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.


Anonymous said...

This article is such obvious propaganda. It sounds like you work for one of the big publishing companies.

R. L. Vaughn said...

Nope, just a little preacher who uses the Bible itself to document the inconsistencies of Nic Kizziah.

Klaas Batema said...

I agree to the point that a 7 letter saviour is nonsense, and is dependant on the language written. However I do however agree with the spelling i.e. you cannot change intreat for entreat, that is wrong, they have a different meaning.

R. L. Vaughn said...

Klaas Batema, thanks for stopping and commenting. I appreciate it. I did not directly address entreat and intreat, but those are mentioned in the quote I gave.

I agree that there is a difference, in cases, according to the context. Sometimes entreat means to treat in a certain way, as in Matthew 22:6, et al. However, in the English language “entreat” and “intreat” are also variant word spellings with the meaning to ask earnestly (e.g. Exodus 10:18). I do not think that using the spelling entreat makes a King James Bible “counterfeit.” However, in this case I agree it should not be changed. Even though the alternate spelling would still mean the same, it introduces confusion that is avoided by using the different spellings.

I do not think we need to go rambling through the Bible to find spellings to update. However, I also do not think good honest Bible believers who happen to buy and use a King James Bible with some variant spellings should not be charged with using counterfeit Bibles.