THE FOUR-FOLD SUPERIORITY OF THE KING JAMES VERSION
By Dr. D.A. Waite
Dr. Donald Waite is a Baptist scholar who has written in the defense of the Received Text for many years. He 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 honors in New Testament Greek Literature and Exegesis; an M.A. and Ph.D. in Speech; a Th.D. with honors 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. The following study is a summary of Waite’s book Defending the King James Bible, which is available from Bible for Today, 900 Park Avenue, Collingswood, New Jersey 08108. Waite presents a four-fold superiority of the King James Bible: (1) SUPERIOR TEXTS (HEBREW AND GREEK); (2) SUPERIOR TRANSLATORS; (3) SUPERIOR TECHNIQUE; and (4) SUPERIOR THEOLOGY.
We begin with a couple of introductory thoughts about Bible translations:
Readability and the King James Bible. Many people say, “The KING JAMES BIBLE is too hard for people to read, they can’t understand it.” Well, if you consult the readability index called “Right Writer” (a computer program) that is absolutely neutral on this subject, you will find readabilities for the portions of the KING JAMES BIBLE examined as follows:
From this chart you can see that the KING JAMES BIBLE is NOT too difficult to understand–provided that you can read at a 6th to 10th grade level. Our son, D. A. Waite, Jr., has written a study he calls Six Bible Versions Compared on Readability–A Comparison of the KJB, NKJV, ASV, RSV, NRSV, and NIV. He took the first chapter of every book in the Bible, from Genesis through Revelation and compared the six versions of the Bible mentioned above. In this sampling, the KJV, over all, has a “Flesch Grade Level” of from 6.1 to 8.6. The NIV, on the other hand, has a “Flesch Grade Level” of from 6.1 to 11.0!! The NIV is not only less accurate by far, but also less readable than the King James! From this evidence, we see that it’s not too hard to understand the KING JAMES BIBLE.
I know hundreds of people whose intelligence and educational levels have not reached as high as some of these … people who say they can’t understand this King James Bible, yet these people do understand it. How do you figure that out? Remember 1 Co. 2:14 which states, `But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.’ This verse is still true, regardless of which translation is used.
Some people say they like a particular version because they say it’s more readable. Now, readability is one thing, but does the readability conform to what’s in the original Greek and Hebrew language? You can have a lot of readability, but if it doesn’t match up with what God has said, it’s of no profit. In the King James Bible, the words match what God has said. You may say it’s difficult to read, but study it out. It’s hard in the Hebrew and Greek and, perhaps, even in the English in the King James Bible. But to change it around just to make it simple, or interpreting it, instead of translating it, is wrong. You’ve got lots of interpretation, but we don’t want that in a translation. We want exactly what God said in the Hebrew and Greek brought over into English.
Do we need more “translations” of the Bible? It can be asked: “Do we really need more `translations’ of the Bible? Are these new versions really necessary?”
1. Complete English Bibles. In the back of our book, Defending the King James Bible, there’s a chart that lists the number of “complete English Bibles” by years. From the 1300’s through the 1900’s, there were a total of 135 “complete English Bibles.” This is taken from a research that’s been done on English Bibles of all kinds. We notice that, on the average, there has been one complete English Bible every 4.4. years. Do you think we need more Bibles? In the last 604 years (from 1388 through 1991) complete English Bibles have increased in frequency. In the 1300’s, there were only three; in the 1400’s, there were none; in the 1800’s, there were forty-five; in the 1900’s, there were fifty-three (averaging one every 9.9 years).
2. Complete English New Testaments. In the same book, there is a chart that lists the number of “complete English New Testaments” by years. From the 1300’s through the 1900’s, there were a total of 293 “complete English New Testaments.” This is, on the average, one complete English New Testament every 2.1 years. Do you think we need more New Testaments? Even if they were all presently available, imagine someone reading all of them. In the last 612 years (from 1380 through 1991) complete English New Testaments have also increased in frequency. In the 1300’s there was only one complete English New Testament; in the 1400’s, there was none; in the 1800’s, there were ninety; and in the 1900’s, there were 144 (averaging one every .69 years). That’s quite a jump–from ninety to 144!
3. Complete English Bibles and New Testaments combined. If you put the charts together we can see that during the 612 years, from the 1300’s to the 1900’s, there were a total of 135 complete English Bibles, and 293 complete English New Testaments. This totals 428. It means that, on the average, there was either one complete English Bible or complete English New Testament published every 1.4 years. Do we need more complete English Bibles or complete English New Testaments? That’s the question. I believe that the major factor in the production of Bibles and New Testaments is money. When the publishers discover that a certain version no longer brings financial profit to their treasuries, that version runs out of print in a hurry! Very few churches are doing what the Berean Baptist Church in Greenwood, Indiana, is doing–printing Bibles and giving them out at low cost. In fact, they give many of them away without charge. To my knowledge, only those who have the real truth found in the King James Bible are doing this. You will find few, if any, publishers of these false perversions printing them at low cost or without charge!
Now we move to the fourfold superiority of the King James Bible:
#1: THE KING JAMES BIBLE HAS SUPERIOR ORIGINAL LANGUAGE TEXTS. The first reason for defending the KJV is because it has superior texts, both Hebrew and Greek. This correctly implies that the various versions and perversions of the Bible have inferior texts, both Hebrew and Greek.
THE KJV HAS A SUPERIOR O.T. HEBREW TEXT. There are two basic texts in existence in Hebrew, the false one, edited by Ben Asher, and the true one, edited by Ben Chayyim. The Ben Asher is exhibited in Rudolf Kittel’s BIBLIA HEBRAICA (BHK) (1937) with all of his suggested footnote changes, as well as in the Stuttgart edition of BIBLIA HEBRAICA (BHS) (1967-77) with all of their suggested footnote changes. The true text of Ben Chayyim on which our KJV is based is also available. It is called the Daniel Bomberg edition or the Second Great Rabbinic Bible (1524-25). We carry this Hebrew Bible in the Bible for Today ministry. It is the Letteris text, printed in 1866. It has the Masoretic Hebrew text in the center and the King James Bible in the margins. This Ben Chayyim Masoretic Hebrew text was the fact, Rudolf Kittel, in his first two editions of 1906 and 1912, used that texts and substituted the spurious and inferior text which uses the Leningrad Manuscript (B19a or “L”). He used this because he claimed it was the oldest single Hebrew manuscript, dating from about 1008 A.D.
Both of these false Biblia Hebraica (BHK & BHS) Hebrew texts offer in their footnotes about fifteen to twenty suggested changes per page. This adds up to about 20,000 to 30,000 changes in the entire Hebrew Old Testament text. One or the other of these false Hebrew texts, either BHK or BHS, are used as the basis for the O.T. in all modern versions, as can be shown by reading their introductory pages. How many of these changes in the Hebrew text are you ready to accept? Do you want to accept 30,000? How about 20,000? 10,000? How about 5,000? How about 1,000? How many of you would like to accept 500 changes?
If you do not start with an absolute, where there is no doubt, you’re going to continue to move and to accept more and more changes. Where can you stop, once you have begun to slide? Doubts will arise in your mind. We don’t want to move from the Hebrew O.T. on which our KJV is based. We must have an absolute.
My personal belief is that the Traditional Masoretic Hebrew text that underlies the KJV is not only the “closest to the original autographs,” but that it is IDENTICAL to those original autographs. I can’t prove that to anybody, but I accept it as a matter of personal faith. I believe we have the very Words that God has preserved through the years. I believe every Word in the Hebrew text is God’s Word, preserved because He told us He would preserve it for the next 20,000 to 30,000 years–to a “thousand generations.”
The New Versions attempt to “CORRECT” The Hebrew Text in at Least 19 different ways. The NIV uses all nineteen of these, by the way. In effect, the new version “translators/paraphrasers” might say, “Oh, I don’t want to take this Hebrew word here. I want to take the Septuagint (LXX) reading instead.” But the Septuagint (LXX) version for the most part is worse than a Living Version. It is the Old Testament written in Greek. It is rotten. Its text is corrupt. Even the ISBE article, (the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia) on the Septuagint (LXX) states that it has a very tattered and inferior Greek text. Remember, the ISBE is no friend of the King James Bible’s text. The use of the Septuagint (LXX) by these new versions instead of using the Hebrew text is a serious error.
Another one of the nineteen methods is when they have no textual proof at all. It is pure conjecture. They might say, “I don’t have any proof, but I think it sounds better this way.” When this is done, they often print in the footnote an “L” which stands for “legendum,” meaning in Latin, “which read.” I remember Dr. Merrill F. Unger, my Hebrew teacher at Dallas Theological Seminary. He has written many books, including Unger’s Bible Dictionary. He was an apt and humble man, though he reminded me of an “absent-minded professor” at times. He taught us Isaiah in our second year Hebrew class. On one occasion, he read a verse in a way that differed from the Hebrew text. I raised my hand and said, “Why did you read it that way? It doesn’t read that way in the Hebrew text?” Dr. Unger replied, “Well, I just thought it sounded better that way, so I changed it.” Dr. Unger went to the Johns Hopkins University for his Ph.D. work. He was taught by Dr. Albright who was far from sound in his theology. Perhaps Dr. Unger learned this doubt of the Hebrew text from his professor. What was Dr. Unger doing? He was “CORRECTING” the Hebrew text by conjecture.
Some “CORRECT” the Hebrew with the Syriac Version. Some “CORRECT” the Hebrew with just “a few Hebrew manuscripts” rather than the entire Masoretic Traditional Hebrew text. Some “CORRECT” the Hebrew with the Latin Vulgate. Some “CORRECT” the Hebrew with the Dead Sea Scrolls. With the Dead Sea Scrolls, there are a few problems. Problem #1: How do you know which Hebrew manuscripts this heretical cult (called the Essenes) took with them when they left the temple of Jerusalem and went to the area of the Qumran caves? Problem #2: How do you know the methods they used and the accuracy with which they copied and recopied those manuscripts? It just so happens that the Dead Sea Scrolls, probably 99% of the time, did concur with the Hebrew text that underlies the King James Bible. But, in the places where they don’t, we should stick to the Masoretic Traditional Hebrew text.
Some, like the NIV, use “quotations from Jerome” to “CORRECT” the Hebrew text. Some use Josephus, an unsaved Jew, to “CORRECT” the Hebrew text. Some use a “variant Hebrew Reading in the margin” to “CORRECT” the Hebrew text. Some use “words in the consonantal text divided differently” to “CORRECT” the Hebrew text. Some use quotations from Jerome, Aquila, the Samaritan Pentateuch, or Symmachus to “CORRECT” the Hebrew text. Some use the Hebrew Targums, Theodotion, or the “Juxta Hebraica of Jerome for the Psalms” to “CORRECT” the Hebrew text. Why are they taking Jerome as a substitute for the Hebrew Word of God? Was he there? Still others use a “different set of Hebrew Vowels” to “CORRECT” the Hebrew text. Some use “an ancient Hebrew scribal tradition” to “CORRECT” the Hebrew. Some use the BIBLIA HEBRAICA of Kittel or Stuttgartensia to “CORRECT” the Hebrew. These are 19 of the different methods that other English versions have used to “CORRECT” the Masoretic Traditional Hebrew Old Testament text, thus changing the very Words of God!
God authorized the Jews to be the exclusive guardians of His Words. The Jews were to be the guardians of the O.T. Hebrew text. God did not give that privilege and responsibility to any other race or people. “What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God” (Ro. 3:1,2).
It was the Hebrew O.T. text that God preserved, not some text in Greek, Latin, or Syriac, or any of these other documents. It must be Hebrew. There were eight or more important, strict rules that were followed by the Hebrew scribes who copied and recopied the Masoretic Hebrew O.T. text. These rules were to insure that each letter, word, and sentence of the Hebrew text was preserved exactly. The Jews were meticulous and reverent in the copying and recopying of our Hebrew manuscripts. That’s why I believe that we should not change any of the Hebrew Words of God that underlie the KJV.
The Ben Chayyim Hebrew Old Testament Text is available today. I hope that the American Bible Society and the British and Foreign Bible Society keep printing and circulating this Letteris Hebrew text. That’s what they call it, the Letteris text of 1866. This came out before Kittel decided to scrap it for his false Ben Asher text. These same Bible Societies print the false Hebrew texts, too. If they stop printing the true Ben Chayyim Hebrew Old Testament text, by God’s grace, we will do every thing in our power to see that it’s reprinted page by page and get it back into circulation. We’ll preserve the very O.T. Hebrew Words of God ourselves, if that becomes necessary. Sometimes this Hebrew Bible has gone out of stock at the American Bible Society, but it has always come back in stock by a shipment from England.
THE KING JAMES BIBLE HAS A SUPERIOR NEW TESTAMENT GREEK TEXT. There is a simple table in our book which speaks volumes concerning the New Testament Greek text debate. Here it is:
The Greek Text that underlies the KJV. If you examine this table carefully, you will learn much about the debate that is raging concerning the Greek N.T. On the left of the table are some facts about the Textus Receptus that underlies the KJv. The Trinitarian Bible Society has published this text and made it available to anyone. The TBS took this text from that of Dr. Frederick Scrivener who was commissioned in about 1885, by the Cambridge University Press, to come up with the exact Greek text that underlies the King James Bible. Scrivener set down all of the Greek words used by the KJV, but he did something else as well. He put in bold face type all of the alterations made by editors Westcott and Hort in their 1881 English Revised Version. He inserted the exact alterations in the footnotes. These consisted of either additions of Greek words, subtractions of Greek words, or changes of Greek words in some other way. This Greek text edition has been reprinted by the Bible for Today. It is a very useful tool. Scrivener’s Greek text is also available on the LOGOS Computer Program which enables the student to study more carefully. Dr. Jack Moorman counted 140,521 Greek words in the Textus Receptus. Scrivener’s Greek edition has 647 pages which would average 217 Greek words per page. That’s what the Textus Receptus has.
2. The Greek Text of Westcott and Hort that underlies the Modern Versions. Though there were some scattered opposition to the Received Text in years before, the concerted effort against the Received Text came in 1881, and after. In 1881, two theological heretics (posing as conservatives) from the Anglican Church, B.F. Westcott and F.J.A. Hort, published their Greek text that rejected the TR in 5,604 places by my actual count. This included 9,970 Greek words that were either added, subtracted, or changed from the TR. This involves, on the average, 15.4 words per page of the Greek N.T., or a total of 45.9 pages in all. It is 7% of the total of 140,521 words in the TR Greek N.T. It was a radically new Greek text. Westcott and Hort concocted a new Greek text and changed the TR that had been used in the Church from the beginning of the writing of the N.T.
You might rightfully ask, “How did you come up with this number of changes?” That’s a valid question. I took a copy of the original Scrivener’s Greek N.T. to a summer Bible Conference where I was preaching. During the afternoon, when there were no meetings, I studied that volume carefully, making notations on it as I read. When I indicate that there are 5,604 places in the Greek N.T. where Westcott and Hort actually altered the Greek Textus Receptus used by the KING JAMES BIBLE translators, it is because I actually counted that many places. I have the data in my copy of Scrivener’s Greek New Testament. These 5,604 places involve a total of 9,970 Greek words. How do I know that? Again, I counted them. I saw from the footnotes exactly how many Greek words each of the 5,604 places involved. As you might know, some of the places involve twelve entire verses (Mk. 16:9-20 and John 7:53– 8:11). In each of the 5,604 places, compared to the Textus Receptus that underlies the KJV, Westcott and Hort either added Greek words, subtracted Greek words, or changed the Greek words in some other way. You can see that the Westcott and Hort alterations amount to just thirty words short of 10,000 Greek words. This means that there are almost 10,000 Greek words that are different in the Westcott and Hort Greek New Testament (and probably about the same or more in the Nestle/Aland 26th edition Greek text) as compared to the Greek text that underlies our KJV.
This FALSE Greek text, with its approximate 10,000 alterations, was the basis for virtually all of the modern English versions and perversions, including the ERV, ASV, NIV, NASV, NKJV, RSV, NRSV, TEV, JB, NEV, LV and the rest.
Hort’s own three estimates on the extent of the Greek textual problems between his text and the Textus Receptus. In 1882, Hort wrote an Introduction to the so-called Westcott and Hort Greek Text of 1881. In his Introduction to the New Testament in the Original Greek–The Text Revised by Brooke Foss Westcott, D.D., and Fenton John Anthony Hort, D.D., Hort made an estimate of the differences between various Greek texts. His estimate had three parts. Let me quote each of the parts:
(1) Hort’s estimate of the proportion of the Greek New Testament that was virtually accepted by everyone. He wrote: “With regard to the great bulk of the words of the New Testament, as of most other ancient writings, there is NO VARIATION or other ground of doubt, and therefore no room for textual criticism; . . . The proportion of words virtually accepted on all hands as raised above doubt is VERY GREAT, not less, on a rough computation, than SEVEN EIGHTHS OF THE WHOLE. The REMAINING EIGHTH therefore, formed in great part by changes of order and other comparative trivialities, constitutes the whole area of criticism” (Hort, p. 2).
Since the “whole” in numbers of Greek words and pages in the Greek N.T. as seen in our table, is 140,521 Greek words (100%=647 pages), Hort’s 7/8ths of the Greek New Testament virtually agreed to by all would be 122,956 Greek words (87.5%=566 pages). Hort’s 1/8th of the Greek N.T. that he claimed was in dispute would be 17,565 Greek words (12.5%=81 pages). In point of fact, as seen in the above table, the area of dispute between the Westcott and Hort Greek text as opposed to the Textus Receptus that underlies the KJV is only 9,970 Greek words (7%=45.9 pages). So Hort’s estimate in this area is incorrect.
(2) Hort’s estimate of the proportion of the Greek New Testament that would still be in doubt if his principles were followed. He wrote: “If the principles followed in the present edition are sound, this area may be very greatly reduced. Recognising to the full the duty of abstinence from peremptory decision in cases where the evidence leaves the judgement in suspense between two or more readings, we find that, setting aside differences of orthography, the words in our opinion still subject to doubt only make up about ONE SIXTIETH of the whole New Testament” (Hort, loc. cit.).
Since the “whole” in numbers of Greek words and pages in the Greek New Testament, as seen in the table above, is 140,521 Greek words (100%=647 pages), Hort’s 1/60th of the Greek New Testament still subject to doubt if his principles were followed, would be 2,342 Greek words. This represents 1.76% of the Greek words, or 11.4 pages in a Greek New Testament if put all in one place. But we don’t follow Hort’s “principles” at all. Because of this, we who hold to the Greek text that underlies the KJV are still disputing 9,970 Greek words (rather than only 2,342 Greek words). This represents 7% of the Greek words (rather than only 1.76%), or 45.9 pages in a Greek New Testament if the words were put in one place (rather than only 11.4 pages). So Hort’s estimate in this area is incorrect again. We still maintain that the of Greek words in dispute are vastly more in number than Hort has stated.
(3) Hort’s estimate of the proportion of the Greek New Testament that contains “SUBSTANTIAL VARIATION.” He wrote: “In this second estimate the proportion of comparatively trivial variations is beyond measure larger than in the former; so that the amount of what can in any sense be called SUBSTANTIAL VARIATION is but a small fraction of the whole residuary variation, and can hardly form more than A THOUSANDTH PART of the entire text” (Hort, loc. cit.).
Since the “whole” in numbers of Greek words and pages in the Greek New Testament, as seen in the table above, is 140,521 Greek words (100%=647 pages), Hort’s 1/1000th of the Greek New Testament that he thought could be called “SUBSTANTIAL VARIATION” would be 140.5 Greek words (.1%=.647 pages). This would be a little over one half a page in the Greek N.T. This is extremely wide of the mark of truth! Since we don’t follow Hort’s “principles” at all, we who hold to the Greek text that underlies the KJV are still disputing, either in “SUBSTANTIAL VARIATION” or otherwise, a total of 9,970 Greek words (7%=45.9 pages). It is Hort’s last estimate that has been seized by his modern day puppets and grossly distorted in order to fool people into thinking that the problem is very tiny, when in reality, it is much, much larger!
The misquotation of Hort by his followers on the extent of the Greek textual problems between his text and the Textus Receptus. Modern disciples of this false Westcott and Hort Greek text have enlarged upon Hort’s estimates. They say, in effect: “If all of the variant readings between the Westcott and Hort-type text and the Textus Receptus-type text were assembled together in one place, they would amount to a little over one half a page in the Greek New Testament.”
Hort’s pupils are either knowingly or unknowingly misquoting their teacher. They want to make the DIFFERENCES in the Greek texts very, very slight so as to minimize the arguments against the false Westcott and Hort-types Greek text. From the above quotations from Hort’s Introduction, his differences in Greek texts would be either 81 pages (1/8th), or 11.4 pages (1/60th), or .647 pages (1/1000th). Rather than merely “a little over one half a page,” Hort’s 1/8th of total differences would amount to 81 pages. In reality, we are faced with faced with 45.9 pages of difference!
A current illustration of this practice of distorting the facts in this area is found in a tape-recorded message given by Dr. Kenneth Barker, the chairman of the translation committee responsible for the New International Version. Dr. Barker spoke in the Sunday evening service, September 12, 1993, at the Southside Baptist Church in Greenville, South Carolina. A friend recorded the message and gave me a copy. Dr. Barker stated:
“There are over 5,000 Greek manuscripts, and all of them are AGREED 98% of the time. So all of this debate that Carson refers to in The King James Version Debate, all of this debate, all of the hullabaloo is over less than 2% of the entire text of the New Testament. And in that less than 2%, you can select any reading that you wish among the manuscripts, (that’s not our approach, but you can) and it won’t change Christian doctrine one bit.”
Dr. Barker is wrong on TWO COUNTS! (1) His “less than 2%” difference between any of the Greek manuscripts would be 2,810 Greek words (12.9 pages). The truth of the matter is that there is a 7% difference between the Westcott and Hort Greek text and the Textus Receptus that underlies the KJV. This would be 9,970 Greek words (45.9 pages). This is a most serious error. It is a blatant falsehood that is being promulgated by the chairman of the NIV translation committee. It would give false confidence to the pastor and members of this church that had just recently given up the KJV in favor of Dr. Barker’s NIV. (2) The second serious error is Dr. Barker’s statement relative to the fact that variations in manuscripts “won’t change Christian doctrine one bit.” In our book, we specify 158 such passages. Dr. Jack Moorman lists 356 such passages. These two falsehoods, from someone who should know better, are the major ones used to lull Bible believing Christians into deep slumber concerning the Bible version controversy that has been raging.
The King James Bible’s Greek text is worth fighting for! The Greek Text of the New Testament is truly a BATTLEGROUND! Someone might say to you that there is really very little difference in the two Greek texts. They may tell you that you shouldn’t be fighting about these differences. It seems to me that almost 46 pages of the Greek N.T. ARE worth fighting about. 9,970 Greek words are worth fighting about. 7% of the Greek N.T. is worth fighting about. This is a BATTLEGROUND! We must not retreat. We must do battle for the Lord’s Words! We must stand fast. If we lose in this battle between truth and error, there’s no stopping the onrush of more error. In the tug of war with truth and error, there is no middle ground. Those of us who believe in standing up for the Lord Jesus Christ should remember His Words: “Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of Me and of My Words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when He cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels” (Mk. 8:38).
THE KING JAMES BIBLE’S GREEK TEXT IS ATTESTED BY THE EVIDENCE. Here is a table that is printed on page fifty-seven of Defending the King James Bible. It gives us a summary of the manuscript evidence that is available to us today.
As of 1967, Kurt Aland, of Munster, Germany, counted a total of 5,255 Greek manuscripts still in existence. Though there are a few others since 1967, I use these figures which are still very close. Aland is the lead editor of the 26th edition of the Nestle/Aland Greek New Testament which is being used as the critical text of today. I am using Aland’s 1967 figures.
As you can see from the table, there are 81 (now 88) papyrus fragments. There are 267 uncial manuscripts. These are large, capital letter documents. There are 2,764 cursives manuscripts. These are the flowing hand manuscripts. There are 2,143 lectionary manuscripts. These are portions of Scripture that were read on certain days of the church year. This totals at least 5,255 Greek manuscripts of the N.T. that have been preserved and are available for us today.
The table gives the approximate number and percent of each type of Greek manuscript that supports the Westcott-Hort (WH) Greek text, as well as the number and percent of each class that supports the Textus Receptus (TR) Greek text. These approximations are taken from the careful research of Dr. Jack Moorman in his book Forever Settled (see Bibliography). The WH figures are given first and those for the TR second. For the papyrus fragments the score is 13 to 75 (15% to 85%). For the uncial manuscripts the score is 9 to 258 (3% to 97%). For the cursive manuscripts the score is 23 to 2,741 (1% to 99%). For the lectionary manuscripts the score is 0 to 2,143 (0% to 100%). For the totals for all classes of manuscripts the score is 45 to 5,210. This is a ratio of less than 1% to more than 99%!
THE KING JAMES BIBLE’S GREEK TEXT HAS BEEN PRESERVED BY GOD. Which of the two kinds of Greek text has God preserved? How do you define preservation? The Scripture says:
Obviously God has “KEPT” and “PRESERVED” His Words in the 99% of the evidence, rather than in the 1%. By very definition, this is “PRESERVATION.” Suppose I had 100 million dollars to begin with and a thief stole it from me. Suppose I reported this to the police; and after long investigation, they were able to recover 99 million dollars out of the 100 million dollars. The thief would keep one million dollars. Which of the two parties could most accurately be described as having “PRESERVED” the 100 million dollars: the thief who had the one million dollars, or the police who recovered the 99 million dollars? The one million would be a “PRESERVATION” of practically nothing (1%) compared to the 99 million (99%). And so it is with the Greek manuscripts of the N.T. The fulfillment of God’s promise to “KEEP” and “PRESERVE” His Words is to be found in the more than 99% of the manuscripts we have today. And these support the Greek Text that underlies the KJV, and NOT the Greek text that underlies the modern versions and perversions!
THE FALSE GREEK TEXTS OF “B” AND “ALEPH” CONTRADICT ONE ANOTHER IN OVER 3,000 PLACES IN THE GOSPELS ALONE. In the total numbers of manuscripts, you’ll notice that the Westcott- Hort type has only 45 manuscripts that go along with it as over against 5,210 that go along with the TR that underlies the KJV. This 45 includes “B” (Vatican) and “Aleph” (Sinai) and forty- three of their little heretical puppets that follow them. The theory behind the acceptance of these less than 1% is that “The oldest are the best.” The oldest are not necessarily the best, especially if they have been tampered with by heretics!
Both Dr. Frederick Scrivener and Dean John William Burgon agreed that the greatest pollution of the stream of pure manuscripts was accomplished in the first 100 years after the New Testament was written! So the oldest are not necessarily the best! This is especially true since the heretics had their knives out “correcting” the Greek N.T. almost as soon as it was written. The Egyptian scribes and editors of “B” (Vatican) and “Aleph” (Sinai) were some of the most vicious “correctors” of God’s Words; yet these two Greek texts form the very bedrock of the new versions and perversions of our day. “B” and “Aleph” contradict each other, as Herman Hoskier has so accurately pointed out in his two volume work entitled Codex B and Its Allies, in over 3,000 places in the four Gospels alone! So, they are not good witnesses. They are false witnesses indeed!
THE FOUR-FOLD SUPERIORITY OF THE KING JAMES VERSION (Part 2)
#2: THE KING JAMES BIBLE HAS SUPERIOR TRANSLATORS. The second reason for defending the KJV is because it has superior translators. This correctly implies that the various versions and perversions of the Bible have inferior translators.
Let’s take a brief look at the superior translators of the KJV. Why do I say that the KJV translators are superior? I say they are superior because they ARE superior! I think that there is no question about the expertise and ability of the translators who gave us our KJV. The new version people often say that the KJV translators were rather ignorant and didn’t know as much about translating as the “translators/paraphrasers” of today. This is not only prideful, but completely false. Their linguistic qualifications are unequaled!
The accomplishments of Lancelot Andrews. Let’s mention Dr. Lancelot Andrews. He was certainly a superior KJV translator. He had mastered fifteen languages. Someone said that if Dr. Andrews had been present at the confusion of tongues at the tower of Babel, he could have served as interpreter general. I don’t know any of the modern “translator/paraphrasers” who have mastered fifteen languages, do you? Send me their names, if you have proof of this.
The acumen of William Bedwell. How about Dr. William Bedwell? He was famed in Arabic learning. I don’t know how many of these new men who are “translating/paraphrasing” for these modern versions and perversions who have studied as much of the Arabic language as he had. In fact, he published in quarto, an edition of the Epistles of St. John in Arabic with a Latin version. I don’t know how many men today could do that. Dr. Bedwell left many Arabic manuscripts in the University of Cambridge, with numerous notes and a font of types for printing them. In fact, he wrote an Arabic lexicon, or dictionary, in three volumes. He also began a Persian dictionary which is among Archbishop Laud’s manuscripts, still preserved in the Bodleian Library at Oxford today. I don’t think anyone among our modern “translators/paraphrasers” of today has done this or could do this! Do you know any of these men who have written an Arabic dictionary and begun a Persian dictionary, or done anything similar in the scholarly world that will even come close to the accomplishments of William Bedwell? If so, send me their names and the proof. In our day, many people watch too much television. They attend too many football games, baseball games. and basketball games. We are ignoramuses today compared to the scholars who gave us our KJV!
The acceptability of Miles Smith. Look at the acceptability of Dr. Miles Smith. He was an expert in Hebrew, in Chaldee, in Syriac, and in Arabic. They were almost as familiar to him as his native tongue. Dr. Smith went through both the Greek and Latin church Fathers, making annotations on them all.
The activities of Henry Savile. Sir Henry Saville was proficient in both Greek and mathematics. He became tutor in these two subjects to Queen Elizabeth. I don’t know how many queens or kings our modern “translators/paraphrasers” have tutored, do you? Saville translated the histories of Cornelius Tacitus and published the same with notes. He published, from the manuscripts, the writings of Bradwardin against Pelagius, the Writers of English History Subsequent to Bede, and Prelections on the Elements of Euclid. He was the first to edit the complete works of Chrysostom, the most famous of the Greek Fathers. He was a profound, and exact scholar.
The academics of John Bois. John Bois was expert in Hebrew as well as Greek. He studied at his father’s knee. In fact, at the age of five, he had read the whole Bible IN HEBREW!! At the age of six, John Bois was able to write Hebrew in a clear and elegant style. If you know anything about the Hebrew letters, it’s difficult to write in an elegant style, or in any style, for that matter. Much more could be said about John Bois.
The superior translators in general. Have you ever heard of Gulliver’s Travels? It tells of Gulliver’s adventures with the inhabitants of Lilliput. Do you remember what the Lilliputians did to poor Gulliver? They were tiny, tiny people, and Gulliver was like a giant to them. While he was asleep, they tied up Gulliver with tiny cords so he couldn’t move. I liken the KJV translators to the giant Gulliver and the “translators/paraphrasers” of today to tiny Lilliputians. It states in Ge. 6:4: “There were GIANTS in the earth in those days…” It was true also from 1604 to 1611, when these profound scholars gave us our incomparable King James Bible! They had mastered English as well as the Hebrew/Aramaic and Greek. They also knew the cognate or brother-sister- cousin related languages that shed light on the Hebrew/Aramaic and Greek such as the Aramaic, the Arabic, the Persian, the Coptic, the Syriac, and the others. When the modern “translators/paraphrasers” come upon a word they don’t understand, they throw up their hands in dismay. The KJV translators did not meet with such difficulty because they knew the cognate languages so well that they could unlock such mysteries. Our modern “translators/paraphrasers” are linguistically illiterate when compared to the men who gave us our KJV. They truly were “GIANTS”!!
#3: THE KING JAMES BIBLE HAS SUPERIOR TECHNIQUE. The third reason for defending the KING JAMES BIBLE is because it has superior technique of translation. This correctly implies that the various versions and perversions of the Bible have inferior technique of translation.
The KJV translators used the superior technique of verbal equivalence and formal equivalence–not dynamic equivalence. The modern versions and perversions have used, to a greater or lesser degree, the inferior technique of dynamic equivalence and have disdained both verbal and formal equivalence.
1. “God Forbid.” Some people allege that the KJB translators used dynamic equivalence in their expression “God forbid.” Even if it were the case (and I do not accept that it is), it is found only fourteen times in the New Testament: Ro. 3:4,6,31; 6:2,15; 7:7,13; 9:14; 11:1,11; 1 Co. 6:15; Ga. 2:17; 3:21; 6:14. It is a rendering of “mE genoito” which is “may it not be” or “let it not be.” This is perfect 1611 parlance for “God forbid.” It was quite literal in 1611. If you don’t believe it, consult the Oxford English Dictionary which gives you the meaning of “God forbid” in 1611. It is found only seven times in the O.T.: Ge. 44:7,17; Jos. 22:29; 24:16; 1 Sa. 12:23; 1 Ch. 11:19; Job 27:5. It is a rendering of “chalal” which is “may it be something profane” or “may it be far from me.” Again, “God forbid” is a perfect 1611- parlance for the Hebrew words used.
2. “God Save the King.” Another favorite allegation of dynamic equivalency in the KJV is the expression “God save the king.” Even if it were the case (and I do not accept that it is), it is only found four times in the O.T.: 1 Sa. 10:24; 2 Sa. 16:16; 2 Ki. 11:12; 2 Ch. 23:11. It means “may the king live long” or “may the king be preserved or safe.” Well, if the king lives long, he is “saved” is he not? [Editor: The term “salvation” was used in a much broader sense in past centuries.] So why not let the 1611- parlance of “God save the king” alone? The fact is that such examples are very, very few in the KJV, whereas they abound in the modern versions and perversions because in those, the dynamic equivalent technique is the rule rather than the exception.
The King James Bible’s verbal and formal equivalence. The KJV basically uses the technique of verbal equivalence and formal equivalence. Verbal equivalence means that the very words, wherever possible, are brought over from Hebrew into English and from Greek into English. The KJV also uses the technique of formal equivalence, that is, the translators brought over, wherever possible, the very forms of the Hebrew and Greek words into English. They didn’t transform the grammar. They didn’t take a noun and make a verb out of it. They brought a verb into a verb and a noun into a noun wherever possible. They were skilled craftsmen who had a proper concept of what “translation” really is. It comes from translatus which in turn comes from two Latin words, trans (“across”) and latus which is the past participle of fero (“to carry”). It means to “carry across” from one place to another, or from one language to another. It does not seek to CHANGE, or to ADD, or to SUBTRACT!
Let me illustrate “translation.” If I have my wife’s pocketbook and I want to translate it from one side of the church to the other, I would simply pick it up, take it across the aisle, and put it on the other side of the church. I wouldn’t leave any of it behind, even though there may be some things in it I wouldn’t want to take over. I wouldn’t add anything to it, and I wouldn’t drop any of it in the center aisle. Now that’s translation, translatus. That’s what the KJV translators did. They just simply took the Hebrew words and put them into English. They picked up the Greek words and put them into English. That’s translation. That’s the superior technique.
The modern versions’ use of dynamic equivalence. I have a computer print-out research of three of these modern versions–the New King James, the New American Standard, and the New International. When compared to the Hebrew and Greek texts, I found that the New King James Version had over 2,000 examples of dynamic equivalency, that is, adding to, subtracting from, or changing the Words of God. In a similar study of the New American Standard Version, I found over 4,000 such examples. In a similar study of the New International Version I found over 6,653 such examples.
What is meant by dynamic equivalency? “Dynamic” means “moving or changing.” “Equivalence” means “the same or unchanging.” You can’t have it both ways! It is either changing or unchanging. Those who use this false technique in the various “translations/paraphrases” think it’s a great technique. The bottom line for such a technique is that it gives a human being the right to ADD to God’s Words (which is sin), to SUBTRACT from God’s Words (which is sin), or to CHANGE God’s Words (which is sin). God pronounces the strongest possible CURSE on anyone who dares to do any of those three things to God’s Words!! Those who use this false technique are really paraphrasing rather than translating. Paraphrase comes from two Greek words, para (“along side or beside”) and phrasis (“a word or phrase”). It means to use a word or phrase that is along side of the real meaning. It is to state something in other words. We should seek, as the KJV translators sought, to put into English the exact and accurate meaning of the Hebrew and Greek Words of God rather than to give something that is “beside” or “along side of” the word or phrase.
#4: THE KING JAMES BIBLE HAS SUPERIOR THEOLOGY. The fourth reason for defending the KING JAMES BIBLE is because it has superior theology. This correctly implies that the various versions and perversions of the Bible have inferior theology.
Some denials that theology is affected by Greek or English versions. It is said by those who use the new versions and perversions of the Bible that there is no difference in any of them when it comes to theology. It is also said that there is no difference in any of the Greek texts in the matter of theology. This is even said by those who are looked up to as Bible believing leaders. There are two phases of their theological denial:
(1) These men believe that the Greek textual variants between the two basic Greek texts do not affect theology or doctrine. They believe that the false Westcott and Hort Greek text (when compared to the Greek text of the KJV) contains nothing that is theologically deficient or doctrinally incorrect. This is false.
(2) These men also believe that the modern English versions do not contain changes from the KJV that affect theology or doctrine. They believe that you can take any modern English version you wish and when you compare it to the KJV, that version does not have anything in it that is theologically deficient or doctrinally incorrect. This is also false.
Dr. John R. Rice stated: “The differences in the translations are so minor, so insignificant, that we can be sure not a single doctrine, not a single statement of fact, not a single command or exhoratation, has been missed in our translations.” (meaning the English Revised Version of 1881 or the American Standard Ver- sion of 1901)
This statement is clearly false. It is not true to the evidence. Dr. Sumner wrote: “The rare parts about which there is still uncertainty do not effect [sic] in any way any doctrine.” This is false! Doctrine IS affected. Dr. Robert L. Thomas, John MacArthur’s professor in his California Seminary, wrote: “No major doctrine of scripture is affected by a variant reading.” False, again. Dr. H.S. Miller wrote: “No doctrine is affected.” False again. Dr. Stanley Gundry stated: “Only a few outstanding problems remain, and these do not affect doctrine or divine command to us.” False again. Dr. Ernest Pickering wrote: “Important differences of textual readings are relatively few and almost none would affect any major Christian doctrine.” False again!
Some examples of theology that is affected by Greek and English versions. I have given 158 examples of the theological superiority of the KJV in my book. I selected these from Dr. Jack Moorman’s compilation of a total of 356 doctrinal passages that have been changed in the Egyptian heretical Greek texts of “B” (Vatican), “Aleph” (Sinai), and others. I’ll give you some examples of doctrines that are affected by these false Greek texts and new versions.
1. John 3:15. “That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.”
Do you know what the “B” (Vatican) and “Aleph” (Sinai) manuscripts do to the three words, “should not perish”? They REMOVE them. So, in the two false Greek texts, there’s no hell in Jn. 3:15. What versions follow these corrupted Greek texts? The NIV follows them, the NASV follows them, and the NKJV in the footnotes, follows them. So do the other modern versions and perversions. For them, there is no hell in Jn. 3:15. Is this not a major doctrine?
Because “B” (Vatican) and “Aleph” (Sinai) remove both verses, so does the NKJV in the footnotes; so does the NASV (by putting them in brackets); and so does the NIV. So do the other modern versions and perversions. In so doing, they take away the fires of hell. Is this not a major doctrine? [Editor: While it is true that verse 48 is retained in this passage in the modern versions, the power and authority is weakened by two- thirds. The God- honored Received Text says Jesus repeated this statement three times to emphasize the horrors of going to hell. The critical text removes two of these statements, thus weakening the force of the doctrine.]
When you take the “literal fire” out of hell, as many new- evangelicals and (and even some fundamentalists) have done, and as all of the apostates have done, and as Mary Baker Eddy and all false cults have done, you are in serious trouble and in grievous doctrinal error! For centuries, many have removed the fire out of hell even though the KJV keeps it in. Now these false Egyptian Greek texts and the false English perversions will assist them in their heresy of a “fireless hell”!
3. John 6:47. Let me see if you can accurately lead a soul to Christ using exclusively Jn. 6:47 as rendered in the new versions. Note John 6:47 in the KJV, where the Lord Jesus declared: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.”
That verse is as clear as a bell, on how to receive “everlasting life.” But, the Westcott and Hort Greek text, following the “B” (Vatican) and “Aleph” (Sinai) manuscripts, takes out those two vital and precious words, “on me.” Because of their reliance on these false Egyptian Greek texts, the NIV also removes “on me.” So does the NASV. So does the NKJV in the footnotes. So do the other modern versions and perversions. If you’re trying to lead a soul to Christ with those new versions and perversions, using Jn. 6:47 exclusively, you’ll never lead them to Christ, because “on me” (Christ) is gone from that verse in their perversions! All they say is something like this: “Whoever believes has everlasting life.” Believes what? Their verse doesn’t say. Their verse merely says “believes.” According to these perversions of John 6:47, if I were to believe in atheism, Christ promises me everlasting life. The same if I believe in humanism, or in the Easter Bunny, or the Tooth Fairy, or in Santa Claus, or in Rudloph the Red-Nose Reindeer, or in Bugs Bunny, or in Buddhism, Taoism, Judaism, Modernism, or in anything else! That’s major false doctrine in my judgement, and it stems directly from false Greek texts and false English perversions!
4. Romans 1:16. Here’s what it says in the accurate KJV: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”
The heretical Greek texts of “B” (Vatican) and “Aleph” (Sinai) remove the two words, “of Christ” in this verse. Because of this, the NIV also removes these words. So does the NASV. So does the NKJV in the footnotes. So do the other modern versions and perversions. This certainly is doctrine. “Gospel” means “good news” or a “good announcement.” What “gospel” could be inserted there instead of the “gospel of Christ”? Was it the good news about a pay raise? Was it the good news about a new car, a new hat, or a new house? No! It’s the gospel or good news about Christ. That’s doctrine! That’s theology!
5. John 7:8. Was the Lord Jesus Christ a liar? If you believe the false Greek text, “Aleph” (Sinai), and some of the versions, He was. Note Jn. 7:8: “Go ye up unto this feast: I go not up yet unto this feast; for my time is not yet full come.”
According to the Greek text “Aleph” (Sinai), the word “yet” must be removed. The NASV omits it also. So does the NKJV in the footnotes. So do some other modern versions and perversions. Why do I say this removal of “yet” makes the Lord Jesus Christ out to be a liar? Because He went up to the feast in question. If He told his brethren that He was NOT going up to the feast, and then later went up to that feast, He would have told a lie, would He not? This certainly is a major theological doctrine. As in all of the other 356 doctrinal passages, the KJV has superior theology here. The perversions are inferior in their theology and doctrine! Stay away from them!
Concluding remarks: I believe that in the King James Bible we have the Word of God kept intact in English. I believe we should defend the KJV for four reasons: (1) It has superior original language texts (Hebrew and Greek); (2) It has superior translators; (3) It has superior technique; and (4) It has superior theology.
We ought not to be ashamed of the Book of books that has stood the test of time and will continue standing. Let’s stand for it and with it. I hope the reader will secure for himself a copy of our book, Defending the King James Bible–A Four-fold Superiority–Texts, Translators, Technique, and Theology. In it we have elaborated on each of the above considerations. The KJV, which is being hammered and beaten on every hand today (by so-called “friend” and foe alike), can be very much likened to the “ANVIL” in that famous poem with which I close:
THE ANVIL OF GOD’S WORD
Last eve I passed beside a blacksmith’s door
And heard the anvil sing the vesper chime;
Then, looking in, I saw upon the floor
Old hammers, worn with blasting years of time.
“How many anvils have you had,” said I,
“To wear and batter all these hammers so?”
“Just one,” said he; and then, with twinkling eye,
“The anvil wears the hammers out, you know.”
And so I thought, the anvil of God’s Word
For ages, skeptic blows have beat upon.
Yet tho’ the noise of falling blows was heard
The anvil is unharmed–the hammers gone.