Pastoral Letter 16 Sep 2018
There is a battle to fight today and that is the battle for the Bible. Not only is it important to settle it once and for all, we must continue to defend the position of the King James Bible (KJB) only over the modern English versions that have flooded Christendom. The fourfold superiority of the KJB over all the modern English versions must not be ignored or forgotten. The following is a summary of my review of the book “Defending the King James Bible” by D.A. Waite.
SUPERIOR ORIGINAL LANGUAGE TEXTS
The textual foundations of the KJB are the best foundations of any English Bible that exists today. The Old Testament of the KJB was translated from the Traditional Masoretic Hebrew Old Testament text (also called the Ben Chayyim Masoretic text of 1524-25, the Second Great Rabbinic Bible, or the Daniel Bomberg edition). The Masoretes handled down this text from generation to generation, guarded and kept it well. The majority of the modern English versions were translated from other texts like Rudolph Kittel's Biblia Hebraica, the Dead Sea Scrolls, Samaritan Pentateuch, etc which are different from the Traditional Masoretic Hebrew text. If the foundations of the modern English versions and the KJB are different, how can the building, the words, be the same? They cannot be the same, they are different.
Why is the Old Testament Hebrew text of the KJB superior? It is superior firstly because it was accumulated by the Jews who guarded the copying of Scriptures in an amazing manner. They had eight rules to govern the copying of the original Scriptures. Secondly, not only was the Scripture accumulated by the Jews, it was authorized by Jesus. He has never refuted any text, any word or any letter in the Hebrew Old Testament. He stamped His authority on the Masoretic Hebrew text. He did not give His approval to the Septuagint, the Latin Vulgate, some scribal tradition, Josephus, Jerome, the Syriac version or any other documents present at that time! In Matthew 5:18, Jesus said, "Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." This proves that our Lord believes in the preservation of Scriptures to the extent that every word of it is kept intact.
The KJB is also based on a superior New Testament text, the Textus Receptus. The chief opponent of the Textus Receptus is the Nestle/Aland Greek New Testament (26th edition) which is used in most colleges, universities, and seminaries today (even conservative and/or fundamental ones). The editors of the Nestle/Aland Greek New Testament included unbelievers, a Roman Catholic Cardinal, and apostates. This Greek text underlines most of the modern English versions.
The KJB translators believed that people need to read the Bible. They had the spiritual insight as to what the Bible is, the need for proper translation of the Scriptures, and the urgency of reading and heeding the Scriptures.
There were fifty-seven translators divided into six companies. They met in three cities: Cambridge, Westminster and Oxford. They began their work in 1604 and completed it in 1611. In both Westminster and Oxford, they had an Old Testament company and a New Testament company each. In Cambridge, they had an Old Testament company and an Apocrypha company. Although the translators included the Apocrypha in the original KJB, they did not believe it was inspired. So they translated it as history between the Old and New Testament.
Dr John Reynolds, a Puritan, began and led this great work of translation. All the KJB translators knew (besides English) Greek, Hebrew and the cognate sister languages. They applied their skills and did excellently on the translation. With all these fifty-seven superior translators, we can be assured of the superiority of the product they produced: the KJB.
There are two parts here: Superior Team Technique and Superior Translation Technique.
The KJB was translated differently from the modern English versions. Each translator had to translate the books on his own, unaided by anyone else. Each had to be so skilled in the Hebrew and Greek languages that he had to translate the books assigned to him all by himself in his own handwriting. Moreover, the translators were governed in their translation work by a total of fifteen rules.
They had a team technique that is unsurpassed by any used by the modern English translators. This was how they did it: There were about seven translators in each company. One translator was assigned one book. For each completed book, it was examined by the other six translators individually. Then they had a meeting to go over it to decide which translated words would stand. This was done a total of eight times. Then it was sent to the other five companies to go through it - that is five more times. At the end they had a joint meeting with two men from each of the six companies (i.e. total of twelve men). That made a total of fourteen different times for one book. That was how they translated, analyzed and corrected in their translation process from Genesis to Revelation. This was a great team effort and certainly superior without any doubt!
The translation technique adopted by the KJB translators was the verbal and formal equivalence method. This method ensured that the Hebrew and Greek words were translated as closely as possible into their English equivalence. Every noun, adjective, preposition, participle and so on in the Hebrew and Greek text was brought into the English in the same way. This applied to the structure and form as well. A method that is directly opposite is the dynamic equivalence method. It is not a word-for-word translation. Words were either added, changed or subtracted in the English. Paraphrasing is another name for this method.
God's Word in English must be the exact equivalence of what God has given to us in the Hebrew and Greek texts. And we see this in the KJB which was translated using the verbal and formal equivalence method. But not so in the modern English versions. They used the dynamic equivalence method resulting in God's Word being mixed with men's words. We can indeed trust with great confidence that when we have the King James Bible we have God's Word in English.
There are those who say that no vital doctrines are affected in the modern English versions. This claim is clearly false. There were two possible ways biblical doctrines or theology can be affected: (a) the paraphrasing in the modern English versions resulted in doctrinal changes, and (b) the Hebrew and/or Greek texts used are corrupt.
Theology is affected in the modern English versions when important words in the basic Hebrew/Greek texts are changed or omitted. The following doctrines have been found to be affected: the doctrine of the Holy Trinity (1 John 5:8), the doctrine of the church (Rev 2:15), the doctrine of angels (Luke 22:43), the doctrine of Satan (Luke 4:8), the doctrine of the Bible (Mark 16:9-20; John 7:53-8:11; etc.), the doctrine of last things or prophecy (Matt 25:13; Mark 12:23; etc.), the doctrine of salvation (Rev 21:24; 1 Pet 2:2; etc.), and the doctrine of Christ (John 3:13; 1 Cor 11:24; etc.). Theology is indeed affected and undermined in today’s modern English versions. How can the whole counsel of God be faithfully taught using these perversions?
It pleased God to give us the best English translation: the KJB. Each time we read it, we know we can trust the English words that have been translated from the faithful Hebrew/Greek texts by faithful translators who used the faithful method of translation and maintained biblical theology faithfully. We have no confidence at all in any of the modern English versions which eliminated, altered or changed the words in the Hebrew/Greek Bible. Because of the fourfold superiority, the KJB is undoubtedly the Holy Bible in English. Let us defend this position faithfully. It is my prayer that, as the Lord tarries, the next generation will catch on the same spirit. May God help us. Amen.
Yours in Christ,
Pastor Dennis Kwok