Unauthorized Rhetoric

Unauthorized Rhetoric

The oft repeated jingle, “Things different are not the same”, is a half truth spouted by those attempting to defend our English Bible. I suspect that the jingle first came into vogue among KJVO when trying to demonstrate that a sectarian, particular or individually preferred Version was indeed different and not simply an “easier to understand Version” as Critics of our English Bible pretend. The truth is things different can indeed be the same, this should never be construed to mean all things different are the same.

For example:

1) the equations 2 + 2, 2 x 2 and 4 / 2 are all different, but the results are the same.

2) the autograph was written in a very different language than our English Bible, but they are both Scriptures in their respective languages despite the differences.

3) synonyms are two or different words that have the same meaning.

4) the four Gospels are different yet each one has the same character being the word of God.

The English Authorized Version of the Holy Scriptures has changed not just in orthography as some imply, but in jot and tittles, added words, word counts, plural to singular, his to her, our to your, etc. yet it remains the word of God in English.

God’s word does indeed “remain the same”, but “the same” is not defined, nor can it be, by word counts, differences in pronouns, tenses, plurals, etc. The word of God is always pure (doesn’t change), always true (doesn’t change), always infallible (doesn’t change), always given by inspiration of God in its written form (doesn’t change), always the final authority in matters of doctrine (doesn’t change), etc. It is the CHARACTER of God’s word that “remains the same” and not language, syntax, jot & tittles, word counts, etc.

This soundbite was brought to you by Just Balances dot org (Prov 11:1; Lev 19:36; Ezek 45:10, etc.)

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They don’t do nothing

“Some Fundamentalists get so hung up on ‘don’t’, ‘don’t’, ‘don’t’ ‘don’t’ that they don’t do nothing!” Dr, Peter S. Ruckman.

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God’s book unto God’s people in a tongue which they can understand

“Therefore,blessed be they, and most honored be their name that break the ice, and give the onset upon that which helpeth forward to the saving of souls. Now what can be more available thereto than to deliver God’s book unto God’s people in a tongue which they can understand?”
Preface to King James’ Bible.

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Brief history of Standardization

The Westminster Divines unquestionably believed THE RECEIVED TEXT as noted by the citations in their Confession of Faith. They believed the ENGLISH SCRIPTURES to be the word of God for English speakers.

God has spoken to man in divers manners throughout history (Heb 1:1-2). God spoke directly to men in time past – face to face (Ex 33:11). God spoke to men through visions and dreams (Num 12:6). God spoke to men via a voice from heaven (Dan 4:31, Acts 9:4). In these last days he has spoken unto us by his Son (Heb 1:2). At one time God gave his people a finger of God autograph. God also gave authorized Scriptures that were God’s authority in written form. The words of God were confirmed unto his people by signs and wonders (Ex 4:8, Mark 16:20!!!). The words of God were confirmed by living apostles (Acts 14:3, 1Thes 2:13). The apostles and prophets knew that they would depart, but before departing they commended the Church of God to the word of his grace (Acts 20:32) and a more sure word of prophesy (1P 1:19). The autographs written by men were made up of oral tradition, historical records, eye-witness accounts, direct revelation, etc. These compiled and edited written records were Canonized into Scriptures. The inspiration of God includes all of the above and has never been limited to a point in time historical record with jots and tittles assembled in a dictated order. This is confirmed by Paul when he tells us that Timothy knew the Holy Scriptures from his youth and that all Scripture is given by inspiration of God. Timothy did not have a face to face conversation with God, did not receive visions or dreams, and did not possess the autograph, but he did know the Scriptures (note the meaning of the word) from his youth.

Now the question presented before us today, is how do you and I recognize the Scriptures? You and I don’t know the Scriptures by a face to face conversation with God. We don’t recognize the Scriptures by dreams or visions. Extant Scriptures are not confirmed unto us by signs and wonders, nor do Apostles directly affirm to us what are and what are not the Scriptures. Yes, you and I know beyond reasonable doubt that the Scriptures are limited to a 66 book Canon (Standard). That Standard was established by a consensus of born again Spirit filled believers after the apostles departed. Guess what? That Standard is unidirectional, you don’t get to go back and change the established Standard, irregardless of modern advancements, archaeological discoveries, axioms of modern textual critical theory or your preference in the matter.

The Scriptures (note the word for it has definite meaning) have been preserved for us in the form that God wants us to have. Historically, the Scriptures were hand copied and passed down from generation to generation (preservation). The Scriptures (God’s written authority) has never been about sectarian, peculiar, private or individually preferred copies, but rather the generally accepted consensus of copies received and recognized by God’s elect as the very words of God in written form. This is to say that the Scriptures have never been limited to an exact jot & title copy in someone’s hand. “I believe the Bible in my hand” has morphed in meaning and has been hijacked by the Will Kenney’s of the world. It used to mean in my day, Sola Scriptura, that is believers had a practical recognizable readily available authoritative Standard in written form that they could appeal to in all matters of faith and practice. Due to the chaotic nature of manuscripts (handwritten as distinguished from printed), Standardized copies always held more authority than sectarian, peculiar, private or individually preferred copies. Those Standardized copies were normally held in places of worship, i.e. synagogues, churches. Individuals who were able had personal copies made for themselves, which they read for their benefit, but where their personal, sectarian, or preferred copy differed from the authorized copy, held or used at the local synagogue or church, the authorized Standard copy held precedent. For example, two brethren discussing the Scriptures and a doctrinal point hinges on a given word, phrase or verse – as long as both of the copies in their hands agreed they could work out the doctrinal problem. Where the word, phrase or verse disagreed significantly (not spelling, word order, jot & tittle counts, etc.) their only recourse was to appeal to the mutually recognized Standard, the one recognized by all as authoritative.

And then in the providence of God man invented the printing press. The printing press was a game changer, because the chaotic text found in the multiplicity of manuscripts could be stabilized. And that is exactly what the Reformers set out to do – stabilize the chaotic text via standardization. They accomplished this both in Greek and the several foreign languages of their day. Early compilations and printings both in Greek and translations met with minor differences and were also Standardized. This is noted by the KJV men when they set as their goal one principle version not to be justly excepted against.

Now, as you said, this unidirectional relationship proves, without a doubt, what the standard actually is – the Standardized text established historically after the printing press. No going back and changing it is allowed! The Standard had already been established long before Wescott and Hort’s grandparents were out of their nappies.

Herein lies the problem and the current debate, because Modern Scholars are not trying to simply answer the questions to the lingering doubts that the Reformers had about the meaning of a few difficult Hebrew words or reach a consensus agreement about the marginal notes of the KJV men who noted “possible alternate readings”. No, that is exactly not the case. Modern Textual Critics REJECT the stabilized and Standardized text of the Reformers as INFERIOR, VILE, and CONTEMPTIBLE, the translation of the KJV men as INFERIOR, CORRUPT, and UNFAITHFUL to the original – their own speculative reconstruction of a chaotic 2nd century Greek text. Modern Scholars and Textual Critics are admittedly trying to reconstruct a text from one of the most chaotic in history – the 2nd century. By doing so they reject the stabilization and standardization done by the Reformers since the printing press.

I’m pretty well convinced by past experience that none of this is going to persuade you to take up my position, but at least it gives you a glimpse into my perspective. That I have indeed carefully weighed the arguments on both sides and reached what I believe is a reasonable conclusion. What does this mean practically? It means that where your preferred edition of the Bible differs (really differs, not in the petty “jot & tittle” differences pounced upon by wild-eyed KJVO) from my Standardized Version we are at an impasse: I’ll say, “Thus saith the Lord”, and you’ll respond, “No He didn’t.” And around and around we’ll go. So, like I have to do with the JW’s (no innuendo or poisoning the well intended) I’ll quote the verse, allow them to deny it, which they always do with similar arguments against the AV made by those on this board, and then move unto other verses found in their Bible to prove my point. That is where their Bible contains the same text (consensus) practical authority is established.

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Sir Frederic Kenyon – passage not preserved

“In some passages it seems certain that the true reading has not been preserved by any ancient authority, and we are driven to conjecture in order to supply it. But such passage are an infinitesimal portion of the whole and may be disregarded. The Christian can take the whole Bible in his hand and say without fear or hesitation that he holds in it the true Word of God, handed down without essential loss from generation to generation throughout the centuries.”
Our Bible and the Ancient Manuscripts, Sir Frederic Kenyon, pg. 23

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The Word of God in English, Leland Ryken

“The language of 1Peter is nearer to the standards of classical Greek than the vernacular koine…Nonliterary koine varies from a ‘crude and frequently ungrammatical form of Greek to the standard literary form.’…One thing
that Metzger and others have emphasized is the degree to which the Greek of the New Testament has been suffused with Hebraic terminology from the Old Testament. Regarding this liturgical flavor in the New Testament, Albrecht Ritschl claimed that ‘the Old Testament is the lexicon of the New Testament.’ This casts a new light on the King James Version, which is so scorned by dynamic equivalent translators for its strangeness. Someone has written that ‘the New Testament was written in Hebraized Greek. The KJV with its literalism is Hebraized English.’ The import of this is that a contemporary colloquial translation of the New Testament that makes everything sound ‘natural’ might be the very translation that is farthest from the original text… In other words, there are parts of the Bible for which we can unequivocally say that the easier a translation is to read, the more inaccurately it has translated the original text. (pg 100)…The fact that the New Testament was written in koine Greek should not lead translators to translate the Bible in a uniformly colloquial style. Finally, a good translation does not attempt to make the Bible simpler than it was for the original audience…A good translation does not patronize its readers. It expects the best from them. It does not slant itself to a grade-school level for the simple reason that most Bible readers are ‘not’ grade-schoolers. The Bible deserves the quality of attention and comprehensions that we devote to other kinds of reading. My concern here is not the exact level of reading that is required. In fact, I am suspicious of translations that allow a grade level to set the ground for a translation. My concern is the question of what we expect from readers. Some modern translations indulge and insult their readers They expect less from readers when they read the Bible than when they read other things. A good translation elevate both the Bible and its readers instead of diminishing them.” (290)…As a literary scholar has said, ‘If passages of the Scriptures are to suggest things of supra-phenomenal reality, it cannot well be done in the natural vocabulary of our current speech.’ In an earlier chapter I took up the subject of the diminishment of language in modern translations. The antidoe to such diminishment is to maintain the elevation of the King James tradition.” (pg 281).

The Word of God in English, Criteria for Excellence in Bible Translation, Leland Ryken.

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John R. Rice

“Any rejection of the Bible is a rejection of Jesus Christ.” pg 35

“The critic of the Bible is the critic of Jesus Christ.” pg 38

“One cannot be saved without believing the Bible.” pg 37

“There is no way of being saved except by taking the Bible at face value and its message as the authoritative Word of God.” pg 33

“Every common Christian can thank God that he has in his hand the very Word of God itself.” pg 30

“Note that God has guaranteed the preservation of His Word!” pg 30

“We have in our hands, in a standard English translation, the reliable, trustworthy Word of God. It is in English instead of Hebrew and Greek, but it
is the very word of God.” pg. 29

“One who makes the Bible or any part of the Bible a lie, makes a liar of Jesus Christ who called it His Word and who has guaranteed that it would never pass away. Jesus quoted and believed the Bible and put His approval and guarantee upon its authenticity and authority.” pg 38

Our Perfect Book, by John R. Rice

“There are many reasons why the principal translation used in the pulpit and the Sunday school and the home should be the King James Version.” pg 380

“There are some complaints against the King James Version, particularly by the liberals. They say there are ‘so many archaic words.’ Actually, you will not find one archaic word of doubted meaning to every three pages. The context nearly always makes the sense of any such word clear.” pg 380

“But some exclaims, ‘Today young people cannot understand the King James Version.’ The complaint is silly. I taught college sophomores Shakespeare and there are ten times as many obsolete or archaic terms in Shakespeare as in your King James translation of the same period, and the translation of the King James Version is more classic, more influential and more eternal than all the writing of Shakespeare. Chaucer is studied in English classes with hardly a sentence in the language as we now know it, and students learn that. One archaic word in three or four chapters does not faze any interested reader. Again and again we have read the whole Bible through at the breakfast table and each child from seven or eight years on read her part daily.” pg 380-381

“Some enthusiastic teachers may get young people interested in a modern version and so think that they learn it more easily. But the same enthusiasm would get them to enjoy the King James Version as much.” Pg 381

“‘I can’t understand it,’ says some querulous youthful voice; or, ‘I don’t enjoy the King James Version.’ You can’t understand ‘the LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want’ and other sweet cadences of the 23rd Psalm? You cannot understand ‘in my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you,’ in that most comforting chapter of John 14? You cannot understand the Beatitude such as, ‘Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God’? There are really no uninteresting parts of the Bible, there ar some uninterested people. And the antagonism or indifference which one may have toward the Bible is not really intellectual; it is spiritual. Some people do not love the Bible and do not read it, not because of archaic words but because of the natural, human antipathy to spiritual things, the indifference of the sinful, human heart to divine things. Their real antipathy is not toward the King James Version but toward the Bible itself.” Pg 381

“There is no evidence that any translation of the Bible now in existence will ever supersede the King James Version in the love and usage by common Christians.” pg 381

Our God-Breathed Book – The Bible, The Verbally Inspired, Eternal, Inerrant Word of God”, Dr. John R. Rice.

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