Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Latin Vulgate and the King James Version

Latin Vulgate.  King James Version.  Two translations.  How do you relate those two?  The first is Latin, the second English.  They are not translated from an identical original language text.  The former was the Bible of Roman Catholicism, not a denomination that teaches salvation by grace through faith.  The latter was accomplished by the Church of England with support and participation from professing Christians and ultimately accepted as the received version of Scripture by the English speaking people.  Although it is called the authorized version, it was not actually authorized in any official way.  It was referred to as the authorized version by the people.  They saw it as authorized, so it became known as authorized.

Any other relations between the two?  Probably a few others that don't come to my mind.  If you didn't know Latin, the Latin Vulgate would be, well, Latin to you.  It wouldn't mean anything.  It wouldn't edify a non-Latin speaking people.  You couldn't say "Amen" to it unless you were fluent in Latin.  It shouldn't be your Bible unless you knew Latin.  Latin wasn't an original language of Scripture.  Preservation of Scripture wouldn't be the preservation of a Latin translation of the Bible.  A denomination, like Roman Catholicism, could say that this Latin translation was the authoritative text of Scripture and that, my friends, would not be true.  The authoritative text of Scripture would be an original language text.

Protestants and Baptists stood for an authoritative, original language text.  Controversy arose between Roman Catholic theologians and Protestant ones over this issue.  Romans Catholics came down on the side of the authority of the Latin Vulgate, for purposes of tradition, because it was the translation of the Roman church, and for biblical reasons Protestants and Baptists sided with the original language text.

As you read the previous two paragraphs, did you see anything that related between the position of the Catholics and the Protestants and Baptists?  If you said "no," that is correct.  Catholics based their position on tradition.  Protestants and Baptists in this case based their positions on Scripture.

In light of the above information so far, then how does the Latin Vulgate relate any more to the King James Version?  Is the King James Version still supported by many Protestants and Baptists because of tradition like the Latin Vulgate was because of tradition?  Could be by some, but that is not the historical position.  Churches support and advocate the King James Version because of the original language words from which it derived.

Enter opponents of the King James Version, critical text proponents, or multiple-versionists.  They tell the world that you see nearly identical relations of Roman Catholicism and the Latin Vulgate as of King James Onlyists and the King James Version.  They are saying that the King James continues to be supported for the same reason the Roman Catholics required the Latin Vulgate.  They are saying that King James Onlyists (KJO) are being Roman Catholic here.   They claim that both the Roman Catholics and the KJO are the same in that they both look to one Bible.   So they say that one-Bible-ism is Roman Catholic.

In my lifetime, I have mainly heard this type of argumentation coming from left-leaning or liberal who don't have a good argument to stand on.  Recently, Ann Romney, wife of Mitt Romney, wrote an op-ed, published in the Wall Street Journal, praising motherhood.  In the next to last paragraphs, she wrote:

But no matter where we are or what we're doing, one hat that moms never take off is the crown of motherhood.

Michelle Goldberg, an author and Newsweek contributor, took off on her "crown of motherhood" mention on MSNBC:

I found that phrase ‘the crown of motherhood’ really kind of creepy, not just because of its, like, somewhat you know, I mean, it’s kind of usually really authoritarian societies that give out like ‘The Cross of Motherhood,’ that give awards for big families. You know, Stalin did it, Hitler did it.

Multiple version supporters attempt to smear KJO by using the same type of argument, accusing them of a type of Roman Catholicism.  That is exactly what it is, a hatchet job, that they really do know is not true.   This type of argumentation works like a form of propaganda that is intended to intimidate.  It works, not as any kind of credible proof, but as a way to embarrass someone to move from his position. It also tosses red meat to the supporters.  They get a big kick out of it, just like the feminist panel got big chuckle-chuckles out of Goldberg's snide remark about Ann Romney.

Those who use a Latin Vulgate attack either are ignorant of the position of KJO or of history, or are just devious.  Protestants would not associate themselves with Roman Catholicism as some legitimate Western Christianity.  Baptists never did.  They rejected the Catholic position the Vulgate for the text received by the true churches, hence the received text.  They applied this same title to the English translation from the received text by calling it the "received version" of God's Word.  By doing so, they referred to the text from which the translation came.

The longtime usage of the Latin Vulgate by Roman Catholics does not compare to the long time usage of the King James Version by actual Christians.  Catholics required the Latin Vulgate.  Until the freedoms originating from the Protestant Reformation, there was not widespread challenge to Roman Catholicism.  The acceptance of the King James Version wasn't forced upon anyone.  The people received it because they were saved, Holy Spirit indwelt people.  It's history is one of choice, not of coercion.  And that choice of God's people testifies to the authenticity of the King James Version.

The Protestants and Baptists agreed that God had preserved all His Words, every one of them and all of them.  They believed that there was one Bible, the one canonized by the Holy Spirit through His churches.  This is the position found in the Westminster Confession and many other major confessions of those who believe in salvation by grace through faith.  The Holy Spirit would testify to His people what His Words were and they agreed that those words were found in the Hebrew Masoretic and the Greek Textus Receptus.  All accurate contemporary language translations from that text would be authentic.

The view of the Protestants and Baptists came out of a pre-enlightenment way of thinking, transcendent thought, that started with God and Who He was.  They took a position that came out of the exegesis of Scripture, in complete contrast to Roman Catholicism.

The modern multiple-versionists represent a post-enlightenment thinking that begins with man's reason.  It does not rely upon the beliefs of God's churches for centuries.  Instead of depending on the Holy Spirit by faith, they reject what the churches received for the forensics of scientific theoriticians.  They not only abandon an old and accepted Bible, but the testimony of the Holy Spirit through His churches.  That's why you will never, ever hear the actual historical, biblical position from them, even mentioning to you the pages and pages of well-established and documented bibliology of the pre-enlightenment saints.  They reject historical bibliology for the uncertainty of textual "scientists."

So when you hear these references to the Latin Vulgate in an attack on the King James Version, understand it for what it really is.  It is a desperate smear from someone with no historical or biblical basis for his position.


Bill Hardecker said...

And to think that historical Fundamentalists and Evangelicals insists on the sovereignty of God when their Bibliology reflects man-centered reasoning. What a contradiction, what a conundrum. Now that's Roman Catholic. Spot on, as usual, Pastor Brandenburg. Thank you.

Robert said...

You say the King James version was "not authorized in any official way." Could you expand on what you mean by that? Are you discounting the king as a non-ecclesiastical authority? I think I'm missing something.

Kent Brandenburg said...


You find this paragraph at Wikipedia, documented with footnotes.

"The use of Authorized Version or Authorised Version, capitalised and used as a name, is found as early as 1814.[20] For some time before this descriptive phrases such as "our present, and only publicly authorised version" (1783),[21] "our authorised version" (1792),[22] and "the authorised version" (1801, uncapitalised)[23] are found. The Oxford English Dictionary records a usage in 1824.[24] In Britain, the 1611 translation is generally known as the "Authorized Version" today."

Joshua said...

Don't feel bad Robert, I had no idea that the term Authorized Version was from the 1800's either! I just assumed it was called that because King James had authorized it's production.

Thank you for this post - still learning.

d4v34x said...

Was Scrivener trying to smear the KJV when he made the statement (I'm paraphrasing) "in some passages it adheres to no known Greek ms, but follows the Latin Vulgate exactly"?

Joshua said...


That sounds like a variation of the "Erasmus backtranslated parts of revelation from the Vulgate" argument.

The answer I read here satisfied me on that one a while ago: http://av1611.com/kjbp/faq/holland_re22_19.html

Incidentally, a question I've been wanting to ask you for a while. Do you believe Jesus ever said "let he that is without sin cast the first stone" in reference to a woman caught in adultery? Genuine question, and because it's off topic you can answer and I won't argue or respond.



Kent Brandenburg said...


I'm going to assume that you read the post, but your comment only relates to the content in that it references the Latin Vulgate. I was talking about the Latin Vulgate as a whole and you are talking about certain words or verses contained in the Latin Vulgate. There is overlap between the Latin Vulgate and the King James. Their underlying text does have many similarities, but they are obviously not identical, and the churches didn't accept the Latin Vulgate.

Your reference to Scrivener is a red herring I'd rather not deal with. Churches believed God kept all the Words and that they were accessible to every generation. They based that upon God's promise.

Anonymous said...

The author wrote ,"The former was the Bible of Roman Catholicism, not a denomination that teaches salvation by grace through faith." The catholic church teaches ..."for it is by grace that we are saved and again it is by grace that our works can bear fruit for eternal life" and "our justification comes from the grace of God. Grace is a favor, the free and undeserved help that God gives us to respond to his call..." (catechism paragraph 1697 and 1996; Cf Jn 1:12-18; 17:3; Rom. 8:14-17, 2 Pet 1:3-4). It is clear catholic christians teach salvation by grace.

Kent Brandenburg said...


Thanks for dropping by. You seem to be cherry picking there. I've talked to thousands and thousands of Roman Catholics and have talking only to one who said he was saved by grace as taught by Roman Catholicism. Roman Catholics do not believe that they have full forgiveness of sins throughout all eternity, which they would if salvation were by the grace of God. Instead, it is by grace plus works, which are mutually exclusive. It is either grace or works (Rom 11:6), not both.

Canon XII at the Council of Trent reads: If any one saith, that justifying faith is nothing else but confidence in the divine mercy which remits sins for Christ's sake; or, that this confidence alone is that whereby we are justified; let him be anathema.

Canon XIV: If any one saith, that man is truly absolved from his sins and justified, because that he assuredly believed himself absolved and justified; or, that no one is truly justified but he who believes himself justified; and that, by this faith alone, absolution and justification are effected; let him be anathema.

Canon XXIV: If any one saith, that the justice received is not preserved and also increased before God through good works; but that the said works are merely the fruits and signs of Justification obtained, but not a cause of the increase thereof; let him be anathema.

Anonymous, these all contradict salvation by grace through faith. They teach salvation by works. And if you trust in your works, you're lost, Christ is become of none effect unto you, you are debtor to do the whole law (Galatians 5:2-4).

Anonymous said...

I get the feeling that the true word of God has been hidden from the people. What is the Codex Gigas all about? They call it the Devils Bible. Is that their way of masking the true word of God with fear? I believe they are really hiding a higher knowledge by using fear and deception to keep us from knowing ALOT of things that should be common knowledge. There are way too many versions of the word of God. Whenever I feel confused I feel that is Satan's work. There can only be one English translation per written word. Latin or otherwise. CORRUPTUS means CORRUPT...IN ENGLISH.

Anonymous said...

Thank You Kent Brandenburg for responding to my question. So you are saying that Church Canon is deceiving the masses? I see evidence of their attempt to do just that. However, true believers know that true faith in God will not allow them to succeed. Like when I take holy communion..I don't consider it the body of Christ...I consider it celebrating Christs life on earth...not a ritual sacrifice..That's why I bless myself after I receive it...to ward off their demons. I also believe the measure of a person is in their good fruits. God looks upon those
things when we are judged. But he knows who his true believers are. I believe the Catholic. Religion is not evil...but, the Church and the U.S. have been usurped by the malefactor. I will pray for their safe return to God. God Bless.

daniel said...

"The acceptance of the King James Version wasn't forced upon anyone."

This is a lie, the D-R catholic english bible was banned by the Masonic English Government. Anyone caught with one was executed for treason. Hundreds of D-R priests were martyred over it.

Nancy Lee Valle said...

Latin translations from Latin Vulgate into English for the Catholic Church by monks-Catholic theologians is more poetic, using choice words vs the King James Version which is abbreviated and more simplistic --there is real literature in the hands of educated monks thinking and writing and explaining over years and years and that is all they did. QEI seemed to be in a hurry and gave the job to too many who did not know sufficient Greek, Aramaic and Latin to accomplish beauty through English via the Bible.

Nancy Lee Valle said...

yes, daniel, you are wrong

mary gabriel said...

i could not help but notice just how *protestant* this site was from the very first sentence where the downplay was trying to discredit the roman catholic church for giving the world the bible.as not to soft walk the issue like this protesting site does, THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH GAVE US THE FIRST WRITINGS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT BIBLE WRITTEN BY A ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST ALONG WITH THE CANON SCRIPTURES OF MATTHEW MARK LUKE AND JOHN. centuries later, 16th century king james decided to counterfeit along with deduct books the original church authority deemed authoritative. SHE alone ( the roman catholic church) was the authority God appointed to make these decisions as to what books would be considered the authority. it just sickens me that people want to deny this and not even realize when they deny this truth, they are denying Gods truth!!!!!

mary gabriel said...

Any other relations between the two? Probably a few others that don't come to my mind. If you didn't know Latin, the Latin Vulgate would be, well, Latin to you. It wouldn't mean anything. It wouldn't edify a non-Latin speaking people. You couldn't say "Amen" to it unless you were fluent in Latin. It shouldn't be your Bible unless you knew Latin. Latin wasn't an original language of Scripture. Preservation of Scripture wouldn't be the preservation of a Latin translation <<<

this truly is a very weak excuse for trying to downplay the latin vulgate. this translation must have been EXTREMELY important because it is from this KJV was born even though this king exalted himself to claim such authority. he relied on it to recreate his own version. of course he picked and choosed what he wanted but how could he have done anything without it. the reason it was in latin is simple, the roman catholic church is 2000 years old. the rest of the protestants only about as old as the KJV. i mean really, when it comes down to *what is truth ( as pontius pilate of rome so famously said ) all roads lead to ROME/roman catholicism. gOD ALWAYS USED THE CATHOLIC CHURCH TO DO EVERYTHING HOLY AND GOOD EVEN DURING THE REFORM.