THE TRUTH ABOUT THE KJV

By Wm. Troy Sheppard

 

Preface

 

   The treatise that follows is my feeble efforts to expose some erroneous clams that have be brought against our blessed Bible, commonly known as the King James Version. My few words are by no means meant as a defense of the grandest of books known to English speaking people. I only hope by the grace of God to set the record strait concerning a few of the many false charges that have been levied against God’s holy, infallible, inspired, word as we have it preserved for us in our blessed English version.

 

   As the child of God should know, God’s word is constantly under attack from the wicked one. He casts doubt upon it (Genesis 3:1), steals it (Luke 8:12; Matthew 13:19), and misuses it (Luke 4:9-12). He has his men who try and corrupt it (II Corinthians 2:17) and handle it deceitfully (II Corinthians 4:2). None of God’s elect should underestimate the lengths that Satan will go to discredit and cast doubt upon the words of God.

 

   The voice of the serpent echoes through the corridors of human history saying “hath God said”. Today, those words can still be heard in the halls of higher criticism as men try to dismantle and discredit the living book that God has so wonderfully preserved for His dear people.

 

   The precious word of God is God’s personal and direct revelation of Himself and His will to us. Satan knows that the foundation of our faith and practice, individually and corporately, is the word of God. Without God’s word we cannot know who God is, what God demands of us, what He has provided for us, or how we are to walk before Him. Oh how desperately we need to have and know that we have God’s word.

 

Inverness, Florida

March 2011

 

 

THE TRUTH ABOUT THE KJV

 

   “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.” (I Thess. 2:13). “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.” (Psa. 12:6-7). “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.” (Prov. 30:5-6). “…Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (Matt. 4:4) “…the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” (Jn. 6:63).

 

   These Divinely inspired, Divinely preserved WORDS of the true and living God settle forever in my heart and mind the Divine authority behind the blessed book in which these words are recorded. I gladly receive them as the pure, preserved, life giving, infallible, words of God! I thank God for the revelation, inspiration, and preservation of His precious holy word!

 

   I honor and praise JEHOVAH for the fact that He has blessed the English speaking world with His holy word. He could have been pleased to conceal Himself from us as He has done at varied times to other Gentiles. But, thankfully, in accordance to his gracious providence, as the English language developed over the past 800 years, God saw fit that His English speaking people would have His word in their own language. Praise God for this rare gift!

 

   By God’s overruling providence in allowing England’s worldwide domination and colonization formerly and American domination presently, He has allowed the English language to flourish in all parts of the world, so much so that English is considered a universal language. It is no wonder that God in His providence moved and guided men to translate His word into the English language.

 

   Many Christian men in God’s kingdom, of every denominational stripe, were used of God to bring His holy word to us in our language. To all the sacrifices that these men made, in fear of inquisition, fire, sword, and death we all owe a great debt of gratitude.

 

   My present task will be to set forth a few lines in defense of the English Version, commonly used among ENGLISH speaking Baptists for almost 400 years, known as the King James Version (hereafter referred to as the KJV). Without hesitation or reservation, I gladly stand with many Baptists of the past and those of the present who revere and honor the KJV of the Holy Bible, first published to the English speaking world in 1611, to be the words of God in English.

 

   Long before the damning effects of Higher Criticism of the late Nineteenth Century, that is the foundation for all the corrupt English translations of our day, the KJV of the Holy Bible held the highest honor among the vast majority of the English speaking Christians in general and of Baptists in particular. Consequently, the KJV was generally received, honored, and referred to as the “standard” English version of the Bible.

 

   Sadly, in our apostate age, our blessed Book is constantly being barraged with more and more critics, even among those who wear the name Baptist, resulting in a quagmire of doubt as to whether we have the words of God or not. In spite of the critics, God who gave his WORDS has preserved THEM for us (Psa. 12:6-7)!

 

The truth about the KJV being the word of God

 

   By the grace of God, I do not hesitate to state that I believe that the KJV is the word of God. I do not believe that it merely contains the word of God, but that it is the word of God. When I read it, hear it read, and preach from it I do so believing it to be a living book! With the Psalmist I gladly say, “Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it.” (Psalms 119:140). 

 

   “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Heb. 4:12). It IS a living book! It IS the word of God! It IS quick! It IS Powerful! It IS a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart! It “IS” so right now! It is so, as it is written!

 

   Though I believe that the word of God was originally written in Hebrew, Chaldean, and Greek, I do not believe that the word of God is bound up in Hebrew, Chaldean, or Greek words. Like the Waldenseans of old I believe that the, “…Holy Scripture is of the same efficacy in the vulgar tongue…”,[1] and when translated with care out of the faithful manuscripts it is still, “…that very SAME WORD…[2] of God as found in the originals. I agree with the Waldenses of Bohemia who recognized and called the “holy Scriptures” in their “Vulgar tongue”, “inspired by God”. In 1508 & 1535 they wrote,  And furthermore, that they [the HOLY SCRIPTURES] WERE DELIVERED AND INSPIRED BY GOD HIMSELF, as is affirmed by Peter, Paul, and others, and are publickly read and recited in all our Churches (especially the Epistles and Gospels) and THAT IN OUR MOTHER AND VULGAR TONGUE…”.[3] Though the inspired word of God is in the original languages, it is not bound there! If God’s words are bound in the original languages, I must sadly confess that since I have a very limited knowledge of those languages, I have never really read the words of God.

 

   I do not believe for a moment that I must read and understand Greek and Hebrew to be able to read and understand the words of God. That is not to say that the knowledge of such languages is unprofitable. But, is such knowledge of those foreign and archaic languages necessary? God forbid!

 

   I simply believe without reservation that, “All scripture IS GIVEN by inspiration of God, and IS profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” (II Tim. 3:16-17). I will not believe that the scripture merely “WAS” inspired any more than I will believe that it merely “WAS” profitable. The scripture is both inspired and profitable “now”. In this verse its inspiration and profitability stand and fall together! I contend that the scripture “IS”, right now, in the present, here and now, words of God.

 

   As the Greek and English text of II Timothy 3:16 will bear out, it is the scriptures THEMSELVES that are “inspired”. The compound Greek word translated, “given by inspiration of God” in II Timothy 3:16 means they were breathed out by God. Such inspiration has reference to the WORDS that God breathed and not the men that wrote them. Moses, David, the Prophets, John, Paul, and others, were all personally directed, lead, moved, and guided by the Holy Spirit to say and write God’s words (not their own). They were “moved by the Holy Ghost” (II Pet. 1:21), and the Spirit, “came upon” them (I Chro. 12:18), and the word of the LORD, “came to them” and “spoke to them” (see Hosea 1:1, Joel 1:1; Jonah 1:1; Micah 1:1). In every case it was God that gave those men HIS WORDS, but it is the scriptures THEMSELVES that are inspired! As Arthur W. Pink very well said, “The Bible nowhere claims to have been written by inspired men[4] The Bible was inspired not the men that wrote it.

 

   What about the translators of our Standard English Version? Were they inspired? No, the translators were not inspired! It is the word of God that IS inspired not the translators! Believing that the KJV is the inspired word of God as I do does not mean that I believe that the KJV Translators were inspired. Again they were not. What I believe is that the KJV is the inspired, preserved word of God for English speaking people. As this scripture in II Timothy 3:16 declares, and as the testimony of other Scriptures will bear out, and as I whole heartily believe, it is the scriptures THEMSELVES that are inspired, not the translators. Also it should be known that I do not set the translators of our common English version on an equal footing with the Holy Prophets and Apostles. Though I do believe that the KJV translators were used of God in a mighty way and were guided by the overruling power of God’s sovereign providence to translate His holy word, I will gladly grant that God did not “come to”, “speak to”, or “come upon” the translators of our version in the SAME WAY as He did those chosen vessels to whom He first reveal Himself. I do not argue for the inspiration of the translators. But, I do argue that I read, study, and preach the INSPIRED WORD OF GOD in English, for II Timothy 3:16, teaches that it IS such.

 

   Furthermore, of all the modern English versions, only in the KJV am I command to, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (II Tim. 2:15), and “Search the scriptures” (John 5:39). So, by God grace I will! Others may choose to read inferior, error filled modern English translations taken from corrupt Greek texts like the NIV, RSV, NASV, Living Bible, The Message, New World Translation of the Scriptures, or even the so-called NKJV[5]. But for the life of me, I do not know why any New Testament, Bible believing, Baptist would want to consult such faulty weaponry, MISSING those vital commands!

 

   When I read in John 17:17,  “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”, I can rest assured that the Father will do his sanctifying work through THOSE WORDS in answer to Christ’s High Priestly prayer. When I hear or read the expression, “Thus saith the LORD”, as it occurs over 400 times in the Old Testament of my cherished KJV, I can without reservation listen to what follows as being the words of God robed in an English garb and without hesitation believe that it is GOD’S WORDS and not the mere words of man!

 

   I believe that the blessed Bible that I pray over, study, and preach from is not the word of man, but is in truth the word of God. Why? Because my Bible tells me it is! I Thessalonians 2:13 says, “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.” I am glad to testify that I receive it as the word of God! I praise the God of all grace that I believe it! I pray that it will correct me from every error! And, I am eternally grateful that it is presently working effectually in me, making of me what I could never make of myself!

 

  In my preaching, my grand desire is that God’s dear people will hear, receive, and believe the word of God, “not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God”. Thus, in my approach to it, my study of it, and in my preaching from it, I regard it to be THE WORD OF GOD.

 

   Finally on this point, my view of the KJV being the preserved Word of God for English speaking people is no new, novel idea of my own. First, the scriptures themselves, as demonstrated, teach me this blessed truth. Secondly, other Baptists in the past have stood on or very near the same ground that I stand upon.

 

   Consider the record of two Baptist Associations of almost two centuries ago. The Barren River Baptist Association Kentucky, articles of Faith of 1830 say, “We Believe that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, as translated by the authority of King James, to be the words of God, and is the only rule of faith and practice.”[6] The Bethlehem Association of Regular Baptists, articles of Faith 1838 says, “We believe the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, as translated by King James, to be the Word of God, and the only rule of faith and practice.”[7]

 

   In 1837, in defense of the KJV, the Baptist pastor Wm. T. Brantly Sr. (1787-1845) who Cathacart called, “a man of fine talents; his learning was profound, his classical scholarship was of the highest order…”[8], wrote the following against those of his day who were clamoring for a Baptist version: “ It is our heart’s desire and prayer to God, that this venerable monument of learning, of truth, of piety and of UNEQUALLED PURITY of style and diction, may be perpetuated to the end of time JUST AS WE NOW HAVE IT. Let no daring genius meditate either change or amendment in its structure and composition; neither let any learned impertinence presume to disturb the happy confidence of the tens of thousands who now regard it as,- next to the original language,- the PUREST VEHICLE THROUGH WHICH THE MIND OF THE HOLY SPIRIT HAS EVER BEEN CONVEYED TO MORTALS.[9]

 

   Thomas Armitage admits that when he and others were seeking to make and promote a “Baptist version” of the scriptures in 1850 there were many Baptists who opposed those efforts because they believed that the KJV was God’s preserved word in English. He mockingly charged that there were “…many…” Baptists of his day that believed that the KJV had “…come down from heaven in about its present shape, printed and bound…[10] He then goes on to give his one sided account of the controversy between the Baptist of his day and the revision controversy in general. This Bible version controversy lead to the formation to a new Baptist Bible society (The American Bible Union) based on the scheme that there was a need for a revision of the English text. The majority however held to the integrity and purity of the KJV and stayed in the older society (American and Foreign Bible Society). [11]

 

   I point out this Bible controversy among Baptists, not to prove who was right in that debate of a century and a half ago (though it is evident who I believe was right), but to show that this is not a new issue among Baptists. Believing in the purity, integrity, and superiority of the KJV was not a doctrine invented by a Seventh Day Adventist[12] in the 1930s or Peter Ruckman in the 1960s. Those who claim it is, are at the very least historically uninformed or at the worst deceptive. The doctrine of a preserved Bible in English is no new doctrine among English speaking Baptists! Of course those who disagree will disregard the PROOF and will cloud the issue with disdained labels in order to discredit those of us who honor and extol the KJV as the preserved word of God. May God deliver us all from such tactics!

 

The truth about the KJV’s use in time

 

   Many erroneous statements have been made about the reception and usage of KJV as the word of God because it was not published until 1611. Those critical of it have asked questions like, “Where was God’s word before 1611?” and, “Were God’s people without His word for 1600 years?” Such questions are “bait and switch” tactics of debate and are really no serious questions at all! It is like asking, “Have you stopped beating your wife?” Such questions have clear answers. The real question is should they even be answered? With such questions I am reminded of Proverbs 26:4-5 which says, “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.”  With such questions, I find myself in a dilemma, not for want of an answer, but for the folly of the question!

 

   In hopes of finding my ground in Proverbs 26:5 and not in 26:4, here is my answer. Before 1611 God’s word was in original Hebrew and Greek manuscripts, their faithful copies, and translations of the scripture in other languages into which the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts were faithfully and diligently translated. Examples being the Old Syrian, the Old Latin (not to be confused with the Latin Vulgate) known as the italic[13] and the “Waldensian Language” version. [14] They were equally God’s words and they remain such wherever they may be found at this remote date. Furthermore, it is true that for almost 1600 years there was no “Modern English” Bible. But, such is a mute point and really proves nothing! Why? Because, there were no MODERN ENGLISH SPEAKING PEOPLE until the late 1500’s! And, because such is the case, they did not need and could not use a “Modern English” translation! If by some miracle someone could have given to an “Englishman” in 1300 a copy of a 1611 KJV he would have been hard pressed to read it for the language did not exist.

 

   As a matter of linguistics, there was no such language as “Modern English” until the middle to late 16th century. Linguists have divided the English language into three general periods “Old English”, “Middle English”, and “Modern English” (These necessarily overlap in time because it is a development of a Language.). They have done so to show the development of the English language and its general solidification into its present form. In accordance with linguistics, it can be demonstrated that there was no need of a Modern English translation before the mid 16th Century for there was NO SUCH LANGUAGE before then.

 

The truth about the KJV’s use and acceptance

among Baptists and other Christians

 

   It has been alleged by some that when the KJV was first brought forth to public view in 1611 that it was not readily accepted by English speaking Baptists of the day and that “many” other Christian parties disparaged its use. Such statements are clearly without warrant or historical evidence. The burden of proof is on those who make such claims.

 

   However, I have found an abundance of proof that the Baptists of Great Britain and the American colonies newly planted received the KJV as the word of God in their language. And, within a few years of its initial printing, the KJV became the “standard” English Bible of English speaking Baptists and other English speaking Christians of that day.

 

   The fact that Baptists readily received the KJV can be demonstrated historically in the confessional writings of Baptists following the release of the KJV that actually quote from its verses. Though those Baptists had at their disposal other English versions, including the Geneva Bible of late “Middle English” usage, within a short time they left off its usage, and began to exclusively use the KJV.  This is no mere opinion of mine, nor a parroting of what others have written. For I have personally and painstakingly compared many Baptist confessions and writings of the day with my KJV and my 1560 Facsimile copy of the Geneva Version and found that they overwhelmingly used the KJV. For brevity sake I will list six of the afore mentioned writings: The Somerset Baptist confession of 1656[15]; Sion’s Groans for Her Distressed (1661)[16]; John Bunyan’s works: Israel’s Sighs from Hell (1657), Christian Behaviour (1674) Hope Encouraged (1678), The Greatness of the Soul (1682).[17]

 

   Not only did Baptists receive the KJV, but so did other Christians. This can be proven by anyone who will take the time to look at and compare the quotations of scriptures in writings following 1611 and what Christians of that day had to say about the KJV verses other versions. Even Puritans among the Church of England accepted the KJV. After all why wouldn’t they, seeing that, the Puritan John Reynolds was the man, who at the Hampton Court Conference suggested the new translation[18] and many of their leading party members were on the translation committee.[19] Even the Pilgrims who came to America just nine years after the KJV was first printed brought the KJV with them. The curators at the Pilgrim Hall in Plymouth can testify to this fact because they have in their possession a KJV that was brought over on the Mayflower. On their website they say, “Among the books in Pilgrim Hall are four Bibles of unusual interest…These are among the very few objects existing today which we feel reasonably sure ‘came over in the Mayflower.’… John Alden’s Bible… is the ‘King James’ version authorized by the Church of England’…”[20]

 

   In addition to these facts, it can be deduced from the writings of Scottish Baptist Christopher Anderson (1782-1852) [21] and other reputable historians that the KJV replaced the other inferior English translations of its day, not by Royal decree or persecution as some men erroneous allege, but by it sheer force as the most eloquent and precise modern English translation of its day.

 

   I do not doubt that Baptists and other Christians used other versions in other languages. Nor do I discredit their use of other English translations as the language was solidifying (From Old to Middle to Modern English). This is not the question to me. The question is, what did they settle with when the English language matured and developed into its modern form? As I see it, and as many Baptists from the mid 1600’s to the mid 1800’s expressed by their actions and through their writings, the, KJV became their “standard” English version!  For me, it still is the standard!

 

The truth about those behind the translation of the KJV

 

   I hesitate to attempt to defend the character of the King who commissioned the translation of the KJV or the 47 plus men who were involved in its translation. Not because I think that they cannot or should not be defended, but for being misunderstood as one who defends and condones their personal failures.

 

   When considering the historical record (divine or secular), it should be understood that all men are men at best. Even godly David who was directly moved of God to author a large portion of scripture, was not without his sins (See: Psa. 51; II Sam. 11:1 through 12:25.), and neither were Moses, Peter, Paul without fault. God used those men, not because they were sinless, but because he would magnify his grace in them and through them. This is how he uses every child of grace.

 

   With that said, I do not condone the fact that King James and his commissioned Translators were Anglicans, nor do I condone the king overseeing the burning of two dissenters at the stake in 1611. However, I am glad to know that after the king had his hand in such evils against “soul liberty”, his own conscience was so convicted that he outlawed the practice of burning men at the stake for religious conscience sake. Such changes in the king’s attitude can be seen in his letter of 1612 to Robert Cecil, his Secretary of State: “I will never allow in my conscience that the blood of any man shall be shed for diversity of opinions in religion...”[22] Thank God for the Holy Ghost convicting the heart of the King.

 

   Much could be said concerning King James and the Translators. However, space limits me in making a thorough defense on their behalf. So what I am going to say will be limited to a defense of King James the Sixth of Scotland and the First of England. What I am going to say about him should in no way be construed or misinterpreted to condone his errors in judgment or sins against the God that he professed to love. My intent now is to look at a few charges against him that I believe to be false.

 

   Many are the accusations that have been hurled at King James; some of them may be true, others have been proven to be false. No matter what men may have read or heard, every child of God should be slow to climb into the seat of judgment, “For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” (Matt. 7:2).  We should all take heed to the warning that, “A false witness shall not be unpunished…” (Prov. 19:5) None of us should be quick to spoil someone’s character by mere assumptions or repeat the idle slander of others.

 

   It has been erroneously charged that, “King James outlawed other versions such as the Geneva and placed heavy fines on those that were found printing or owning any other version than his ‘authorized’ version[23] Sadly such statements are made without any evidence. But, I do have evidence to the contrary. After giving documentation of events surrounding the demise of the other English versions and how the KJV became the standard and accepted English translation, the historian, Christopher Anderson (1782-1852) wrote, “Thus for seven or eight years after the present version was published we find Barker, or Norton and Bill still printing the Geneva Bible…After that the Geneva Bibles, so frequently printed in Holland, were imported and sold, WITHOUT THE SHADOW OF INHIBITATION, during the ENTIRE REIGN OF JAMES THE FIRST, and longer still…did James, as a King, take one step to enforce it perusal? NO NOT ONE…[24] quoting a Dr. Symonds, Anderson wrote, “ The present version appears to have made its way, WITHOUT THE INTERPOSITION OF ANY AUTHORITY WHATSOEVER for it is not easy to discover any traces of a proclamation, cannon, or statute published to enforce the use of it[25] These are the facts of history! In my decade of study of the KJV issue, I have yet to see any historical PROOF that King James in any way outlawed the use of any Bible.

 

   In spite of the fact that King James fathered 10 children and was devoted to his wife Queen Anne, some even charge that he was a homosexual. How heartbreaking it is when men who profess to be defenders of the truth will gladly spread lies without PROOF! Sadly, some hope to bring contempt upon the KJV by slandering King James. I pray that God will preserve us from such men and their folly. 

 

   Some unreliable historians (many with a homosexual agenda) in their zeal to make King James into a Homosexual, READ INTO history what is not there. To prove (?) that King James was a homosexual, these “historians” will cherry-pick words in his writings like “love”, “lover”, “dearest”, “my heart”… when addressed to men, without considering the context or considering the language of the day.

 

   Such an allegation about ANY MAN is really not worthy of a hearing without documented or eyewitness proof!  Men can “say” anything they please about anyone, but allegations do not equal facts. Some sodomites in the name of a pretended Christianity twist I Samuel 18:1-4 to say that David and Jonathan were homosexuals.[26] Would not all true Christains agree that those perverts wrest the Scriptures to their own destruction! Just because their wicked and perverted hearts READ INTO the words “love”, “beloved”, and “breast” their own homosexual behavior does not make David or Jonathan one of their kind.

 

   Was King James a homosexual? I have yet to see PROOF that he was! Gossip will not do. Such an accusation demands PROOF! In the absence of such proof, I will let King James defend himself. His own words testify of his values, piety, and character. Judge him by his words to his wife: “I thank God I carry that love and respect unto you which, by the law of God and nature, I ought to do as my wife and mother of my children…”[27] Does that sound like a homosexual to you? Judge him by his words to his son on the sanctity of marriage: “But the principal blessing that you can get of good company will stand, in your marrying of a godly and virtuous wife… being flesh of your flesh and bone of your bone… Marriage is the greates earthly felicity… without the blessing of God you cannot look for a happy marriage… Keep your body clean and unpolluted while you give it to your wife whom to only it belongs… Why should the half be clean, and the other defiled... I know fornication is thought but a venial sin by the most part of the world, yet remember well what I said in my first book regarding conscience, and count every sin and breach of  God’s law, not according as the vain world esteems of it, but as God judge and maker of law accounts the same: hear God commanding… by the mouth of John reckoning out fornication among other grievous sins that declares the commiters among dogs and swine…Marriage is one of the greates actions that a man does all his time… I trust I need not insist there to dissuade you from the filthy vice of adultery, remember only what solemn promise you made to God at your marriage.”[28] Consider what the kings viewed as horrible crimes: “There are some horrible crimes that ye are bound in conscience never to forgive: such as witchcraft, willful murder, incest, and sodomy.”[29] Are those the words of a homosexual? I did not know homosexuals had such a high regard for God’s holy institution of marriage and such a low view of sodomy!

 

The truth about so-called “errors” in the KJV

 

   Many have railed on the KJV because of what they call “errors” or “mistranslations” and the use of what they say are “transliterated” words. But the careful reader who reads the context, compares Scripture with Scripture, and is willing to consult a reliable dictionary will soon see that the real error is not found in the Bible, but in those who call it into question.

 

   Please consider that though it is claimed that Jesus and the Apostles used a Greek Translation of the Hebrew Old Testament, not ONE TIME is it recorded that they said, “The original says…” or it “A better translation would be…” They took their translation (what ever it was) and just preached it as the WORD OF GOD. Never in the recorded pages of God’s word do you find them leaving questions in the minds of their hearers about the purity of the Scripture. Should we do any less? Whose example should we follow in this area? Unreliable men who, more than not, disagree about a text or our Lord and his Apostles?

 

   Let’s consider a few of the so-called errors. First, consider the word “prevent” found in I Thessalonians 4:15, which says, “For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.” The word “prevent” in this verse has almost been ridden to death as an “error” or “mistranslation” in the KJV. But, the truth of the matter is that it is a very good translation. Some ask, “Should not the word ‘prevent’ be translated ‘precede’?” No! Just because a word could be translated a different way does not mean that it should be. Should is too strong of a word, because “prevent” is not an error or a bad translation. Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary says that "prevent" is from the Latin “prea” meaning “before” and “venire” meaning “to come”.  Webster’s first listed definition is: “to precede”. So if “precede” is what “prevent” means as Webster’s says, then according to those who cry for “precede”, “prevent” must be a CORRECT translation in spite of the fact that they say it is not one.

 

   Secondly, the use of “Ghost” in “Holy Ghost” as opposed to the use of “Spirit” has also been called into question. Some call it into question because of the “mysticism” associated with the word ghost. Others question its usage because one of the two words are not exclusively used to the exclusion of the other. But is this an ERROR? No, not for a moment!

 

   The word “ghost”, according to Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary, comes from the Anglo-Saxon word “gast”, which means “breath or spirit”. Which RIGHTLY correspond with the Greek word “pneuma”, which according to Strongs, can mean “ghost”, “spirit”, “breath”, “blow” or “wind”.  “Ghost” in Holy Ghost is far from being a mistranslation or an error.

 

   But, what about its lack of uniformity you may ask. What about it? No Bible translation (English or otherwise) has uniformity for the translations of its words! If one demands uniformity how will you have it? In this case, will you have “pneuma” exclusively translated as “ghost”, “spirit”, “breath”, “blow” or “wind”? And with “pneuma” what about its corresponding nouns and verbs with their attached suffixes and prefixes? Must now a man “give up the wind” or must we Baptize in the name of the “Holy Breath” or the “Holy Wind”? In bare, raw, words without consideration of context, word order, etymology or a host of other questions and qualifications that translators must deal with, the Greek word “pneuma” could be translated in any one of those ways into the English and that uniformly, but a good English translation demands more that just choosing one English word and sticking with it just for the sake of uniformity.

 

   Try sticking with uniformity in John 3:8 and see what you will get. The KJV says, “The wind BLOWETH where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the SPIRIT.” “Bloweth” and “Spirit” are translated from the same Geek word. Is there an “error” because they are not translated uniformly? No!

 

   To satisfy the “ghostly crowd” I will now make the GUV (Ghostly Uniformity Version). In it John 3:8 will read, “The wind Ghosteth where it listeth…so is every one that is born of the Ghost”. Ah, but the “breathers” do not like that so I will make a BUV (Breathing Uniformity Version) it will read,  “The wind breathes where it listeth…so is every one that is born of the Breath”. But the “windy” men will not have that and the “spirit” people tell me I’m wrong. So what will I do? I will leave well enough alone, and just take the words as they are written and God has preserved them in the KJV!

 

   The truth is that there are many words in the Greek language that CANNOT be translated into the English uniformly. Not only that, but the fact that the words of our Modern English Language are derived from, rooted in, and composed of so many different languages like Latin, Anglo-Saxon, Dutch, French and others show the wisdom of God in providentially guiding the KJV Translators to use such a variety of words.

 

   Finally, being unashamed to be called a “Baptist”, and loving that God given and heavenly ordained name as I do, I cringe to think that any English speaking Baptist would call the use of such a word or its corresponding verbs into question. But, sadly “Baptist”, “baptize”, “baptized”, “baptizing” are viewed by some Baptist as “errors” in the KJV.

 

   Some in their zeal to teach what the word baptism means, and how it should be defined would have us believe that there was some kind of Anglican or Catholic conspiracy to keep the meaning of the Greek word “baptizo” from the English speaking people. Some have even suggested that King James Himself forbad its translation to do damage to the Baptist cause. Others go so far as to say that the majority of Baptists rejected the use of such scandalous words as “Baptist” and “baptism” because they were not translated but transferred from the Greek into our English version. However, ALL such clamor is without one shred of historical evidence! To the contrary, many pages of documentation could be given to show that ALL those claims are false.

 

   Baptists used the English word “Baptist” in its different English forms and spellings to refer to themselves for at least 300 years prior to the KJV. If Baptists rejected the “name” why did they so widely and readily use it? Why did they call themselves Baptists? Why not call themselves “Dippers” or “Immersionists”? If King James or the Translators wanted to suppress the “Baptists” they would have been better off to remove “Baptist” and its corresponding words in their version than retain its use.

 

   It can be proven by the historical record that “baptism” and “Baptist” was not a newly coined word in 1611 and that men knew what the word meant. Arimatage admits, “From the introduction of Christanity into Britain, its baptism has been immersion.”.[30] Multiple quotes could be provided to prove that there was a general knowledge throughout Europe that the Greek word “Baptizo” meant to dip, plunge, or immerse and that the ENGLISH word baptism meant the same thing. The major issue about baptism in England in the days preceding the translation of the KJV was not about the mode of baptism, it was about its subjects. There was general uniformity for immersion, the real dispute in those days was who could be baptized; unbelieving infants or believers?[31]

 

   The Church of England generally practiced dipping for their so-called infant baptism until the mid 17th century. In the rare cases where they sprinkled they called it such. This is so noted by the Baptist William Brantly, “If Baptism was one of the old ecclesiastical words which were to be retained, it certainly could not have been because of any partiality for infant sprinkling was detected in that term. It had been, up to the time when King James’ Version was made, the uniform and invariable understanding, that to baptize signified to dip or plunge into water.” [32]

 

   For all the Baptists who clamor for changing the so called “error” of “Baptist” and “baptism” why not stop calling yourselves “Baptists”? Do we not derive our name from the scriptures? Was not our blessed Lord a “Baptist”? Did He not start a “Baptist” Church?  I heartily agree with H. B. Taylor when he wrote, The Baptist name is as divine as a Baptist Church. Both came from heaven. Both came from God. [33] I pray all my Baptist readers can say Amen!

 

   To these three so-called errors in the KJV could be added words and phrases like “church”, “perfect”, “atonement”, “candlestick”, “cross”, “God forbid”, “quit you like men” and a host of others that have been called into question. None of them are in anyway “errors”. They are all good ENGLISH words and phrases that are easily understood when taken in context and looked at with a good dictionary. I concur with Bunyan: “What you find suiting with the scriptures, take, though it should not suit with authors; but that which you find against the scriptures, slight, though it should be confirmed by multitudes of them…yet well furnished with the words of God, I mean the Bible, I have contented myself with what I have found…[34]

 

Conclusion

 

   Is the KJV the word of God? I will unashamedly say YES! If I do not have the words of God where are they? I must have THEM! My very life depends on THEM, for His, “words…are life” (John 6:63)! I earnestly desire to, “hear what God the LORD will speak” (Psa. 85:8). Tell me, where are God’s words? Where are they?

 

   Ah, dear one, I do not need you to tell me where they are for I know where to find THEM! I read THEM just a moment ago, and have consistently quoted THEM throughout this article. And, with eternal confidence in the midst of doubters, I will lift up my voice with Jeremiah in praise to the LORD and say, “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts.” (Jer. 15:16). With the Psalmist I can praise God and say, “How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!”  (Psa. 119:103). And, dear one, when by God’s sovereign grace you can simply believe that you too have GOD’S WORDS, I will offer eternal praise to God, “…because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.” (1 Thess. 2:13)

 



[1] Jones, Wm., The History of the Christian Church, Vol. II (London: Harjette, 1826), pg. 34

[2] Morland, Samuel, The History of the Evangelical Churches of the Valleys of Piemont, Book 1 (London: Hills, 1658), pg.18.

[3] Morland, pg.44.

[4] Pink, A.W., The Divine Inspiration of the Bible (Swengel, PA: Reiner Publications), p. 129.

[5] By their own admission the NKJV translators, “were free to consult an available Greek text, and they did so” (Nashville, TN, Thomas Nelson 1982), p. 1234.

[6] Cawtorn, C. P. & Warnell, N. L., Pioneer Baptist Church Records 1799-1899, p. 23. 

[7] Spencer, J. H., A History of Kentucky Baptists, Volume II, 1885, Pg 508.

[8] Cathacart, Wm., The Baptist Encyclopedia (Philadelpha, Everts, 1883), p.129.

[9] Brantly, Wm., Objections to a Baptist Version (New York; Callender, 1837), p. 6

[10] Armitage, Thomas, History of the Baptist (New York; Bryan 1889), p. 901.

[11] See: Armitage, pg. 893-918; Cathcart, p. 25, 98.; Williams, Wm., The Common English Version (New York: Gray, 1850);

[12] Officially, the Seventh Day Adventists did not believe that the KJV was the preserved word of God in 1930 and do not believe it is so now. This can be seen by their refusal to publish Our Authorized Bible Vindicated by Benjamin Wilkinson in 1930 and by their current use and preference of the versions stemming from the corrupt Westcott and Hort text. Those who reject Wilkins work stand with the official position of the Seventh Day Adventist Church.

[13] Jacobus, Catholic and Protestant Bibles, p.4.

[14] Morland, pg.5.

[15] Crosby, Thomas, History of the English Baptist, Vol. I, (London, 1738), Appendex Number III, p. 27-66.

[16] Crosby, Thomas, History of the English Baptist, Vol. II, (London, 1739), p. 98-144.

[17] American Baptist Publication Society, (Philadelphia, 1851).

[18] Anderson, Christopher, The Annals of the English Bible, Vol. II (London, Pickering, 1845), p. 369;  Fuller, Davis, Which Bible (Grand Rapids, MI, 1981 reprint), pg. 16.

[19] Fuller, Pg. 13-24.

[20] Web site: http://www.pilgrimhall.org/PSNote9.htm

[21] See: Anderson, p. 365-389.

[22] James I to Robert Cecil, his Secretary of State, 1612; (Source: http://www.tcnj.edu/~graham/LIT358fall05.htm).

[23] Bryant, Todd, KJV-onlyism, (The Berea Baptist Banner Nov. 2010), p. 448.

[24] Anderson, p. 387-388.

[25] Anderson, p. 388.

[26]The Bible and Homosexuality (http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_bmar.htm); David And Jonathan (http://www.gaychristian101.com/David-and-Jonathan.html)

[27] Coston, Stephen A. Sr., King James the VI of Scotland & the I of England - Unjustly accused? (St. Petersburg, FL, Konigs Wort, 1996), p. 30.

[28] James VI of Scotland, Basilicon Doron, 1599 as quoted in, King James the VI of Scotland & the I of England - Unjustly accused? Also see: Basilicon Doron, (http://www.jesus-is-lord.com/basilico.htm).

[29] Ibid.

[30] Arimatage; p.462

[31] Christian, John T. A History of the Baptist, Vol. I  (1922), p.213-214.

[32] Brantly, P 21-22; See also: Crosby, History of the English Baptist, Vol. III, (London, 1740),  Vol. III, preface. p. xlii-xiv; Williams, p.47-48.

[33] Taylor, H. B. Sr., Why be a Baptist,  (Lexington, KY, Bryan Station B.C, 1998 reprint), p. 33.

[34] Chaplin, Jeremiah, The Riches of Bunyan (New York, American Tract Society 1850), p.44.