CAN WE TRUST THE BIBLE?
I am repeatedly seeing the same Facebook meme online claiming that Christians are trusting an obscure, altered, or perverted text as their source of authority for faith in God. The meme reads like this:
The King James version of the New Testament was completed in 1611 by 8 members of the Church of England. There were (and still are) no original texts to translate. The oldest manuscripts we have were written down hundreds of years after the last apostle died. There are over 8000 of these old manuscripts, with no two alike. The King James translators used none of these, anyway. Instead, they edited previous translations to create a version their king and Parliament would approve. So, 21st Century Christians believe the “Word of God” is a book edited in the 17th Century from 16th Century translations of 8000 contradictory copies of 4th Century scrolls that claim to be copies of lost letters written in the 1st Century. That’s not faith. That’s insanity.
(*Disclaimer* This post should not be construed as a defense of KJV Onlyism, or any variant thereof)
Frankly, I’m tired of the same old lies, so let’s examine this piece line by line, and see if we can get to the truth. The very first sentence, “The King James version of the New Testament was completed in 1611 by 8 members of the Church of England,” should already throw red flags. I’m not sure where this number ‘8’ came from, or if they just made it up. We actually know quite a bit about the King James translators, and we do know that King James commissioned forty-seven men, all qualified history and various language scholars and true divines, and members of the Church of England, to prepare this great work for their church. With the New Testament only making up roughly twenty-five percent of the entire Bible, over half of these men, at least twenty-five, were assigned to translate it. The members of the translation team were divided up into six committees, First and Second Westminster Companies, First and Second Oxford Companies, and First and Second Cambridge Companies. Some of the chief translators of the New Testament were:
- Lancelot Andrewes, an English Scholar, and Bishop of high status in the Church of England. He oversaw the translation of the entire text.
- Henry Savile, English Scholar, Provost of Eton and Warden of Merton College, Oxford.
- George Abbot, Dean of Winchester Cathedral and Vice Chancellor of the University, Master of University College.
- Then there was John Duport, William Branthwaite, Jeremiah Radcliffe, Samuel Ward, Andrew Downes, John Bois, Robert Ward, Thomas Bilson, Richard Bancroft, William Barlow, John Spenser, Roger Fenton, Ralph Hutchinson, William Dakins, Michael Rabbet, Thomas Sanderson, Richard Eedes, Giles Tomson, John Peryn, Ralph Ravens, John Harmar, John Aglionby, Leonard Hutten, all noted scholars of their day.
The point is that these men were not just your run of the mill lay people doing what they are told to do by a corrupt government. They were true, brilliant scholars, whose reputations were on the line, and possessed the skills and motivations to bring about the greatest literary work of all time. There simply is no evidence to believe beyond wild speculation that these men had any reason to risk their reputation on ignominious, discreditable translation work.
The next charge is that “There were (and still are) no original texts to translate. The oldest manuscripts we have were written down hundreds of years after the last apostle died. There are over 8000 of these old manuscripts, with no two alike.” While it is true that there are no known extant original texts (autographs), the insinuation that this proves the Bible, specifically the KJV inaccurate is simply absurd.
This charge would never be made about other famous works, such as Plato, in which we have 10 manuscript copies over a 1200 year period, Tacitus, of which we have 20 manuscript copies over a 1000 year period, or Caesar, of which we have 10 manuscript copies over a 1000 year period. In fact, there are no other ancient works that even come close to the Bible as far as the number of manuscripts available, and age and likeness of the manuscripts. The minuscule differences in the texts are of such little concern that for the most part, it’s not even argued over. The majority of the differences in the manuscripts are either minor spelling differences, often based on dialect and geographical location of the scribes, or simply a word being transcribed improperly. The system of textual criticism devised for figuring out the original text is rather simple, and none of the differences lead to any doctrinal differences between the manuscripts.
But of course, none of that matters right? Because they “used none of these, anyway. Instead, they edited previous translations to create a version their king and Parliament would approve.” Give me a break.
While the other popular translations such as the Tyndale, Wycliffe and Latin Vulgate were certainly at the translator’s disposal, The source of translation was the set of 8 Koine Greek manuscripts available at the time, compiled by Erasmus, as well as the Editions of Theodore Beza.
Though we have over five thousand Greek manuscripts available today, compared to the handful that was available back then, it’s astonishing how accurately the King James Bible was translated. No, no translation is 100 percent perfect. Only the original autographs are, and those who claim that any translation is 100 percent perfect are only setting themselves up for ridicule. But the accurate and reliable, and most importantly, literal phrase by phrase translation is proven stellar beyond any ridiculous claim levied against it, and the King James Bible, as with any accurate and literal translation of God’s Word, can be trusted with your soul. This is a promise made to us by God.
The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand forever. (Isaiah 40:8)
God does not require a perfect man or a perfect scribe to keep his promise to us. God can use sinful, imperfect men to work his will to His glory. There will always be an ongoing attack on God’s word, and we must stand strong. Satan and his cohorts have been trying to discredit the Bible since the beginning of time.
The biggest enemy we have against the Bible right now is Rome. Yet, with all of the confusion by the likes of Wescott and Hort and higher criticism, the attacks and claims of scandals, and charges of corruption by evil kings, Jesuits, and even freemasons like Francis Bacon, all of which have attempted, God has still preserved his word, and it’s all verifiable. We have the Greek manuscripts, we have the history, and most importantly, we have the promise of God to keep his Word, and we can rely on him for that.
Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for
“All flesh is like grass
and all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers,
and the flower falls,
but the word of the Lord remains forever.”
And this word is the good news that was preached to you.
Brothers and sisters, I plead with you, if you deny the Word of God, you are denying Jesus Christ himself. If you deny that God’s word is truth, you cannot be saved. Since the word of God IS God, you cannot deny one and accept the other.
I beg of you to repent and turn to Jesus Christ as the only way of salvation. Trust in him, and obey him. The only other option is to deny him and spend eternity separated from him.
passed to me by: http://reformationcharlotte.org
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