Those KJV Translators

Article: 6 Surprising Ideas the KJV Translators Had about Other Bible Translations by Dr. George H. Guthrie, who serves as the Benjamin W. Perry Professor of Bible at Union University in Jackson, TN. (original source and when they reach for their Bibles, more than half of them are still reaching for the King James Version (KJV). Although the NIV tops Bible sales each year (KJV and NKJV are number 2 & 3), only 19% of Americans own that modern translation, and other modern translations take much smaller slices of the Bible sales pie.

“KJV only” churches, of course, believe that their translation is the only version that faithfully embodies the Word of God. All other translations are to be rejected out of hand. Such churches hold this faulty position based on a misunderstanding of the ancient manuscripts behind the Bible (we will have to discuss that misunderstanding in a future blog post).

Yet, it is interesting that the KJV translators themselves had particular ideas about translations other than their own, and they lay out their views clearly and forcefully in the published Preface of the original edition of their eloquent translation. Ironically, their views are very different from those who champion their translation today. So here are 6 ideas the KJV translators had about other translations of the Bible.

1. Other translations are noble, helpful companions in the process of translation.

In addition to the original languages of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, the 3 committees that worked on the KJV used other translations, both those in English that had gone before them, as well as translations in other languages. They used translations of the Bible to consider how best to interpret and render the original languages in the English of the early 17th Century. Thus, the KJV translators expressed thanks to God for other translations as a valuable resource in their work.

2. Other translations are part of a long, celebrated history of Christian mission.

In their Preface, the KJV translators detail the many, many tongues into which the Scriptures had been translated, and they celebrate this crossing of linguistic boundaries as important for the work of God. It seems that from the beginning of the Christian movement, translation work was in the heart of God as a part of his purposes. We may suggest that this work goes on to this day in the ministry of Wycliffe Bible Translators and others, who continue to pair down the over 1,800 languages in the world that lack a translated Bible. Translation work is important for gospel mission worldwide, a fact understood and celebrated by the KJV translators. Continue reading

How We Got the Bible

This youtube video features Dr. James White hosting an episode of Apologia Radio/TV. Here he teaches on how we got the Bible and the translation of the text of Scripture. It is a very worthwhile and useful study from one of the leading Christian apologists of our time.

Why Does the King James Bible Have Some Different Verses Than Modern Translations?

Why Does the King James Bible Have Some Different Verses Than Modern Translations? Justin Taylor

Have you ever wondered why modern translations of the Bible don’t have certain verses found in the King James Bible? This can be a sensitive pastoral issue, and (b) he had heard that Cardinal Ximenes and his associates were just about to publish an edition of the Greek New Testament and he was in a race to beat them. Consequently, his edition has been called the most poorly edited volume in all of literature! It is filled with hundreds of typographical errors which even Erasmus would acknowledge.

Wallace highlights two examples, starting with Revelation 22:

In the last six verses of Revelation, Erasmus had no Greek manuscript (=MS) (he only used half a dozen, very late MSS for the whole New Testament any way). He was therefore forced to ‘back-translate’ the Latin into Greek and by so doing he created seventeen variants which have never been found in any other Greek MS of Revelation! He merely guessed at what the Greek might have been.

Then 1 John 5:7-8:

For 1 John 5:7-8, Erasmus followed the majority of MSS in reading “there are three witnesses in heaven, the Spirit and the water and the blood.” However, there was an uproar in some Roman Catholic circles because his text did not read “there are three witnesses in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit.” Erasmus said that he did not put that in the text because he found no Greek MSS which had that reading. This implicit challenge—viz., that if he found such a reading in any Greek MS, he would put it in his text—did not go unnoticed. In 1520, a scribe at Oxford named Roy made such a Greek MS (codex 61, now in Dublin). Erasmus’ third edition had the second reading because such a Greek MS was ‘made to order’ to fill the challenge! To date, only a handful of Greek MSS have been discovered which have the Trinitarian formula in 1 John 5:7-8, though none of them is demonstrably earlier than the sixteenth century.

Wallace explains that he and many other textual critics would personally prefer to retain these readings, but integrity demands that we go with the best available evidence:

It illustrates something quite significant with regard to the textual tradition which stands behind the King James. Probably most textual critics today fully embrace the doctrine of the Trinity (and, of course, all evangelical textual critics do). And most would like to see the Trinity explicitly taught in 1 John 5:7-8. But most reject this reading as an invention of some overly zealous scribe. The problem is that the King James Bible is filled with readings which have been created by overly zealous scribes! Very few of the distinctive King James readings are demonstrably ancient. And most textual critics just happen to embrace the reasonable proposition that the most ancient MSS tend to be more reliable since they stand closer to the date of the autographs. I myself would love to see many of the King James readings retained. . . . But when the textual evidence shows me both that scribes had a strong tendency to add, rather than subtract, and that most of these additions are found in the more recent MSS, rather than the more ancient, I find it difficult to accept intellectually the very passages which I have always embraced emotionally.

Below is a brief video of Dr. Wallace answering a question on the same theme:

The King James Bible from :redux on Vimeo.

For further reading, see: Continue reading

Bible Translations: Eric Hovind with Dr. James White

This interview covers a lot of ground in a short amount of time and is therefore very useful for someone new to the issues involved in English translations.

KJV Onlyism – A Response to Sam Gipp’s Episode 4

Dr. Sam Gipp has uploaded the fourth episode in his series presenting KJV Onlyism, this time dealing with the archaic language in the KJV. Here is Dr. James White’s measured response:

TV Debate: Should We Exclusively Use The King James Bible?

Doug Harris hosts a debate between Jack Moorman and Dr. James White on the subject “Should we exclusively use the King James Bible?” This program was first broadcast on Revelation TV in the United Kingdom.

Dr. James White responds to King James Version Only advocate Kent Hovind

Some time back, a video of Kent Hovind presenting a completely fictitious “history of the Bible” in defense of the KJV has been posted on YouTube. Here is Dr. White’s reply in three parts:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

King James Onlyism Exposed (Again)

Dr. James White writes, “Sam Gipp has put out an 8 minute video repackaging the old KJV Only myths in fancy new clothes. I’ve gotten so many requests to respond to it, I’m finally getting around to it.” Here is Gipp’s video:

Dr James White responds, “Sooooo many errors packed into such a short and well made video… errors historical, errors logical, errors factual, errors biblical. Let’s begin the process of setting the record straight.”

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5


DRARE: Dogged Repetition of Already Refuted Errors

I like my new word. Do you? Drare. It sounds a little European, but it is still workable. Dogged Repetition of Already Refuted Errors. That is King James Onlyism in a nutshell, and that is ol’ Sam Gipp, even with excellent videography and high def cameras. Sam Gipp has continued releasing his series promoting KJV Onlyism, and we are continuing our rebuttal of his claims.

By the way, one other note on Gipp’s video that I forgot to address in this response. He points out that “Calvary” rarely appears in modern translations. That is because the KJV is heavily influenced by the Latin Vulgate, and the Latin term for “skull” (translating the Greek “Golgotha,” is calvaria, Calvary. So the KJV is simply using a Latinized “translation” of the same Greek word being more accurately translated by the modern versions as “Golgotha.”

The Prime Minister’s Speech

Late last week, the English Prime Minister gave a quite amazing speech honoring the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible. He said:

The Bible is a book that has not just shaped our country, but shaped the world.

And with 3 Bibles sold or given away every second, a book that is not just important in understanding our past, but which will continue to have a profound impact in shaping our collective future.

In making this speech I claim no religious authority whatsoever. I am a committed – but I have to say vaguely practising – Church of England Christian, who will stand up for the values and principles of my faith… but who is full of doubts and, like many, constantly grappling with the difficult questions when it comes to some of the big theological issues.

But what I do believe is this. The King James Bible is as relevant today as at any point in its 400 year history. And none of us should be frightened of recognising this.


Put simply, three reasons.

First, the King James Bible has bequeathed a body of language that permeates every aspect of our culture and heritage… from everyday phrases to our greatest works of literature, music and art.

We live and breathe the language of the King James Bible, sometimes without even realising it. And it is right that we should acknowledge this – particularly in this anniversary year.

Second, just as our language and culture is steeped in the Bible, so too is our politics.

From human rights and equality to our constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy, from the role of the church in the first forms of welfare provision, to the many modern day faith-led social action projects… the Bible has been a spur to action for people of faith throughout history, and it remains so today.

Third, we are a Christian country and we should not be afraid to say so.

Read the full speech here.