Saturday, August 24, 2013

King James Only?

King James only? No, we should not restrict ourselves to just the KJV. It is not without mistakes and its old English is sometimes difficult to understand in our day. But, the manuscripts that the King James translation is based on are some of the best. The KJV is not inerrant or inspired, only the original books of the Bible written in Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic are inerrant and God-breathed. That is a fact. If anyone tells you otherwise, they are grossly mistaken. The Greek and Hebrew copies of the Bible that we have today are numerous and very, very reliable, but they are not perfect. 

What? Isn’t the Bible inerrant? Yes, the Bible is inerrant, but only the original books in their original languages. The Greek and Hebrew copies of the originals (and the translations made from them, including English translations) have some variations, errors, and omissions, although all of the textual families are very well preserved. 

There is numerous evidence to substantiate that the most reliable family of manuscripts for the New Testament (NT) is the Byzantine, and that the resulting Greek text known as the Textus Receptus (which is Latin for the “Received Text”) is the most accurate Greek NT. The NT of the King James (English) translation of the Bible is based on this family of manuscripts. The Old Testament is mostly based on the Masoretic Text and the Dead Sea Scrolls, among other manuscripts. All of the English versions are translations of the Bible from its original languages, just like any other translations of the Bible, like Spanish or French. 

Most of the other (modern) English versions can be very helpful in understanding what God is truly saying to us in His Word, even though they are mostly based on textual families inferior to the Byzantine. The NT in the modern English translations (except NKJV) are based on these other manuscript families, primarily the Alexandrian family. Although most of what all of the textual families say is the same, there are some important differences. And when translated into English, the modern versions (translations) have more errors than the KJV. I use the KJV/NKJV mostly, but I refer to nearly all of the English versions at some point (like the NLT, NASB, NRSV, ESV, HCSB, NIV and others based on the Alexandrian and/or Western text families). I do this because, for the most part, they are accurate and reliable, and many times they convey the meaning of the verses in modern English in a way that is much easier for people to understand. We just have to be careful of the passages that contain errors. This happens more often in the modern translations, but there are errors in the King James translation, as well. 

Remember, the errors are in translation and the manuscript copies written in Greek and Hebrew. Though they are no longer extant, the original books of the Bible in Greek and Hebrew had no errors. The errors in our Bibles today are few and far between, whether in a modern or King James translation. According to the experts, 95-99% of our Bible today is accurate and reliable. The academic discipline known as “textual criticism” has the task of discovering the true text of the variations in the manuscripts, as well as discovering the true meaning of obscurities in the texts. This field of study has made the Bible texts much more accurate then ever before. The Bible today is nearer to the original than ever. But to get there, we need all of the textual families of both the NT and OT. And, if you are using an English translation, having more than one English version is very helpful in discovering the true meaning of God’s Word. 

There is a lot of disinformation about the English translations and the underlying manuscript copies they are based on. Below is a link to a free class that is at Blue Letter Bible. If you are interested in the truth of the English versions, the Greek and Hebrew manuscripts they are based on and the inspired, inerrant original books of the Bible, you will love this class. Here is an excerpt from the class regarding the Byzantine Text: 

"Okay. Now, we have listed under Byzantine Text, notice it says it is often called Textus Receptus or the “Received Text.” It’s a Latin word that was put on one of these Greek texts. What it means is (it is) the text that was universally read and accepted by the churches. Which text was universally read and accepted by the churches, class? This is not a difference of opinion. This is a fact. What text was universally read and accepted by the churches? What tradition? Was it Byzantine? Was it Western? Was it Alexandria? It was Byzantine. You see the Western Text became (quickly) Latin. That’s all it was. So what Greek text was used universally by the churches? The answer is Byzantine. Not Western. That’s why this whole issue is kind of interesting. When you come to the King James translation, people are always trying to undermine that one. People are always trying to say it was dependent upon a text that is not that reliable. No, excuse me. It’s not only reliable, it’s the one everybody used!"

Especially see the lessons titled "Manuscript Evidence" and "English Versions." Enjoy!

"Which English Bible Translation is the Best?"

No comments:

Post a Comment