Sunday, May 31, 2015

A New Look at an Old Word: introduction


    Most current modern American Churches have either given up on the King James Version or are in the process of it.   When I took Bible College Courses,  I was not allowed to bring the King James Version of the Bible to class.
 They say it is too hard to understand for the congregation.  I was taking an admittedly liberal course on the New Testament and the professor stated this rule.  An older Black preacher began to question this; but the Professor shot him down, before he could finish the phrase of a sentence. He then had the nerve to assure this African American preacher that blacks could not comprehend in terms of Literature but needed symbols.  (The irony of this racist statement was that the preacher was reading from the KJV, which the professor had declared incomprehensible!)
  Yet from my studies, the Authorized Version is closer to the Greek and Hebrew than these new translations anyway.  Why do we want to rob people of that?  I will later show how about 3000 words have been taken out of the manuscripts of the New Testament.  Don't you want to read everything the Bibles says? Even if it is claimed by some to be spurious, why can't you investigate it for yourself?
  There has been a remnant of defenders of the Textus Receptus, the Masoretic text and the KJV.  However, most are separatist, who never got their defenses broadcast to mainstream Christianity, since they deemed the mainstream culture "unclean".  (while their attackers didn't) Other scholars, who defended the text, were placed into obscurity and hidden from the pubic by liberal academia.
  This book is an attempt to lay a defense of the traditional text into the conservative evangelical mind.  While it is true that there is an unyielding more liberal fringe of evangelicalism that will not listen to this issue.  There are many conservatives who would listen to the truth if they were simply presented with the evidence. So it is my prayer that this may reach them.
From the time I was nineteen until twenty six,  I was indoctrinated to believe in the superiority of modern versions of the Bible compared to the KJV.  Being new to the personal study of God's Word, I picked the NIV. (though I had read some passages of the KJV)  I then went to Bible College and was encouraged to read the NASB.  While at Bible College I started collecting various translations; as many as I could.  I currently possess between 25-40 translations.  I was told that certain passages, like the ending of Mark and the story of the Woman caught in adultery were not originally in the Bible.  This caused me great spiritual stress,  yet I decided that since I was uneducated and these men were all godly Christians I had to deal with this as a fact.  In College I assumed that God only generally preserved the main theme of the New Testament while all the words were originally inspired.  Which though it was inconsistent, was what everyone else in my circle was thinking.  I was very confident of my position.  I remember teaching the youth at my former church against the "King James only" doctrine with out even a hint of doubt.
    Ironically it hit me while I was taking theology under a professor who leaned towards the Neo-orthodox point of view.  He challenged the neo-evangelical doctrine of inerrancy by looking through the manuscripts.  The question was, "If the scriptures have no error, then which manuscripts have no error?"  There are many thousands of manuscripts of the New Testament.  there are also a number of growing manuscripts of the Old Testament.  Many verses are added and many verses are taken away.  This is reflected in modern Bible versions.  The evangelical response was that we did not possess the original manuscripts, but they were inspired.  The professor retorted "What's the point?"  Why would God inspire writing that would not be preserved?
   My faith in the Word of God was not shaken.  But my Faith in the evangelical doctrine of inspiration only in the lost originals was.   I then began to look for the manuscripts which would best fit the description.  Obviously the Greek Textus Receptus and the Hebrew Masoretic text came up.  I happened along some material supporting the King James Version.  I then went through a process of reading two books in support (Final Authority by William Grady, Touch not the unclean thing by David Sorenson) and two books against the preservation of the King James version ( The King James version Debate by D.A. Carson and the King James Version Only controversy by James White) I then logged into and participated in a  forum debating the issue for about 5 months.  I noticed that the KJVO group argued that the Bible says it will be preserved.  As I read the material and debated, I noticed that alexandrine advocates could not refute this doctrine.  Again and again it would simply be ignored.  Both sides demonstrated a great deal of knowledge of church history and battled over a vast array of topics.  However at the end of the day, as a Bible believer, I knew that I would have to follow what the Bible said, and at the end of the day I knew what it said.

    This book shows the results of my spiritual pilgrimage

THESIS:  From my studies, which will be presented, the prophets were miraculously inspired of God to write almost mechanically inspired revelation which in it's complete compilation we understand to be The Holy Bible.  It was entrusted to born-again local congregations of Christians first reached by the apostles.  While it was on the majority preserved well.  Early on the church underwent persecution and many Bibles were burned.  Many Christians went apostate and several early scholars compromised the word of God with these errors.  However, the vast majority of manuscripts were preserved correctly.  When a large segment of Christendom repented of apostasy during the period known as the reformation.  The manuscripts went through a filtering process by God's hand of Providence.  Working through not only Erasmus but the scholars of the early reformation and finding it's climax in the Elzifer brothers and the Authorized Version translation known as KING James.  The English King James version along with it's alternative language and English translations based upon the traditional text have been used by God to bring the gospel to more people throughout church history than all others.
     Therefore while most Bible translations deserve skepticism, you may still open up the A.V. and know that you hold the Word of God.
What this book does not Advocate:  It is easy to misinterpret a position based upon some eccentric past defenders and anti-KJV propagandists.  Let me go ahead and let you know where we are not going.
1.  the KJV was re-inspired of God in 1611.
The Bible teaches that the Apostles and Prophets were inspired.  Not a specific class of scribes/translators.  The inspired Word of God was keep pure by preservation.  People were capable of error and we have many bibles with many errors.  However there is a perfect manuscript in the Textus Receptus and Masoretic texts.

2. The KJV is an absolute perfect translation.
  Translation can not be perfect,  otherwise it would only be copying.  Language got distorted in the tower of Babel.  Every word carries not only meanings but an array of word pictures which get lost in translation. However  The authorized version is quite brilliant and usually carries over meaning in other words to harmonize the translation.  In some places I can see a word that ought to be better translated. ( for instance baptism as immersion etc.) But The authorized version carries a type of perfection. often perfection actually means complete of whole.  The Authorized version is so careful that though one may loose something in a word here or there. the context recovers every type of meaning the Lord intends to share.
3. other translations are absolutely worthless
  If a translation is conveying truths found in the Textus Receptus or Masoretic text then they are convey God's Authoritative Word.
4. We should no longer produce modern English translations.
Modern translations may be seen as a good study tool or aide.  Some individual translations could be to spurious for public instruction.  But that is their general use.
5.  The KJV is superior to the Greek and Hebrew
God inspired the Bible in the Greek and Hebrew as well as Aramaic.  Once again I do not follow the teachings of Peter Ruckman.
6. The KJV is superior to all foreign Language translations
  All translations are on equal grounds in their duty original languages.  I have no problem with a foreign translation that is based on the AV.  Though ideally it should also look at the TR and MT.
7.  All modern Bible translators and text critics are outgoing Satanist.
I try not to copy Gail Riplinger's approach of demonizing opponents.  Many translators critics and scribes were devout men of God.  Sadly not all though.  Occasionally I will study the teachings and activities of these scholars to see if they may possess ulterior motives or character flaws, which would  compromise their fidelity to the word of God. Unfortunately there are many such individuals which exist.  But to be fair there are many who are simply naïve or wrong about the issue. The goal is to find the truth, not condemn the sinners, because there are too many of those.
8.  All modern Bible translators will burn in Hell
  This is a judgment which I can not and will not make.  However, certain ideas are certainly signs of apostasy,  such as if a scholar openly conspiring to warp God's Word. Yet who is to say that the scholar might repent?
9.  Only Christians who use KJV will be saved.
 We are saved at justification by grace through faith alone.  Many have read the Bible yet never been saved.  Many people can be saved from reading modern Translations.  My contention is not about evangelism, but discipleship.
10.  We must all speak in King James English
While I do argue that the phraseology is more accurate to the original text.  I believe it i s the job of the preacher to edify the congregation. But don't try to control people's speech patterns!
11. Reading from a modern translation is a sin.
  Most evangelicals are not fully aware of this debate.  Many are simply trying to have a better relationship with God and they only possess one bible.  They should not be judged on the issue.
12. We should shun who does not read from the King James Version.
  We should only separate from those who teach a false gospel.  This is an important issue but separation overdone just looks like a cowardly retreat.
13.  Only independent Baptist are worthy to discuss the issue.
  All people should read the complete Bible!  Everyone should have a right to the complete word of God and not just independent Baptists.
   So one of the goals of this book is to argue for the traditional text of scripture without falling into these sectarian trappings.
  Throughout the book I will still use the label KJVO because of it's popular understanding.  In a perfect world I would use the phrase TTO (traditional text only) and/or AVM (Authorized Version Mainly).  However, I am realistic so call me what you will.   ...Just don't talk about my momma!
    One frequent accusation often labeled against a pro-king James position is that to prefer a translation of scriptures is idolatrous.  In fact this term is thrown against conservatives by liberals quite often.  The problem is the idea of such a heresy is a contradiction in terms!
Idolatry) Image-worship or divine honor paid to any created object, (Easton's Bible Dictionary).
   When we think of a Bible, we think of it's message and words.  The physical casing or the image of the letters is not what we suppose.  If the Authorized version were on a scroll or the software of a computer it would still be labeled AV or KJV.   If it were in Times New Roman or in cursive it would still be the authorized version of the Bible.  It may change names if it translated in a different language but it's always the Bible.
  Now let's say if we give divine honor to the message of the Bible, have we then committed a form of idolatry? No, because the Word of God is divine!
John 1:In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Luke 11:28 But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.
john 1: 14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
john 5: 39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
2 timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 
  The Greek "Logos" identifies the deity of Christ as well as the scripture in the Gospels.  Could it be that the whole revelation of scripture is indeed a manifestation of the logos/Deity of Christ?  The term "inspiration" points to the fact that the message actually came from God's Breath and directly reflects Him.  Obviously, I have cast my vote.  But we do not worship the word by giving honor to ink and paper.  Instead we worship this manifestation of the true God through fearing and honor and having faith in His Message.
Hebrews 10:Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God."
   The book's theme is meant for an evangelical audience.  For many years this debate has gone on in a "closed door" Fundamentalists circles.  Yet evangelicals have been amazingly closed off from the debate and are simply indoctrinated against the King James Version.  At least in the last 30 or so years of my existence.  The problem is that fundamentalism, though valiant enough to have defenders of the traditional text, have always focused on polemics instead of apologetic s.  In other words they have a tendency to fight for more than explain their doctrines.  However through God's grace I learned the need of manuscript superiority and coincidentally found books on this debate.
 The words of Scripture are not a minute point.  Scripture is essential for not only Christian theology but Christian spirituality as well.
"Writing is the ideal medium to conceptualize the invisible God' says Neil Postman because "unlike pictures or oral tradition, the written word is a symbol system of a symbol, twice removed from reality and perfect for describing a God who is also far removed from reality; a non-physical, abstract divinity.'  God is described as an abstract divinity because the intangible nature of His being.  God is an invisible  , all-knowing, self existing, eternal spirit.  He is perfectly holy, is everywhere at once, does what he wills, controls every atom inside the universe, and yet is deeply concerned with His creation, with which he has a long history of involvement, including identifying sin, judgment of sin, and redemption from it.  Blocks and paint are just insufficient to convey these kind of truths.  Only writing suffices."  Arthur W.  Hunt III   The Vanishing Word pg. 36  

   The Word of God is essential for true Christian living and Worship.  Why should we treat it so flippantly?  Do we really have the freedom to word it according to our opinions?  Do we have the freedom to reword it multiple times and confuse it's message?   How should we treat scripture and do we acknowledge which scriptures are inspired?  These questions are at the core of the topic of the book.  It is not just tradition or division.
Please read this book with an open mind and consider the case for that old Bible.
May the Peace of Christ dwell in you richly,
Matt Singleton 

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