KJV Part 2
2. Why Do You Prefer to use the King James Version (KJV) Instead of Modern Versions like the New International Version (NIV)?
We are not “KJV only” adherents, and do use other Bibles for study and clarification of difficult passages. However, we do firmly believe that the KJV is the BEST translation available in the English language and as such is the one we use on a day to day basis and in our meetings.
To quote Dr Donald Waite, we do believe that the KJV is based on superior texts, has superior translators, used superior technique and exhibits superior theology.
Dr Donald Waite is President of the Dean Burgon Society and Director of Bible for Today ministries. He has earned a B.A. in classical Greek and Latin; a Th.M. with high honours in New Testament Greek Literature and Exegesis; an M.A. and Ph.D. in Speech; a Th.D. with honours in Bible Exposition; and he holds both New Jersey and Pennsylvania teacher certificates in Greek and Language Arts. He taught Greek, Hebrew, Bible, Speech, and English for more than 35 years in nine schools. He has produced more than 700 studies on the Bible and other subjects.
We shall follow his outline for laying out our own position in the translation and manuscript debate.
- KJV is based on superior texts (original manuscripts)
- The KJV had better translators
- The KJV has better technique
- The KJV has superior theology
The KJV is based on the Textus Receptus - the “Received Text”. This is the stream of texts also called the Bzyantine texts AS THEY ORIGINATED IN ANTIOCH. Most modern versions are based on (in varying degrees) the Alexandrian texts. So why do we believe the Antioch texts are more reliable?
a) The KJV is based on a better Hebrew OT.
The KJV is translated from the Massoretic Hebrew Text. The Massoretes were Jewish scholars and textual critics who eventually opened academies at Tiberius and Babylon. In order to preserve the exact Hebrew text of the OT they introduced vowel-points, fixed accents, marked indented pauses etc. They were scrupulously exact in copying down the text. The text that the KJV is based on is called the Ben Chayyim Text - which due to the work of the Massoretes is VERY CLOSE TO THE HEBREW ORIGINAL. The KJV has FAITHFULLY TRANSLATED THIS TEXT, WORD FOR WORD.
However, the translators behind the NIV for example decided this text, which was accepted as the Hebrew OT for over 1,000 years, needed to be “updated”. The NIV holds the Septuagint (Greek translation of the OT) on an equal level as the Hebrew text itself, as well as “correcting” the vowel set within the Hebrew manuscripts! They SET THEMSELVES UP to know the Hebrew text better than those that copied and preserved it!
b) The KJV is based on a better Greek NT.
The King James Version of the Bible is based on the “Byzantine texts” of the Greek manuscripts. The source of these texts came from ANTIOCH - where THE DISCIPLES WERE FIRST CALLED CHRISTIANS! These were the standard texts used by the Church from its inception to the late 1800’s! The church REJECTED the few corrupted texts from Alexandria in Egypt (where the false teachings of Origen and many other corruptions and sects were based) and stuck to the texts from Antioch, which was the base for the spreading of the gospel throughout Asia Minor and the rest of the Roman Empire after Jerusalem fell in AD 70.
According to Kurt Aland, back in 1967 there were approximately 5,255 Greek manuscripts available. We shall COMPARE THE NUMBER of manuscripts that concur with the Byzantine texts (from which the KJV is based) in comparison to the Alexandrian text (which is only included to varying degrees in the modern translations) -
Of the 88 papyrus fragments, 75 are based on the Byzantine text, only 13 on the Alexandrian.
Of the 258 unical manuscripts, 249 are based in the Byzantine text, while only 9 on the corrupt Alexandrian.
Of the 2,764 cursive manuscripts, 2,741 are based on the Byzantine text, while only 23 on the Alexandrian!!!
Of the 2,143 lectionary manuscripts, 2,143 are based on the Byzantine, while ZERO are based on the Alexandrian!
In total - of the 5,255 Greek manuscripts, 5,210 are based on the Byzantine text and a mere 45 on the Alexandrian.
Now God has indeed promised to preserve His Word -
"THE WORDS OF THE LORD ARE PURE WORDS: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, PURIFIED SEVEN TIMES. Thou shalt keep them, O Lord, thou shalt PRESERVE them from this generation for ever” (PSALMS 12:6-7).
Since 99% of the texts are all within the Byzantine stream, that it is clear that God HAS preserved His Word, and hence we should look to have our Bibles translated from this source of documents (as the KJV is) rather than the CORRUPTED ALEXANDRIAN TEXTS.
The two main Alexandrian texts (Sinaiticus or Aleph text and the Vaticanus or B text) are of such poor quality in virtually all regards that they even differ 3,000 places from each other in the gospels alone. There is no unity within them and hence translations using these as either a basis (Westcott & Hort) or even as a contributing factor (Nestle-Aland) can “CHERRY PICK” WHICH VERSION OF THE TEXT BEST FITS THEIR “PHILOSOPHY”.
Scrivner said Codex Aleph was “roughly written”, “full of gross transcriptional blunders” such as “leaving out whole lines of the original”. So when Mrs Gail Riplinger, in her layman’s terms, declares that 60,000 words are missing from the modern translations - she is quite right! The reason being the MANUSCRIPTS THEY ARE TAKEN FROM ARE FLAWED and are missing whole sections of Scripture.
The Vaticanus omits:
GENESIS 1:1 through GENESIS 46:28
The Pauline Pastoral Epistles
Besides all that, in the gospels alone it leaves out 237 words, 452 clauses and 748 whole sentences which hundreds of later copies agree together as having the same words in the same places, the same clauses in the same places and the same sentences in the same places.
Now there are many articles that are critical of the Byzantine text that the KJV is based on, the main one being that the two major Alexandrian texts (Vaticanus & Sinaiticus) are the older texts. And this is indeed true. However, OLDER DOES NOT NECESSARILY MEAN MORE ACCURATE OR BETTER. What is of greater importance is how many generations it has been removed from the originals. For example, a text can be 1,000 years older than the originals but if it has only passed through 4 generations of copies to get there it will be very accurate. Whereas another text may be only 400 years removed from the originals, but have gone through ten versions and copies within that time period. In this case the older manuscript would be LESS reliable. So AGE AS A DEFENCE IN ITSELF IS FLAWED.
5,210 in comparison to 45.
Now, we do not intend to ream off all the qualifications of all the translators involved in the KJV, but the translators of the KJV WERE GIANTS WITHIN THEIR FIELD OF STUDIES. Quoting from “The Learned Men” -
“William Bedwell, M.A., St. John’s College, Cambridge, had established his reputation as an Arabic scholar before 1603 and is recognised as the ‘FATHER OF ARABIC STUDIES IN ENGLAND’. He was the author of the “Lexicon Heptaglotton” in seven folio volumes, including Hebrew, Syriac, Chaldee and Arabic. He also commenced a Persian dictionary and an Arabic translation of the Epistles of John (now among the Laud MSS in the Bodlecian Library)”.
“John Bois, Fellow of St, John’s, Cambridge, and Greek lecturer there. He was born in 1560 and at a very early age showed an unusual interest in languages. He began to READ HEBREW AT THE AGE OF FIVE YEARS and was admitted to St.John’s, Cambridge when he was fourteen. There he very soon distinguished himself by his knowledge of the Greek language, which he sometimes studied in the library from 4.00am until 8.00pm”.
“Dr Miles Smith, M.A., D.D., Corpus Christi, Oxford. His knowledge of the oriental languages made him well qualified for a place among the translators of the Authorised Version of the Bible. He had Hebrew at his fingers’ ends, and he was so conversant with Chaldee, Syriac and Arabic, that he made them as familiar to him AS HIS NATIVE TONGUE”.
There are ANOTHER 40 SUCH MEN, but I think the point has been made. The EXCELLENCE in the learning of these men has NEVER been equalled within any group of translators for any of the modern versions.
The KJV translators used the verbal and formal equivalence method - or in layman’s terms “WORD FOR WORD" TRANSLATION. They believed that God knew what He was saying and why He put things in a certain way and translated them so. They tried to bring across the VERY HEBREW AND GREEK WORDS used and their exact English counterparts (note that in the KJV, every English word which does not have a direct Hebrew or Greek equivalent, is printed in italics, thus showing the FAITHFULNESS of the KJV translators and the respect they had for the Hebrew and Greek text). In a very few instances they did not keep to this quite so strictly (like the translation of “God forbid” or “God save the King”) - but in the VAST majority of cases they kept exactly to what was written in the originals.
The modern versions use the “dynamic equivalence” method - where they attempt to bring across the “ideas” of the original into the translation. The problem with this method is that it INJECTS SUBJECTIVITY into the translation to a much higher degree than the methods used by the King James translators. In other words, a translator will read the original, work out what HE THINKS IT MEANS, and then translates this THOUGHT into English. It is not a literal word for word translation. The NIV, for example, has over 6,000 such cases of dynamic equivalence translations!
Now Jesus says :
“... it is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDETH OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD” (MATTHEW 4:4).
But under the modern versions’ method of dynamic equivalence, how do we know WHICH WORDS ARE GOD'S AND WHICH ARE THE TRANSLATORS? After all, their aim isn’t to translate word for word!
One line of reasoning in defence of the changes made in modern versions is that they are not material to any important doctrinal position. Many articles state that all the changes are minor, and all they are doing is updating the language/phrases, etc., in the older manuscripts, using better translation techniques.
However, this is not the case. Below are just some of the changes made in modern versions of the Bible that are very material and DO INDEED AFFECT OUR THEOLOGY AND DOCTRINES. This is where Mrs Riplinger’s work is particularly good and very detailed. Dr Jack Moorman has compiled 356 doctrinal passages that have been changed to accommodate the Aleph and B manuscripts from Alexandria - the “den of heresy”.
Such major points as: the DEITY OF CHRIST, trinitarian doctrine impugned; RIGHTFUL PLACE OF THE SON OF MAN IN HEAVEN denied; belief in Jesus removed as a CONDITION OF ETERNAL LIFE; prayer to the Father in the name of the Son discounted; references to the JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST removed; the MIRACULOUS INCARNATION OF THE SON eliminated in certain Scriptures; REFERENCES TO HELL removed; and references to the BLOOD OF JESUS removed, etc.
Here are three examples. As mentioned, there are over 350 such examples that could be cited :-
“In whom we have redemption THROUGH HIS BLOOD, even the forgiveness of sins” COLOSSIANS 1:14.
NIV - “in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” COLOSSIANS 1:14.
The reference to the BLOOD OF JESUS has been REMOVED!! An interesting side note - you cannot sing any of the classic hymns which mention being “washed in the blood” if you read the NIV, as they have taken all such phrases out! No more “Blessed Assurance”, “Just As I Am” or “Power In the Blood” for NIV readers unfortunately.
“And Joseph and his mother marvelled” LUKE 2:33.
NIV - “The child’s father and mother marvelled” LUKE 2:33.
This translation has just WEAKENED CHRIST'S VIRGIN BIRTH! Now Joseph becomes his actual father in the NIV.
“for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ ... So then every one of us shall give an account of himself unto God” ROMANS 14:10,12.
NIV - “For we will all stand before God’s judgement seat ... So then each of us will give an account of himself to God” ROMANS 14:10,12.
In the KJV all are to STAND BEFORE CHRIST, giving an account to God, thus CHRIST BEING CALLED GOD. The NIV changes
“Christ” in verse 10 to “God”, thus v12 becomes only a repetition of v10 and not a confirmation that the Person of the Godhead who has the right of judgment is Christ.
"THY WORD IS VERY PURE: THEREFORE THY SERVANT LOVETH IT" PSALM 119:140.