I have noticed a new trend in opposition to the King James Version. If you won't support an update of the King James Version, then you are at the least insincere and at the most lying about your TR-only position, one which rests on a belief of the superiority of the underlying original language text of the King James Version. I haven't met one of these critics who even supports the underlying text. In actuality, it is only a line of attack on particular supporters of the King James Version, with the obvious goal of eliminating any remaining endorsement of it, essentially retiring it from public use to a historical artifact.
An obvious question is "what difference does it make to those who don't use the King James Version whether another church does?" It really doesn't matter to them. They say it does, but that's only for its usefulness to mothball the King James. It couldn't matter to them, because their position is that believers are guaranteed by God only the truth necessary to be saved. That is either the boundary or the core of their teaching, depending on whether they are fundamentalist or evangelical. They also say that the differences between the modern versions and the King James do not change any doctrines. It can't matter to them.
The saints who believe that they have available to them every Word of God found in the originals are supporters of the King James Version. They are concerned about every Word. You can't out-concern every Word concern. When people come along, who say they are fine with 7% difference as long as all the doctrines are preserved, they don't have an argument that relates to having every Word available. You know they are either ignorant or disingenuous, if they say that argument works for them. They are being far more lenient among themselves with acceptation of massive differences even between Sinaiticus and Vaticanus, two manuscripts they call "the best" and "far superior to the textus receptus." As Dean Burgon wrote in Revision Revised (1883, p. 12): "It is in fact easier to find two consecutive verses in which these two manuscripts differ the one from the other, than two consecutive verses in which they entirely agree."
If you say you can't understand what I've been writing so far, then you are just playing games. I don't think playing games is the worst of it. The worst of it is denying the biblical and historical doctrine of preservation and, therefore, not trusting God and what He said He would do. Some will not doubt that He keeps them saved, keeps their soul intact. They do doubt that He kept His Word, so they have modified the doctrine of preservation in a similar fashion that we also see the alteration of inerrancy. It's no wonder an Andy Stanley is pushing the ejection button on "the Bible tells me so." We had already seen a similar move from Daniel Wallace, redefining in the 21st century what had already been redefined toward the end of the 19th century, watering down further and further a scriptural and historical bibliology.
Even with the vital importance and truth of everything in this post so far, my point in writing has been to deal with what are said to be reasons to tip supporters of the King James Version to update into contemporary readability. Here is the graphic with Mark Ward's arguments, really ones addressing the arguments against a KJV update.
I'm not going to restate them. You should use the graphic as a guide for the order here (an * will start on another argument). *Ward says that modern KJV readers are missing more small details than they know. He is overstating his case, because from my perspective this is his only argument. The rest of the above are intended to debunk KJV arguments. If someone doesn't understand a word, he is missing something. Does it mean that he can't know the meaning of certain antiquated terms? He can know them if someone defines or explains them.
It's difficult to prove the negative, the burden of proof upon Ward. He has to prove people don't know something that they can in fact know. He knows they can know, but he is asserting here that it is possible that it is more difficult for them to know with the KJV. Someone who wants to know can know, which is the burden in scripture, but Ward is saying that it's got to be easier to know than it already is.
Ward buttresses his argument with examples like "halt," the English word found six times in the KJV. No one ever told me what "halt" meant when I was a child, the equivalent of a bus kid in a small rural town, but I still knew without explanation even as a small child. I don't remember ever not knowing the essence of what "halt" meant. Ward's argument has been that he had never met anyone who had known what it meant. Ward is using what is called "anecdotal evidence," which is very often logically fallacious. An example is, "Smoking isn't harmful, because my grandfather smoked a pack a day and he lived to be 97." I counter his anecdotal evidence with my anecdotal evidence, the weakness of anecdotal evidence.
Some very good arguments against Ward's anecdotes were given that he chose not to answer. They show the fallacy of his argument, and his not answering them would bring further doubt to his anecdotes. One of several not answered was offered by Thomas Ross in the comment section:
In Israel, if bus kids can understand a narrative in Genesis but cannot understand exalted Hebrew poetry in the prophets, should a revised version of the OT be created?To understand any of the poetry of scripture, one is expected to comprehend how Hebrew poetry functions. Ward thinks "bus kids" must understand a translation for it to be within the vernacular, a requirement to his argument. The question here is whether Hebrew poetry is within the range of a "bus kid." I could add many corollaries to Ross's argument, including the understanding of Hebrew weights and measures.
*Answers to his first argument could fill several blog posts, but *his second argument says that existing recent translations of the textus receptus, like the KJV, are also formal equivalents. Ward was responding to the argument that language translation is formal equivalence. Formal translations follow the language from which they are translated, which itself isn't vernacular. Newer translations might also be formal equivalence, but that still means that they provide a reading not in the vernacular. That's the challenge of the "bus kid." Even in the MEV (Modern English Version), an updated translation from the received text, you read sentences in Ephesians 1 far past the readability of the modern bus kid. Will the bus kid understand Job 24 in the MEV? If those are a problem, they still exist in a recent formal equivalence. Ephesians 1 and Job 24 continue as language translation, so also continue to belie the dialect of the "bus kid."
*An argument against an update is the majesty of the King James and reverent language. Ward countered with God using koine and not classical Greek. The Greek of the New Testament is called koine, which means "common." Koine differs from classical Greek, and Ward is saying that God was saying something to us by using koine, instead of classical. He according to this argument, therefore, was also saying that He wants His translations common.
The idea of koine or common was that written in the Hellenistic period or when Greek was the common language of the world, spread through the conquests of Alexander the Great. Koine was not just the literary language of the New Testament, but also of everything else in that period that was written. At the time it was in use, classical Greek wasn't "classical." It was just Greek. Classical Greek was the Greek of a previous historical period that through time became koine through the influences of its circulation. It was the best because it was universal so more people could read it. Greek was not the language of the world in the classical period. Today koine would be English, because it is the common language of the world.
Antonio Jannaris in his An Historical Greek Grammar (pp. 4-5) writes that literary, conversational, and vulgar Greek were used during every period, including the classical; however, that all "literary composition" rose "above daily common talk." Daniel Wallace at the beginning of his Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics says that New Testament Greek, based on on contemporary writings in the papyri, was not vulgar. Many, many Greek grammarians consider over half of the New Testament to be a literary Greek, including Hebrews, Luke, Acts, James, the pastoral epistles, 1 Peter, and Jude.
Ephesians 1:3-14 forms one sentence and is about 240 words in the English. Right after it, verses 15-21 contain 167 words in the English. 2 Thessalonians 1:3-12 is a long sentence. This is what is meant by "translational English." Each of these sections in the Greek text is an entire sentence. Do people write or speak that way today? They don't.
*When I write "historical agreement" as an argument, I mean that through history, churches agreed to use the King James Version. The church is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 3:17) and the common faith of believers is the unity of the Spirit (Eph 4:3). This is how the God guided believers to the New Testament canon. There hasn't been a unifying translation of scripture, where the church found such agreement. For hundreds of years, when pastors said, "open your Bible," it was the King James Version. The King James was not displaced by the church. It's been the slow bleed of dozens of pinpricks. Churches like ours will not toss that history away.
Ward says that most evangelical churches have agreed to value multiple translations. That is such an ambiguous statement with almost every word in contention---"most," "evangelical," "agreed," and "value." We live in a day of theological and cultural diversity that barely agrees. It's worse than ever. Our churches trace this to the compromise and capitulation of evangelicalism. We repudiate evangelicalism, not follow its lead.
More to Come.