Consider the following scenario: A new Bible version has just come out. This version is translated from the same Hebrew and Greek manuscripts as the King James Version. Yet in some passages, the translators did not utilize a literal word-for-word translation method; instead, they utilized a dynamic equivalence technique that used modern idioms and colloquialisms. In doing so, they added words that are not in the original and did not indicate (by using italics or brackets or some other method) that these added words are not in the original. But that’s not all. These modern colloquialisms use God’s holy name in vain. The translators also de-masculinized (emasculated) God the Holy Spirit by at times translating the personal pronoun that refers to the Holy Spirit as the neuter “it” instead of the masculine “he.” In addition, the translators translated the Greek word for a Jewish holy day into a Romish-pagan holiday. And it also becomes known that one of the translators was a drunkard who was known to say that today he is a child of the devil and tomorrow he will make himself a child of God.
What would be a reaction to such a Bible version from those who believe that the King James Version is the only legitimate Bible translation (otherwise known as KJV-Only advocates)? Would there be an uproar? Would there be articles and books and letters and web sites against such a translation?
But wait – this scenario describes a translation that actually exists. And it is the KING JAMES VERSION ITSELF! In stark contrast with the uproar the KJV-Only advocates make over the “modern versions,” there exists no uproar among the KJV-Only advocates about the KJV, which contains the same kinds of errors as most of the modern versions. There exists a clear double-standard in the KJV-Only camp. This article attempts to expose a small portion of this hypocrisy.
We must first establish what the “KJV-Only” position is. KJV-Only advocates come in many different stripes, from the more moderate advocates who believe that, although the KJV is not infallible, it is the only English-language version that is true to the original, to the extreme advocates who believe that the KJV is the one and only perfect, infallible, and even inspired translation. Their theology ranges from Arminianism to Calvinism (and, as we will see, their KJV-Only position unifies them in spiritual fornication). What all KJV-Only advocates have in common is that the King James Version of the Bible (also known as the “Authorized Version”) is the only English-language version that is true to the original, that it is the only one that should be used in preaching, teaching, and Bible study, and that every other version without exception that has come out since the KJV is to be rejected (for some of the reasons into which this article will go).
We must next establish the fact that this article is not against the use of the KJV altogether. The KJV, for the most part, is a good translation of the Bible, and it is fine to use it where it is not in error. However, we are against certain passages in the KJV; the KJV contains some egregious errors that need to be pointed out so they can be avoided. This article will point out the egregious errors with which we are familiar (there may be more), but it will be in the context of showing that the KJV-Only advocates are engaged in hypocrisy when they fault the other versions for the same kinds of errors that exist in the KJV.
We must also establish the fact that much of what the KJV-Only advocates have to say against most of the “modern versions” is valid criticism. We, too, decry the “dynamic equivalence” philosophy and method of translation. We, too, believe that versions such as the New International Version and the Living Bible are horrendous, God-dishonoring translations and should be avoided because they are not literal word-for-word translations. We believe that wherever a translation is not based on a word-for-word translation philosophy, it should be discarded in those places. Yet the KJV-Only advocates will not use the same standard to judge their own version, as we will see.
The phrase “modern versions” needs to briefly be addressed. One often sees this phrase or similar phrases when reading KJV-Only material. The KJV-Only advocates make a distinction between the King James Version (the “only true version”) and all other versions that have come after the King James Version (the “modern versions”). Many of the so-called “modern versions” are not so modern anymore, but this terminology continues to be used. The phrase “modern versions” can also be misleading, because all versions since the KJV, whether or not these newer versions were based on the same manuscripts as the KJV and whether or not these newer versions use the word-for-word translation technique, are all lumped together into the “modern versions” lump.
The KJV-Only advocates usually divide their denunciations of the “modern versions” into two areas. The first area is the textual area. This involves the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts that are used in translation. We have no problem with the view that translations based on corrupt manuscripts are corrupt. This article will not address the textual area, since the rejection of certain versions based on textual criteria is valid. Yet the KJV-Only advocates would even reject versions that are based on the exact same manuscripts as the KJV and that are word-for-word translations. This gets into the second area, which is the translational area. This involves the overall translation philosophy and method as well as specific individual examples of translational errors. We will start with this area.
According to the KJV-Only advocates, one of the main reasons the King James Version is the only valid translation and all other “modern versions” are to be rejected is because the KJV is a totally, thoroughly, 100% word-for-word translation (with any additions for clarity inserted in italics), while all other “modern versions” are, to some degree, based on a “dynamic equivalence” philosophy and method. The word-for-word translation method (known as “verbal equivalence”) is one in which each word in the original is translated as closely as possible into its English equivalent. The “dynamic equivalence” method is one in which the translator gets a “sense” of a passage and then puts this sense into English, not concerned about a word-for-word equivalence but more concerned that the “sense” of the passage has been conveyed to the reader in the reader’s own idiom.
Certainly, the verbal equivalence translation method is the only method that should be used in translation. Any other method comes from a translation philosophy that denies that every single word of the original was inspired. The “dynamic equivalence” method is not a harmless alternative to the “verbal equivalence” method; it strikes at the very heart of the inspiration of Scripture. The “dynamic equivalence” theory that gives rise to the “dynamic equivalence” method is a fundamental denial of the verbal, plenary inspiration of the Scriptures. And we say that anywhere we find such a translation method, we should reject it as a wicked denial of the inspiration of Scripture. The KJV-Only advocates would say they agree with everything thus far in this paragraph. But what about when it comes to their own hallowed translation? After we go into the translation problems of certain passages in the KJV, we will read the KJV-Only advocates’ own words about the difference between the verbal and dynamic equivalence methods and the differences in philosophy behind the different methods; we will then use their own words and apply them to the translation method (and the philosophy behind the method) used in certain passages of the KJV.
As we will see, the KJV-Only advocates sound so strong when it comes to rejection of the “dynamic equivalence” method as evil and acceptance of word-for-word translation as the only method that upholds the truth of the verbal inspiration of the Scriptures. But then comes the test of their conviction: The King James Version contains passages in which the evil “dynamic equivalence” method was utilized. And not only was this method utilized, it was utilized in an extremely egregious manner, as we will see. This might surprise some of our readers.
We will go right into the most egregious and wicked of all the errors in the KJV, which is the translation “God forbid.” The phrase “God forbid” occurs 24 times in the King James Version. It is found nine times in the Old Testament: Genesis 44:7, Genesis 44:17, Joshua 22:29, Joshua 24:16, 1 Samuel 12:23, 1 Samuel 14:45, 1 Samuel 20:2, 1 Chronicles 11:19, and Job 27:5. It is found fifteen times in the New Testament: Luke 20:16, Romans 3:4, Romans 3:6, Romans 3:31, Romans 6:2, Romans 6:15, Romans 7:7, Romans 7:13, Romans 9:14, Romans 11:1, Romans 11:11; 1 Corinthians 6:15; Galatians 2:17, Galatians 3:21, and Galatians 6:14.
Now we ask the readers to get out their Strong’s Concordances. Look up the word “God” and then look for the aforementioned passages under the word “God.” When you find these passages, what is the Strong’s number for the word “God” in each of these passages? In all the Old Testament passages but one, you will find NO NUMBER. Why? Because the Hebrew word for “God” is NOT IN THE ORIGINAL. Look in the original Hebrew text if you don’t believe us. And what of the New Testament passages? There is not one Strong’s number, but TWO, and NEITHER are the Greek word for “God.” The word “God” is NOT IN THE ORIGINAL. Look in the original Greek text if you don’t believe us. The King James translators inserted the word “God” where the Holy Spirit did not inspire the original authors to write God’s name.
The Hebrew word behind the KJV’s “God forbid” is chaliylah, which literally means “far be it from.” Thus, for example, a literal translation of Genesis 44:7b is “Far be it from your servants to do according to this word,” in contrast to the KJV’s dynamic equivalence: “God forbid that thy servants should do according to this thing.” The two Greek words behind the KJV’s “God forbid” are me genoito. The negative participle me means “none,” “never,” “not,” “nor,” “neither,” etc. The verb ginomai (genoito being a form of the verb ginomai) means “to be,” “to be caused to be,” “to come to pass,” “to happen,” “to be performed.” So me genoito literally means “it will never be,”"it will not be,” “may it never be,” “may it not be,” “let it never be,” or “let it not be.” It is the strongest of negations. Thus, for example, a literal translation of Galatians 6:14a is “But may it never be for me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,” in contrast to the KJV’s dynamic equivalence: “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
There is another set of passages in which the King James Version translators used a dynamic equivalence method in which they inserted God’s name where it is not in the original. This is in the phrases “God save the king” and “God save king [king's name]” in 1 Samuel 10:24; 2 Samuel 16:16; 1 Kings 1:25,1 Kings 1:34, 1 Kings 1:39, 2 Kings 11:12; and 2 Chronicles 23:11. Again, we ask the readers to look in their Strong’s Concordances under the word “God” and look up these passages. You will find that there is no Strong’s number because the word “God” does not exist in these passages in the original Hebrew. The Hebrew words behind the KJV’s “God save the king” are chayah melek. The verb chayahmeans “to let live,” “to keep alive,” “to preserve alive.” The noun melek means “king.” So chayah melek literally means “may the king live” or “let the king live.” Thus, for example, a literal translation of 1 Samuel 10:24b is “And all the people shouted and said, May the king live,” in contrast to the KJV’s dynamic equivalence: “And all the people shouted, and said, God save the king.”
There are many things that are deplorable about the translations of the above passages. We have already seen the first, which is that a literal, word-for-word translation method was not used. This means that the translators of these passages did not think that the actual Hebrew and Greek words behind these translations were of utmost importance. They did not believe in the verbal inspiration of chaliylah, me genoito, and chayahmelek. Instead of a verbal equivalence method, they employed a dynamic equivalence, “thought-for-thought” translation. This is the very thing that the KJV-Only advocates say they detest.
The second deplorable thing about the above translations is that, in their dynamic equivalence, the translators used colloquialism and idiom. They translated the Hebrew and Greek words into the colloquial, idiomatic language of the day, with no regard for the original. “God forbid” and “God save the king” were common expressions of the day; the former was a common expression of strong negation, and the latter was a common expression of honor to the king. Instead of translating word-for-word, they used a common expression of strong negation to express the same ideaas “may it never be” and used a common expression of honor to the king as something to express the same idea as “may the king live” without regard to the actual inspired words of the Hebrew and Greek. “God forbid” and “God save the king” are as repulsive as anything the wicked Living Bible came up with. The KJV-Only advocates talk much of the colloquial, idomatic language in decrying the “modern versions” and claim that the KJV does not stoop so low.
The third deplorable thing about the above translations is that they deceive the reader into thinking that these words are in the original. The KJV translators claimed that whenever they added words that were not in the original, they italicized them. This claim is echoed by the KJV-Only advocates. Yet in these passages, there are no italics. Not only were the translators using dynamic equivalence to insert colloquial, idiomatic phrases of the day, they were engaged in deception, leading the readers believe that “God forbid” and “God save the king” are biblical phrases that come from the original texts. This is heinous and insidious.
The fourth deplorable thing about the above translations is that they take God’s name in vain. The translators inserted God’s holy name where the Holy Spirit DID NOT put God’s name, and that is serious business. God said (even in KJV English), “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain” (Exodus 20:7). This includes inserting the holy name of God into a passage of His Word where He did not put it, and it includes using the holy name of God in common, vulgar colloquialisms. And because there is no italicization, this taking of God’s name in vain is seen as biblical adherence to the original Hebrew and Greek, and people are taking God’s name in vain thinking that they are speaking the Word of God. The KJV-Only advocates will go after the “modern versions” regarding the deity of Christ and other passages about God, but they will not repudiate the passages in their own version that take God’s name in vain.
We repudiate and condemn the KJV translation of these phrases. They are evil and repugnant. They have no place in God’s Holy Word. (And we have not even talked about the phrase “God speed,” which is another colloquialism found twice in the KJV’s translation of 2 John 10-11 – another passage in which God’s name is inserted with no basis in the original Greek and is not italicized. This, too, has no place in God’s Word.) This is one of the main reasons this author does not use the KJV as the basis for Scripture readings and sermons.
In light of these obvious, heinous translation transgressions, we will now see what the KJV-Only advocates have to say about the verbal equivalence vs. dynamic equivalence translation methods, about the translation philosophy behind these methods, and about what they think of the KJV. After each quote, we will hold the aforementioned offensive KJV passages (and the translators who translated these passages) up to the KJV-Only advocates’ own standard to expose the KJV-Only hypocrisy. (Emphasis is in the original in all quotes.)
“A More Faithful Method of Translation. The KJV translators employed a method of verbal equivalence (‘word for word’) rather than the method of paraphrase of dynamic equivalence (‘meaning for meaning’) used in the NIV. The result is that the KJV gives you what the biblical authors wrote, not what a committee thinks they meant to write” (Joel R. Beeke, Practical Reasons for Retaining the KJV [pamphlet]). Obviously, from what we have seen, the KJV translators did NOT always employ the verbal equivalence method. In the aforementioned passages, the KJV does NOT give us what the biblical authors wrote but gives what a committee thought they meant to write.
“With the advent of Eugene A. Nida and his widely accepted ‘Dynamic Equivalence Theory‘ this has all changed. According to him the message and events of Scripture are ‘bound in their ancient time and culture.‘ By merely using the ‘static‘ equivalence method of translation – that is, a word for word translation – the message of the Bible remains so bound as far as modern man is concerned. But when the principles of ‘dynamic‘equivalence are applied the message will naturally ‘leap out’ at him into his own day and surroundings (or so Nida would like us to think). … It becomes apparent that in dynamic equivalency a great deal of liberty can be taken with the events and discourses of Scripture so long as the translator ‘gets the message across.‘ … The theory is grounded in theological liberalism” (Jack Moorman, Modern Bibles – The Dark Secret, pp. 38-39). The KJV translators took a great deal of liberty with “God forbid” and “God save the king,” translating the meaning rather than the words, to get the message across, so the message would naturally ‘leap out’ at the reader into his day and surroundings. Since they used this theory in these passages, what does it say about their theological stance?
“The second noteworthy feature of the NIV is the fundamental principle employed by the translators in their work: the principle of ‘dynamic equivalence.’ According to this theory of translating, the work of the translator is not so much to render the very words inspired by the Holy Spirit, in the form in which He inspired them, into the ‘receptor’ language. Rather, it is his work to discover the ‘meaning’ of words, and then to convey that meaning in freely chosen words of his own and in the idiom of the day“ (Ronald Cammenga, NIV or KJV?, pp. 5-6). The KJV translators, in translating the original Hebrew and Greek into “God forbid” and “God save the king,” did NOT render the very words inspired by the Holy Spirit in the form in which He inspired them; instead, they attempted to discover the meaning of the original words and then to convey that meaning in freely chosen words of their own and in the idiom of the day.
“What about the principle of ‘dynamic equivalence‘? This principle of translation is a fundamental sellout of the doctrine of Scripture’s inspiration – verbal, plenary inspiration. All of the translators’ assurances that they hold to a high view of Scripture, that they believe the Bible to be the very Word of God, fully authoritative and completely trustworthy, belie the facts. It simply is not so. They do not believe that the Bible, word-for-word, is the very Word of God. If they did, they could never have utilized the principle of dynamic equivalence in translating.” (Cammenga, p. 9) When the KJV translators who were involved in translating the aforementioned phrases used the “dynamic equivalence” method in translating the original Hebrew and Greek into “God forbid” and “God save the king,” they used a principle of translation that is a fundamental sellout of the doctrine of Scripture’s verbal, plenary inspiration. Did they really believe that chaliylah, me genoito, and chayah melek were the part of the actual word-for-word verbally-inspired Word of God? If they did, they could never have utilized the principle of dynamic equivalence in translating. In spite of their assurances that they held to a high view of Scripture, that they believed the Bible to be the very Word of God, fully authoritative and completely trustworthy, their translation of these passages belie the facts.
“First, and this chiefly, it is a faithful translation. It is a translation based solidly on the original text of Scripture. And it is a translation that faithfully renders into the English language the words of the text of Scripture” (Cammenga, p. 15). Obviously, it is NOT a totally faithful translation. There are places where it is NOT based solidly on the original text of Scripture.
“In regard to Bible versions many contemporary Christians are behaving like spoiled and rebellious children. They want a Bible version that pleases them no matter whether it pleases God or not. ‘We want a Bible version in our own idiom’ they clamor. ‘We want a Bible that talks to us in the same way in which we talk to our friends over the telephone. We want an informal God, no better educated than ourselves, with a limited vocabulary and a taste for modern slang‘” (Edward F. Hills, Believing Bible Study, p. 226) “God forbid” and “God save the king” are NOT translations that please God. They are passages in the idiom of the day.
“The language of the Bible has always savored of the things of heaven rather than the things of earth. It has always been biblical rather than contemporary and colloquial” (Hills, The King James Version Defended, p. 218). “God forbid” and “God save the king” are NOT biblical; they are contemporary and colloquial.
“SOME WILL ARGUE THAT THE CHANGES NOTED DO NOT AFFECT ANY FUNDAMENTAL BIBLE DOCTRINE. WE STRONGLY DISAGREE. IS NOT THE VERBAL INSPIRATION OF THE SCRIPTURES A FUNDAMENTAL DOCTRINE? Is not EVERY WORD of the Bible important? Jesus Christ said, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by EVERY WORD that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.‘ Matthew 4:4. He also said, ‘Heaven and earth shall pass away, BUT MY WORDS SHALL NOT PASS AWAY.‘ Matthew 24:35. Since Christ is concerned about EVERY WORD, we should also be concerned about EVERY WORD and raise a voice whenever ‘scholarly sleight of hand‘ is discovered in any modern Bible version, including the NKJV” (M.H. Reynolds, Jr., A Careful Look at The New King James Bible [pamphlet]). EVERY WORD of the Bible is most certainly important, including the wordschaliylah, me genoito, and chayah melek. If the KJV-Only advocates were truly concerned about EVERY WORD and believed that EVERY WORD of the Bible is important and that the verbal inspiration of the Scriptures is a FUNDAMENTAL DOCTRINE, they would raise their voices and repudiate the places in the KJV where the KJV translators were NOT concerned about EVERY WORD. But they won’t, because they are NOT really concerned about EVERY WORD; they are just concerned about defending the KJV, even where the KJV is NOT concerned about EVERY WORD. And what better example is there of “scholarly sleight of hand” than translating certain phrases using a dynamic equivalence method without using any italics in the midst of a version that claims to use only verbal equivalence and to put all added words in italics? Translators cannot be more deceptive than that.
“As careful as the Authorised Version translators were to translate word-for-word, there were occasions in which words had to be added in order to give clarity to the English translation. The translators did not just add words indiscriminately; these words were implied by the Greek and Hebrew, although not found in their explicit forms. The translators took care to let the reader of Scripture know that these words were added; they placed the words in italic script rather than in the print of the regular text. Thus the reader could be certain of what was before him in his Bible; he would know that the words in italic script were, perhaps, open to interpretation” (G.W. & D.E. Anderson, What Today’s Christian Needs to Know About the KJV, p. 3). In the aforementioned KJV phrases, the words “God forbid” and “God save the king” were NOT implied by the Greek and Hebrew in any way, shape, or form. They did NOT take care to let the reader know that the words were added. Thus, how can the reader, without the accompanying Hebrew and Greek texts be certain of what is before him in the KJV? How can the KJV reader know for sure that all the other non-italicized words are actually in the original? Herein lies the deception: if the reader approaches the KJV believing that only the words in italics are open to interpretation, then he will look at “God forbid” and “God save the king” and believe that these phrases are NOT open to interpretation; he will believe that these phrases are faithful word-for-word translations of the original.
“In a number of instances, the NKJV replaces the Hebrew pronouns with nouns. Three such occurrences are Genesis 29.30 and Genesis 30.29, in which ‘he’ is replaced with the name ‘Jacob’; and 2 Kings 6.18, in which ‘they’ is replaced with ‘the Syrians’. Although this reduces the ambiguity of the passages, it is not consistent with the Hebrew. If words need to be added to enhance clarity, they must be printed in italic type to indicate that they are not in the original texts” (Anderson & Anderson, What Today’s Christian Needs to Know about the New King James Version, p. 7).The NKJV had no business replacing pronouns with nouns, but the KJV has much more serious problems than that. It inserts the very name of God where there was NOTHING in the Hebrew or Greek to warrant it, not even a pronoun. To say that this is not consistent with the Hebrew and Greek is an understatement. And to top it all off, it is not italicized. The call for the NKJV to italicize where it replaces pronouns with nouns rings hollow in light of the KJV’s insertion (not replacement) of proper nouns – and not just any proper nouns; the very name of God – with no italics. Where are the KJV-Only advocates in calling for the italicization of the word “God” in “God forbid” and “God save the king”? They will not do it, because then they would have to admit that the word “God” is not in the original and that the KJV’s translation is wrong.
“As mentioned earlier, occasionally a word or words will need to be added to a translation of the Scriptures in order to provide the reader with the clarity necessary to make the passage understandable. This is common in all translations. The translators of the AV, however, also saw the need for showing the reader where such words were added. Thus, they sought to place added words in italic type. The NKJV translators followed this tradition in the main, but on numerous occasions failed to do so without explanation” (Anderson & Anderson, … New King James Version, p. 16) KJV-Only advocates try to distinguish the KJV from the NKJV by saying that the NKJV failed to italicize some added words (even though, in the main, the NKJV italicizes added words). The same can be said about the KJV. But the KJV-Only advocates wouldn’t dare say that their own version is just as deficient in this area as the NKJV, a “modern translation,” because they would then be admitting that their own version needs revising.
“This ‘sticking as closely as possible to the textual form handed down’ has been the method used from the very beginning of Bible translation until recently and in contrast to dynamic-equivalence, it is called formal-equivalence. … And herein lies the rather substantial problem of dynamic-equivalence: it allows the content and the form of Scripture to capitulate to the language, forms, and culture of the given receptor peoples, even at the loss of Biblical teaching itself” (Theodore P. Letis, A New Hearing for the Authorized Version, p. 22). “God forbid” and “God save the king” is NOT “sticking as closely as possible to the textual form handed down.” In translating the original Hebrew and Greek into “God forbid” and “God save the king,” the KJV translators allowed the content and form of Scripture to capitulate to the language, forms, and culture of the given receptor peoples. And the consequences are serious.
“That is to say, because the seventeenth-century Anglican divines who produced the A.V. held to a high, orthodox view of inspiration, which believed every word, and even syntax was inspired, those merits which we sense intuitively in their Bible are actually the Greek and Hebrew shining through the transparency of the ‘Biblical’ English they employed. In light of these historical testimonies to the influence which formal-equivalence translation has had when given reign in a culture, Nida’s emphasis, and that of nearly all modern Bible publishers’ rhetoric, appears hopelessly novel and defective” (Letis, p. 25). If those who translated the “God forbid” and “God save the king” passages believed in a high, orthodox view of inspiration, if they believed that every word and even syntax was inspired, then we would not see “God forbid” and “God save the king” in the KJV. When someone reads “God forbid” or “God save the king,” does he see the Greek and Hebrew shining through? NO. All he sees are man’s words, not God’s.
“To be a good, usable version, a Bible must have three qualities. First, it must be a translation that is thoroughly faithful to the Word of God. It must be faithful to all the words that God inspired as they have come down in the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts, i.e., it must be the very Word of God, from beginning to end. Since all Scripture is inspired of God, an inspiration that extends to the very words (verbal inspiration – II Timothy 3:15-17), the translation must be faithful with a faithfulness that extends to the very words. … Whatever lacks faithfulness is worthless, in fact, a threat, for a book purporting to be the Bible, the Word of God, is not the Word, but a word of man” (David J. Engelsma, Modern Bible Versions, p. 5). The KJV is NOT totally faithful to all the inspired words of the Word of God from beginning to end. “God forbid” and “God save the king” are NOT faithful translations; thus, whatever lacks faithfulness is worthless. What do these things say about those who translated these phrases? Does this not show that they did not believe that inspiration extends to the very words from beginning to end? Are the phrases “God forbid” and “God save the king” the Word of God, or are they the words of man? In fact, in these passages, the KJV deceives the reader into thinking that this is a word from God rather than a word of man.
“The Living Bible is, inherently, an attack upon, indeed a mockery of, the doctrine of Scripture’s infallible, verbal inspiration by the Holy Spirit. … it is a paraphrase, i.e., it gives what the author conceives to be the sense of the passage; and it gives the sense of the passage in the author’s words, quite in disregard of the words which the Spirit inspired. It is not faithful to God’s Word; it replaces God’s Word with the words of man. If such a ‘Bible’ is acceptable, infallible, verbal inspiration is a farce” (Engelsma, pp. 11-12). “God forbid” and “God save the king” are paraphrases, i.e., they give what the translators conceived to be the sense of the passages; and they give the sense of the passages in the translators’ words, quite in disregard of the words that the Spirit inspired. These translations are not faithful to God’s Word; they replace God’s Word with the words of man. If “God forbid” and “God save the king” are acceptable translations, then infallible, verbal inspiration is a farce.
“It is this unbelief concerning Scripture’s inspiration which also accounts for the theory of translating which gains ground today, namely, ‘dynamic equivalence.’ In the interests of putting the language of Scripture into the language that the people of a certain age and culture will understand, this theory permits the translator to depart widely from the very words which God breathed out in the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures. The reader of a version which has been translated according to the theory of dynamic equivalence cannot be sure that he has God’s Word at any point; the word may well be the word of the translator” (Engelsma, pp. 19-20) And what of the KJV translators who penned “God forbid” and “God save the king”? Does this expose them as being in unbelief concerning Scripture’s inspiration? In these instances, in the interests of putting the language of Scripture into the language that the people of a certain age and culture will understand, they most certainly departed widely from the very words that God breathed out in the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures. How can the reader be sure he has God’s Word at any point? The word may well be the word of the translator, just as the word “God” is the word of a translator at least 32 times without italicizing.
“They did not follow the principle of dynamic equivalence as do most translators today. Most modern versions are not word-for-word translations. One English word is not translated for one Greek or Hebrew word. Rather the ideas expressed in the originals are put into English. Dynamic equivalence is the method of translation whereby one translates the ideas but not necessarily the words. The King James Version translators did not use such a method. They translated word for word. Thus they have produced a very accurate and faithful translation as far as the original words are concerned” (Steven Houck, The King James Version of the Bible, p. 12). The KJV translators did NOT use word-for-word translation in “God forbid” and “God save the king.” They used a method of translation whereby they translated the ideas but not the words.
“That they sought an accurate translation is further indicated by the fact that they italicized every word that did not have a corresponding word in the original. How many modern Bible versions do that?” (Houck, p. 12). This is a patently false statement. The KJV translators DID NOT italicize every word that did not have a corresponding word in the original. Therein lies the deception.
“In recent years, however, there has arisen a group of scholars who no longer believe in the importance, and often the inerrancy and inspiration, of the individual words of Scripture. These men believe instead that it is the thoughts or the truth behind the words that is important. … This view is called the dynamic view of Scripture; transferred into the realm of translation, this is referred to as dynamic equivalence. The aim in dynamic equivalence translation is not word-for-word accuracy, but thought-for-thought equivalence. Although the New International Version translators would avoid using the term dynamic equivalence in reference to themselves, their aim was for ‘more than a word-for-word translation;’ their goal, instead, was for ‘fidelity to the thought of the biblical writers’” (Anderson & Anderson, What Today’s Christian Needs to Know About the NIV, p. 3). The KJV translators who translated the “God forbid” and “God save the king” passages believed that it was the thoughts or the truth behind the words that is important rather than the words themselves. They did not aim for word-for-word accuracy; instead, they aimed for thought-for-thought equivalence. What does this say about these translators’ view of the importance, inerrancy, and inspiration of the individual words of Scripture?
“The basic idea of the dynamic equivalence theory is to ask the question, ‘How would Paul have written his New Testament letters had he written them in English?’ Or, ‘How would a first-century reader have understood the writings of Paul?’ The dynamic equivalence translators want to produce the same response and revelation in twentieth century readers. Thus, to them the thoughts, phrases, or truths expressed in man’s writings are more important than the actual words. Their desire is to give modern man what Paul and his colleagues would have written if they were writing today” (Anderson & Anderson, … NIV, p. 3). In translating chaliylah and me genoito as “God forbid” and chayah melek as “God save the king,” the translators’ desire was to give modern man what the original writers would have written if they were writing today. They used words such that the reader would have no trouble understanding the author’s intent, regardless of the original authors’ actual words.
“[I]t is distressing that, despite signing statements that they believe in the inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture, they decided to use a theory of translation that in essence denies not only the inerrancy of Scripture, but also the need for Scripture to be inerrant” (Anderson & Anderson, … NIV, p. 4). It is distressing that, despite claiming to believe in the inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture, the KJV translators who used dynamic equivalence decided to use a theory of translation that in essence denies not only the inerrancy of Scripture, but also the need for Scripture to be inerrant.
“The result is that the need of the reader take precedence over the fidelity to the text. Sentence structure and word usage must be such that the reader will have no trouble understanding the author’s intent, regardless of the author’s actual words” (Anderson & Anderson, … NIV, p. 4). This is exactly what happened in the “God forbid” and “God save the king” passages. The need of the reader took precedence over the fidelity to the text, even to the point of sacrificing the author’s actual words.
“Again, the major issue in the omission of this and other words is not so much laxity of translation. It is, rather, a matter of inerrancy. If the Bible is truly God’s Word, His admonitions against changing that Word must be heeded. Each word must be considered important, because God considers it important; otherwise, He would have omitted it” (Anderson & Anderson, … NIV, p. 13). The major issue in the aforementioned KJV passages is the translators’ view of inerrancy. Those involved in the “God forbid” and “God save the king” translations did NOT follow God’s admonitions against changing His Word. Omissions from God’s Word are evil, and additions to God’s Word are evil.
“Of course, there are places in both the Old and New Testaments in which words must be inserted to give sense to the English translation, as there would be in translating any written work from one language to another. … However, in Scripture, again because of admonitions to keep God’s Word pure, these additions need to be noted. This most translations do by italicising the added words. The New International Version, however, does not do this” (Anderson & Anderson, … NIV, p. 13). Neither does the KJV in some passages. In these instances in which the KJV does not note the additions, would the KJV-Only advocate say that the KJV does not keep God’s Word pure in some places? Of course not. Hypocrisy abounds.
“It is hard to understand how people can claim extreme accuracy for the New International Version when at times the New International Version translates and includes as text passages without any Greek textual support at all” (Anderson & Anderson, … NIV, p. 31). It is hard to understand how people can claim extreme accuracy for the King James Version when at times the King James Version translates and includes as text passages without any Greek textual support at all. The KJV-Only advocates use the “no textual support” argument to condemn the NIV, yet this accusation can be validly leveled right back at the KJV. There is NO Greek textual support for “God forbid.” Hypocrisy exposed.
“As far as accuracy and fidelity to the texts of the original languages is concerned, the New International Version is found to be lacking. It rearranges sentences and verses, leaves out verses and phrases, paraphrases, and introduces material which is not in the original languages. The reader can never be sure if the words he is reading have the inspired words of God behind them or not. He never knows when sound or unsound interpretations are part of this English text. He can never be sure that, when doing word studies, he has a word to study!” (Anderson & Anderson,… NIV, pp. 31-32). What an excellent example of KJV-Only hypocrisy. We have just shown that the KJV introduces material that is not in the original languages and does not italicize them. Thus, the reader can never be sure if the words he is reading have the inspired words of God behind them or not. And let the reader try to do a word study on “God” from the “God save the king” or “God forbid” passages! He can never be sure that, when doing word studies, he has a word to study!
Next we come to one of the most well-known and outspoken KJV-Only advocates, the God-hating Arminian apologist for universal atonement, D.A. Waite. (Again, the emphasis is in the original, including the capitalization and underlining.)
Here is what Waite says in Defects in the “New King James Version”:
“The NEW KING JAMES VERSION Used the DIABOLICAL Method Of ‘DYNAMIC EQUIVALENCE’ repeatedly While Professing A Love For ‘COMPLETE EQUIVALENCE.’ … The editors later go on to say how they have used ‘COMPLETE EQUIVALENCE’ and have shunned ‘DYNAMIC EQUIVALENCE.’ This is a lie! As we have shown repeatedly in the evidence herein reproduced, the NEW KJV is replete with the DIABOLICAL ‘DYNAMIC EQUIVALENCE‘!”(pp. 9-10)
“The ‘ADDING’ of words to the WORDS OF GOD is prohibited throughout the Bible. … Not a one of these ADDED WORDS is in the Hebrew or Greek text that underlies the KJV! … . Not a one of these CHANGED WORDS is in the Hebrew or Greek text that underlies the KJV!” (pp. 16-17)
“The terms ‘PARAPHRASE’ and ‘DYNAMIC EQUIVALENCY’ can be used interchangeably because they both set aside the literal rendering and ‘translation’ of words and terms from the original Hebrew or Greek in favor of a TWISTED RENDERING which, in effect, is INTERPRETATION, orCOMMENTARY rather than ACCURATE TRANSLATION! It is granted that some of the PARAPHRASES are more severe than others, but they all partake of one or another of THREE CHARACTERISTICS: They either (1) ADD TO THE WORDS OF GOD, (2) SUBTRACT FROM THE WORDS OF GOD, or (3) CHANGE THE WORDS OF GOD. … But, to insert the PARAPHRASES in the text, so that the unsuspecting reader would think this was what was actually in the Hebrew or Greek, is reprehensible indeed! … You never know whether the translation is EXACT and CORRECT, or just someone’s INTERPRETATION or COMMENTARY on the words. Not a one of these PARAPHRASES or ‘DYNAMIC EQUIVALENCIES’ is in the Hebrew or Greek text that underlies the KJV! This is NOT FAITHFULNESS IN TRANSLATION. It is NOT ACCURACY IN TRANSLATION. It is NOT RELIABILITY IN TRANSLATION. It is DIABOLICAL DYNAMIC EQUIVALENCY!!” (pp. 25-26)
As we have seen in the previous quotes of KJV-Only advocates, their words can be turned back on the aforementioned passages in their own version. As Waite says, the adding of words to the words of God is prohibited throughout the Bible. The phrase “God forbid” in the egregious passages is NOT in the Hebrew or Greek text that underlies the KJV. The words chaliylah, me genoito, and chayah melek in the original were CHANGED to “God forbid” and “God save the king,” and these changed words are NOT in the Hebrew or Greek text that underlies the KJV. In these passages, the translators set aside the literal rendering and translation of the words and terms from the original Hebrew or Greek in favor of a twisted rendering which, in effect, is interpretation, or commentary, rather than accurate translation. They insert the paraphrases in the text, so that the unsuspecting reader would think this was what was actually in the Hebrew or Greek, and this is reprehensible indeed. This is NOT complete equivalence. This is NOT faithfulness in translation. It is NOT accuracy in translation. It is diabolical dynamic equivalency in the KJV.
Waite says this in Defects in the New American Standard Version:
“THE NEW AMERICAN STANDARD VERSION ADDS VARIOUS THINGS … The Bible prohibits any ADDING to the Words of God … THE NEW AMERICAN STANDARD VERSION CHANGES VARIOUS THINGS … THE NEW AMERICAN STANDARD VERSION OMITS VARIOUS THINGS … THE NEW AMERICAN STANDARD VERSION MAKES REPEATED USE OF PARAPHRASE … rather than giving us a grammatically equivalent translation … This is NOT FAITHFULNESS IN TRANSLATION. It is NOT ‘ADHERING AS CLOSELY AS POSSIBLE TO THE ORIGINAL LANGUAGES.’ It does NOT reflect ‘THE ROCK OF BIBLICAL HONESTY.’ It is NOT ‘TRUE TO THE ORIGINAL HEBREW AND GREEK.’ It is It is NOT ACCURACY IN TRANSLATION. It is NOT RELIABILITY IN TRANSLATION. It is DIABOLICAL DYNAMIC EQUIVALENCY!!” (pp. 24-33)
“The NASV Is Not Based Exclusively On Proper Translation TECHNIQUES. … This technique concentrates on ideas and general concepts rather than on the actual WORDS of God.” (pp. 34-35)
Notice that Waite said that the NASV is not based EXCLUSIVELY on proper translation techniques. He is condemning the NASV not because it is a dynamic equivalence translation overall, but because there are SOME PASSAGES that are dynamic equivalence translations (as Waite would also say about the NKJV). This is EXACTLY like the KJV. The KJV is NOT based EXCLUSIVELY on complete verbal equivalency. Will Waite condemn his own KJV in light of this? Of course not. Again, using Waite’s own words against the dynamic equivalence passages in the KJV: The Bible prohibits any adding to the Word of God. The KJV adds to the Word of God. The translators used translation techniques in these passages that concentrated on ideas and general concepts rather than on the actual words of God. This is NOT faithfulness in translation. This is NOT adhering as closely as possible to the original. It does NOT reflect the rock of biblical honesty. It is NOT true to the original Hebrew and Greek. It is NOT accuracy in translation. It is NOT reliability in translation. It is diabolical dynamic equivalency in the KJV.
And here are the words of another outspoken Arminian enemy of the gospel, David Cloud, in Dynamic Equivalency: Death Knell of Pure Scripture:
“‘Equivalency’ no longer means that the translator strives as perfectly as possible for an equal transfer of the words and structure of the original. … The professed aim of dynamic equivalency is to transfer the general thoughts of the original text, not the very words and structure. … The general thoughts of the Bible are to be rephrased in modern, colloquial language. … Dynamic equivalency attempts to understand exactly how the original hearers of Scripture were impressed and then create the same impression in modern hearers. … Dynamic equivalency has also been called idiomatic translation. This refers to the attempt by translators to use the cultural idioms of the language of the people for whom the translation is intended … the terms chosen to replace the original Bible words do not communicate the exact meaning of the original words. … Philip and the early Christian leaders would have had their hands cut off rather than tamper with God’s holy words. … Woe unto those who tamper with this unspeakably Holy Book. …The Bible is a serious book. It is one thing to modify the words of a man’s book; it is another thing to modify God’s book.”
The translators of “God forbid” and “God save the king” were not striving for an equal transfer of the words and structure of the original. Their aim was to transfer the general thoughts of the original text, not the very words and structure, into modern colloquial language. They attempted to understand how the original hearers of Scripture were impressed and then create the same impression in modern hearers. They attempted to use the cultural idioms of the receptor peoples. The terms the translators used to replace the original Bible words do not communicate the exact meaning of the original words. They tampered with God’s holy words by modifying God’s holy book. Would Cloud say that these passages in the KJV are not pure Scripture? Would he pronounce a woe on the KJV translator who tampered with God’s Word? Of course not. He is a hypocrite.
The KJV-Only advocate will be repulsed as his hypocrisy is exposed. He will defend every part of the KJV at all costs, even the parts that blatantly use a dynamic equivalence method. Thus, his denouncing of other versions has a hollow ring, because he will not denounce the passages in his own version that use the same translation philosophy.
We will briefly go into some more errors in the KJV that show the hypocrisy of the KJV-Only position. The first is the word “Easter” in Acts 12:4. The Greek word translated “Easter” in this passage is pascha. The Greek word pascha is found 29 times in the New Testament, and in 28 of those 29 times, it is correctly translated “passover.” The Acts 12:4 translation is an obvious error and gives unwarranted legitimacy to the unholy celebration of Easter, which has its origins in the pagan Ahsteroth/Asherah/Astarte/Ishtar/ Eostre sexual fertility festivals that were “Christianized” by the Roman Catholic whore church. Easter has no place in the Bible and no textual support. The KJV-Only advocates who have tried to explain why “Easter” is a legitimate translation have engaged in the exact same reasoning they claim to eschew – that the translators were INTERPRETING what the word pascha should mean here rather than TRANSLATING. It turns out that this error originated with Tyndale, who translated pascha as “ester” or “Easter” fourteen times, as “esterlambe” eleven times, and “esterfest” one time. The Great Bible of 1539 retained “Ester” or “Easter” in fifteen places, and the KJV translators eliminated all references to Easter except for the Acts 12:4 passage (T.H. Brown, The Use of “Easter” in Acts 12:4, in the Quarterly Record, Issue #540, pp.12-14)
Another glaring inconsistency in the KJV is its use of the personal pronoun that refers to the Holy Spirit. In four passages (John 1:32, Romans 8:16, Romans 8:26, 1 Peter 1:11), the Holy Spirit is referred to as “itself” or “it” rather than “himself” or “him.” Wouldn’t the KJV-Only advocates have a field day if one of the “modern translations” neutered the Holy Spirit? In fact, the New World Translation (of the Jehovah’s Witnesses) uses “it” and “itself” to refer to the Holy Spirit. Wouldn’t the KJV-Only advocates jump on this if it were in the “modern translations”?
And we could go on. Other errors in the KJV include the word”mules” instead of “hot springs” in Genesis 36:24; “unicorn” (a pagan mythical creature that originated in the Babylonian mystery religions) instead of “wild ox” in Numbers 23:22, Numbers 24:8, Job 39:9, Job 39:10, Psalm 29:6, and Psalm 92:10; “nephews” instead of “grandsons” in Judges 12:14 and 1 Timothy 5:4; “the judge” instead of “God” in 1 Samuel 2:25; “and linen yarn: the king’s merchants received the linen yarn at a price” instead of “and from Kue; the king’s merchants received them from Kue at a price” in 1 Kings 10:28; “voice of the turtle” instead of “voice of the turtledove” in Song of Solomon 2:12; “all that make sluices and ponds for fish” instead of “all who make wages shall be sad of soul” in Isaiah 19:10; “that prepare a table for that troop and furnish the drink offering unto that number” instead of “who array a table for Fortune, and who fill mixed wine for Fate” in Isaiah 65:11; “years” (a dynamic translation) instead of “days” in Amos 4:4; “the master and the scholar” instead of “he waking and answering” in Malachi 2:12; “she was found with child” (a dynamic translation) instead of “she was found pregnant in womb” in Matthew 1:18; “cast the same in his teeth” (a dynamic translation) instead of “defamed him, saying the same” in Matthew 27:44; and “The wind bloweth where it listeth” instead of “The Spirit breathes where he desires” in John 3:8.
David Engelsma sums up the KJV-Only position: “If modern versions are unsatisfactory, what then? We can and should continue to use the King James Version. It is faithful, completely faithful to the infallibly inspired, sacred Scriptures. No one has ever accused it of unfaithfulness. The King James Version is the Word of God: when you have it before you, you have the uncorrupted Word. … In light of this consideration of a reliable translation alone, how excellent is the KJV. It is a perfectly faithful and reliable translation into English of the Hebrew and Greek original” (pp. 13-14,24). This is blatantly false. The KJV is NOT completely faithful to the Scriptures, it is NOT a perfectly faithful and reliable translation, and it is NOT the uncorrupted Word. “No one has ever accused it of unfaithfulness”? Well, Mr. Engelsma, WE are accusing it of unfaithfulness, so you can no longer make this claim.
Finally, the KJV-Only advocates laud their own version and denounce others because they claim that the translators of the KJV were godly men, while many of the translators of the “modern versions” were ungodly. In fact, they would go so far as to say that in order for a translation to be a legitimate translation, the translators must all be godly men. Thus, by their own argument, if any of the KJV translators were found to be ungodly men, then this would render the KJV illegitimate.
Here are some quotes from KJV-Only advocates regarding the supposed “godliness” of the KJV translators:
“The Character of the Translators. The fifty men appointed to translate the King James Version were not only well-known scholars, but were also men of sound religious faith. They were strong believers in every word of the Bible being inspired by God and in all the central doctrinal truths of Scripture. They were God-fearing men whose lives testified of a saving knowledge of these truths. The same testimony cannot be said of all translators serving on modern translation teams.” (Beeke)
“The Authorised Version translators were scholars in their respective fields. But more than that, they were men of God, committed to the doctrines of the Scriptures and to the correct translation of those Scriptures. Too often translation today is not done by men respected by the church who are doctrinally sound, but by men who rest more upon their scholastic standing. … Thus the spiritual and intellectual qualifications of men of God are greatly needed to reproduce God’s Word in the English language. There can be no separation between spirituality and scholarship; the two must go hand-in-hand. The translator can lack neither. The translators of the Authorised Version had both” (Anderson & Anderson, … KJV, pp. 7-8).
“It takes a strong church and believing men to translate the Bible; and our age does not abound with such. … Such men are required for the translating of the Bible. It is not enough that they be scholars of the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek and adepts in the language into which the Bible is translated; but they must also be godly, orthodox saints who reverence Scripture as the holy Word, wholly God-breathed” (Engelsma, pp. 7,24)
“But scholarship is not everything. A translation of the Bible is always affected by the spiritual character and faith of the translators. An unbeliever does not translate the Bible as does a believer. Martin Luther wrote, translating is not an art that everyone can practice, as the mad saints think; it requires a right pious, faithful, diligent, God-fearing, experienced heart. Therefore, I hold that no false Christian, or sectarian can be a faithful translator. No false Christian, no sectarian - that is, no unbeliever can be a good translator of the Bible. This is the problem with many modern versions. Some of the translators were not qualified spiritually for the work, even though they might have been intellectually. What about these translators? Did they have this heart which Luther describes? The answer is a most emphatic, yes. These men where [sic], indeed, pious men of God, who were committed to the Truth. … They were godly men who did not trust in their own strength, but sought guidance and help from God”(Houck, pp. 7-8).
“Dean Burgon did believe that the Spirit of God was leading and guiding these men that gave us our English Bible of 1611. ‘The Spirit of God was mightily upon them.’ That is a good stand to make. The KJB translators were not only intellectually superior, but they were spiritually superior to the men of the English Revised Version. Spiritual ability is a must for all Scriptural endeavors” (Waite, Dean John William Burgon’s CONFIDENCE in the King James Bible, p. 20).
Contrast this with what they say of the spiritual state of the translators of the “modern versions”:
“Rather than working toward the purity of translation by careful selection of translators, the publishers instead work toward ‘oneness’. This ‘oneness’ takes the form of cooperation with varying groups, groups which are religious but not always Christian. It is no longer unusual to find Roman Catholics, Jews, and Unitarians listed among the translators of modern versions. Many will contend that this makes no difference in the actual translation, that these men and women are translating words which can only mean one thing. But for those with an agenda, there are ways in which to display varying doctrines” (Anderson & Anderson, … KJV, p. 4)
“No Ecclesiastical SEPARATION Was Evident In The DENOMINATIONS Represented On The Secret Translating Team. You’ll notice the presence of men who are DISOBEDIENT to the commands of 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1 by their being ‘unequally yoked together’ with ‘unbelievers’ who control their denominations. At least FOUR DENOMINATIONS listed by Lambeth are members of APOSTATE-LED and CONTROLLED NATIONAL COUNCIL OF CHURCHES and WORLD COUNCIL OF CHURCHES: (1) [United] ‘PRESBYTERIANS’ [in the U.S.A.], (2) [United] ‘METHODISTS,’ (3) ‘AMERICAN BAPTISTS,’ and (4) ‘DISCIPLES’ [of Christ, or Christian Churches, International Convention]. Add to this NCC/WCC list the ‘SOUTHERN BAPTISTS’ whose leadership, colleges, and seminaries are honeycombed with APOSTATES, and you have, in my judgement, some disqualified translators!”(Waite, … New American Standard Version, pp. 9-10).
“The A.S.V. Was Directed By PHILIP SCHAFF, A Theological HERETIC And a ‘ROMANIZER. … The A.S.V., Through Schaff’s Influence, Had Ezra Abbott, A UNITARIAN, On Its Translating Committee. … Any Bible translating committee with a UNITARIAN HERETIC on it (such as the A.S.V. had and the E.R.V. had) should NOT be acceptable to Bible-believing Christians” (Waite, … New American Standard Version, pp. 19, 21-22).
Certainly the Roman Catholics, Jews, Unitarians, United Presbyterians, United Methodists, American Baptists, Disciples of Christ, Southern Baptists, the National Council of Churches, the World Council of Churches, and all who speak peace to them are unregenerate. But what of the KJV translators?
Were all the translators of the KJV men of godly character and doctrine, as the KJV-Only advocates assert? Let us look at the book that the KJV-Only advocates recommend regarding the translators: The Men Behind the King James Version by Gustavus S. Paine. This book does not discuss every translator, since not much is known about some translators; it discusses those who are more well-known.
For the translating committee, King James brought together the high-churchmen of the Anglican church (who were Roman Catholic in much of their idolatrous practices) and those Puritans who were tolerant enough of the high-churchmen to be able to work with them. “Such a Bible would have room for all persuasions among the countless shades of strife” (p. 28). The Anglican bishops claimed that King James spoke “‘by the power of inspiration’” (p. 7). Hadrian Saravia was a “‘terrible high churchman’” (p. 34). Lancelot Andrewes “was among the highest of the high churchmen … for the Anglo-Caltholic he is almost a saint” (pp. 143, 16). “Thomas Ravis was haughty and harsh; at the Hampton Court meeting he spoke at some length against the Puritans” (p. 50).
Let us now focus on a man on the Westminster Hebrew translating committee by the name of Richard “Dutch” Thomson. He was known as a “‘debauched drunken English Dutchman who seldom went to bed one night sober’” (p. 40). To the KJV-Only advocate, he was one of the “God-fearing men whose lives testified of a saving knowledge of these truths” (Beeke), one of the “men of God” (Anderson & Anderson, … KJV, p. 7), one of the “believing men” (Engelsma, p.7), one of the “pious men of God” (Houck, p. 7), one of the “spiritually superior” men (Waite, … Dean John William Burgon’s …, p. 20). Contrary to this characterization, God’s Word says, “Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:10). Were the KJV-Only advocates to discover that one of the translators of a “modern version” was a drunkard, we would never hear the end of it. Yet they are, not surprisingly, silent about the sot who was one of their beloved and venerated KJV translators.
But there is more about “Dutch” Thomson. Not only was he a drunkard, he was also a well-known, outspoken God-hating Arminian. According to Paine, he was “called a ‘grand propagator of Arminianism,’ the anti-Calvinist thought developed in Holland” (p. 40). And his Arminianism fit right in with his lifestyle. “‘This was the refuge of that grand propagator of Arminianism, Mr. Thomson. When he was in a fit of intemperance, if any one reminded him of the wrath of God threatened against such courses, he would answer, I am a child of the devil to-day; but I have free-will; and to morrow I will make myself a child of God’” (Augustus Toplady, Works, p. 759, quoting Hickman’s Animadversions On Heylin, pp. 91,227). Can this kind of confession come from a “pious man of God”? Of course not. Thompson was a son of the devil. Paine describes him as “Richard Thompson the Arminian who drank his fill daily” (p. 69).
Thus, not only was his lifestyle immoral, but he held to and propagated the damnable doctrines of demons known as Arminianism. A “godly, orthodox saint” (Engelsma, p. 24)? Hardly.
Thomson was not the only translator who held to and propagated a false gospel. According to Paine, “Besides ‘Dutch’ Thomson, many of the translators, among them Overall, Bois, and Richardson, were counted on the Arminian side” (p. 141). John Richardson was known as a “fat bellied Arminian” (p. 58). Richard Kilby preached a universal atonement “revivalist gospel” (p. 48). John Overall wrote of a time when he visited some of the sick members of his parish. “The thing that troubled their minds, so they said, was this. They could not be persuaded that Christ died for them. Wherein, having by the comforts of the gospel, as I thought best, somewhat eased and persuaded them, I took occasion afterward in my sermon, for their sakes, to handle this point … Christ died for all men sufficiently, for the believer only effectually …” (p. 33). Richard Bancroft, who made fourteen more changes to the KJV after final editing (p. 128), later became the Archbishop of Canterbury, and “under Bancroft, the state Church had been leaning somewhat toward Arminian doctrines” (p. 141). And these were the well-known translators; it is almost certain that there were even more Arminians on the committees.
Paine described the state of the Church of England (from which the translators came) at the time of the translation of the KJV as follows: “A joke of the time asked, What do the Arminians hold? The answer was, they hold the best deaneries and bishoprics in England” (p. 142).
Engelsma writes,“It takes a strong church and believing men to translate the Bible” (p. 7). If this is what the KJV-Only advocates call a “strong church,” then they have no idea what a true church is.
And what of the “believing men” criterion? We know that some of the men were Arminians. All Arminians believe in universal atonement. They do not believe that it is the work of Christ alone that makes the difference between salvation and damnation. They believe in a false gospel of salvation conditioned on the sinner. Their gospel is just as putrid and damnable as the false gospels of Roman Catholics, Unitarians, the National Council of Churches, the World Council of Churches, the United Presbyterians, the United Methodists, the American Baptists, and any of the other false churches that are behind most of the other Bible versions. All Arminians on the translating committee were unregenerate.
And what of the non-Arminians? Obviously, they tolerated the Arminians. According to Paine, “‘Dutch’ Thompson the Arminian came naturally by his views, but Saravia the high churchman had studied at Leyden and what did he think of Jacobus Arminius? Strict Calvinists, of course, liked even less the softening of the doctrine of predestination, and at this time the conformists in the English Church were perhaps less rabid than the Puritans. Yet it is clear that while they worked together, at least, these learned men with all their shades of doctrine bore with each other” (p. 42). And even the Puritan John Rainolds, the “father of the King James Bible” (p. 3) to whom the KJV-Only Calvinists like to point, held to the legitimacy of Romish ordination: “In fact Rainolds the Puritan was finding it possible to conform to some of the most difficult of the church claims. In a letter dated June 3, 1605, two months before the king’s visit, he maintained that the bishops and clergy since Henry VIII’s split with the Roman Church had been rightly ordained, and even in some cases confirmed by the Pope. Many chief doctors of the Roman Church had taught, he said, ‘Out of St. Augustine, grounding on the Scripture that heretical bishops may lawfully ordain.’” (pp. 83-84).
Any of the translators who claimed to believe the doctrines of grace but who considered the Arminian translators to be their brothers in Christ, who considered any Arminian or Roman Catholic to be their brothers in Christ, or who considered any Arminian or Romish “church” to be part of the true church were just as unregenerate as the Arminians were.
Let us now apply the KJV-Only advocates’ own criteria to the KJV translators. “There can be no separation between spirituality and scholarship; the two must go hand-in-hand. The translator can lack neither” (Anderson & Anderson, … KJV, p. 8) ”Such men are required for the translating of the Bible. It is not enough that they be scholars … they must also be godly, orthodox saints” (Engelsma, p. 24). “But scholarship is not everything. A translation of the Bible is always affected by the spiritual character and faith of the translators. An unbeliever does not translate the Bible as does a believer.” (Houck, p. 7) ”Spiritual ability is a must for all Scriptural endeavors” (Waite, … Dean John William Burgon’s …, p. 20).
We see from these quotes that the KJV-Only advocates require that all translators must not only be qualified intellectually, but they all must be qualified spiritually; that is, they must all be regenerate people. And, by their standards, if they are not all regenerate people, the translation is affected and even illegitimized. We have proven that not all the KJV translators were regenerate. Thus, by the KJV-Only advocates’ standards, the KJV must be infected with Arminianism and tolerant Calvinism.
Why won’t we hear this from the KJV-Only advocates? Because they do not believe that Arminians are unregenerate. All the KJV-Only advocates we know of are either God-hating Arminians themselves or are God-hating tolerant Calvinists. An example of an Arminian is D.A. Waite, who would have no problem saying that any of the Arminian translators were Christians. An example of a tolerant Calvinist is Steven Houck of the Protestant Reformed Churches, who admits that “some of the KJV translators were more or less Arminian,” still considers them to be “godly men”(pp. 7-8). The Trinitarian Bible Society, which claims to hold to the doctrines of grace, produces KJV’s in association with The Gideon’s International, an Arminian organization. And many organizations and individuals that claim to hold to the doctrines of grace promote the writings of people like D.A. Waite and David Cloud. The Calvinists and the Arminians are engaging in spiritual fornication, with “KJV-Only” as their rallying cry. True Christians will not be a part of such fornication. Any person who knows that some of the KJV translators believed and propagated universal atonement and yet says that they were godly men is an ungodly man himself.
We have seen that the KJV-Only advocates decry the “modern versions” because they use a dynamic equivalence method at least some of the time. The KJV does the same. We have seen that the KJV-Only advocates decry the “modern versions” because not all the translators were godly men. Not all the translators of the KJV were godly men. May the reader see the hypocrisy of the KJV-Only position.
[Note: We believe that the best Bible translation is the Literal Version (LITV), which is based on the same Hebrew and Greek manuscripts as the KJV but is more literal than the KJV and avoids the errors of the KJV (although it is not an inerrant translation). The KJV-Only advocates reject this version as a "modern version," even though it is based on exactly the same manuscripts and uses a verbal equivalence method of translation, thus showing their hypocrisy.]