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Wednesday, February 08, 2023

Authorized by a King

Two contrary ideas.

Ecclesiastes 8:4 Where the word of a king is, there is power…

An odd argument between some KJV defenders and some KJV detractors – either the King James Bible was or was not authorized by the King of England. Who knew this was important?

On the “pro” side, there are some KJV defenders who incorporate “authorized by a king” as part of their proof that the King James translation is the one true (authorized) Bible.

I am not sure when or where this argument originated, but Peter Ruckman used it in 1983 in Why I Believe The King James Bible Is The Word Of God. He writes:

“I believe the King James Bible is the word of God because it has no copyright on it. It may have the Crown Copyright, but you don’t have to ask the Crown for the right to print it. In Ecclesiastes 8:4 it says, ‘Where the word of a king is, there is power.’ If it had a Crown copyright, it was copyrighted under a king. If it was copyrighted under a king, it has the right copyright.”

The KJV Bible Truth web site states it this way:

“Another proof is that the King James Bible is the only Bible authorized by a king. The Bible says, Where the word of a king is, there is power. The king’s heart is in the Lord’s hand.”

Perhaps annoyed by such assertions, some KJV detractors strike back. The translation of 1611 was never authorized by James I King of England, say they. Hear Larry Wilson:

“For what it’s worth, the so-called ‘authorized’ version (KJV) was not authorized by King James or his government. King James gave translators permission to proceed with an English translation of the Bible, but he did not put ‘stamp of approval’ on their work.”

I do not know anything about Larry Wilson. However, it is not just little-known web contributors who assert this. Ryan Reeves, former professor at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, holding a Ph.D. from Cambridge University, writes at the popular Gospel Coalition web site that “The Bible Was Authorized by the King” is a myth.

“The Bible Was Authorized by the King

“This myth was created due largely to the title used today for the KJV. The King James Bible (in America) or the Authorized Bible (in Britain). Either name is not bad, but it often convinces people that the Bible was somehow the product of the king’s command.

“In fact, the king never formally authorized or endorsed the Bible directly. The last Bible in English to receive royal sanction was the Great Bible during the reign of Henry VIII.”

In King James, His Bible, and Its Translators (p. 233), Laurence M. Vance pointed out that such an assertion is at least as early as Brooke Foss Westcott in A General View of the History of the English Bible.

“…no evidence has yet been produced to shew, that the version was ever publicly sanctioned by Convocation or by Parliament, or by the Privy Council, or by the king.”[i] 

Two strikes and two outs.

The first assertion is poor biblical interpretation.[ii]  The second assertion is poor historical interpretation.

If the latter is a poor historical interpretation, what evidence is there that King James authorized the translation first published in 1611, which we know as the Authorized Version or King James Bible? I submit the following.

1. The authorization by King James I at the Hampton Court Conference.

“Whereupon his Highnesse wished, that some special paines should be taken in that behalf  for one uniform translation (professing that he could never, yet, see a Bible well translated in English, but the worst of all his Majesty thought the Geneva to be) and this to be done by the best learned in both the Universities, after them to be reviewed by the Bishops, and the chief learned of the Church; from them to be presented to the Privy Councel; and lastly, to be ratified by his Royal Authority. And so this whole Church to be bound unto it, and none other.”

In The Summe and Substance of the Conference…at Hampton Court, Jan. 14. 1603 (Clerkenwell, UK: Bye and Law, Printers, 1804, p. 35), William Barlow reported that Puritan John Reinolds (Reynolds) asked that the new translation of the Bible be made. James seized on the idea and set forth a plan to accomplish it. In 1603 English rule was under a monarchy. The King’s wish was a command, not a mere suggestion that it might be nice if they were to do what he said.

2. The title of this Bible.

“The Holy Bible: Conteyning the Old Testament and the New: Newly Translated out of the Originall tongues: & with the former Translations diligently compared and revised, by his Maiesties speciall Commandment. Appointed to be read in the Churches. Imprinted at London by Robert Barker, Printer to the Kings most Excellent Maiestie. Anno Dom. 1611.”

The title page of the Bible reflects that this translation was produced “by his Maiesties speciall Commandment,” as well as one “Appointed to be read in the Churches.”

4. The Epistle Dedicatory.

“To the Most High and Mightie Prince Iames…There are infinite arguments of this right Christian and Religious affection in your MAIESTIE; but none is more forcible to declare it to others than the vehement and perpetuated desire of accomplishing and publishing of this Worke, which now with all humilitie we present unto your MAIESTIE. For when your Highnesse had once out of deepe judgment apprehended how convenient it was, That out of the Originall sacred Tongues, together with comparing of the labours, both in our owne, and other foreigne Languages, of many worthy men who went before us, there should be one more exact Translation of the holy Scriptures into the English Tongue; our MAIESTIE did never desist, to urge and to excite those to whom it was commended, that the worke might be hastened, and that the businesse might be expedited in so decent a maner, as a matter of such importance might justly require.

The dedication of the work to King James (probably written by Thomas Bilson) indicates that the translators set about the work of creating a new and more exact translation according to the king’s desire, judgment, and urging.

4. The Translators to the Reader preface.

“Therefore let no mans eye be evill, because his Maiesties is good...And what can the King command to bee done, that will bring him more true honour then this? and wherein could they that have beene set a worke, approve their duetie to the King, yea their obedience to God, and love to his Saints more, then by yeelding their service, and all that is within them, for the furnishing of the worke?

“…hereupon did his Maiestie beginne to bethinke himselfe of the good that might ensue by a new translation, and presently after gave order for this Translation which is now presented unto thee.”

The preface to the new translation (probably written by Miles Smith) recognizes that the work originated from the king’s “command” and the king’s “order.”

5. The Royal Coat of Arms page.

Between “The names and order of all the Bookes of the Olde and New Testaments” and “The Genealogies of Holy Scripture,” a page reproduces the the Royal Coat of Arms over the words “Cum Priuilegio Regiae Maiestatis.”[iii]  The Latin “Cum Priuilegio” means “With Privilege” and is used especially in a book to indicate that its issue is duly licensed or authorized. The full “Cum Priuilegio Regiae Maiestatis” reveals by whom it is authorized – “With the Privilege of His Royal Majesty.”[iv] 

Concluding thoughts.

The preponderance of evidence is clearly on the side of the 1611 translation being authorized by King James I of England. If bore his authority from beginning to end – from his authorization at the Hampton Court Conference to his stamp of approval on the printed product. Those requiring an official government document that was destroyed by a fire in 1619 may have a polemic agenda beyond the history of authorization of the “King James’s” Bible.

I use the book inspired and authorized by the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. That he used the King of England in the process of giving it to me in English is just fine by me!


[i] Vance points out the lack of evidence of an official government document might likely be “that all the Council records for the years 1600-1613 were destroyed by a fire at Whitehall in January of 1619.” King James, His Bible, and Its Translators, Third Edition, Orlando, FL: Vance Publications, 2022, p. 233.
[ii] In addition to the exegetical problem, this view of proving the King James Bible has an historical problem as well. King Henry VIII authorized The Great Bible in 1539, making it an English Bible authorized by a king – and the first one to be authorized, at that.
[iii] It is possible some printings do not reproduce this page, or some online reproductions did not bother to scan it. The facsimile of the 1st Edition, 1st Printing produced by The Bible Museum has it.
[iv] “Cum Priuilegio” also appears at the bottom of the New Testament title page. “Cum Priuilegio Regiae Maiestatis” is Latin. The coat of arms itself has two statements in French – Honi Soit Qvi Mal Y Pense (Shame be on him who thinks evil of it) and Diev Et Mon Droit (God and my right). In FTGF Lesson 192 | The AV 1611: Assessing The Preliminary Material, Part 3, Bryan Ross discusses the coat of arms related to the introductory material in the 1611 Bible. He thoughts on the coat of arms starts at around 40:40 minutes.

Tuesday, February 07, 2023

About an author

 

Katharine Adams, author, 1922

Katharine Adams wrote several books for young people, but it appears that biographical information about her is not readily available. My daughter asked me if I could find out who she was. I found her, and am posting about her to make the information available to others.

Katharine Adams was born in Elmira, Chemung County, New York, January 18, 1885. She was the daughter of Edward Legrand Adams and Kate Lynn Atwater. Katharine was raised abroad for several years, and she incorporates these places in her novels. Mr. Edward Adams served as American Consul in Stockholm, Sweden (circa 1902-1909), Dublin, Ireland (circa 1909-1915), and Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada (circa 1921-1923).[i]

On June 1, 1926, at Strathmont, the home of Mrs. Jacob Sloat Fassett in Elmira, New York, Katharine Adams married Percy Alexander Walker of Dublin, Ireland.[ii] She died October 17, 1969 in London England. Her obituary lists one daughter, Sally Caroline Walker. Katharine and Percy are buried at the Woodlawn Cemetery in Elmira, Chemung County, New York. So are her parents and her daughter.

Some people have confused the author Katharine Adams (1885-1969) of New York, USA with Katharine Adams (1862-1952) the famous British bookbinder. They are not the same person.

One newspaper reported that “Miss Adams has a remarkable faculty for getting atmosphere into her stories” and has “won the esteem of distinguished critics in the handling of the plot in the mystery pervading the old Swedish castle.”[iii] According to The MacMillan Company, her publisher, by 1926 she had garnered “a large audience” of readers.[iv]

Elmira Star-Gazette, Thursday, May 27, 1926, p. 13

Books by Katharine Adams (Published mostly, if not all, by the Macmillan Company, New York/London) include:

[In some cases the date given may be a second or third publishing. This needs to checked more closely.]


[i] Elmira Star-Gazette, Monday, June 11, 1923, p. 13; 1921 Census of Canada; Ireland Census, 1911; Katharine Adams Passport Application, July 8, 1922.
[ii] Elmira Star-Gazette, Tuesday, June 1, 1926, p. 5; New York marriage records on Ancestry.com.
[iii] Brooklyn Life, Saturday, May 17, 1924, p. 27.
[iv] Elmira Star-Gazette, Thursday, May 27, 1926, p. 13.

Monday, February 06, 2023

Bookmarks

Placing these here as a sort of bookmarking, help to locate sort of post.

Bibles, Bible-related
Books
Dictionary, Encyclopedia
Genealogy, History, Newspapers
Miscellaneous Resources
Music

Two-fer

Two Monday Morning Quotes for the price of one!

“Nor can it be said that these corruptions [of the text] are only in smaller things which do not affect the foundation of faith. For if once authenticity (authentia) of the Scriptures is taken away (which would result even from the incurable corruption of one passage), how could our faith rest on what remains? And if corruption is admitted in those of lesser importance, why not in others of greater?”

Francis Turretin, Institutes, Volume 1, p. 71.

“The canon of the Bible must be found in that logical deduction which the child of faith must draw from II Tim. 3:14-17, that if the sacred writings were given by our sovereign God that His chosen people, called to be saints, might profit from them, surely He has brought His church to receive those writings as of authority among them.”

E. W. Johnson, Questions Concerning the Bible, Pine Bluff, AR: Sovereign Grace Publishers, 1984, p. 33

Sunday, February 05, 2023

Christ our Strength and Righteousness

Isaac Watts wrote “Christ our Strength and Righteousness,” which appeared in The Psalms of David: imitated in the language of the New Testament and applied to the Christian state and worship. It is written in Common Meter, with seven stanzas, the second part of the hymn on Psalm 71, associated with verses 15, 14, 16, 23, 22, 24. It is by the righteousness of Jesus Christ we are freed from sin. He is our strength and song. When we begin, there is no end to counting “the numbers of his grace.”

1. My Saviour, my almighty friend,
When I begin thy praise,
Where will the growing numbers end,
The numbers of thy grace?

2. Thou art my everlasting trust;
Thy goodness I adore!
And since I know thy graces first,
I speak thy glories more.

3. My feet shall travel all the length
Of the celestial road;
And march with courage in thy strength,
To see my Father God.

4. When I am fill’d with sore distress 
For some surprising sin, 
I’ll plead thy perfect righteousness, 
And mention none but thine.

5. How will my lips rejoice to tell
The victories of my King!
My soul, redeemed from sin and hell,
Shall thy salvation sing.

6. My tongue shall all the day proclaim
My Saviour and my God;
His death has brought my foes to shame,
And drown’d them in his blood.

7. Awake, awake my tuneful powers;
With this delightful song,
I’ll entertain the darkest hours,
Nor think the season long.

Saturday, February 04, 2023

In other words, alpha to zilch

  • alpha, noun. The 1st letter of the Greek alphabet; something that is first (e.g., the first version of a product); a socially dominant person or animal.
  • barnstorm, verb. (Originally) To travel rapidly around within an area, often as part of a travelling company, giving performances, esp. in rural or makeshift venues; (also) to make a rapid tour of an area as part of a political campaign.
  • bivalent, adjective. (Biology) Associated in pairs.
  • catena, noun. A chain or connected series, especially of extracts from the writings of the fathers of the Christian church.
  • collabo, verb. (intransitive) Especially of musicians: to collaborate; to work together with another or others, or on a project. (formed within English, by shortening).
  • fellowship, noun. The condition or relation of being a fellow; friendly relationship; companionship; communion.
  • followship, noun. The practice of doing what other people suggest, rather than taking the lead.
  • gin up, verb. (phrasal verb of gin) To arouse or intensify strong feelings in someone; generate or increase something, especially by dubious or dishonest means.
  • grist, noun. Grain that is ground to make flour; useful material, especially to back up an argument.
  • leadership, noun. The position or function of a leader, a person who guides or directs a group; ability to lead; the leaders of a group.
  • lip-sync, verb. To mouth or mime the words of (a song, a piece of dialogue, etc.) along with an accompanying soundtrack or other recording such that the two are exactly matched.
  • lubricate, verb. To apply a lubricant to or to make slippery; to facilitate or make easier.
  • lucubrate, verb. To work, write, or study laboriously, especially at night.
  • mondialization, noun. Globalization; the increase of contact between countries, cultures, etc.
  • neurodivergent, adjective. Differing in mental or neurological function from what is considered typical or normal; not neurotypical (q.v.).
  • neurotypical, adjective. Not displaying or characterized by autistic or other neurologically atypical patterns of thought or behavior. Cf. neurodivergent.
  • patina, noun. A film or incrustation, usually green, produced by oxidation on the surface of old bronze and often esteemed as being of ornamental value; a similar film or coloring appearing gradually on some other substance.
  • pettifog, verb. To bicker or quibble over trifles or unimportant matters.
  • risible, adjective. Relating to laughter or used in eliciting laughter; eliciting laughter; ludicrous.
  • warren, noun. An area where rabbits live in burrows; a colony of rabbits.
  • zilch, verb. To defeat an opponent (in a game or match) such that their final score is zero.

Friday, February 03, 2023

Let’s Get Biblical, and other book notices & reviews

The posting of book, film, or other reviews does not constitute endorsement of the products, reviews, or sites that are linked.

Thursday, February 02, 2023

A Novel Argument, and other links

The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.

That tongue in which they know best Christ’s sentence

Unauthorized and opposed by the Church and State in England, John Wycliffe and friends, buoyed by a firm belief in the scriptures, forged ahead to give the English a complete Bible in their language.

“Not only did [John Wycliffe] maintain that [the scriptures] were a sufficient rule of life without any human additions, but he asserted the right of every man, cleric or lay, to study them for himself, even though he might be deficient in learning. ‘No man,’ he insisted, ‘was so rude a scholar but that he might learn the words of the Gospel according to his simplicity.’”

Supporting the idea of translation in the face of opposition, Wycliffe wrote, “it helpeth Christian men to study the Gospel in that tongue in which they know best Christ’s sentence.”

From The Bible in Its Ancient and English Versions, Henry Wheeler Robinson, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1940, pp. 137-138.

Related, John Wycliffe and the Lollards

Read The Twelve Conclusions of the Lollards.

“The Twelve Conclusions of the Lollards are preserved in their original English form (other Latin summaries survive) in Roger Dymok’s ‘Against the Twelve Heresies’ of the Lollards, an elaborate refutation of each of the heresies, written in 1396-97 for Richard II. The original conclusions were presented to Parliament (which took no action) and posted at St. Paul’s Cross.

The text that follows is literally translated from the Middle English, at the cost of some archaisms and obscurities, a few of which are explained in italicized glosses.”

Wednesday, February 01, 2023

The implications of universal statements

The implications of universal superlative statements.

When I was a young preacher, I heard James A. Kirkland analyze the statement, “The American Baptist Association is the best/greatest association in the world.” (At the time, Brother Kirkland was a well-known leader in that association. That is the gist of how he said it, but over 40 years later, it may not be exact.)

Brother Kirkland said that making such a statement such as this implies three things, that the speaker:

  • (1) knows every association in the world
  • (2) has studied every association in the world
  • (3) is qualified to determine which association is the best in the world

This principle applies beyond the illustration he gave. I have kept this in mind as a good way to analyze our thoughts and statements. When I or someone else says something like this, how much validity does it hold? Little, I’m afraid. This came to mind again a few weeks ago when I heard a sycophant of certain popular internet personality say that person has taught more people about the words in the King James Bible than anyone else ever did. I “suppose” he did not know everyone who has ever lived (since 1611), has not studied them all, and most likely would not be qualified to make that assessment if he had.

Let’s all be careful of ginning up too much excitement on magnificent matters of which we know much less than what we present it to be.