Monday, April 30, 2018

More Baptist Voices for the King James Bible

The “Battle of the Bibles” has its pejorative elements. One is the identification of “King-James Onlyism” as something new among Baptists in the 1950s-60s and traceable in origin to Benjamin Wilkinson. In connection with this, some opponents narrowly identify “King-James Onlyism” with independent Baptist fundamentalism (and often further paint it as “Ruckmanism-Only”).[i] No doubt the most vocal element of King-James-Only is found among Independent Baptists, and after 1960. These facts cannot deny prior allegiance to the King James Version as the only Bible – those embracing it as the inspired word of God. This view has a lengthy history, and is widely distributed among Baptists geographically, theologically, and denominationally. It is found sparsely in historical writings, in my opinion, because (1) as long as the King James Version was for all intents and purposes the only Bible these Baptists were using, there was little need to address it, and (2) often this view was most adamantly held by those who had neither the capital, surplus time, or choice connections to write and publish books on the subject.[ii] Because it is sparsely found in historical writings – particularly theological writings – some reject it out of hand, proclaiming it is not “the historic Baptist view.” Fact is, there is not one THE historic Baptist view regarding the Bible and its inspiration – other than most all Baptists used to agree that it was inspired and inerrant (whether in its originals, accurate copies, and/or trustworthy translations).[iii] Certainly we need to do careful interpreting statements about the KJV being inspired. The statement may fit within one of several categories of so-called “KJV-Only.” On the other hand, just because the views of individuals in the past do not agree with Peter Ruckman is no sign that they did not sincerely hold their own views regarding the King James Bible.

In a sermon in 2001 an independent Baptist pastor in Los Angeles, California stated, “for twelve years I have offered $1,000 to anyone who can give a well-documented quote from any leading preacher or scholar who believed that the KJV was inspired and inerrant before 1950.” [iv] Such an offer, unrequited, seems to prove that surely this position was non-existent before 1950. But as stated, it has many nuts that are hard to crack, and too many outs whereby the quote can be dismissed as not meeting the standard. Scholar may mean someone who has earned a Ph.D. or Th.D. Who and what is a “leading pastor”? What is a “well-documented” quote?[v] What if the person quoted does not define “inspired” and “inerrant” in his statement? And on it goes. Ultimately, this challenge places the representative position of Baptists among those with notoriety and scholarship.  Paul, the apostle, suggests the “not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble” are the routine representatives of the faith once delivered to the saints![vi]

Inerrancy (as a general rule) means the Bible is fully true and completely trustworthy in all it teaches or affirms – not only in matters of faith, but also in matters such as history and science.[vii] A quote from Harold Lindsell addresses both inspiration and inerrancy: “the authors of Scripture, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, were preserved from making factual, historical, scientific, or other errors...God the Holy Spirit by nature cannot lie or be the author of untruth. If the Scripture is inspired at all it must be infallible.”[viii] There were Baptists who held this view prior to 1950 (and made some application of it to their thoughts about the King James Bible). A more excellent way to view Baptist history concerning the Bible is to look at the overall history of Baptists for the preponderance of evidence! Mining for that “one exact quote” will never settle the issue. Within the history of Baptists you will find Baptist people – whether preachers or laymen, scholars or farmers, in associations or in churches, who in one fashion or another, according to their own thoughts, held that the King James was inspired. This does not prove it is right, but it is not an anomaly.[ix]

From those who believe the KJV is the best English translation to those who believe the KJV is inspired and inerrant – King James Only views of God’s word have been and are now held by Baptists of various historical, theological, and geographical backgrounds. This testifies to the ubiquitous nature of the viewpoint among Baptists of the past, continuing into the present. Today, in some groups it is a minority position (e.g. GARBCSBC), with some it is a majority position (e.g. Free Will Baptists, Primitive Baptists), and with some it is some a universal or near-universal position (e.g. Old Regular Baptists, Separate Baptists).

Over the next several days I will post King James Bible statements made by Baptists with varying historical, theological, geographical, and “sub-denominational” backgrounds. This begins to give part of the “total picture” of the historical views of Baptists.

(Links will be “hot” after they post)

[i] James White proposes five ”KJV Only” categories, at least two of which can easily accommodate traditional Baptist views on the King James Bible and inspiration existing before Peter Ruckman. On the other hand R. L. Hymers declares, “In my opinion, the term ‘King James Only’ is a misleading name for this [Ruckmanite] movement. I myself am King James Only. I believe we should preach only from the KJV because it is the best translation, based on the best Hebrew and Greek manuscripts.” (From his sermon “The Verse That Destroys Ruckmanism.”)
[ii] More often it finds vent in sermons and newspapers.
[iii] “From the historical perspective it can be said that for two thousand years the Christian church has agreed that the Bible is completely trustworthy; it is infallible or inerrant.” (The Battle for the Bible, Harold Lindsell, Grand Rapids MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1976, p. 19) Even this is in question among many modern Baptists (and others). Nevertheless, “The inspiration and authority of the Bible is the foundation upon with the entire edifice of Christian truth is standing. If this foundation falters the whole Christian faith goes with it.” (Biblical Inerrancy and Reliability, J. Otis Yoder & Harold S. Martin, Harrisonburg VA: Fellowship of Concerned Mennonites, 1985, p. 30)
[iv] See “The Verse That Destroys Ruckmanism” by R. L. Hymers. I believe the initial offer was made in the book The Ruckman Conspiracy in 1989. At least the offer was first made in that time frame (12 years before 2001).
[v] Obviously, “I personally knew Brother So-and-So, and I know he believed that” will not be accepted – even though many of us, especially if we’ve been around since the 1960s or before, have known such persons.
[vi] To sincerely hold a strict view that only scholars can represent the position of Baptists goes against Scripture and our history. By it priestly robes of pride are showing as one tries to build a high wall between the clergy/scholar-laity/student divide. Scholars are often like dollars – not worth their face value, due to inflation.
[vii] This view does not mean that the Bible’s primary purpose is to present exact information concerning history and science. It therefore uses popular expressions of men – such as the sun rising and setting – to address men in words they understand.
[viii] The Battle for the Bible, Harold Lindsell,, Grand Rapids MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1976, pp. 30-31
[ix] For examples, in association minutes: Tennessee Association of Baptists in 1817, Barren River (Kentucky) Association of Baptists in 1830, Washington District Association (Virginia) in 1896, Mates Creek Association in 1905, Yellow Creek Association (Missouri) by 1909; in newspapers: e.g., “A Voice From Cleveland County,” a letter on the King James Bible by S. C. Crawley to the The Union Republican (Winston-Salem, North Carolina), October 7, 1920; Methodist preacher Thomas McSwain Elliott in his religion column in the Atlanta Constitution; Though a Presbyterian rather than a Baptist, William Jennings Bryan was notable and well educated. He was valedictorian Illinois College in 1881 and studied law at Union Law College in Chicago. It is reputed, though not well-documented, that he testified that every word in the KJV was inspired (Asheville Citizen-Times, Asheville, North Carolina, Sunday, October 28, 1928, p. 15).

KJV and sorrow, grief, or comfort

“There’s something about the beauty, the majesty, and the continuity between generations about the KJV that is sorely missed when it is gone. I suppose that’s why I preach and teach from any number of translations, but when I am sorrowful or grieving or comforting a hopeless friend I turn to the same King James Version I memorized verses from in childhood Sword Drills at Woolmarket Baptist Church. I know that I’m reading the same words my grandfather preached from fifty years ago, the same words my great-grandparents would have read through the Depression, and my great-great-great grandparents would have read in the aftermath of Reconstruction.”
– Russell D. Moore

Sunday, April 29, 2018

We Walk by Faith

1. We walk by faith, and not by sight;
No gracious words we hear
From Him who spake as ne’er man spake,
But we believe Him near.

2. We may not touch His hands and side,
Nor follow where He trod;
But in His promise we rejoice,
And cry, “My Lord and God!”

3. Help Thou, O Lord, our unbelief:
And may our faith abound,
To call on Thee when Thou art near,
And seek where Thou art found.

4. That, when our life of faith is done,
In realms of clearer light
We may behold Thee as Thou art,
With full and endless sight.

This text was written by Henry Alford (1810-1871). It first appeared in Psalms and Hymns Adapted to the Sundays and Holydays Throughout the Year in 1844.  Sometimes it is found with the tune Martyrdom or Avon, attributed to Hugh Wilson (1766-1824).

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Categorizing “KJV-Only” beliefs

James White in The King James Only Controversy: Can You Trust the Modern Translations and Bob Griffin in Definitions of KJV Only on the Baptist Board have classified Christians’ who favour the King-James-Bible-Only. There may be categorizations of King James Only by others, but I have not seen them. These two are developed by men who do not hold any “King James Only” position, but they attempt to give a some representation of different views. I have followed their lead, but have added a 6th category. Categorization such as this can be generally helpful but always leaves gaps for some to fall “between” the cracks of the categories.

KJVO.1 The King James Bible is the best.
This group believes the King James Version is the best English translation available. Some of this group may have respect for other translations and some may not.

KJVO.2 The Hebrew & Greek underlying the King James Bible is best (White includes “Majority Text” advocates in this group).
This group believes that the underlying Hebrew and Greek texts used by the King James translators are superior to other original language texts.

KJVO.3 The Received Text alone is best.
This group believes that the Textus Receptus (behind the King James) identically represents the original inspired autographs, as opposed to other Greek texts.

KJVO.4 The King James Bible is God’s inspired word perfectly preserved for the English-speaking people.
This group believes the King James Bible represents the perfectly preserved Word of God, accurately translated into the English language. Some may explain this as “derivative inspiration.”

KJVO.5 The King James Bible is new revelation.
This group believes that the King James Bible was “re-inspired” in 1611, when it was translated into the English language by the King James translators.

KJVO.6 The Scriptures were inspired by God, the original words preserved by God, and the preserved words translated into other languages. In the English language, the King James Bible best represents this work of God.

All the above categories share in common the consistent use of and preference for the King James Bible. Those in KJV groups 1-3 could, at least theoretically, allow for the possibility of a new translation that could supersede the King James Bible. KJV groups 4-5 do not allow for the possibility of a new translation, and usually not even any slight revision/alteration to the King James Bible. The KJV group 6 would allow for limited alteration (and recognize there have been alterations – e.g., spelling, punctuation – in the past).

Bob Griffin’s list
James White’s list
  • Group #1 “I Like the KJV Best”
  • Group #2 “The Textual Argument”
  • Group #3 “Received Text Only”
  • Group #4 “The Inspired KJV Group”
  • Group #5 “The KJV as New Revelation”

George Ide on Bible

New York Recorder gave an account of the May 1850 session of the American and Foreign Bible Society (it is quoted in Alexander Campbell’s Millennial Harbinger, Series 3, Vol. 7)

George Ide, pastor of First Baptist Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: “We did not need a revised version—we ought not to attempt to make one—and we could not accomplish it if we did try it. Much was said in reference to the imperfections of the authorized English version. Nothing which comes through human hands can be perfect; but after examination it will be found that, for the purpose for which it was designed, for the masses, for the fireside, for the highways and by-ways of ordinary life, a more appropriate, idiomatic, and expressive version, could not be produced. It was superior to the version of Luther himself. We could not have a version of scripture which, in all particulars, would be so well adapted to the masses—to the homes of our land. Some words are obsolete—antiquated; but the smallest scholar in our Sabbath schools can detect the intended meaning of the writers.”

Ide: “We have learned this English Bible at our mother’s knee. Ought we to shake the confidence of the people? Can you put any stop to the course of the Infidel, if you thus shake the confidence of the community in the Bible? Whatever differences there may be between the various denominations of Christians, while we have that good old English Bible, there is a broad golden band that unites us all together—that still makes us one family and household of faith. If we have a new Bible, this band will be sundered. We shall be the Ishmaelites of Christendom. Even if we voted for a new version, it would be impossible to carry it into effect. You may appoint a congress of theologians; but think you that the associations of two hundred and forty years can thus be erased. Think you that Christians who have learned to lisp their Saviour’s name from this book, can thrust it aside and take up with a new version ‘ Dear old English Bible! we will not forsake thee. Thou may’st be slandered, charged with ‘blasphemy,’ but we will not part with thee; and when we lay our heads on our last bed of sickness, this slandered, blessed book, shall be our pillow, and in its own glorious words we will breathe out our last prayer, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!’”

Spencer Cone, editor of the new version, said: “A pious Brahmin once desired to offer a sacrifice to God, and looked about him for a fine sheep. Three rogues determined to cheat him. They procured an old, blind and lame dog, and having put him into a sack, one of them contrived to waylay the pious man, with the dog for sale. Accordingly the lame and blind old dog was offered to the Brahmin. On seeing the animal the Brahmin said, ‘Friend, either thou or I must be blind, for this is no sheep. It is nothing but a dog, and a very poor one, too.’ But the fellow insisted that it was a sheep; and presently one of the conspirators came up and says to his coadjutor, ‘What will you take for that very fine sheep!’ ‘You must be drunk, to call this a sheep,’ said the Brahmin. They then agreed, however, to leave the decision of the question to the first man who made his appearance. Presently the third rogue came along, and to him the question was put, ‘ What animal is this!’ He immediately replied, ‘It is a sheep, and a very fine sheep, too.’ Then the Brahmin bought the dog and offered it in sacrifice to his god, who, as the story reads, was so wroth that he inflicted a grievous disease upon the Brahmin. Now, there is no Baptist minister who has not reiterated again and again that this translation of King James is a lame dog; and yet we are asked to endorse it for all time to come, and place it side by side with the inspired original.”

Ide: “In my figure of the golden band, I said that it held together the different denominations of Christians. Shall this golden band be compared to the Papacy that encountered Luther, and sought to turn back his steps! Shall the English Bible, which all Protestant Christians refer, and to which they do reverence, be compared to the Papacy! Has it come to this, that a beardless youth shall stand up, in such an assembly as this, and compare that Bible to a blind and lame dog, which ministers of the gospel offer as a sacrifice!”

Friday, April 27, 2018

A. Campbell’s New Testament and the KJV

In older times, before tomes on the modern Bible controversy were written, most Baptists in the U.S. had little reason to discuss whether the King James Bible was the “only” Bible. For all intents and purposes it was! Once in awhile some controversy arose to ruffle the feathers of Baptist Zion. Alexander Campbell’s “The Living Oracles” New Testament was one such occasion. Baptist opposition to Campbell and his theology included opposition to his New Testament, while expressing support for the King James Bible. The controversy was especially rank in Kentucky, and some records survive of Baptist support of the KJV in this controversy.

The North District Association of Separate Baptists in Kentucky suffered much (and eventually died) from the controversy, much of it surrounding the popular preacher John Smith
“But the records reveal other difficulties which tried the souls of the church members. Even though six full pages of the minutes for the period from October, 1829, to April, 1831, inclusive, were cut from the record book and apparently destroyed, there remains enough in the minutes and in other sources to indicate that the teachings of Alexander Campbell and other kindred spirits disturbed Old Cane Springs. As early as July, 1827, the North District Association had convened in the church there with Elder David Chenault presiding as moderator. The renowned Elder John Smith, often called ‘Raccoon John,’ was present and was arraigned by the brethren for preferring the Holy Spirit to the Holy Ghost in the baptismal ritual, for preferring actually to break the bread when taking the sacrament, and for preferring a more recent translation of the Bible to the King James version. Chenault and a big majority were strongly against him and such innovations.” [History, Old Cane Springs Baptist Church,The trial of Raccoon John Smith is also related in Raccoon John Smith: Frontier Kentucky’s Most Famous Preacher, John Sparks, pages 235-260]

In a letter from ‘Titus’ to Campbell’s periodical, there is a reference to comments of Elder George Waller, saying the KJV translators were providentially protected: 
It is presumption, it is wicked, for an individual, and he a mere smatterer, to take the work of a translation out of the hands of king James’ translators, men so renowned for their learning and piety, who were so providentially protected, and who lived so much nearer the age of the apostles, that they must, consequently, have been much better acquainted with the original language than any man can be in the present age.” [Christian Baptist, Vol. IV, No. 10 (May 7, 1827) [Vol. 4:196-197]. (As quoted in Alexander Campbell and His New Translation, p. 11)]

In July 1827  the Lulbegrud church brought 3 complaints to the North District Association re John Smith, one concerning the Bible directly:
“1. That, while it is the custom of Baptists to use as the Word of God King James’s translation, he had, on two or three occasions in public, and often privately in his family, read from Alexander Campbell’s translation.
“2. That, while it is the custom in the ceremony of baptism to take the candidate into the water, and solemnly pronounce the words, ‘I baptize you, my brother, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost,’ ‘he, on the contrary, is in the habit of saying, ‘By the authority of Jesus Christ, I immerse you into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
“3. That, in administering the Lord’s Supper, while it is the custom of the Baptists for an ordained preacher to stand at the table and give thanks, and break the loaf into bits, or morsels, small enough to be readily taken into the mouth, and then for the deacons to pass these around in a plate, or some like convenience, yet he leaves the bread in large pieces, teaching that each communicant should break it for himself.” (Life of Elder John Smith: with Some Account of the Rise and Progress of the Current Reformation, John Augustus Williams, Cincinnati, OH: R. W. Carroll & Company, 1870, p. 146)

Report of the Committee on “Baptist Customs and Usages,” at Howard’s Upper Creek, Clark County, Kentucky, 4th Saturday in July, 1831:
“That translation of the Scriptures called King James’s is the version that the five names of Baptists treated of in this report receive, refer to, and confide in as authentic. The principles of government are exhibited in the proceedings of the council at Lulbegrud [the church where they met for a special meeting in April 1830, rlv].” (Life of Elder John Smith: with Some Account of the Rise and Progress of the Current Reformation, John Augustus Williams, Cincinnati, OH: R. W. Carroll & Company, 1870, p. 424)

Williams says to see also “Alonzo Willard Fortune, The Disciples in Kentucky (Lexington, KY: Convention of the Christian Churches in Kentucky, 1932), 82-83, for similar charges against Smith from the Mount Zion Church of the Green River Association.”

Thursday, April 26, 2018

God was, 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.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Sit through 6 hours of MacBeth, and other quotes

The posting of quotes by human authors does not constitute agreement with either the quotes or their sources. (I try to confirm the sources that I give, but may miss on occasion; please verify if possible.)

"I find it ridiculous to argue against the KJV on the basis of ‘difficult language’ but then for the high society types to go sit through a 6 hour production of MacBeth and pretend like they understand it all!" -- Scott LNU

"I think it’s ugly to feel arrogant over people you agreed with yesterday, a denial of 1 Cor 4:7." -- Mark L. Ward

"To me it was always ‘Aut Cesar, aut nihil’—either Caesar or nothing. What anybody wanted, in a religious way, with the shell after the kernel was gone, I never could understand." -- B. H. Carroll

"Every student of the Word should ask, 'Is my study of the Bible producing any real change in my thinking and the way I live my life?'" -- Dave Brunn

"The secret of freedom lies in educating people, whereas the secret of tyranny is in keeping them ignorant." -- Maximilien Robespierre

"You can tell how big your problem is by what it takes to fix it." -- Steve Brown

"God’s word is to live by, and not to argue by." -- Copied (author unknown)

"Whenever I find myself in the cellar of affliction, I always look about for the wine." -- Samuel Rutherford

"The faith of today will determine alike the conduct and character of tomorrow. A false theology eventually fruits in foul living." -- William Bell Riley

"Truth ain’t never been hurt yit by folks not believin’ it." -- Uncle Remus?

"For fourteen hundred years the sun was misinterpreted. It made no difference to the sun. Ptolemy had a wrong conception, but the sun kept right on shining. He flooded every day with light, and went out into the fields every summer and aided the farmers in bringing in their crops." -- Credited to a Dr. Jefferson in The Menace of Modernism

"The first and almost the only book deserving universal attention is the Bible. It is a book which neither the ignorant and weakest, nor the most learned and intelligent mind can read without improvement." -- John Quincy Adams

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

KJV in 1905 Articles of Faith

Mates Creek District Association of Old Regular Baptists, September 1-3, 1905, Abstract of Principles, Article 10:

Monday, April 23, 2018

7 Common Historical Newspaper Abbreviations, 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.

Theology worth its salt

But for all this attention to contexts both scriptural and extrascriptural, sola Scriptura also demands that theological proposals be accountable to Scripture in a specific way. It is not enough for theologians to claim that an idea is biblical; they must be prepared to show in Scripture where that idea can be found. The idea may be based on a general principle rather than a specific text; but a principle is not general unless it is first particular, unless that principle can be shown to be exemplified in particular texts. So a theology worth its salt must always be prepared to show specifically where in Scripture its ideas come from. And showing that always boils down in the final analysis to citations of particular texts. This is why, for all that can be said about the abuses of proof-texting, proof texts have played a large role in the history of Protestant thought. And there is something very right about that.
John Frame in In Defense of Something Close to Biblicism: Reflections on Sola Scriptura and History in Theological Method

Sunday, April 22, 2018

His Eye Is on the Sparrow

Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heav’n and home,
When Jesus is my portion? My constant Friend is He:
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

I sing because I’m happy, I sing because I’m free,
For His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

“Let not your heart be troubled,” His tender word I hear,
And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears;
Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

Whenever I am tempted, whenever clouds arise,
When songs give place to sighing, when hope within me dies,
I draw the closer to Him, from care He sets me free;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

His Eye Is on the Sparrow
Civilla Durfee Martin, 1905

Saturday, April 21, 2018

S. C. Crawley and the KJV

Samuel Curtis Crawley (1876-1971), a farmer in Cleveland County, North Carolina, writes the newspaper to give his views on the Bible:

“A Voice From Cleveland County,”  a letter on the King James Bible by S. C. Crawley to 
The Union Republican (Winston-Salem, North Carolina), Thursday, Oct 7, 1920, p. 4

Friday, April 20, 2018

Inerrancy and Worldview, and other books

Links to writings about the Bible
  • A New Hearing for the Authorized Version -- "...I have made a comparison of the English Bibles published from 1525 (Tyndale’s) to the present, 1978 (New International Version, first edition), with a view to the New Testament specifically, and have arrived at the following conclusion: keeping in consideration both the divine and the human aspects of the Bible, the Authorized Version (which shall hereafter be referred to as A.V. or King James Version) should be retained in the churches, in Bible studies, and in the classroom, because of the superiority of its Greek text, translation, and English usage; and because it is a link with our past as well as a unifying factor for the present."
  • Answers to Objections to Our Authorized Bible -- "I now wish to submit to this body, who heard these charges against me read in your ears, how my Reviewers have handled their material."
  • Bible Database Online Bibles -- "Many English Bibles online in chapter files. This site also has many Bibles in other European and Asian languages."
  • English Bible Translations: By What Standard? -- "...we have called the English-speaking church to return to the AV as the standard English Bible..."
  • English Revised Version Bible, 1881-1885 -- Online access to a version that doesn't seem to be readily here
  • In Discordance with the Scriptures: American Protestant Battles Over Translating the Bible -- "...many Americans thought of the KJV as the foundational text of the Republic, rather than a cultural inheritance from Anglican Britain."
  • Inerrancy and Worldview by Vern Sheridan Poythress -- "The Bible has much to say about God and about how we can come to know him. What it says is deeply at odds with much of the thinking in the modern world."
  • Our Authorized Bible Vindicated -- "With regard to the different versions, it is necessary, while confirming the glorious inspiration of the Bible, to warn the people against Bibles which include false books, and, especially at the present time, against the dangers of false readings in genuine books."
  • Parallel Text of Historic Bibles, NT -- "The New Testament from Wycliffe, Tyndale, Geneva Bible, and King James Version in parallel columns"
  • Parallel Text of Historic Bibles, Pentateuch -- "The Pentateuch from Wycliffe, Tyndale, Geneva Bible, and King James Version in parallel columns"
  • The King James Version Defended by Edward F. Hills -- "…Hills’ training under J. Gresham Machen, John Murray, R. B. Kuiper and most especially, Cornelius Van Til, would not allow him to rest content with the neutral method to which he had been initiated at the University of Chicago and Harvard."
  • The various endings of Mark -- "304 is noted in NA as witness for having no ending. Maurice Robinson has examined a microfilm of the end of the manuscript, however, and offers these observations..."
  • Web Directory: English Bible Versions -- "A treasure trove of Bible and Bible-related links"

What you see

"What you see with me is what you get. I'm not running for president - George Bush is." -- Barbara Bush at the 1988 Republican National Convention

Thursday, April 19, 2018

The King James Bible and Nic Kizziah

At times promoting the King James Bible requires its proponents to speak out against false-supporters of the beloved book. In a few previous posts I have suggested we need to promote the King James Bible by exposing its false friends, such as Jack Hyles and Peter Ruckman.

Another false friend comes to light in the online article Believers Beware of Counterfeit King James Bibles. This piece opens with standard biblical warning labels against adulterating the word of God (Deuteronomy 4:2; Proverbs 30:5-6; Revelation 22:18-19) – then goes on to address variant spellings in print editions of King James Bibles. The author is apparently Nic Kizziah of The Believers Organization. I know of and have found no biographical information on this person.[i]

Kizziah warns us that “worldly publishing companies are publishing Bibles and calling them King James Bibles when in actuality they are not.  They are counterfeits.” What does Kizziah identify in the word of God to make him call it counterfeit? Spelling changes. He tells a story of his buying a Cambridge Bible only to find out it wasn’t a Bible at all! “Here are some of the changes I located: Asswaged has been changed to assuaged. Basons has been changed to basins. Chesnut has been changed to chestnut. Cloke has been changed to cloak. Enquire has been changed to inquire. Further has been changed to farther. Jubile has been changed to jubilee. Intreat has been changed to entreat. Morter has been changed to mortar. Ought has been changed to aught, and rereward has been changed to rearward.” Near the end of his article, the author offers a short “check list when buying a King James Bible” to help the reader identify counterfeits and not buy them.

I’m not enamoured with the supposed need to update spellings – neither am I much bothered by it. I actually like the old British spellings I grew with in the King James Bible – such as ardour, behaviour, colour, favour, honour, valour. I used to use those endings in my own writing until the digital age, cut-and-paste, automatic proofing, and such like. I finally “got with the program.” But the question at hand is, “can changing/updating spellings of words cause a King James Bible to lose its authority, to become a counterfeit?” I think not!

A glaring inconsistency
Kizziah himself is inconsistent within his article. He tells the reader “I believe God gave us the exact words in the exact order He wanted us to have them in. If that’s the case then He spelled the words exactly the way He wanted to spell them, and gave them to us in a pure language, and that language is the standard text of the King James Bible.  This is the Bible that has stood the test of time without any editing whatsoever and this is the Bible The Believers organization, with God’s help, intends to preserve for all future generations.” But he contradicts the whole premise by admitting that “the text that has established itself as the standard text of the Holy Bible, an old fashioned, Christ exalting, devil kicking, Authorized King James Bible” is (to the best of his understanding) “the 1769 edition of the 1611 King James Bible with a few minor printing errors and spellings corrected along the way in the 1800’s.” So the Bible that Kizziah identifies as the one from which we should allow no spelling changes is the one that introduced spelling changes in 1769? I’m flummoxed, bumfuzzled! Why is he even raising the subject?

The Saviour of all tongues and nations
“The very worst of this battle,” according to Nic Kizziah, “of o-u-r vs. o-r comes when dealing with the only begotten Son of God, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. The modern day counterfeiters have changed Saviour to Savior.” Using numerics he posits that the counterfeiters “have given us a six-letter Savior in place of a seven-letter Saviour.  In Bible numerics seven is the number of completeness, purity, and spiritual perfection.  On the other hand six is the number of man which is earthly not heavenly.”

“The seven-letter Saviour is the only begotten Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ.  The six-letter Savior is the son of perdition, the anti christ.” Kizziah dethrones our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ from being a Savior in American English – indeed all languages that don’t spell him with seven letters! Let’s look at just one biblical example. The text appears thusly in 1 Timothy 1:1 in the AKJV:
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope;
Now that is fine indeed. Jesus is the 7-letter Saviour in 1 Timothy 1:1 – at least in British English. Is Jesus the “Saviour” in Spanish. The old Reina-Valera Antigua Bible has “Salvador.” No good, that’s an 8-letter Saviour. Is Jesus the “Saviour” in German? The 1545 Luther Bible has “Heilandes.” No good, that’s a 9-letter Saviour.  Is Jesus the “Saviour” in French?  The Louis Segond Bible has Sauveur. That’s good; 7 letters! Oh, it has seven letters, but isn’t spelled the same way. Back to the drawing board. What about Greek? Is Jesus the “Saviour” in Greek? In the 1550 Stephanus New Testament Jesus is a 7-letter Saviour in 1 Timothy 1:1 (σωτηρος). But he is only a 5-letter Saviour in Luke 2:11 (σωτηρ)! If Jesus is only Saviour when spelled S-a-v-i-o-u-r, can he be the Saviour only in British English? Such is too much to bear.

We should not – indeed, we cannot – reduce our Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour to some silly detail of a singular spelling in only one of many languages of the world. The truth is rather rooted in substantial dogma such as his eternal Godhead (Revelation 13:8), virgin birth (Matthew 1:21; Luke 2:11), sinless life (Hebrews 4:15), sacrificial death (Romans 5:8) and glorious resurrection (Romans 14:9).

Changed spellings in the King James Bible
On the authority of the King James Bible itself, we may disprove the so-called spelling variation issue.[ii] In fact, Kizziah admits that even his “non-counterfeit” version of the King James Bible has spellings that are different from the spellings that were included in the 1611 edition. In this age this is easily discovered. I own a couple of 1611 King James reproductions – one a replica of the first printing of the first edition, by The Bible Museum. But you don’t have to buy anything. You can view an original 1611 online.

One of Kizziah’s “check points” is Genesis 41:38. He says The Real Bible has “Capital S (Spirit)” and the Counterfeit has a “lower case s (spirit).” The problem with this example is that it proves too much. The first printing of the first edition of the King James Bible was a counterfeit Bible!! Most of our current printings look like this:
And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is?
Without considering font type differences the original King James looked like this:
And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find such a one, as this is, a man in whom the spirit of God is?
Here is a scan from the 1611 first printing replica:

The old-style font may cause some difficulty for those who are not familiar with it, the small “s” looks something like an “f”. But just compare the other words that start with a small “s” – said, servants, such – and you will see it is the same style of “s”. Or compare Genesis 38:2, which has a “Capital S” on the proper name Shuah.

Further, God demonstrates he isn’t as concerned about spelling as is Nic Kizziah. God inspired his writers Matthew and Mark to spell a word in two different ways!
Matthew 27:46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

Mark 15:34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

Check your Bibles. It is there. It is there in English. It is there in Greek. Eli, Eloi. This is an inspired example. Trust it. Did Jesus not say this on the cross, or, did God inspire two men to spell it differently?[iii] You decide.

If someone tells you that a King James Bible is a counterfeit based on some minor spelling infractions – move on, nothing to see here!

[i] I considered that possibly Nic Kizziah is a counterfeit! Maybe the unknown author is a Critical Text guy trying to make King James-Onlyist look like fools? Maybe he is a KJVO guy who is trying to sucker the CT guys to take the bait of a false proposition? Did I not know some people who believe that a “true King James Bible” must have all the proper spellings I might think Nic Kizziah was a counterfeit person with a counterfeit claim. But I do know some, so whether Nic Kizziah is a real name or an internet alias, the idea of counterfeit Bibles based on spelling is a real issue for some people. The background is further exacerbated that “[The Believers Organization] website has been shut down for selling counterfeit products and for infringing VERSACE Intellectual Property rights.” Versace is an Italian luxury fashion company! Was the anti-counterfeiter counterfeiting? Or does someone have a wicked sense of humour? [Note: December 17, 2019, the link works to someone (Agnes Reimann) writing under the name “The Believers Organization.” I have no idea whether this person or the present site is connected to Nic Kizziah.]
[ii] Those who claim to love and respect the King James Bible should respect it in these areas – over their own counterfeit thought.
[iii] It might be worthwhile to also notice some old-style spelling differences: “loud voyce” in Matthew and “loude voice” in Mark; “mee” in Matthew and “me” in Mark.