Monday, September 19, 2016

Revising the King James Version and Pleasing Absolutely No One

For the sake of this post, I'm calling people who use the King James Version, those who love the King James Version (TWLTKJV).  TWLTKJV aren't calling for an update of the KJV.  The only people I hear call for an update of the KJV are people who don't like the KJV (PWDLTKJV).  The people who want a contemporary translation don't care about the text translated into the King James Version. They are more concerned about whether people are going to understand what they are reading, rather than the textual issue.  If they really wanted something contemporary, that's already available anyway in numerous translations, including ones from at least a very similar text.

PWDLTKJV challenge TWLTKJV to make a new translation of the KJV.  They don't want a new translation of it.  They are fine with the present translation of it.  They love it.  They aren't looking for contemporary English.  They don't think it's a problem.  It's not a reason for either wrong beliefs or wrong practices with their people.

The issue of further modernization of the KJV comes from PWDLTKJV.  It's not that they want a new translation.  It's a trap issue.  They want to see if TWLTKJV really do think that the Bible was preserved in the English language and not in the original Hebrew and Greek.  They want to see if TWLTKJV really are loyal to a translation and not the very words that God inspired.

TWLTKJV think there is far more to a translation than what is the most understandable.  They think there should be some difficulty or reticence to "changing the Bible."  Men shouldn't be so free to change a translation of God's Word.  It's a bad precedent.  It's very common today regularly to keep coming out with this and that new translation, update after update, so that God's Word becomes very fungible.  If you don't like how it says it, you can just change it.  The Bible as a standard isn't something that should change easily.

PWDLTKJV and pressure to change it are those who already want to get people off of the KJV.  The NKJV translators for instance didn't accept the superiority of the TR.  They weren't TR believers. They were new translation people, not people sold on the TR.  They decided not even to use the identical text as the KJV and yet still call it the NKJV, which to TWLTKJV seems dishonest.  The NKJV translators were free not to use the identical text, but they get angry, I've found, when you question them about those changes.  They really shouldn't be able to have it both ways.

PWDLTKJV wouldn't even use the text behind the KJV to translate into other languages.  They would use the critical text.  Yet, these are the people who say the KJV needs an update.  If they don't want that text in other languages, then why would they want it in English?  They don't.  All the momentum for an update KJV comes from PWDLTKJV.

The nature of scripture as God's Word is changeless.  God is changeless.  His Word is changeless. This popularity of changing doesn't fit the nature of God.

An acceptable modernization of the KJV would and should come from TWLTKJV.  It shouldn't come from people who don't care.  TWLTKJV don't want an update.

Just for discussion sake, let's say that TWLTKJV decided they wanted an update in more contemporary language, changing some of the words.  The churches would need to agree that they wanted it.  I'm talking about the churches of TWLTKJV are the ones to change it.  The church is the pillar and ground of the truth and it is from the church, the church of TWLTKJV that should spearhead the update.  If they don't want to do it, why should it be done?  They accept the KJV.  They aren't people, like PWDLTKJV who want to keep changing and changing and changing and updating and updating God's Word, like so much silly putty.

An update is not going to be done on the momentum of PWDLTKJV.  In the end, TWLTKJV will not be pleased by an update.  They don't want it.  They believe there are many good reasons not to change the KJV, ones that outweigh, even far outweigh those for changing.  PWDLTKJV will not be pleased with an update, because they aren't going to use the update either.  They don't care.  This is why the update isn't going to happen with the momentum, really fake momentum, of PWDLTKJV.  It's just an issue to be used, like propaganda, against TWLTKJV by PWDLTKJV.  I don't think they even expect TWLTKJV to change.  It's just another reason to keep mocking them, like the mainstream media mocks Republicans for similar superficial and propaganda-like reasons.

A better use of everyone's time, exponentially more important than pushing for an update of the KJV, is to dig into what the Bible says about it's own preservation and to study what God's people have believed about the preservation of scripture.  Everyone should get settled what scripture says about its own preservation and about the settled nature of scripture.  If men won't settle on what they believe about preservation, they aren't going to get the issue of the text or the translation right anyway, and I don't trust them.  No one should.

In the discussion we had here a few weeks back on the King James Version, Thomas Ross in the comment section made a good point that the Hebrews, the Jews, over millennia didn't suggest for an update of the Old Testament Hebrew text to make it more modern.  Men should consider why changing the Word of God is not an option.  I understand the issue of a translation isn't identical.  However, it is at least a similar issue.  The very Words matter. The text is a settled standard.  It shouldn't be updated, just like there isn't a call for the updating of the language of the U.S. Constitution, but even less so for scripture. Men should just study and explain the Bible, rather than talking constantly about updating.

The sacred nature of scripture should preclude it from so many changes.  It undermines trust in the Bible.  It turns the authority of God's Word upside down, subordinating it to the whims of men.

Added after comment 66 in the comment section (since then, latest update with Ward Arguments completed, Sept 28, 2016, 8:55pm Pacific Coast Time):

Click on image to see easier and more clearly (better readability of the image).


KJB1611 said...

TARRBAIMOCB. Those are really, really big abbreviations, in my opinion, crazily big.

TFTUCOTPGP. Thanks for the useful content of this post--good points.

Jim Camp said...

According to, since Tyndale, there are about 900 partial or complete English Translations.

According to Wycliffe in 2013, there are over 2000 languages without any translation of the Bible (although there may be partials).

Those so adamant about a new translation should give heavily & be very busy about it. Just pick a different language. It might be my opinion only, but it falls on weary ears to hear men bemoan the faults of the KJV, & demand a new English translation, while sorting through the shelves of English translations around them; yet giving lip service to getting it translated into other languages. Honestly, is the KJV That Bad??? Did its near exclusive use from 1650ish till 1880ish bring about such a devastating apostasy that we must have revision after revision. Could the effort not be put into helping those who have nothing?

Kent Brandenburg said...


Thanks for both comments.

Recently I've noticed mockery for those who don't want a KJV update, participating in a form of mind reading as to why they don't want to "update" it. The "update" people don't believe in the historical, biblical view of preservation of scripture. The "update" people don't have the same view of scripture in a number of different ways. I don't like their mockery, but it's not going to end anyway with an update. They will still mock for the underlying text.

Tyler Robbins said...

Regarding Jim's comment about the need for new translations into other languages, I thought I'd point some folks to the excellent work the Trinitarian Bible Society is doing towards that end. They are staunch TR advocates, and they have multiple translation projects and Scripture distribution programs in place to get God's word out there to those who need - far beyond the English speaking world.

For TR folks, you can find many articles and pamphlets advocating a TR position there. It is a very good resource. And, I'll also add, their printed TR is really very excellent quality. The font is good, the book is little and sturdy, and I think everybody who knows NT Greek ought to have a printed TR.

Anytime an organization is committed to spreading God's Word abroad, and translating it into other languages to get it to those who need it, Christians ought to give thanks. I like the Trinitarian Bible Society, and I think they do some very good things.

Kent Brandenburg said...


James White, one of the gurus of evangelical textual criticism, speaking in maximum condescending tones, as he does almost exclusively, mocks, scorns with ultra disdain, the idea of translating from the TR into foreign languages. I have to assume from his obvious disgust that he would rather someone not have the Bible than to have it from a TR translation. He's their guy. Enjoy him.

Tyler Robbins said...

I personally don't care if somebody translates from the TR. As I said, I think the TBS is doing good work. They have their meetings at the Met Tabernacle, in London. I know Peter Masters preaches from the KJV; I've listened to several of his sermons.

Kent Brandenburg said...


I'm glad you're happy for TR translations versus no translation in a language.

Jim Peet said...

Kent, filed on S/I here


Farmer Brown said...

There is a received text translation out there that was recently finished by someone named Jay P Green. He called the Literal Translation of the Holy Bible. I have no knowledge of this person, but I have read some of the translation. I think his theory was to remove any areas where the KJV translators make decisions to favor readability. I do not think it was ever intended to compete with the KJV, more to be a help for people without language training. Here is an example:

Isaiah 24:19-20 The earth is breaking, breaking! The earth is crashing, crashing! The earth is tottering, tottering. (20) Like a drunkard, the earth is staggering, staggering! And it rocks to and fro like a hut. And its trespass is heavy on it; and it shall fall, and not rise again.

Isaiah 24:19-20 The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly. (20) The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again.

I am not offering any opinion on the accuracy or value of this, just noting it exists. It is available for e-Sword, but not Logos.

Unknown said...

Speaking as someone who is not TR-only, but loves the KJV, and still uses it (either my iPhone or my 1611 reprint) in a church where the ESV is the standard from the pulpit, I'd say the main reason a new translation is necessary even for TR-only types is literacy. By some studies, the average reading level of a college freshman is grade 7, with most books assigned in high-school being somewhere between grade 5 and 6. The KJV is usually considered 12+, and the ESV anywhere from 7-8 to as high as 10. I have read that some consider the KJV to be easier to read than 12+, but even teaching my own children, neither of whom had trouble in school, I would disagree when considering passages beyond the obviously familiar ones.

Even if those in Christian school and home school do better than the average, unless we only intend to evangelize our own children, and if we want the Bible to be in the language of the "plow boy," even those who will not use any CT translation had better be thinking about a different translation for the fairly near future, if not the present. And since TWLTKJV, at least your stripe of them, will not use something like the NKJV because of textual issues, a new translation might not please you, but you will increasingly find your KJV an impediment in a world where people hardly read at all these days, let alone King James English.

As far as international missions is concerned, I certainly would be happy for a TR translation over none at all, but even if the only translation available in a target language were the equivalent of "The Message," I'd be happy to have that as compared to nothing.

Kent Brandenburg said...


The people who have to decide whether the KJV is an impediment are those who use the KJV in their churches. Yours uses the ESV, so how do you know. I'm saying it is zero impediment for me. Zero. None. Our people know the Bible, I would say, better than almost any ESV NIV NASV church. When I evangelize, I find no problem preaching the gospel from the KJV. That is NEVER a problem. When I do discipleship -- I've written a thirty week one that we've used for 25 years -- the KJV is zero problem. Talking about updating would be a problem. Updating would be a problem. Why create a problem?

When I read the comments at SharperIron, I had to skim them because I'm writing this while sitting in the back of a class during a test I've given, one of them is another lie. People just lie in Clintonesque fashion. I'll point it out later in a comment when I can read and take the time. They fulfill my point about the trap. They don't care except for the use of this as a trap. It's not one, because it isn't true. It's a lie.

The people saying it's a literary problem, kids can't get the KJV, they aren't KJV people. Listen, if KJV people wanted to update, there are enough people who know the original languages to update. Plenty. Thomas Ross and I could find people and do that project ourselves. We both rely on the original languages for our teaching and preaching. And I don't want an update.

Mark Ward said...

I love the KJV, I don't just like it. I deny that I dislike it! And yet I cannot understand many individual words within it. I just ran across one the other day during church (and my pastor uses the KJV, though he is not KJV-Only). Psalm 18:5: "The snares of death prevented me." I thought, "prevented me from what?" I don't know what that's saying. We don't use the word without a "from" phrase following it unless the context supplies it in some other way. So we can say, "I was trying to get to Jerusalem, but the snares of death prevented me." But no English speaker alive would ever say or write, "My enemies attacked me. They prevented me. They mocked me." But "prevent" is not an archaic word, so no one thinks to look it up. I never did until age 35, two days ago.

I checked the Oxford English Dictionary, the only contemporary dictionary that reaches back into the 17th century and gives dated citations, and I discovered that "prevent" has an obsolete sense not used since then, meaning "confront." I check the modern translations—all of which are translating precisely the same Hebrew word; there's no textual issue here—and they all say "confront."

Kent, you are in this post questioning my motivations, and I actually think it is fair for you to do so in this case. When I call for a new translation of the TR, one into contemporary English that today's ploughboy can read, do I have any intention of using this new translation? In all honesty, that depends on whether it's done well. If so, I'll use it. I'm happy to use any tool which will genuinely help me understand God's word.

It's fair for me to question your motivations as well, I think, because I have presented many examples like "prevent" in my correspondence with you. I have appealed to you to consider "the least of these," bus kids who have no facility with 17th century English and shouldn't have to gain it in order to understand God's words. Though the KJV translators did absolutely nothing wrong when they used the word "prevent," the sense they drew upon is no longer part of our language. God did not say "prevent" in Psalm 18:5; he said "confront." And I want that word. I want to understand everything God said, as much as possible. I simply cannot grasp how anyone who teaches the Bible regularly would insist that "everyone out there can understand the KJV just fine." I call for a new translation of the TR because I want to understand God's words, and I want the ploughboy to understand them, too—and he's having a lot of trouble. I'll give more examples.

The ploughboy and I want to understand Ps 16:6.

The ploughboy and I want to understand 1 Kings 18:21.

The ploughboy and I want to understand Col 3:5.

The ploughboy and I want to understand Rom 1:18.

The ploughboy and I want to understand 1 Cor 15:31.

The ploughboy and I want to understand Heb 2:18, Col 2:23, and Ps 37:8.

The ploughboy and I want to understand Prov 4:23.

The ploughboy and I want to understand Hab 2:18.

The ploughboy and I want to understand Rom 12:10.

The ploughboy and I want to understand Josh 17:18.

The ploughboy and I want to understand Eph. 5:3-4.

Unknown said...

Kent, the church I attend has only used the ESV for about 5 years. Prior to that, it was NKJV for about 4 years, and prior to that, KJV. All the churches I attended prior to that (back to about 1970) used the KJV. When I attended BJU, they did as well, at least officially, even if other translations were already used in the Bible department. I've used it a long time, and know it and love it, which is why I persist in its use, even when it's no longer the official church translation.

You'll note that I wasn't claiming that most Christians that have been in church their whole lives can't understand the KJV, though I'm certain that some passages can be found that would give trouble to even some of those who don't have a seminary or graduate-level English education. I have degrees in math and computer science, and I have to admit that there are passages that still give me difficulty.

Further, I'm not saying that people in general can't understand John 3:16 or Romans 3:23 in the KJV. However, try explaining some portions of Colossians 2 to a new believer who doesn't have your level of education. I'm certainly not saying it can't be done in preaching (Ezra is an example of proclaiming and explaining), and you preach with the KJV, but why should the common man have to go to that much trouble to read and understand the scriptures? That already takes work and time. Why add antiquated language to that burden? It's great that you and Thomas read Greek and Hebrew. I can't. I have to limit my understanding to English and German versions, which of course, are both translations, not the original. I can certainly tell you that today's English and German is much easier to understand than that from several hundred years ago for those who aren't language scholars. I'm sure that anyone who really studies King James English and/or Luther German can understand those very well, just as you understand the Greek and Hebrew you have studied. I still contend that that King James English is harder to understand than today's English for most people.

I get that you don't need or want an update. Many who don't have your level of education love having the Bible in more modern English that is more understandable for them. Why condemn them to using a CT translation when you believe that text to be corrupt?

Kent Brandenburg said...

Hello Everyone,

One of the reasons for an amazing lack of discernment in the church today is because an unwillingness or maybe ignorance of being antithetical. Jesus said you either love Him or you hate Him. Today you can love several contradictory things at once, and it just isn't true. It is a rudimentary lie, foundational lie. Two sets of words, not the same, contradicting, and "I love them both," "I love them all." I'm not talking translation even here, although that issue comes into play too, but primarily the text behind the translations. People love the KJV, love the NIV, love the ESV, love the NASV, not leaving out almost anything to love. They are different. They contradict each other. This isn't unity. Unity is based on agreement, not on agreeing to disagree, that is, a failure to be antithetical, which is how the entire Bible reads. It does not read any way else. It's also not a Christian worldview.

Kent Brandenburg said...


I've got a little bit of time now, so I'm going to comment to you. I think I might need to comment about what you've written here and at SI (I think you commented there, so I might try to answer it all here). First, I wasn't at all, at all, writing to you. You were a totally separate thing. I would have even put your name in here if I were writing to you, because I do that, name names. People have named my name too, and I understand it, as long as when they name it, they properly represent what I said or wrote. In your case, I wasn't or I would have named your name. I have thought of you in recent times, but on this post, I didn't think of you one time. I know you have to trust me on that, but you did not at all come to my mind. My mind was totally focused on comments to a post I wrote in the last month that had about 100 comments, was linked at SharperIron. I had other things I wanted to write about actually, but I didn't have the time to write on them, and I did want to write on this too, just not the most, but it was easier to get done for Monday, when I post.

When you and I had our discussion privately, because you don't post my comments on your blog, unlike what I do here with yours [you reject my comments on your blog (everyone should know that)], you came to a conclusion that we were done talking, because I was settled that we shouldn't have a new translation into the English.

I recognize that you can pull up words that people don't understand. I have actually preached taught through every Word of the Bible in 29 years, studying them in their original language. I've taught 1st, 2nd, 3rd (and beyond) Greek. I don't think words like "prevent" are as much a problem for people to understand as something ambiguous like "for," which has about 16 different possible meanings. That's just the English word. Then you get Greek prepositions like en, something very simple, or eis, that have multiple, multiple possibilities. In second year Greek, we park on these things for a few weeks.

I personally see you as having some theological and philosophical problems that would take a very long time to deal with, but I'm pretty sure you wouldn't listen. I think you contradict your own worldview book, like many who have written some decent worldview books. You are too beholden to a broad range of people to please, and it comes across in the way that you deal with people.

Your use of "ploughboy" is a historical misrepresentation, and it is also ironic in the truest sense, and in two ways. One, people don't spell plow like that any more. People reading you think of something like dough, as in kneeding the dough -- plough. It is out of usage, but you assume we know what it means. Can I say that's funny to me? I hope no bus kids are reading. By the way, saying "bus kids" in and of itself brings a lot of meaning to the conversation itself, as in, what do you mean, "bus kids"? People are assumed to know what you mean. Who are "bus kids"? Is there a biblical concept, "bus kids"? What about "goth skateboarders"? The second irony is that you are not using "ploughboy" like it was meant in history. It wasn't about an update in the English. It was meant as English instead of Latin. You misuse it, and people accept it if they agree with your point, but the point is isogeted. That is ironic, yes, to me. I chuckle on both of them. True historians should oppose it, but it indicates a postmodern acceptance of dealing with history any more.

Mark Ward said...

Kent, I don't say this rancorously at all, but I do want to clarify that I rejected your comment at the Logos Talk Blog, which I do not own and do not have authority over. I am tasked with keeping comments civil, and I didn't know where you were going with your comment—I'd never interacted with you before. I have not to my knowledge rejected a comment you made at my personal blog. And if I had known where you were going with that initial comment at Logos Talk, I would have approved it.

I also accept and believe that you were not answering me directly. I sincerely apologize for assuming incorrectly.

In a meeting. More later.

Kent Brandenburg said...


Now to your SI comment.

You start it by saying I was writing to you. You might want to ask first, because I wasn't. When I write to someone, I use his name, refer with actual text, or a link, like above. I'm fine with that, unlike others, who like to leave deniability, I guess, or try to be nice, I guess again.

I reveal again and again that it isn't a manuscript issue, but a KJV issue. Wow. I don't reveal that at all, unless I'm just an absolute liar. It isn't true. If anyone read the preponderance of what I have written here at WIT and our book TSKT, they know that isn't true. I'm speaking on the translation as a separate issue. I think the not changing advantage outweighs the changing advantage. I also believe that it shouldn't be done by a publisher, individual, but with a broad range of acceptance from churches. I say the ones who believe the biblical and historical view on preservation. There is no momentum from them on the subject. You are not one of them. You are a multi-versionist, who doesn't care very much about the text issue. You've written that, if I am remembering correctly, in an entire post on it.

You guys actually manifest that it is a "trap" (what I'm calling it). I'm thinking of something like the Pharisees did with Jesus, where they would try to trap him. You pronounce I've been trapped in your comment. Well, I preempted your trap by calling it before you said it. I'm not trapped. You say you care about a new translation of the TR. Use Jay Greene. Use the 21st Century Version, if it is in fact from the same text. Use the NKJV, since you don't care about the text. In other words, you've already got all you need, which proves my point again.

For comment #2 (readers here can scroll down), Mark, you say this is about caring for the people in my church. If I took your direction, then I would be afraid for my people. They have a strong conviction in the authority of scripture, which your view undermines. I'm not saying the English, I'm saying in the constant tweaking and fiddling. You bring scripture to a very human level, profane it with making it so common.

Mark Ward said...

You are correct that Tyndale's "plough boy" comment regarded Latin, not English. But the end goal was the same: a Bible that the average literate person could read. The goal was the same: vernacular translation. As a good friend of mine over at SI said, the minor premise about which I still get nothing but bald assertions from you is "The KJV is no longer a vernacular translation." I'd settle, for starters, for you handling the other minor premise, "The Bible ought to be translated into the vernacular."

I will not call you a liar, and I honestly do not believe you are one. So what I'd like to hear from you is under precisely what linguistic circumstances a new translation (of the text you believe to be preserved) might be called for. Thomas Ross says it's when we get to the point where the KJV is as unintelligible as Beowulf. I think it ought to before that at some point. I presume you agree. So when? I have trouble understanding the KJV I love. When does your care for me as a Christian brother and my understanding of the word of God cause the scale to tip?

KJB1611 said...

Dear Mark,

I didn't say we had to wait until Beowulf. We should do it before then.

I don't have time for an extensive interaction at this point, but the Authorized Version is in the vernacular--an elevated vernacular, yes, but vernacular. I trust that you would recognize that, say, the Song of Deborah in Judges is in the Hebrew vernacular, even if it has archaic words, etc.

I would suggest that if the main issue for you is the small number of archaic words, that, even as an advocate of modern versions, you highly publicize and promote the Defined King James Bible:

as just about all of the problems you refer to are solved by simply having the uncommon words defined at the bottom of the page--easy for ploughboys--ploughboys like those for whom Tyndale invented words that did not exist in the vernacular of his day such as "atonement" and scapegoat."


Kent Brandenburg said...


Let's say that I organized something nationally to do this project. Would there be agreement from the churches who use the KJV? No. They know that there are other alternatives available, that I mentioned to you.

You are saying you love your KJV and you just want it to be simplified for the contemporary reader. Have you seen D.A. Waite's Defined KJV. That does a very nice thing. It leaves the words intact for the sake of the continuity, but puts definitions in the margins. People all over the country have that Bible. What's wrong with that? In a sense, what you are asking has been done.

I'm not in with Waite, so this is not endorsement of him, his positions, or how he explains them. He's got this available though.

That would satisfy someone like yourself, who wants that.

I've met this guy and got his volume one:

When people say "vernacular," that is a pretty loaded word. What does one mean? Interesting that we have to define vernacular too. When they translated the King James, they purposefully wrote it in a royal type of English, like what the Kings might speak, versus how the average Englishman talked.

KJB1611 said...

Dear Dr. Ward,

One more thing--perhaps since you work at Logos you could put some pressure on the company to publish the King James Only collection I suggested here:

at least so that people who are not heretics like Ruckman or weirdos like Riplinger are the ones KJVO people who own Logos software will find. Logos sells Catholic apologetics, Seventh Day Adventist heretics, ultra-liberal theological modernists, etc., so surely it can at least have Burgon's Revision Revised for sale--it's even old enough that Logos could get 100% profit on it once they get it in print, like they do with their Classic Commentary Collection. I think it is unfortunate that those who get your information on the Logos newsletter have had quite a number of articles that undercut KJVO and not a single article (that I can recall) exposing the damnable heresies in, say, Logos's Verbum or SDA base packages.

Thanks again.

KJB1611 said...

To all readers--Pastor Brandenburg's comment recommending the Defined KJV was not yet available when I put mine up--a recommendation by both of us on it independently.

KJB1611 said...

By the way, Pastor Brandenburg, Dr. Ward has rejected a comment I made on his blog as well--and after one rejection, I did not try again.

"Slim" said...

A couple of comments about the issue, as a TR guy not in fellowship with Kent, having bounced back and forth between this site and SI:

1. The contempt critical text proponents have for those to hold to the TR position is striking. I can understand someone disagreeing with a TR position, but the dishonesty is disappointing. There is, in some cases, willful denial that anyone who disagrees could be intellectually sincere. See, for example, the SI post where someone repeatedly suggests that the reason TR people hold their position is just because it's the KJV--I was astonished at how uncharitable and prejudicial that was. And there is a strong tendency to group all TR proponents into the worst possible groups and smear them. Happens all the time on SI, where any TR person is painted with Ruckmanite stereotypes and laughed at.

It is telling that Kent's articulation of a TR position prompted some surprise amongst SI commenters, as if they didn't realize anybody held that kind of position. Yet it is essentially that position, in contrast with "advanced revelation" and other Ruckmanite trappings, that is held by a substantial number of prominent TR proponents. Including the KJB Research Council, PCC, WCBC, and others.

False labeling, denial of intellectual sincerity, and mockery are all techniques that have been used by those with contempt toward the TR position, and their attitude and actions are indistinguishable in this issue from those used by the Secularist Left toward those who hold biblical positions on issues like marriage. It is disappointing that professing believers who are, no doubt, distressed by the dishonest cruelty of those who seek to remove religion from the public landscape, will adopt those very tactics against other believers with whom they disagree.

In the interest of fairness, I sometimes find that Kent presumes motives without evidence in his writings as well. YMMV.

2. It is not true that all TR people are just attached to the KJV. I grew up with several different modern versions, most prominently the NIV as a teenager. Before I ever knew there was a text issue, I was significantly hurt by the "doubt" footnotes ("The earliest ancient manuscripts and many other ancient witnesses do not contain [disputed scripture reference]") whose overall effect was to make me question the whole of Scripture. It is virtually impossible to argue to someone that the Word of God is inerrant when the Bible they hold tells them that they can't trust what they are reading. (By the way, you think I had to look up that footnote phrase? Ha! It is the only thing from my NIV that I managed to memorize). I came to a TR position through studying the issue, and the KJV was relatively unfamiliar to me until I was in my 20s.

The comments supplied here and at SI prompted me to look up the MEV or whatever; I was intrigued. However, while it is asserted to be translated from the TR, the portion I checked out online still includes a similarly worded "doubtful" footnote, and for that reason alone I would not recommend it to a new Christian. I can't speak for its accuracy in other areas; if someone were using it I would consider that a significant improvement from using a critical text translation.

But I cannot endorse biblical texts that undermine their own authenticity by saying, essentially, "You should question whether or not this is true." It's not a non-issue, and from what I gather from the responses to SI's new filing about Andy Stanley, critical text proponents understand that questioning the Bible is an issue, too.


Slim said...


3. The "vernacular" argument has some value; I believe that the Bible should be readable. However, I have rarely or never heard that argument from someone who wasn't using it to cover for a much more significant change in underlying text. And I question the weight of the issue where it relates to the current landscape of translations. What is worse: A translation where certain words are difficult to understand, or another translation where certain words are not present at all?

The "bus kids" argument is interesting. Kent, I gather, has no use for that type of ministry, and I would be interested to hear if the people making that argument do, either. The "bus kids" and new Christians of similar backgrounds in our church might occasionally struggle with certain words, but overall the 18th century language has not been any kind of stumbling block to them. I have discipled recent ex-cons with substandard educations, impoverished kids from abusive households, and people with traumatic brain injuries in recent months, and in none of these cases has the language of the KJV been an obstacle to their growth in the faith or understanding of biblical doctrines.

So, why do people who don't hold to the TR position care about what TR churches do? It is said that it is not a "trap" question, but I have a hard time understanding what it is. It reminds me, once again, of the Left's attempts to tell Christians how those Christians should obey the Bible, as if they knew better.

I don't pretend I will change any minds here. But it would be nice if some people would at least recognize that those they disagree with do so sincerely and have arrived at those positions through biblical reasoning. I know some people, like TylerR, have at least made some effort, and I appreciate that.


Farmer Brown said...

There is a real whiff of intellectual elitism in all of this discussion about a new translation. The thought is other people, of course never the speaker, need a new translation so that they can understand. Those poor dumb people.

I grew up in a very rural part of a very rural state. Many of the people in the church where I attended were in their middle ages when they were saved. A number of them did not have running water or plumbing in their houses, and a few had no high school education. It was very rural.

Somehow, all of these poor hillbilly mountain men were able to hear the gospel from the King James version, understand it, get saved, learn the Bible, and many of them even went on to teach and preach from it.

These people were the lowest educated in our society. Somehow though, none of them had a problem with the King James version. Even though they first picked it up in their middle ages, they did not have any problem understanding it.

How long would it really take to teach through all of these so-called "difficult" English passages? I think you could easily teach every difficult word to a new believer in an hour. After all, that is sort of the purpose of the church. Teaching the word of God to people so that they can be perfected and go out and teach it to others.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Thanks Slim. Well said, even the painful admission that sometimes I misjudge people in the area of motives. In the interest of fairness, I have no idea who Slim is. Maybe it's the slim edition of the KJV speaking.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Farmer Brown,

You said something similar on a particular to Slim. It's Slim Pickins out there.

KJB1611 said...

Dear Dr. Ward (or other CT advocates reading this):

Do you acknowledge that there are "no doctrines affected" by archaic words in the Authorized Version, and that it is only an issue of specific words?

Mark Ward said...

Farmer Brown, no intellectual elitism here, I hope by God's grace: I personally have difficulty understanding the early 17th century English of the KJV. That's why I traveled to a nearby county for a library card last week: my subscription to the OED had run out, I need it to understand the KJV, and they provide a subscription. I have dedicated my life to understanding the Bible, and helping others understand. My study has led me over time not to greater clarity in reading the KJV, but more frequent realization that there are words and phrases—usually small, generally minor—I have been misunderstanding all my life. But I want to understand even the small, minor statements of God.


1) I'm genuinely glad to know about the Defined KJV. Anything that will help KJV readers understand God's word is good. I'd have to take a look at it, of course, to give a real endorsement.

2) I feel like White's Dictionary of the King James Language kind of makes my point about the vernacular. Why would such a book be necessary if the KJV is already translated into the vernacular?

3) You said, "When they translated the King James, they purposefully wrote it in a royal type of English, like what the Kings might speak, versus how the average Englishman talked." I have heard this claim many times, but I have never seen any citations. I would be genuinely grateful if someone could produce reliable evidence from primary documents that support your claim. I'm perfectly sincere, because I'm prepared to believe that you're right about this. The best I can figure is that since the KJV translators were told to revise the Bishop's Bible, they were implicitly being told to hang on to a then slightly older form of the language. This, too, would seem to make my point about the vernacular. Do you recommend that new translations into foreign languages be made into antiquated forms of those languages that no one speaks anymore? Should a brand new Thai translation use 400-year-old Thai?

Kent Brandenburg said...


You can study English and see what the writing of the King James Version was:

Other essays have been written like this, but I am not going to go looking for them. It's there.

Related to the White book, every Bible has to be studied, and I think for the relatively few words you need to know (you're going to have to show them), this kind of work is helpful.

I'm teaching Romans in our school, and I stop and explain the relative pronoun to our 7-12 graders, and the objective form. I shouldn't have to do that, right? Those ploughboys&girls should just get that, and what the nearest antecedent is, etc., all required to get the right interpretation of scripture. You also find, for instance, that you have to look to see if a relative pronoun is actually plural, to see whom it refers, which you can't see in the English, but you can in the Greek.

Farmer Brown said...

Mark said, " I personally have difficulty understanding the early 17th century English"

I am not sure what this means. Not understanding a single word does not mean you have difficulty understanding the English. It means you don't understand one particular work. That is not "difficulty understanding".

I know a practically illiterate scrap dealer who got saved in his late thirties who would not claim to have "difficulty understanding". There were and are words he would have to look up, but that is not the same as difficulty understanding.

If you really would like to have difficulty understanding, just remove the "eth" suffix. Then read 1 John and you will find out that anyone who sins does not have eternal life. Except that is not what it says; what it says is much more understandable and the more precise 17th century English.

The English which you desire, the modern vernacular, is so much less precise than the English of the original translation. Our language has degraded so much since that translation, and even at that time it was not nearly as precise as the Greek into Hebrew. The King James translators, with their much more precise language, still had trouble relating some of the concepts. Now you want to use a more sloppy language, and you say that sloppy language will more accurately portray the original text.

You are arguing for a less understandable translation, to benefit the less educated. Your position does not make sense.

KJB1611 said...

Dear Farmer Brown,

Are you arguing that "eth" signifies continual action in the KJV? What is your basis for this, if you are? If not, what is your point with the "eth," and can you provide solid reasons for it? Thanks.

James Bronsveld said...

Mark Ward wrote, "But I want to understand even the small, minor statements of God."

That is a wonderfully incredible and contradictory statement to hear from a CT advocate, whose base position is that 1) the text is unsettled when it comes to words, 2) we're not sure if the text will ever really be settled because we don't have the originals, and 3) God never promised word-perfect preservation, only concept preservation, so the words don't actually matter all that much.

Unless, of course, in keeping with consistent CT Bibliology, you are simply expressing a desire you actually firmly believe you have no hope of realizing. That, however, would put us all back at the point of scratching our heads and wondering why you're so opposed to the KJV for the presence of a few archaic words, versus words, phrases, and whole passages of Scripture that your CT translations repeatedly question with statements such as "these are not in the best manuscripts," or are doubtful readings.

Terry Basham, II said...

wow, 34 comments already.

you go kent.

Anonymous said...


I am curious why you asked about Thai as a particular foreign language to recommend.

I have lived in Thailand for 1 1/2 years and seen the debate raging over Bible versions. There are numerous CT versions that each claim to be easily read, but always leave doubt they are the Word of God (much like in America). There is only one TR version I am aware of, and it is constantly attacked for being translated into the royal speech rather than the common language.

The debate that is being held over the Thai Bible is the same as being held over the English. Is the Word of God worthy of believers learning a higher level of their own language? Has God preserved His Word? Which text is the right text?

On these three questions, I have found that people always say "yes, yes, TR" or "no, no, CT." That is my experience in both English and Thai.

Kent Brandenburg said...


I saw your comment over at SharperIron and I'll probably be answering it. I know you have many other irons on your fire, and I'll be back to pick all of this one, but you ignore, it seems, some or a lot of what I write in addition to "readability" or literacy. Language devolution is an argument. The establishment of a standard. Having a settled text. Churches being responsible, since it is in their hands. And then what the people think of what they are using in the "KJV churches." They like it. They testify that and somehow it is sinister. And I'm keeping that all on the translation front, not even getting to the biblical and historical teaching on preservation that you have said you don't care about. People have made that point, your saying that you want a readable translation because of all the bus kids and to know every minute detail, yet you opt for non-detailed translation (no plural "you," no record of a present tense in the verbs, etc.) and a text that leaves out 7% of the text behind the KJV. 7%!!! You can't have it both ways.

(Your comment is followed by an ignoramus comment by the shallow and superficial Joe "Leaky" Roof, who you can always count on for a inflammatory comment again and again, really contributing nothing intellectual or spiritual. Nothing. Zero. Almost always from Mr. Bean (Ron Bean) too. Just mean spirited, mean statements always from both. Contributes less than nothing to a discussion. Should be ashamed of themselves. No one ever calls them on it, so I am here.)

James Bronsveld said...

We tend to forget that only CT advocates are allowed to make bald assertions and ask questions without having to account for their statements or to give answers to questions posed to them.(Mark, where did you go? Didn't you want to answer any of the questions?)

It's kind of funny that two things Mark cited as being unintelligible ("dropsy" and "come after me") are both duplicated in the ESV ("Hades" is actually added. Maybe Mark will justify that because of the video game in which it appears. It's back in the vernacular). But, then again, we're not allowed to ask questions. After all, I'm sure he knows that the singular-number designation of "thee" and "thou" were not common usage at the time of the translation of the KJV. Smokescreen, though, right? Kind of like, "eunuch" isn't in common usage today either, yet appears in the modern translations that Ward endorses on his blog at Logos. Funny thing, too, about that eunuch. He was reading from the Scriptures and needed someone to explain them to him, which renders Mark's anecdote about "30 years of teaching Bible verses to people" of questionable value to the point he claimed to be making.

I also found out some interesting things about the words that Mark and his ploughboy struggle with. When I plugged a number of them into a national court case-law database, they are still in contemporary usage, especially in contexts where precise language and interpretation is still required.

The comments, though, are typical. Consider Bert Perry, who wonders if the real reason that pastors stick with the KJV is for the sinister motive of exercising a "huge amount of power as 'the expert' in its Jacobean language." Yes, that must be it. We also forbid church members to own dictionaries and have banned the sale of Logos Bible Software because it has concordances and lexicons. This is what they have to offer for arguments?

Kent Brandenburg said...

Hello Everyone,

This idea that (mocking tone) "only true Baptist churches" can do the translation would be better said, the churches who take the same position on preservation of scripture and then use the King James Version. Preservation and canonicity both depend on agreement that could be called the "unity of the Spirit," so looking for churches (the pillar and ground with God's authority) to decide on that. People who don't care shouldn't care. They've got the NKJV (slightly modified text) or the 21st century edition or Jay Green or all of those choices. So again, this is just a trap. If you want your bus kids to use a modernized edition of the KJV, you could have already been doing that.

Jon Gleason said...

1. Re: "plough," it is the common British spelling. All hail British vernacular!

2. Re: a new translation, I love the KJV. I don't want a new translation. I don't see a need to improve on the translator's work -- they really did know what they were doing. I want exalted language, I value the grammatical precision of "thou, thee, thy", I'm happy with awkward wording when it better conveys the meaning. A translation need not necessarily be easy to read.

But language drift is real, and I WOULD like a revision where word meanings have changed substantively. Words like "let" in II Thessalonians, or "quit you like men" -- that meaning of "quit" is never used anymore. In a few clear cases word meanings aren't what they used to be. The KJV was revised in 1769 and could be again without violence to the translation.

3. Re: vernacular & "plough boys." For a while I taught a Bible study in a different city, people who left a cultic church. They had many different translations. Sometimes, we'd get a verse from the Jerusalem Bible, the next the KJV, the next the Living Bible, then NKJV, Phillips, etc. Translation confusion on steroids, but there were bigger issues to address.

Some from our church went along. One had a poor education, like those "plough boys" people discuss. "I can't follow, all those translations. It's nice back in our Bible Study where I can follow what people read because we all use the same translation." If a "plough boy" has KJV trouble, just ask him to follow in his translation while people read out of multiple other translations, and see how he does.

Some say if I stick with a "non-vernacular" (as defined by them) translation, that it really is simply about the KVJ, that I'm stuck on the KJV and text discussions are simply posturing, and that I don't care about the "plough boys".

My response? A church that cares about the "plough boys" chooses a translation and insists that it alone is used in preaching and teaching. If you won't stand for translational unity, if you advocate translational diversity/anarchy in the church, your concern for the "plough boys" looks to me like simply posturing.

If that is you, the most charitable assumption I can find is ignorance, you've never actually ministered enough to "plough boys" to know what is really, really hard for them. Maybe you really do care, but it hasn't put you in the front lines of working with them, or at least not in a context where your translational diversity idea was in action.

For the poorly educated, it is impossible to follow when someone reads a different text from what's in their hand. That's much worse than a difficult translation. Clean up your uncharitable "translational diversity" before lecturing me on not caring about the "plough boys" -- your translational approach is far worse for them than mine is.

Anonymous said...

Jon Gleason,

I agree with what you wrote. Well said. Thanks.

E. T. Chapman

Mark Ward said...

Brothers, if you hear a mocking tone in my comments on this post, I beg you to read them again and put them in their best light possible. When I say, “I would be genuinely grateful if someone could produce reliable evidence from primary documents that support your claim,” I genuinely mean it. I’m actually persuadable on the point at issue (whether or not the KJV was purposefully made archaic)—more than persuadable. I actually lean toward believing it. I just read back over my own comments on this page, and before the Lord I am earnest and sincere, not mocking.

To be frank, this is the most intelligent conversation about the KJV I’ve been able to have with my “opponents” on the issue in a long time. I’m actually learning things—and you’re catching me in a few errors, for which I thank you, because it means they won’t appear in my book.

So, James Bronsveld, touché—the ESV includes “dropsy” and “come after me.” And though I love the ESV, I think they were wrong to do the former, and probably wrong to do the latter. The ESV is actually quite conservative when it comes to the English translation tradition in which the KJV is the major monument. They don’t change it when they don’t have to. I think “dropsy” is wrong because I’ve never heard anyone use that word in real life. Of course, I haven’t heard all the English speaking there is, so I checked Google Ngram viewer and compared “dropsy” with its replacement, “edema.” There’s a clear trend: edema took over ( I also checked the Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA), and “edema” clearly beats out “dropsy” as a contemporary word. When I look at instances of “dropsy,” many of them are in contexts that are supposed to evoke an old-time feel.

When it comes to vocabulary, the “vernacular” is not difficult to define at all. In fact, it’s never been easier in the history of the world. Not only do we have dictionaries that tell us when a word is “Obs.” or “Arch.,” we have Google Ngram viewer and COCA to confirm (or not) the dictionaries’ judgments—and those of our own ears.

There should be no debate as to whether the KJV is written in any currently existing vernacular: *it largely is,* but with many, many individual and unnecessary exceptions like “dropsy.” Any native English speaker anywhere knows intuitively that the KJV is not written in the vernacular—in other words, the respectful language of English-speaking education, jurisprudence, scholarship, journalism, etc.

For me to say that "I personally have difficulty understanding the early 17th century English" is only to say that I grew up like everyone else here, surrounded by English as it is, not English as it long ago was. I grew up on the KJV, so I did acquire some facility with it. But no one in this comment thread has written a single sentence in KJV diction or vocabulary. Why? Because you want to be understood.

Oh, and on the word “eunuch”—you’ve got to distinguish between archaic English words and ancient customs. We no longer have eunuchs in English-speaking cultures, so naturally we don’t have a word for them and must use the older one. I do *not* advocate a Cotton-Patch version in which we update camels, sheep, donkeys, “mandrakes,” to things American suburbanites today are familiar with. Interestingly, all the major translations I use regularly use the word “mandrakes”—even the NIV and NLT. They recognize a distinction between ancient customs and archaic English words.

Mark Ward said...

Jon Gleason, you want “exalted language.” I totally get that. I want it, too—though I know that’s probably hard to believe. I like feeling elite. I like feeling the history in those old words. I genuinely love the KJV, and I identify at a deep level with the elegance and refinement and exaltation in it. But I am giving up my liberties for the sake of two things I value more than exalted language (which, btw, I can still have any time I want in my private reading): 1) I value understanding the Bible, and I frequently miss what’s going on in the KJV—through no fault of the KJV translators but because of subtle changes in English over 400+ years; also 2) I value teaching the word of God to people who struggle harder than I do, especially “the least of these.” I led the bus ministry at my church for 5.5 years, and I worked in it for four more before that. I lived in the same neighborhood as those kids. Some of them—I’m thinking particularly of three of them—were exceptionally smart, brilliant. Two of them I know were readers (the other I don’t know). They were not lazy, even though they were surrounded by terrible sin and had messed up families. They could not understand the KJV very well, and I want them to understand the Bible.

Another story: every single kid at the Wilds Christian Camp in 1999 learned the memory verse, “Cease from anger, forsake wrath; fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.” I asked around, and no one I talked to, including counselors, could explain that second phrase.

Another story, or rather a set of them summarized: far from finding that multiple translations bring confusion, I have found that they bring clarity. Over and over and over and over again since I got a Comparative Study Bible in 1999, I have read a verse in one translation (doesn’t matter which one) and said, “Boy, I’m not sure I’m getting this. What does this mean?” And I have looked over at other translations and realized, “Oh! I see now!” (Here is one of my favorite examples.) Yes, it’s true, I scratch my head far more often over the KJV than over other translations, but I believe there have been times when the KJV came to my rescue as well. I’m not opposed to learning from any good source! (And note: in none of those places where checking multiple translations helped me were the underlying Greek and Hebrew texts different.) I am not confused by the existence of many translations; I am helped—because I know the difference between the inspired Greek and Hebrew texts and man-made translations of them.

I just want to understand the Bible, and I want other people to have the same chance. I know that the polarizing that has occurred between my “camp” and yours over Bible translations makes both sides read each other (if they even bother) through jaded lenses. I won’t persuade you, and you won’t persuade me. We all know that. But if there’s any common ground upon which we can build any kind of the unity Christ called for in John 17, surely it’s this: we all want to understand (and love, and obey, etc.) God’s Word.

Mark Ward said...

Kent, I have never said I don’t care about preservation or textual criticism. I don’t know why I would say that, because it simply isn’t true. I do care, deeply. I simply want a readable English Bible of whatever you think the best text is, and I want those bus kids you evangelize—and their parents, and the lawyers and doctors and professors—to have a readable English Bible, too.

Several commenters have raised the issue of the greater accuracy of the KJV pronouns (“thee,” “thy,” “ye,” “you”). I grant it. It’s helpful. But there will always be minor trade-offs when you go from one vernacular (such as Koine Greek) to another (such as Standard American English). And stop and think about this for a moment: how often does your inability to distinguish singular “you” from plural “you” trip you (singular) up in daily conversation? Almost never. Context almost always distinguishes the two sufficiently—or we’d be having neverending trouble in spoken English.

The same is true in Scripture. Context tells you what’s going on, and if you really need to check you can do so with freely available online Bible software. You’ll need to do it in places even if you read only the KJV.

(Note, you understood every instance of “you” in the previous paragraph, accurately, as a singular even though technically they could have been plural. Context is sufficient.)

You have chosen one respect in which Elizabethan English is closer to Greek and Hebrew than is contemporary English. But there are multiple ways in which the Elizabethan form of English diverges so far from contemporary speech and writing that I have to question whether this undeniable gain is worthwhile. I would argue that the absence of quotation marks, for example, makes accurate reading difficult more often than the distinction between “thee” and “ye” makes accurate reading easier.

I’m not sure how often the interpretation of a passage truly hinges on whether “you” is singular or plural, but this is easily marked with a footnote in all those places.

Anonymous said...

Greetings, Mark Ward, Jr.,

I appreciate the tone in which you write. Thank you.

Could you please clarify something(s). Do you want another translation from the TR for you to use? Or do you want those of us who love the TR and the KJV and are happy using them to use another translation?

Is the NKJV deficient for what you want?

When I read your posts, I get the impression you want to convince us of something, but then I read that this from you: "I won’t persuade you, and you won’t persuade me. We all know that."

What is the purpose (what are the purposes) of this discussion?

E. T. Chapman

Mark Ward said...

E. T., that is a great question, and a fair one.

1. I want another translation of the TR for me to use for situations in which I would like to minister together with brothers who prefer the TR. For example, I once preached an evangelistic message to a teen rally in a KJV-Only church and I carefully "translated" an existing sermon into using the KJV instead of the ESV out of respect for the pastor (this was about ten years ago). When the time came to preach, in all honesty I accidentally preached from the ESV version of the sermon and didn't even notice (all the Scripture verses were typed out in the notes). Understandably, I was asked never to come back to a church I had ministered at several times. If he didn't object to the NKJV—or if he accepted some other contemporary translation of the TR, I'd like to think my desire to preach from a translation 15-year-old fatherless boys could understand and his desire to have them hear from the TR could both be accommodated. Having such a version might not have saved me from accidentally preaching from the wrong file, but it would (should) have made it possible for both of us to be happy.

2. It's true, however, that my main motivation in this discussion is that those who love the TR and the KJV would, first, align themselves with the important theological principle of vernacular translation, and, second, consider the least of these. If you'll do that, I think you'll come to see as I have how much you yourselves are missing by insisting on exclusive use of the KJV. Kent told me privately that he's not opposed to checking other translations for help when there's no textual issue at stake; that's laudable. But my strong impression from years of experience is that the less educated people you all influence are opposed. I'm confident they're missing out on understanding God's word here, there, and all over the place for this reason—because I myself was missing out.

When I say "I won't persuade you," I suppose I mean "I won't persuade you to come all the way to my critical text, major modern English translation position." Thank you for asking for clarity. I really don't care if I fail to get you all to accept the critical text, because I think the TR is fine. I'd like to think, however, that I could get some TR-only guys to recognize that the KJV is—to use a word my old pastor, Mark Minnick, once used—an *impediment* to the kind of Bible teaching ministry we all say (I presume) we want to have.

James Bronsveld said...


I stand by my earlier statement that your anecdotes about bus kids are essentially meaningless to the discussion, and not your real argument. I don't mean that to belittle you, but I say that because the very blindness you seem to have so confidently identified in the KJV camp is covering your own eyes in a different way.

It would seem, for example, that the MEV (referenced in the SI thread) was deemed necessary to make the Bible relevant to a generation in which 40% of regularly-attending churchgoers read their Bibles only once a month. Maybe they should revise the KJV, or at least introduce a second translation to the English language, right? Except, there are hundreds of existing translations, and only 40% of regular churchgoers (never mind bus kids) are regularly reading it. Perhaps you could focus your efforts on making the MVO camp come up with a translation that really gets it together and produces a translation which changes those stats. My point is, the issue is not the readability of the KJV, your anecdotes notwithstanding.
Ed Stetzer's assessment is even more bleak, and he doesn't use that statistic to make the case for another translation to make the Bible relevant. In fact, his top three predictors of Bible engagement seem to silence much of your argument here, and I can't say I disagree with him. Those three predictors will go far in enabling one to study and understand the Scriptures, yes, even the KJV. I'm also more than happy to match an opposing anecdote for every one you've shared (in addition to the above statistics).

Let's be honest, though. For you to be perfectly honest with us, you ought to admit your real purpose for coming here was to unmask all TR-only people as being nothing more than anti-anything-that's-not-KJV. Right? Isn't that part of the vow of yours that you placed on par with the only two other vows you've ever made: your wedding vows to your wife and your vow to never elect a pro-choice candidate?

Why is it that when people don't like or don't understand the Bible, the Bible always gets the blame? (And I say that, notwithstanding your assumed minor premise that "language" and style of language are essentially equivalent, as they must be for your syllogism to be as airtight as your profess it to be)

KJB1611 said...

Dear Dr. Ward,

Good day! I would like to point out that one reason that nobody has spoken in KJV English in this thread--the most important reason by far--is the same reason that nobody spoke in KJV English in 1611 or 1789. That is, the KJV is translation English. If by "vernacular" speech you mean something that is not translation English, you need to jettison formal equivalence for dynamic alleged equivalence. The KJV begins many verses with "and," "and," "and" because the Hebrew has waw-consecutive after waw-consecutive in the OT. It has long sentences in places like Ephesians 1 because the Greek has long sentences, with English participles corresponding to Greek participles, etc. If by "vernaclular" you mean something that no longer does this, by all means let's avoid the vernacular. Nobody ever spoke LXX Greek either, at least in the portions where the LXX is a good translation.

Also, even in a text as common as John 3, the thou/you distinction is very important--cf. John 3:7. In OT texs such as Genesis 18-19 when Abraham and Lot are speaking to the plurality of angels versus when they address the Messenger of Jehovah, the preincarnate Christ, the thee/ye is very important--noticing this in English helped me prove the Deity of Christ to a Jewish rabbi who wanted me to do it in the Pentateuch, for example. Perhaps you are not aware of texts like this because you read modern versions that lose this wonderful feature of the KJV (just as the italicized words are a wonderful feature, and no quote marks, like the original language texts, is better than interpretive quote marks inserted by the translator--e. g., where in John 3 would you insert the quote marks to go from Christ speaking to the Apostle John?

Finally, if you are writing a book on this subject, I hope you will very carefully and thorougly deal with the exegetical evidence on preservation. We are KJVO because Scripture teaches verbal, plenary preservation, and a few verses with more difficult manuscript evidence are not going to get us to change even as a few places where the current state of archaeology is more difficult will not get us to abandon verbal, plenary inspiration. We believe both doctrines because of the self-testimony of God, and if you really care about God's Word as you affirm, then you owe it to yourself and to your readers to deal honestly with the exegetical evidence and its good and necessary consequences on preservation just as you would do on inspiration. I hope you will (if you have not already) read Thou Shalt Keep Them: A Biblical Theology of the Perfect Preservation of Scripture, the relevent articles in the Burning Bush theological journal, the relevent material at, and so on. I hope you won't employ the horrible gender discord argument against Psalm 12:6-7--see, e. g.,:


KJB1611 said...

One more thing--I don't get how you are fine with both the CT and the TR, although their cumulative differences are the same number of changes as 7% of the words of the Greek text, yet you are very concerned with a few archaic English words. Shouldn't you be at least as concerned about missing (on our view) Greek words or added (on your view) words? Isn't the (alleged) fact that someone added resurrection appearances to the end of the Gospel of Mark, changing the entire quality of that gospel's "good news" in a major way, something that should really, really bother you? Textual variants between the TR and CT change the purpose statements of entire books, and thus how one needs to preach therough them expositionally (John 20:31; 1 John 5:13)--whether Ephesians says "to Ephesus" in 1:1 likewise changes how one preaches the entire book etc.--shouldn't all this concern you in the way you express great concern over a few archaic words in the KJV?


Kent Brandenburg said...


I'm not going to add anything, because you've got a lot to deal with already, and a lot that will be very, very difficult for you to refute. For what was said in answer to you, I don't want to add. It's got to be first in line for anyone.

Paul served God in the gospel (Rom 1:9) and "served" is latreuo, which means it was an offering, like a priestly service. The concern in his service was what God wanted. What does God want? This focus on what does man want will always pervert whatever it is.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Mark, for your candid response. It was very enlightening.

I don't think you answered this question:

"Is the NKJV deficient for what you want?"

Now I'd like to share a little bit to help clarify some apparent misconceptions. I think you assume the KJV only or pro-KJV positions are far more uniform than they are.

I am TR only. There are some KJV only people (e.g., Kent Brandenburg) whose positions I like and whose KJV only position is derivative – based on the TR. I am in almost total agreement with them in that regard. I do not use the KJV in foreign language settings, nor do I think that translating from the KJV into foreign languages is best (although I admit that such a translation can be a big help in getting the Word of God into another language when there is no feasable way to get the Hebrew/Aramaic and Greek translated – i.e., it's far better than nothing to have the KJV translated into another language than to have nothing).

I regularly use other translations in my study. You seemed almost surprised when you said this: "Kent told me privately that he's not opposed to checking other translations for help when there's no textual issue at stake; that's laudable." I use many, many other translations all the time. You'll find that Kent Brandenburg and Thomas Ross have often said on this blog that there is more than one way to translate a text and that that is not bad (not their words, of course, but that's the idea). I agree with that wholeheartedly. I think it is almost impossible for mere mortals to translate a paragraph of the word of God from the original Greek into any target language without interpretation, addition of ideas or subtraction of ideas. (This is one place the KJV excels. It often successfully preserves the ambiguity of the original. That can’t always be done (and it’s not always done in the KJV), nor can it usually be done in other languages in the same places the KJV did it.) Since there is no one-to-one correspondence when translating sentences and paragraphs (some words can be translated one-to-one or word-for-word), the target language text is going to be somewhat different from the source. Thus other translations that may have picked up on something that another did not communicate can be very helpful. I use TR-based translations and run them through Google translate when I'm trying to see how other TR translations handled something. E.g., I use the Trinitarian Bible Society's Catalan translation, I use the Russian Synodal translation, the Dutch 1637 translation that way, sometimes I’ve run other languages through GT. I find Google translate to be horrendous sometimes (checking it in the languages I know), but often I can figure out what translation decision was made in those versions.

Anonymous said...

Continued comment to Mark Ward, Jr.

One of the first things I do when I'm translating from the TR into the language I minister in is to compare the much-maligned but glorious Scrivener's text with the much-maligned and inglorious Westcott-Hort text. I want to know up front where the textual issues are so I'm not deceived into following a CT rendering. Since the WH text is a grandfather of the multitudinous CTs, that comparison usually gives me a heads up. I often look at modern English versions, too, when I'm studying. Often I just shake my head at the disbelief that God preserved His words oozing from the notes (say the notes to the NET Bible), but often times I can learn something else along the way about the grammar or other usages of a similar phrase. But I feel as if I'm walking in a minefield with those translations since the very basis of them contradicts what I believe the Bible says about itself. So if you're surprised that we TR only people use other versions, don't be. In some cases it's our extended use of them in the light of what the Scriptures themselves teach about preservation that has led us to never trust them again (I used the NASB as my devotional Bible for about 10 years). As did Thomas Ross, I urge you to read Thou Shalt Keep Them. Even going into it with your bias, you will be enlightened. Not having read that book before you write some book on this topic will have been a huge disadvantage.

Just my thoughts, friend. I again am grateful for your candid reply which indeed revealed the depth of the chasm between your position and mine.

E. T. Chapman

Anonymous said...

To Thomas Ross,

You said this to Mark Ward, Jr.: "One more thing--I don't get how you are fine with both the CT and the TR, although their cumulative differences are the same number of changes as 7% of the words of the Greek text, yet you are very concerned with a few archaic English words. Shouldn't you be at least as concerned about missing (on our view) Greek words or added (on your view) words? Isn't the (alleged) fact that someone added resurrection appearances to the end of the Gospel of Mark, changing the entire quality of that gospel's "good news" in a major way, something that should really, really bother you? Textual variants between the TR and CT change the purpose statements of entire books, and thus how one needs to preach therough [sic: through] them expositionally (John 20:31; 1 John 5:13)--whether Ephesians says "to Ephesus" in 1:1 likewise changes how one preaches the entire book etc.--shouldn't all this concern you in the way you express great concern over a few archaic words in the KJV?"

Well said, brother. I am quite sure you’re not being heard, though, at least not by Mark Ward, Jr. An expressed love for the KJV, when one believes that approximately 7% of the TR's NT text is fallacious (if one believes some version of the CT to be the actual words of God), does ring hollow. (I am inferring that Mark Ward, Jr. believes the words of whatever CT he uses since he said this: “my critical text, major modern English translation position”.) All the more, when worries about the occasional archaic but legitimately translated words in the KJV motivate an extended discussion intended to convince those who believe the TR is complete and unadulterated to re-translate the text they believe wholeheartedly, something is very much amiss. (Contrary to many of my pro-KJV brethren, I agree with Jon Gleason that an update of the KJV similar to that done in 1769 would be perfectly appropriate. That is far different from a re-translation of the TR, which, although I agree is theoretically possible, I consider far more risky and, in fact, undesirable.)

The textual variants and their implications are huge. When I was a pro-CT person, I only preached from the KJV (all the churches I was in only used the KJV then). But I always checked the NASB to see if the passage was "really" there. Ughhh! I knew without any deep thought that either something was added to the TR or something was taken from the CT (generally speaking; there are instances of the inverse). But I deferred to the textual critics. Ughhh #2! Once I fully accepted the words of the Bible about its words, I accepted as an axiom (self-evident truth) that a constantly fluid, changing text cannot be only and all the words God has given. So, when I relied on the UBS3 version of the NT, were all the words of God there and only God's words? I don't even think a pro-CT person could affirm that, because now he has UBS4, but, no, he can't rely on that having all of God's NT words and only God's words in the UBS4 CT either, since, whew! the scholars have “improved” on that, too, and now they are offering UBS5! But surely they shall change it, too. How can a believer believe that stuff? I did, too, for a time. No longer – praise the Lord! I believe we have His words – all of them and only them in the TR – and can know now what they are today, now without the help of textual critics who treat the word of God as if it were Beowulf or The Canterbury Tales (i.e., they try to apply the same “laws” of textual criticism to the Bible that they do to mere human writings). How can a pro-CT preacher know that a passage he exegetes one way today won't end up being superseded by the next text (UBS6?) of the critical text? Why in the world preach it if it's going to keep changing?

Well, I kind of rambled here, Brother Ross, but I do appreciate your comments.

E. T. Chapman

Jon Gleason said...

Dr. Ward, my comments weren't directed specifically to you (I don't know you at all), but thank you for responding. I'll respond in pieces.

I would like to clarify that my appreciation for "exalted language" in a Bible translation has nothing to do with liking "feeling elite" (or any of the other things you said about it). If I wanted to feel elite, I could have followed the encouragement of Michael Barrett and Sam Schnaiter and pursued a doctorate. I'd probably be in a reasonably well paid position somewhere in America today, rather than being an obscure bi-vocational pastor serving in a deprived neighbourhood in Scotland.

My valuing of exalted language is based on the same principle that drives many of the musical choices I make. I believe that not only the content but the style of our communication is better if it conveys reverence for an exalted and holy God. We should not be casual, sloppy, common, or trite in our expressions of our faith. The Bible is not just another book, and I do not think it honours the Book or its Author if we look for a translation that strives for the lowest common denominator in its language. A translation which is unreadable / not understandable defeats the whole purpose, obviously, but I'm not opposed to some difficulty to accomplish a reverential tone.

My purpose in wanting a Bible translation which uses exalted language is thus based on a sound teaching principle as surely as your desire for a translation that is accessible to modern readers. Whether or not we think the balance between the two is or is not out of kilter in regard to a particular translation in use today, the principle is sound, and should not be lightly dismissed.

It's the same reason that I did not include in our hymnbook a chorus that closes "and now I am happy all the day" to those awe-inspiring words, "Alas, and did my Saviour bleed, and did my Sovereign die?" If I'm going to sing those words (and we do), I'm not going to then undermine their impact with a trite expression at the end of a chorus. We do have unending joy, but just after singing "Amazing pity, grace unknown, and love beyond degree" is NOT the time to turn the focus to temporal all-day happiness. If you like that hymn with that chorus, then maybe you won't understand why I want a Bible translation with exalted language, but if you understand why I dislike it, it might help you understand my view on translations, too.

I'll respond to some of your other statements, Lord willing, in another comment.

Jon Gleason said...

Dr. Ward, response #2.

Did Jesus promise to prepare a place in Heaven for Peter, or for all His disciples? The immediately prior context of John 14:1 would believe us to think that it is Peter's whose heart would have been troubled, and that he is the one our Lord was addressing.

Of course, the Greek tells us that Jesus was addressing multiple people when He said, "Let not your heart be troubled" -- and, when He said, "I go to prepare a place for you." The KJV tells us that as well, for it does not say, "Let not thine heart be troubled," and "I go to prepare a place for thee."

This is not the only place where context alone is not a reliable guide to the number of a pronoun. Memory fails me as to the exact text, but I answered a question of someone in our church sometime in the last couple of years where they were seriously confused and a reminder of the number in the KJV pronouns removed all doubt.

To me, this is a no-brainer. Anyone who is interested at all in understanding the Bible can learn and understand within five minutes the significance of thee, thou, thy, and thine, and anyone who lacks language knowledge but wants to seriously study what the text really says can appreciate the clarity they bring. Yes, it's non-standard in modern English. But those with minimal education will not be hindered by this, as they will be by "let". This is not the kind of thing we should be looking to revise away, this is the kind of thing we should be glad we have.

Jon Gleason said...

Dr Ward, response #3.

I don't think anyone in this thread thinks a spiritual gift (the miraculous interpretation of languages) disappeared for 1500 years and then made a brief reappearance in 1611. If it had, one wonders why the translators took so long -- that was one slow-developing miracle! I call the 1611 re-inspiration idea "tongues translationism" but my label hasn't caught on. Maybe I could get someone well-known like you to push it. If it becomes famous, I'll feel elite, maybe. :)

You emphasised the value you find in looking at multiple translations. Of course! No one today is a native speaker of the ancient languages in which Scripture is given -- so language helps benefit all of us. Translations, lexicons, many commentaries -- these are the work of smarter people than me, I might as well learn from them.

But that is not to what I was referring, but to using multiple translations in public ministry. The poorly educated cannot follow someone reading the NASB if they have the ESV in front of them, or vice versa. They cannot follow someone reading the NIV if they have a KJV or NKJV in front of them.

They pause to decipher a word and get left behind before they get enough meaning to realise the reader is reading different words with similar meaning. They can't even listen because they are busy with what is in front of them -- or else they stop reading and just listen, which is contrary to the principle that we trust and follow a Book, not a speaker. By contrast, if reading from the same text, any word they don't instantly recognise is deciphered for them and they are helped rather than hindered by the public reader. Which do we want in our church services?

That is a much bigger issue than a translation which is admittedly difficult in some texts. It is simply uncharitable to those with a poor education to have a "multiple translations allowed" policy in the ministry of the local church.

Those who cry "think of the uneducated" vs. the KJV ring hollow if they aren't at least as militant against translational chaos in the local church. Anyone can use whatever study aids, lexicons, translations, whatever. But corporate worship and public teaching needs a standard, both in the interests of the principles underlying I Cor. 14:33 & 40 and in the interests of simple charity to those who don't read well.

So, for me to believe someone is serious about caring for the bus kids, I want to see them talking about the problems brought by translational disunity within the local church. Otherwise, it leaves me cold.

The adoption of a single translation is sometimes based on Biblical principles rather than ignorance, blind tradition, being stuck in the past, novel and errant "tongues translation" Bibliology, or a desire to dominate the congregation. Those "bus kids" are an important reason (one of several) for a single-translation policy. I was not unmindful of them when I chose the Authorised Version for our single translation, though fully aware of its difficulties for them. That difficulty was one of many factors. On balance, I remain persuaded it is the right decision despite the difficulties.

Perhaps someday I will write on my own blog on the theological / Biblical principles that should drive the translation decisions. Too few people start with theology for such an important question. It's on my to do list but my blog has been inactive for some time -- my to do list has become a monster.

Ok, I'm finally done. Thank you for the generally thoughtful interaction.

Mark Ward said...

Okay, here we go! =)

James Bronsveld, correlation doesn’t equal causation. Stetzer’s article says doesn’t draw any link between Bible translations and biblical illiteracy. It does seem to me that if people read Bible translations that use words they understand, that will help their biblical literacy. But I actually don’t care to deny that I (think I) achieved reasonable biblical literacy reading pretty much only the KJV till age 18ish. “Biblical literacy” means familiarity with the stories of the OT, the argument of Paul in various epistles, the structure of the parables in the NT, the themes of the psalms, etc. I think readers of any English translation that I’ve ever seen, including the KJV and the Geneva Bible, can achieve biblical literacy.

My claim is on a much lower, more granular level than “biblical literacy.” I claim that “dishonesty” in 2 Cor 4:2 and “halt” in 1 Kings 18:21 don’t mean what every modern English reader assumes they mean, and that if they’d read modern translations they wouldn’t miss what the authors meant. If they read only the KJV, they’ll still get Paul’s overall point in 2 Cor 4, they’ll still know the story of Elijah on Mt. Carmel. But I want them to have those details *and* the big picture.

You don’t need to ask me to be perfectly honest; I have been. I’m not here to “unmask” anyone; I’m here to persuade—maybe not you, but maybe people who are watching. I’ve picked up one additional motivation: you all really are gifted guys, and I’m getting the closest scrutiny of my work on the KJV that I’ve been able to get. This is valuable to me as I look to go into print with my arguments.

But your last paragraph contains exactly the kind of equivocation (not purposeful; I’m not calling you deceitful—smokescreen, remember?) that motivates me to keep at this. You wrote, “Why is it that when people don't like or don't understand the Bible, the Bible always gets the blame?” Here’s the equivocation: the KJV is a *translation* of the Bible. As long as you equate the KJV with “the Bible”—and exclude other good translations, even of the TR—you’re doing precisely what I’ve come to persuade you to stop doing. For the sake me, your brother, who has trouble understanding older forms of English; and for the sake of the least of these.

I wondered if you caught me in an accidental equivocation on that syllogism. But looking back, I don’t think That syllogism was…

1. We should read Scripture in our own language.
2. The KJV is not in our language.
3. Therefore we should update the KJV (in some way) to be in our language.

I need to be clearer, however, and you helped me see that. By “language” I mean what linguists, including Christian ones, mean: “the speech and writing of a group of people who agree to understand one another.” The Scriptures should be translated into the English we are all using now. Given that definition of “language,” I believe my syllogism is still airtight.

Mark Ward said...


This is a good point, that all English translations which use formal equivalence end up with “translation English.” You wish to retain all the waw consecutives in the OT and long sentences in the (Pauline, especially) NT. I know you could go on with examples, as could I, so I won’t pick on those. I’ll say in general only that you’re offering a false choice. We don’t have to have just one translation. We can have a continuum from more literal to more idiomatic. Each spot on that continuum produces a translation that is useful for certain circumstances. I’m happy to have super literal translations on one side (like the YLT, or like Faithlife’s own Lexham English Bible, which I am revising slightly for punctuation right now), more dynamic translations in the middle, and outright paraphrases on the other side. They’re all useful for me as I seek to understand God’s word. They have proven to be so for me for coming up on 20 years. Interestingly, I just read a detailed analysis of the KJV’s rendering of a passage in Genesis by David Norton, and he notes that the KJV doesn’t render all the waw consecutive. It leaves a few untranslated. The KJV translators themselves did not choose the extreme literal end of the continuum, but chose a spot basically where the ESV chose to be: you render things literally most of the time but feel free to go more idiomatic when it suits. “God forbid” is the classic example, but there are many others.

As for “thee” and “thou” in John 3:7 and Gen 18–19—sure. But you’d have to show me a lot more passages than that to outweigh my feeling that the lack of quotation marks alone (let alone other punctuation marks) make it harder for modern readers to understand God’s words more often than “thee” and “thou” make it easier. And, like it or not, God didn’t say “thee.” He said “you.” “Thee” means something different than “you” today; it means grandiloquence and religiosity. God could have chosen grandiloquent Greek for the NT, but He chose the language of the plow boy.

I acknowledge that quotation marks are interpretive—as is translation itself. But the vernacular requires them. You can’t not have them, or you’re not translating into the vernacular. It’s not as if you can say, “Greek didn’t have quotation marks, so we can safely do without them.” By choosing to leave them out, you are communicating meaning. Their presence and their absence is interpretive. Yes, this is something people unfamiliar with the KJV can learn, but my point is that they shouldn’t have to. The Bible should be translated into the vernacular, including vernacular punctuation marks. Right now the KJV’s punctuation marks are not vernacular. Colons and semi-colons do not mean in the KJV what they mean to modern readers.

I don’t agree that italicized words are a wonderful feature of the KJV, but I believe I’m open to persuasion on this point. The only times I’ve ever heard them appealed to, they were used by people who didn’t understand what was going on in the original languages. The major example is Psalm 14:1, “The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God.” Take out the italics, and you get, “The fool hath said in his heart, ‘No, God.’” Clever, right? Sounded good to me before I knew Hebrew. But the Hebrew does not allow for this translation; “no” here means “non-existence of.” Italics don’t help anyone interpret, I don’t think; they give people who don’t know Greek and Hebrew false confidence about what’s really going on in the originals. But I’m sure you have examples of places where they help, and I would genuinely like to hear them.

I will not talk about preservation or textual criticism in this forum. Whatever Greek text you prefer, I urge you to make a translation of it into vernacular English.

Mark Ward said...

E. T. Chapman (I’m a bit confused as to who “Anonymous” is in various places—where did Thomas Ross comment, if at all?—so I hope I’m interpreting you correctly),

More power to you! You are faithful to your textual position while still wishing to get as much benefit as you can from the work of modern translators. No complaints there. This is not the KJV-Onlyism I am familiar with. Where I grew up, though there were many wonderful things about my church, my conscience was definitely bound not even to touch other translations.

Mark Ward said...

Jon Gleason,

I have a PhD from the same place Mike Barrett has his, and I feel far from elite, fwiw. And, again fwiw, having a PhD does not guarantee a well-paid position. Not even close.

And boy am I with you on this: “Not only the content but the style of our communication is better if it conveys reverence for an exalted and holy God.” And I, too, strongly prefer majestic hymns to trite ones. I believe in conservative, traditional worship. So I don’t advocate translating the Bible into street dialects or the latest teenage patter. We serve a holy God.

But you misunderstand me if you think I’m saying (as many KJVOs have apparently thought) that I want translations that “strive for the lowest common denominator in its language.” I can see why you think I’d be saying this, so I’ll clarify: I think Bible translations should aim at the vernacular where the Bible is written in the vernacular and a more literary style where it is written in a more literary style. We’re not doing the Bible any favors when we translate it into a grandiloquent, archaic form of English. God could have chosen grandiloquent archaisms for the NT, but he did not. Even when Bible passages are written in a more literary style (such as in areas of Paul’s epistles like Romans 11:36, or most of the psalms, or much of Hebrews), we shouldn’t use words in senses no one uses anymore unless we absolutely must (because, for example, the referent is no longer known in our culture, such as “mandrakes” or “eunuchs”).

If you can come up with that passage where the number of the KJV pronoun removed all doubt for your congregant, I would be much obliged to you. Could you ask him/her?

(more coming...)

Mark Ward said...

(Part two for Jon Gleason...)

I actually agree that most people can learn “thee,” “thou,” “thy,” and “thine” (and verbs ending in -eth, etc.) pretty quickly. And I’m all for people who want to do that, and I'm glad I did as a young child. I intend to have my own children read from the KJV as part of their biblical training. I simply believe that examples like “let” are more common than most readers of the KJV know. All I can say is that about five years ago, as I began to pick up facility with the OED, I became aware that there were far more individual words in the KJV whose senses had subtly changed than I had previously been aware of. And I became jealous for the low-income people I was preaching to to have those words as well. One of the difficulties of this discussion is that it is excessively tedious to list a representative sample of passages to prove one’s point, no matter what that point is, and that’s really the only way to evaluate an entire translation. We’re all stuck generalizing, and calling up examples only occasionally. (When I listed a bunch of examples of passages I misunderstood for years in the KJV, no one in the comment thread picked up a single one.)

As for the confusion created when poorly educated people follow along in one translation while the preacher reads from multiple, I’m with you. I used the NIrV exclusively for my poorly educated folks, and it worked so well. I could spend my time explaining the Bible rather than explaining the English. The late Rod Decker advised preachers not to disagree with their translations if they could possibly avoid it. I agree with him. I never disagreed with the NIrV. And I didn’t cite other translations. So my call for understandable Bible translations should not ring hollow.

However, have you ever really seen “translational chaos” in a local church? Honestly, tell me some stories. I would genuinely benefit from hearing them. Because with middle-class people who have a mix of high school and college (and a few graduate) educations, I think it’s important for the teachers of the church to model the use of multiple Bible translations. Perhaps Sunday School is the best time for this, not major preaching sessions like Sunday morning and Sunday night. But at regular intervals, the teachers of the church need to remind their hearers that the use of multiple Bible translations is beneficial. I personally am more fearful of [insert-Bible-translation-here]-Onlyism, no matter what the translation is, than I am of “translational chaos”—but I’m only 35 and I haven’t been in the places you’ve been. If someone piped up in Sunday School and said to me, “But my Bible says something different,” I would rejoice! We would have a great discussion (starting with, “let’s remember that translations are not inspired”). I attended church for 18 years at a place where people were carrying multiple translations—usually KJV, NASB (the translation used by the pastor), ESV, and a few NKJV. I sometimes brought an NIV, and once I got Logos and an iPad I had dozens of translations with me. I never remember a single acrimonious moment; this all caused zero chaos that I could see.

I will admit, however, that “translational *disunity*” is different—if the Lord called me to pastor a church where merely encouraging someone to read the NIV would cause massive disunity, I’d probably keep that recommendation to myself. I’d pick my battles. But I’d teach on bibliology and model translation comparison often enough that, I hope, over time, recommending the NIV for various reading and ministry purposes would not cause disunity.

I really care about the bus kids, and I really care about congregational unity! I should be able to find an English translation that meets both criteria. I fear that for the sake of congregational unity in KJV-Only churches, pastors are leaving the bus kids lacking many of the words God spoke to them.

Mark Ward said...

Kent, you need a blog theme with threaded comments! =)

And I invite you, in particular, to interact with two or three of the blog posts I linked to in that long list earlier—the one about the plow boy and I wanting to understand the Bible. I really want someone here to work hard to grasp and then work hard to refute what will be, in my mind at this time, the biggest “contribution” of my forthcoming book, namely (engaging, I hope!) discussion of passages in which through no fault of the KJV translators but simply because of the ineluctable process of language change modern readers who read only the KJV are guaranteed to misunderstand Scripture.

So we’re not talking about “besom” or “chambering,” words we all know we don’t know (and yet how many Christians look them up? Some, not most, in my experience). We’re talking about words we think we know but whose senses have changed in ways very difficult or impossible to perceive unless you check Greek, Hebrew, and modern English translations.

My favorite example is “How long halt ye between two opinions,” because I memorized that passage as a youngster and misunderstood it for 25 or so years after that. After I realized what happened (thanks, OED!), I asked dozens of educated people with long KJV histories to tell me what “halt” means there, and they all failed just like I did.

Other favorite examples are “commendeth” in Rom 5:8 and “lines” in Psalm 16:6. I read these words for years and never realized what I was missing. Oh yes, and “remove not the ancient landmark.” I don’t think I’ve written a post on that one. But it’s another perfect example (and an ironic one, if I may say so). What does “remove” mean there?

My book is not an attack on KJV-Onlyism. It’s broader than that. It also expresses appreciation for the KJV, and for the value of the whole English-speaking church (and whole English-speaking cultures) having a common translation. But I just gave you the central thesis and a few examples. Now have at it, could you? Or someone else?

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to add a link to a thorough review of the ESV by Dr. Joel Grassi. It intersects with some of this thread's points:


James Bronsveld said...


I'm not certain if you read the two linked articles in my comment, and I'm aware that you have responses coming at you from different directions here.

You wrote, "As long as you equate the KJV with “the Bible”—and exclude other good translations, even of the TR—you’re doing precisely what I’ve come to persuade you to stop doing." I assume when you preach, you probably say something like, "Open your Bibles to..." without engaging in a long explanation about how what you really mean is "translation" and not actually “Bible.” Or, when you evangelize someone and say, "The Bible says...", do you go on to tell them, “I just want you to know that what I have here is a translation and not the actual Bible...” Where the Scripture is faithfully rendered in translation, it is Bible. You are saying it is about getting to a more granular level of literacy, and I am saying that the issue you raise is not the real issue.

I put that statement in my comment deliberately, suspecting (but hoping I was wrong) that you would prove my point about entering this with a pre-determined conclusion. Does that make it a "trap statement"? :) I don't think I was wrong. If you didn't read the MEV article and Stetzer article, I invite you to do so. Follow my argument:

1. Lifeway research shows 40% of regular church attendees do not read their Bibles more than once per month.

2. The MEV publisher interpreted that research to push a new, more relevant translation. This reasoning is not dissimilar to yours. The only differences between you and Charisma are that you used your personal anecdotes, instead of Lifeway's research, and your arguments are against the KJV specifically. You and Charisma have essentially reached the same conclusion: the translation is no longer relevant.

3. Ed Stetzer took the same Lifeway research, and concluded that 8 things were necessary to address the illiteracy, the top three which identified the root problem as a spiritual one. He never mentioned the problem being translations. He could have said what was needed was a new translation. He didn't, though. He came up with 8 things needed for Bible engagement, and all of them relate to Spirit-led studying. The problem is fundamentally spiritual. The issues you raise are not nearly as impedimentary as you claim. I think your own statements are somewhat telling to that. You've made several references to words not meaning what people “assume” they mean. Your anecdotes relate to people reading something and not studying it. Frankly, the examples you've put forward (“commendeth” and “remove not,” etc.) puzzle me, because when I've gone back to second-guess what they mean, I find that my understanding from previous study is correct. My question is, why are people “assuming”? Where does studying and teaching and preaching come into the equation? At what point do you say every word in the Bible needs to understood without looking it up?


James Bronsveld said...


4. Notice Stetzer's phrase: “Bible engagement.” This is what you're talking about, when you boil it down. My point was far broader than your pre-determined conclusion (so-called translation equivocation). You say you're speaking about a granular, rudimentary level of literacy here: that it's the problem. I'm saying that it is not the problem, nor even a substantial problem warranting a new translation, but only an excuse for the real problem, which relates to the illiteracy Stetzer was talking about. People blame the Bible when they don't understand something. It's that the Bible has lost its relevance; it's that plain expository preaching doesn't work anymore; it's that the Bible was written for people with longer attention spans; it's that preaching will not do it any more, but a movie with A-List actors in it will, and on and on. They're of the quality of the excuses, like “I can't come to church because it's 25 minutes away,” given by the guy who travels 3-hours to the cottage every weekend. When I see your Bibliology coupled with your statements about replacing the KJV with a new TR translation because there are some “small details and minor words” you don't understand, it rings like an excuse similar to the above.

Part of the problem is that you keep trying to frame the discussion in terms of “a new TR translation,” where I – and most here, I think – would be agreeable to an updating of some language in the current KJV, which is an English translation. I reject your syllogism, because you present it as though the KJV is not an English translation, through your selective use of the word “language.” If by language, you mean “English,” it is in English. I'm going to guess that even the obsolete words or archaic words to which you are opposed, you looked up in an English language dictionary. If by language, you mean terminology common to a class of people, well, then you have to get more selective, which you do, and then draw arbitrary lines. You draw a line at street dialect and changing mandrakes and eunuchs to something more understandable to the average millennial. But hold on! Why shouldn't the Ebonics speaker have the Bible in his slang? He speaks it. He may say “I'm good wi' dat,” instead of “I agree with what you're saying,” or “I'm pickin' up wut yur puttin' down,” instead of “I understand.” Shouldn't that bus kid have it in the easiest-to-understand-without-studying style of English?

I'd commend to your thoughtful study Ken Brooks' treatment on the KJV and language, and some of the books he references by Leland Ryken, to show that your position on linguistics is not shared across the board by those (even in the CT camp) who are linguists. You can read it here:

Finally, I think you still fundamentally misunderstand the positions presented here. I am not going to speak for all those in the TR-camp, but I think a large number of the men would agree with me that despite your stated desire for a TR-translation which was up-to-date (however you define that subjective standard) and would permit you to minister with or for TR/KJV churches, your Bibliology would prevent it. The foundation is not the same. And so we are left at an impasse, not over a translation, but over textual theology. And ironically enough, for you it is about a translation (e.g. get rid of the KJV, since it's an impediment), when for us, it's about a Biblical theology of preservation (e.g. you couldn't preach or teach in many of our churches even if you brought a KJV, because of where you stand on Bibliology).

Jim Camp said...

James Bronsveld,
You stated very eloquently what I was thinking. I agree completely.

Kent Brandenburg said...


I couldn't insert an image in this comment, so I put it below astericks in the post. I'll change the image as you guys tell me what is not there and what is there. I'm summarizing, unless I have something wrong. I'm willing to change it.

Anonymous said...

Mark Ward, Jr.,

I apologize for the confusion. I The person who posts under "KJB1611" is Thomas Ross of, also posts here regularly (Fridays, IIRC), but the only way I know of to tell that he's the author is to see the small "-TDR" at the bottom. The posts say they were posted by Kent Brandenburg.

E. T. Chapman

KJB1611 said...

Dear Dr. Ward,

Thanks for the comments. I may have more to say later, but briefly, I have the following questions:

1.) How low does "vernacular" have to go? What if the bus kids can't understand the ESV? Many of them have a public school "education" that teaches them no grammar at all.

2.) 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?

3.) In Greece, if bus kids can understand John's Gospel but not understand Paul's language in Hebrews, should an easier version of Hebrews be made?

4.) In the United States, if a bus kid can understand John's Gospel in the KJV but trips up on harder words in harder portions, does that mean the KJV must be revised?

5.) You are wrong about God forbid--please see the study of the phrase at:

I would suggest picking a different classic example, as this one is not good.

6.) Saying that italicized words are not a benefit is to say thet people who speak English should have the underlying language words hid from them.

7.) When the KJV needed to be non-literal, it usually has footnotes that say something like "Heb. " and these notes are very good, and I'm glad they are in the Cambridge and Trinitarian Bible Society KJVs. Illustration:

Ge 25:28 And Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison: but Rebekah loved Jacob. {he...: Heb. venison was in his mouth}

To all above--I disagree that people should consult other English translations if they don't get the KJV. I think they should consult the original languages, use study tools, commentaries, etc. Other translations may be more confusing than helpful, or may incorporate theological liberalism (e. g., taking "hell" out of the Old Testament the large majority of the time in modern versions, and replacing "hell" with an oh-so-much-more-easy-to-understand word like "Sheol.")

Thanks for the comments.

Jon Gleason said...

Kent, I like the table you've added. But to be fair, I don't think Mark Ward would appreciate your characterisation of his argument as "readability." It's "understandability."

His argument is not merely that it is hard to read the KJV, but that people will misunderstand it, and may not even know they are misunderstanding it and need to dig deeper, because of the way word meanings have changed. So people can actually, in some cases and in all innocence, get the wrong meaning.

That's a much more substantive argument than ease of reading. If I believed it were impacting many passages and much doctrinal understanding, I would consider it very, very weighty. I believe the cases are few and that the important items you've listed in the right hand column far outweigh, in total, the issue Dr. Ward is raising.

I'll make one other comment and that is on immutability. You said "averse to change." That means "a dislike for change." When I read that, I read it as saying, "KJV people don't like change, that's the reason they want to stick with the KJV."

Maybe that's what you mean to say, or maybe you mean it to say that God doesn't like change. But I think God DOES like some changes.

But I do see "Adverse effects of change", negative impacts of changing things. There almost always are negative effects even if the positive effects justify the change. And one of those adverse effects is the potential undermining of people's sense of God's immutability.

So while your use of "Averse to change" is grammatically correct and has some sense in the context, I'm not sure it is what you meant, and is certainly not what I'd say. I'd say "Adverse Effects of Change." If that's not what you meant, perhaps you could add it to the right hand column. The adverse effects, of course, go far beyond undermining the sense of immutability. Loss of Bible memorisation knowledge, confusion during the transition, etc. There would be immense issues around peaceably changing a church's Bible translation.

Jon Gleason said...

I understand your objection to looking at translations. But I see little substantive difference between looking at how one set of Bible scholars has translated a word or phrase in a translation and looking (via commentaries or lexicons) how another set of Bible scholars view its translation. I view these as on a par, human works that may educate me but are not to be trusted.

The commentaries, lexicons, etc, can be just as confusing and just as wrong as the translations. We are both persuaded that most modern commentaries have missed the bus on theopneustos. That doesn't make commentaries valueless.

@Dr Ward
Since no one has responded on "halt" I'll take a moment. I understood from an early age that in my KJV "halt" was an old word for "lame" or "limping". Did someone explain it to me? Or did I just figure it out from verses like Matthew 18:8, John 5:3, and especially Genesis 32:31? I don't remember.

Presumably you misunderstood "halt" to mean "stop". Did you know that bus stops in Scotland used to have a sign that said "Bus Halt"? So you thought the verse meant they were stopped, stuck between two opinions.

The NASB says "hesitate". So does HCSB. Stopped/stuck ("halt"), hesitating, wavering (the NIV), even paralyzed (NET), they all convey essentially the same meaning for the text, and they all get the essence of what Elijah was saying.

None of them bring out the picturesque language he was using. The old meaning of halt did bring it out, but the modern meaning obviously doesn't, yet still gets to the essence of the overall statement. The NLT does bring it out, saying "How much longer will you waver, hobbling between two opinions?" The ESV says "limping between". The NET perhaps captures it with "paralyzed" but that raises an interesting question. Is the picturesque language saying they were paralyzed (completely lamed), or limping from one to the other? I'm not sure we can actually say. "Paralyzed" is in a sense passive while I think this is intended to be middle voice, reflexive, something you've done to yourselves.

But I'm not sure what the absolute best translation would be here. Are they limping back and forth or are they stuck and following neither? How long will you "lame yourselves between two decisions?" Maybe that works.

I agree that "halt" causes confusion to modern readers, especially those who aren't steeped in the KJV. I'd think those who are steeped in it would get over that confusion as they find the word used elsewhere. But I don't see that the confusion, in this case, does any real violence to the actual import of Elijah's statement. He's telling them that they've not really been following either Jehovah or Baal, and it is time to choose. A misunderstanding of what was meant by "halt" doesn't obscure that at all. A modern translation using dynamic equivalence could have even used "halt" with its modern meaning -- the NASB is very close to it.

You would be better to focus on cases where language drift actually causes a misunderstanding of the overall meaning of a verse, it seems to me.

As I said previously, I would not be opposed to a revision that deals with egregious language drift. If I were doing such a revision, I would perhaps use "lame yourselves" for "halt", rather than make a call between "limping" and "paralyzed". I'm not saying "halt" is the best word in the English of the 20th & 21st century. I just don't get the focus on it, I don't think it is a great example of language drift causing enough confusion to make me want to overlook the right side of Kent's table up above.

KJB1611 said...

Dear Jon,

I agree on "halt," but had no time yet to comment on it. I think the defined KJV defines "halt" at the bottom of the page every time it appears.

Mark Ward said...

James, I did indeed miss your link to that other article. I did just read it but a reply will have to wait a bit.

Mark Ward said...

KJB1611 (Thomas, right?),

1.) How low does "vernacular" have to go? What if the bus kids can't understand the ESV? Many of them have a public school "education" that teaches them no grammar at all.

“Vernacular” has to go as low as the Greek and Hebrew of the Bible does. It is useful to have Bible translations which go slightly lower, like the NIrV. But only if we already have good formal equivalent translations.

2.) 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?

I’m not sure I follow this question, because modern Hebrew is different than ancient Hebrew. I’ve read one book on modern Hebrew, but it was distinctly unsatisfying and I’m left unqualified to say how far apart the two versions of the language are. In principle, if there are words Hebrew-speaking bus kids don’t understand and there are contemporary equivalents for those words that match the style and register of the original, we ought to use the contemporary equivalents. When it comes to the KJV, I’m saying it is wrong to teach bus kids a Bible verse using the word “besom” when we can use the word “broom.” Naturally, the word “propitiation” is going to be just as foreign to them as “besom,” but I don’t think it ought to be replaced (except in more paraphrastic Bibles like the NLT, perhaps—which I think is a useful tool for some tasks but not for regular exposition in church)—and the reason I wouldn’t replace “propitiation” is that there is no contemporary equivalent that matches the style and register of the original. Paul chose a difficult word, and it’s okay for us to do so. Not so with “besom” and “broom.”

3.) In Greece, if bus kids can understand John's Gospel but not understand Paul's language in Hebrews, should an easier version of Hebrews be made?

I have a modern Greek NT, and my wife’s grandfather grew up speaking modern Greek. Its language definitely descends in a line from Κοινή, but it is just as clearly not Κοινή. You also may be aware that modern Greek has coexisted for quite some time in a popular or “demotic” variety (Dimotiki) and a higher sociolect (Katharevousa) that was the official language of modern Greece until 1976. I haven’t dug into modern Greek very far, but what Wikipedia says is consistent with what I’ve read before over the years: “Katharevousa is a semi-artificial sociolect promoted in the 19th century at the foundation of the modern Greek state, as a compromise between Classical Greek and modern Demotic.” NOAD’s entry for Katharevousa is this: “the purist form of modern Greek used in traditional literary writing, as opposed to the form that is spoken and used in everyday writing (called demotic).” That sounds not unlike a description of the language of the KJV; just replace “literary writing” with “religious speech.” I’m saying that, based on those descriptions, the modern Greek New Testament should be translated into Demotic rather than Katharevousa. Every true language is capable of saying basically everything every other true language is capable of saying, save of course for vocabulary words which may simply not be needed by the speakers of one language (such as “paparazzi” in, idk, Upper Mongolia). Some languages may require some circumlocutions to say what others say more elegantly, but they can all get the same basic meanings across.

4.) In the United States, if a bus kid can understand John's Gospel in the KJV but trips up on harder words in harder portions, does that mean the KJV must be revised?

If I’m understanding you, and if the “harder words” have contemporary equivalents in style and register that are easier to understand, then yes. And let’s not forget that “readability” goes beyond lexemes to include syntax, punctuation, and even typographical layout.

Mark Ward said...

5.) You are wrong about God forbid--please see the study of the phrase at: I would suggest picking a different classic example, as this one is not good.

I think “God forbid” is a fine translation in the KJV, but I’m afraid I find your analysis of μη γενοιτο unpersuasive—because what you’re arguing is not that μη γενοιτο is a good translation but that it was a literal translation. I simply can’t agree with that. I did my homework on this one.

On the Hebrew: yes, there are contexts where חָלִיל is used as part of a phrase properly translated “God forbid.” So, of course, yes, “the word is properly considered in texts such as Joshua 22:29 as a part of a syntactical construction that expresses the idea of ’God/Jehovah forbid.’” But to express that idea there has to be an additional phrase like מֵֽיהוָ֗ה (from YHWH; see 1 Sam 24:7)—as I think you might be trying to half-acknowledge when you say חָלִיל means “God forbid” “within a particular syntactical construction.” Without some mention of God, it just means “far be it from [me/us/him/you/whoever].” It seems to me your argument is guilty of Barr’s illegitimate totality transfer: you’re importing ideas from certain contexts into the meaning of the word. It’s like saying that “swear” means “swear to God.”

On the LXX connection: only one of the four passages that use the phrase μη γενοιτο in the LXX has God/Yhwh forbidding anything (1 Kings 21:3), and it takes an extra phrase—παρα θεου—to bring God into it in that passage—just like in Hebrew. Needless to say, Paul didn’t write μη γενοιτο παρα θεου, and if you’re going to appeal to intertextual allusion, one LXX passage is a pretty slim basis, especially when in the other three LXX passages where the phrase μη γενοιτο is used, the speakers are all saying “far be it from us,” not “God forbid.”

On the modern Greek connection: I find such arguments philologically interesting and sometimes mildly confirming (or not) of some answer I’m giving to a lexical question, but of course they’re ultimately irrelevant to any synchronic examination of usage. And this connection is particularly strained: neither μη nor γενοιτο occur in the modern Greek phrase—and God’s name does.

The NASB uses the phrase “God forbid” once, to translate a different phrase (Ἵλεώς σοι), and with some real justification according to BDAG. The NIV uses the phrase twice (once in the OT and once in the NT), and I think they made a good choice in both places.

Why would people who are so ardent to have every vav consecutive represented explicitly in translation will not only accept but defend a dynamic translation like “God forbid”?

The way your argument will be used is this: people who are already KJV-Only but have a tiny, nagging doubt that the KJV isn’t as literal as it should/could be with “God forbid” will be sent to your piece. Most of them won’t have the capacity to look up the passages you mention in Hebrew and in the LXX. Of those who do, most will be satisfied that “a scholar has handled this one.” And if someone like me comes along who actually knows how to follow and critique your argument, and who isn’t persuaded, people will be stuck trusting either me or you. Almost all of them will go with the person they trusted beforehand. I can’t win. And neither can that bus kid.

Mark Ward said...

6.) Saying that italicized words are not a benefit is to say that people who speak English should have the underlying language words hid from them.

Nuh-unh. =) Or perhaps I’m not following you here. The underlying language words are hidden from everyone who can’t read them. That’s why we have translations. But, again, perhaps I just didn’t get what you were saying.

7.) When the KJV needed to be non-literal, it usually has footnotes that say something like "Heb. "

Great! I like that approach. A translator should feel free to leave the literal translation in the text when it works and to put it in a footnote when it doesn’t.

So the KJV sometimes “needs” to be non-literal—do the major modern translations ever get that permission?

8.) To all above--I disagree that people should consult other English translations if they don't get the KJV.

Hundreds of times over the years, perhaps thousands, checking other translations has helped me better understand what God said. I just can’t deny some of the most precious experiences of my life. Admittedly, I can read Greek and Hebrew (and a little Latin and German and French and Italian and Dutch, so I check those translations, too on occasion). So I am working on understanding what it’s like for people without original language training to use my favored method of Bible study. But I feel like you’re telling someone who has seen the Grand Canyon, “It’s not beautiful, really; don’t get there. It’s certainly not worth the risk that you could fall in. In fact most people do fall in, so just stay home. We’ve got ravines right here, so why do you need the Grand Canyon?” And I’m just saying, “Come and see the sights! Oh, they’re glorious! You’ll be changed!” But I can’t even (to mix metaphors) lead the horses to water, let alone get them to see how good drinking it is, if you bar everyone from checking other translations. Thomas Ross contra mundum. I agree with Jon Gleason: commentaries and translations are both human attempts to help others understand the Bible. Why bar the latter and commend the former?

Thomas, your huge bibliology statement commendably draws a distinction between the perfect Word of God and the translation of that Word: “The promises of preservation are specifically made for Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek words, not English words,” and “No verses of the Bible promise a perfect English translation.” But do you see how your refusal to permit others to check other translations belies your statements? You end up treating the KJV as perfect in a de facto way.

Mark Ward said...

Jon Gleason,

Wow! Thank you—and I really mean that! You listened to what I was actually saying. This speaks really well of you. (And you’re the very first person I’ve asked—and I’ve asked dozens, I believe—who understood what the KJV translators meant by “halt” in 1 Kings 18:21. Good for you!)

You’re exactly right when you say that my “argument is not merely that it is hard to read the KJV, but that people will misunderstand it, and may not even know they are misunderstanding it and need to dig deeper, because of the way word meanings have changed. So people can actually, in some cases and in all innocence, get the wrong meaning.”


And this is what I’ve been waiting for, a response to my actual argument:

“That's a much more substantive argument than ease of reading. If I believed it were impacting many passages and much doctrinal understanding, I would consider it very, very weighty. I believe the cases are few and that the important items you've listed in the right hand column far outweigh, in total, the issue Dr. Ward is raising.”

This I can deal with: how often would this have to occur for it to outweigh these other considerations? How many words have to go missing before we can get them back? And why only consider doctrinal passages? I want to understand the whole Bible.

My claim has never been that the entire KJV is unintelligible, nor that readers who read only the KJV can’t achieve biblical literacy. My claim has been twofold:

1) Through no fault of the KJV translators but solely because of changes in English, every modern reader of the KJV is missing more than he/she knows.

2) Translations are supposed to be made into the language people speak, and the language of the KJV is no longer spoken or written anywhere in the world, including in the homes, churches, and blogs of KJV-Only folks.

Indeed, what I’d really like to see is a list of things that would have to occur before the KJV defenders here would be willing to support a new translation of the MT/TR (though I still don’t see why you won’t use the NKJV, sigh…). Thomas Ross and Kent Brandenburg have endorsed the following criteria:

“In the unlikely event that the Lord were not to return for some hundreds of years into the future, and the English language changed in such a manner that the early modern or Elizabethan English of the Authorized Version were to have the comprehensibility of the Old English of Beowulf, it would certainly be right to update Biblical language. However, I believe that the Holy Spirit would lead Biblical Baptist churches to have general agreement that such a revision of the English Bible is needed. Without such clear Divine leadership, any revision would be inferior to the Authorized Version (as such versions as the NKJV most certainly are), and detrimental to the cause of Christ.”

Jon, do these seem like reasonable criteria to you? Do we have to wait till the KJV is indeed completely unintelligible the way Beowulf is? If we don’t have to wait that long, under what linguistic circumstances would a revision be justified?

Jon Gleason said...

Dr. Ward, response #1.

Of course I listened. I fear there is too much "answering a matter before we hear it" on the Internet, and I do try to avoid that.

Hopefully, then, you will listen? Above, in this thread, Thomas Ross said, "I didn't say we had to wait until Beowulf. We should do it before then." Perhaps he will speak to this, but I suspect his statement that you've quoted was intended to say, and would not have been misunderstood, if he had said, "...were to have the comprehensibility of the Old English of Beowulf, it would certainly have been right to update the Biblical language before then." I do not want to put words in his mouth but I strongly suspect that is what he intended to communicate.

In any event, that is Thomas Ross. I'm me.

You say you've been waiting for a response to your actual argument. If you will read my comments in this thread, you will see that I have said I would be open to a revision NOW in those words where there is no question that language drift has marred the meaning. I've even cited some where I would like to see it changed. I'm not sure how you could actually respond to me (as you have more than once) without noticing that I really was responding to your actual argument.

The problem you note is not in invention. I've acknowledged it. I believe you've blown it considerably out of proportion, but I don't deny it's existence.

You don't know me at all, so I hope you'll accept that I mean well when I say you appear to have failed somewhat in exactly the thing you feel no one has been doing for you -- actually listening and responding to what you are saying.

Anyway, to answer the substance. I'd accept a revision now. It wouldn't please you, probably. I'd want to retain the translation, with all its awkward wording. I'd want to retrain II Corinthians 5:21, with a word order that threatens to be confusing (some might take "who knew no sin" to refer to "us"), because the translators had an important reason for using that word order (to emphasise the substitionary element).

I'd be happy to change "halt" (as I've said), and "let", and a few others. I don't want a retranslation, I don't want to change words where the intended meaning is less common but still extant. I don't want to change the translation, but a minor revision of obsolete words is, in my view, overdue. If a group of Bible believing churches, who hold to a Biblical view of preservation and inspiration and canonicity, were to gather together and say, "We think its time to do this, and we're only going to change words where there is broad consensus among our churches that it is time to change them," I'd encourage our little church to endorse the process and almost certainly the outcome. I'd be ready for that right now.

Maybe you are looking for more than that, a retranslation rather than a revision. I'm not.

Failing that, I have to go to Kent's table up above. And looking at it, the weight on the right side far exceeds the weight on the left. Don't ask me to define how much it has to shift for the balance to shift. I don't think we're even close to that at this point.

Jon Gleason said...

Response #2.

Dr Ward, you asked about the NKJV. Dr. Harry Sturz worked on the NKJV. I learned Greek and New Testament Textual Criticism from him. (So did Daniel Wallace, FWIW.) Dr. Sturz may have been the most godly man I've ever known. I'm not the only one to say so. In case you are interested, you can read some of my thoughts on Dr. Sturz in these two articles (the second is very brief):

I bring him up to say I had a strong bias towards the NKJV because of Dr. Sturz' involvement. I do believe a text can be properly translated in more than one way (that truth has the direct endorsement of the Holy Spirit). And I believe for the most part the NKJV is well within what I believe to be good and proper translation of the underlying text.

Unfortunately, in a very few cases, they seem to have drifted from their remit and translated a different underlying text. If they had said it was a traditional translation text, and argued that the text they were translating had actually been more widely accepted than the KJV text, that would have troubled me less. As it is, the product doesn't quite match the packaging. I find that troubling, very troubling, in a Bible translation.

I also find that some of the other items on the right hand column of Kent's table are not in favour of the NKJV.

There are other issues. They got embarrassed by the actual Hebrew wording in passages like I Samuel 25:22, 34, etc, and toned it down for no sound reason. They could have used "urinates against a wall", but they went for dynamic equivalence and obscured the bluntness of the language. There are multiple times I've looked at a text in both translations and said to myself, "Man, those KJV guys were smart, didn't the NKJV guys see what they were doing here?" And sometimes I wonder if they DID see but had to change it so the translation could be different enough to be billed as a new translation and copyrighted. I hope not, but I do wonder sometimes.

It's modern, it doesn't have the problem of language drift, but it is neither the literary nor translational masterpiece that the KJV is. That doesn't matter to me as much as the text issue, but it IS important. If there weren't the text issue, I'd be much more open to the NKJV. But there's still that table up above.

Tyler Robbins said...


In a video I heard Dan Wallace state, in very emphatic terms, how Art Farstad made him (and others) go through the NKJV NT portions from the translators and make sure translators hadn't used any critical text readings. He says they found a whole lot of them. He says Farstad was determined to stick with the TR on the NKJV NT.

If there are CT readings in the NKJV, I don't think they were deliberate. That is, they're there despite the editors, not because of them. Unless we assume Wallace is lying. But, he made that statement in a context where he was saying he likes the NKJV, but just wishes the translators had been allowed to use the CT.

Kent Brandenburg said...


The chart is HERE.

Kent Brandenburg said...


Readability is the ease with which a reader can understand a written text -- by dictionary definition. It is uniquely applied to something you read versus understandability being a bigger term that might apply to an accounting graph. This is as I understand it.

On immutability, I was thinking of thinking about the Bible as God's Word. Can we change God's Word? No. Some would argue, "but you're just changing the translation." I said averse to change, because it is a translation, but when we say, "Open your Bibles," people look at the translation as the Bible. I know you agree we shouldn't be so quick to change that. I could write more about this, but I think we agree anyway.

I think the NKJV story is interesting. I would like to read it as a journal article, someone do research, maybe as a chapter in a larger book. They called in the NKJV and then proceeded to use the critical text until editors came along, who missed a bunch of places. Now when you show them they did it, they become angry. I've seen this across the board. There is a complex to some of these people that would have me not wanting them on the translation committee.

Everyone else (Mark too),

Here's something I didn't know about:

It's the Modern King James Version. Jay Green. Then after looking at that, I noticed there is the This is also a modernization of the KJV.

Mark, you have what you want. Something tells me you're not satisfied with that.

I might come back for some more comments, but there have been some excellent stuff here coming from everyone else, especially about four of you.

Mark Ward said...

Kent, with regard to your chart, within this thread I have answered every point on the right side, and yet my answers were not represented at all. I'm curious, Kent, if you could at least represent my arguments on the left side in such a way that I would say, "Yes, that's what I said." Then if people want to value your values more than mine, at least they can make an informed decision.

I ask you as a Christian brother to remake your chart, and I challenge you as an educated person who knows the ground rules for debate to represent my position in a way I'd agree with, no snark.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Hello Mark,

I am not saying that I don't have the ability or have taken the opportunity to be snarky, even often, in my life, but I don't remember being snarky in this thread. I haven't intended to be. Could you show me an example?

Related to the chart, the comments are not numbered, but at the same time I made and posted the chart to make life simpler, I wrote this comment:

I said in that comment that I would be glad to change it, which doesn't sound too snarky or unhelpful.

I asked for help. Perhaps you could put your arguments to our arguments in a bullet point like I have done. You are asking me to read everything you've written and find the answers. It would be easy for you, it would seem, to write those out and then I would represent you in the way you would like.

Mark Ward said...

Kent, more than fair, thank you. It is hard to read comments from someone who firmly disagrees with you without seeing snark, as I'm sure you know; but I will honestly and with Christian love take you at your word. I have certainly gotten further in this discussion than I ever have with any KJV-Only brothers I've ever met. You can't not know (I imagine it grieves you) that KJVOs do not have a good reputation for respectful, productive dialogue.

Here's my amended image:

Kent Brandenburg said...


The doctrinal and historical and logical position is that there is only one Bible, just like there is only one God. TR Only is the old, standard position that modern guys forked off, diverted off. I've been treated like garbage by CT guys, lied about in print with no retraction. If you watch James White's dealing with me -- he's a monster. I'd love to debate him with a moderator. The Ruckmanite, double inspiration, or English preservation position is a huge group with some revivalist or less than sufficient gospel in their midst. We are not them.

I put in your chart.

I don't believe in every one of your arguments that you have dealt or dealt sufficiently with what we have written in our arguments. I'll come back later to write about each point. Anyone else is welcome to do so.

Anyone else reading that takes our position,

Add to the arguments if you think there needs to be one.

Mark Ward said...

Thanks for posting the image, Kent.

And regarding the MEV, I haven't read it in great detail, but from what I've seen I'd love to see some TR-only guys pick up on it and use it the way a few are now using the NKJV. The MKJV I've been less impressed with, but if a lot more TR-only guys were using it (and the MEV and NKJV and KJ21, etc.) I admit I would have to stop questioning that their allegiance is truly to the TR rather than to the KJV.

Farmer Brown said...

Thomas, I read through some of your information on Bibliology. Sorry if this is a stupid question, but for the record, do you believe the KJV is an inerrant translation?

Mark L. Ward, Jr. you said, "And regarding the MEV, I haven't read it in great detail, but from what I've seen I'd love to see some TR-only guys pick up on it and use it the way a few are now using the NKJV"

Why would you love this? Why does someone picking up another translation inspire this level of passion? Especially something (MEV) with which you only have a passing familiarity?

Mark Ward said...

Farmer Brown, I'd love to see any of you guys pick up the MEV because I have seen enough to be confident that it it much closer to the vernacular than is the KJV. That's my concern. I want people to have God's word in their own languages, including modern English.

Anonymous said...

I find it strange the latitude allowed for "differences of opinion" (i.e. doctrine) among many or most pro-CT people, while they seem to have a united voice against the KJV (and the superiority of the TR on which it's based). There must be a reason (or more than one).

E. T. Chapman

Kent Brandenburg said...


I'm not going to write a long comment, dealing with the bullet points of the chart, because I'm going to write another post dealing with those points. I mentioned before taking the trap that it was a trap and then it is admitted that it is a trap. If you don't use the MEV, you don't believe in original language preservation. CT don't believe in biblical or historical preservation. They reject the doctrine. So their allegiance is to human reasoning, which is what modern textual criticism is. Pleasing someone who takes that position by using the MEV? Where does that go for someone who has his translational reasons for using the KJV. I'm going to discuss the reasons in my next post, Lord-willing, but again the trap comes back.

The trap is calling people a liar. Unless they use an MEV, they are lying about their belief in preservation in the original language text. This is how CT people insult those who continue a biblical and historical point of view. It's normal. They insult as argument. Name-call. At least it's out in the open.

Jonathan Speer said...

I'm just going to share an observation regarding the "trap" term Kent is using and how I see it being laid out, especially earlier in the conversation over at SI.

A decade or more ago, those who are CT would not even have given assent to the idea that anyone who was KJVO had a reason for using it exclusively that was distinct from the ideas articulated by the likes of Ruckman or Riplinger. Maybe it is the advent of the internet and broader knowledge and interaction on such topics, but it is fairly new (past 8-10 years) to me to see CT folks give any assent to the textual arguments of folks who are also KJVO. Now that they are giving assent to this argument, they are speculating that it must be a only a smokescreen that KJVO types use to legitimize their otherwise Ruckmanite position. Now we have to use a different translation, apparently without proper vetting, to prove we aren't basically just Ruckmanites who've wrapped ourselves in doctrinal and textual arguments to seem more credible. I see the end game possibly being the revelation that the vernacular translation wasn't really TR (NKJV deja vu?) but actually reliant on the CT and no one died so it must be okay, right?

Kind of like E.T. mentioned above, this is pretty rough treatment considering all of the other "doctrines" men seem to be able to overlook in order to maintain regular happy fellowship.

Kent Brandenburg said...


I've learned from this discussion. Beza and Stephanus exclusively used the TR from which came all the English translations of the 16th and 17th centuries. The story about them is that they didn't have anything else. They would be critical text today, this speculation based on the modern CT thinking, I guess, that they are their true descendants (for what reason?). On the other hand, they separate themselves from Beza and Stephanus, that they were in the garbage business of conjectural emendation. This is having it both ways. Actually, you read the men of that time and their textual basis was on the doctrine of preservation.

The story is that these men used the limited they possessed, so they were "King James" because that's all they had. We are King James because we really, really (and they know us better than we know ourselves, some kind of psychological omniscience) believe double inspiration. It's like a latent racism, where someone is a racist and he doesn't know it. They know it, like Democrats know all Republics are either racists or self-loathing African Americans. We are too pudding headed ignorant to even know ourselves. They know us. And we're latent double inspirationists.

I don't know. Really. It's just what I am reading. If you don't believe Mark Ward's arguments, they are so dominant, just monumental, that if you don't believe them, you just got caught being a double inspirationist or English preservationist, because there's no way you could prefer the King James Version (1769) to the MEV or even that you just think there are better reasons to sticking with the KJV over the MEV, done by the outstanding Charisma group, of which I don't recognize one name among them as being in even "evangelical scholarship." I'm guessing it's a group that comes from Charismatic scholarship, probably because certain divisions of the Charismatic movement are fond of the KJV.

It doesn't surprise me to be called a liar. It's normal fare coming from evangelicals and fundamentalists. I can give you many, many examples of this behavior. It's probably not intended to be name calling. It's just what they think. They really think we are liars.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Regarding the MEV,

I went to the MEV site and they have a page with comparisons between various translations to show what they've done. The first example is Genesis 4:1. They have changed Genesis 4:1, but I'm going to park instead on the next example, and the first NT example, 1 Peter 1:1-2. I'm cutting and pasting what they have done.

KJV 1 Peter 1:1-2

1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

MEV 1 Peter 1:1-2

1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To the refugees scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2 elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification by the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling with the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied.

OK, what do they change? 6 changes. Let's look at all of them.

"strangers" to "refugees" -- The assumption here, I guess, is that readers won't know that strangers are foreigners. BDAG says it is someone staying for awhile in a strange place. My opinion is that refugee misses something that stranger gets.

"of the Spirit" to "by the Spirit" -- "of the Spirit" translates Pneumatos, which is genitive. Can the genitive be translated "by"? Sure, but that isn't the normal case for "by." It's an exceptional translation. This is a classic case of a subjective genitive, that is, the Spirit is sanctifying. This is communicated very nicely by "of the Spirit." I don't know how that helps. It is not a modernization of the genitive case.

"unto obedience" to "for obedience" -- the KJV translates it both ways, and I guess they thought "for" was more modern. I like "unto" better. "For" is more ambiguous. "Unto" is more literal. You get the movement from sanctification to obedience, which the accusative helps express.

"sprinkling of the blood" to "sprinkling with the blood" -- again this is a genitive and in this case an objective genitive. It isn't instrumental.

"Grace unto you" to "Grace to you" -- this isn't a big deal. I'm sure "to" is considered more modern.

", Peace, be multiplied" to "peace be multiplied" -- "be multiplied" is aorist optative. It's expressing a wish. The difference here is the addition of two commas by the KJV translators, excluded by the MEV people. Be multiplied is passive. I would think the KJV translators put commas in because of awkward English in a formal translation of that Greek. We don't talk that way today. The MEV leaves out the commas.

The MEV translators changed several words that didn't need to be changed, and I wouldn't want changed. This isn't merely changing difficult to understand words here.

Jon Gleason said...

Tyler, thanks for the reply. I'll have to let others respond on the NKJV if they are able or willing. If not, I'll let your response stand. I am overtaken by other responsibilities and must withdraw from this thread.

Kent, re: "averse to change", yes we are generally agreed on the substance, it was just a wording question. Still not sure I love your wording. We could either settle it with pistols at dawn or I could shrug, and say, "It's Kent's blog and he did the work to make the table, he can say what he wants." Since I don't have a pistol and geography would be a problem, I'll choose the latter. :)

Also Kent, I do not think Dr. Ward merely wants a new translation of the TR. Those exist. He wants those who use the KJV to CHANGE to a new translation of it. I'm willing to take his word for it that such would satisfy him, but it would satisfy few CT advocates, they'd still be going on about the "oldest and best manuscripts".

I doubt I have much more of value to contribute to this discussion, anyway, at this point. Thank you all for an interesting (and at points profitable) discussion.

Farmer Brown said...

Mark wrote, "Farmer Brown, I'd love to see any of you guys pick up the MEV because I have seen enough to be confident that it it much closer to the vernacular than is the KJV. That's my concern. I want people to have God's word in their own languages, including modern English."

So many problems with this. So much has already been broken down, so I will not put forth arguments.

The real problem here is we are arguing about the best meatloaf recipe with someone who does not even believe cows exist.

Derek Linnell said...

Is it okay to be wondering at what point in time Dr. Ward's reasoning would have supported updating the Greek NT for native Greek speakers?

Isn't he using a rather contrived definition of 'vernacular' by adding in 'totally current? There was a time when the word didn't mean this. Does it now?

When did we lose the freedom to say "great textual basis here, but the faulty translation principles in this new work mean I must stick with the AV"?

Derek Linnell

KJB1611 said...

Dear Dr. Ward,

Thank you for dealing with my article on “God forbid.” I genuinely appreciate it. If God allows, I will have time to respond.

My questions here:

2.) 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?

3.) In Greece, if bus kids can understand John's Gospel but not understand Paul's language in Hebrews, should an easier version of Hebrews be made?

referred to the times in the OT period and in the 1st century when Hebrew and Koine Greek were the vernacular, not today, and I would be interested in a response to them, since nobody ever spoke in, say, Hebrew poetry regularly, but I rather think you would say it was vernacular when it was inspired.


Kent Brandenburg said...

Jon Gleason,

I think you're right about Mark Ward's goal. It's a head-wagging goal to me. He's explained it as his love for bus kids. We don't have buses. If we don't take the translation level down to the nearly illiterate, we don't care like he does for these hypothetical kids. The other motive, and I think I'm representing him correctly, is that we are liars if we don't use an update, even if we don't like it. We say that it's a textual basis for the KJV, but it really isn't, as folks like us have been flushed out by him in this ingenious trick of exposure. He asked me to change my chart as a good Christian brother would, and then he ended his time here so far (hasn't been back) by plainly implying we were liars if we didn't pick up something like the MEV.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Farmer Brown,

I get your metaphor, and I agree. They don't believe scripture has been preserved, so we're talking about something in doubt or uncertain being made "clearer." Doubt and uncertain don't parallel with clearer.

Kent Brandenburg said...


I'll answer your questions: 1- yes, 2- no, 3- We still have that freedom. After several posts and articles written, and then a book, attempting to humiliate us, we we will still have the freedom. I think it's protected in the U.S. Constitution.

James Bronsveld said...

A couple thoughts on the updated chart.

Mark's not looking for a KJV update, but for a new TR translation for us.

I'm not sure Mark's "Point #2" should appear on the chart at all, because his point was not argued, and he expressly refused to discuss that, saying, "I will not talk about preservation or textual criticism in this forum." Since the NKJV preface speaks to its use of the recently-discovered Dead Sea scrolls, and other recent finds, its acceptance of textual criticism and its "state of flux," I reject the NKJV for Bibliology reasons. #2 cannot be argued here because of Mark's refusal to deal with Bibliology.

Mark's "#3" is a problem, because not all CT scholars agree with his definition of "the vernacular." Michael Marlowe has an article on this (here). Because Mark presents a moving target, it affects "#5" as well. Mark wants the "poorest bus kid" to never stumble over the smallest definition in the Bible, while stopping short of using the bus kid's language.

I'm not sure that Mark's "#6" can be called an argument as much as an unproven assertion. There was a hypothetical anecdote put forward by him, but since he's making a Bibliology argument here ("Multiple Word") while refusing to discuss Bibliology, this argument really has no place in the chart.

Mark's "#8" also has some issues. Mark's answer to the "Show how the Hebrew of Genesis was updated over a 4,000 year period" involves Neh. 8:8 as a proof text, he equivocates preaching with translating Scripture (Here).

I've learned a few things in this discussion. Mark, you want this debate about what we believe to be framed according to your terms. We say "this is a Bibliology issue." You say, "I want to talk about what you believe, but don't bring up Bibliology." Although Bro. Brandenburg brought up the left's "white privilege-racism” strategy, that thought entered my head prior to seeing him express it. You want us to represent your arguments fairly, while you refuse to engage ours.

Mark, I know you have had a lot to reply to, so I will extend some grace regarding your utter failure to address the repeatedly mentioned contradiction between your CT Bibliology and your claim to want to know the meanings of even the smallest words and details in Scripture. I sincerely hope that the latter claim is true, because I would rejoice to see you come to a consistent Biblical theology related to the preservation of small words, even letters, of Scripture.

I've spent some time with my 6-, 5-, and 3-year-olds at family devotions over the past week, carefully examining whether they are missing out because of the language in the KJV. Thank you, Mark, for bringing this to the forefront of my focus this past week, so that I could see in practical life how overblown your arguments are about outdated language. I mean that. When I finish preaching, my 6-year-old daughter comes to me with a list of "qushtns" she has written about words and phrases she heard during the sermon: words like "counterfeit," and "consecrated," and phrases like "drink into the Spirit." I explain them to her, and her vocabulary and understanding of the Scriptures is increased. Nothing will ever replace the careful study of the words of Scripture by the Bible teacher at home, at church, or witnessing in the marketplace. Mark, if you're writing a book, I would hope that you do not use the lack of diligent study by certain segments of Fundamentalism as your argument for forcing a new translation on those who do not accept your CT Bibliology.

KJB1611 said...

I know I have more to respond to here, but I wanted to post what the Defined KJV says in a footnote on "halt" in 1 Kings 18: "Arc walk with a crippled gait; limp; hobble."

I hope Dr. Ward will be promoting the Defined KJV with the fervor he has devoted to various modern versions.

kddlporter said...

Moving to 'modern English' is precisely why we have such a dumbed down populace as not to understand what 'prevented' means & has meant, as well as one too proud to use the Webster's 1828, and too lazy to search the word, comparing spiritual with spiritual ----------even with all the lightning speed search engines available.

'Updating' the KJV isn't about making the Gospel and salvation available to people. It's of craft & subversion, indirect attack as 1 Cor 11. It's about usurping it to men's idolatrous antichrist advantage & purposes as written, building the wrong kingdom, trusting the god of forces, the love of money and such. Daniel. Psalm 2 & 82. 1 Timothy 6. James 4. All the warnings & prophecies of the Gospels, Epistles and Revelation....backed up by Moses, the Psalms and the Prophets as Romans 9-11 warn.

There is a definite pattern of confusing & confounding the distinctions & particulars of Christ, the gospel & salvation, and antichrist in all the 'updates' regardless of the texts men claim to be following. Harmony & the full counsel context is always lost & men turning from faith and the Spirit to trust in flesh, human 'wisdom', and seducing spirits without certainty of the scriptures, and slyly taking authority over it. 1 Corinthians 1-4. Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28, Revelation 13-19. So much more. Are you gentlemen familiar with the research and work of David W. Daniels on the texts and scriptures? It bears examination & consideration given the word, and the continued attack now narrowing its focus because the rest of the visible church has already bought in to the compromise, and already works for it in the spirit and power of New Rome and Babylon.

And then there is the wisdom of Jerald Finney pointing out to the churches once again what Bunyan did at such great cost to himself in his day. When we miss the full counsel of Romans 13, we are indeed on the road to deception in the matter of Revelation 13.

God bless not grow weary of well-doing & separation. I rue every day that we gave in to the little foxes. We watched two churches go over, our children are leavened, and the sorcerers of psych would have us give up & give in rather than stand to fight and warn in true repentance & belief in the blessed scriptures ordained of God as the means and power of the Spirit and the Word, Jesus Christ by the Father. But they MUST see the difference, and have the unblunted weaponry and armor of the King James Bible. We see it now & warn. Hold the fort as faithful ambassadors and shepherds. and thank you for the lonely years when we did not understand and served the wrong side...using the blunted sword, influenced by corrupted salt and not well-served by shaded light.

Mark Ward said...

kddlporter, you write,

"Moving to 'modern English' is precisely why we have such a dumbed down populace as not to understand what 'prevented' means & has meant, as well as one too proud to use the Webster's 1828, and too lazy to search the word, comparing spiritual with spiritual ----------even with all the lightning speed search engines available."

Then why do you write in the kind of modern English that, in general, I'm recommending for English Bible translations? Why don't you write in the early modern English used by the KJV translators?

And what's the point of translating the Greek and Hebrew texts (whichever ones you prefer) if they are translated into words no one uses, or words no on uses in the same way anymore?

And why should I trust Webster's 1828 dictionary? It was describing English as it was more than 200 years after the KJV was translated.

And how am I supposed to know to look up "prevent" in the first place when the sense we now give it works, more or less, in many contexts?

How, indeed, do you determine which changes in English are good, which are bad, and which are indifferent?

John McWhorter, my favorite linguist and someone I know Kent has read, said, "The very idea that grammatical 'mistakes' eternally tempt the unwary is the spawn of three illusions.… The second was that when a grammar changes, it must be decaying rather than just, say, changing. So we were taught to lasso and hold on to *whom*, though at the time it was fading from English just like all the other words and constructions that differentiated Modern English from Old English — a foreign tongue to us that none of us feel deprived not speaking." (15–16)

If "modern English" is a bastardization of King James English, isn't King James English a bastardization of what came before it? How do you know which state of the language is the "true" or "correct" one?

Farmer Brown said...

Mark wrote, "And how am I supposed to know to look up "prevent" in the first place when the sense we now give it works, more or less, in many contexts?"

Perhaps Mark, part of studying the Bible is studying the Bible?

1 Timothy 4:15–16 Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. 16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

Joshua 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

Psalm 119:97 MEM. O how love I thy law! It is my meditation all the day.

Proverbs 27:23 Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, And look well to thy herds.

John 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

Acts 17:11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

Deuteronomy 6:6–7 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: 7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.