Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Little Stuff Refutes Radical KJO

Radical King James Onlyism (RKJO) is a doctrine that teaches that the Authorized Version of the Bible is inspired by God in every word, that it is eternal and unchangeable, and that it is without error or internal contradiction.

If God gave us the KJV as His perfect Word in English as the RKJO adherents say, then we should find a unique and remarkable document. We should find no contradictions of fact, no translation mistakes, and no grammatical errors. Even the little things - and especially the little things - would be perfect. If God dictated the KJV, then the KJV would be as perfect as heaven itself.

But it's not. It just isn't perfect. The KJV is riddled with little mistakes and inconsistencies, just as you would expect from any man-made translation.


In Isaiah 6, we have Isaiah's powerful description of his vision of the Lord:

In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. Isaiah 6:1-2

In verse 2, we have the word "saraphims." It appears again in verse 6. What is interesting about this word is that it is a grammatical error -- a double plural. In Hebrew, a saraph is a type of angel. To create the plural of saraph, you would add the suffix "im" making it "seraphim." The translators used the plural word, but then for reasons no one understands, they added the letter "s" to the end. Saying "seraphims" for seriphim is like saying "mices" for mice, "mooses" for moose, or using "geeses" for the plural of goose. If the KJV were dictated by God word-for-word, this error would not be in Isaiah 6 verses 2 and 6. It is a goofy little human error, plain and simple, and it refutes the RKJO position.

Old Testament Quotes

People who hold the RKJO position make a big deal about wording changes. Their main complaint against the "evil" New King James Version is that it "changes words." They reject the idea that God's Word is comprised of thoughts that can be expressed in different words. It is the words themselves that are important, they say. One RKJO told me that God inspired "every syllable" of the KJV.

This is a position can be easily verified by reviewing the wording of the KJV itself. If God intends for His Word to be expressed in specific words that can never be changed, then we would expect that when the New Testament quotes the Old Testament, the wording in each of them would be identical. All we have to do is check and see if this is so.

Here is one where Jesus Himself is reading from two Old Testament passages:

Luke 4:16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. 17 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,
18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
20 And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.
21 And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears. - KJV

Now let us look at the passages He was reading as fond in the King James Version:

Isaiah 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; - KJV

Isaiah 42:7 To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house. - KJV

Jesus does not quote either one of these passages word-for-word, even though He is reading directly from a scroll. Next, let's look at Paul's direct quote of David in Romans 4. The KJV acknowledges that this is a direct quote by capitalizing the first words in each line.

Romans 4:6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,
7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.
8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin. - KJV

Here is the psalm he is quoting:

Psalm 32:1 Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. 2 Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile. - KJV

Again, the words are not identical. Clearly, God intended His Word to be an expression of ideas, not a collection of unchangeable words. The quotes of the Old Testament found in the New Testament refute the RKJO position.

Straining At A Translation

One of the more amusing side effects of the RKJO doctrine is that they are forced to defend every kind of error in the KJV, including printing errors! That's right, they have to find a way to prove that a printing error was actually not an error, but rather it was God's intervention to correct the "corrupted" original Greek texts and deliver to us His perfect Word in the English language.
Take a look at the words of Jesus as He pronounces woe on the Pharisees:

Matthew 23:24 Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. - KJV

The phrase "strain at a gnat" makes no sense, especially when we look a the Greek texts, all of which say "strain out a gnat." It is highly unlikely that the translators made a mistake like this. We know that there were other printer's errors that were corrected in the first printings. It is highly likely that this is one that has slipped by to this day. In any case, whether the translators made the error or the printers and proofreaders made the error, it is an error. It refutes the RKJO position.

Easter - Before Easter Existed

In Acts 12, we have the account of Herod arresting and imprisoning Peter. Verse 4 shows that Herod's intention was to put Peter on trial "after Easter"

Act 12:1 Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church.
2 And he killed James the brother of John with the sword.
3 And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.)
4 And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered
him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring
him forth to the people. - KJV

The use of the word Easter here is rather curious, because it is the only time that the Greek word for Passover is translated Easter. In the other 28 times that the Greek word for Passover appears, it is translated Passover.

Furthermore, we know that the Christian celebration of Easter did not begin for at least another 100 years after the Apostles. The earliest reference we have to the Christian celebration of Easter is in a sermon by Melito of Sardis, who died in AD 180. The fact that Easter was not celebrated by Christians in the days of the Apostles, and the fact that the Greek says "Passover" refutes the RKJO position that the KJV is without error.

The Little Stuff Refutes Radical KJO

These few examples are a mere sampling of the hundreds of little oddities, inconsistencies, and outright errors in the King James Version. If the KJV were the final and perfect revelation of God's Word, we wouldn't have these examples to look at.

God doesn't make any mistakes. All His works are complete and perfect. The King James Version, however, has mistakes and errors, big and small. This shows that the KJV is exactly what it claims to be - an imperfect translation of God's perfect Word. The RKJO doctrine is refuted by the little stuff.

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