WHICH KING JAMES VERSION IS INSPIRED AND INERRANT? THERE ARE MANY TO CHOOSE FROM.

KJV ONLY Advocates Argue Only the 1611 Version Is Inspired and is INERRANT — History Assures Us The Christian Church Never Believed This As Late As the 1890s. KJV Onlyism is a Modern Heresy.


Summary:  Many of Facebook who have read my recent posts (on my website – faith-happens.com, or linked from Facebook @ facebook.com/sdouglaswoodward) on the King James Bible assume I am its enemy. This is not true. I am the enemy to stupid thinking about the King James Version. Once excellent editing principles are brought to bear as was performed by F.H.A. Scrivener in the 1873 KJV version, where solid standards were set and many KJV editions were brought together to clean up the problems from the earliest editions created in the nascent days of the printing press, the KJV became a sound source of biblical truth in virtually every aspect of its

F.H.A. Scrivener – New Testament Textual Scholar, editor of 1873 version, an impeccable standard

presentation.  However, there are still problems as my new book Rebooting the Bible points out.

These problems have been known since the earliest days of the Church in regards to the source document created by Rabbi Akiba and the Jamnia rabbinical academy – which contained alterations to messianic prophecy and Genesis’ chronology. Of course, these problems comprise less than 1/10 of 1% of its text. My point is that the KJV and all other versions of Protestant bibles should not get a pass for failing to acknowledge what happened at the end of the first century and beginning of the second century A.D. The Septuagint helps us here vis-à-vis through its ability to serve as an important source for textual criticism — to get these specific corruptions out of Protestant bibles.


The Preface to the 1873 Edition of the King James Bible provides a good deal of intelligent thinking to the question of which version of the KJV we should follow.  While the 1611 Authorized Version is generally seen as “inspired and inerrant,” the work of F.H.A. Scrivener, circa from 1866-1873, provides a standardized view of all the various KJV editions. Scrivener’s seven years of labor provided a great service enhancing the clarity and value of the King James Bible. Before I share from an introduction to this version of the King James, some words concerning my methodology.

As my followers have noticed, I am continuously attacked for pointing out many reasons why we cannot assert that the KJV of 1611 is “inerrant.”  That doesn’t mean we can’t use the KJV and revere it.  It is the greatest book in Western literature.  But does that mean it is perfect?  The plain facts testify to the fact that the printed 1611 edition had many errors in it.  Scrivener’s work demonstrates this plainly. And numerous revisions followed to fix these errors – many of them admittedly only printing errors and purportedly some omissions. Additionally, there are over 8,422 “variants” in meaning set in the Bible’s margins as noted by Scrivener in an 1894 book. [1] Additionally, there are a number of passages that were included in the New Testament in the KJV that are arguably not in the original author’s compositions, but whose study would take us into a technical discussion of “the majority text,” “textus receptus,” “the Byzantine text,” and the “Alexandrian text.” We won’t go there in this article.

While it could be argued (although it has not been so argued by the KJV ONLY community) the “original” manuscripts sent to the printer by the KJV scholars were the perfect, inerrant version supposedly inspired by the Holy Spirit working through the 47 KJV scholars, it would eliminate one of the KJV ONLY crowd’s favorite arguments: “We have the printed 1611 Authorized Version in tangible form, and can hold it in our hands.” That is true.  But that doesn’t prove it is inerrant nor does it prove that is the only way God has communicated His word to us. It presumes this was what God’s chosen method is to preserve His Word. However, if the printed version is the “perfect version” then it is easy to document why this is plainly not the case.

Indeed, if it was argued that it was the hand-scribed manuscript of the 47 scholars was flawless but not the printing press version, the KJV’s  supposed “inerrancy” would be in the same fix that the historic position of the Church is with regard to the inerrant original  “autographs” in Hebrew and Greek which we no longer have. 

In other words, we don’t have the original hand-written finished copies produced by the scholars that were sent to the printer (they didn’t have word processors then!) All we have is the first publication in 1611. The authors didn’t have the luxury of what are called “galley proofs” (first cut at the printed version). Therefore, the hand-written manuscript “print ready” is in one sense just like the original hand-written autographs of Moses, King David, the Hebrew prophets, and the Apostles. It doesn’t exist. And if that was the only extant inspired manuscript, only one person could hold it in their hands at a time. That is not how the Lord works.

James Price’s book on KJV Onlyism

But the Christian faith has always asserted that we do not need to possess the originals on the New Testament because of the numerous copies we have of the very early manuscripts dating from the second and third centuries as well as the quotations by the Church Fathers writing in the second through fourth centuries. The point being that all of the New Testament can be reproduced from their writings with only a few inconsequential verses missing. Instead, our Christian faith testifies that we have the message of God  plainly communicated to the Church. Yes, there are many question marks. There have been many additions and a few omissions made in our Bible in every generation since the first century. But textual criticism helps us here. It can help us logically to identify what the original authors wrote. Nor is this science new. It actually goes all the way back to Erasmus, the “father” of the Textus Receptus,[2] who reviewed a half-dozen manuscripts and the Latin Vulgate before he published the first complete Greek Version on the printing press in 1513.

My point in my latest book, Rebooting the Bible, is that there were selected changes made by rabbis circa 100 A.D. in the Old Testament to obscure messianic prophecies and to alter the primeval chronology of the Bible in Genesis 5 and 11. This is despite the effort of the Masoretes to meticulously preserve the Old Testament texts (known as the Masoretic Text – MT). My book attempts to point out the evidence  for these changes and the rationale for why these alterations (truly, corruptions) were inserted into the text.  I argue that in these specific areas, the Septuagint’s readings are more likely what the original Hebrew set forth. My scholarly support for this argument is presented in the text derived from about 20 pages in my listed bibliography which purchasers of the book can explore.

The historicity of the Septuagint, that it existed before Jesus’ time, and that it was the Bible used by the Apostles in most cases (like 80% to 90% as testified by scholars) is denied by the KJV ONLY community. That too is another subject. But in this article, the issue is if the KJV is inerrant, which version is it? Let’s look at the preface to the Scrivener version, which doesn’t claim inerrancy, but which truly fixes an enormous number of issues in the original King James. The point here being, if the KJV is inspired and inerrant, the 1873 version is a far better candidate than the 1611 version.  Let’s look at a summary of the information about this effort to refine the KJV.


PREFACE TO THE KING JAMES VERSION 1873 EDITION

(A selection by author JOHN R. KOHLENBERGER III)

The 1873 King James Bible Easton Press Leather Bound Edition

The most time-honored and widely used edition of the English Bible is the translation of 1611, commonly known as the Authorized Version or King James Version (KJV). But though it has served as the standard translation for millions of users through nearly four centuries, there has never been a standard edition to which all printings are conformed.

No two early printings of the KJV were identical—not even the two printings of 1611— and no two modern settings are identical, either. These differences are due to accidental human error as well as to intentional changes by printers and editors, who sought to eliminate what they judged to be the errors of others and to conform the text to their standards of English usage. This said, most differences involve only spelling, punctuation, and italics, and few variations materially affect the meaning of the text.

As early as 1616 there were systematic attempts to revise and standardize the KJV. Other important early editions were issued by Cambridge in 1629 and 1638. In the eighteenth century, the two great English universities (who were also officially chartered printers) commissioned thorough and systematic revisions. The edition of Dr. F. S. Paris was published by Cambridge in 1762 and that of Dr. Benjamin Blayney by Oxford in 1769. Though far from perfect, these remained the standard editions until The Cambridge Paragraph Bible of 1873.

The Cambridge Paragraph Bible began with the simple plan of arranging the text of the KJV according to the sense of the literature: arranging the prose sections into paragraphs and the poetic sections into parallel lines. This simple plan, however, was enhanced by the editor’s desire to create the most thorough standardization of the text ever attempted. To this task Dr. F. H. A. Scrivener devoted seven laborious years: 1866 to 1873.

Because the translators’ original manuscript no longer exists, the KJV text must be established by consulting the earliest settings. Dr. Scrivener compared at least 15 early settings and important revisions, including both settings of 1611; Bibles of 1612, 1613, 1616, 1617, 1629, 1630, 1634, 1638, 1640; and the significant editions of Drs. Paris (1762) and Blayney (1769).

HERE IS THE FULL PREFACE IN PDF FORM FOR YOUR READING – THREE PAGES TOTAL:

Preface KJV 1873 Edition


The conclusion of Kohlenberger’s Introduction provides his hope for reception by the Church of the 1873 “Paragraph Version”:

The best King James Version Bibles also conform their setting of the King James or Authorized Version to its most highly regarded edition: The Cambridge Paragraph Bible of 1873, edited by F. H. A. Scrivener. As in the case of the first edition of the version of 1611, this is done out of “zeal to promote the common good, whether it be by devising any thing ourselves, or revising that which hath been laboured by others” (“The Translators to the Reader,” the preface to the version of 1611). With the original translators, we hope our efforts will be “welcomed,” not “with suspicion” but with “love,” and that the reissue of this edition will contribute to improvement of this great treasure of the English-speaking church.

One member of the Baptist Board (online forum) has this to say about this version:

Beginning around the year 2000, some Zondervan KJV editions used the 1873 Cambridge edition edited by Scrivener as their basis although they did make at least a couple spelling changes to it. I am not sure if they still use it since I have seen a recent edition that did not (use) it or if they may print some present editions with its text and some without.  Some present KJV editions printed by Hendrickson Publishers use the 1873 Cambridge edition for their text. (This)1873 Cambridge edition is one of the most highly praised KJV editions ever printed by Cambridge.

Rebooting the Bible – Available on Amazon

So, which version is the only inspired, inerrant version of the King James?  There are none.  Clearly, the KJV from 1611 wasn’t perfect because it went through revisions in 1611, 1612, 1613, and many other years.  However, which version is likely the best version to use if you are a King James Bible user: the 1873 Cambridge Edition or one that is based on that version.  If you, as a student of the Bible love the KJV and want it to be your goto source for the Word of God, you will do well.  Just be advised, the chronology presented in Genesis chapters 5 and 11, as well as prophecies about the Messiah in Isaiah, Psalms, Hosea, Micah, Ezekiel, and other books were altered by the rabbis.  They did this to make the candidacy of Jesus of Nazareth to be the Messiah less obvious and to conflict  with the teaching of Christianity that the Messiah came to bring the Gentiles into the fold, and that following the Mosaic Law was NOT the way to salvation.  The also changed the creation of the world (or at least of Adam and Eve) from 5500 B.C. to 4000 B.C. since it disqualified Jesus as being their Messiah. As I explain in Rebooting the Bible, the expectancy for the Messiah was that he would come in the sixth millennium and bring to the Jews, in the seventh millennium, the Kingdom of God.

If you want the details, pick up a copy of my book.  I explain the conspiracy, that the Church Fathers caught this subterfuge, and the dating the Church Fathers calculated that the correct chronology, overriding the KJV/Masoretic chronology, was over 1,500 years. If you argue on behalf of the young earth, you should especially look at this information since it adds 1500 years to the Ussher chronology used by the YEC viewpoint, and enables biblical chronology to be reconciled with Egyptology and Mesopotamian archeology (Noah’s Flood and Tower of Babel events are pushed back 1,000 years from what the KJV and Ussher states).

 


Notes

[1] A Plain Introduction to the Criticism of the New Testament, for the Use of Biblical Students (published posthumously and coauthored by Edward Miller), 1894.

[2] The Textus Receptus (TR) was itself a work spanning over 120 years and numerous authors.  While Erasmus published the first version in this textual family, two other notable persons were involved in revising it: Stephanus in several versions circa 1550 and Beza beginning in 1604. It actually wasn’t until the 1633 version, 22 years AFTER the King James Version was printed for the first time (1611), that Beza declared he had assimilated and compiled a comprehensive Greek New Testament from all the versions.  He stated, paraphrasing in English, “Now you have received all the texts assembled into one – your universal (omnibus) ‘received text.'” Hence, while the KJV worked from a Greek version derived from Erasmus and Stephanus, that would become the TR, it actually wasn’t.  The KJV scholars knew Greek and did additional tweaking to it as part of their translation. They used Stephanus work and modified it according to their scholarly (text critical) abilities.  Hence, the argument that the KJV is inspired and inerrant because the TR is, is another enormous fallacy in the KJV ONLY argument.

ALL OF S. DOUGLAS WOODWARD’S BOOKS MAY BE PURCHASED AT AMAZON.COM IN BOTH KINDLE AND PRINTED FORMATS