King James Onlyism Part 2

King James Onlyism, Part 2, continued from King James OnlyismPage

A reader of my website sent me this email:

“brother, could you tell me why the nasb uses the word HADES IN JOHN 16.23 AND NOT HELL the kjv people say the word hades is a mythology name and not the right word it should be HELL thanks…”

Neither the words Hades nor hell are to be found in John 16:23 in any translation. But this is nevertheless a good question, and is an example of one of the main decisions a translator has to make: should I use the word that is in the source text and the source language, or should I pick a word from the target language that most closely conveys the meaning of the word of the source language?

In this case, the word in the source language, the word that Jesus and the apostles who wrote the New Testament used, is the Greek word Hades. I had to make this decision myself in my own translations of the gospels, and Revelation.

Let’s look at a passage in the KJV, Revelation 20:13-15. “{20:13} And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. {20:14} And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. {20:15} And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”

Here we have hell being thrown into hell. That is confusing. Because the Lake of Fire, where people spend eternity in fire and torture for not being in the Book of Life, that is what most people think of when they hear the word hell. So, you have the silly situation of hell being thrown into hell. This is why I do not use the word “hell” at all in my translations. It is best to use the various source language words, such as Sheol, Hades, Tartarus, and Gehenna.

As for the word Hades being a Greek myth, that is not uncommon in the Bible. For example, when scholars translated the Hebrew Bible into the world language, Greek, what were they supposed to do, keep using the word “sheol” for the underworld? They found a word in the Greek language, Hades, that meant mostly the same thing as Sheol, with a few incorrect aspects to it, but it was the best word available. They used it, and so therefore all the apostles who wrote the New Testament also used it.

The King James Bible is full of many such compromises. The word “god” for example. Pagan European tribes were already using the word “god” before the Bible was translated into their language. The translators used this word “god” even though it wasn’t perfect. Yes, there was the risk the readers would include in their minds some meaning to the word “god” that is not included in the real names for God such as Elohim or Yahweh, etc. (I personally think we should use the Hebrew names for God himself, and not the words “GOD” or “LORD.” But the apostles used Theos and Kurios in the Greek New Testament, so who am I to differ from them you might well ask.) When I myself was in missionary training, we were given the assignment to study the culture of a real historic native American tribe called the Yurok, who lived in the west coast of America in what is now southern Oregon and northern California. The Yurok people had a myth of a great spirit named Wopakumu. We were told to decide, if making an translation of the Bible into the Yurok language, whether we were going to use the word Wopakumu or not. The vast majority decided to use the word Wopakumu. It wasn’t perfect; the world included a few concepts not compatible with the God of the Bible. Nevertheless, most decided it was a good choice.

Other compromises came even before English translations. Take for example the Greek word “logos,” the word. The apostle John used the concept of Jesus being “the Word” even though that was a concept already existing prior, in non-Christian Greek philosophy.

My father Tom Palmer translated the New Testament into the Hamtai language of the Kukukuku people in Papua New Guinea. He and his co-translator Jeraldine Fitzgerald had to make this same kind of decision many times. For some of the words in the New Testament, there were simply no acceptable Hamtai words to use, so they left a Greek or English word in the translation, with an asterisk to a table of definitions of terms in the back of the book. This same approach must often be used for English translations, in my opinion.

I ask you brother: are the people telling you that Hades is the wrong word to use, are they wiser or more spiritual than Jesus, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, who used the Greek word Hades in their speeches and writings?

Statement: The New Age PERversions remove the name Jehovah from Exodus 6:3, as found in the KJV.

Response: This word “JEHOVAH” is translated in Exodus 6:3 in the King James Version, from the Hebrew YHVH, also known as the “Tetragrammaton,” (this is Greek for “four-letter word”) or the four-letter name of God. For the most part, the King James Version and most all other English translations, read “the LORD” with the word “Lord” in all capitals, to translate the Hebrew YHVH. I don’t know why the KJV translators rendered YHVH into Jehovah in that one verse, Exodus 6:3, but not most all the other verses. I found the word Jehovah in the KJV only 4 times: in Exodus 6:3, Psalm 83:18, Isaiah 12:2, and Isaiah 26:4. But that makes no sense, since the tetragrammaton, YHVH, occurs 6039 times in 5222 verses in the Masoretic Text of the Hebrew scriptures. . Wherever you see “the LORD” with Lord in all capitals, it should say Yahveh or such like instead.

But neither is this translation “The LORD” correct. This is all a result of the people of Israel refusing to pronounce God’s name, for fear of taking his name in vain. Thus, they forgot how it was originally pronounced. A few priests perhaps knew how to pronounce it, for very special ceremonies.  (But God never commanded his people to refrain from uttering his name, only to not utter it in vain.) By the time the Nakdan and Masorete scribes produced the Masoretic text of the Hebrew scriptures, it was a totally accepted practice to say “the Lord” or something other than the real name.

Some people believe God’s name probably sounds something like “Yahweh,” or “Yahwah,” for various reasons, one of which is that the Samaritans, who had no belief against uttering the Name, pronounced it that way.  Others believe that the vowels to the traditional “Jehovah” are correct.  There is good scholarly basis for that, such as Davidson’s treatment of the subject in the Analytical Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon.  It means something like “I am because I am,” or, “I always am,” or, “I am what I will be.” Or simply: “I Am.”

But the bottom line is, if Gail Riplinger is going to condemn Bible translations that take out the name Jehovah, she should just as well condemn the King James Version, since that version takes it out practically as much as the others.  Here is a Bible version that has all the Yahweh’s in it, every one.  It is a PDF (Adobe Reader) edition document, and is also based on the Textus Receptus even.

Assertion: Modern translations take away from the Word of God, like taking out John 7:53 thru 8:11.

My Response:
Here is an email I just got from someone who downloaded and read my translation of the gospel of John. It was entitled “Textual problems???”

<< I have a question, did your trnslation end somwhere towards the 8th chaper of John.? For some reason my Word -pad document ended righ arround there, Please comment! >>

Here is my answer:

I looked in my copy of it, and it doesn’t end there. There’s 21 chapters. You’re pulling my leg, right? I have a footnote about it, right? Does yours not have the footnote?

If not, here is what the United Bible Societies’ experts say:

“The evidence for the non-Johannine origin of the pericope of the adulteress is overwhelming. It is absent from such early and diverse manuscripts as Papyri 66 and 75, Aleph B L N T W X Y Delta Theta Psi 0141 0211 22 33 124 157 209 788 828 1230 1241 1242 1253 2193 al. Codices A and C are defective in this part of John, but it is highly probable that neither contained the pericope, for careful measurement discloses that there would not have been space enough on the missing leaves to include the section along with the rest of the text. In the East the passage is absent from the oldest form of the Syriac version (syrc,s and the best manuscripts of syrp), as well as from the Sahidic and the sub-Achmimic versions and the older Bohairic manuscripts. Some Armenian manuscripts and the Old Georgian version omit it. In the West the passage is absent from the Gothic version and from several Old Latin manuscripts (italic manuscripts a,1,*,q). No Greek Church Father prior to Euthymius Zigabenus (twelfth century) comments on the passage, and Euthymius declares that the accurate copies of the Gospel do not contain it.
When one adds to this impressive and diversified list of external evidence the consideration that the style and vocabulary of the pericope differ noticeably from the rest of the Fourth Gospel (see any critical commentary), and that it interrupts the sequence of 7:52 and 8:12 ff., the case against its being of Johannine authorship appears to be conclusive.”

On the style of Greek, I agree that it is true that John 7:53 to 8:11 are not written in the style of John. You can check it out yourself and see that it is true. For example, John does not use the Greek word “de” near as often as Luke or Mark, but in this passage, it is found MUCH more often than in the rest of John.

Out of the other 867 verses in the gospel of John, the word “de” is found 203 times, or in an average of 23% of the verses, while in these 12 verses, John 7:53 to 8:11, the word “de” is found 11 times, or an average of 92% of the verses.

Gary Burge has well pointed out:

“A final factor makes the unjohannine nature of the incident certain. Numerous terms, while common in the synoptics, appear nowhere else in John.[17] Unconscious syntax stands out as well. Sentences are connected with DE in the pericope (vv 2, 3, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11) and this is unparalleled in John (for every five uses of de in Matthew, John has two).
Together these items result in a consensus of opinion among scholars. The internal evidence makes it clear that the passage is foreign to its present setting and interrupts it. Most likely, it is not even Johannine.”

A Specific Problem In The New Testament Text And Canon: The Woman Caught In Adultery (John 7:53-8:11), Gary M. Burge (assistant professor of Bible and religion at King College in Bristol, Tennessee.) (Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society Volume 27, p 144. June, 1984; 2002).

Someone of a different opinion has said:

As for DE suddenly occurring “much more frequently”, this is not the only place in John where a run of DE’s happens to occur. Cf. DE in Jn 2:17, 21, 23, 24; 3:1; cf. also DE in Jn 3:18, 19, 21, 23; cf. also DE in Jn 3:29, 30, 36, 4:4, 6; cf. also DE in Jn 6:3, 4, 6, 10, 11, 12; cf. also 7:2, 6, 7, 9, 10. Basically there is not much difference, and John simply fluctuates in his usage at different points.

Again, the Pericope contains 11 instances of DE in 12 verses.  But the examples given above are:

Cf. DE in Jn 2:17, 21, 23, 24; 3:1;

4 instances in 10 verses.  ( I don’t accept the 2:17 instance; it is not in my Greek New Testaments.)

cf. also DE in Jn 3:18, 19, 21, 23;

4 times in 6 verses.  This is a lot, but the impact of this sampling is lessened because its 6 verses is such a small sample of verses compared to the 12 verses of the Pericope, one half the number of verses.

cf. also DE in Jn 3:29, 30, 36, 4:4, 6;

5 times in 13 verses.

cf. also DE in Jn 6:3, 4, 6, 10, 11, 12;

5 times in 10 verses.  ( I don’t accept the 6:11 instance; it is not in my Greek New Testaments.)

cf. also 7:2, 6, 7, 9, 10.

5 times in 9 verses.

Yes, John fluctuates, but these examples he gives don’t match the RATE of the sudden frequency of increase of DE in the pericope. Yes, John fluctuates, but not ever close to THIS much:

The Pericope is just 12 verses. Out of the other 867 verses in the gospel of John, the word DE is found 203 times, or in an average of 23% of the verses, while in just these 12 verses, John 7:53 to 8:11, the word DE is found 11 times, or an average of 92% of the verses. That is almost once per verse. The examples this person gives show about one half the rate of increase of DE’s as does the Pericope. What he must be trying to say is that John fluctuates in his frequency of the use of DE a few times, and this Pericope of the Adulteress just happens to be the most extreme example of such a fluctuation.

But you see, add to this the sudden increase of participial phrases, which John just does not use as often as other NT writers, and add other non-Johannine traits, and it all adds up to being non-Johannine in my mind. Again, it is a whole different thing when you have been reading and meditating on John in the pure Greek for months, then you come to this passage, it is very different, and I believe it is not John.

Here are more arguments showing how the passage is not like John’s writing.  In addition, it discusses other external evidence like church father quotations.

There is no doubt in my mind that John 7:53 to 8:11 was not written by the apostle John. Thus, my translation gives a footnote as to why, and has the story in the back. Does your copy have it in the back?  My translation of John can be downloaded directly by clicking here.

Assertion: The KJV is not any less readable than modern translations.

My Response: Anecdotally, this is definitely not the case. Take any group of 100 people and have them read the book of Leviticus in both the New International Version and the King James Version. I guarantee you the vast majority, if not every single one of them, would tell you that the NIV is easier to read.

I have a software program called “Grammatik,” a grammar, style, and spelling checker for the Macintosh. I took the passage John 6:1 – John 7:52 out of the KJV, the NIV, and the DRP (my own translation), and ran the program to analyze for readability, and to get word statistics. To make it a pure test, I first removed extraneous items like subject headings and verse numbers. Thus only the actual English writing of the actual words of scripture is analyzed. Here are the results. It is a less than perfect test, since it takes only a small sample, but I did enough typing as it is!

Flesch Reading Ease: KJV- 85; NIV-85; DRP-82
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level: KJV- 5; NIV- 5; DRP- 6
Gunning’s Fog Index: KJV- 8; NIV- 8; DRP- 9
No. of Sentences: KJV- 164; NIV- 163; DRP- 164
Words in Sentences: KJV- 15.2; NIV- 14.9; DRP- 15.7
No. of Words: KJV- 2,500; NIV- 2,436; DRP- 2,579
Letters in Words: KJV- 3.96; NIV- 3.9; DRP- 3.98
Syllables in Words: KJV- 1.26; NIV- 1.26; DRP- 1.29

Of course, the software is limited by its programmed parameters. It does not know, for example, that people no longer speak adding the “eth” suffix for present tense, and therefore might find that hard to understand. Nor does it realize that many people do not understand words like “whither,” or “even” meaning “evening.” It also probably does not know what to do with oddities of the KJV, like how it often violates rules of English grammar.

For example, it capitalizes words that are not at the beginning of a sentence: (John 6:16-17) And when even was now come, his disciples went down unto the sea, And entered into a ship,

And on the other hand, it does NOT capitalize words that ARE at the beginning of a sentence: (John 6:42) And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven? (John 6:68) Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.

And it uses incorrect parts of speech, like an adjective modifying a verb, instead of an adverb doing so. (John 7:8) Go ye up unto this feast: I go not up yet unto this feast; for my time is not yet full come.

Furthermore, in the KJV, the scripture is put at the mercy of the verse numbers that were not inspired by God, but added much later. Thus, the verse numbers break up sentences, and break up the flow of thought. This is because the KJV makes every verse a new paragraph, even though a new verse is often still part of the same sentence as the previous verse! On the other hand, the formation of true paragraphs along with the addition of subject headings in newer translations, makes the line of thought easier to follow.

Here is a short list of obsolete words from the KJV:

– chambering (Rom 13:13)
– churl (Isa 32:7)
– cockatrice (Isa 11:8)
– cotes (2 Chr 32:28)
– wot (Rom 11:2)
– wist (Acts 12:9)
– sackbut (Dan 3:5)
– brigadine (Jer 46:4)
– amerce (Deut 22:19)
– crookbackt (Lev 21:20)
– habergeon (Job 41:26)
– the scall (Lev 13:30)
– superfluity of naughtiness (James 1:21)
(Examples from Dr. Ed. Palmer.)

Here is an example of where the KJV wording means something the precise OPPOSITE of what was intended if read by a modern reader:

[2 Thess 2:7 KJV] …he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.

[2 Thess 2:7 NIV] …the one who now holds it back will continue to do
so until he is taken out of the way.

Some more examples (from Jack Lewis). What do these verses seem to say to a modern reader?

[Psalm 5:6 KJV] Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing.

[1 Kings 11:1 KJV] Solomon loved many strange women.

[Ezekiel 27:25 KJV] The ships of Tarshish did sing of thee in thy market.

Here is an example of how KJV partisans behave on this issue:

First check out this link to Wayne Leman’s Bible version poll results. The poll question is Which English Bible version has wordings closest to how you normally speak and write?

According to this poll, 10% of the people voting claim that the King James Version is the English Bible version that has wordings closest to how they normally speak and write. According to the poll results at the time I posted this, there had been 4,000 votes, so that makes 400 people.

Did these 400 people:

1.) honestly have the opinion that the KJV is written in the manner in which they themselves speak and write every day?

2.) constitute illiterate people who could not read the poll instructions?

3.) vote dishonestly in order to promote their agenda?


One web site responds to the following email from Jerry Falwell: FALWELL’S SECOND E-MAIL TO OUR READER

Subject: Re: TV show- 8/15/98 Date: Mon, 17 Aug 1998 21:50:49 EDT From:

S—–, I did misunderstand you. I agree…The KJV is the best of the versions, in my opinion. But, I am unwilling to say that all Bibles prior to 1611… or all Bibles in other than the English language… are inferior. God bless. Jerry Falwell

The web site author responds: “Didn’t nobody ask him about Bibles before 1611 and didn’t nobody ask him about foreign language Bibles. The question was about modern ENGLISH corruptions. He is so scared of what people will think of him that he WON’T think straight. He purposely side-steps the issue. Anybody who is looking for the truth, cannot help but see that there ain’t no comparison between the King James Bible and the modern corruptions. Mr. Jerry “Sellout” Falwell, instead of evading the issue, you need to take a good look at the facts and stop worrying about what your followers (or should I say customers?) will think or say. Sellout.

Response: She appears to believe that sinister workers of Satan have removed words from the Greek text, out of theological bias. But in fact, the opposite can usually be shown to be true. Generally speaking, the authentic Greek reading is the shorter one, and monks both unintentionally, or intentionally with a theological axe to grind, added words to the Greek text that they were reproducing. For example, the apostle Paul warns us in Colossians 2:18 against those whose puffed up minds have imaginations about angels, and worship angels. Some passages about angels were added to the Greek text later. See these examples: Luke 22:43-44; John 5:4.

Or another way that things got added to the text was that notes, comments, or reminders written to the side of a manuscript, got mistakenly copied into the manuscript by the scribe who was copying it.

But concerning translations into other languages, this sister SHOULD be considering them, because they are completely pertinent. Here is how. She is of the belief that only the Textus Receptus edition of the Greek manuscripts is correct, and that the others (the United Bible Societies’ 4th Edition, and the Nestle-Aland 27th Edition) are works of Satan, and thus also translations based on them, such as the New American Standard, are works of Satan, and that people who advocate them, are workers of Satan. But what she does not realize, is that she has in effect labeled the vast majority of Christian missionaries today, as workers of Satan. You see, there are 5,000 languages in the world, requiring their own Bible translation. And since Revelation 5:9 says that the church consists of believers from all languages and tribes, God’s people are making an effort to translate God’s word into every one of those 5,000 languages. The two largest organizations involved in this translation effort, are Wycliffe Bible Translators, and New Tribes Mission. Since I myself have been trained by both those organizations, and am personally acquainted with many of their Bible translators (my parents being two of them), I know that what I am going to tell you is true. These organizations do not use only the Textus Receptus as their basis for their work of translating the Bible into those other languages. Many of those missionaries use the UBS and Nestle-Aland editions, or English translations such as the New American Standard, and other translations based on the UBS and N-A Greek editions.

I think this sister would agree with me, that it is a work of the Holy Spirit to take the gospel and God’s word to every tribe and language in the world. And Christ IS building his church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. But she has, unwittingly perhaps, labeled this effort, or at least those doing the effort, as “workers of Satan” and “reprobate humans.” I urge her and all others of her opinion, in the name of Jesus our Lord, to ponder Mark 3:21-30. There, some humans stated that Jesus’ work of casting out demons, was the work of Satan. And Jesus said that by crediting Satan for a work that was actually being done by the Holy Spirit, they had committed blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, and would never be forgiven for it. Shouldn’t you be more hesitant before you label people “workers of Satan” and “sellouts” and “reprobate humans?” Because I tell you, it appears to finite, human me, that she and others are in danger of blaspheming the Holy Spirit, if not already doing it. And I think that I have the Spirit of God.

Like I said, I personally know many, many Bible translators who are doing God’s work of Bible translation, and not using only the Textus Receptus. For people to call them workers of Satan, or reprobate humans, is truly mistaken. I know these Bible translators, and I know they are led by the Holy Spirit. I cannot say the same about many of the “KJV-only” people I have met. Some of them are very mean, and malicious. And, in my opinion, ignorant and prideful. The Bible tells us that malice and pride are works of the flesh, not of the Spirit. Also, divisiveness is not a work of the Holy Spirit, but of Satan.

If you believe the UBS and NA Greek editions of the Greek text are “hybrid mixtures,” don’t you know that the Textus Receptus also is a hybrid mixture? You see, of the roughly 5,000 Greek Manuscripts of the New Testament, not one is identical to any other.

This one is not really a rebuttal, but, At 08:45 AM 5/12/00 Joe Trinkle of Australia wrote:

Dear Brother Dave, Thanks so much for taking the time to reply to me on the KJO issue.  I am glad to hear you say that it is passe to assume that new versions rely heavily on Westcort and Hort (and therefore also the 2 codexes).

Well, I wouldn’t quite say I said that. What I said was that the modern Greek editions differ quite a lot from the Westcott and Hort text; but the modern Greek editions like the United Bible Societies’ 4th Edition, are still closer to Codices Vaticanus and Sinaiticus than is the Majority text, and also the Textus Receptus.

Here is an example of where my translation of the gospel of Luke differs from the text of Westcott and Hort. Mine includes Luke 24:12, whereas Westcott and Hort’s text deletes that verse.  Also, the Alexandrian texts are erroneous in the genealogies, in both Matthew and Luke.  Mine follow the “Majority Text” in those instances.

I have been trying to look into the issues, and a lot of KJO material seens to attack the credibility of the codexes (ie some suggest Origen tampered with them etc).

I view what they say with great skepticism. I have read some of the main books by some of their main spokespeople, and was not at all impressed with their evidence, or even with their carefulness to only tell the truth. That said, I do not really know whether Origen tampered with the two codices or not; I suppose it is possible, but I doubt it.

I do know, however, that Origen was responsible for some of the readings of the Textus Receptus, where that differs from Codices Vaticanus and Sinaiticus.  For example, in John 1:28, the Textus Receptus says “Bethabara” where the Critical Text says “Bethany.”  Origen himself comments on this, that he wanted to standardize the text as Bethabara, even though, he admits, “most manuscripts say Bethany.”  He did this for two reasons, one, that he could find no village named Bethany that was beyond the Jordan river, and two, that he liked the Hebrew etymology of Bethabara better.  (He was mistaken about the etymology.)

So people must realize that the Textus Receptus and the King James Version are not always based on the Majority Text.  Another way that the Textus Receptus differs from the Majority Text in John chapter one, is that the TR has 52 verses, and both the Majority Text and the Critical Text have 51 verses.  Also keep in mind, that the people who yell the loudest about these issues are usually the people who know the least about it.

I do wonder though, just how much the codexes are used in textual criticism. – ie are they given more authority/credibility because of their age than the majority text group manuscript?

Yes, they are given authority/credibility because of their age.  Yet, they clearly have some erroneous readings, but so do the Byzantine “majority” manuscripts.  (Codex Sinaiticus has MANY blunders; but of the obvious kind; that is, we can often still tell what was meant to be there.) It is not an “either / or” situation, as far as as the Alexandrian versus the Byzantine text streams.  The strong point of these two codices is that they resisted the adding of material from apocryphal sources, unlike what you find in the Byzantine stream.  For example, Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus do not contain the part in John 5:4 about the angel taking a bath in the pool (as if angels take baths!).  Then, some manuscripts a little later than these two, say at the end of verse 3, and then also add verse 4: “…, waiting for the movement of the water. For an angel of the Lord from time to time would bathe in the pool, and stir up the water. So the first one getting down in after the stirring of the water would be healed, whatever disease he had formerly been afflicted with.” Then manuscripts subsequent to those, appear to have replaced the clearly absurd “bathing” by the angel with “an angel would come down into,” in place of “would bathe in..” There should not be any doubt that this passage was not in the original gospel of John.

And the Byzantine texts are very harmonized in the gospels.

The Codices Sinaiticus and Vaticanus were done in the 4th century, in all capital letters, no spaces between words and sentences, and little or no punctuation. It was easier to make mistakes in that circumstance, than later in centuries. Also, there was more persecution stressing the copyist. In addition, in the 4th century the Greek language had changed much in pronunciation since the time of Christ. The scribes of Sinaitucs and Vaticanus had to deal with more “allophones,” that is, different vowels and dipthongs that were now pronounced the same, but different in meaning and part of speech. So when one person read the original manuscript to the scribe who was writing down a copy, it was easier to make a mistake in hearing/receiving what had been meant in the saying.

One thing the KJV-only people seem to ignore is that the number of N.T. Greek manuscripts that are older than the “majority text,”  is not at all limited to just those two codices. The Bodmer Papyri, such as Papyrus 66 and Papyrus 75, and the Chester Beatty papyri, agree pretty much with those two codices against the majority text, and these papyri are even older than the codices. We have one papyrus, Papyrus 52, that is dated the year 125. That is older than the oldest manuscript of the majority text by several hundred years. Surely this great a difference in age has to count for something.

I personally give the two codices Vaticanus and Sinaiticus some weight, because of the fact that they have resisted the additions made to the text by other manuscripts.  For example, the “Longer Ending of the Gospel of Mark,” chapter 16, verses 9-20, is not found in these two codices.  This is impressive to me when it comes to reliability, since there is no doubt in my mind that Mark did not author this passage.  For a discussion of this, see the end note in my translation of the gospel of Mark, which can be downloaded by clicking here.

F. H. A. Scrivener declared that that all of the most severe corruptions of scripture took place in the first 100 years after the originals, his declaration is absolutely true, and agreed with by all real N.T. Greek textual scholars including those on opposite sides, like I’m sure both Bart Ehrman and Maurice Robinson.

Take for example the “longer ending of the Gospel of Mark,” chapter 16, verses 9-20. Eusebius of Caesarea, a church father who died in the year 339, said, in “Questiones ad Marinum” published by Cardinal Mai, in his “Nova Patrum Bibliotheca” (Romae, 1847,) vol. IV, pp. 255-7 the following, when discussing a proposed contradiction between the gospels of Matthew and Mark:

“For, on the one hand, the person who rejects the passage itself – the pericope which says this – might say that it does not appear in all copies of the Gospel of Mark. Or at least, the ACCURATE COPIES delineate the history according to Mark with the words of the young man who appeared to the women and said to them, “Do not fear. You are seeking Jesus the Nazarene” and so forth, proceeding to where it says, ‘And having heard, they fled, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.’

“For in this way the ENDING of the Gospel according to Mark is defined in NEARLY ALL THE COPIES. The material that comes next seldom appears; it is in some copies but not in all, and may be spurious, especially since it implies a contradiction to the witness of the other Gospels. This, then, is what someone might say to avoid and completely do away with a superfluous question.

“On the other hand, someone else, who dares to set aside nothing at all which appears, by whatever means, in the text of the gospels, says that the reading, like many others, is double, and each of the two must be accepted,in that they are approved in the opinion of the faithful and pious; not this one instead of that one, or that one rather than this one.

“Well then, allowing this portion [of Mark] to be really authentic, our business is to interpret the sense of the passage.”

End Quoation of Eusebius.

We see several things from the above quotion of Eusebius. That Eusebius did not believe the longer ending of Mark really authentic. That is shown also in the “Eusebian Sections” by which he numbered and divided sections of the Bible. Eusebius allowed only for the sake of argument that it was really authentic. He never contradicted those statements that it was spurious, and omitted in “almost all the copies” of Mark.

We see from the above that scribes were far more afraid to OMIT anything, however suspect it was, than to ADD something to the text. Which explains why the Greek manuscripts got longer and longer over time. This is another prop for the tenet, that the shorter reading is generally to be preferred. Even generally the shorter manuscript is to be preferred. You see, if a scribe set out to re-produce a manuscript, and he saw comments in the margin, he incorporated them in the text, because he was too afraid to omit anything. This is how many corruptions entered the Byzantine stream of text, and many streams of text. Corruptions got added to the Byzantine stream also from liturgical marginal notes and lectionary material. The most common textual corruption in the Byzantine manuscripts is the addition of the word “Amen.”

We see that, since Eusebius indicates that people in the 4th century stated that the Gospel of Mark ended at verse 16:8 in “almost all the copies”, it bolsters the reputation of the two or three manuscripts currently extant which omit the long ending of Mark, and these must therefore be considered the most significant manuscripts for consideration.

Thus we can say, that though a majority of late copies now contain the longer ending of Mark, the “majority text” used to omit it. What value is there, then, in a “majority text” derived from counting up only the recent and late copies, when in the 3rd and 4th centuries, the majority of manuscripts read so differently from the present majority?

The conclusion is, most Textual Criticism scholars agree, we must “weigh” each manuscript and witness, not “count” them. Thus, the testimony of Codex Vaticanus is perhaps equal in importance to the combined testimony of 4,000 cursives from the much later centuries. And in fact, that is why the footnotes in the NA27 Greek New Testament will list “B,” and then a few other early manuscripts, and then the Gothic “M” for the Byzantine majority. The Byzantine majority certainly is one consideration, but it is about equal to Codex Vaticanus all by itself in importance.

Some interpreters of this Eusebius passage make a point something along these lines: that Eusebius was only quoting other people’s statement that the longer ending of Mark was absent from most of the copies, and thus we cannot say for certain that it was a fact that it was so absent. But would Eusebius really allow such a weighty statement to go uncontradicted, if the statement were not true? I think it is obvious that he would not. Thus it is safe to conclude that it was common knowledge, and accepted as fact in the 4th century, that most Greek manuscripts at the time, did not contain Mark 16:9-20.

What do you make of the reliability of the codexes? Is it true that sinaticus (i think) has had some 10 different people modify it at different times?

Codex Sinaiticus and Papyrus 66 were indeed “corrected” several times. This is not a secret. The United Bible Societies’ Greek New Testament shows clearly in footnotes when the original readings of Codex Sinaiticus or Papyrus 66 differ from the “first corrector” and the “second corrector, etc. ” Praise God for modern textual forensics: the technology exists and is put to use, such as chemical reagents and ultra-violet lamps, to detect what was originally written on the vellum or papyrus, versus what was written on it after the original was rubbed out. There is no need for fear of conspiracies to cover this up, or fear that we cannot know what was originally on these manuscripts. As to the number of “10 different people modifying” them, there is difference of opinion among scholars as to the number of correctors. Somewhere from 3 to 10. By the way, many of the older manuscripts that are the basis of the “Majority Text” also have correctors.

Is it true that one of the 2 codexes was available to the KJ translators but they refused to use it on grounds of unreliability?

No, not true. That is a fiction invented by KJV-only people. None of the manuscripts available to the KJ translators was older than the 10th century. Codex Siniaticus, for example, was discovered in 1859, so the KJV translators certainly did not have access to that one. The KJV translators did not have access to the Bodmer Papyri, or the Chester Beatty papyri. There is evidence that Erasmus was given a list of some particular passages from Codex Vaticanus that Erasmus had requested; but Erasmus did not have access to Vaticanus itself. One certainly cannot say that the KJV translators or Erasmus “rejected Codices Sinaiticus and Vaticanus.”

Another issue concerning the KJ translators, is that they did not have access to as much Bible-era literature in general. For example, the KJ translators could not figure out what English word to use to translate the Hebrew word “pim.” That was because there was only one known occurrence of it in any literature in the world, and that was in the Bible in 1 Samuel 13:21. So they took a guess, from the context of the Samuel passage, about Israelite farmers taking their farming tools to Philistine blacksmiths to be sharpened, that the word meant “file,” the tool. This guess, though, we now know was wrong. Because in the early 1900’s, archaeologists found in Palestine some sets of weights, having Hebrew words inscripted on them. One of the words was the Hebrew word “pim.” This shows that a “pim” was the name for one of those measurements of weight, eight grams. So now, modern translations of the Bible correctly state that the Philistines charged the Israelites one “pim” in exchange for sharpening a plowshare or a mattock.

Also in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, thousands of papyrus documents in the Greek language of the time of Christ, were discovered in the dry sands of Egypt, an environment in which the material does not rot or deteriorate as rapidly. These documents, concerning all sorts of everyday concerns, such as personal letters, merchant receipts, shed much new light on the meanings of the Greek words of Jesus’ time. From them we know that the Greek of the New Testament was quite different from the Greek of the earlier Greek classical writers. This is another reason why the King James version is not likely to be as accurate as some of the better recent translations.

Just one other question David. We often hear that the Word of God is the bible we have (be it the NIV,NASB,NRSA,KJV etc). And we are also told that the Word of God (ie  is absolute truth, totally reliable, inerrant and infallible. Is it really honest to make such claims about our bible when we realise that our 5000 greek manuscripts are all different and we can only really be 100% sure of 95% of the text?. Would it be more honest to say that 95% of our bible is inerrant, the other 5% (which is usually in footnotes in modern translations) is questionable?  It doesn’t sound good i know, but isn’t this the way it really is?

I note that the vast majority of the variances are not doctrinally significant. The only ones that come to mind that might be, is the ending of Mark, and the passages in Matthew and Mark on how one kind of demon can only be made to go out by prayer, versus prayer AND fasting.

I have made available, on my links page, a paper written by Brian T. Bennett, a Sunday School teacher in the states, concerning this issue. It is a Microsoft Word for Windows document, compressed by WinZip.

On June 21st, 2000, Joe Trinkle of Australia wrote:

Hi David….. I was just wondering what you make of Dr Hills argument in “The King James Version Defended” for the Traditional Text based on the doctrine of preservation… He argues that the bible can not be viewed as other ancient manuscripts when it comes to textual criticism as God has promised to preserve it -So the manuscripts that have been used most and have a sense of continuity should be given more weight (ie the Majority Text type). Joe.

Joe, thanks for your question.

Well, that argument has a logic to it. It sounds good. But, wait. If the fact something has been around, widely circulated and accepted for a long time, makes it blessed and approved by God, then what about other long-standing traditions? Is everything the Roman Catholic church or anything else any church has believed for a long time, valid solely because it is widely spread and accepted? I think not. So, that argument is one giving weight to tradition, and nothing more.

The “older and better manuscripts” may be older, but not better. Codex Vaticaus (B), for example, is corrupt. The reason it was in such good shape, is that it was cast aside as no good.

My Response
Codex Vaticanus, on the contrary, is more accurate, and closer to the original autographs than is the Textus Receptus. Take for example the gospel of Mark. The Textus Receptus contains what is known as “the longer ending of Mark,” which contains verses that contradict the gospel of Luke. Codex Vaticanus also does not include the story of the Woman Caught in Adultery, John 7:53-8:11.  This story is most certainly not originally written by the apostle John.  Click this link to see my notes in my translation of the gospel of John.

Back to the “longer ending of the gospel of Mark.” Though Codices Vaticanus and Sinaiticus are the only Greek manuscripts surviving today that omit verses 9-20, Eusebius of Caesarea, who died in the year 339, said in “Ad Marinum” that “almost all the copies” ended Mark at verse 8, like Vaticanus and Sinaiticus. Not only that, he said they were the accurate copies, the ones that omitted it.

This shows the value of Codices Vaticanus, and Sinaiticus. That they show us what the Greek text was like in the 4th century, which is more important than what it developed into later. Thus, what value is there in a “majority text” derived from counting up only the recent and late copies, when in the 3rd and 4th centuries, the majority of manuscripts read so differently than the present majority?

The conclusion is, most Textual Criticism scholars agree, we must “weigh” each manuscript and witness, not “count” them. Thus, the testimony of Codex Vaticanus is more important than the testimony of 4,000 cursives from the much later centuries.

This is what I have maintained for some time; that scribes were far more afraid to OMIT anything, however suspect it was, than to ADD something to the text.

Which is another prop for the tenet, that the shorter reading is generally to be preferred; it has that going for it, that scribes were more afraid to remove anything than to add something.

I was recently referred to John William Burgon, and his book, “The last twelve verses of the Gospel according to S. Mark vindicated against recent critical objectors established., pp. 41-51. In it Burgon attempts to lessen the impact of the testimony of Eusebius and Jerome about the the longer ending of Mark not being found in the accurate copies, and being absent in almost all the copies of Mark.

Burgon spends some time questioning the authenticity of the document provided by Cardinal Mai entitled “Quaestiones ad Marinum,” and its quotations of Eusebius. Why? Because it appears to be a CONDENSED version of Eusebius, Burgon says. But then, on p. 44, Burgon says, “Let it, however, be candidly admitted that there seems to be no reason for supposing that whenever the lost work of Eusebius comes to light, (and it has been seen within about 300 years,) it will exhibit anything essentially different from what is contained in the famous passage which has given rise to so much debate,…”

Ok, so reading all that questioning of the authenticity of the Eusebius quotations was a waste of my precious time.

In the succeeding pages, Burgon’s main point seems to be that Eusebius is playing Devil’s advocate, that “some may say that…” Well, Eusebius does not contradict or refute or dismiss those statements from such advocate.

Burgon’s purpose was to show that Eusebius did not question the authenticity of the passage. In fact, Burgon himself quotes Eusebius, on p. 45, where Eusebius says about the last 12 verses of Mark, “Well then, allowing this portion to be really genuine, our business is to interpret the sense of the passage.” (KAI DH TOUDE MEROUS SUGCWROUMENOU EINAI ALHQOUS, PROSHKEI TON NOUN DIEREMHNEUEIN TOU ANAGNWSMATOS)

Thus, Burgon himself shows us that Eusebius did in fact question the authenticity of the longer ending of Mark. Eusebius only allows for the sake of argument that it is “really genuine.” That does not sound to me like Eusebius believed it to be genuine.

Peter Ruckman

Peter Ruckman is one of the second generation of the fathers of KJV Onlyism.

In The Christian’s Handbook of Biblical Scholarship, pp. 271-272, Peter Ruckman claims: “The King James Bible was `given by inspiration of God.'”

“A short handbook, such as this, will not permit an exhaustive account of the marvelous undesigned `coincidences’ which have slipped through the A.V. 1611 committees, unawares to them, and which give advanced light, and advanced revelation beyond the investigation of the greatest Bible students 300 year later”
The Christian’s Handbook of Manuscript Evidence, Peter Ruckman, Pensacola Bible Press, 1970, p. 127

“We shall deal with the English Text of the Protestant Reformation, and our references to Greek or Hebrew will only be made to enforce the authority of that text or to demonstrate the superiority of that text to Greek and Hebrew.”
(Preface, Problem Texts, Peter Ruckman, Pensacola Bible Institute Press, 1980, p. vii).

“The King James test is the last and final statement that God has given to the world, and He has given it in the universal language of the 20th century … The truth is that God slammed the door of revelation shut in 389 BC and slammed it shut again in 1611.”
The Monarch of Books, Peter Ruckman, Pensacola, 1973, p. 9

As you can see, Ruckman and his disciples elevate the translators of the King James Version above the original apostles and prophets!  This heresy is where King James Onlyism ultimately leads.

Notice that he actually says, that the English words of the King James Version are more accurate than the Hebrew and Greek.  This is laughable, but, alas, it is not really funny, because many people, professing Christians, apparently agree with him.

Ruckman is bold in a bad way.  He says that the door of revelations slammed shut again in 1611.  But, on what basis does he believe it was still open before 1611?  Equally without authority is the notion that it shut in 1611.

My Rebuttals of Gail Riplinger

My Responses to her video entitled, ‘New Age Bible Versions’

Ms. Riplinger believes that there is a New Age conspiracy to corrupt the Bible, and that it has been going on for centuries, comprising for example, the makers of the Alexandrian Greek manuscripts of the New Testament, papyri and codices produced in the 2nd through 4th centuries. Now I am not one of those who dismiss believers in conspiracies as nutty. In fact, I declare that those who say that there are no conspiracies, they are the nutty ones. We don’t have the word “conspiracy” in the language for no reason. And the Bible tells us that there is a conspiracy of evil, in II Thessalonians 2:7, “For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way.” (NIV)

Thus I am sympathetic to her to begin with. I am a Christian also, and I too am zealous to preserve and defend the Bible.

But the problem with conspiracy theories, is they are hard or impossible to prove. I will now give an example, that is typical of Ms. Riplinger’s whole approach to evidence. She showed something she found in a Sunday News Supplement. She put up a transparency of a photograph from the newspaper that showed a girl selling a t-shirt with writing on it. I, the author of this page, kept putting my VCR on pause so that I could carefully write down exactly what she and the t-shirt said. The shirt said:

“Living as one planet,
under one _____
a new world.”

(The part above that is represented as a blank line, is blank, because there was a motor scooter in front of the t-shirt, and its handlebars were covering up that word.)

Now following is what Ms. Riplinger said on her video about this transparency, starting with where she was reading the t-shirt.

“Living as one planet, under one…what? Under one, what? That was covered up, and I didn’t wanna go out and buy the shirt to find out what it was, but I’d read the Bible, so I knew what it was, it was ‘under one leader, under one ruler, a new world.’ Okay.”

Did she really know what that covered up word was, on the t-shirt? No, she did not. Yet she declared in a very flat sure manner, that she knew what it said, “because she’d read the Bible.”

Here is an example of circumstantial evidence, from her video. She put up a transparency of a picture of a 19th-century woman influential in “theosophy,” in which the woman is holding her right hand up against her chest. Then, she put up a picture of evangelist Pat Robertson, in which he is holding his hand up against his chest in a fairly similar way. I got the impression Ms. Riplinger meant to imply that Mr. Robertson is therefore a theosophist! That is one of the worst attempts at circumstantial evidence I have ever seen.  Would you want to be a defendant in a court in which Ms. Riplinger is prosecutor? Would you like Ms. Riplinger’s followers to be your jurors?

She listed references from the New International Version where the latest edition of that version no longer says “the LORD,” but now says “the Name.” The context of this, shows that her intent was to link the NIV to a conspiracy to get people in church to betray or arrest Christians who will not take “the name” of the beast on their right hands or foreheads. Is Ms. Riplinger really that unaware of the meaning of “the LORD”? Yes, she really is. Because in another place in the video, Ms. Riplinger makes a big point about the superiority of the KJV in that it uses the word “Jehovah” a total of exactly seven times. (Although I could only find four: in Exodus 6:3, Psalm 83:18, Isaiah 12:2, and Isaiah 26:4). She is apparently completely unaware that the Hebrew underlying “the LORD” and “Jehovah” are the same, the Tetragrammaton, YHVH, which appears many more times than seven. She is also oblivious to all the Jews around her, I guess. She does not know that Judaism substitutes the words “the Name” (ha-Shem) for the Tetragrammaton. This by the way, is ammunition for my long-time assertion that it is bad translation to put anything in the Bible for YHVH other than YHVH or Yahweh. It is simply misleading; for example, it leads to erroneous conclusions like these of Ms. Riplinger’s. (And the King James Version also has “the Name.”)

She listed places where the KJV says “the” something, and the NIV says “a” something instead. From this she was alleging that in the NIV everything is indefinite. Now, this is meaningless, unless you also tabulate the other direction. Ms. Riplinger, now list all the places where the KJV says “a” something, but the NIV says “the” at the same place. The meaning of the presence or absence of the definite article in the Biblical languages is one of the harder things to interpret. The experts do not agree on particular passages quite often. Ms. Riplinger certainly does not know how to interpret the article.

She makes sweeping statements about newer translations, that a doctrine is “entirely omitted from the Bible,” because they do not have a verse in one of the gospel accounts that the King James does. Yet, the same newer translations DO have that teaching in one of the other gospels. So how is that doctrine “entirely omitted”? One of the main causes of additions being made to the Bible, was when copyists added a verse to a gospel to make it harmonize with one of the other gospels. The KJV translators were certainly aware of this. In fact, in a real, original 1611 KJV, they put notes in the margin indicating when this happened. You can actually view a scan of one such marginal note, on the internet. The KJV translators included Luke 17:36, even though they admit in their marginal note, that most of the Greek manuscripts lack it. If you want to see a scan of that margin note, click here, then click the “back” arrow in the upper left of your screen.

Ms. Riplinger says that new translations are “antichrist” because they have taken out the phrase “is come in the flesh.” She points out that in I John 4:3, the KJV says, “And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist…” But that the NIV says, “but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist.” (By the way, Ms. Riplinger, note that the NIV has “the” antichrist here, and the KJV does not have “the.” Does that mean the KJV is indefinite? That is the argument you used about the NIV.)

But this is really absurd. The NIV does have the phrase “is come in the flesh,” TWICE.

1 John 4:2-3 “This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ HAS COME IN THE FLESH is from God. But every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist,….”

2 John 1:7 “Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus as COMING IN THE FLESH, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist.”

You may as well never believe her when she declares that a new translation “entirely omits” a doctrine. Her statements are almost always false. Who is a deceiver?

I had originally been planning to rebut more of Ms. Riplinger’s video, but I have decided that it really doesn’t deserve the time and space. I was appalled by her selectiveness and dishonesty. For example, she states that the Dead Sea Scrolls support and confirm the text underlying the King James Version throughout. This is simply not true. Sometimes, the Septuagint reading is confirmed over the KJV. But, these people are so out of the know, that they say that the Septuagint did not exist. They don’t even know that the King James Version translators, whom she and her ilk say were correct and practically inspired, say in some of their introductory statements that the Septuagint existed in the time of Christ.

Furthermore, Ms. Riplinger shoots herself in the foot, by knocking the Dead Sea Scrolls in one part of her video, saying they are cultish and evil, and not to be trusted, but in the same video, citing the Dead Sea Scrolls as validating the King James Version! This is the kind of laughable inconsistency you will find throughout her works. Don’t waste your time by buying her video or her book.

There is a man named David Cloud, who is one of her own kind as far as believing that the King James Version is the only preserved and perfect word of God in the English language. But even he calls her “a slanderer and a liar.”

Here is a pdf article that documents Gail Riplinger’s lies about her 3 marriages. It also exposes how she is not a scholar at all. It is a 5.38 MB pdf. Click this link to download Gail Riplinger article- right click with your mouse and choose “save as” or “save link as.”

Click here to read an “NIV Bible Quiz” written by a King James Onlyist.

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