The Preacher Destroyed my Bible!
by Leon King
The year was 1972. My wife and I had arrived in Alaska on July 11th for what would prove to be my final tour of duty with the US Army. We joined a Baptist church in Anchorage. We had searched diligently for a good church after arriving in Alaska. Sound churches were about as scarce as hensí teeth, but we finally found a church where the belief and practice indicated they were Bible-believing Baptists who believed in the perpetuity of the Lord's church. The pastor was - at least he gave every indication that he was - one who believed the Lord Jesus had founded his church and that the church had been in existence ever since. He believed Bible doctrine from every appearance. Anyhow, we united with the church. There were wonderful people there, many of whom displayed a sincere devotion to the Lord and His word.
After a time, the church chose me to oversee the Sunday School and lead the singing. Most Sundays found me outside the Adult Sunday School Class because I was busy with teachers, classrooms, materials, and getting young people to the right place. The Pastor taught the Adult Sunday School Class. Nearly every Sunday, my wife would tell me the preacher kept saying her Bible wasnít translated properly. "This chapter or this verse needed to say something different than it really did; then another chapter didnít say what the original really said," he would say to the class. Well, she was frustrated. I was frustrated too. I didnít know what to tell her. The pastor had studied Greek and Hebrew at the worldís most unusual university, so I supposed he knew more than I did. After all, I wasnít a Greek or Hebrew scholar. At that point, I didnít even own a Greek or Hebrew lexicon or interlinear. Even if I had, I wouldnít have known what to do with them.
All I knew was that I believed my Bible. Well, it seemed to me that my wife and I should just tear out the pages that were translated wrong. Foolish thinking! We had been duped. That man, as pleasant and articulate as he was, would talk, and talk, and talk, about a passage of Scripture to give itís correct meaning, every jot and tittle. He explained the Greek and Hebrew roots, idioms, customs, and prepositions. After he was finished, we would always just stop and look at one another. We had already concluded the same simply by reading the Bible in English. Must have been the Holy Spiritís leading because He is the author of the Bible.
ē So many different versions
After a time, Jan and I left this church because we could no longer agree with the doctrines and practices. The Pastor left about the same time. Later, the church of which I am now Pastor called me, and I continued to use the same Bible my former Pastor was cutting up. Iím still using it. I have a couple dozen different versions of the Bible on my shelf for reference now. I have a NASV, a NIV, a Living Bible, a Catholic Bible, a New American Bible, Good News for Modern Man, the Revised English Bible with Apocrypha, the American Standard Version, a Moffattís Translation, an Amplified Bible, a New King James Version, a Masonic Edition of the Bible, and a New Scofield Reference Bible. I also have Russian Bibles and German Bibles. I have a score of testaments and individual gospels.
I have accumulated all these during the past twenty-one years as Pastor at Bruin Park Baptist Church. A few years ago, one of the church members came to me and asked, "Brother King, do we have the entire word of God?" I said, "Of course, we do - we have the Bible." He said, "Which one?" I said, "The King James Bible, of course." He said, "Are you sure?" I said, "Yes." He said, "Well, it says in Matthew 4:4, that man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God." I said, "Yes, I know it."
ē Translation and textual criticism
I was disturbed. I knew that all those volumes on the shelf were different. I knew the Bible I preached from was different from all the others. Some of those translations I had bought to make things easier for me to understand. They didnít. I think the Amplified Bible was written to bamboozle people who have never been to college. It certainly wasnít written for the average church member.
I was so disturbed that I began to buy every book I could find about how we got the Bible and how they put it together. I read and read and read and read some more. Reading all those books gave me a headache, but I began to see a couple of very interesting things. Something called "Textual Criticism" began to pop out on about every page of those books. Turns out that as some of the people began to translate the Bible, they just looked at the Scripture, thought for a minute about whether they thought it fit or not, then left some out or put some in on their gut feeling.
I had always thought translation was a mechanical process. Actually, it isnít. There is a very human element involved in translation. Proof of this could be seen in a recent experiment I conducted. The wife of one of the men in our church comes from Germany. I thought I would write to her parents since they visited Alaska and since they donít read English, I thought I would write in German. Problem is, that I donít know German. So, I bought a computer program that mechanically translates English into German, and German into English. Anyhow, I wrote a letter in English to this German family. Alcazam, I put it into the translator and it turned out a beautful letter in German. I couldnít read it, so I took it to the familyís daughter (one of our church members) to proof read. Well, the mechanical translation had done its job well. It took everything literally! I hadnít counted on my figures of speech and my southern dialect. When my words were changed into German, they meant something other than what I had intended. Wow! I was embarassed. Only goes to prove that translation isnít all mechanical.
Whatís the point? Well, I think the Textual Criticism guys have tampered with the Bible. Then, thereís Wescott and Hort with their new family of manuscripts. I canít remember the scientific names for the different manuscripts, but I know enough to remember that about every translation of the Bible produced in this century came from the new family of Wescott/Hort manuscripts. I hear there are nine of those in existence and only about five thousand of the Textus Receptus or parts of the Textus Receptus from which the King James Bible was produced. Seems that the Textus Receptus was the family used by the Lordís churches through the years up until Wescott/Hort arrived on the scene.
One of the Wescott/Hort men thought he had already learned the King James Bible was vile when he was just twenty-three years old and said so very emphatically. Since he was definitely a Roman Catholic sympathizer, I can understand why he thought the King James was vile at age twenty-three. I think I can understand why the theologians climbed on the Wescott/Hort wagon too, since the most of those are Roman Catholic sympathizers. Itís kinda like their climbing on the theistic evolution wagon after Darwin published his Origin of Species. All of a sudden, the world was swamped with theologians who believe in a new family of manuscripts and the Genesis 1:1-2 gap theory.
I continued to preach from the King James Bible. By the way, mine is a Scofield Study Bible of the 1917 variety. I suppose that means my King James is a revision of the 1611 series. Many folks have said a lot of things about my Bible and I just keep on loving it and preaching it and watching God use it. Seems like many are caught up in polemics on one side or the other. Looks like a giant tug of war going on.
Preachers, let me tell you something. Youíre going to have to stand somewhere and let your people know what kind of Bible they can trust. Iíve told my people they can trust the King James Bible. I know it has archaic words in it. That means there are words in the bible that folks don't use much anymore. Lets see - I think I could count them on both hands. Theres "wot, wit, wist," and - umm, there are a few more. We all know what they mean! Too, there are words that have changed their meanings in these past three hundred years. Two good examples are the words "let and prevent." In our day, the word "let" means "to allow or permit". When the King James was produced, "let" meant prevent or hinder. The word "prevent" now means to stop or hinder, but when the King James was produced, "prevent" meant to go before. Then, we know the Church of England (Anglicans, Episcopalians, etc) influenced the use of baptize and church. If we look in the Oxford English Dictionary, we find the roots of baptize go back to the Greek word for plunge or dip. As you look at the word church in the OED, you will find congregation in the etymology which is the proper meaning showing its connection to the Greek word eklessia. Then, thereís Easter. Well, I believe it belongs there. Herod wasnít looking for Passover, he was looking for Ishtar or Astarte and that is why the word is there. Now donít accuse me of Ruckmanism or modern inspirationalism - Iím donít favor either of those. I believe God has preserved his word for us English speaking-folks in the King James Bible. I use it. What do you use? What do you tell your sheep to use?
Oh yes, I have a copy of the 1611 King James Version complete with the Apocropha. I donít believe the Apocropha is Scripture and neither did the Christians in England who published the Second London Confession in 1677. Neither did the Philadelphia Association in the United States when they published their confession which was adopted in 1742. These brethren carefully listed the sixty-six books of the Bible that our King James Bible contains today, then specifically excluded the Apocrypha. I quote from the Philadelphia Confession, which is a restatement of the Second London Confession in this regard. "The books commonly called Apocrypha, not being of divine inspiration are no part of the canon (or rule) of the scripture, and therefore are of no authority to the church of God, nor to be any otherwise approved, or made use of than other human writings." Neither did Jesus, since he never quoted from it or referred to it. I believe that is what I have said about the Apocropha is true and will just leave it at that.
Concerning this 1611 edition of the King James Bible, I read and hear a lot of things about multiplied revisions. I haven't researched this, but will do so in the immediate future. At present, I read my scripture text to the congregation from the 1611 King James Text. The spelling is different in some cases because of the development of the language, but phonetically the pronunciation is the same. From all appearances thus far, this would explain the several alleged revisions of the 1611 text. That means, they have updated the spelling of words. It's pretty simple to read when you understand that "v" means "u" and "u" means "v." There is also a character which stands for "the" which seems to me to have been named a "thorn." "I's" are "J's" and Jerusalem is spelled with an "H;" That is - "Hierusalem."
For the sake of our understanding, I will place text side by side to show the current King James text beside the 1611 text. I quote from John 3:1-8 for illustration.
The 1611 King James Bible
1 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemis, a ruler of y Iewes:
2 The same came to Iesus by night, and said vnto him, Rabbi, wee know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can doe these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.
3 Iesus answered, and saud vnto him, Verily, verily I say vnto thee, except a man be borne againe, he cannot see the kingdome of God
4 Nicodemus saith vnto him, How can a man be borne when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mothers wombe, and be borne?
5 Iesus answered, Verily, verily, I say vnto thee, except a man be borne of water and of the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdome of God.
6 That which is borne of the flesh, is flesh, and that which is borne of the spirit, is spirit.
7 Marueile not that I saide vnto thee, Ye must be borne againe.
8 The winde bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tel whence it commeth, and whither it goeth: So is euery one that is borne of the Spirit.
Current Edition of the King James Bible
1 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:
2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.
3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?
5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
I believe God has saved a few men who became real scholars of the Bible. We needed those men to gain knowledge of languages and the use of writing. These men have given us tools we can use in study of the Greek and Hebrew languages to compare with what is written in our English Bible. Such studies are useful and profitable. Such a profitable study concerns the English word "love" which comes from different Greek words. That is a very profitable study. Such word studies do nothing to discredit what is written in the King James Bible. I refuse to correct it as I stand and preach from it. If I did, I believe I would be like that preacher in the Sunday School Class of days past who destroyed my wife's Bible. Such corrections on the part of a pastor discourages and confuses the sheep. The bad thing about it is that the sheep don't feed when they are disturbed or confused. They're just like humans in that regard!
Getting back to the question about us having every word of God, I was forced to ask myself whether or not ignoble folks like myself and the sheep the Lord has given me to tend could read and understand the Bible without having to be educated in Greek and Hebrew. Should we all enroll in college, so we can read the Bible in the original language? I don't think we could understand it in Greek and Hebrew or master every jot and tittle to grasp it like we can in English. English is our language. Everything we would study concerning the languages of the original texts would have to come on the authority of somebody else. Who can we trust?
ē The clergy and laity syndrome.
There is a thing that has developed since the Lord established his church called "Nicolaitanism." Jesus talked about this to the churches at Ephesus and Pergamos in the second chapter of Revelation. I agree with Dr. Scofield that a proper meaning of this term comes from the combination of the two Greek words that were used. "Nikao" means "to conquer," and "laos" means "the people, or laity." So, there has developed the "clergy" and the "laity." More often than not, the clergy thinks the laity cannot understand the Bible. If the clergy tells the laity that often enough, then the laity will begin to believe they can't understand the Bible. If you're keeping up with the Promise Keepers movement, you will see this great gap between "Pastors and laity" that has been created by the founders of this monster. Brethren, I despise this distinction.
Don't misunderstand me. I do believe in Pastoral authority. It is derived authority. It is derived from the church, not from a bible school or a catholic tradition of ordination. The church has the privilege to choose her own pastor based on the objective criteria of Scripture. Then having chosen her pastor, the church is commanded to remember him, submit to him, and follow him as he follows the Lord. The Bishop is commanded to tend the flock and take the oversight, not as a lord to God's heritage, but an ensample to them. God demands more of the shepherd because he has a greater responsibility. That doesn't mean he is superior and can understand more. Like the Lord Jesus, he is among the brethren as one who serves. He is to minister - serve by learning to rightly divide the word of truth. As he does so, the church has the blessed privilege to learn as the Holy Ghost shows them the truth of the things presented.
I believe my people can understand the Bible just the same as I can. They are partakers of the same Holy Spirit that I am partaker of. The Holy Ghost is the teacher if I understand the book correctly. Yes, I know, we are Pastors/Teachers. Our duty is to preach the word! and preach the word we must! The Holy Ghost teaches the hearers the truth of it. We certainly cannot convince them in ourselves. We can no more convince the sheep of the truth of a thing in scripture than we can make them be regenerated. We want the sheep to be Bereans and search the scriptures daily to see if these things are so. Can they do it? Of course, they can!
I tell the church members they can trust their King James Bible. I tell them to read it, believe it, and trust the word of God. There is no other version of the Bible available that I can with good conscience recommend to them. Do any of you know of one that equals the King James Version? If you do, please get on the horn, or to your letter writer and drop me a line. I would like to have a copy. If you cannot recommend one, why not consider stopping all this contention for something that doesn't exist? I say, if they can read Greek, give them a Textus Receptus. Since the original manuscripts do not exist anymore (as far as I know), we will have to do with a copy. The same would hold true for our English Bible. So, if they can't read Greek, then give them a King James Bible.
ē Book business and monkey business.
I have a Textus Receptus on my shelf among all the other books, but I haven't run across a single man or woman in the church who can read it. Why can't they read it? It's Greek to them, and it's Greek to me as well. Is it the word of God? It surely is! Right nearby, I have a Russian Bible and a German Bible. Are they the word of God? I presume they are. I cannot read either of the languages, but the people in Russia and Germany, respectively can. On my desk is the King James Bible. Is it the word of God? Of course it is! Is the New International Version the word of God? That's a good question. It is strangely different from my Bible in that the meanings of the verses are changed. It came from a different Greek text - the text that Wescott and Hort said was the new family of manuscripts. So did the New American Standard Version, the New English Bible and the vast majority of others on my shelf. They're different. Nobody can deny it. Somebody has been tampering with the word of God. Let me say it. It is the devil. And while he's tampering with the word to cast doubts - he's provided a very lucrative book business for the merchants of the world. That means that people are getting rich printing and selling the myriad of new Bible versions. This isn't a small thing - it is big bucks!
Last eve I paused beside a blacksmith's door
And heard the anvil ring the vesper chime;
Then looking in, I saw upon the floor
Old hammers worn with beating years of time.
"How many anvils have you had?" said I,
"To wear and batter all these hammers so?"
"Just one," said he, and then with twinkling eyes,
"The anvil wears the hammers out you know."
And so, I thought, "The anvil of God's Word
For ages skeptic blows have beat upon;
Yet, though the noise of falling blows was heard,
The Anvil is unharmed, the hammers gone."