WILL THE REAL BIBLE PLEASE STAND UP?


By Rev James Harrison



INTRODUCTION



The fire of controversy has been raging in conservative churches for the last several decades. It is a fire which has consumed churches, scarred relationships beyond repair and caused the name of Christ to be soiled by the unchristlike behavior of those who take His name. It is a controversy concerning the most important issue that thinking men and women have had to deal with since the beginning of time. That is, what constitutes the revelation of God?

Those who have not denied the truth that is within them (Rom. 1:18-23), realize that a Being exists who is so far beyond them and so qualitatively different from them that they cannot comprehend anything about Him. They realize that the only way they can know anything about Him is if He takes the initiative in revealing Himself to them. Christians believe that He has indeed done this in two ways.

First, God has made Himself known through His creation itself.

"The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands." - Psalm 19:1

" ... that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them." - Romans. 1:19

Second, He has made Himself known through His oral and written word.

"All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work." - 2 Timothy. 3:16

"But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of the human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God." - 2 Peter 1:20-21

"For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart." - Hebrews. 4:12

But what constitutes the Word of God? Most evangelicals would respond, "Why, the Bible of course!" Some, however, would ask a second question. "But which Bible? Is the New International Version the Word of God? Is it the New American Standard? Is it the King James or the New King James? Don't you know that they each disagree in various places? How can they all be the Word of God?" It is this question, and the underlying assumption of the questioner that there can be only one version of the Word of God (the 1611 King James) that is at the root of this controversy.

This booklet is intended to address the issues that have been raised and to answer some of the questions that may be causing confusion in the minds of believers. It is not intended to argue specifically for the superiority of one version over another and certainly not intended to dissuade anyone from reading and studying the King James Bible. Instead, the purpose of this booklet is to refute the claim that ONLY the KJV is the real Bible and that all other translations are faulty at best, and part of a New Age conspiracy at worst. If you are presently using the KJV, God bless you as you read His Word. The beauty of the language, the familiarities of the cadence, and years of memorizing Scripture in the KJV are all legitimate reasons for staying with it. But there are no legitimate reasons for allowing the issue of Bible versions to divide churches and separate brothers and sisters in Christ. Let us all "be diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Eph. 4:3).

PART ONE: I READ THE KING JAMES BECAUSE ...

Christians express a number of reasons for preferring the KJV to the more modern translations of Scripture. If one were to systematize these arguments, they would fall into three categories.

The first group is made up of those who prefer the KJV because of its literary style and familiarity. Many, having grown up with the KJV, find it comfortable to use and easy to memorize. The beauty of the language, with its Shakespearean rhythms and cadences cannot be denied. It should also be emphasized before proceeding further, that the KJV remains a fine translation. One will find nothing in the KJV, or any other of the primary modern translations, which deny or undermine any of the basic points of Christian doctrine. However, there are problems that should be recognized by those choosing to use the KJV.

Although the KJV is a fine translation, and a remarkable work of scholarship for its time, we now have the advantage of 400 years of archaeological evidence and scholarly methodology which were unavailable to the translators of the KJV. As a result, while acknowledging the quality of the KJV, we must likewise acknowledge its shortcomings, as we must with any translation, including the New International Version and the New American Standard Version. These issues will be dealt with in more detail later in this booklet.

The second group is composed of advocates who proclaim the superiority of the KJV based on the belief that it is founded on a superior Greek textbase. That is, the Greek manuscripts used to translate the KJV New Testament (NT) reflect the original manuscripts more accurately than those manuscripts used in the translation of the modern versions. Since the same Hebrew manuscripts are used to translate both the KJV Old Testament (OT) and the modern versions of the OT, the textual debate revolves only around the NT. The arguments for and against the various manuscript families will follow.

The third group comprises those who make the claims that not only are the manuscripts behind the KJV translation more faithful to the original writings of the biblical authors, but furthermore, that God superintended the translation of the KJV, thereby making the KJV divinely inspired. This group rejects all other English translations of the Bible and believes that the KJV of 1611 is perfect in all respects. Furthermore, there is usually an implicit or explicit conspiratorial tone underlying these arguments. Generally, the conspiracy theory is something to this effect: all translations written after 1611 have been a part of Satan's plan to pave the way for the anti-Christ and his one world religion. For this group, the translation is the standard. Peter S. Ruckman, one of the leading defenders of this contingent, has gone so far as to make the claim that it is the English translation which should be used to correct the Greek manuscripts. That is, when there is a discrepancy between the KJV and the Greek, we are to throw out the Greek! Listen to a quote from his book, A Christian's Handbook of Manuscript Evidence:

"Where the majority of Greek manuscripts stand against the A.V. 1611, put them in file 13" (meaning the trash) (p. 130).

"When the Greek says one thing and the A.V. says another, throw out the Greek" (p. 137).

Those who would place themselves in the first group described above should remain with the KJV if they choose. There is no reason to change Bibles if one's preference is for this fine version. Those in the second group are involved in a scholarly discussion concerning the primacy of Greek manuscripts. By and large, these issues do not impact the man and woman in the pew. The scholars involved in these discussions recognize the various arguments on both sides and respect opposing viewpoints.

It is the theories and claims of this last group which will be addressed in this booklet. They are divisive in nature and it is a divisiveness based on irrationality and a lack of logical or scholarly argument. This booklet will endeavor to set forth some of the primary arguments of this school of thought and demonstrate the faulty reasoning upon which they are built. This effort is made not with the intent to dissuade anyone from using the KJV, but in order to foster a spirit of charity rather than judgement.

PART TWO: THE TEXTUAL ISSUES

A great deal of the controversy surrounding the question of Bible versions begins with the textbase which the translators employ in their work of translation. There exists at this time well over 5,000 Greek manuscripts of all or part of the NT, over 2,200 lectionaries which consist of passages from the NT, and over 36,000 citations of the NT in the writings of the Church Fathers. No one can deny the fact that more textual evidence exists on which to test the accuracy of the NT than exists for any other ancient work of literature.

As the original texts of Scripture were copied and then those copies were copied, and then copies of those copies were copied, it is understandable that changes would take place to some degree in the manuscripts. Quite often, a scribe would make notes in the margin of his manuscript. If this manuscript were then to be copied by another, the second scribe might well include some of the notes of the first scribe in the actual text. Or, the copyist may copy the same line twice, or skip a line. Or the copyist may invert the word order or skip over a word all together. To see how easy this would be to do, simply copy the first few chapters of any book you wish and then have someone compare it to the original. Add to this the fact that you are copying from a modern printed page while the early Church was copying handwritten manuscripts and you will soon see and understand how easy it was for a copyist to make mistakes that would be incorporated into the text.

Because these kinds of changes have taken place, scholars have recognized that groups of manuscripts originating in the same geographic location and chronological era reflect the same textual variants. As a result, they have adopted a means of categorizing the manuscripts. This provides assistance in determining which wording and spelling should be preferred in cases of disagreement. These categories have been labeled the Byzantine, the Alexandrian, the Western, and the Caesarean families of manuscripts. The texts have been grouped into these families based on similar phraseology, spelling, grammatical peculiarities and other common features.

IT MUST BE NOTED that these four text-types are not in great opposition to one another. In over 90 percent of the NT, readings are identical, word-for-word, regardless of the family. Of the remaining 10 percent, most of the differences are fairly irrelevant, such as the insertion of the definite article "the" before a noun. Less than 2 percent of these differences would significantly alter the meaning of a passage, and NOT ONE of them would contradict or alter any of the basic points of Christian doctrine. So then, when all is said and done, this controversy concerns LESS THAN ONE-HALF OF ONE PERCENT OF THE BIBLE. The other 99.5 percent everyone agrees on.

The question, then, is how do we determine which manuscripts most accurately reflect the original autographs? There are a number of criteria used to determine this. Perhaps the most important is the date of the manuscript. If a manuscript from the 2nd century differs with a manuscript from the 10th century, the earlier manuscript would be given more credence. This is so because the earlier manuscript is chronologically closer to the original and therefore has had less of a chance of becoming corrupted. Other criteria have to do with geographical orientation. If a particular reading is found in several widely separated areas, the agreement of the text is evidence of its accuracy. There are many additional criteria used to determine the accuracy of a particular textual reading that I cannot go into in this short booklet. Suffice it to say that the determination of which text to use is not a matter of whim but of scholarly investigation.

The crux of the textual issue lies with the fact that the translators of the KJV had access to very few and very late manuscripts all of which were from only one textual tradition, the Byzantine. They relied primarily on an edition of the Greek NT published by Stephanus which was itself only a slight revision of the Greek NT published by the Roman Catholic humanist scholar Erasmus. None of the manuscripts Erasmus used for his Greek NT contained the entire NT and none of them were dated prior to the 12th century. As a matter of fact, he did not possess any manuscripts that included the last six verses of Revelation. So in order to complete his Greek NT, Erasmus took the Latin Vulgate, the official Roman Catholic translation, translated that Latin into what he thought would have been the Greek, and used that in his Greek NT. As a result, although he did well with what he had, several words and phrases are found in his Greek NT that are found in no Greek manuscript whatsoever. This problem also appears elsewhere in Erasmus' work. It was this Greek NT from which the KJV was originally translated.

The "Textus Receptus," which is commonly thought to be the Greek text on which the KJV was based, was not even published until 13 years after the 1611 KJV, although later editions of the KJV were corrected by the TR. In saying all this, it is important to note that the Greek texts behind the KJV are all from one family of texts, and those of a very late date. The TR itself is not even an accurate reflection of the Byzantine tradition. The Byzantine text-type is found in several thousand witnesses, while the TR did not refer to one one-hundredth of that evidence.

All this was said in order to say this. Those who would argue that the KJV is based on superior textual evidence are simply wrong. The earliest manuscripts we possess are from the Alexandrian tradition while the Byzantine reflects the latest manuscripts. Throughout all of the writings of the Church Fathers prior to the middle of the fourth century, not one of them reflects the Byzantine textual tradition.

Some who stand behind the KJV as the "only" real bible, use arguments for the defense of the Byzantine tradition which fail the test of logic. Some have said that since the majority of believers in the history of the church have used the KJV, then it must be the "right" bible. In response to this, we must ask a number of questions of our own. Who are "believers" and "the church" in this context? Are they evangelicals, meaning regenerate believers and the church made up of believers? If this is the case, Erasmus himself, the man behind the KJV's Greek text, might very well be excluded. Or do we mean "Christendom" in general, covering everyone from the Plymouth Brethren to the Eastern Orthodox? If this is the case, infant baptism and hierarchical church government would be incumbent upon us. The majority of Christendom holds to these beliefs. The truth can never be determined by majority vote. In either case, how many people have ever thought through these issues and "believed" anything about the Greek texts underlying their Bible?

Another argument used by some is that God providentially preserved the Byzantine tradition. This is undoubtedly true. It is also true that He has providentially preserved the Western, Caesarean, and the Alexandrian traditions. As a matter of fact, before too long, most of the people of the world will be reading translations of the Bible based on non-Byzantine texts. Surely this is just as much in the providence of God as was the dissemination of the KJV.

To sum up, we must recognize the fact that the good English translations, whether from the Byzantine or the Alexandrian families of texts, are more than 99% accurate to the original autographs and the differences that do exist do not in any way affect the core doctrines of Christianity. However, since we do not possess the original writings, as long as there is less than 100% certainty on all points, Christian scholars have a responsibility to continue their textual work. As a result of the last 400 years of archaeology and scholarship, we now know that the earliest and most accurate Greek manuscripts are those of the Alexandrian family of texts. It is these texts which are the primary base of the modern translations.

The translators of the KJV did not disagree with this analysis, they simply did not possess, and did not have available to them, any but a very few texts of the Byzantine tradition. The manuscript evidence available today is far superior to that which was available to the KJV translator's in 1611. It is important to remember that while it is true that God only wrote one Bible, it was not the KJV; it was the original autographs coming from the pen of God's apostles and prophets.

PART THREE: THE FAULTY REASONING OF THE KING JAMES ONLY ADVOCATES

The teachings of the "KJV Only" group are chock full of irrational and illogical arguments. In this chapter I will quote some of their arguments and attempt to demonstrate the lack of cohesive thought that lies behind them.

I take the following from a taped interview with G.A. Riplinger, the author of a book entitled New Age Bible Versions, during her appearance on the Southwest Radio Church. Although there may be specific points at which individual proponents will differ, Riplinger is a good representative of this view. The following are either word for word quotes or accurate paraphrases of Riplinger's statements. Speaking of some of her students at Kent State University, Riplinger states,

"Those who used the New International Version or New American Standard Bible were beset by emotional problems or difficulties in their walk with the Lord. This changed when they switched to the KJV."

This is really not an argument at all. One cannot prove an assertion by resorting to personal case histories of individual experience. If this were to be a valid argument, she would have to go on to demonstrate not only that some who read the NASB or NIV have emotional problems but she would also need to prove that those who read the KJV are not beset by those same difficulties. Surely she would not wish to make such an absurd claim. In addition, she would also need to provide concrete evidence linking emotional difficulty or emotional stability with the Bible version one happens to read. This, of course, would be impossible on its face. There are as many emotionally distraught people who read the KJV as there are reading any other version of the Bible. She goes on to say,

"In the NIV 64,000 words are missing."

First of all, 64,000 words seems to be a great exaggeration. If she actually counted, it would be quite an impressive feat. But let's take the statement on its face. The issue is not that the NIV differs in places from the KJV. Riplinger is assuming that the KJV is the more accurate translation. In the arena of logic this is called "begging the question." Riplinger is assuming that which she is supposedly attempting to prove. The issue is not whether or not the NIV agrees with the KJV, but whether or not the NIV or the KJV accurately reflect the Greek text. Someone can just as easily say, "The KJV is adding to the word of God because it has 64,000 more words that the NIV." This, however, would be equally fallacious.

"The NIV was own by Zondervan (a Christian book publisher) and then sold to a secular company, Harper-Collins, and then sold to Rupert Murdoch who owns media outlets that print and broadcast material which would be unacceptable to Christians."

This is a classic case of guilt by association. The quality or lack of quality of a translation is not impacted by which corporation happens to own it at any given time. In fact, I would greatly doubt that Rupert Murdoch even knows what an NIV is. If Riplinger thinks these companies are interested in anything other than making money she is greatly mistaken. If the NIV suddenly stopped selling they would stop publishing it immediately. Would that then make it a good translation in her eyes? This is really no argument at all.

"Edwin Palmer, the chief architect of the NIV committee says, 'The Holy Sprit did not beget the Son.' This is contrary to historic Christian teaching. The new translations do not translate 'monogenes' as 'only begotten' because they don't believe that the Holy Spirit begat the Son."

The Church has never held the view that the Son was begotten of the Holy Spirit. In fact, the Scripture states quite clearly that the Son was begotten of the Father (John 1:14). Luke says that the Son was conceived by the Holy Spirit, but conceived and begotten are two different terms which Scripture never correlates. Once again we see Riplinger's lack of ability in the area in which she is attempting to pass herself off as an expert and scholar.

"The new versions have omitted the Holy Spirit. They have changed the readings to only 'spirit'."

Again, in the Bible from which she is reading is not apparent, but the small concordance in the back of one NASB that this author has examined contains an entire section devoted to verses that mention the "Holy Spirit," all of which also occur in the NIV. Additionally, there are many verses in the KJV that refer to the Holy Spirit only as the "Spirit" in virtually every book of the NT: (Matt. 4:1; Mark 1:10,12; Lk. 2:27; John 1:32; Acts 2:4; Rom. 8:16; etc.). This demonstrates another problem that frequently comes up in Riplinger's interviews and writings. Riplinger continually imputes sinister motives to the new versions when the arguments she uses are equally true of the KJV. The following quote is another example of this.

"New versions consistently deny the deity of Christ. They consistently omit the title 'Christ'. They are denying that Jesus is the Christ."

Once again, if this is true, the translators of the new versions have done a horrible job. The Deity of Jesus and the title "Christ" are everywhere in the new translations. And, once again, the charge made against the new translations are equally true of the KJV. I began to search my KJV concordance for instances in which Jesus is addressed simply as Jesus or addressed as Jesus Christ. I started with the book of Acts and stopped after just 5 chapters because there was no need to continue. In only the first five chapters of Acts in the KJV the name "Jesus Christ" is used 5 times while the name "Jesus", without any title attached, is used 17 times. If we were to see what Riplinger sees it would be obvious that the translators of the KJV were denying that Jesus is the Christ. Of course, counting words is a very poor way of determining theology. I might add that she also has a tremendous problem with Jude 25. The NIV says,

"To the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power, and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen."

The KJV however, according to Riplinger's logic, apparently denies the Deity of Christ because in the KJV, the name "Jesus Christ" is nowhere to be found! This is how the KJV translates this same verse:

"To the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen."

Riplinger also makes the absurd connection that since some occult channelers have called themselves "Jesus," the new versions must be in alliance with them because the name "Jesus" is used in the new versions. Well, it was our Lord's name, after all! If Ms. Riplinger would simply look at a concordance, or better yet, actually read her KJV, she would see the Lord referred to as only "Jesus" more times than she could count. Does this mean the translators of the KJV were also conspiring with occultists? Of course not!

"The NIV and NASB consistently remove the means of salvation. They omit the phrase 'in Him' when it talks of belief. See 2 Cor. 5:21."

Let's examine this. When we read the KJV we see this:

"For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."

Now let's read the NASB:

"He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."

As far as I can see, the NASB says the same thing and does include "in Him". If I wanted to be picky I could even point out that the NASB, unlike the KJV, capitalizes all references to Christ, thereby emphasizing His Deity. The KJV does not. If one were to think like Ms. Riplinger one might smell a conspiracy here! But let's take a look at the NIV. Maybe it omits "in Him":

"God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."

"...that in him we might become the righteousness of God", as opposed to "that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." There it is, folks! The word order was changed! True, it means the same thing. True, one could argue that it could even be more understandable. But the word order was changed! Obviously there's something sinister going on here! How utterly ridiculous. She also has the same problem here that we have previously encountered. That of which she accuses the NASB and NIV can equally be said of the KJV. Just look up these verses in the KJV, all of which say to believe, but none of which say "in him", simply because in the context, the "in him" is clearly understood to be Jesus (Acts 13:39; 15:7; Rom. 4:11; 6:8; 2 Cor. 4:13).

But Ms. Riplinger doesn't stop there.

"In Luke 23:42 the thief on the cross addresses Christ as Lord. In the new versions, its just "Jesus". Calling Him Jesus would not get you into heaven, but calling Him Lord would."

So now Riplinger is saying that salvation is not a matter of God drawing people to place their trust in Christ and His atoning work for the forgiveness of their sin and for eternal life, but rather, salvation depends upon whether or not one speaks the correct words. If, as one prays to trust Christ as their Savior, one neglects to address Him as Lord, according to Riplinger, one is not really saved. She would probably deny this if pressed on it, but it is exactly what she is saying. This kind of thinking is dangerously similar to the theology of the prosperity teachers. If you say the right words, you'll get what you want. It is not, however, biblical theology. I need to point out once more that she neglects to explain all of the hundreds of places in the KJV where He is not referred to as Lord. When Paul speaks of him as "Jesus" only, has Paul stopped believing that He was also Lord? Not only does Riplinger demonstrate her incompetence in handling the Word of God, but also a complete lack of knowledge concerning the basic rules of logic. Elsewhere she says,

"The new versions omit the word 'fornication' and substitute 'immorality'. I asked my students at Kent State University to define immorality. They gave responses ranging from air pollution to not adopting pets from the animal shelter. They never said, 'sex before marriage is wrong.'"

Do we now go to young, unsaved, college students for an interpretation of Scripture? Whether or not one prefers the word fornication to immorality is beside the point. Immorality is a legitimate translation of the Greek word pornea, which means more than simply sex before marriage, but a whole range of sexual impurity. For Ms. Riplinger to take a poll of unbelieving college students concerning what amounts to the interpretation of a biblical term, without giving any kind of context, and then to attempt to use the results to bolster her argument for the KJV is another example of the total absence of objective evidence to support her case, as well as additional proof of her lack of scholarly ability. This lack of a scholarly mindset is demonstrated in the following quotation as well.

"The new versions omit Hell and substitute Hades. The Editors of the NIV said, 'This was done because there is a discussion as to what "Hell" means. In the face of these theological discussions the translators simply do not translate the word. They leave each reader to decide for himself.' Well, didn't God say that every man did that which was right in his own eyes, and that that was a sin for him to do? So the translators didn't translate, the transliterated Hades. If they were going to do that why didn't they also transliterate the word for heaven? So there's something very purposeful going on here."

Ms. Riplinger seems to forget that one of the primary reasons for the Reformation was the desire to allow each believer the right to interpret the Bible for himself. Didn't Paul commend the Bereans for searching the Scriptures to see whether what Paul said was true? Now, according to Riplinger, allowing people to discern the Scriptures for themselves is "doing what is right in their own eyes"!

The fact of the matter is that the KJV has caused a great deal of confusion by translating Hades as Hell. It also translates Sheol and Gehenna as "Hell." If all of these different words are referring to the same place, why didn't the authors of Scripture simply choose to use one of them and thus avoid confusion? Furthermore, if Hades is Hell, then in Rev. 20:14 it is Hell that is thrown into the lake of fire. Most people are under the impression that Hell is eternal. If that is so, it would be the lake of fire that is Hell. So Hell is being thrown into Hell. If Hades is Hell, then it is not eternal for it is thrown into the lake of fire. Confused yet? How much easier to stick with Hades and the lake of fire. Transliterating the word so that people can see the differences which are explicit in the text is not some kind of sinister plot. As for not transliterating the word for heaven (uranos), the simple answer is that there is no reason to do so. There is only one Greek term for heaven and I am unaware of any confusion or debate concerning the eternal destination of believers. As you can see, the arguments of the "KJV Only" proponents are really no arguments at all. They employ guilt by association, faulty reasoning, fallacious logic and outright misrepresentation in order to attempt to prove their point. The next chapter will demonstrate that not only do they derive their opinions from poor scholarship but also from a conspiratorial mind set.

PART FOUR: THE CONSPIRACY THEORIES

Another characteristic of those who claim that the KJV is the "only" true Bible is that they tend to have a very conspiratorial view of things. The new versions, they claim, are a part of Satan's plan to pave the way for the Antichrist and the coming one world religion. Following are some additional quotes from G.A. Riplinger.

"The Vaticanus manuscripts leave out Revelation and add Shepherd of Hermas and the Epistle of Barnabas. If Vaticanus and Sinaiticus are best, as the new Bible translators say they are, I recommend they be followed in toto...This would leave out Revelation and add Shepherd of Hermas."

These statements clearly demonstrate the fact that Riplinger lacks any knowledge whatsoever concerning textual criticism, translation, or canonicity. A given writing is not recognized as Scripture because it is found in any particular manuscript. We recognize the 66 books of the Bible as Scripture because the church, led by the Holy Spirit, recognized their inspiration. There are some 5,000 manuscripts of the NT in existence. Of those 5,000 the vast majority are fragmentary, preserving a few verses or a few books. Only about 50 of these 5,000 contain the entire NT. One of these 50, by the way, is Sinaiticus, which does include Revelation. So she is being a bit disingenuous when she mentions that manuscript in the above statement.

What we are speaking of are manuscripts which date back 1500 years or more. Very few of these will be complete. It should also be noted that the manuscripts used by Erasmus to produce the Greek text which stands behind the KJV, were missing much more than just the passage of Revelation which was referred to previously. But if you take all the manuscripts together, they each fill in the gaps found in others. That should be common knowledge to anyone writing on this subject.

She also finds something conspiratorial in the fact that extra-biblical material is found along with the Scriptures in the Vaticanus manuscripts. It must be understood that the process of canonicity took place over the first 350 years of the church. There were many Christian documents circulating among the churches. The Epistle of Barnabas and the Shepherd of Hermas were simply two of these. Neither was ever recognized as Scripture, but neither does either one contain the kind of statements which Riplinger attributes to them. For instance, she claims that the Epistle of Barnabas says that "Satan is Lord". If one were to read this document one would search in vain for such a statement. One would, however, find very orthodox statements concerning Satan:

"For these are evil days, with the worker of evil himself in the ascendant."

"It behooves us, my brothers, to inquire very closely into this matter of our salvation; for fear the evil one should insinuate his wicked wiles into our hearts, and manage to cast us out from the life that lies before us."

"Accordingly, let us be specially wary in these final days, for all our past years of faith will be no good to us if now, in these lawless times and in face of the many trials that lie ahead of us, we fail to offer such resistance as becomes God's children to the insidious infiltration of the dark one."

"So no assumption that we are among the called must ever tempt us to relax our efforts, or fall asleep in our sins; otherwise the prince of evil will obtain control over us."

"The way of the dark lord is devious and fraught with damnation."

Riplinger also makes erroneous statements concerning the writing called the Shepherd of Hermas. She says that this letter makes statements such as: "Take the name of the Beast." "Give up to the Beast." "Form a one world government." "Kill those not receiving the name of the Beast."

When the church finally arrived at a consensus concerning what should be included in the NT canon in A.D. 367, they listed as Scripture only our current 27 books. However, they also allowed new converts to read two additional books which, though not regarded as Scripture, were seen as being extremely helpful in a new believer's process of discipleship. One of these was the Shepherd of Hermas. It makes no statement that can remotely be twisted to say what she claims. There are only two possibilities for the absurdities that Riplinger here puts forth. Either she has read this somewhere else and repeated it without investigating the original sources, which would simply support my suspicions concerning her lack of scholarship in this area, or, she is being purposely dishonest. I prefer to believe she is simply a poor scholar, but the more one reads, the more one must doubt.

"The new versions omit 'Jesus,' 'God,' 'Holy One of Israel' & 'only begotten'. These are omitted because they are too specific. The translators of the new versions want to generalize everything so that they can usher in the one world church."

This is so ludicrous as to be laughable. If the translators are involved in some kind of conspiracy to "generalize" the person of God as Riplinger claims, they did one horrendous job of it. All one need do to demonstrate the ridiculousness of the claim that the new versions omit "Jesus" and "God" is to open an NASB or NIV to any page in the NT. There you will find innumerable mentions of Jesus and God. If they were trying to condition people to think of God in more general terms they sure overlooked a lot of very specific terminology. As for "Holy One of Israel", if one were to make a comparison of only the Book of Isaiah using a KJV concordance and a parallel Bible containing the KJV, NASB, and NIV, one would find at least 25 occurences of "Holy One of Israel". These occurances appeared in all three versions. I found no instance of this term appearing in the KJV where it did not occur in the other versions.

I ask again, if the translators did leave out this term in one or two or several other places, did they do it for the reason Riplinger gives? Obviously not. The number of occurances of specific names for God used in the new versions make her argument completely specious.

What about her argument concerning the use of the term "only begotten"? We must first understand that the words of Scripture that were inspired by God were, in this case, Greek. One cannot lay claim to inspiration on behalf of the words of another language which are chosen for translation. No language can be translated exactly. There are always shades of meaning contained in one language for which there is no exact word in another language. Often there are several words with similar meanings which can translate a given word from one language to another. With that in mind we must ask Riplinger, "What's your point?" The NIV, instead of using the words "only begotten", uses the words "one and only". That is exactly the meaning behind the Greek word being translated. Elsewhere, the word "begotten" is used in the KJV as a verb, such as in Acts 13:33, "Thou art My Son, this day I have begotten thee." The NIV says, "You are my Son; today I have become your Father." Yes, the words are different. Is the meaning different? Not in the least. If one desires some internal evidence for this correlation one need only look at the book of 1 John in the KJV. 1 John 5:1 says,

"Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him."

Can you see the parallel being made between "born" and "begotten"? As a matter of fact, the terms "born", "begat", and "begotten" in this verse are all translations of the same Greek word. So we see even the King James translators using different words to translate the same original word. We see the same thing in 1 John 5:18:

"We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not."

Here again we see the same parallelism. "Born" is simply another word for "begotten". The Greek word behind each is the same. One other problem must be pointed out before we move on. Riplinger continually lumps together all translations produced after the KJV as "the modern translations" or "the New Age Translations". I would like to point out that although she does the same thing here, her argument concerning the term "begotten" does not apply to the NASB which retains the term "begotten" throughout. Another case of shoddy scholarship.

"Acts 22:16 in the KJV says, 'And now why tarriest thou? Arise, and be baptized and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.' The new versions only say 'calling on His name.' Whoever receives the mark of the beast will receive it 'in his name' (the name of the Anti-Christ), so we don't want to receive 'his name', we want to call upon the 'name of the Lord.'"

First of all, the Scripture never says that the mark of the beast is received "in his name". It is referred to as "his mark", but never spoken of as received "in his name". So her premise is false to begin with. In addition, she once again assumes what she is trying to prove. Because the new versions differ on a point from the KJV does not mean that the KJV is correct and the new versions wrong. She begins with the premise that the KJV is always correct which leads her into circular reasoning.

Also, we again see Riplinger's habit of imbuing words with some kind of mystical, magical power. If she would simply read the Bible as it is written instead of looking for conspiracy she would have no problem understanding that the phrase "in His name" in Acts 22:16 is speaking of Christ. It is extremely clear. After all, this is an account of Saul's conversion. Who did Paul call on, the Antichrist or Jesus? If you believe Riplinger, there is some doubt about that. She also is once more accusing the new versions of something which is also true of the KJV. There are over a dozen uses of "in His name" in the Psalms alone and the phrase is used in a great number of NT books as well. As a matter of fact, Acts 3:16 in the KJV say only "in His name" while the same verse in the NIV and NASB do use the name of Jesus. If what she says is true of the new versions, it must, if she will be intellectually honest, be said of the KJV as well.

"Rev. 14:1 (KJV) says that we will have the Father's name written on our foreheads. The NASB and NIV say, 'his name and his Father's.' 'His name' is the name of the beast."

First of all, she misquotes Rev. 14:1. The Scripture doesn't say that "we" will have the Father's name written on our foreheads. It says that the 144,000 will have it written on their foreheads. Furthermore, she once again attaches significance to words without regard to their context. To say that the "his" in the NIV and NASB is the beast is absurd. We see in the work of G.A. Riplinger a problem common to "KJV Only" proponents. They are so convinced that sinister motives lay behind the modern versions that they grasp at anything which seems to support their theories. Unfortunately for them, a little careful thought and study reveal that their theories fall of their own weight.

CONCLUSION

These are just some of the many problems Riplinger and others have in proving their point. She demonstrates an inability to simply read, much less interpret, the Word of God. She exhibits a complete lack of ability in basic theology and Church history. She evidences some of the shoddiest scholarship I have read from someone who claims to have such impressive scholarly credentials. She uses arguments that would be laughed out of a freshman logic course and, what I find most reprehensible, presumes to attack the motives of the many godly men who have worked on these translations of Scripture, some of whom the author of this booklet knows personally. I do not have the time to investigate the charges that she makes against all of these people. However, after examining her methodology as I have outlined above, I would have great difficulty accepting anything she says on its face.

Having said all of this, let me also say that not all modern translations and paraphrases should be lumped together. The Living Bible, for instance, cannot be compared to the New American Standard. They are completely different kinds of work. Some modern Bibles on the market today are paraphrases and some are cultic. Riplinger, however, makes no distinctions at all. Her list of "new age" Bibles includes both the NIV and the Jehovah's Witnesses New World Translation. This demonstrates a extraordinary lack of discernment.

I also want to close by saying that if, after seeing all the evidence, one still chooses to use the KJV, may the Lord bless your study of His Word! Many continue to use the KJV for what I would call "nontextual" reasons. Whether it be the beauty of the language, the familiarity of the cadence, or the fact that one has memorized the KJV and is more comfortable with it, there are many legitimate reasons for one to choose to stay with the KJV. What I have been objecting to is not the use of the KJV. It is still a very good translation. What I object to is the idea that the KJV is the only inspired bible and that all modern translations are the result of a new age conspiracy paving the way for Antichrist. Hopefully, I've demonstrated the absurdity of such a position. Brothers and sisters have been damaged and churches have been split over this non-issue, and that is a tragedy.

Rev James M. Harrison is a USA-based Baptist Pastor


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