shorter reading would be preferred, and the longer reading would be dismissed as interpolation. Surprisingly, that’s not the case. Instead, the longer reading is preferred by the critical text.

I’m inclined to favor the longer reading myself, because it is easier for me to imagine how the phrase could be omitted than inserted. I find the internal evidence uncompelling. The phrase doesn’t have any immediate connection to the remainder of the text.

Revelation 3:12 seems to slightly support the longer reading. Some of the later parts of Revelation also seem to support the longer reading, in that God and the Lamb are clearly united (Revelation 22:1-2). Furthermore, I reject the conventional view that scribes are more likely to add than omit, in fact I tend to believe scribes more likely to accidentally omit. Here there is a reasonable explanation for how P and 1 (and others?) could have omitted the phrase, the Greek phrase is:

τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ καὶ τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ πατρὸς αὐτοῦ
the name his and the name the father his

Notice how the two phrases begin with the same two words, and even end with the same word (although that last word may be the subject for another time). This kind of scenario would make it very easy for a scribe to accidentally lose his place and pick up from the wrong spot in copying out the text, thereby inadvertently omitting the phrase from the copy. This would seem to be a relatively easy explanation for manuscripts P and 1 that would account for the presence of the phrase in the major version (Latin) and the majority of the Greek manuscripts.

Incidentally, one does not find the omitted phrase in any of the TR Bibles, starting with the Tyndale Bible. One does, however, find the phrase in the older Wycliffe Bibles, which were translated from the Vulgate.

What is the bottom line? The person making the claim on the radio was probably wrong. A few Greek manuscripts do contain the variant reading. Nevertheless, the point that the person was trying to make, namely that the support for the variant is weak (miniscule, we’d say, if we were trying to amuse), is correct. Revelation 14:1 represents a verse at which it seems that the KJV might be capable of improvemen, which was the guy’s point.


Further Roundup of Kurschner Responses

September 15, 2007
The present author recently responded to Alan Kurschner’s “8 Reasons.” (link to the present author’s rebuttal and the original article) Assuming, however, that there might be other responses, the present author went looking and found:

One other commenter suggests that Kurschner is unfairly lumping majority text advocates in with KJVO “kooks” (the commenter’s word, not mine), and provides detailed responses to each of Kurschner’s arguments in a thread format with other commentators interspersed. (link) It’s really worth clicking through and reading the detailed response, even if one does not end up agreeing with the author.

I think that Kurschner is actually attempting to respond to KJVO-ism, and is less interested in the remainder of the majority text advocates. Perhaps, in the process, Kurschner fails to recognize the difference between the two, as well as the weakness of the arguments as applied to anything beyond KJV-only-ism.

Other than that, this author hasn’t seen too much of a further response to Kurschner’s article, though perhaps something is being overlooked. If any reader has links to other treatments of the article, those links would be most welcome.

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