Bottom Line: The King James Version
Thousands of churches in the United States and around the world gone through a 40-day Purpose Driven Life motivational program using Rick Warren's book The Purpose Driven Life as their study guide. Of course, all these tens of millions of church members have to buy the book, either at a bookstore, their church, or Wal-Mart. The motivation for the book to the publisher (Rupert Murdock) is money. The motivation for the pastors of these churches is promised church growth. The motivation for the program participants is inspiration, self and social betterment.
Regardless of whether the goal of the pastors or individual program participant is realized, the reality is that this is the most effective movement or development for new Bible version acceptance since the publication of the Westcott & Hort (Alexandrian) text in 1881. Rick Warren, the author, said concerning a successful Purpose Driven program:
You have to intentionally learn to think like an unbeliever again... such as changing the way you greet visitors, the style of music that you use, the translation you preach from . . . ("Becoming a Purpose Driven Church" by Rick Warren)
We know that Pastor Warren was not suggesting changing to a KJV Bible because in his book The Purpose Driven Life he uses 642 references from thirteen Westcott & Hort text Bibles, and only 13 references from the KJV. The millions in Purpose Driven Churches and in Purpose Driven Life studies will be persuaded to ditch their KJV and replace it with a contemporary version based on the Westcott & Hort text. In our opinion, this fact alone labels the entire package dangerous.
What Did Westcott and Hort Believe?
While there were ample copies of the Greek texts which Origen and his disciple Arius edited (Alexandrian texts) around, none of them were ever acknowledged by any church council, except in a negative sense. They were never considered to be a part of the majority text, because the Vaticanus and the Sinaticus disagreed over 3,000 times between themselves. Therefore, why would two Cambridge professors latch on to discarded copies of the rejected Alexandrian texts? Notoriety? Maybe. Money? Maybe. Because they agreed doctrinally with Origen? Maybe.
Kerby Fannin on page 64 of While Men Slept lists some of their views and beliefs:
- Rabid racists—believed the black race was barely human
- Involved in the occult—talked with the dead
- Endorsed Darwin's evolutionary theory as irrefutable
- Championed Christian communism
- Proposed British Israelism
- Prayed for the total destruction of the United States
- Denied that Jesus was the only begotten Son of God
Both of these men denied the deity of Christ Jesus and they denied the verbal plenary inspiration of the Scripture. Moreover, Hort spent the last eight years of his life working with Westcott in translating the Books of Wisdom and Maccabees, two uninspired writings (The Bible by Dr. Floyd Nolen Jones, pg. 60).
Vaticanus omits chapters 1 through 46 of Genesis; Psalms 105 through 137; most of Hebrews, part of 1 and 2 Samuel; 1 Kings; Nehemiah; all of Timothy, Titus, and Philemon, Revelation and 1491 clauses in the four Gospels. Sinaiticus omits most of Matthew and much of Mark, John, and Romans (The Certainty of the Words of Truth, by Dr. Dennis Spackman, pg. 74). Without the support of the Unitarian Church, the new Bible text of Westcott & Hort would have never become what it is today, the base for all the newer versions (with few exceptions) that now permeate the United States and many other nations (While Men Slept, pg. 282).
John William Burgeon, Dean of Chichester and professor of Divinity at Oxford University, devoted his life to biblical textual study. He authored several books on this subject after spending years examining early biblical text at the Vatican, throughout Europe, and at Mt. Sinai in Egypt. He died in 1888 and is still quoted extensively in books on textual authority and purity. Following is Dean Burgeon's appraisal of Drs. Westcott and Hort, the Alexandrian texts, and the translated texts from it that are the texts for thirteen of the fourteen Bibles referenced in The Purpose Driven Life, as well as over 100 other new versions:
Who could have anticipated that the opportunity would have been adroitly seized to inflict upon the Church the text of Drs. Westcott and Hort, in all its essential features, a text which, as will be found elsewhere largely explained, we hold to be the most vicious Recension of the original Greek in existence?
For the Greek text which they have invented proves to be so hopelessly depraved throughout, that if it were to be thrust upon the church's acceptance, we should be a thousand times worse off than we were with the text which Erasmus and the Complutensian, Stephens, and Beza, and the Elzevirs, bequeathed to us upwards of three centuries ago.
Shame—yes, shame on that two-thirds majority of well-intentioned but most incompetent men, who,—finding themselves (in an evil hour) appointed to correct "plain and clear errors" in the English "Authorized Version," occupied themselves instead with falsifying the inspired Greek text in countless places, and branding with suspicion some of the most precious utterances of the Spirit. Shame, yes, shame upon them.
As for the weak superstition of these last days, which—without proof of any kind—would erect two IVth-century copies of the New Testament [i.e. "B" and "Aleph"], (demonstrably derived from one and the same utterly depraved archetype,) into an authority from which there shall be no appeal,—it cannot be too soon or too unconditionally abandoned.
The impurity of the texts exhibited by codices B and Aleph is not a matter of opinion, but a matter of fact. These are two of the least trustworthy documents in existence . . . "a text formed" by "taking codex B as the sole authority would be" . . . by far the foulest text that had ever seen the light; worse, that is to say, even that the text of Drs. Westcott and Hort . . . and codices B and Aleph are nothing else by specimens demonstrably of the depraved class thus characterized. (Dean Burgeon, Revision Revised)
The works of Westcott & Hort from their translation of the Alexandrian texts have indeed been thrust upon the church and, as Dean Burgeon said, the church is a thousand times worse off than the church of A.D. 1500.
It is assumed by most church members today that suddenly one day not long ago Westcott & Hort miraculously found two wonderful texts of the entire Bible in a secret place on a mountain in Egypt. These texts, supposedly, were far superior than those from which our King James Bible came from, and how wonderful it is that we now have all these marvelous new Bibles that we can understand. The scholars who worked on the KJV had these texts and rejected them as "corrupt, inaccurate, and worthless" (Words of Truth, pg. 74). In fact, the early church leaders between A.D. 300 and A.D. 500 rejected them as heresy.
For more than 20 years the Southern Baptist Sunday School materials and most Southern Baptist pastors have used the NIV and recommended it to their congregations. This past year the Holman Baptist Standard Bible came out. Lo and behold, some verses that had been left out of the NIV were put back in the new Bible (see the Prophetic Observer article on the Holman Christian Standard Bible). What happened to:
And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life . . . (Revelation 22:19).
Will the Southern Baptist Convention admit and repent of recommending a butchered, polluted Bible for more than 20 years? Not on your life.
Some proponents of the new Bible versions will claim that the KJV has likewise gone through four revisions with 75,000 changes. This is not so. The second printing in 1629 corrected only typographical errors. Spelling errors were corrected in the 1638 printing. In 1762 and 1769 two printings standardized spellings and changed gothic old English letters to their present form. Words like "sonne" were simply changed to "son." However, the "ye, thee, thou" and a few other Middle English word forms were retained.
Evidently, the reason for the retention of these words was that in Middle English "ye" is plural and "thou" is singular. To change the words would have required too much sentence reconstruction as well as destroying the beauty and symmetry of the KJV language. Also, as stated plainly by Dr. Floyd Jones on page 78 of The Bible, modern English cannot capture the true meaning of some Greek words like the so-called archaic words in the King James Bible. This is another reason why they have not been changed. Below are actual reproductions of John 1:15 from a 1611 King James Version and the 2004 Pilgrim Bible. Notice the shape of some letters are changed and the spelling of some words have been updated, but the words themselves are the same.
1611 King James Bible (John 1:51)
And hee saith vnto him, Verily, verily I say vnto you, heereafter yee shall see heauen open, and the Angels of God ascending, and descenting vpon the sonne of man.
2004 Pilgrim Bible (John 1:51)
And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.
When the four corrections and updates in the 1611 text took place, between Genesis 1:1 and Revelation 22:21, 90 articles or conjunctions were dropped. However, the full meaning of the text in all 90 places was not affected, as in Ephesians 2:18. The KJV 1611: ". . . we both have an access by one Spirit. . . ." Today's KJV: ". . . we both have access by one Spirit. . . ." In new versions there may be 10,000 word changes or more from one edition to the next, with a large percentage changing the meaning of the verse in which the word is used.
It is indeed amazing that in an age when printing was not an exact science like it is today, only 90 small and unimportant work changes occurred in some 200,000 lines of type over 400 years. In considering God's promise about His everlasting and preserved Word (Mark 13:31; 1 Peter 1:25; Psalm 138:2; 12:6-7; Revelation 22:18-19) we can be confident that in the King James Version we do have God's preserved Word. I cannot have such confidence in the Westcott & Hort-based new Bible versions, so called.
Bill Clinton got elected twice with using the slogan: "It's the economy, stupid." Millions of new Bible versions have been sold with slogan implication: "It's easier to read, stupid." Sure, to some the new Bible version may be easier to read, but again, you may not be reading what you think you are reading. My advice? Go back to the King James Version.
(Excerpted from the May 2004 Prophetic Observer)