Engaging the culture with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

A few KJV Facts:

– The KJV is based on the TR. The TR was compiled by Erasmus who died a faithful catholic priest, and dedicated his compilation to Pope Leo the X. He wrote of Mary, the mother of Jesus, as “my salvation” and “my refuge”; he even thought of salvation as “through Jesus, but not without His mother”. This is important for at least two reasons: 1. KJV-only advocates attempt to denigrate other versions based on the personal beliefs of those who are on the translation committee. It should also be noted that Richard Thompson, one of the translators of the 1611 KJV was a known drunkard, and was permitted to remain on the committee. and 2. when we understand the implications of what it means that Erasmus compiled it (meaning it didn’t exist in it’s fullness ever before that) and what he added to it.

– It was not received from the original NT churches. Contrary to what many claim, the TR was not passed down from Paul, to the NT church, to the next century church, and so on, all the way to us. (Yes, this is taught in some KJV-only circles.) It was compiled by Erasmus, a catholic priest. The name “Received Text” was first applied to a printed Greek text only as late as 1633, or almost 120 years after Erasmus’ first published Greek New Testament appeared in 1516. It wasIn 1633 a publication of a Greek text contained the publisher’s “blurb”: textum ergo habes, nunc ab omnibus receptum, or, “therefore you have the text now received by all,” from which the term textus receptus, or received text was taken. This was retroactively applied to the published Greek New Testaments extending from 1516 to 1633 and beyond.

– The TR (the source of the KJV) contains verses, or changes to verses, that have absolutely no Greek manuscript support. One of these “altered” texts is the reading “book of life” in Revelation 22:19. All known Greek manuscripts here read “tree of life” instead of “book of life” as in the textus receptus. Where did Erasmus get the reading “book of life”? When Erasmus was compiling his text, he had access to only one manuscript of Revelation, and it lacked the last six verses, so he took the Latin Vulgate and back-translated from Latin to Greek. Unfortunately, the copy of the Vulgate he used read “book of life,” unlike any Greek manuscript of the passage, and so Erasmus introduced a “unique” Greek reading into his text. Another is I John 5:7, which Erasmus added even though he believed it was a forged verse, just because of a commitment he had made to someone who thought a verse of that nature should be included in the text.

– The Textus Receptus (TR or Received Test) and Majority Text (MT) are NOT the same. Although the terms textus receptus and majority text are frequently used as though they were synonymous, they by no means mean the same thing. The majority text was compiled by Hodges and Farstad, their text varies from the TR in 1,838 instances. (it is worthy of note that in many of these places, the text of Westcott and Hort agrees with the majority of manuscripts against the textus receptus. A list of some of these discrepancies between the majority text and the TR are: the majority text excludes Luke 17:36; Acts 8:37; and I John 5:7 from the New Testament, as well as concurring in numerous other readings (such as “tree of life” in Revelation 22:19).

– The KJV originally included the Apocrypha (which contained Heresies). For example, in Tobit 12:8,9, 1611 KJV we read:
“For almes doth deliuer from death, and shall purge away all sinne. Those that exercise almes, and righteousness, shall be filled with life.” If the translators produced THE BIBLE for the English speaking world (some would say for all the world), then why do the KJV-only people not still read and teach from the apocrypha? It was included in the original.

– The translators of the KJV did not claim to be inspired, nor did they believe themselves to be penning an “official” translation of God’s Word, never to be attempted again. They said their work was merely a translation, just as any other.

– The KJV was not the first English Bible, nor is it the same edition of KJV we have today.

– The KJV is not the only “Authorized” Version. It was the 3rd authorized Bible of the English church. The first was the Great Bible of 1539, second Bishop’s Bible of 1568, and thirdly the King James. “Authorized” doesn’t mean “God approved” it was simply a label used for those translations the church of England recognized as the norm for use in public worship.

Post Scripts – I am not advocating the KJV as a translation that should be thrown out. I state these things to show that the KJV is not a perfect translation, nor is it superior to all other translations. It was an effort of the English to produce a bible that could be understood in their common vernacular in their day and time. They encourage us to continue to do the same in our translation work as we use the manuscripts we have at our disposal. Fighting over which text is superior, or which text is authorized by satan in attempts to break apart the church is pure foolishness. It seems those in the KJV-only camp who are causing division (not every KJV-O advocate, but the devisive ones) are the instruments of satan.
May we stick to the facts and be used of God to build His church, not destroy it over Elizabethan English and intellectual slothfulness.

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5 responses

  1. Hey Daniel,

    A good, succinct summary of the problems with KJV onlyism. You might find some arguments about the details you mentioned, but I appreciate you laying out these thought-provoking facts with charity.

    June 15, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    • danielpulliam

      I tried to be general in some of the details so as to not mis-state things… feel free to correct me where I’m wrong (names, places, dates, etc – like “text varies from the TR in 1,838 instances”… okay so it’s only 1,837 instances.) =) I don’t mind at all. Thanks for reading and commenting.

      PS. I really would like to make sure I have the facts I mentioned as such correct. To my knowledge they are.. so I mean it when I say “correct me”.

      June 15, 2010 at 5:01 pm

  2. I don’t see anything explicitly wrong with your facts. I would be careful painting Erasmus as a faithful Catholic priest – there is a difference between holding to the common theology of the day and being loyal to the church of Rome; Erasmus was not always a friend of Rome, and quite frankly, was a key figure in the Reformation. I know what you’re saying though, and I think it needs to be said only for sake of logic – if the KJVO wants to poison the well by attacking personalities behind the modern versions, they need to consider those behind the TR and KJV.

    The 1,838, to my knowledge, is a figure that Dan Wallace provides from his own assessment. I use it a lot, but always say “according to Wallace” just so people know where I’m coming from. However, I’ve never seen it challenged – I think it’s pretty much accepted that he counted correctly. I do suppose there would be a difference between the two editions of the MT; I believe he used the Hodges-Farstad one.

    Again, you weren’t technically wrong about the apocrypha, but the KJVO who reads this will simply say, “they included it as historical but not canonical scripture” – and they would be correct in saying so. Again, if you’re using that as a “cuts both ways” sort of argumentation (since the KJVO crowd loves guilt by association so much) then it needs to be said.

    I don’t know how much you’ve written on this subject on the internet, I would just warn you to tread very carefully. People have a greater strength when behind a keyboard and this particular issue brings out the worst. We’ve had to ban at least three ppl at our KJV blog already. Sometimes no matter how hard you try you can’t avoid it. But thanks for doing it – it is needed.

    June 15, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    • danielpulliam

      I did not know that about Erasmus… thanks.

      And I know what you mean about the keyboard and people gett’n gutsy… I think that’s part of depraved human nature. =)

      June 15, 2010 at 5:29 pm

  3. Interesting facts – thanks!

    June 16, 2010 at 4:38 pm

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