Are Accurate Copies and Translations of Scripture-Such as the KJV-Inspired? A Study of 2 Timothy 3:16, part 2
This is part 2 of this study; note part 1, which was posted last Friday.
1.) Accurate copies of the Greek and Hebrew words are inspired, since inspiration, in 2 Timothy 3:16, refers to a product. Paul instructs Timothy that the product of the written Scripture itself is both “inspired/God-breathed” and “profitable.” Neither “God-breathed” nor “profitable,” in 2 Timothy 3:16, refer to the process of the giving of the autographs. Both adjectives describe the noun “Scripture” and attribute a quality to it.[v]
2.) Anything that we can properly call “God’s Word” is inspired, because, by definition, if God breathes out some words, He has inspired those words. “All Scripture is inspired,” 2 Timothy 3:16. The verse equates what is “Scripture” with what is “inspired.” The two categories are identical—if something is “Scripture,” then it is “inspired.”[vi] Had the verse referred to the process of revealing Scripture it would have stated, “All Scripture was given by inspiration of God.” Since 2 Timothy 3:16 refers to the product of that process, inspired words, it states, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God.” The breath of God is an inherent quality of all that is Scripture, all that is the Word of God.
3.) Scripture shows us that accurately translated words are still Scripture. 1 Timothy 5:18, for example, refers to both the untranslated gospel of Luke (10:7) and the translated book of Deuteronomy (25:4) as “Scripture.” Indeed, 1 Timothy 5:18 is the only other reference to Scripture (graphe) in Paul’s epistles to Timothy, so it is natural for one to consider 2 Timothy 3:16 in light of this previous reference. The same Paul who tells Timothy that everything that is Scripture is inspired calls both the untranslated and accurately translated Word of God Scripture.
4.) Therefore, accurate translations are Scripture.
5.) Since accurate translations are Scripture, they are inspired, since all Scripture is inspired. All Scripture has the breath of God upon it.
Therefore, since the Authorized Version is an accurate translation of the perfectly preserved Hebrew and Greek Words dictated by the Holy Ghost, it is Scripture, and it is inspired.
To avoid this conclusion one would need to say that the King James Bible is the uninspired Word of God, and it cannot produce faith (Romans 10:17), it is not quick, powerful, sharp, and so on, and believers are not to live by it (Matthew 4:4).[vii]
Furthermore, Timothy was commanded in 2 Timothy 4:2 to preach the inspired Scripture of 2 Timothy 3:16.[viii] Since the originals were not available to him, but the copies or translations he was to preach—and certainly he would have preached the Old Testament in Greek translation to the church at Ephesus—were still God-breathed, inspiration must refer to the product revealed by God, the canonical words of Scripture, and thus accurate copies and translations of the autographs are inspired.
[v] Compare the connection between the adjectives qeo/pneustoß and wÓfe÷limoß made by Clement of Alexandria, ta«ß grafa«ß o˚ ∆Apo/stoloß qeopneu/stouß kalei√, w˙feli/mouß ou¡saß. Similarly, Origen, pavsa grafh\ qeo/pneustoß ou™sa w˙vfelimo/ß e˙sti. (citations from pg. 208, The Revision Revised, John Burgon. Elec. acc. Fundamental Baptist CD-ROM Library. London, Ontario: Bethel Baptist Church, 2009.). Many other patristic texts evidence the use of qeo/pneustoß as a quality of Scripture. For example, Eusebius refers to the Hebrew copies employed by the LXX translators as “inspired (qeo/pneustoß) Scriptures” (Church History V:8:10), employing Theopneustos as a quality of the written Word that remained upon apographs, rather than making a reference to the one-time process of the giving of the autographs—the copies actually in the hands of the translators, Eusebius affirmed, were qeo/pneustoß.
[vi] Thus, the equative relation pasa graphe Theopneustos establishes that all that is graphe is alsoTheopneustos. The reader who does not know Greek should note that the KJV is, although italicized, is clearly the correct verbal form in the Greek equative clause. The word was simply cannot be properly supplied. The related adjective-noun-adjective equative verb constructions in the pastoral epistles support this affirmation. Note that a present tense form of to be must in each case be supplied: 1 Timothy 1:15, This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, pisto\ß oJ lo/goß kai« pa¿shß aÓpodochvß a‡xioß; 1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, ei–ß ga»r Qeo/ß, ei–ß kai« mesi÷thß Qeouv kai« aÓnqrw¿pwn;1Timothy 4:4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, o¢ti pa◊n kti÷sma Qeouv kalo/n, kai« oujde«n aÓpo/blhton; 1 Timothy 4:9 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation, pisto\ß oJ lo/goß kai« pa¿shß aÓpodochvß a‡xioß; Titus 1:12 The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies, Krhvteß aÓei« yeuvstai, kaka» qhri÷a, gaste÷reß aÓrgai÷.
[vii] Compare the following instances of graphe [Scripture] + modifying adjective in the NT:
Romans 1:2 (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,); (o§ proephggei÷lato dia» tw◊n profhtw◊n aujtouv e˙n grafai√ß aJgi÷aiß);
Both accurate copies and accurate translations can be called “holy scriptures,” or else believers had better scratch out “holy” from the phrase “Holy Bible” in the copies they carry with them.
Rom. 16:26 But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith: (fanerwqe÷ntoß de« nuvn, dia» te grafw◊n profhtikw◊n, kat∆ e˙pitagh\n touv ai˙wni÷ou Qeouv, ei˙ß uJpakoh\n pi÷stewß ei˙ß pa¿nta ta» e¶qnh gnwrisqe÷ntoß)
Notice that the “Scriptures of the prophets/prophetic Scriptures” are used to give the gospel to all nations—so, since all nations certainly do not have the original copies, nor do they know Hebrew and Greek, accurately translated Scripture is still “prophetic Scripture.”
2 Peter 3:16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. (wJß kai« e˙n pa¿saiß tai√ß e˙pistolai√ß, lalw◊n e˙n aujtai√ß peri« tou/twn: e˙n oi–ß e¶sti dusno/hta¿ tina, a± oi˚ aÓmaqei√ß kai« aÓsth/riktoi streblouvsin, wJß kai« ta»ß loipa»ß grafa¿ß, pro\ß th\n i˙di÷an aujtw◊n aÓpw¿leian.)
False teachers do not have the original manuscripts, but they twist both copies and the translated Word to their own destruction.
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (zw◊n ga»r oJ lo/goß touv Qeouv, kai« e˙nergh/ß, kai« tomw¿teroß uJpe«r pa◊san ma¿cairan di÷stomon, kai« diiœknou/menoß a‡cri merismouv yuchvß te kai« pneu/matoß, aJrmw◊n te kai« muelw◊n, kai« kritiko\ß e˙nqumh/sewn kai« e˙nnoiw◊n kardi÷aß.)
Both accurate copies and accurately translated Bible is “the Word of God.” Here, then, accurate copies and translations of Scripture have the adjectives “living,” “powerful,” “sharper,” “piercing” (adjectival participle), and “discerner” applied to them.
In another related text, James 1:21 speaks of the “engrafted word, which is able to save your souls” (to\n e¶mfuton lo/gon, to\n duna¿menon sw◊sai ta»ß yuca»ß uJmw◊n), where “engrafted” is an adjective and “which is able to save” is an adjectival participle. Certainly people can be saved from hearing accurate copies and accurate translations of the original manuscripts, or nobody who is alive today would be truly regenerate—nor would Timothy himself have been saved (2 Timothy 3:15). (While it is cannot be proven without any doubt, it is very likely that Timothy’s mother and grandmother taught him the Scriptures in what was almost surely his first language, Greek, so the “scriptures” he knew from his infancy were not even original language copies, but the Word translated; cf. 2 Timothy 1:5; Acts 16:1-3; 2 Timothy 3:15.)
All scripture is . . . profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: (pa◊sa grafh\ . . . wÓfe÷limoß pro\ß didaskali÷an, pro\ß e¶legcon, pro\ß e˙pano/rqwsin, pro\ß paidei÷an th\n e˙n dikaiosu/nhØ)
Certainly the description here pertains to accurate copies and translations of the Word. Both are unquestionably profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction. If copied and translated Scripture are not “profitable,” believers today are in real trouble!
So, copied and translated Scripture has the adjectives “holy,” “prophetic,” “able to save,” “living,” “powerful,” “profitable,” etc. properly applied to it.
All scripture is given by inspiration of God (pa◊sa grafh\ qeo/pneustoß)
Accurate copies and translations properly have the adjective Theopnesustos, “God-breathed,” applied to them as well as all the other adjectives listed—including the adjective “profitable” later on in 2 Timothy 3:16.
[viii] Note the anaphoric article in ton logon in 4:2, referring back to the graphe of 3:16.