The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it. (Psalm 68:11)
It has been argued that if the KJV is the word of God, what about the time before 1611? Were believers who spoke English without the preserved word of God until the KJV was published? Is the word of God limited only to the English-speaking people? Such argumentation is clearly either a misunderstanding or misrepresentation of the views of Bible believers who hold to the KJV as the preserved word of God for the English-speaking people. Our view, as has been stated before, is that there has always been the preserved word of God ever since God gave it. This has been demonstrated in lesson five. He inspired it through the original writers, and He keeps it through His promise to do so.
When the translators of the KJV set forth to do their task, they had before them several texts and translations. In addition to the original languages, they also had various foreign translations based on the Traditional Texts of both the Old and New Testaments. In the original preface to the KJV, which was entitled The Translators to the Reader, Dr. Miles Smith wrote: "Neither did we think much to consult the translators or commentators, Chaldee, Hebrew, Syrian, Greek, or Latin. No, nor the Spanish, French, Italian, or Dutch."
In the course of our studies of NT textual criticism, we have considered the manuscripts and texts of the Syrian, Greek, and Latin. The four foreign translations mentioned by Dr. Smith were the Spanish (Reina/Valera Version), the French (Louis Segond Version), the Italian (Giovanni Diodati Version), and the Dutch (Luther's German Version). All of these were based on the Traditional Text used by Bible-believing Christians throughout the history of the New Testament Church. For the purpose of our studies, we shall consider two of them; the German and the Spanish.
Perhaps no other translation of the Bible, apart from the KJV, has had a greater impact upon its people and their culture than the German Bible of Martin Luther. As was stated in our last lesson by Dr. Fred Craddock and Dr. Gene Tucker of Emory University, "Translations of the Bible, such as the Authorized Version (or King James Version, 1611) and Martin Luther's translation of the Bible into German (first completed in 1534) not only influenced literature, but also shaped the development of languages." (cited from Encarta by Microsoft, 1995 ed).
Not only has this version affected the history and language of Germany, but many immigrants and early settlers to the United States carried a copy of Die Heilige Schrift (the Holy Scriptures) by Martin Luther.
Students of Church History can not but recognize the great contribution made to the common Faith by Martin Luther (1483-1546). It was Luther who echoed the cry of justification by faith, and brought Reformation to Germany. He was born on November 10th, 1483. He began to study law in 1505, but after a narrow escape from a storm, he decided to become a monk. He was ordained in 1507 and in 1510 visited Rome. It was there he found corruption within the hierarchy of the Catholic Church and began to question its authority. After his study in Scripture on justification through faith and salvation by grace, Luther published his 95 theses and nailed it on the door of the church at Wittenberg in 1517. He spent the next few years defending his charges, only to be excommunicated in 1521. In April of that same year, Luther was summoned before the Holy Roman Emperor at the Diet of Worms. There Luther refused to recant and was banished from the empire. He fled to Wartburg, and for the next eight months worked on his translation of the New Testament into German.
The Greek text used by Luther was that of Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536). This text was based on the Traditional Text and later became known as the Textus Receptus. Church Historian Earle Cairns wrote,
Making use of Erasmus' edition of the Greek New Testament, he (Luther) completed his German translation of the New Testament in less than a year. The whole Bible wastranslated from the original into German by 1534. When it was published, it not only gave the German people the Bible in their own tongue, but it set the standard form of the German language. (Christianity Through the Centuries, Zondervan Pub., p. 318).
Thus, we see that this line of Text was used by God to provide the Bible in the language of the people and provided the basis for believers during the Reformation. It should be noted that the Bible of the Reformers was based on the Traditional Text, and not the Alexandrian or Western line of manuscripts.
The standard Spanish Bible is the Reina-Valera Version. The American Bible Society refers to it as "the King James Version of the Spanish-speakingworld." ("Remembering Casiodoro De Reina" in the Bible Society Record, New York. 1969). Dr. Wilton Nelson writes, "(1969) marked the 400th anniversaryof the Reina-Valera version of the Spanish Bible, which can be thought of as the Hispanic-American counterpart of the King James Version." ("New Light from the Old Lamp" in the Latin American Evangelist; published by the American Bible Society, Jan/Feb. 1970, p. 9). What the KJV is to the English-speaking world, the Reina-Valera is to the Spanish-speaking world. It is not the KJV translated into Spanish, for it was translated before 1611. It is the labor of two men, Casidoro de Reina and Cipriano de Valera, who used the Traditional Text to provide the Spanish-speaking world the word of God.
Casidoro de Reina (1520-1594) was the first to translate the Bible into Spanish. His work took twelve years to complete at the cost of much personal sacrifice. He was born in Seville and became a Roman Catholic monk. While at the San Isidro Monastery of Seville, he heard the lectures of the Superior of the monastery, Dr. Blanco Garcia Arias, who had been influenced by the preaching of the Albigenses. Being exposed to the writings of the Reformers and reading the Old Latin Bible of the Waldenses, Reina was converted to Protestantism.
Upon his conversion to the faith persecution fell on Reina, who had fled Spain never to return in order to escape the claws of the Inquisition. Along with ten of his friends, Reina arrived in Frankfurt, Germany in 1557. Two years later, he moved to London and became the pastor of a group of Spanish Protestants who also had escaped Spain and the Inquisition. Later, because of persecution found in England, Reina and his wife fled to Antwerp in the Netherlands. During this time, he worked on his Spanish Bible. In 1569 he published 2,600 copies of the entire Bible in Spanish. It was nicknamed the "Bear Bible" because it used as its symbol a bear retrieving honey from a tree.
The Inquisition soon seized as many copies of this version as possible and had them destroyed, calling it the "most dangerous edition of the Bible." (The Cambridge History of the Bible by Dr. S.L. Greenslade. Cambridge University Press, 1983, p.126). The Roman Church had issued a decree stating "(The) Bible in Castilian (Spanish) romance or in any other vulgar tongue (is prohibited)" (Ibid. p.125). This order came from the Council of the Holy General Inquisition. Consequently, few copies of Reina's Spanish Version ever made it into Spain. However, it was greatly used by Spanish-speaking refugees who fled Spain because of the persecution.
After the publication of his Bible, Reina organized a church which became noted for its zeal and street evangelistic outreach in Frankfurt. He remained the pastor of this church until his death on March 16th, 1594. To Spanish Christians, Casiodoro de Reina was more than a Bible translator. He was a hero in the Faith.
Cipriano de Valera (1531-1602) was one of Reina's friends who fled Spain in 1557. Like Reina, Valera had been a monk at the San Isidro Monastery in Seville. And, like Reina, it was there he first heard the gospel of redemption and was converted. Soon after he arrived in Frankfurt, Valera moved to Geneva where he became a follower of John Calvin. He became a street preacher and later moved to England to study at the University of Cambridge. Afterwards, he taught at the University of Oxford.
While in England, he translated Calvin's Institutes into Spanish and wrote a book entitled El Papa y la Misa (The Pope and the Mass). In it, he condemned the service of the mass calling it pagan in origin, and the authority of the Pope. While in England, he married and began a ministry to seamen as well as a ministry to those who were imprisoned.
In 1582, Valera began to revise the work of Reina. His revision was very slight but thorough. At the age of 70, after 20 long years of working on his revision, Valera published what has become known as the Reina-Valera Version. Valera wrote, "The reason that has motivated me to make this edition was the same that motivated Casidoro de Reina. Who was motivated by the pious Person, the Lord himself, and wanted to spread the glory of God and make a clear service to his nation" (translated from Versiones Castellanas De La Biblia. Published in Mexico by Casa De Publicasciones. pp.38-39).
Valera believed his Bible was the perfect word of God for the Spanish-speaking people. This is reflected in the Spanish History of the Bible stating, "The authors(Reina and Valera) claim to have penetrated to the depths of Holy Scriptures andhave translated with perfection the Greek and Hebrew languages." (Ibid. p.19).
Since 1602, however, this Spanish version has undergone a few major revisions. The two most noteworthy were done in 1909 and 1960.
Like Reina, Valera is a hero in the Faith. Because of his belief in personal salvation by grace alone through faith, and his desire to see the word of God published in Spanish, "Valera sufiro grande miseria" (Valera suffered great misery) (Ibid. p.39). This book further states, "El Seņor recompense a sussiervos, Cipriano de Valera recibira un muy grande galardon de maņos de su Salvador. (When the Lord rewards his servants, Cipriano de Valera will receive a great prize from the hand of the Saviour.) (Ibid.).
THE EARLY ENGLISH BIBLES
In order to better understand the KJV, we must understand something about the translations which preceded it into English, and the times in which the translators of these versions lived.
There was no English Bible until 1382. In order to better understand this, we must clarify two points. First of all the study of our language is divided into three periods. They are Old English which dates from about 700 to 1100 AD. Next comes Middle English which dates from 1100 to 1500 AD. Finally, we have Modern English which dates from 1500 to the present (This is attested to by Dr. Marjorie Anderson and Dr. Blanche Williams, both from Hunter College in New York City, in their book Old English Handbook, pp.6-7). This is important because some of these early versions date to Middle English. This leaves the date of the KJV clearly in the Modern English era. Thus, we can understand why there was a need for revision as the language changed in form, and we can also see that the KJV is in fact a modern English translation and not an Old English one as some have claimed.
Secondly, we must understand that during this time the right to translate the Bible into English was prohibited by the Roman Catholic Church. In fact, to have the Bible in any language other than Latin was forbidden. The belief of the Church was that men would misunderstand and mistranslate the scriptures, and they had the power of the state to enforce this belief. Their view was that those who could read, read Latin. Those who could not read would not need a Bible in their language. However, as stated in lesson five, simply because one could not read would not stop others from reading to him. It would do that person little good if all he heard was Latin and not the Bible in his own language. Also, history has proven that once the Bible is in the language of the people, they learn to read. For these and other reasons, there have been those who were willing to risk their lives in order to provide the common man the word of God.
WILLIAM TYNDALE (1494-1536)
The name of William Tyndale has bore the slander of the Roman Catholic Church. Catholic historian Rev. Henry G. Graham refers to Tyndale as an inept rebellious priest who "was utterly unfitted for such a great work (i.e. translating the NT into English)...a mediocre scholar, and could not boast of anything above the average intellect." (Where We Got the Bible: Our Debt to the Catholic Church, Tan Books and Pub., p. 123) And yet despite the defamation of some, God saw fit to use William Tyndale to give us the first English Bible printed on the printing press. And to set the stage for the translations which followed.
John Foxe, in his Book of Martyrs, provides us with a differing picture of this saint of God. Foxe informs us of his early training at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, and as the schoolmaster who taught the children of the Knight of Gloucestershire. Foxe also points out it was in this capacity that Tyndale earned himself a reputation for being contentious with local priests who would visit the Knight and his family. In reference to this, Foxe writes:
And when they (i.e. Catholic priests) at any time did vary from Tyndale in opinions, he would show them in the book, and lay plainly before them the open and manifest places of the Scriptures, to confute their errors, and confirm his sayings. And thus continued they for a certain season, reasoning and contending together divers times, till at length they waxed weary, and bare a secret grudge in their hearts against him. (Foxe's Book of Martyrs, p.136).
Despite his leanings towards Biblical debate, Foxe describes Tyndale as a gracious man who opened his heart and home to strangers and offered fellowship to all who wished it.
It was his openness and generosity that led to his demise. While in Antwerp, Tyndale befriended a fellow Englishman, Henry Philips. Tyndale showed Philips all his works, translations, plans, and personal theology. He trusted Philips as a good man and fellow believer. Philips was neither. Like Judas of old, Philips arranged with officers for the arrest of William Tyndale and then while in the public street, pointed to Tyndale so the officials knew who to arrest. His crime was the publishing of God's word in the language of the people. Tyndale was charged with heresy and sentenced to death by burning. While tied to the stake and awaiting his fiery death, William Tyndale offered his final prayer before being ushered into eternity; "Lord! Open the King of England's eyes." (Foxe, p.15). Thus once again the English Bible was purchased with the blood of the saints.
Tyndale used the Traditional Text and laid the foundation for the KJV which followed in the years to come. Although Tyndale translated a few Old Testament books, his work was on the New Testament. The following passages are from Tyndale's New Testament and compared with the KJV. The spelling has been modified to match the spelling found in the KJV. It is evident the work of William Tyndale lives on, both in copies of his translations and in those who used his New Testament as a basis for their labors.
O our father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Let thy kingdom come. Thy will be fulfilled, as well in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, even as we forgive our trespassers. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and power, and the glory for ever. Amen.
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
Come unto me all ye that labor and are laden and I will ease you. Take my yoke on you and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
I, beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercifulness of God, that ye make your bodies a quick sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God: which is your reasonable serving of God and fashion not yourselves like unto this world: but be ye changed in your shape, by the renewing of your wits that ye may feel what thing that good, that acceptable, and perfect will of God is.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
MILES COVERDALE (1488-1569)
William Tyndale had prayed that God would open the King of England's eyes. The King was Henry VIII. The prayer was answered in the work of Miles Coverdale. Coverdale had befriended Anne Boleyn, the second wife of King Henry. In addition, the chief minister to Henry was Thomas Cranmer the Archbishop of Canterbury who encouraged Coverdale in his translational work. Thus, the Lord was providing England and the English-speaking world with it first translation with the approval of the King.
Biblical historian, F.F. Bruce correctly stated, "Next to Tyndale, the man to whom lovers of the English Bible owe the greatest debt is Miles Coverdale." (The English Bible, p. 53). God used Miles Coverdale in an unique way because Coverdale labored with three early English translations. His own Coverdale's Bible (1535), the Great Bible (1539), and the Geneva Bible (1560). Indirectly he helped with the Matthew's Bible (1537), and the Bishops' Bible (1568), as these were revisions of his works. All of these early translations, along with Tyndale's Bible, were based on the Traditional Text and used by the translators of the KJV in their work. These were the translations referred to by the KJV translators when they wrote:
Truly, good Christian reader, we never thought from the beginning that we should need to make a new translation, nor yet to make of a bad one a good one,...but to make a good one better, or out of many good ones, one principal good one, not justly to be excepted against; that hath been our endeavour, that our mark. (The Translators to the Reader original Preface in the KJV by Dr. Miles Smith)
Miles Coverdale was born in Yorkshire, the birthplace of John Wycliffe, in 1488. He was educated at Cambridge and became an Augustinian friar. In 1528, after embracing the teachings of Martin Luther, Coverdale left the priesthood and was forced to leave England. Coverdale soon became a disciple of William Tyndale and took up his work of translating the Bible in the English language. His first translation of the Old Testament as it is found in the Coverdale's Bible was not translated from Hebrew, but from German and Latin. His New Testament was a revision of Tyndale's New Testament. When he published his Bible in 1535 it became the first complete Bible printed in English.
MATTHEW'S BIBLE (1537)
Thomas Matthew was the pseudonym of John Rogers (1500-1555). Rogers received his degree from Cambridge in 1525 and became a priest in London. In 1534 he went to Antwerp as chaplain to the Merchant Adventurers. There, he became associated with William Tyndale and was converted to Protestantism. Rogers then went to Wittenberg where he pastored a church with his wife and eight children. Under the reign of Queen Mary, Rogers was charged with heresy and was burned alive for the sake of the gospel. Once again the trail of the English Bible was covered with blood.
His work is a mixture of Tyndale and Coverdale. The NT is that of William Tyndale's as are the first five books of the OT and a never before published copy of Tyndale's translation of Joshua to 2 Chronicles. The rest of the OT is the work of Coverdale.
THE GREAT BIBLE (1539)
This was the second major work done by Miles Coverdale. It was called the Great Bible because of its size. It is a very thick Bible with its pages measuring nine inches wide and fifteen inches long. It was produced for English Churches with full approval by the king, Henry VIII, in response to the prayer of William Tyndale. To some, this is considered the first "authorized" Bible, because the king approved it and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer, oversaw it.
This version was based on the Traditional Text of the NT, and was compared with the Old Latin Text. It never became great with the public and ceased publication within thirty years. The desire for an English Bible still remained, one the average Englishman could hold in his hands and read in his home. Not one that was the size of the Great Bible, which was chained to the alter of English churches.
This need was met with the Geneva Bible which followed.
THE GENEVA BIBLE (1560)
In 1553, Mary became Queen of England and began a fiery persecution against Protestants. The Great Bible was removed from churches, and many Christians fled the country in order to escape her religious wrath. Many of these found refuge in Geneva. Knowing the need of preserving God's word in English, many scholars who had either suffered persecution under Mary, or had fled because of the persecution she produced, translated the NT in 1557 and the whole Bible in 1560. This translation became known as the Geneva Bible.
This version was produced in a handy size using Roman type which made it easier to carry and read. It also contained several notations which the Catholic Church found offensive. For example, the notation found in Revelation 9:3, which describes the locust coming out of the pit, reads, "Locust are false teachers, heretics and worldly, subtle prelates, with monks, friars, cardinals, archbishops, bishops, doctors, bachelors, and masters, which forsake Christ to maintain false doctrine." The Geneva Bible made use of not only the Traditional Text in the NT, but also the Hebrew Masoretic Text in the OT. And, unlike the previous translations, it was the work of a committee and not the work of one man or a revision of one man's work.
THE BISHOPS' BIBLE (1568)
Perhaps the loveliest Bible printed was the Bishops' Bible, being endowed with a plethora of woodcuttings throughout its edition. It was produced after the terror of Queen Mary by the Church of England with the aid of many English Bishops, hence its name. It had fewer notes than the Geneva Bible, and was given for the purpose of standardizing the British subjects with one standard Bible. However, it was not successful in this task. Because this version was issued under the authority of Queen Elizabeth, it is considered the second authorized Bible for the English-speaking world.
A GOOD ONE BETTER
One line from the Preface to the KJV is often cited by supporters of modern versions. It has to do with the goal of the KJV translators in making a good translation better. In his tract entitled, Pick a Bible, Any Bible, Mr. Terry Alverson cites Dr. Miles Smith of the KJV translation committee and states, "Obviously Smith and his co-workers did not undertake the task of translating the KJV with the intent that it was to be the only Bible. Quite the contrary. It appears the 1611 KJV translators would be the first to applaud a modern day effort to 'make a good translation better.' "(p.2).
One wonders if the claim that the KJV translators would be the first to applaud a modern day effort is correct in light of their full statement. The context of Dr. Smith's citation is given below:
Truly, good Christian reader, we never thought from the beginning that we should need to make a new translation, nor yet to make a bad one a good one, (for then the imputation of Sixtus had been true in some sort, that our people had been fed with gall of dragons instead of wine, with whey instead of milk:) but to make a good one better, or out of many good ones, one principle good one, not justly to be excepted against; that hath been our endeavour, that our mark.
The history of all the "good ones" which predated the KJV shows that they were all based upon the same Greek line of manuscripts; the Traditional Text. Further, it should be noted that the translators said their goal was NOT to make a bad one good, else the accusation from the Pope that the translators were feeding their people with "gall of dragons" might have some basis. Their goal was to make "one principle one" from the good ones which predated the KJV. Clearly, this is not an affirmation to alter the text based on either the Alexandrian or Western line of manuscripts.
Likewise, the KJV translators spoke of the need for many translations. Some have used this to justify the use of modern versions based on a differing line of manuscripts. Jame R. White writes, "When the very preface to the KJV says, 'variety of Translations is profitable for the finding out of the sense of the Scriptures,' it is obvious that the KJV Only position is proven utterly ahistorical thereby. The position requires the translator to be something its own authors never intended it to be." (The King James Only Controversy, pp. 76-77).
The context of this statement was the use of marginal notes to explain the meaning of some Hebrew and Greek words which either carry several meanings or for rare animals. Please note the full context of the phrase in question:
There be many words in the Scriptures which be never found there but once, (having neither brother nor neighbour, as the Hebrews speak) so that we cannot be holpen by conference of places. Again, there be many rare names of certain birds, beasts, and precious stones, &c., concerning which the Hebrews themselves are so divided among themselves for judgement . . .Now in such a case, doth not a margin do well to admonish the reader to seek further, and not to conclude or dogmatize upon this or that peremptorily? For as it is a fault of incredulity, to doubt of those things that are evident, so to determine of such things as the Spirit of God hath left (even in the judgement of the judicious) questionable, can be no less than presumption. Therefore as S. Augustine saith, that variety of translations is profitable for the finding out of the sense of the Scriptures: so diversity of signification and sense in the margin where the text is not so clear, must needs do good, yea, is necessary, as we are persuaded.
With these thoughts in mind, let us consider for a moment the content of these early English versions as they compare with any one of the modern versions based on the theories of modern textual scholars.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. (KJV).
And leade us not into temptation: but delyver us from evyll. For thyne is the kyngedome and the power, and the glorye for ever. Amen. (Tyndale)
And leade us not into temptacyon: but delyver us from evyll. For thyne is the kyngdome and the power, and the glorye for ever. Amen. (Great Bible)
And lead us not into tentation, but deliver us from evill: for thyne is the kyngdome, and the power, and the glory for ever. Amen. (Geneva)
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evill: for thine is the kingdome, and the power and the glory, for ever, Amen. (Bishops')
And bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. (ASV)
And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil. (RSV)
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. (NIV)
Did you notice something is missing? But I thought that all they were doing is following in the line of the KJV and making a good one better? Or perhaps, they are doing more than that. Consider some further examples.
No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. (KJV)
No man hath sene God at eny tyme. The only begotten sonne, which is in the bosome of the father, he hath declared him. (Tyndale)
No man hath sene God at eny tyme. The onely begotten sonne, whych is in the bosome of the father, he hath declared hym. (Great Bible)
No man hathe sene God at any time: the onlely begotten Sonne, which is in the bosome of the Father, he hathe declared him. (Geneva)
No man hath seene God at any time, the onely begotten Sonne, which is in the bosome of the Father, he hath declared him. (Bishop's)
No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten God, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him. (NASV)
No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known. (NIV)
No man has seen God at any time; the only-begotten god who is in the bossom [position] with the Father is the one that has explained him. (NWT)
For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. And they went to another village. (KJV)
The sonne of man is not come to destroye mennes lives, but to save them. And they went to another toune. (Tyndale: note in this version the verse is found in verses 55 and 56)
For the sonne of man is not come to destroye mennes lyves, but to save them. And they went to another towne. (Great Bible)
For the Sonne of man is not come to destroye mens lives, but to save them. Then they went to another towne. (Geneva)
For the sonne of man is not come to destroy mens lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.(Bishop's)
And they went on to another village. (RSV: Note the phrase missing is not found in verse 55, as it was in Tyndales. It is removed altogether.)
and they went on to another village. (NEV)
And they went on to another village. (NASV)
in whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: (KJV)
in whom we have redempcion thorow his bloud, that is to saye the forgevens of synnes. (Tyndale)
by whom we have redemcion thorowe his bloude even the forgevenes of sinnes. (Great Bible)
In whom we have redemption through his bloode, (that is,) the forgiveness of sinnes. (Geneva)
In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sinnes: (Bishop's)
in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (NIV)
by whom we are set free, that is, our sins are forgiven. (TEV)
Through him we have redemption, the forgiveness of our sins. (NAV)
in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (NRSV)
And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work. (KJV)
Yf it be of grace, then is it not of works. For then were grace no moare grace. Yf it be of works, then is it no moare grace. For then were deservinge no lenger deservinge. (Tyndale)
If it be of grace, then is it not now of workes. For then grace is no more grace. But If it be of workes, then is it now no grace. For then were deservynge nomore deservynge. (Great Bible)
And if (it be) of grace, it is no more of workes; or els were grace no more grace: but if it be of workes, it is no more grace: or els were worke no more worke. (Geneva)
If it bee of grace, then is it not nowe of workes: for then grace is no more grace. But if it be of workes, then is it now no grace, for then worke is no more worke. (Bishop's)
But if it is by grace, it is no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. (RV, 1881)
And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace. (NIV)
But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace would no longer be grace. (NRSV)
The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; as it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before they face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. (KJV)
The beginnynge of the Gospell of Jesu Christ the sonne of God, as it is written in the Prophets: beholde I sende my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy waye befoe the. (Tyndale)
The begynnynge of the Gospell of Jesu Chryst the sonne of God, as it is written in the Prophets, behold, I sende my messenger before thy face which shall prepare thy waye before the. (Great Bible)
The begynnynge of the Gospell of Jesus Christe, the Sonne of God: As it is written in the Prophetes, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, whiche shal prepare thy way before thee. (Geneva)
The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Sonne of God, As it hath bene written in the Prophets, Bhholde, I sende my messenger before they face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. (Bishops')
The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, Who will prepare Your way; (NASV. The OT citation comes from Malachi 3:1 in verse two of Mark. It is not until verse three that there is a citation from Isaiah)
The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It is written in Isaiah the prophet: I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way (NIV)
[The] beginning of the good news about Jesus Christ: Just as it is written in Isaiah the prophet: (Look! I am sending forth my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way;)<<(NWT)
These are but a few examples of the many changes made in modern versions. In each case the early English translations agreed with the KJV. To claim that what the KJV did in 1611 to the early English versions which predated it, is what modern versions are doing to the KJV simply is untrue. Dr. Miles Smith stated that their goal as translators in 1611 was NOT to make a BAD one good. Instead, from the many good ones based on the Traditional Text, to make one better. This they accomplished only by the good grace of God upon them. In our next lesson we will look deeper into the history and text of the greatest version the world has ever seen; the Authorized King James Version of 1611.
QUESTIONS FROM STUDENTS
One student writes, "If the KJV is the only real Bible for Christians then why does it have errors in it? A book about different translations by Lewis points out more than quite a few. And I've found that in Romans 1:1 the word 'doulos' is translated as 'servant' when it should be 'slave.' And in Romans 1:3 the words 'Jesus Christ our Lord' appear when they should be at the end of verse 4."
The question begins with two false assumptions. First that the KJV is the only real Bible for Christians. Second that it has error in it. As we have stated time and again throughout these lessons, my belief is that the KJV is the preserved word of God for the English-speaking people without any proven error. Lessons one, two, five, and this one all state that I have not claimed the KJV to be the Bible for all the world, or the only Bible ever given. There were Bibles before the KJV and in languages other than English which were the preserved word of God without any proven error. I simply believe the KJV is for the English-speaking people. I further believe it stands without any proven error, and have for several years now been looking to see if anyone could prove an error in it. To date, they have not.
In lessons to come we will cover many of the so-called errors as given by James R. White, D. A. Carson, Jack Lewis, and others. In fact, a few lessons will be dedicated to the issues raised by these men. But for now, please allow me to address the issue at hand.
In Romans 1:1 Paul uses the Greek word "doulos." The claim is made that the KJV is in error because it translates the word as servant instead of slave. However, the claim is without warrant because "doulos" means both. One of the standard texts for learning NT Greek is J. Gresham Machen's New Testament Greek For Beginners. It was my first year Greek book when I attended Cedarville College. In the building of vocabularies under Greek-English Vocabulary, Machen states, "doulos, o; a slave, a servant." (p. 258).
Machen is not alone. In Dr. Ray Summers' book, Essentials of New Testament Greek, he translates "doulos, o, slave, servant" (Broadman Press, p.157). Both Machen and Summers are first year Greek studies. Dr. Harold Moulton expands on this in his Analytical Greek Lexicon: "doulos; enslaved, enthralled, subservient, a male slave, or servant, of various degrees" (Zondervan, p. 106). In An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, by W. E. Vine, he states "Doulos, an adjective, signifying 'in bondage,'. . .is used as a noun, and as the most common and general word for 'servant,' frequently indicating subjection without the idea of bondage" (Revell Company, p. 347). And finally, Dr. Jack Lewis in his book, The English Bible: KJV to NIV, states that the NASV translates "doulos" four different ways including both slave and servant (p. 343).
It would seem from this information that the objection is without substance.
The second part of the question deals with Romans 1:3-4.
Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead: (KJV)
concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh, who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord, (NASV)
The student is correct in stating that in the Greek the phrase "Jesus Christ our Lord" appears at the end of verse four and not in verse three in the Greek text. This is not, however, an error. It is the form of translation.
The question is a good one; why does the KJV read "his Son Jesus Christ our Lord" when the Greek has "tou uiou autou" (his Son) several words before "Iesou Cristou tou keriou emon" (Jesus Christ our Lord)? The answer has to do with the understanding of how Greeks worded sentences. In Greek the phrase "his Son" and "Jesus Christ our Lord" both have endings in "ou." Greeks tied word order together by the endings of Greek words. All of these stand in what is called the (masculine, singular) genative case. They are the same endings, showing they are to be tied together. Again, citing from Machen,
The normal order of the sentence in Greek is like that in English--subject, verb, object. There is no special tendency, as in Latin, to put the verb at the end. But Greek can vary the order for purposes of emphasis or euphony much more freely than English. . .The English translation must be determined by observing the endings, not by observing the order. (New Testament Greek for Beginners, pp.26-27).
It is a matter of choice, not an issue of mistranslation. The NASV is neither less correct nor more correct in translating the phrase at the end of verse four. It is a choice. As long as the reader understands that "Jesus Christ our Lord" has to do with "his Son" the translation is correct. The NASV, NIV, RSV, NRSV (and most all others) simply tie the thought together by having the phrase at the end. The KJV ties the thought together as a Greek reading it would. Both are correct translations.
There is one final thought. At least the whole phrase "Jesus Christ our Lord" appears in both translations in this passage. This is not true of either Acts 8:37 or Romans 16:24. In both of these passages the NASV, along with most modern versions, omit the verse and Jesus Christ our Lord altogether. In fact the NASV omits the name "Jesus" 58 times in the NT (such as in Matt. 4:12,18,23; John 3:2; Acts 9:29; and 1 Peter 5: 10,14). "Christ" is removed from the NASV 38 times (such as in Matt. 23:8; John 6:69; 1 Cor. 16:22-23; 1 Tim. 2:7; and 1 John 4:3). And "Lord" is missing 35 times from the NASV (such as in Mark 11:10; Luke 9:57,59; Rom. 6:11; Gal. 6:17; Col. 1:2; and Rev.16:5). Even in Romans chaper one there is an omission. Notice verse sixteen states, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: . . ." (KJV). Modern versions omit "of Christ." I would think that the omission of "Jesus," "Christ," and "Lord," are of a greater impact than the word order as it appears in the Greek NT; especially when that word order is in full agreement with the thinking, writing, and reading of Greek believers. I hope that this answers your question and that this lesson has been a blessing.
Yours in Christ Jesus,
To participate in Dr. Holland's class, click on Dr. Holland's e-mail address, which is:
and tell Dr. Holland that you would like to participate in the class.
Back to Index
e New Testament, p.302). Thirdly, since God has told us that we are not to add to His word, it would be a strange thing indeed for Him to support a Greek line of manuscripts and bless an English translations of the Bible that added to His word. Yet the line of manuscripts which Bible-believing Christians have read, used, and believed for almost two thousand years is of the Traditional text. And no English translation has been so greatly used and blessed by God as the KJV has. If the KJV has so grossly added to the word of God as claimed by Westcott and Hort, why has God blessed it so richly for the past 400 years? Additionally, if Westcott and Hort are the fathers of modern textual criticism and the restorers of the true text, should we not know something of their beliefs to see if they are co