by Timothy S. Morton
Copyright © 1993
Timothy S. Morton
All Rights Reserved
All Scripture references and quotations (except where indicated) are from the
Authorized King James Bible
In days past purchasing a Bible was simple. All a person had to do was go to a store that sold them, find one the size he wanted and with a cover he liked, and pay for it; he then had his own copy of the word of God. The buyer did not have to choose which version he wanted because for all practical purposes only one was available—the Authorized King James Version of 1611. In those days when a person said "Bible" everyone knew he was referring to the King James Version. Today, however, this simple task has become much more complicated. In the last one hundred years (especially the last thirty), publishers have bombarded Christians with dozens of new translations, each claiming to be superior to the King James Version. All of these new "Bibles" on the market leave many Christians (especially new converts) in a dilemma. They do not know which one to get. They want to get the best one or the right one, but which is it? A conversation between a new Christian and a salesman in a modern Christian bookstore could go like the following:
"Can I help you sir?"
"Yes, I have recently gotten saved and would like to buy a Bible."
"Very well sir. We have just received another shipment of one of the newest translations, The New International Version. It is highly recommended by Bible scholars the world over. It is translated from the oldest and best Hebrew and Greek texts and is much more accurate than the older versions." He hands him one.
The Christian opens it, reads a few lines, and thinks to himself: "This doesn't read like the Bible I was led to Christ with."
The salesman continues, "Also, we have The New American Standard Version which many claim to be the most accurate, and we still have the old American Standard Version which some prefer."
The salesman turns and points to the shelves full of Bibles behind him and continues, "Here is The New Revised Standard Version which is recommended by many of the leading denominations. It's a recent revision of the old Revised Standard Version which is still popular. Plus, we have The New Century Version, The Good News Bible, The Living Bible, The Amplified Bible, The New King James Version, The New English Bible, The New American Bible, The New Jerusalem Bible and also Phillip's, Weymouth's, Goodspeed's, and Moffat's New Testament translations. In addition, we have special study Bibles by Scofield, Dake, Bullinger, Thompson, Rice, Zodhiates, Willmington, Ryrie, and others which help explain the intent of the original languages."
The Christian looks at the mass of Bibles and is bewildered. He finally says: "Do you have a Bible that says: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved?"' He emphasizes "thou shalt."
The man replies: "Well sir, you must be referring to the OLD King James Version. It was a good translation in its day, but it contains several errors; it also has many archaic words in it that are hard to understand. This has all been corrected in these new versions. For serious Bible study we recommend one of the new versions, but if you want the old King James we do have it."
The Christian thinks, "I did not realize there were so many different Bibles; I always thought there was only one. How can I know which one of these is the best? Can they all be the word of God if they are different? Is the King James Version I was led to Christ with plagued with errors? I don't know what to do." He flips through the pages of the NIV the salesman showed him first and says: "Well, if the old King James is not the best...I guess I will take one of these others...."
Scenes similar to this happen hundreds of times every year. They occur not only in bookstores, but also in homes, places of work, and even in churches. The desire for God's word has led many Christians into a complex maze of advertising, salesmanship, scholarship, and opinion which often leaves them confused. Confusion is a state God is not the author of (I Corinthians 14:33). He wants every believer to have His pure word and KNOW he has it!
In most churches in America there is no written, final authority-no Bible which is the absolute, FINAL authority for ALL matters of faith and practice. Because of this, one may see a wide variety of Bible versions brought by the members of these churches to a service. Some may bring an NIV to read while others bring an ASV or NASV Still others may prefer the NEB RSV, NCV, NKJV, or any other version as their "favorite" translation. And as if this is not enough "diversity," during the service they may hear the pastor appeal to yet another translation (maybe even his OWN). Some ministers use several different versions in a single message. What a recipe for confusion! All of these versions conflict with each other in thousands of places, and compared with the King James, many of the differences affect MAJOR DOCTRINES. This flood of modern, contradicting "translations" has made it so that the average Christian today has no standard Bible to consult as his final authority. All he has is a "reliable" translation which he "PREFERS," but he does not even prefer it in every passage. One person may prefer version A in one passage and version B in another, while another will prefer just the opposite! What a tragedy. Has the word of God become subject to the whimsical preferences of wordly, carnal, egocentric Christians? Many treat it as if it has.
Is it God's will that the Christian world be flooded with so many
different English translations? If not, how can a person know which
one is the infallible word of God? How can he know which version (or
versions) is God's pure word; the one which contains the very words
God wants him to have? These very questions puzzled the author until
God opened his eyes to the truth of the matter. This book is an
attempt to help others who may be in the same dilemma. Our purpose is
not to give the many evidences that indicate God wrote a Bible (there
are many good books on this subject), but to deal with the more
relevant matter: does this Bible exist in pure form TODAY?
Before we go any farther let the reader understand, God's pure,
inerrant, infallible word IS ON THIS EARTH and He wants YOU to have it
The issues concerning the Bible, its authority, origin, reliability, passage through history, and present form are issues man has debated for millennia. Nearly every person in history who thought himself knowledgeable had a definite opinion about the word of God and these many opinions varied greatly. Of those who professed "religion," some thought "God's word" was not made up of words at all but of only general ideas or concepts. Others claimed God did speak words to man, but insisted His words were mixed with "Jewish fables" or otherwise corrupted and "The Church" must sort them out for him. Still others believed His words were originally "given by inspiration" and written down, but since then they have been "lost" because the original manuscripts have not survived the centuries and errors have crept into their copies making them imperfect. And then there were those who believed they had the very words and every word God wanted them to have. Each of these beliefs is represented today, but which one is right? They can't all be. Furthermore, what brought about these conflicting ideas to start with? Where can one look to find the truth? For the answer, why not consider the book the Lord Jesus Christ read (Luke 4:17), studied (Luke 4:16) taught from (Luke 24:27), commanded others to study (John 5:39), and the words He said would never pass away (Matthew 24:35).the Holy Bible?
To find what the scriptures say about these matters one does not have to go more than three chapters into the book of Genesis. It is not by accident the subject of God's word and how it is treated by different individuals is found at the very beginning of the scriptures. God wants man to learn before he reads in them any farther that there are forces at work who question His word and attempt to corrupt it. This is clearly seen in Genesis chapters two and three where God is found speaking WORDS to man (2:16), man hears these words spoken (2:16-17), and then someone QUESTIONS whether God really said them (3:1)! Here we are introduced to the first Bible revisor. Satan (Revelation 12:9). Clearly he has great interest in the what God says, not because he loves His words, but because he knows they are the words of life (John 6:63)—the words that deliver captives from his kingdom (1 Peter 1:23).
In Genesis 2:17 God was warning Adam of a danger in the garden which he could not have discovered himself until it was too late, that is, DEATH. God did not want Adam dead, but Satan did, and Satan knew he would have to destroy Adam's, or at least Eve's, confidence in God's word to bring his death about. The method he used to do this worked very well for him, thus he still uses it today; He simply QUESTIONS whether God actually said what He said (Genesis 3:1 "Yea hath God said"). His questioning led Eve to SUBTRACT from God's word, therefore corrupting it (Genesis 3:2, "freely" is subtracted, see 2:16), and it also led her to ADD to His word, further corrupting it (Genesis 3:3, "neither shall ye touch it").
Once Satan has a person doubting God's word, he has him making himself the final authority for his life instead of God ("ye shall be as gods"). Casting doubt is the Devil's specialty. He knows that every lost person he can keep in doubt concerning the Bible will not be saved, and that every saved person he can get to doubt or question it in some area will not fully be what God wants him to be. He easily persuades millions in this manner to trust their own opinion over God's. It is imperative we remember this. The powers behind all the doubt and confusion we have today concerning the word of God are much more powerful than the powers of Madison Avenue or of mere book publishers; they are "spiritual" powers in "high places" which are motivated by "wickedness" (Ephesians 6:12). The Serpent's behavior in Eden proves the realm of God's word is Satan's primary interest. His foremost objective is to question, dilute, deny, corrupt, or mock God's word in the mind of every person so that person will not learn any of the precious truths found in it. If he had his way there would be no pure word of God anywhere on earth, but, praise His name, the God of Heaven, who is infinitely more powerful than Satan, has promised to preserve His word for all generations.
Another thing one must remember about Satan is that he counterfeits or imitates nearly everything God does. He has his own apostles (2 Corinthians 11:13-15), prophets (2 Peter 2:1), messiah (John 5:43), trinity (Revelation 13), bride (Revelation 17), as well as his own Bibles. Something many people seem to forget is, if all translations of the Bible are the word of God as many claim, then where are the Devil's? Did he lose interest in the word since Genesis 3? Has he quit corrupting it (2 Corinthians 2:17)? Is he afraid to influence revision committees? No, on all three counts. The Devil will be attempting to corrupt the word of God until the day he is cast into the lake of fire.
The subtility of Satan is clearly seen in the way he has affected the mentality of Christians in this century. He has convinced millions there is no infallible Bible on earth today by insisting only the original manuscripts were "given by inspiration." To get them to swallow this fallacy, first he reminds them that all the Greek and Hebrew manuscripts which still exist are only copies, and then he insists they therefore must contain errors, making them inferior to the originals. This explains why many scholars speak the way they do in their books and commentaries. They say things like: "The most ancient and reliable texts tell us..." or "The oldest and best texts read...." Why can't they say: "The infallible Bible says..." or "The pure word of God tells us..." and produce their authority? They can't because they do not have a pure and infallible Bible. The only "Bible" these "experts" have is a collection of what they call "reliable manuscripts" (which according to them can only be uninspired copies), and their reliability is based solely upon the "whim and fancy" of each individual's opinion. This leaves them with no final authority at all except their OPINION of what they THINK the originals USED to say! They will not hesitate, however, to "correct" the King James Version every time this authority (opinion) tells them to.
The Devil is playing an intellectual trick on scholars. He uses false logic and reasoning (like he did with Eve) to assure them that since the original manuscripts no longer exist the inspiration they were given by no longer exists either. That is, God's inerrant word vanished with the autographs. If one follows this reasoning, it would be IMPOSSIBLE for anyone in any language to have a pure, infallible Bible. Since all existing manuscripts are copies, and "copies cannot be inspired," no person anywhere could read (or hear) God's pure word. "Yea hath God said." Satan has not changed his tactics in six thousand years. He got Eve to doubt God by convincing her that HER OPINION of the tree was of MORE VALUE than God's, and he gets Christians today to doubt Him by telling them that since the "originals" are gone, they must TRUST the OPINIONS of scholars to provide them with a Bible that is "reliable," but by no means inerrant. Satan learned very early that man values his opinion above nearly everything else, and he will not hesitate to use this egoism against him.
In view of this, it is interesting to observe that when most fundamentalist preachers preach about the Bible they insist it IS inspired, infallible, inerrant, the perfect word of God, etc., and wave the Bible they are using (usually a KJV) as though they are referring to it. However, when questioning them closely one will find they actually believe the opposite. Like their mentors above, they do not believe ANY translation is perfect or inerrant and talk like it is impossible for one to be. When forced to say what they mean when they speak of an infallible Bible one will usually reply with something like: "Well, ONLY the original manuscripts were inspired and they no longer exist, but through the labors of highly trained scholars and godly men we have translations today which are accurate and reliable...." That is, he does not have an infallible Bible, he only has one that is (relatively) "accurate and reliable." In light of this, how can he PROVE that ANY version (or the text behind it) is the best when he admits his final authority no longer exists? Likewise, how can he PROVE the King James Version (and its text) is not the best? He cannot prove either. He has been pulled into Satan's "no perfect translation" hoax and exalts his favorite scholar's opinion (or his own) as his final authority even when it robs him of an inerrant Bible.
Did God allow the purity of His word to be destroyed with the original writings of Moses, David, Paul, etc.? Did He only leave man defective texts and "reliable translations" that are not perfect or inerrant? Does a person have to be a Greek and Hebrew scholar before he can have the very words God wants him to have? These and other questions we will try to answer in the following so the Bible believer can give a good answer (1 Pet. 3:15) to those who attack his precious Bible (KJV), and also so someone who may be confused about the different translations can see reasons why he should believe the Authorized King James Version of 1611 is the Bible God wants him to have, use, and most of all, believe.
The foundation of all true Christian doctrine must be the scriptures alone, so our contention that the Authorized Version is inerrant must be based upon precepts and principles found in them to be valid. These precepts and principles, we maintain, are easily discovered by anyone who humbly reads the Bible and believes what it says. The ONLY "textbook" the reader needs to determine if the arguments we present in the following chapters are both biblical and reasonable is the Bible itself. It should be his ultimate authority. The reader could study extra-biblical material such as manuscript evidence and become fully acquainted with the different families of Greek manuscripts and their histories, but this is not necessary to know the truth. The scriptures themselves, AS WE HAVE THEM (KJV), claim to be the truth (John 17:17), and all a person has to do to see if they are is OPEN THEM AND TRY THEM OUT (John 7:17)!
The study of manuscripts, however, (not of the Bible itself) is the primary occupation of many scholars. Some of them spend their entire adult life analyzing old parchments and teaching Greek (and/or Hebrew) grammar, yet they still do not have a perfect Bible. Their extensive education and great knowledge of Greek texts has not given them an infallible Bible in ANY language. Therefore, a believer should not be intimidated by the high-sounding talk of some of them who say the King James Version is plagued with errors. As stated before, when forced they will admit their final authority on the subject no longer exists and is not available for inspection. Thus, the reader should realize that such critical statements are only opinion no matter how "scholarly" the person may seem. Furthermore, about the only thing many of these Bible correctors have in common is their contempt for the King James Version as the standard English Bible.God's FINAL authority in English. They may differ among themselves about what is the best Greek text for translation and on how each word should be translated, but all will agree that the Authorized Version contains many "unfortunate errors" and needs "updating." One quickly learns when reading their material that each one has his own idea of what text and translation is best; this is why the English speaking world has over one hundred different translations and no two read the same! With no final authority to appeal to there can be as many Bibles as there are opinions!
Again, a Christian is not required to have a knowledge of the original languages or of manuscript evidence before he can have the truth, and neither does he have to follow those who do (or think they do). God never intended for any "elite" group of Christians to have a monopoly on His word. The believer's faith is not to be in man's "ability" to find and translate the right Greek text, but in God's promise to PRESERVE His word and supply it to His children! Therefore, we are not going to bore the reader with constant appeals to ancient manuscripts which he has never heard of, nor are we going to emphasis the opinions of scholars (of whatever persuasion) on the way Greek and Hebrew words should be translated. God has warned the believer not to trust in man or make flesh his arm (Jeremiah 17:5), so in this study we are going to trust God that He has given us His word (KJV) and believe what He has revealed to us in it.
In short, this book is written with the firm belief that the King James Version is innocent until proven guilty. No person has yet proven one error in it, and we believe no one ever will. Edward F. Hills in his book, Believing Bible Study, states on page 81:
When we defend the King James Version, we do not place it on a level with other English Bible versions and then try to find out which version has the fewest mistakes. This would be to subjective. We must start out rather with the objective fact that the King James Version is preeminently the English Bible translation on which God has placed the stamp of His approval. Hence the King James Version must be regarded as correct unless it can be conclusively shown to be otherwise. Those who assail it must be required to prove their point. By demonstrating that they cannot do so we defend our historic English Bible.
Though we do not agree with everything Dr. Hills says in this excellent book, much of it we do agree with, and what he stated above expresses our position exactly. We are not much concerned about what man in general thinks of the King James Version, but we are very concerned about what GOD thinks of it! It has now been more than 380 years since its arrival into history in 1611, more than enough time to allow us to accurately look back and see the attitude God has had towards it since then. A very brief examination of its fruitful history should convince any unbiased person that God's attitude towards it has been very favorable. It is clearly the English Bible He has placed His stamp of approval on at the expense of all others. In the following pages we will present some of the virtues that account for its superiority.