THE HOLY BIBLE has been hidden in hearts, hidden in homes, and hidden from the wise and prudent; its true history has been hidden by heretics. Yet, thousands of years ago, penned in the East, the words of the true Bible have never ceased. It was the first book on the printing press, bound there to stay, no less than every day. Millions are given away; some are worth millions today. The Bible so seeks to touch the blind, it raised its type for them to find. Our beloved King James Bible has never been out of print since 1611. It has been given away freely until the bolts on the presses strain. For four hundred years it has been widely available to English-speaking people worldwide, and today it is still in plain view on coffee tables, nightstands, and pulpits around the globe. As the very words of the “living God,” its perpetuity witnesses to its spirit and life.
As the very “word of life” it “liveth and abideth” beyond the man-made versions of the Bible which have sought to counterfeit it (Philippians 2:16 Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain. – 1 Peter 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.).
One English Bible
For English-speaking people, the King James Bible is the “one faith,” by which we “all speak the same thing” (Ephesians 4:5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism,- 1 Corinthians 1:10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.). The Old Testament prescribed “one tabernacle” and “One law and one manner” (Exodus 26:6 And thou shalt make fifty taches of gold, and couple the curtains together with the taches: and it shall be one tabernacle. – Numbers 15:16 One law and one manner shall be for you, and for the stranger that sojourneth with you.). Just as the Bible speaks of multiple prophets of old speaking with “one mouth,” and even the “two witnesses” of Revelation having one “mouth,” so too, when the words of God came to the New Testament church, Christians were told to “let one interpret” ([1 Kings 22:13] And the messenger that was gone to call Micaiah spake unto him, saying, Behold now, the words of the prophets declare good unto the king with one mouth: let thy word, I pray thee, be like the word of one of them, and speak that which is good. , [Acts 3:18] But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. , [Luke 1:70] As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began: , [Revelation 11:3] And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. , [Revelation 11:5] And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. , [1 Corinthians 14:27] If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret. ). Those who are “in Christ” will find the English word of God in this “one place” to keep us in “one accord,” that we may with “one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 2:1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.~ Romans 15:6 That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.~ Philippians 3:16 Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.~ Romans 12:16 Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.~ Romans 15:6 That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.). In the Old Testament God’s people “did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink” (1CO 10:3-4 1 Corinthians 10:3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat; 1 Corinthians 10:4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.). Through the pages of our English King James Bible, God provides the “same” spiritual nourishment for all. Just as there is only one set of legal statutes by which a criminal is judged, so there must be just one book, which is available to all, by which those who speak English will be judged on that day ([John 12:48] He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.). We will be judged by “the things which are written in this book” ([Revelation 22:19] And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. ). The priesthood of believers will recognize the true “volume of the book,” because it is the only English Bible which “is written of me…” ([Hebrews 10:7] Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. ). “[L]et us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing,” seen on the pages of this one Holy Bible ([Philippians 3:16] Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing. ).
The word of God is in many ways comparable to Jesus Christ, the Word. Mark 16:12 tells us, “[H]e appeared in another form.” The “form” of the Word, Jesus Christ, seemed different at various times and places, yet it was still Jesus. He was in the beginning as the Word (~The Deity of Jesus Christ [John 1:1] In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. ); he was seen as the Son of God in the fiery furnace ([Daniel 3:25] He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God. ); he was a babe in Mary’s womb and the “babe wrapped in swaddling clothes” ([Luke 2:12] And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. ); he was observed as a twelve year old teaching in the temple; he was transfigured before Peter, James and John and his “face did shine as the sun”; he was watched on the cross at Calvary, when his visage was marred more than any man; he was three days and three nights in the heart of the earth; he rose and appeared in his “not yet ascended” form to Mary Magdalene, who thought that he was the gardener ([John 20:15] Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. ); he then appeared to two disciples “in another form”; he appeared to the apostle John when “His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire” ([Revelation 1:14] His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; ); today Jesus is seated on the right hand of the Father.
Like Jesus, the Word, the written word of God appears in many forms, such as Hebrew, Hungarian, English and Polish. Asking, “Which Jesus do you worship?” would be as wrong as asking which word is true, the pure Hebrew, Greek, Gothic, Old Latin, Anglo-Saxon, English, or Persian Bible. When the Word “appeared in another form,” as did the resurrected Christ, “neither believed they them” ([Mark 16:12] After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country.  And they went and told it unto the residue: neither believed they them. ). The resurrection and eternal life of Jesus Christ, the Word, prefigures the resurrection of the “lively oracles” from the now decayed material on which they were originally written. And so today, the “word of life” appears resurrected from its original form into many languages, in forms such as Arabic script, Roman letters, and Chinese characters ([Philippians 2:16] Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain. ). The sign above Christ on the cross was written “in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew” ([Luke 23:38] And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS. ). This phrase is omitted in the new bible versions as it indicates too strongly that the Word incarnate, through the word “engrafted,” is now going to speak, not just through Hebrew and Greek letters, but through Latin letters, like ABCDEFGHIJESUS. One language is not better than the other. Each speaks to the culture of its audience.
God promised that he would speak to people in other languages. He said, “With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak…saith the Lord” ([1 Corinthians 14:21] In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord. , [Isaiah 28:11] For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. [Isaiah 28:13] But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken. ~Judah Is Warned  Wherefore hear the word of the LORD, ye scornful men, that rule this people which is in Jerusalem. ). This promise was fulfilled in Acts 2:4, 5 when, “they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Thus “devout men, out of every nation under heaven” proclaimed, “hear we every man in our own tongue.” As recorded in the rest of the book of Acts, those who received these languages soon “preached the gospel” in these languages “with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven” ([Acts 2:4] And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.  And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.  Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.  And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?  And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?  Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,  Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,  Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. , [1 Peter 1:12] Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into. [1 Peter 1:25] But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you. ). We read, “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness” and “the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word…For they heard them speak with tongues…” ([Acts 4:31] And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness. , [Acts 10:44] While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. , [Acts 10:46] For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, ).
Christians have historically believed that God gave his inspired word “to all nations.” Scholars, such as Herman Hoskier, have long demonstrated that the originals were not written in Greek only. In the 1500s John Foxe records a statement from what he called “a certain old treatise, found in a certain ancient English book.” This “ancient” book says, “Also the four evangelists wrote the gospels in divers languages, as Matthew in Judea, Mark in Italy, Luke in Achaia, and John in Asia. And all these wrote in the languages of the same countries…since Christ commanded his apostles to preach his gospel unto all the world, and excepted no people or language” (John Foxe, The Acts and Monuments, 1583, Stephen Cattley, ed., republished at London: R.B. Seeley and W. Burnside, 8 volumes, 1837, vol. 4, pp. 671, 675). The Prologue before the book of Matthew in an edition of the Bishops’ Bible said, “Matthew, who also was called Leui, being of a Publican made an Apostle, did first in Iurie [Jewry] write the Gospel of Christ in the Hebrew tongue for their sakes which beleeued of the circumcision. It is uncertaine who afterwards did translate it into the Greeke tongue. Howbeit the copy of the Hebrew is kept vnto this day in the library of Cesarea, which library one Pamphilus Martyr did gather together most diligently. And the Nazarenes, which in Berea a city of Syria, did vse the same booke, gaue vs leaue to copie it out” (J.R. Dore, Old Bibles: An Account of the Early Versions of the English Bible, Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1888, 2nd edition, p. 285).
“God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation” “the Holy Ghost” gave “the word” in the “tongues” of the people ([Acts 10:14] But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.  And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. , [Acts 10:34] Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:  But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.  The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)  That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; , [Acts 10:44] While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.  And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.  For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,  Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? ). Acts 10 demonstrates God’s acceptance of “common” men (i.e. Italian) who speak the vernacular (common) language of “another nation.” Paul, who penned much of the New Testament, logically said that he spoke “with tongues more than ye all” ([1 Corinthians 14:18] I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all: ; [Romans 15:24] Whensoever I take my journey into Spain, I will come to you: for I trust to see you in my journey, and to be brought on my way thitherward by you, if first I be somewhat filled with your company. ). His letter to the Galatians, who spoke Celtic, and to the Romans, who spoke Latin, would of necessity be written by him in those languages also. History professor Kenneth W. Harl (Yale Ph.D.) reminds us that it was not a Greek-speaking world when the New Testament was written. The Roman Empire had carried their Latin language across the empire. The barbarians and non-urban provinces often retained their native languages, just as they had during their conquest by the Greeks. Scriptures in Berber, Iberian, Celtiberian, Iranian, Sythian, Basque, Ligurian, Cantabrian, Parthian, Angli, Saxon, Gothic, as well as many other languages and dialects, would have been needed to “preach the gospel” (Rome and the Barbarians, Chantilly, VA: The Teaching Company, 2004).
The King James translators wrote: “[I]nsomuch that most nations under heaven, did shortly after their conversion, hear Christ speaking unto them in their mother tongue, not by the voice of their minister only, but also by the written word translated.” “But I say, Have they not heard? Yes, verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world” ([Romans 10:18] But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world. ). They wrote, “Every country that is under the Sun, is full of these words (of the Apostles and Prophets) and the Hebrew tongue (he meaneth the scriptures in the Hebrew Tongue) is turned not only into the language of the Grecians, but also of the Romans, and Egyptians, and Persians, and Indians, and Armenians and Scythians, and Sauromatians, and briefly unto all the languages that any nation useth…[including] the Gothic tongue…Arabic…Saxon…French…Sclavonian…Dutch…English (i.e. Trevisa 1300s)…Syrian…Ethiopian….” “So that to have the Scriptures in the mother tongue is not a quaint conceit lately taken up…but hath been thought upon, and put in practice of old, even from the first times of the conversion of any nation…(The Holy Bible, London: Robert Barker, 1611, The Translators to the Reader). They add, “As the King’s Speech which he uttered in Parliament, being translated into French, Dutch, Italian and Latin, is still the King’s Speech…No cause therefore why the word translated should be denied to be the word….”
The Cambridge History of the Bible states that scriptures were so widely known worldwide that a deacon in the ancient church in Heraclea was “confident that even if all copies of the Scriptures should disappear, Christians would be able to rewrite them from memory….” All pure vernacular scriptures began from the pure spring of languages used by the Holy Ghost in Acts 2; they were preserved and purified, generation by generation, as those root languages developed. Old Latin became Italian, Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Romanian; Gothic became English, German, Danish etc..
God’s safety net in Acts 2 provides that no one language group would have a monopoly on the pure gospel or whose apostasy could thwart its preservation. Just as the enemy would have “destroyed the seed royal” in 2 Kings 11, leaving but one descendent, so too the seed, which is the word of God, would be subject to “many which corrupt the word of God” ([2 Corinthians 2:17] For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ. ). It is because of God’s fulfilled promise to speak in “other tongues,” that we have support for pure verses in the King James Bible, such as [1 John 5:7] For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. , [Acts 8:37] And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. , and [Revelation 16:5] And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus. , which have been altered or excised by the unorthodox Greek church, but have been preserved in other languages, such as the Old Latin manuscripts, which had their genesis in Acts 2. The aggregate body of Christ, as the New Testament priesthood, `received’ and preserved the true text.
Although the Holy Ghost inspired the word of God for “every nation under heaven,” some have not chosen to keep it widely in print as Amos 8:11 foretells. ([Amos 8:11] Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: ) Like those who “were in doubt” or “mocked” at the Spirit’s inspiration of God’s word for “every nation under heaven,” some skeptics are still digging for the bones of the resurrected Word and his written word in ancient graveyards and Greek manuscripts ([Acts 2:12] And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this? ).
The Beginnings of the English Bible
Many time-fogged chronicles of the history of the English Bible have been written. Like a hall of mirrors, they merely copy and echo what a few men say other men did, not what the scripture demonstrates that God did. A history of the Bible must be documented from the time-buried words of old Bibles, their texts, their prologues, and the eye-witness reports of history’s great Christians, translators, and martyrs. It should be documented by direct quotations from the men who actually lived during these times: Tertullian (200s), Gildas (500s), Bede (700s), Asser (800s), William of Malmesbury (1100s), The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles (700-1200s), and John Foxe (1500s). Anglo-Saxon and Gothic, the great great grandfathers of English, were major world languages at the time of Christ and the apostles. In this Prologue, we will examine the Bible’s unbroken preservation from the apostles to the King James Bible, discover the kernel of the King James Bible in the ancient Gothic Bible, see its Germanic seeds sprout in the Anglo-Saxon Bible, and witness the English Bible’s bud bursts forth in the 12th and 13th centuries, even before it bloomed for our appreciation with the watering of Wycliffe, Tyndale, and Coverdale. The perennial King James Bible now sends forth the sweet scent of the full bloom in its bouquet of words from many languages.
The King James Bible of 1611 was not the first English Bible by any means. “A scientific study of English begins with the study of Gothic” (The First Germanic Bible, ed. G.H. Balg, NY: B. Westermann & Co., 1891, p. v). The Gothic language was one of those spoken of in the book of Acts, when men of “every nation under heaven” “heard them speak in his own language” ([Acts 2:47] Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. ). The Gothic language benefited from that gift by which the Holy Ghost superintended over the preaching of “the word of the truth of the gospel; Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world” ([Colossians 1:5] For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel;  Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth: ). God promised “the thoughts of his heart to all generations” through the “scriptures…made known to all nations” ([Psalms 33:11] The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations. , [Romans 16:26] But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith: ). Those unnamed Christians who received this Gothic gospel message took it to the Goths, obeying Christ’s command to “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel” ([Mark 16:15] And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. ) “unto the uttermost part of the earth” ([Acts 1:8] But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. ). “[A]bout the middle of the second century [A.D. 150]” and “the early centuries A.D….[the Goths] swept southeastward across Europe to the Black Sea.” God drew them from Scandinavia to Scythia (modern Romania and Bulgaria) to meet the recently completed New Testament half way. The Goths “migrated into Scythia” and became part of the “Barbarian, Scythian,” people mentioned in Paul’s letter to the Colossians ([Colossians 3:11] Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. ). The Gothic Bible “must have been the vernacular Bible of a large portion of Europe” (Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th ed., NY: Encyclopedia Britannica Inc., s.v. Goths; Bruce Metzger, The Early Versions of the New Testament, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1977, p. 377; The Bible Through the Ages, R.V. Huber, ed., Pleasantville, NY: Reader’s Digest, 1996, p. 225; World Book Encyclopedia, Chicago: Field Enterprises, 1961, s.v. Goth; de Reb. Eccles. cap. 7, as cited in G.W.S., The Gothic Version of the Gospels, London: Oxford University Press, 1926, p. 248; EB, s.v. Goths.). The words of the English language are much older than most think. The earliest English sentence to be discovered appears on an old coin dated around A.D. 450. It says, “This she-wolf is a reward to my kinsman” (see The Mother Tongue: English and How It Got That Way by Bill Bryson).
Gothic is much like English in the pronunciation of its root words and even in its spelling. The Gothic language not only often sounded like English, sometimes it even looked just like it, because it used Roman, as well as Greek and Runic letters. All new versions depart from this ancient Gothic text, which agrees with the KJB. For example, in 1 Cor. 5:7b the KJB says, “For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us.” ([1 Corinthians 5:7] Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: ) New versions omit “for us,” but the Gothic text includes it as “faur uns,” sounding exactly like a current English colloquial expression. Likewise, Eph. 5:5 echoes the KJB’s “whoremonger” as the Gothic “hors,” which the new versions water down to “immoral person.” ([Ephesians 5:5] For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. ) The Gothic text of John 6:69 echoes the KJB’s “Christ, the Son,” as “Christus, sunus…” which continues in the pre-700 A.D. Anglo-Saxon gospels as “Crist…suna,” in 1389 as “Crist, the sone,” in 1526 as “Christ, the sonne,” and in the Bishops’ Bible as “Christ the sonne.” Suddenly new versions, following the Catholic and the Jehovah Witness versions, echo the devils, changing John 6:69 to “Holy One” ([John 6:69] And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God. )
([Mark 1:24] Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God. ). The sound of “heaven” in Luke 4:25 ([Luke 4:25] But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land; )has echoed since the Gothic “himins,” with a slight spelling variation from the Anglo-Saxon “heofon,” the Wycliffe 1389 “heuene,” the Tyndale 1526-1534 “hevyn,” the Geneva 1560-1599 “heauen,” the Bishops’ 1568 “heauen,” and finally the KJB “heaven.” The modern versions’ substitute, “sky,” does not reach high enough. The perennial agreement of the Gothic text with the KJB has caused references to the ancient Gothic Bible to be slyly removed from the manuscript evidence shown in corrupt Greek text footnotes (critical apparatus).
All words omitted in modern versions are seen in the Gothic scriptures. For example, in Mark 9:29 ([Mark 9:29] And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting. ) the new versions omit “fasting” from the KJB’s “prayer and fasting.”
Yet it is seen in the Gothic as the recognizable “bidai yah fastubnya” (“bid and fasting”), the Anglo-Saxon “gebedu and on fæstene,” Wycliffe’s “preier and fastinge,” and the Bishops’ “prayer and fasting.” It is often wrongly stated that all of the words in italics in the KJB were not in the originals, but were added to complete the thought in English. This is not true in numerous cases. For example, the KJB sometimes uses italics where the textual tradition was inconclusive, as in Matt. 12:31 ([Matthew 12:31] Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. ). The reading “Halgan Gastes” is seen without italics as early as the Gothic, with “Holy Goost” following in Tyndale’s edition. The new versions omit the word “Holy” entirely. (Furthermore, the italics in 1 John 2:23 ([1 John 2:23] Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also. ) are actually a non-italicized part of Beza’s Greek text and a fourth century uncial, but not part of Stephanus’ edition.)
A scarlet line of letters, like our Saviour’s life-preserving blood, binds the words of each successive Bible from the most ancient to the English King James. The Bible’s text is like a textile, a weaving of words. God wove it from a fabric which could withstand the wear and tear of the ages. Wycliffe said that to peel a thread from any word is to begin unraveling the entire holy garment of scripture (John Wycliffe, On the Truth of Holy Scripture, translated from the Latin by Ian Christopher Levy, Kalamazoo, MI: Western Michigan University, Medieval Institute Publications, 2001, p. 2 et al.).
England was dominated by the Celtic Britons for at least 500 years before Christ. In marched the Romans in 55 B.C. carrying their laws, their Latin language and building byways which in less than 100 years would carry the gospel of Jesus Christ to the natives of Britain. According to historians, Christ’s command to “Go ye into all the world,” coupled with the new gift of tongues, carried countless Christians to “preach the gospel” in Celtic and Old Latin in the first century to the `isle’ which is today called England ([Mark 16:15] And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. ). The scarlet trail of blood which brought the Bible to England begins with those nameless Christians, who according to Acts 2, received the Celtic tongue spoken by the “Barbarians,” Celtic Britons, living “in the isles of the sea” ([Colossians 3:11] Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. , [Isaiah 24:15] Wherefore glorify ye the LORD in the fires, even the name of the LORD God of Israel in the isles of the sea. ). These missionaries brought the gospel and the vernacular scriptures to England, Scotland, and Ireland. The documentation establishes a firm first century foundation for the scriptures in England. This is demonstrated in my 1,184 page book In Awe of Thy Word: Understanding the King James Bible, Its Mystery and History, Letter By Letter, of which this booklet is only a brief summary (Ararat, VA: A.V. Publications, 2003, 1-800-435-4535). That book proves that God preserved his word to “all generations” ([Psalms 33:11] The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations. ). It dispels the myth that God fed his true church at the hand of Rome with crumbs from corrupt Latin scriptures. In spite of intense persecution, a strong Christian community passed the treasured vernacular scriptures from one generation to the next. John Foxe [citing Gildas, who wrote in A.D. 633] said, “Britain received the gospel in the time of Tiberius the emperor, under whom Christ suffered; and saith moreover, that Joseph of Arimathea, after the dispersion of the early church by the Jews, was sent of Philip the apostle from France to Britain, about the year of our Lord 63…” Foxe adds, “Their service was then in the vulgar [common] tongue…[They] baptised then in rivers, not in hallowed fonts” (Foxe, vol. 1, pp. 306, 308 et al.). Foxe said, “Simon Zelotes [apostle called in [Luke 6:15] Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called Zelotes, , [Acts 1:13] And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. ] did spread the gospel of Christ to the west ocean, and brought the same unto the isles of Britain.” Walter Scott confirms that, “Christ and him crucified was preached in Great Britain as early as the first century, especially during the reigns of Nero and Domitian, A.D. 54-68, 8196, and probably by the immediate companions of the Apostle Paul, while numerous translations of portions of the Scriptures from the…[Old] Latin Bible…were made and circulated during the second century…” (Walter Scott, The Story of Our English Bible, London: Pickering & Inglis, c. 1890, p. 126).
Due to the departure from Britain of the Roman military machine in A.D. 410, the inhabitants of Britain were quickly overcome in A.D. 449 by the sea-navigating Germanic tribes called the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes. Once again, foreign invaders destroyed the Bibles held by the native Celtic Britons and Picts who fled to the western and northern fringes of the island. The Celtic language gave way to the language of the Angli and Saxon conquerors. Anglo-Saxon (Old English) texts call the language Engle or Englisc (pronounced English). Tacitus and Ptolemy agree that the common language of the Angli and Saxons was in use at the time of Christ. The Angli are mentioned by the Roman historian Tacitus (A.D. 55-117), who lived at the time of the apostles. Ptolemy (A.D. 127-141), in his Geography, records that the Angli were “one of the chief tribes of the interior” of Europe during the 1st and 2nd centuries. Ptolemy also writes of the Saxon presence in Europe in the first century. “It is doubtful how far the Saxons who invaded Britain were really distinct from the Angli, for all their affinities both in language and custom are with the latter…” (E.B., s.v. Angli, s.v. Saxons). The Angli and Saxons were in Europe when “every nation under heaven”…”heard them speak in his own language” in Acts 2. The Angli and Saxons therefore received the gospel message and scriptures in their own language in the first century, though no copies survive today. Gildas wrote a history of Britain about the year A.D. 546 and includes lengthy quotations from both the Old and New Testaments. He does not quote from the Vulgate (J.R. Dore, Old Bibles: An Account of the Various Versions, London: Basil M. Pickering, 1876, 1st ed., p. 3). The prologue to an edition of the Bible written in 1395 says, “Bede translatide the bible…in Saxon, that was english, either comoun langage of this lond, in his tyme” (The Holy Bible, Oxford, ed. John Wycliffe and His Followers, At The University Press, 1395 M.DCCC.L, digitized by Bell & Howell Information and Learning Co., 1997-2000, p. 59). “Our records tell us of translation…of the whole [Bible] into the same language [Saxon] by Beda within forty years after [the 700s]” (Matthew Poole, A Commentary on the Holy Bible, Preface, c. 1685, p. iv).
The cornerstones of English–Gothic and Anglo-Saxon–were spoken concurrently during the first millennium, but by different groups of people. They often match because they were carved out of the same north-central European foundation, set in place at the confounding of languages in Gen. 11:7 ([Genesis 11:7] Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech. ). Many Anglo-Saxon words sound quite like today’s English; some words, like `God,’ `he,’ `his,’ and `me’ even have the same spelling. Today’s available Anglo-Saxon manuscripts are ninth century copies of seventh century manuscripts; many of the words themselves probably date from the 1st century. The KJB’s “devil” in Matt. 9:32 ([Matthew 9:32] As they went out, behold, they brought to him a dumb man possessed with a devil. ) grew from the Anglo-Saxon “deofol,” into Wycliffe’s “devel,” and the Bishops’ “deuyll. All of them were pronounced “devil,” and stand in sharp contrast to the “demons” in today’s new versions. In Mark 10:30 the KJB’s “world” parallels the Anglo-Saxon “worulde,” Wycliffe’s “world,” and the Bishops’ “worlde,” contrasting the false theology of the new versions, with their new “age to come.” ([Mark 10:30] But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life. ) The Anglo-Saxon “helle” carries into the Wycliffe 1389 as “helle,” and the Tyndale, Bishops’ and KJB as “hell.” This lineage cools abruptly with the new versions’ “hades,” “grave,” and “depths.” In Luke 4:4 the King James Bible says, “…It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God….” The phrase “but by every word of God” is omitted in new versions, but can be traced back to the Gothic as the recognizable “ak bi all waurde GuÞs,” the Anglo-Saxon, “ac of ælcum Godes worde,” the Wycliffe 1389 “but in euery word of God,” and the Tyndale 1526-1534 “butt by every worde of God.” ([Luke 4:4] And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God. )
The New Millennium
In time, Old English became Middle English, or as the preface to the Great Bible calls it, “the newer language.” Grammatical relationships began to be expressed by word order, not by word ending. (This downgrade may have been caused by the pidgin language created as the invading Danes and Normans tried to talk to the Britons.) Actually, much of the shift from Old English to Middle English simply involved spelling. In Old English `cwen’ was pronounced `queen,’ but in Middle English it was finally spelled `queen.’ Likewise, the Old English scip was pronounced ship and finally spelled `ship‘ in Middle English. Old English Bibles look odd to us because the narrow Germanic base of the Old English vocabulary broadened in Middle English to include Scandinavian, French and Latin words. This broadened the boundaries of English, later opening the doors for international acceptance of the King James Bible. Nearly 1000 Scandinavian words entered English through the frequent invasions by the Danes between A.D. 789 and 987. Canute, “the Scandinavian king who also ruled much of England, [in the early 1000s] was a fervent Christian” (The Horizon History of Christianity, Roland Bainton, NY: American Heritage Publishing Co, 1964, p. 164).
In 1066 the French Normans invaded Britain and over the next two centuries brought nearly 10,000 French words (75% nouns) into the English language. Since the French population in Britain never exceeded 2%, English remained the language of the majority. Examples of French words introduced in that period and appearing today in the KJB include: crown, majesty, minister, prince, heir, trespass, prison, baptism, charity, creator, faith, prayer, repent, temptation, Saviour, virtue, and adultery. During the 14th and 15th centuries many words were introduced into English from Latin, such as antichrist and pope. English became a rich language, born with a silver spoon in its mouth, ready to feed many. The deposit of many words into the English word bank has lead to its highly distinctive feature of having different words to express the same thing. One can rise in Anglo-Saxon ([Matthew 20:19] And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again. ), mount in French ([Isaiah 40:31] But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. ), or ascend in Latin ([John 20:17] Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. ). This rich vocabulary accomplishes several things: It gives English and its King James Bible a vast storehouse from which to draw in order to create alliteration, rhythm, and rhyme. It gives the King James Bible an international vocabulary, a great deal of which is recognizable today by those from many nations which share the Latin alphabet seen on the cross in the first century ([John 19:20] This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin. ). Seth Lerer, Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Stanford University, feels that English has the largest vocabulary in the world because it has borrowed from so many different languages. According to the Professor, English is the perfect `international’ language, because of its borrowings. In turn, the KJB has been the tide which carried this international language back to many shores worldwide. (See Seth Lerer, The History of the English Language, Springfield, VA: The Teaching Company, 1998.)
The myth that the English people had only scraps of scriptures before Wycliffe (1325-1384) is perpetuated to degrade God’s promise of preserving “the word which he commanded to a thousand generations” and “to all nations” ([1 Chronicles 16:15] Be ye mindful always of his covenant; the word which he commanded to a thousand generations; , [Romans 16:26] But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith: ). When the impression is fostered that the common man has no preserved and infallible scriptures, the position and authority of the word of God can more easily be pirated by “Popish Persons” and “self conceited Brethren, who…give liking unto nothing, but what is framed by themselves, and hammered on their anvil” (The Holy Bible, London: Robert Barker, 1611, “The Epistle Dedicatory”). Such persons harness the word of God to the names of good men such as Wycliffe, Tyndale, King James and others. It is and has always been entitled, `The Holy Bible,’ on its title page. Oxford scholar, Christopher De Hamel said there was a “medieval passion for dogmatically linking texts with the name of famous authors” (De Hamel, p. 170). Wycliffe did not need to ascend Mt. Sinai to receive a new revelation from the Holy Ghost. The English scriptures had been passed down through the hands and hearts of faithful men. He and his associates merely `polished’ the spelling and idiom and Anglicized the word order of the scriptures already existing in his time (i.e. Bede, Alfred, Athelstane, Richard Rolle et al.). In the last half of the 1300s, others, like John de Trevisa, produced an English edition of “the entire Bible,” through the patronage of Lord Thomas de Berkeley. This patron loved the scriptures so much that he had “the whole book of Revelation…written upon the walls and ceiling of his chapel at Berkeley, where it was to be seen hundreds of years after” (Alexander McClure, The Translators Revived, Litchfield, Michigan: Maranatha Bible Society, hardback edition, 1858 facsimile, p. 17). The myth that the English scriptures began with John Wycliffe in the 1300s is shattered, letter by letter, with quotations which prove that the roots and shoots of the English scriptures flourished from Acts 2, through the Anglo-Saxon period, and throughout the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries, before Wycliffe. “The hole byble was long before Wycliffe’s days by vertuous and well learned men, translated into the English tong…” (taken in part from Dyalogues, 1530, p. 138, as cited in Dore, 2nd edition, pp. 1, 2). Dore adds, “That the Psalter and other portions of the Old and New Testament were translated from the [Old] Latin into English at various times from the 7th century to the 14th there can be no doubt” (Dore, 2nd ed., p. 3). “In fact, before the middle of the 14th century the entire Old Testament and the greater part of the New Testament had been translated into the Anglo-Norman dialect of the period” (EB, s.v. Bible, English, p. 895). Wycliffe’s “Early Version, apart from its completeness, shows but little advance upon preceding efforts” admits the Encyclopaedia Britannica (EB, s.v. Bible, English, p. 897). Wycliffe admits his friends helped him gather many old English Bibles (elde biblis) and the interlinear English `glosses’ (comune glosis) as they were called. He states in his Preface, “First, this symple creature hadde myche trauaile, with diuerse felawis, and helperis, to gedere manie elde biblis, and othere doctouris, and comune glosis, and to make oo Latyn bible sumdel trew; and thanne to studie it of the newe, the text with the glose, and othere doctouris, as he mighte gete…” (EB, s.v. Bible, English, p. 897). Of the Wycliffe version, De Hamel feels, “[I]t was copied (hastily, no doubt) from a text already in English. Therefore they were not translating but transcribing” (De Hamel, p. 171). Wycliffe said, “the clergy cry aloud that it is heresy to speak of the Holy Scriptures in English, and so they would condemn the Holy Ghost, who gave tongues to the Apostles of Christ to speak the word of God in all languages under heaven” (John Wycliffe, Speculum Secularium Dominorum, Opera Minora, London: Wycliffe Society, John Loserth, editor, 1913, p. 74). Wycliffe said, “I am astonished, therefore, that some of our own people would slander those who say that they possess the Holy Spirit speaking to them in this way,
” that is, through the scriptures in English (Truth, p. 194). Of Bible translators Wycliffe says, “the Holy Spirit, author of wisdom, and cunning, and truth, dress him in his work, and suffer him not for to error…(John Wycliffe, Holy Bible, Prologue, Cambridge: Chadwyck-Healey, digitized edition of Forshall and Madden’s 1850 edition, 1997, pp. 59-60). Wycliffe said, “[W]e should believe that the Holy Spirit gave us the law of Scripture in the form which he wanted the church to observe” (Truth, pp. 204205). How could a gardener take credit for the scent of a lily, or a man for the beauty in God’s word? A gardener’s hand, moving only with the strength God gives, may set God’s seeds, line by line. Gardener and grammarian can bow on bended knee to see God’s word, the “seed…which liveth and abideth for ever,” bring forth “life” under heaven’s “Sun” ([Malachi 4:2] But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. , [John 6:63] It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. , [1 Peter 1:23] Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. ).
Of Bible study Wycliffe said: “[T]he word is not to be opened by means of the grammar used by boys; Scripture has its own rules” (Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, NY: Funk and Wagnalls, 1911-1912, s.v. Wyclif, p. 463). The Prologue to the Wycliffe Bible (1384) reveals how the translator found the Bible’s built-in meaning of a word by studying the words and verses before and after the word or verse under consideration. “Therefore a translator hath great need to study well the sense, both before and after, and look, that such uncertain words accord with the sense…” (The Holy Bible, John Wycliffe and His Followers, At the University Press, 1395, Prologue, p. 60, digitized Cambridge: Chadwyck-Healey, 1998-2000). Wycliffe adds, “In Holy Scripture is all the truth; one part of Scripture explains another” (as cited in Fountain, p. 48). Wycliffe said, “[E]ach sense may be proved by the other places of holy scripture for to accord to truth; for without doubt the Spirit of God, that spake by write of that scripture, before say and provide beforehand, that this true sense should come to mind of the reader or hearer” (Prologue, pp. 44, 45). He concludes, “…the same words of scripture…may be proved by other places of holy scripture…” (Prologue, p. 45).
An English law, which was enforced for over 125 years, called for “extreme thoroughness in searching out and burning” all books and Bibles associated with Wycliffe (De Hamel, p. 166.) If he had translated from the Catholic Latin Vulgate, as some pretend, such persecution would not have occurred. The myth that Wycliffe translated from the corrupt Vulgate has arisen because after Wycliffe’s death, his associates, Purvey and Hereford, conformed certain places in his Bible to the Vulgate to avoid persecution. Phrases seen in Wycliffe’s true Bible, such as “the deep things of God,” “whited sepulchres,” and “Who is this King of glory?” have sounded for over seven hundred years in English ears. Such a Bible was used for over 140 years until Tyndale and Coverdale saw the opening of the petals of the prize English rose.
The handwritten English Bible was used widely in the 1400s and 1500s, in spite of the “furnace” which burned at the stake hundreds of English Christians and thousands upon thousands of Bibles ([Psalms 12:6] The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. ). Although the Bible had been available in handwritten form since the apostles, the first printed Bibles became available in Italy, France, Germany and the Low Countries after 1455. Miles Coverdale had complained that “other nations should be more plenteously provided for with the printed scriptures in their mother tongue than we in ours” (Dore, 2nd ed., p. 108). The English Bible was cast in print under the watchful eye of William Tyndale (c. 1484-1536). He lent a finishing touch, polished a bit by Coverdale, the Bishops,’ and the King James translators. “[O]ur present New Testament and portions of the Old are mainly as Tyndale left them” (Dore, 1st ed., p. 13). For example, in Rev. 21:1-3 the KJB is identical to the Tyndale except for four words (~The New Heaven and Earth [Revelation 21:1] And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.  And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. ). The KJB translators took three of these words from Wycliffe and one from the Geneva Bible.
William Tyndale gave his life a living sacrifice, and his “pen of a ready writer” for polishing, preserving, and publishing the printed English Bible (~A Song Celebrating the King’s Marriage. [Psalms 45:1] My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the king: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer. ). Tyndale states that his interest in scripture was prodded when he read the Latin Chronicles (Gesta Regum Anglorum; Great Deeds of the English Kings) which recount “how that King Athelstane, caused the Holy Scripture to be translated into English” [Athelstane was King Alfred's grandson who lived in the 900s] (Benson Bobrick, Wide as the Waters, NY: Simon & Schuster, 2001, p. 80). The time Tyndale spent tucked away as a tutor in the early 1520s unfolded as polished pages of the English New Testament. It shone with too much light for the ecclesiastical owls perched in positions of power. They rejected Tyndale’s appeal for help, therefore he carried his precious cargo to Europe where he completed the New Testament in July of 1525. His printers in Cologne collapsed under the Catholic hammer of the Inquisition, so he fled again to Worms where the work was finished by late 1525. The name William Tyndale was not included.
Between 1525 and 1526 ships from cities producing Tyndale’s New Testaments were forbidden entry to English ports. But God interceded miraculously to preserve his word. In the spring of 1527 rain pelted England, preventing the planting of crops. By fall, famished Britons sought the foodstuffs which flourished on the continent’s Bible-loving lands. Hungry souls now welcomed ships laden with bread for the body and the forbidden “bread of life,” that is, cleverly hidden copies of Tyndale’s New Testament. Foxe said, “It was wonderful to see with what joy this book of God was received, not only among the learneder sort, and those that were noted for lovers of the reformation, but generally all England over among all the vulgar common people” (Dore, 2nd ed., p. 15). There was a “great demand for copies of the New Testaments” (Dore, 1st ed., p. 16). Since they could not be printed in England, a printer in Antwerp supplied the need. Over “15,000 of his first New Testament were issued within four years” (J. Paterson Smyth, How We Got Our Bible, London: The Religious Tract Society, 1886-1911, p. 88, n. 2). One 1526 edition was “a little pocket size book…easy to conceal” (De Hamel, p. 242).
By 1530 there were “fifty-thousand copies about in the land.” The printed English Bible “reached everyone who could read,” which included most Christian people (Bobrick, pp. 142, 84). McGrath confirms that, “In 1527, John Rastell, one of Henry VIII’s advisors, noted that `the universal people of this realm had great pleasure and gave themselves greatly to the reading of the vulgar English tongue’” (Alister E. McGrath, In the Beginning, New York: Doubleday, 2001, p. 34). The cost of a New Testament, whether handwritten or printed, has always been within the reach of English Christians. An entire handwritten Bible in 1420 was “four marks and forty pence,” which was “not an impossible sum to achieve if a group of Lollards bought a copy between them.” With the invention of printing, a Tyndale New Testament could be purchased for 7 groats, which was “easily affordable for even a labouring man.” “[F]olks were often charged simply what they could afford, and it was not at all uncommon for the sellers to give them away if the recipient was too poor to buy a copy” (McGrath, p. 34, pp. xv, xvi).
The Cambridge History of the Bible describes the Tyndale text as “modern…too colloquial…[using] an unnecessary number of words.” “[T]he Authorized Version [is] more majestic…” (G.W.H. Lamp, Cambridge: University Press, vol. 2, pp. 144-145). Psa. 29:4 confirms that, “[T]he voice of the LORD is full of majesty.” ([Psalms 29:4] The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is full of majesty. ) The Encyclopedia Britannica states that Tyndale used “simple and popular language” (EB, s.v. Bible, English, p. 899). Tyndale anticipated the need for the `elevated’ and fuller vocabulary of our KJB. Of his own edition he said, “…[C]ount it as a thing not having his full shape…a thing begun rather than finished…In time to come…we will give it his full shape…to seek in certain places a more proper English” (Dore, 2nd ed., pp. 23-24). Yale University Press author, David Daniell, comments on Tyndale’s “simplicity,” comparing his “old things are gone” to the KJB’s metrical “the former things are passed away” ([Revelation 21:4] And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. ). Christians recognize why “sacred Scripture should always be elevated above the common run.” Consequently, “It is also characteristic of the Authorized Version to elevate `went into the ark’ to `entered into,’ `prayed’ to `besought,’ and `edge’ to `border’” (David Daniell, transl., Tyndale’s New Testament, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989, pp. xxvi, xxvii, xxviii).
Tyndale took God’s “iron pen” to the Old Testament ([Job 19:24] That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever! ), first translating Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy (1530) and Jonah (1531). He suffered shipwreck while carrying this precious cargo as, “The serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood” ([Revelation 12:15] And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. ). Yet God would “preserve them” and polish the Old Testament further with the aid of Miles Coverdale (Foxe, vol. 5, p. 120). Tyndale’s later imprisonment provided focused time to translate a revision of Genesis, plus his translation of Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, and 1 Chronicles. This portion was not printed until the publication of the Matthew’s Bible (McGrath, p. 34). Although Coverdale is generally credited with the work from Ezra through Malachi for this edition, the letters, “W.T.,” over two inches in height, close the Old Testament.
Tyndale’s work was dangerous to own because of the “Constitutions of Oxford” which prohibited the translation or ownership of the English Bible. Tyndale himself was burned at the stake in October, 1536. As the flames rise, before Tyndale dies, he sighs, `Lord, open the King of England’s eyes.’ And God answered his cries. The very year of his death, his New Testament was printed in England (Dore, 1st ed., p. 22). Its second edition of 1537 was “set forth with the King’s most gracious license” (H. Guppy, Miles Coverdale and the English Bible, Manchester: The Manchester University Press, vol. 19, No. 2, July 1935, p. 17). This brings to mind Jesus’ promise to the apostles and martyrs. “But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you” ([Matthew 10:19] But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.  For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. ). If God could give, through his Spirit, the dying words of martyred apostles and saints, speaking in a vernacular tongue, how much more would “the Spirit” speak, and “not ye,” the words of vernacular Bibles, which claim to be the word of God. Tyndale realized the Bible was God’s words, not his. He said, “God hath made me…speechless and rude, dull and slow witted…” (Foxe, vol. 5, p. 134). He said, “It is the grace of God that does everything; without him we can do nothing; it is God that works; we are but the instruments, we deserve no reward for what God does by us, and can claim no merit for it” (Bobrick, p. 135). He said, “…God gave me the gift of knowledge and understanding” (Dore, 2nd edition, p. 24).
Miles Coverdale (1488-1568) and Tyndale were “labourers together with God” ([1 Corinthians 3:9] For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building. ). Much like Tyndale, Coverdale “left the monastery in order to give himself entirely to evangelical preaching.” “Coverdale was in hearty accord with Tindale and others in the defiance of the Romanist…” (Guppy, pp. 5, 17). Coverdale “began to preach against confession and the worship of images” (Encyclopedia Britannica, 1910 ed., s.v. Coverdale, Miles, p. 343). “All accounts agree in his remarkable popularity as a preacher” (Schaff-Herzog, s.v. Coverdale, Miles, p. 291). Due to persecution he left England for Europe, and according to Foxe, began polishing the English Old Testament with Tyndale in Hamburg. Having come out of the corrupt Catholic church, like Tyndale, he could discern the theological differences between the pure Bible and corrupt Catholic editions. Although Coverdale helped and improved upon Tyndale’s work, he generally relied on Tyndale. In the Epistle of James, for example, Coverdale changed Tyndale’s 1534 edition in only three words, and those three words go back to Tyndale’s 1525 edition.
Coverdale’s edition of 1535 was the first complete English Bible to be printed. For this first printed English Bible, God chose “a version derived from other versions,” not from `the Greek and Hebrew’ (Guppy, p. 14). Wisely, “Coverdale appears simply to have put together an amalgam of existing translations.” Coverdale knew, “…German and Latin well, some Greek and Hebrew, and a little French” (Schaff- Herzog, s.v. Coverdale, Miles, p. 291). In his Prologue Coverdale said, “[T]o help me herein I have had sundry translations…in other languages…lowly and faithfully I have followed mine interpreters” (Dore, 2nd ed., p. 107). He used what he called “five sundry interpreters” (McGrath, pp. 89, 90). He followed closely, but not precisely, Tyndale’s New Testament (1525), Pentateuch (1529-30), and Jonah. The text of Zwingli’s Zurich German-Swiss Bible of 1524-34 was the “genesis of the translation,” along with the German Bible of Luther (Guppy, p. 15). Since English is a marriage of Germanic (Anglo-Saxon, Gothic, etc.) and Latin words, Coverdale also worked with the Latin of Erasmus, Sebastian Munster of 1534-35, and Pagninus of 1528 (McGrath, pp. 89, 90; Scott, pp. 142-145). Coverdale’s brother-in-law, Dr. Joannes MacAlpinus, was chaplain to Christian III, King of Denmark, and had helped to produce the first Danish Bible. Coverdale did not use Tyndale’s Joshua to 2 Chronicles. For Joshua through Esther he followed the German; for Job he followed the Zurich Swiss (Cambridge History of the Bible, ed. S.L. Greenslade, Cambridge: University Press, 1963, vol. 3, pp. 148-149). His Psalms follow Luther closely; his Malachi shows the influence of the Swiss Bible.
Coverdale said that God had given him the “gift” of interpretation. His Bible’s Prologue described his part in the translation as “my simple and rude labor herein” (Dore, 2nd ed., p. 106). Of the “exquisitely melodic ear” ascribed to him by scholars, he admits only the ear is his (Bobrick, p. 145). The `exquisite melody’ is God’s. Coverdale said, “…pondering also mine own insufficiency therein, and how weak I am to perform the office of a translator…Yea we ought rather to give God high thanks therefore, which through his spirit stirreth up men’s minds, so to exercise themselves therein…[W]e have great occasion to give thanks unto God, that he hath opened unto his church the gift of interpretation and of printing…” (Coverdale Bible 1535, digitized Cambridge: Chadwyck-Healey, 1997, pp. 5, 6, 7).
In 1538 there were two printings of the English Bible in stateapproved circulation Coverdale’s 1535-1537 and Matthew’s 1537 edition. The latter was printed by Grafton and Whitchurch in Hapsburg. Although it contained the translation work of Tyndale and Coverdale, it was printed with the pseudonym, Thomas Matthew’s Bible, because Tyndale’s name was ill-favored with King Henry VIII at that time. John Rogers, who would soon be burned at the stake, produced this Bible. He said, “I also granted mine ignorance to be greater than I could express, or than he took it: but yet that I feared not, by God’s assistance and strength, to be able by writing to perform my word…but all was of God, to whom be thanks rendered therefore” (Foxe, vol. 6, p. 597).
Because God had preserved his word to all nations, he led Rogers, as he had Coverdale, to compare the English text with other easily read and readily available vernacular Bibles, instead of Greek and Hebrew. Therefore, Rogers used Tyndale’s Bible and compared it again to the German (Scott, p. 145). He said, “`To speak with tongue,’ said I, `is to speak with a strange tongue, as Latin or Greek’ etc., and so to speak, is not to speak unto men…[it is] `to speak unto the wind’” (Foxe, vol. 6, p. 595). History Professor James Froude admits that in more conservative times (1497), there were “no grammars or dictionaries yet within reach, under much opposition and obloquy from old fashioned conservatism.” Christians would “call those who study Greek heretics. The teachers of Greek…are full grown devils, and the learners of Greek are little devils…” (J.A. Froude, The Life and Letters of Erasmus, NY: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1984, pp. 38, 141). “With their tongues they torment the word of God because they can no more torture the Word of God with their hands.” Because of this, one sermon in the 1520s even warned of “Greek, of which people should beware, since it was that which produced all the heresies” (Smyth, p. 93).
Tyndale agreed, saying of one heretic, “[I]f it were lawful after his example to every man to play boo pepe with the translations that are before him, and to put out the words of the text at his pleasure and to put in every where his meaning: or what he thought the meaning were, that were the next way to stablish all heresies and to destroy the ground wherewith we should improve them [heretics]…” (Tyndale Bible, New Testament, Chadwyck, pp. 10, 11). Of the practice of burning the Bible word by word, by questioning the English translation, the Lord Protector of England wrote in 1547, “[W]e see every day [it] done, and sometimes commanded, because the translator displeaseth us; and yet herein no man exclaimeth of a terrible and detestable fact done. But let one image…be burnt or abolished, by and by some men are in exceeding rage…which thing hath seldom been seen done to the gospel of God, or the very true Bible…Nor do we now speak of false bibles, nor false gospel, but of the very true gospel, either in Latin, Greek or English…” (Foxe, vol. 6, pp. 28, 29, 28). “[I]t were more hardly done, if that you, or a few which can read in one or two languages (as Greek and Latin), the word of God,…should pull away the English books from the rest which only understand English; and would have only your letters of Greek and Latin in estimation, and blind all them which understand not these languages, from the knowledge of God’s word. And indeed, my lord, by your saying they have just occasion to suspect what is meant” (Foxe, v. 6, p. 29).
The Great Bible
In 1536 King Henry VIII said that the “English” Bible is the very words of God (Foxe, vol. 5, p. 167). Coverdale was asked by King Henry VIII’s representatives, Thomas Cromwell (who bore the expense) and Archbishop Thomas Cranmer (who was later to be martyred), to compile and fine tune an English Bible without the anti-Catholic notes used in the Matthew’s Bible. When King Henry VIII closed all Catholic monasteries, hidden ancient Gothic and Anglo-Saxon manuscripts came rushing forward to guide the translation of the Tyndale, Coverdale, and Great Bibles. The Great Bible was not a slavish re-printing of earlier Coverdale editions, nor was it entirely Tyndale’s edition; it shows more polishing by Coverdale. The second edition of the Great Bible was often called Cranmer’s Bible because he wrote its excellent Prologue. This Prologue indicates that the common man had access to the scriptures in his home in 1540. Quoting in part from a second century writer, it exhorts, “[E]very man should read by himself at home in the mean days and time, between sermon and sermon…” (The Holy Bible [The Great Bible], 1540, digitized Cambridge: Chadwyck-Healy, p. 8).
Cranmer’s Prologue and these early translators assert that when 2 Tim. 3:16 states, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God,” the `all’ includes the English Bible. ([2 Timothy 3:16] All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: ) The Great Bible’s Prologue said, “Yet in the meantime, refuse not the gifts of God, which are offered unto thee by the labours of other men whom God hath endued with the most excellent gift of interpreting…” (Dore, 2nd edition, pp. 176-177). The New Testament uses the word `interpretation’ to describe translation from one language to another (e.g. [John 1:42] And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone. , [John 9:7] And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing. , [Acts 9:36] Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did. , [Acts 13:8] But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith. ; [Hebrews 7:2] To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace; ). Therefore, the “private interpretation,” forbidden in 2 Peter 1:20 ([2 Peter 1:20] Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. ), includes private translation (e.g. new versions and lexicons). The preservation promised in Psalm 12 is accomplished as “the scriptures…to all nations” “is given by” the Spirit of God ([Romans 16:26] But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith: ). Tyndale and Coverdale, to whom God entrusted the preservation of the English Bible, believed the English interpretation (translation) came through the Spirit of God leading them. Since these men had experienced it, their views carry more weight than the critics of today who say, “God did not do it — man did it.” Coverdale said, “No, the Holy Ghost is as much the author of it in Hebrew, Greek, French, Dutch, and English, as in Latin…” (W. Kenneth Connolly, The Indestructible Book, Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1996, p. 148). The Great Bible’s Prologue said that it was “given” by the “holy spirit.” “To the intent that we should know this, by the goodness of God working by his holy spirit, are the holy writings of the Bible given us” (The Holy Bible, 1540, p. 4). Throughout the entire Reformation, its leaders, translators, and Bible Prologue authors describe their vernacular translations as “scripture,” whose author is God. The Prologue often refers to the Great Bible itself as “scriptures.” For example, it says, “…[B]uy and provide us the Bible, that is to say, the books of holy scripture…” The Prologue to the 1535 Coverdale Bible referred to the English text as “scripture” saying, “Finally, who so ever thou be, take these words of scripture in to thy heart…and have ever an eye to the words of scripture…that the holy scripture may have free passage, and be had in reputation, to the worship of the author thereof, which is even God himself: to whom for his most blessed word be glory and dominion now and ever. Amen” (The Holy Bible [Coverdale], 1535, Cambridge: Chadwyck-Healy, pp. 11, 12). The title of the second edition of the Great Bible, no doubt written by Coverdale, reads, “The Bible in English, that is to say the content of all the holy scripture, both of the Old and New Testament…” (Dore, 2nd ed. p. 164).
The Bishops’ Bible
The tide was to turn, as fickle King Henry VIII suddenly set forth a proclamation, to go into effect on September 1, 1546, rescinding altogether the private use of the Bible and forbidding that anyone should read or own one. All Bibles were “to be openly burned,” along with a long list of Christian books (Foxe, vol. 5, pp. 565, 566). When Henry penned his name on that proclamation, he was signing his own death certificate. After the passing of a dozen weeks, he would become gravely ill and pass away on January 28, 1547.
His heir, nine-year-old Prince Edward VI, brought six years of peace and the printing of Bibles once again to England. When crowned King, Edward was given three swords, symbolizing the three countries he ruled. He asked where the fourth sword was: “The Bible, the sword of the Spirit, and to be preferred before these swords” (Connolly, p. 154). Thirty-one printers in England set about printing only Bibles (Guppy, p. 24). Edward died at the age of 15. The authentic Chronicles of that period report: “And he was poisoned, as everybody says” (Chronicles of the Tudor Kings, David Loades, ed., Godalming, Surrey: CLB International, 1997, p. 245).
Queen Mary’s bloody reign of terror then plagued England from 1553 to 1558. Foxe said, “[T]he manifold iniquities of Englishmen deserved another plague…” in the reign of Queen Mary (Foxe, vol. 5, p. 699). He adds, “Alas! You know the cause of all these plagues fallen upon us and of the success which God’s adversaries have daily, is for our not loving God’s word. You know how that we were but gospellers in lips, and not in life” (Foxe, vol. 7, p. 209). In 1554 the reading of scripture was by Act of Parliament placed under severe restrictions. To get rid of what the Catholics called, the “heretically translated Bible,” Mary banished every “preacher, printer, bookseller” in 1554 (Foxe, vol. 6, pp. 504, 430).
Mary’s early death brought Queen Elizabeth to the throne and freedom once again reigned for the Holy Bible. The Bishops’ Bible, which was printed from 1568 until even as late as 1619, changed little and generally kept the wording of the Great Bible, “to which the people had become accustomed.” They did change the notes and tried to “make them free from party spirit.” In Psa. 45:9 they noted, “Ophir is thought to be the Ilande in the west coast, of late founde by Christopher Columbo…” (Dore, 1st ed., p. 77, 2nd ed., pp. 237, 250). ([Psalms 45:9] Kings’ daughters were among thy honourable women: upon thy right hand did stand the queen in gold of Ophir. )
The King James Bible of 1611
Kings whose hearts are open to the Lord recognize the true word of God. In 2 Chron. 34, “The scribe” said, “the priest hath given me a book…” “[W]hen the king had heard the words,” he called it “the book” (v. 18, 21). ([2 Chronicles 34:18] Then Shaphan the scribe told the king, saying, Hilkiah the priest hath given me a book. And Shaphan read it before the king. , [2 Chronicles 34:21] Go, enquire of the LORD for me, and for them that are left in Israel and in Judah, concerning the words of the book that is found: for great is the wrath of the LORD that is poured out upon us, because our fathers have not kept the word of the LORD, to do after all that is written in this book. ) When a king “made a decree” in the Old Testament his words could not be changed. Ezra 6:11 says, “…whosoever shall alter this word, let timber be pulled down from his house, and being set up, let him be hanged thereon; and let his house be made a dunghill for this.” ([Ezra 6:11] Also I have made a decree, that whosoever shall alter this word, let timber be pulled down from his house, and being set up, let him be hanged thereon; and let his house be made a dunghill for this. ) “[K]ing Darius wrote unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth” (Dan. 6:25). ([Daniel 6:25] Then king Darius wrote unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you. ) Would “the King of kings” do less (1 Tim. 6:15)? ([1 Timothy 6:15] Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; ) Even pagan kings, like Nebuchadnezzar look for things which have “no blemish” ([Daniel 1:3] And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king’s seed, and of the princes;  Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans. ). Therefore, not surprisingly, many of the premier vernacular Bibles were produced under the “authority” of kings, such as: Alfred the Great of England (c. 899), King Alfonso of Spain (from vernacular French into Spanish around 1223), King Jean II of France (1333), King Francis I and son Henry (Stephanus text of 1550), King Christian III of Denmark (c. 1550), and finally King James I of England (Authorized Version 1611).
King James VI (June 19, 1566-1625) had been crowned king of Scotland as an infant in 1567, with a coronation sermon preached by John Knox. He reigned as the Scottish king for thirty-six years. He could quote Bible “chapters from a book from memory” (B. Bevan, King James VI of Scotland & I of England, London: The Rubicon Press, 1996, pp. 13, 14; C. Bingham, The Stewart Kingdom of Scotland 1371-1603, NY: Barnes & Noble Books, 1974, p. 234). When Sir Henry Killigrew, the English Ambassador, was permitted to see King James at the age of eight, he said, “He [King James] speaketh the French tongue marvelous well; and that which seems strange to me, he was able extempore (which he did before me) to read a chapter of the Bible out of Latin into French, and out of French after into English, so well, as few men could have added anything to his translation. His school-masters, Mr. George Buchanan and Mr. Peter Young, rare men, caused me to appoint what chapter I would; and so did I, whereby I perceive that it was not studied for” (Bingham, p. 233). A contemporary said of James at the age of eighteen, “He is learned in many tongues, sciences and affairs of state, more so I dare say than any others of his realm” (Bingham, p. 233).
Upon the death of Queen Elizabeth I in July of 1603, King James I, at the age of 36, ascended to the throne of England. Almost immediately, on January 14 of 1604, he called for the final polishing of the English Bible. He read from the Bible at this Hampton Court Conference. King James I had written earlier that it is the “Scriptures which must be an infallible ground to all true Christians…” (King James VI, Daemonologie, Edinburgh, 1597). He stated that, “The whole scripture is dictated by God’s spirit….” He said “[A]ll that is necessary for salvation is contained in the scripture.” He felt so strongly about the Bible translation project that he said he would pay for it “from his own princely disposition [salary].” The translators too felt a love for their project and “struggled along on their own means.” The King’s love for the Bible was evidenced when he visited Oxford in 1605. He asked that Bible “verses” be placed all over town, in homes, churches, schools and on buildings. (Stephen A. Coston, King James The VI of Scotland & The I of England: Unjustly Accused, St. Petersburg, FL: Konigs Wort, 1996, pp. 47-48; Robert Chambers, The Life of King James The First, Edinburgh: Constable & Co., 1830, cited in Coston, p. 309; Gustavus Paine, The Men Behind the KJB, Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1989, pp. 13, 14, 81; G.A. Riplinger, King James and His Translators and In Awe of Thy Word, Ararat, VA: A.V. Publications, 2010).
King James: A Godly Christian
King James was an evangelical Christian. He wrote a book for his son entitled, Basilikon Doron (which became an international best seller). In it the King stated that he was, “Praying God that as you are regenerated and born in him anew, so you may rise to him and be sanctified in him forever” with “white garments washen the blood of the lamb….” He adds, “Now faith…is the free gift of God (as Paul sayeth).” In March of 1604 while King of England, James urged ministers to be more “…careful, vigilant, and diligent than you have been to win souls to God…[W]here you have been in any way sluggish before, now waken yourselves up again with a new diligence at this point…” (Antonia Fraser, Faith and Treason: The Story of the Gunpowder Plot, NY: Nan A. Talese Doubleday, 1996, p. 89). In Basilikon Doron, the King told his son not only to be born again in Christ, but also to live the Christian life. He wrote of “Holiness being the first and most requisite quality of a Christian, (as proceeding from true fear and knowledge of God).” He admonished him further to “[C]ount every sin and breach of God’s law, not according as the vain world esteems of it, but as God, judge and maker of the law, accounts of the same….”
The Dictionary of National Biography states that James was “decidedly pure.” A contemporary wrote in 1602, “[A]mong his good qualities none shines more brightly than the chasteness of his life, which he has preserved without stain down to the present time, contrary to the example of almost all his ancestors…” (Coston, pp. 55, 44, 284, 39). One Italian visitor described his “chastity” and added, “In his eyes and in his outward appearance there is a certain natural kindness bordering on modesty. He wears his hair short…About food and clothing he does not care.” Regarding wealth, King James said, “I wish, therefore, that some may have single coats, or one living, before others have doublets, or pluralities.” Unlike B.F. Westcott, F. H. A. Hort, and J. B. Phillips, corrupt new version editors who engaged in necromancy, King James wrote a book against such things, entitled Daemonologie. He warned, “Consult therefore with no necromancer” (Coston, p. 52).
Proving wrong the charges that King James persecuted Baptists, he said, “I will never allow in my conscience that the blood of any man shall be shed for diversity of opinions in religion, but I should be sorry that Catholics should so multiply as they might be able to practice their old principles upon us.” “I would be sorry to punish their bodies for the error of their mind” (Fraser, pp. 38, 88). King James wrote, “I did ever hold persecution as one of the infallible notes of a false church” (Bevan p. 69, 48). Jesuit terrorists began plotting his death and the total destruction of his entire anti-papal Parliament government. Thirtysix barrels of gunpowder, about 6,000 pounds, were smuggled through secret tunnels and buried beneath the Parliament by 13 accomplices. On Nov. 5, 1605, just hours before the gunpowder was set to explode and destroy the entire Parliament building, God intervened and the plot was discovered.
Harvard University Press’ Jacobean Pagent (1963) states that James, like all who live godly, was the subject of, “slanders spread by defeated rivals….” Benjamin Disraeli said such rivals, “filled their works with Libel and Invective, instead of History…This is the style which passes for history with some readers.” “Historians can and should ignore the venomous caricature of the king’s person and behavior,” notes Maurice Lee, author of Great Britain’s Solomon: James VI. Author Stephen A. Coston cites a personal letter to himself from Roger Magnuson, author and trial lawyer, graduate of Stanford University, Oxford University, and Harvard Law School. Magnuson wrote, “I find no evidence” to prove the unkind accusations leveled at King James (Coston, pp. 225, 234, 215, 324, 329, 258 n. 1). William Sanderson said, “The King knew no better means to suppress the credit of false rumors, than by his own pious practice in religion, by outward frequency in the exercises of prayer and preaching, duly performing and executing his justice and mercy, with such wisdom, and piety, as made his virtues thereby more transparent to the common view and sense of all men” (Coston, p. 291). At his funeral he was described as “a miracle of kings and a king of miracles.” It was under King James that England was first called `Great Britain’ (Bevan, pp. 12, 79, 201).
Sequence of translation
In January of 1604 King James had commissioned a Bible to replace the Bishops’ Bible. By June of the same year the translators had been chosen. They were divided into six different groups, two each located at Westminster, Cambridge, and Oxford. It appears that the translators began working in the fall of 1604. A list of rules was established. Each individual translator wrote down his own suggestions (chapter by chapter) for the books assigned to his committee, as required by rule eight. Translators met once each week to share their personal work with their committee. Each group molded one common translation by merging these individual translations. Rule nine stated that when a committee finished a book (c. 1607), it should be reviewed by all of the members of all of the other companies. Rule ten called for the resulting suggestions by the other committees, accompanied by reasons, to be reviewed by the original committee and either adopted, or if unresolved, brought to the final `general committee.’ With this plan, each word was reviewed fourteen times.
Unlike any English Bible translation, either before or since, the translation was opened to all Christians, according to rules eleven, twelve, and thirteen. Men “throughout the kingdom,” from pastors, to deans, to professors, to learned men, to Bishops, to “any” spiritual plowmen, who “have taken pains” in their private studies of the scriptures, were asked to study the translation and “send such their observations…so that our said intended translation may have the help and furtherance of all….” “[A]ny…man in the land” could review the work. “To accomplish this review, each company made and passed about copies of its work.” “Manuscripts were prepared and sent out for the scrutiny” of men “throughout the kingdom.” This participation of all “men within this our kingdom” from “far and wide for general scrutiny” is unique. The KJB is the only translation to be screened before its publication by the body of Christ, not just by translators. Suggestions which ensued from the body of Christ at large from the “general circulation” were examined and incorporated by the original committee. “[T]he Bps. [Bishops] altered very many places that the translators had agreed upon…,” noted Dr. Brett of the Old Testament Oxford Committee. In December of 1608 King James requested that “the translation of the Bible shalbe finished & printed so soone as may be” (Ward Allen and E. Jacobs, The Coming of the King James Gospels, Fayetteville, AR: The University of Arkansas Press, 1995, p. 4; Bishop Bancroft cited in Alfred Pollard, Records of the English Bible, London: Henry Frowde by Oxford University Press, 1911, pp. 332-333, 53-55 et al.; Ward Allen, Translating the New Testament Epistles 1604-1611: A Manuscript From King James’s Company, Ann Arbor, MI: University Microfilms International, Vanderbilt University Press, 1977, pp. xxii, lxxxiv, xxiii, xii, xxvii et al.; EB, s.v. Bible, English, pp. 902-903 et al.).
Representatives from each of the six committees examined together the three final annotated Bishops’ Bibles that were the final products of the committees. These men ironed out those issues which could not be agreed upon by the lower committees. The names and exact number of participants in these final meetings, which took place during the first nine months of 1610, are uncertain. Of this group the only certain participates were Andrew Downes and John Bois. This `General’ committee introduced some new refinements. Finally, Bishop Thomas Bilson and Dr. Miles Smith were charged with making the final edits and preparing the Bible for the printers. The KJB bears the printing date of 1611; two printings were done in Oxford. Like earlier English Bibles, it was entitled, the Holy Bible (not the King James or the Authorized Version).
The King James Bible Translators
The KJB translators were nursed by parents who had hidden their Bibles and bodies from the torch-bearing henchmen of Queen Mary (reigned 1553-1558) and the unpredictable Henry VIII (reigned 1509-1547). They knew first hand that Rome and its rulers could tolerate the Bible bound “in the letters of Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin,” the classical languages which Pilate placed above Christ’s cross (John 19:20, Luke 23:38). ([John 19:20] This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin. ) ([Luke 23:38] And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS. ) But Romish rulers would burn, book-by-book, and word-by-word, an English Bible by which the Holy Ghost could speak directly to a man, with no mediator except Jesus Christ ([1 Timothy 2:5] For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; ).
The King James Bible and its 400 years of spiritual fruit show forth what the translators bore of the Spirit unquenched ([Galatians 5:22] But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, ). The translators were the top achievers in England at that time, academically, and it appears, spiritually as well. They had risen to positions as college presidents or deans, heads of schools or departments of the Greek or Hebrew language. They were not only preachers, pastors, doctors, scholars, and linguists, but they had surpassed thousands of men with similar training, during a time when speaking Greek, Latin, Hebrew and foreign languages was common for university students. Their exceptional God-given abilities, coupled with their diligence and an abiding walk with the Lord, set them at the pinnacle of an academic environment where school children were educated at a level above that of many of today’s university students.
The King appointed 54 men; an official list of 47 names is extant. The larger number may have included “three or four of the most ancient” scholars, required by rule fifteen, but not actual members of the committee. Bilson and Bancroft, who did serve on the project, would bring the number to fifty-three. Perhaps the missing fifty “fourth is like the Son of God” ([Daniel 3:25] He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God. ). The following forty-eight names are listed as “Translators” by the British Museum. They add the name of Thomas Bilson to the list of forty-seven translators, because although he was not a member of any committees, he and Miles Smith did the final editing. These include: 1.) Westminster: Lancelot Andrews, William Bedwell, Francis Burleigh, Richard Clarke, Jeffrey King, John Layfield, John Overall, Hadrian Saravia, Robert Tigue, Richard Thomson, William Barlow, William Dakins, Roger Fenton, Ralph Hutchinson, Michael Rabbett, Thomas Sanderson, John Spenser; 2.) Oxford: Richard Brett, Daniel Featley, John Harding, Thomas Holland, Richard Kilby, John Rainolds, Miles Smith, George Abbot, John Aglionby, John Harmer, Leonard Hutten, John Perin, Thomas Ravis, Henry Saville, Giles Thomson; 3.) Cambridge: Roger Andrews, Andrew Bing, Laurence Chaderton, Francis Dillingham, Thomas Harrison, Edward Lively, John Richardson, Robert Spalding, John Bois, William Branthwait, Andrew Downes, John Duport, Jeremy Radcliffe, Samuel Ward, Robert Ward (EB, vol. 3, p. 902 et al.). Although not on the original list, John Aglionby, Leonard Hutten, and William Thorne replaced men who died during the translation (Richard Edes, Edward Lively, Ralph Hutchinson, William Dakins, John Rainolds, Thomas Ravis). The names of Daniel Featley (on the British Museum’s list of translators), Arthur Lake, James Montague, Thomas Sparke, Nicholas Love, George Ryves, Ralph Ravens, and William Eyre have been suggested as later participants. Contrary to contemporary myths, Shakespeare and Flood did not participate.
One KJB translator engraved on his seal, “And who is sufficient for these things!” Although the KJB translators were gifted with greater linguistic skills than today’s typical new version editors, they did not credit their own abilities. They said, “[T]here were many chosen, that were greater in other men’s eyes than in their own, and that sought the truth rather than their own praise…And in what sort did these assemble? In the truth of their own knowledge, or of their sharpness of wit, or deepness of judgment, as it were in an arm of flesh? At no hand. They trusted in him that hath the key of David, opening and no man shutting; they prayed to the Lord the Father of our Lord…In this confidence and with this devotion did they assemble together…” (The Translators). The translators, in utmost humility, did “crave the assistance of God’s spirit by prayer….” Translator Lancelot Andrews spent five hours a day in prayer (The Learned Men, London: Trinitarian Bible Society, no. 25). They wrote, “If we will be sons of the truth, we must…trample upon our own credit….” “[W]e have at the length, through the good hand of the Lord upon us, brought the work to that pass that you now see” (The Translators). A few marginal notes were added to the Bible, not to cast doubt upon the text but, “to resolve upon modesty” (The Translators). William Barlow, a member of the New Testament committee, chose as the motto for his seal: “sit down in the lowest room” ([Luke 14:10] But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee. ), showing the meekness of yet another committee member. Samuel Ward was described as “Meek, modest” (McClure, p. 151).
The translators were soul winners. John Overall’s burden for the souls of men ushered him to the side of `Father’ Henry Garnet, just as this murderer was about to be hanged for his part in the Gunpowder Plot. Overall begged him to receive Jesus Christ as Saviour and express “a true and lively faith to God-ward.” Hadrian Saravia was a missionary to the islands of Guernsey and Jersey. “[T]he preaching of God’s word was planted there” through his efforts. John Rainolds had been a convert from Romanism to Christianity and successfully won public debates with Romanists who publicly challenged orthodoxy. An “arrow whether shot purposely by some Jesuited papist” or someone else, struck him, but did no real injury. Many years later on his death bed, he wrote his testimony of faith saying, “These are to testify to all the world, that I die in the possession of that faith which I have taught all my life, both in my preaching and in my writings, with an assured hope of my salvation, only by the merits of Christ my Saviour” (Paine, pp. 23, 25; McClure, pp. 98-102). Richard Kilby said, “Consider well what he hath done for you…when you were by sin made like the devil, and must therefore have been condemned to hell torments, God sent his only Son, who taking unto him a body and soul, was a man and suffered great wrong and shameful death, to secure your pardon, and to buy you out of the devil’s bondage, that ye might be renewed to the likeness of God…to the end ye might be fit to keep company with all saints in the joys of heaven…” (Paine, p. 48).
The translators’ note on 1 Peter 3:21 ([1 Peter 3:21] The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: ) proves they did not believe in baptismal regeneration, like many of today’s babysprinkling Church of England Anglicans or Episcopalians: “The soul is not sanctified in the washing, but in the vow,” they write (Ward Allen, Translating For King James: Notes Made By A Translator of King James’s Bible, Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University Press, 1969, p. 93). The Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion of the Church of England (e.g. 1563, 1571) were unique in that they did not prescribe “infant” baptism, as did other confessions of faith at that time (e.g. Heidelberg Catechism, 1563). They called baptism merely a “sign” whereby “Christian men” evidenced their “faith” (Article 26). Like Baptists today, they allowed the baptism of “young children,” but infants were no where mentioned. In fact, R. Jeremy Brooks of the British Protestant Truth Society confirms that “in those days it was normally by dipping (immersion), whereas today it is usually by sprinkling (effusion)” (letter to Alan O’Reilly on file).
The translators’ faith produced works. Bois “seldom went to church to beg a blessing of God, but he gave a blessing to some poor body before he came home.” Bois was like Erasmus, who stood to study, read or translate the scriptures, in reverence for the word of God. Contrary to the false impression we are given that the Bible remained chained to the church’s pulpit, Bois’ mother “had read the Bible over twelve times.” In turn, John Bois had “read the Bible over by the time he was five years old.” He went to college with a friend whose father had been Erasmus’ personal assistant (Translating For King James, pp. 129, 130, 131). Lawrence Chaderton was well conversant in Spanish, French, and Italian, yet this Doctor of Divinity was described as quite “modest.” He was called an “excellent preacher.” He lived to the ripe age of 103, a longevity perhaps attributed to “a living affection for the poor,” as one biographer notes (~The Psalmist in Sickness Complains of Enemies and False Friends. [Psalms 41:1] Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble.  The LORD will preserve him, and keep him alive; and he shall be blessed upon the earth: and thou wilt not deliver him unto the will of his enemies. ). Of Thomas Holland it was said, “Even while he labored on the Bible, he gave much time to fervent prayers….” “[He] had a wonderful knowledge of all the learned languages, and of all arts and sciences…He was mighty in the Scriptures…” (McClure, p. 105; Paine, p. 47). Space limitations prevent a discussion of all of the men.
The KJB translators produced numerous other works, but few have heard of them and none are classics. These translators would readily admit that they were not, without the inspiration of God, capable of creating a volume such as the King James Bible. For the last 400 years, the English-speaking people wisely have loved this Bible and “received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe” ([1 Thessalonians 2:13] For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe. ).
Sources and Methods of the KJB Translators
Generally speaking, the early English Bibles are the same. The Bible had become “fixed” in the “ear” of the people, writes Professor Ward Allen. “The changes in the text of the A.V. [KJB] from earlier Protestant translations are slight” (Allen, Translating For King James, pp. 16, 20). Most of the changes take the form of minor surface polishing applied to a firmly established, long standing structure. The King James translators wrote in their preface to the readers, “…[W]hatsoever is sound already, (and all is sound for substance in one or other of our editions…) the same will shine as gold more brightly, being rubbed and polished…” (cited in Allen, Translating the New, p. lx). “[T]he furnace for gold” was a “furnace of earth” where the English Bible was “purified seven times.” The KJB is its seventh and final purification ([Proverbs 17:3] The fining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold: but the LORD trieth the hearts. , [Psalms 12:6] The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. ). It followed the six previous stages: 1.) Gothic, 2.) Anglo-Saxon, 3.) Pre-Wycliffe (Anglo-Norman), 4.) Wycliffe, 5.) Tyndale-Coverdale-Great-Geneva, and 6.) Bishops.’
Translator Henry Saville was an expert on the earliest English Bible manuscripts. This helped provide consistency with the earlier texts. He also published from original manuscripts the written histories of England before Bede. The KJB translators generally followed the grammatical elements and word order (syntax) of the Bishops’ Bible. This was their foundation and they seldom varied from it. The changes they did make were small changes involving words or phrases. These changed words were usually not original, but were taken from earlier English Bibles, such as the Tyndale, Coverdale, Geneva, and the Great Bible.
The following example from 1 Thes. 2:13 ([1 Thessalonians 2:13] For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe. ) shows one of the few instances in which the KJB translators did slightly alter the word order of the Bishops’ Bible. When they altered the word order, they generally were copying the word order of another early English Bible. In this example they followed the Geneva. On occasion they introduced words of their own. In the example to follow they introduced only one of their own words. (The dates shown are those of the printing cited, not necessarily the date of the first edition.) Wycliffe 1395: Therfor we doon thankingis to God with outen ceessyng. For whanne ye hadden take of vs the word of the heryng of God, ye token it not as the word of men, but as it is verili, the word of God, that worchith in you that han bileued. Tyndale 1530-1534: For this cause thanke we God with out ceasynge because that when ye receaved of vs the worde wherwith God was preached ye receaved it not as the worde of man: but even as it was in dede the worde of God which worketh in you that beleve. Coverdale 1535: For this cause thanke we God without ceassynge, because that when ye receaued of vs the worde of the preachinge of God, ye receaued it not as the worde of men, but (eue as it is of a trueth) the worde of God, which worketh in you that beleue. Bishops’ 1568: For this cause thanke we God also without ceassyng, because ye receauyng the worde which ye hearde of vs concerning God, ye receaued it not as the worde of man, (but as it is in dede) the worde of God, which effectuously worketh also in you that beleue. Geneva 1599: For this cause also thanke wee God without ceasing, because when yee receiued the word of God, which yee heard of vs, yee receiued it not as the worde of men, but as it is in deede the word of God, which also worketh in you that beleeue. King James Bible 1611: For this cause also thanke wee God without ceasing, because [Tyndale] [KJB] when yee receiued [Tyndale] the word of God, which yee heard of vs, yee receiued it not as the word of men, but (as it is in [Geneva] trueth), [Coverdale] the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that beleeue [Bishops'].
For hundreds of years, the methods and thoughts of the KJB translators remained lost, until our generation, when every attack possible has buffeted the KJB. “But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” ([Romans 5:20] Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: ). The revealing translation notes of the King James Bible committee have been found. Four primary records, some recently discovered, document the thoughts of the KJB translators: 1.) Forty copies of the 1602 printing of the Bishops’ Bible were given to the translators. Only one remains. It is held in the Bodleian Library in England, catalogued as The Annotated Bishops’ Bible “Bib. Eng. 1602 b.I..” The Annotated Bishops’ Bible shows the text of the Bishops’ Bible, with words crossed out and changes placed either between the lines or in the margin, 2.) Manuscript 98 is a trial translation of the Epistles (1607-1608) by the Westminster committee, 3.) The handwritten English, Latin, and Greek notes of KJB translator John Bois, showing the final work on the Epistles and Revelation by the General Meeting of 1610, and 4.) The Translators to the Reader, the Preface to the King James Bible of 1611 by Miles Smith. These documents demonstrate that the KJB translators considered and rejected words used in today’s new versions. These documents also reveal the translators’ use of a treasure trove of ancient Greek codices and vernacular translations that may not even be available to today’s translators.
KJB translator, John Bois, wrote thirty-nine pages of notes regarding the thinking of the final general committee, of which he was a member. This handful of KJB translators met for nine months between 1610 and 1611. According to Bois’ notes, a few of the translators’ sources include the following: 1.) The Greek of “Beza, and the Gr. [Greek] Codices….” (From this it is clear that they used, not only the 1598 Greek printed edition of Theodore Beza (Beza, Iesu Christi Domini Nostri Novum Testamentum, Geneva: Sumptibus Haered. E. Vignon, 1598 et al.), but also ancient handwritten Greek New Testament codices. For example, their note on Rev. 13:5 states, “In another manuscript…” ([Revelation 13:5] And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. )(Translating For King James, pp. 89, 20, 101), 2.) The Greek New Testament of “Erasmus” (e.g. I Tim. 4:6) (Novum Instrumentu omne, diligenter ab Erasmo Roterodamo recognitum & emendatum…Basileae, in aedibus I. Frobeniji, Mense Februario, 1516; Translating For King James, p. 119), and 3.) ([1 Timothy 4:6] If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. ) The best primary sources written by Christians. The KJB translators had the entire original works of ancient authors. They could read any word in question in its entire context, unlike contemporary translators, who by their own admission are distanced from the entire works of the ancient writers, and do not study words in the contexts of the original editions, but rely on English interpretations in modern lexicons.
Bois’ bibliographer writes, “When he left the college, he knew of but few Greek authors, great or small, extant, which he had not in his own private library” (Translating For King James, p. 138). In spite of Bois’ vast grasp of Greek, he avoided its use in the pulpit, lest he should indirectly disparage the English Bible in the eyes of the young, writes his biographer. He said that “in the church, [he] had rather speak five words with his, to their, understanding (that, by his voice, he might teach others), than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue…” (Translating For King James, pp. 150, 151). Because the KJB translators had access to these primary sources, many of them wrote their own lexicons. William Bedwell was the author of Lexicon Heptaglotten, a seven volume lexicon which included Hebrew, Syriac, Chaldee, and Arabic. The translators “gathered together the chief manuscripts of Chrysostom [the most devout early Greek Christian pastor and writer] which could be found in the best libraries of Christendom…[and] read over the greatest part of that voluminous father in the MSS…[T]he payment of certain scholars beyond the sea for the obtaining of the best exemplars of that author, cost him [Saville] more than 8000l….” (Translating For King James, pp. 141, 142). One writer in the 1600s spoke of Saville’s “cost and pains [and] Herculean labour…” in his effort to gather and study the original writings of ancient Greek Christians (Translating For King James, p. 141). Saville compiled the writings of Chrysostom into 8 volumes entitled, S. Johannis Chrysostomi Opera, Graece. They were printed by Eaton College in 1613. In addition to helping the translators determine the usage of Greek words, Chrysostom’s manuscripts, which contain many scripture citations, document true ancient Greek New Testament readings. Chrysostom lived during the same century that the new versions’ corrupt Vaticanus and Sinaiticus manuscripts were written. Because of his orthodoxy, his scripture citations are of equal antiquity and of better authority than those two corrupt manuscripts underlying new versions.
The translators’ sources, like old covered bridges, paved the way for those early explorers, traveling from Greek, Hebrew, Gothic, Latin, and Anglo-Saxon to English. Their meticulous efforts need not be retraced. We have now arrived and rest in the King James Bible, the glorious seventh and final “perfected” English Bible. Like wisdom, which “crieth upon the highest places of the city,” the November, 1921 issue of the secular magazine, Ladies Home Journal, published an article entitled, “Human Nature in the Bible,” by Yale professor William Lyon Phelps. His article expressed the popular view, saying, “[O]ur English translation is even better than the Hebrew and Greek. There is only one way to explain this; I have no theory to account for the socalled `inspiration of the Bible,’ but I am confident that the Authorized Version [KJB] was inspired…all others are inferior” (pp. 8, 166, 167).
According to the rules of translation, the translators’ final authority was early English Bibles, particularly the Bishops.’ Therefore they introduced no novelties or lexical “private interpretation,” as do modern translators. The KJB translators looked at all pure scriptures, Greek, Hebrew and vernacular. In addition to the ancient languages, they did their work, “comparing of the labours, both in our own, and other foreign Languages, of many worthy men who went before us…” (Holy Bible, 1611, London: Barker, “The Epistle Dedicatory“). They recognize that Holy Bibles used by all language groups, sometimes preserve readings which the codices of the sometimes unorthodox Greek Orthodox church omit in order to perpetuate one of their doctrinal errors (e.g. [[Acts 8:37] And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. ] And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. , [1 John 5:7] For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. et al.). The translators stated that if one Greek source seemed out of joint at a point, they looked at other manuscripts, verses, and vernacular translations. In Romans 12:10, based on a “collation” of Andrew Downes, their notes suggest that a verse should be interpreted “…as if it had been written” in Greek another way (Translating For King James, p. 43). ([Romans 12:10] Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; )
The libraries of Great Britain, King James I, and the translators brought a wealth of ancient and medieval Bibles from all over the world to the fingertips of the KJB translators. No translator today has access to such authentic volumes; instead today’s translators use printed `critical editions’ (e.g. Greek, Syriac, Hebrew, and Latin et al.), which often follow no one manuscript on earth). In The Translators to the Reader, numerous available scriptures are listed, such as a “Dutch-rhyme yet extant” from the 900s, the French Bible from the 1300s “of which translation there be many copies yet extant,” as well as “many English Bibles in written hand…translated” in the 1300s. This treasury of texts, along with previous English Bibles, gave the KJB translators a breadth of authoritative world-wide witnesses, whose agreement on the readings of the Bible, brought to light microscopic errors in some Greek and Hebrew printed editions or codices. To determine the meaning and translation of a verse, they did a “collation” with other verses in the Bible, and a comparison with other Bibles. The readings from many Bibles, used and agreed upon by the priesthood of believers, in many language groups, throughout many centuries, are to be preferred to the readings of one language (e.g. Greek), or one edition by one Greek editor (e.g. UBS, Scrivener [TBS], Stephanus), or one `church’ body (e.g. Greek Orthodox). The KJB committee had many old editions of Bibles in foreign languages, the most recent being the Geneva French (1587/88), Olivetan (1535), Passors (1588), the Spanish Valencia (1478), Pinel (1553), de Reynas (1569), de Valera (1602), and Bruccioli or Diodati’s Italian (1607). Also available to the translators were the Antwerp Polyglot of 1572 and the twelvelanguage Nuremberg Polyglot of 1599, which includes the Gospels and Epistles in Greek, Hebrew, Syriac, Latin, French, Italian, Spanish, English, German, Danish, Bohemian, and Polish. Latin was spoken by all of the translators; Beza’s Latin text, preserving the pure old Itala, was sometimes helpful in identifying the most ancient readings. John Selden said in his Table Talk, “The translation in King James’ time took an excellent way. That part of the Bible was given to him who was most excellent in such a tongue and then they met together, and one read that translation, the rest holding in their hands some Bible, either of the learned tongues [Greek, Hebrew, Latin], or French, Italian, Spanish &c [and other languages]. If they found any fault, they spoke; if not he read on” (Paine, p. 77.) The Translators to the Reader states, “If you ask what they had before them, truly it was the Hebrew text of the Old Testament, the Greek of the New…Neither did we think much to consult the translators or Commentators, Chaldee, Hebrew, Syrian, Greek, or Latin, no nor the Spanish, French, Italian, or Dutch…” (The Translators). Most of the translators were multi-lingual. For example, Hadrian Saravia, a KJB translator of Spanish descent, pastored a French-speaking church, and spoke Dutch as a resident of Holland. The translators of the King James Bible stated on the title page that the New Testament was also “translated out of the Originall Greeke.” The translators would not have made this claim if they had not had documentary proof. Time and recent discoveries have verified this. The most recent discovery of the Magdalene papyrus, the oldest Greek New Testament fragment, matches the KJB and none of the new versions. The King James Bible mirrors the manuscripts and printed Bibles which for millennia were the mainstay of Europe: the Old Itala, the Italian, the Gothic, the Anglo-Saxon, the Dutch, the German, the French, the Spanish, the Greek and the Hebrew. These ancient and medieval vernacular Bibles can provide evidence for the readings in the KJB, particularly wrongly disputed ones in the book of Revelation. Hands-on access to these ancient Bibles makes the KJB unsurpassable by today’s critical `scholars.’ The translators’ use of vernacular Bibles follows the pattern of Coverdale (German, Swiss, et al.), Rogers (German), and Theodore Beza, whose Greek New Testament was compiled using a collation of Greek and vernacular editions, particularly Latin editions of the Syriac and Aramaic. In countries where paper was precious, people were poor, and persecution was plenty, the scriptures had been preserved by Christians who memorized huge portions of the Bible. The translators easily reproduced the type of Holy Bible the world had had since the “scriptures” were given to “all nations.”
Unlike the KJB, the modern versions do not faithfully reproduce “The word of the truth of the gospel; Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world” ([Colossians 1:5] For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel;  Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth: ). For example, the KJB includes the word “Christ” in John 4:42 ([John 4:42] And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world. ), as does the Nuremberg Polyglot of 1599 in Greek (Christos), Old Latin (Christum), German (Christus), Danish (Christus), Spanish (Christo), French (Christ), Italian (Christo), and other languages. In this verse, as in too many other verses, the word `Christ’ is omitted in the NIV, TNIV, NASB, HCSB, ESV, NRSV, RSV, Roman Catholic, and Jehovah Witness versions, as well as the suggested note in the NKJV. “Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist…” ([1 John 2:22] Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. ).
The KJB includes prayer “and fasting” in Mark 9:29 ([Mark 9:29] And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting. ), as does the Polyglots’ ancient languages, such as Greek and Latin (& ieiunio), and its more modern languages, such as French (& par iufne), German (und faften), Italian (e digiuno), and Spanish (y ayuno). The words “and fasting” are omitted in the new versions, which so often do not follow the scriptures given to all nations.
The KJB followed pure editions which included God’s words now omitted by most new versions. These include things such as: 1.) the deity of Christ ([1 Timothy 3:16] And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory. , [Ephesians 3:9] And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: , [1 John 4:3] And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. ), the Trinity ([1 John 5:7] For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. ), the blood atonement ([Colossians 1:14] In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: ), salvation by faith in Jesus Christ ([Mark 10:24] And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! , [Acts 8:37] And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. , [John 6:47] Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. ), and seventeen entire verses (i.e. [Matthew 17:21] Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting. , [Matthew 18:11] For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost. , [Matthew 23:14] Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. , [Mark 7:16] If any man have ears to hear, let him hear. , [Mark 9:44] Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. , [Mark 9:46] Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. , [Mark 11:26] But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses. , [Mark 15:28] And the scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And he was numbered with the transgressors. , [Luke 17:36] Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. , [Luke 23:17] (For of necessity he must release one unto them at the feast.) , [John 5:4] For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had. , [Acts 8:37] And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. , [Acts 15:34] Notwithstanding it pleased Silas to abide there still. , [Acts 24:7] But the chief captain Lysias came upon us, and with great violence took him away out of our hands, , [Acts 28:29] And when he had said these words, the Jews departed, and had great reasoning among themselves. , [Romans 16:24] The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. , and [1 John 5:7] For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. ).
The KJB retains words which also appeared in all earlier English Bibles, unlike the NKJV which omits the word “Lord” 66 times, “God” 51 times, “heaven” 50 times, “repent” 44 times, “blood” 23 times, and “hell” 22 times. The NKJV entirely omits the words “JEHOVAH,” “new testament,” damnation,” and “devils.” The KJB is translated with doctrinal accuracy, unlike the NKJV which demotes Jesus Christ from God’s “Son” to a mere “servant” ([Acts 3:13] The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. , [Acts 3:26] Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities. , [Acts 4:27] For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, , [Acts 4:30] By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus. ), mistranslates and denies the pre-incarnate Christ ([Hebrews 4:8] For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. , [Acts 7:45] Which also our fathers that came after brought in with Jesus into the possession of the Gentiles, whom God drave out before the face of our fathers, unto the days of David; ), and teaches salvation by works ([Revelation 19:8] And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. , ~The Wisdom of God [1 Corinthians 1:18] For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. , [2 Corinthians 2:15] For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: , [Romans 11:30] For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief:  Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.  For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all. etc.). (These are just of few of the thousands of errors in modern versions. For many more examples and a thorough discussion see New Age Bible Versions, Which Bible Is God’s Word, and Hazardous Materials: Greek and Hebrew Study Dangers (G.A. Riplinger, Ararat, VA: AV Publications).
The KJB translators believed men could “hear Christ speaking unto them in their mother tongue…by the written word translated.” The translators equate Greek and Hebrew (and Aramaic) texts with an impenetrable barrier, like frozen ice, a shell, a windowpane, a stone cover and a curtain. “But how shall men meditate in that which they cannot understand? How shall they understand that which is kept closed in an unknown tongue?…The Apostles excepteth no tongue; not Hebrew the ancientest, not Greek the most copious…[A]ll of us in those tongues which we do not understand, are plainly deaf…” (The Translators). On the other hand, they equate the English translation with “Thy word” which is a “light” ([Psalms 119:105] Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. ), “holy scriptures” ([2 Timothy 3:15] And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. ), and the “water” of “the word” ([Ephesians 5:26] That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, ). “Translation is that [which] openeth the window, to let in the light; that breaketh the shell, that we may eat the kernel; that putteth aside the curtain that we may look into the most Holy place, that removeth the cover of the well that we may come by the water…” (The Translators). “Therefore blessed be they, and most honored be their name, that break the ice, and give…that which helpeth forward the saving of souls. Now what can be more available thereto, than to deliver God’s book to God’s people in a tongue which they understand?” (The Translators).
Jesus said, “…the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit…” ([John 6:63] It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. ). Bible words are not what men think, in ink, they are the “Spirit” of God bearing “witness in earth.” 1 John 5:8 says, “And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.” ([1 John 5:8] And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. )The Bible’s words are inspired, that is, spirit. (Even the Bishops’ Bible said, “he came by inspiration [by the Spirit] into the temple” ([Luke 2:27] And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, ). Bible inspiration, preservation and translation are one: “…a threefold cord is not quickly broken” ([Ecclesiastes 4:12] And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken. ). Translation brings life and prevents death. Enoch was “translated that he should not see death,” and so are God’s words ([Hebrews 11:5] By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. ). Through Bible translation, Christ and his words can be made known to all nations. The since-dissolved `original’ manuscripts and the library-scarce critical editions are like an arrow through the air with no destination ([1 Corinthians 14:9] So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air. ). Only when its shell dissolves, as the original manuscripts no doubt did, can the generating and life-giving germ bear fruitful and “profitable” food ([2 Timothy 3:16] All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: ). When it bears fruit, the fruit retains its own life-giving seeds. These seeds in turn can give life once again. Translation keeps God’s words alive.
John Bunyan, author of Pilgrim’s Progress, carried the translators’ torch for the translated word. “[B]eing upon the road near Cambridge he was overtaken by a scholar who said, `How dare you preach from the Bible, seeing you have not the original, not being a scholar?’ Then said Mr. Bunyan, `Have you the original?’ `Yes, said the scholar…we believe what we have is a true copy of the original.’ `Then,’ said Mr. Bunyan, `so do I believe our English Bible is a true copy of the original.’” Bunyan wrote, “The Lazaruses are not allowed to warn them of the wrath to come…because they cannot with Pontius Pilate speak Hebrew, Greek, and Latin” (A Few Sighs From Hell). Like the KJB translators, who were the subject of “uncharitable imputations,” the scholars “started all kinds of slanders about the tinker preacher. They called him a witch, a Jesuit, a highwayman, and the like. They said he was guilty of gross immoralities, that he had two wives at once, etc.” (W. B. Creary, John Bunyan the Immortal Dreamer, Anderson, IN: Gospel Trumpet Company, 1928; Works of John Bunyan, Vol. 1, Part A, BiblioBazaar, 2008, p. 101 et al.).
Richard Kilby, one of the KJB translators, visited a country church and “found the young preacher to have no more discretion, than to waste a great part of the hour allotted for his sermon,” describing “three reasons why a particular word should have been otherwise translated” in the King James Bible. Kilby went to the pastor’s home and explained kindly to him that “he might have preached more useful doctrine, and not have filled his auditors’ ears with needless exceptions against the late translation and for that word which he offered to that poor congregation three reasons why it ought to have been translated as he said, he and others had considered all them, and found thirteen more considerable reasons why it was translated as now printed” (Reported in Walton’s biography of Bishop Sanderson; McClure, pp. 107, 108).
The effect of Bible criticism is to increase the hearers’ faith in the words of men and decrease their faith in the words of God, in which “every word” is “perfect” and “very pure” ([Psalms 19:7] The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. , [Psalms 119:140] Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it. , [Proverbs 30:5] Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. ). The KJB translators called it a Romish practice to burn whole English Bibles piece-by-piece through criticism. They saw such lack of faith in the “translated” English Bible, as despising the Holy Spirit and denying God’s preserving inspiration. They wrote of “Romanists” and others who: “[R]efusing to hear, and daring to burn the Word translated, did no less than despite the Spirit of grace…vilifying and abusing of the English Bible, or some pieces of them…” (The Translators). The translators’ notes reveal why they translated the same Greek words differently (as in 1 Peter 1:23-25) ([1 Peter 1:23] Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.  For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:  But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you. ) or why the same English word was sometimes used to translate more than one Greek word. For example, in 1 Cor. 10:11 ([1 Corinthians 10:11] Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. )an interpretation was rejected because “…the scope of the passage does not seem to admit this interpretation” (Translating For King James, p. 47).
Like Wycliffe, the translators said that the definition of a word can usually be found in the Bible’s own built-in dictionary of synonyms by “conference of places,” followed by looking for its “brother” or “neighbor…” (The Translators). The rules for translating note the importance of comparing, as King James I said, “one scripture to another” (Translating For King James, p. 140). Tyndale’s Prologue agreed, advising: “And in many places, where the text seemeth at the first chop hard to be understood, yet the circustaces [surrounding words and verses] before and after, and often reading together, make it plain enough” (Tyndale, New Testament, 1530-1534, digitized Chadwyck-Healy, pp. 1, 2). Coverdale echoed saying, “[L]et one text expound another unto thee…[L]et the plain text be thy guide, and the spirit of God (which is the author thereof) shall lead thee in all truth” (Dore, 2nd ed.). He added, “For that one [scripture] interpreteth [translates] something obscurely one place, the same translateth another [place] more manifestly by a more plain vocable [word] of the same meaning in another place…[T]he interpreters have done so before me…Only our heart’s desire unto God, is, that his people be not blinded in their understanding…” “Again, it shall greatly help thee to understand scripture, if thou mark not only what is spoken or written, but of whom, and unto whom, with what words, at what time where, to what intent, with what circumstance, considering what goeth before, and what followeth after” (The Holy Bible, 1535, Chadwyck, pp. 10, 7).
“Purified Seven Times” Not Eight
The KJB translators would not approve of further tampering with the English Bible. The “chief overseer” of the translation said, “If every man’s humor should be followed, there would be no end of translating” (Cambridge History of the Bible, vol. 3, p. 164). “[O]ur adversaries do make so many and so various editions themselves and do error so much about the worth and authority of them…” (The Translators). The KJB translators did not see their translation as one in the midst of a chain of ever evolving English translations. They wanted their Bible to be one of which no one could justly say, `It is good, except this word or that word….’ They planned: “to make…out of many good ones [Wycliffe, Tyndale, Coverdale, Great, Geneva, and the Bishops'] one principal good one, not justly to be excepted against; that hath been our endeavor, that our mark” (The Translators). The translators said that their translation was “perfected” (The Translators). Yet, the Thomas Nelson edition of The Translators to the Reader, published in the KJV/NKJV Parallel Reference Bible, falsified their work, changing the translators’ word “perfected” (a qualitative trait) to “completed” (a quantitative trait). The KJB translators’ assertion that their edition was “perfected” leaves no work left for the new version translators (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1991, p. xiv). The enemy is at war with the word of God. Such spiritually starving men can hardly re-do the Holy Bible to suit the fully fed.
After its publication in 1611, two of the KJB translators, John Bois and Samuel Ward, and a few other men, were involved in the ongoing proofreading of the KJB text, with the most thorough reviews being published in 1629 and 1638. The only changes to the KJB since 1611 are of three types: 1.) 1612: Typography (from Gothic to Roman type), 2.) 1629 and 1638: Correction of typographical errors and updating of orthography (capitalization and spelling), and 3). 1762 and 1769: Standardization of spelling. The first change involved the look of the type. The original 1611 was printed using an old ornate typestyle meant to imitate the hand drawn manuscripts of the Middle Ages. Some of the letters in the 1611 printing looked (not sounded) different from the Roman type used in the 1612 printing. For instance, in the 1611 edition, when the lower case letter `s’ was used at the beginning or middle of a word, the form looked like our Roman letter `f’; the `v’ looked like today’s Roman `u’, while the `u’ looked like today’s `v’ (e.g. “the fame fhall be faued,” sounded just like today’s “the same shall be saved”). It simply looked different. The second changes generally involved the correction of typographical errors. In 1629 and 1638 Samuel Ward and fellow translator John Bois, proofread the KJB for typographical errors for Cambridge University Press to find any typos which had not been corrected since 1611. Since Ward and Bois had been on the original committee, they could find the printer’s slips. The total misprints of both of the two 1611 printings combined exhibit well over 100 misprints from the intended text of the KJB translators. When matched against a current KJB, one might wrongly conclude that “the” 1611 KJB was different in 136 places from today’s KJB, not realizing that the differences were typographical errors brought about during the typesetting of the two 1611 editions. The total number of typographical errors is small, considering the fact that each letter was set by hand, during an era when lighting was poor and custom eye glasses had not yet been invented. The Germanic tendency to capitalize substantives was still seen in a few places in the 1611 printings. This was conformed in several places to English orthographic style in 1629 and in editions which followed. The third and last changes involve the standardization of spelling. English spelling was not uniform until the late 1700′s. Before that time the same word was even spelled differently within the same sentence. Letters were sometimes added to justify and `even out’ columns of type. Letters were doubled and `e’ was often added (e.g. `fhewe’ for `shew,’ `dayes’ for `days,’ and `Sonne,’ for `Son’). The spelling of the KJB was standardized and made uniform beginning in 1762 by Dr. Thomas Paris of Cambridge, and finally in 1769, by Dr. Benjamin Blayney of Oxford. These typo-corrected editions of 1629 and 1638 and standardized spelling editions of 1762 and 1769 are wrongly called `revisions’ of the KJB by those who would like to pretend that the KJB has undergone “several revisions” correcting “slight inaccuracies” and “its English form.” There have never been any `revisions’ of the KJB text. The `Board of Managers’ of the American Bible Society in 1852 thoroughly examined the text of the KJB and determined that: “The English Bible as left by the translators has come down to us unaltered in respect to its text…With the exception of typographical errors and changes required by the progress of orthography [capitalization and spelling] in the English language, the text of our present Bibles remains unchanged, and without variations from the original copy as left by the translators (Report of the Committee on Versions to the Board of Managers of the American Bible Society, 1852, pp. 7, 11).
Why has God continued to use the King James Bible, in spite of hundreds of attempts to change it? The following characteristics distinguish the King James Bible from man-made modern counterfeits: 1.) The KJB was the seventh polishing of the English Bible, made unique among all English Bibles because it was and still is the only one whose translators invited the input of all interested English-speaking Christians before it was published ([Psalms 12:6] The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. ). It was not done by just one man, nor was it done by a paid committee of `hirelings’ ([Job 7:2] As a servant earnestly desireth the shadow, and as an hireling looketh for the reward of his work: ). 2.) The KJB is the only current English Bible which enhances meaning and memorization with carefully pointed synchronization of the following: letter sounds, syllabication, words, parts of speech, and word order. 3.) Like Jesus Christ, the living Word, the KJB is “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher…” ([Hebrews 7:26] For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; ). It is the only English Bible which retains a “pure language” ([Zephaniah 3:9] For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the LORD, to serve him with one consent. ) which identifies it as the voice of Jesus Christ, the living Word, who is also “separate from sinners” ([Hebrews 7:26] For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; ). 4.) It perfectly balances this special vocabulary with a unique brevity, affording easy memorization. For example, the KJB took the Bishops’ Bible’s phrase `good tidings’ and changed it to “gospel.” It is shorter than “good tidings” and therefore easier to memorize. `Gospel’ is a Holy Bible word, not a word heard on the `news.’
Bishops’ Bible to King James Bible: Separate From Sinners
It is often assumed that the KJB was one of a series of English Bibles, each one updating a more primitive or earlier type of English. Some have wrongly integrated the progressive history of the English language (Early, Middle, and Late English) with the names publicly associated with the printed English Bible (Wycliffe, Tyndale, and the KJB). We cannot assume, as some have, who have not actually collated them word-for-word, that the language of the KJB reflects updating of the language of the Bishops’ and earlier Bibles. On the contrary, the evidence proves that the Bishops’ and earlier Bibles had a pedestrian, that is, a very easy and common vocabulary. They actually had a simpler vocabulary than the KJB. Only rarely does the KJB change an `archaic’ phrase, like the Bishops’ “forged cavillation” in Luke 19:8 ([Luke 19:8] And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord: Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold. ), to the easier “false accusation,” or the Bishops’ “they wote not” to the KJB’s “they know not” in Luke 23:34 ([Luke 23:34] Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots. ). A word-forword analysis of the English Bibles before the KJB destroys the myth that its words are `archaic’ English. (See In Awe of Thy Word.) Earlier English Bibles were written in a simpler language. If God had wanted the Bible of today jotted in the vocabulary of a memo, he would have retained the Tyndale or the Bishops’ Bible. Most of the words in the Bishops’ Bible are common language today. The words in the KJB are not always common. They are “harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher…” just like the Word, Jesus Christ. One might need to respond to the question, `Could we `update’ some of those KJB words?’. Remind them that God replaced a Bible just like that with the KJB. For example, in 1611 the Bishops’ simple word “appeared” became “appeareth” ([Matthew 2:13] And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. ), “put” became “layd” ([Matthew 3:10] And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. ), “lift” became “beare” ([Matthew 4:6] And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. ), “hurt” became “despitefully use” ([Matthew 5:44] But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; ), “pull out” became “cast out” ([Matthew 7:5] Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye. ), “And saying” became “beseeching him” ([Matthew 8:5] And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, ), “sorrowed” became “lamented” ([Matthew 11:17] And saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented. ), “easier” became “more tolerable” ([Matthew 11:22] But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. ), and “given” became “delivered” ([Matthew 11:27] All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. ). The Bishops’ Bible, like all of the early English Bibles, was truly an unelevated Bible. But as men waxed “worse and worse” God selected a holy “separate from sinners” vocabulary for the KJB. Manuscript 98 shows that the KJB translators considered and rejected words seen in today’s new versions. It shows that they elevated the Bishops’ “clothes,” now used in the NIV, to “apparel” ([1 Peter 3:3] Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; ). The Bishops’ “For truly,” used today in the ESV and NASB, was elevated to “For verily” ([Mark 5:18] And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him. ). The Bishops’ “the lowly,” seen in today’s NKJV and HCSB, was elevated to “them of low degree” ([Luke 1:52] He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. ). In Luke 1:54 ([Luke 1:54] He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; ) the KJB changed the Bishops’ “helped” to “holpen,” a word generally only used in the Bible. Contrary to our preconceived ideas, the word `helped’ is not the modern counterpart of `holpen.’ The word `help’ is the older of the two words, dating back to the 800s. In fact, in A.D. 950 the Lindisfarne Gospels said, “milsa us vel help…” ([Matthew 20:30] And, behold, two blind men sitting by the way side, when they heard that Jesus passed by, cried out, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou son of David. ) (Charles Hardwick [Skeat], The Gospel According to Saint Matthew, Cambridge: University Press, 1858, p. 157 et al.). The KJB does use the word `help’ and `helped’ more frequently than `holpen,’ but its expanded vocabulary occasionally includes “holpen.” Of course, the KJB defines `holpen’ in its built-in dictionary in Daniel 11:34 as “holpen with a little help.” Its international English finds “holpen” matching the German `helfen,’ the Dutch and Low German, `helpen,’ and the Yiddish `helfn.’ ([Daniel 11:34] Now when they shall fall, they shall be holpen with a little help: but many shall cleave to them with flatteries. ) When a two-syllable word is needed for meter, such as in Luke 1:54 ([Luke 1:54] He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; ), the use of the two-syllable `holpen’ allows alliteration of `h,’ `i,’ and `is,’ as well as rhythmic second syllable accents in “hath hol’-pen his ser’-vant.”
Jesus Christ is the Word (Christ [John 1:1] In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. ) “and his name is called The Word of God” ([Revelation 19:13] And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. ). The true word of God will be like him. He is “holy” ([Acts 4:27] For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, ); so are the “holy scriptures” ([Romans 1:2] (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,) , [2 Timothy 3:15] And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. ). Jesus was likened to a “King” who gave us a “better testament” ([Hebrews 7:22] By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament. ). The King James Bible is a “better testament.” Its longevity is a portrait of the “unchangeable” and “endless life” of Jesus Christ. Jesus is called “undefiled, separate from sinners” (Heb. 7). His “holy scriptures” must likewise be “separate from sinners.” Their “pure words” will not be polluted by worldly use. They will remain “separate.” The vocabulary of the King James Bible was not common, even in the 1500s and 1600s. The KJB is not the language of earth. It has no unnecessary steeples, but is “garnished with all manner of precious,” “pure,” “wholesome,” and “undefiled” words, clearly having come “down from God out of heaven” “polished after the similitude of a palace” ([Psalms 144:12] That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace: ).
It is critical that reading the word of God does not bring to mind foolish and sinful ideas. It is through the spotless silvered glass of the scriptures that man sees his sin-stained soul ([James 1:21] Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.  But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.  For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:  For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.  But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. ). The scripture must be polished, pure and clear. It cannot be spattered with man’s words, which, like the “thoughts of his heart,” are “only evil continually” ([Genesis 6:5] And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. ). Why does the KJB use words such as “wist” instead of `know,’ or “ye” instead of `you’? Isn’t this `archaic’? As men “wax worse and worse” and sin’s entangling thicket snared, the sword was given a final sharpening and became the King James Bible, “sharper than any twoedged sword…dividing” the tainted words of men from the pure words of God. Only the KJB’s words are “wholesome words” ([1 Timothy 6:3] If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; ), according to databases such as Oxford University’s Psycholinguistic Database, Princeton University’s Cognitive Science Laboratory, and Edinburgh University’s Associative Thesaurus. These databases define words as the mind defines them. The depraved words in new versions are shown by Edinburgh University’s Associative Thesaurus to be unholy, harmful, defiled, and anything but separate from sinners (See In Awe of Thy Word for documentation). Ian Paisley, member of the British Parliament, states that the KJB is “English undefiled” (Ian Paisley, My Plea for the Old Sword, Belfast, Ambassador, 1997, p. 61). The KJB fulfills Tyndale’s wish that the final English Bible “seek in certain places more proper English” (Dore, 2nd ed, pp. 2324). Tyndale scholar, David Daniell agrees that “the Authorized Version’s scholars tended to remove the Bible safely away from daily life” (Daniell, p. xiii).
New bibles are all done under the premise that God wants us to have a bible that reads like the morning newspaper. He had an easy-reading Bible in the Bishops’ Bible (and the Tyndale, Coverdale, and the Great Bibles) which preceded the KJB. God permanently replaced the old simple Bishops’ Bible to give the English-speaking world a Bible that is memorizable and melodic, that aids missionaries in bridging the language gap, and most importantly, whose vocabulary clearly distinguishes it from the voice of man. The words in the King James Bible often have only Biblical usage. Words such as “fornication” and “propitiation” are mouth-filling words which are meant to be mind-filling too. Words have a speed of their own, that is, each takes its own amount of time to be said. Longer words are like safety `speed bumps.’ They slow down the reader causing him to stop, pause and think at that bumpy juncture in the road. These longer words stand in sharp contrast to most of the words in the KJB, which are simple one or two syllable words.
To fulfill God’s requirement that man, “trembleth at my word,” it must be recognizable as his word ([Isaiah 66:2] For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word. ). To be recognizable as his word it must be unique. When the wind whipped through the window, one could say, the “curtain…was torn in two” (TNIV, NIV and ESV). When the God of all glory died for our sins on the cross, “the veil…was rent in twain” (KJB) ([Mark 15:38] And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom. ). Special moment special language. The KJB substitutes the poetic word `twain’ for the Bishops’ simple, yet more cumbersome two-word phrase “into two pieces” or “parts.” Now the long `a’ in `twain’ matches precisely the long `a’ sound in `veil.’ The KJB words are `Bible’ words, powerful, yet sharper than any twoedged sword. For example, someone can say, `My keys are `lost’ and the vase broke into `pieces.’ The commonality of those words bring with them no jolt or sense of urgency. However, those who do not believe in Jesus Christ will “perish,” a special word for an eternal decision. The unbeliever will be cut “asunder.” These are blood pressure words, piercing and dividing asunder even to the soul and spirit.
The KJB translators often considered and rejected so-called simple words, seen in today’s new versions, in their effort to produce a “separate from sinners” Bible. The Annotated Bishops’ Bible (1603-1611) contains notes which show that the KJB translators rejected the NKJV’s “worthy” for “meete for” (Invalid verse reference.) and “what shall we put on?” for “Wherewithall shall we be clothed” ([Matthew 6:31] Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? ). They rejected the new versions’ “teaching” for “doctrine” in Mark 4:2. ([Mark 4:2] And he taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in his doctrine, )
Even USA TODAY quotes “linguistic experts” who state that, “We have always implicitly taught our children different language structures and how they function in different arenas…We use a different language structure watching a baseball game than in our place of worship. Most children will understand the difference” (April, 1, 2003, p. 8D). The KJB contains both the “elevated” word, as Stanford Professor Lerer calls them, and the simpler word. They are placed in parallelism near each other so that the definition of the harder word is clearly understood. The easy word usually comes from an Anglo-Saxon root, while the more difficult word is sometimes of Latin origin. This makes the KJB an internationally readable book. Those who read Spanish, Portuguese, French, Romanian, and Italian will recognize the Latin word. Those who read German, Dutch, Norwegian, Danish, and Swedish will recognize the Anglo-Saxon word. For example, in Heb. 7:2-6, the KJB translators introduced a built-in definition for the “elevated” and special word `tithe’ as “a tenth part.” The Bishops’ Bible said, “Abraham gave tithe of all…received tyth.” The KJB changed it to, “Abraham gave a tenth part of all…received tithe.” ([Hebrews 7:2] To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace;  Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.  Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.  And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham:  But he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises. )
The Holy Bible is thousands of years old. It is not a passing fancy or current craze. It must communicate its antiquity and longevity to the reader. Its seasoned sentences must communicate to their reader the sense that it is a book which has withstood the test of time and is still in print. The special words tell the reader that the book has time-honored thoughts and timeless wisdom. They tell the reader not to approach this book as they do any other book.
“Ye May Understand”
In 1611 the KJB served only 5 million English-speaking people. Today it can be used to bring this century’s nearly 2 billion English-speakers to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ (49% of these are native speakers of English; 51% of these can speak English as their second language). This is nearly 33% of the world’s population, which is 16% of the people who have ever lived. This is why the devil battles against the King James Bible. The teaching of English is now required in most nations of the world. English Professor Lerer feels that `in many ways, the central feature of 20th century English is its status as a global language’ (See David Crystal’s The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language and The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language; H.L. Mencken, The American Language, NYC: Alfred Knopf, 1937, pp. 590-615; The Teaching Company newsletter re: The History of the English Language, n.d.).
Now in the 21st century, English wins, not by mere force of numbers, but by weight of its intrinsic character, which linguist H.L. Mencken calls, “The prevalence of very short words in English…[a] succinct, straightforward and simple tongue in some of its aspects, in fact almost as a kind of baby-talk” (Mencken, pp. 600, 602). The KJB is generally made up of short Anglo-Saxon words, not lumpy Latin words used by new versions to conform to the Derivative Copyright Law (which forces them to make “substantial” changes in order to secure a copyright). When possible, the KJB translators tapered the words “like a sharp sword…a polished shaft” ([Isaiah 49:2] And he hath made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand hath he hid me, and made me a polished shaft; in his quiver hath he hid me; ). Although the KJB has a few big or special words, most of its words and translations are shorter than those in new versions. The King James Bible is “a little book.” The translators forged the shortest, `quickest’ and most piercing path to man’s soul. New versions crowd Latinized and paraphrased words, bumper to bumper, slowing down reading and blocking from view God’s billboard words, such as `atonement’ and `remission.’ Those who “run in a race” need a `run and read’ Bible ([1 Corinthians 9:24] Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. ). “Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it” ([Habakkuk 2:2] And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. ). For example, the KJB changed the Bishops’ “followed” to “was” ([Matthew 8:26] And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. ), “howbeit” to “but” ([Matthew 15:8] This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. ), and “fulfilled” to “done” ([Matthew 26:42] He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done. ). God’s polishing grindstone honed away at the sword of the Spirit so that it remained “purified” and “sharper.” The razoredged pen-points of the translators trimmed off any unnecessary “weight,” so that the words `come right to the point’ and are penetrating and pointed. Like Paul, who said, “…I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand…” ([Ephesians 3:3] How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,  Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) ).
The KJB’s built-in `English teacher’ provides eleven different forms to communicate eleven different parts of speech. New versions jumble all eleven into five forms, making Bible comprehension very difficult. The KJB simplifies grammatical comprehension because it retains the words which automatically identify parts of speech: 1.) thou (singular nominative), 2.) thee (singular objective), 3.) thine (singular possessive pronoun), 4.) thy (singular possessive adjective), 5.) ye (plural nominative), 6.) you (plural objective), 7.) your (plural possessive adjective), 8.) yours (plural possessive pronoun), 9.) write (first person: I), 10.) writest (second person: thou), and 11.) writeth (third person: he, she, or it). Words that are singular have one t-stick: thou, thee, thine, and thy. Words that are plural have a y-stick whose top is broken into two branches: ye, you, your, yours. Most languages, including Hebrew and Greek, are what linguists call `synthetic.’ A single word (love) blends its meaning with an ending (called an inflected ending, e.g. lovest) which indicates that it is a verb (an action or being word) and identifies the verb’s subject. The first person is I love; the second person is thou lovest (`s‘ for second person); and the third person is he, she, or it loveth (`t‘ for third person). It is all as easy as A, B, C.
Modern English and new English bibles are not `synthetic.’ They are what linguists call `analytical.’ The reader must analyze them, hoping for clues from the word order, to determine what part of speech a word is and what word it modifies (e.g. first person: I love; second person: you love; third person: he loves). Who does `love,’ you or I? Such subjective conclusions do not suit the Bible, where “private interpretation” is forbidden ([2 Peter 1:20] Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. ). The word of God is a legal document. Jesus said, “…the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” ([John 12:48] He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. ). Modern language substitutes are not precise enough. It is imperative that these endings be retained because a verb is sometimes separated from its subject. The endings make vital theological distinctions.
The KJB is the only English Bible that speaks and spells like most of the languages in the world. It is international English and is God’s bridge to reach a world now clamoring to learn English. Retaining the `-est’ and `-eth’ endings is the only way to show important grammatical and theological distinctions, clearly seen in Greek, Hebrew, and many foreign Bibles. Missionaries love the KJB because its `-est’ and `-eth’ verb endings match those of many of the world’s languages. These too have an `s‘ in the second person and a `t‘ in the third person verb endings. The KJB’s “becamest” is `wurdest’ in Modern German. Those who speak Greek, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, Yiddish, and many other languages know that an `s‘ in the ending means second person singular. The use of a `t‘ in the ending also signals the third person to many.
In addition to the matching ending letters, the word for `thou’ in many languages is a `t’ or `d’ word like tu or du. These match the KJB’s `t’ in `thou;’ the `you’ in modern bibles will not communicate to non-English speakers at all. For example, the KJB’s “thou givest” mirrors the German “du gibst.” The new versions’ “you give” will be unrecognizable. Likewise, the KJB’s “thou findest” matches the German “du findest.” Its “thou redeemedst” matches the Italian “tu redimésti” and its “thou lovedst” matches the Spanish “tu amaste,” not the new versions’ “you loved.” The edge of a sword and the edges of words are critical; they sever the true from the false. Jesus is the beginning and the ending, even in his word. “I am…the ending, saith the Lord” ([Revelation 1:8] I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. ).
The KJB is Biblical English, not 17th century style. Shakespeare’s plays, written during the same period, did not use the `-eth’ and `-est’ endings. The `Preface to the KJB,’ written before 1611 by the translators, does not sound like the King James Bible. It says “your very name,” not `thy very name.’ The KJB translators used `thee,’ `ye,’ `thy,’ `thine,’ `eth,’ and `est’ endings (on verbs) in the Bible because these are the only way to show important grammatical and theological distinctions, clearly seen in Greek, Hebrew, and most of the world’s Bibles. KJB English is Biblical English, not archaic English.
“The Beauty of Holiness”
A peacock is no more perfect or beautiful than a swan. A peacock is simply magnified in the beauty of its details. Beauty under a magnifying glass is magnified beauty. When early English Bibles dawned, their simple lines were like the swan. Now they pale with the magnified details of the beautiful King James Bible. The previous Bibles, such as the Bishops’ (c. 1568-1611) were no less perfect, pure, and true than the KJB. Their beauty was simply polished, as pure gold is polished, so that the KJB magnifies and mirrors more finely the glorious reflection of our precious Saviour, “Jesus the author” ([Hebrews 12:2] Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. ). The God-designed ark of the covenant was structural wood adorned with pure gold. Was the gold essential to the structure or was it used to reflect the beauty of its contents, “the testimony,” which was the word of God (Exod 25:10-16)? ([Exodus 25:10] And they shall make an ark of shittim wood: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof.  And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, within and without shalt thou overlay it, and shalt make upon it a crown of gold round about.  And thou shalt cast four rings of gold for it, and put them in the four corners thereof; and two rings shall be in the one side of it, and two rings in the other side of it.  And thou shalt make staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold.  And thou shalt put the staves into the rings by the sides of the ark, that the ark may be borne with them.  The staves shall be in the rings of the ark: they shall not be taken from it.  And thou shalt put into the ark the testimony which I shall give thee. ) The true “holy scriptures” will have “the beauty of holiness.” They will be “…for glory and for beauty” ([1 Chronicles 16:29] Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness. , [2 Chronicles 20:21] And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the LORD, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the LORD; for his mercy endureth for ever. , [Psalms 29:2] Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness. , [Psalms 96:9] O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth. , [Exodus 28:2] And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother for glory and for beauty. , [Exodus 28:40] And for Aaron’s sons thou shalt make coats, and thou shalt make for them girdles, and bonnets shalt thou make for them, for glory and for beauty. ). Through the scriptures, “Thine eyes shall see the king in his beauty…” ([Isaiah 33:17] Thine eyes shall see the king in his beauty: they shall behold the land that is very far off. ) and “…how great is his beauty!” ([Zechariah 9:17] For how great is his goodness, and how great is his beauty! corn shall make the young men cheerful, and new wine the maids. ). The few changes the KJB made were not executed to update an evolving English language or to represent the language of that day. The fine-tuning done by the KJB translators was done to magnify the following qualities: 1.) intensify meter, 2.) add alliteration, 3.) secure brevity, 4.) ensure continuity, 5.) introduce a separate-from-sinners’ vocabulary, 6.) give a transparent view of the inflected and precise language seen in Greek, Hebrew, and most of the world’s languages, 7.) polish the synchronization of letter sounds, syllabication, and syntax, and 8.) enhance memorization, comprehension, and parasympathetic rhythms. The KJB translators took these elements into consideration and chose words (usually from earlier English Bibles) which carried the greatest number of these qualities.
Auburn University Professor, Ward Allen writes of “[T]he miraculous perfection of the Authorized Version” (Translating for King James, p. ix). The “miraculous” phenomena are found in every line of the KJB. These represent, not special spots, but the entire fabric of “holy scriptures.” Even secular writers can find reasons to “praise his word” ([Psalms 56:4] In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me. , [Psalms 56:10] In God will I praise his word: in the LORD will I praise his word. ). Professor Allen experienced what he calls the “sense of the miraculous” during his lifelong examination of the King James Bible. Vanderbilt University Press says that the “King James Bible” is the “bestselling book of all time” and “the most glorious document in the history of the English language” (Translating For King James, ix, back cover, et al.). British Professor, David Daniell, praises the “miraculous” sense of the KJB, noting that, “The Authorized Version became the acme of achievable literary perfection…” (Daniell, pp. vii, ix, x et al.).
America’s pre-eminent linguist, H.L. Mencken, though an unbeliever, concludes regarding the King James Bible: “It is the most beautiful of all the translations of the Bible; indeed it is probably the most beautiful piece of writing in all the literature of the world…[M]any learned but misguided men have sought to produce translations…in the plain speech of everyday. But the Authorized Version has never yielded to any of them, for it is palpably and overwhelmingly better than they are, just as it is better than the Greek New Testament, or the Vulgate, or the Septuagint. Its English is extraordinarily simple, pure, eloquent, and lovely. It is a mine of lordly and incomparable poetry, at once the most stirring and the most touching ever heard of” (Paine, p. viii).
Former President Ronald Reagan defends the beautiful King James Bible and denounces the threadbare bibles woven by this generation. In his September 6, 1977 broadcast, as preserved in the audio series, Reagan in His Own Words, he criticizes attempts to “improve” the “authorized version, the one that came into being when the England of King James was scoured for translators and scholars. It was the time when the English language had reached its peak of richness and beauty.” Reagan questions new versions which, he said, “…boast that their bible is as readable as the daily paper…But do readers of the daily news find themselves moved to wonder, `at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth’?” “[D]rudges,” he calls them, “horsing around with the sacred text,” under the guise of trying to “make the Bible more readable and understandable” and “taking religion to the people”…”I can’t help feeling we should instead be taking the people to religion and lifting them with the beauty of language that has outlived centuries…[I]t has already been gotten right.”
The Boston Globe laments with Oxford’s Alister McGrath, “Our culture has been enriched by…the King James Bible. Sadly, we shall never see its equal or even its like again” (In the Beginning Details Bible’s Imprint on English, by Diego Ribadeneira, July 9, 2001, p. B11). Although worldly wise men can sense the miraculous and see a dim glimpse of the glory of God in the KJB, they cannot truly understand its pages unless they have received Jesus Christ as their Saviour. The Holy Bible is about him; only he, through the Spirit, can allow us to understand it. “…Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?” ([Luke 24:32] And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures? ). Even Christians whose hearts are “hardened in pride” cannot understand the Bible with their minds. Christians can only “understand with their heart.” To understand the Bible first, “set thine heart to understand.” “[T]hey that seek the LORD understand all things.” ([Proverbs 8:5] O ye simple, understand wisdom: and, ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart. , [Proverbs 28:5] Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the LORD understand all things. , [Daniel 5:20] But when his heart was lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him: , [Daniel 10:12] Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words. , [Mark 8:17] And when Jesus knew it, he saith unto them, Why reason ye, because ye have no bread? perceive ye not yet, neither understand? have ye your heart yet hardened? , [Matthew 13:15] For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. , [Isaiah 6:10] Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed. , [Acts 28:27] For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. ).
The Heartbeat of God
The three things which make the KJB scriptures easy to understand and to “hide” in the “heart” are: 1.) brevity, 2.) the use of matching letter sounds, and 3.) rhythm and meter. The use of like-sounds with like-things is a basic tenet of comprehension. God is good; the devil is evil and vile. The KJB does half of the thinking for the reader. For example, Luke 3:17 says, “whose fan is in his hand, and he…will gather the wheat into his garner….” ([Luke 3:17] Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable. ) The Bishops’ Bible used the simple word `barn’ instead of the more poetic `garner.’ The KJB more wisely teaches the reader what a barn is by matching the letters in `garner’ with its defining `gather.’ God often uses echoed letters to amplify a thought, connect words in the mind, or to communicate the “beauty of holiness.” The King James Bible pulls words from old Bibles, such as Tyndale’s, Coverdale’s and Wycliffe’s, to bring these soothing alliterations to their apex and take advantage of “the proper collocation of sounds” (Translating for King James, p. 26). Harvard’s Literary Guide to the Bible states that “modern versions” are “diluted by deliberate variations,” “mask the techniques of repetition,” and even show a “real desire to suppress them…” (R. Alter and F. Kermode, Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1987, pp. 656, 654, 655).
Get close to the King James Bible and hear the hidden heartbeat of God, just as the apostle John did when he leaned on Jesus’ breast. The word of God “liveth” ([1 Peter 1:23] Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. ). Only in the “miraculous” KJB do accented syllables and matching letter sounds pulse at equally proportioned intervals, echoing the rhythm of the life-giving breath of a living, breathing speaker, the Spirit of the living God. Because of this parasympathetic rhythm, the King James Bible comforts the Christian, just like the rhythmic rocking chair and the mother’s pulsing heartbeat calms the nestled baby. “As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you” ([Isaiah 66:13] As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem. ).
The KJB’s loud, accented syllables call attention to important words. The KJB calls attention to parallel word definitions by means of matching syllable numbers. Even Harvard’s Literary Guide to the Bible alerts readers to the “parallelism of stressed syllables” also seen in the Hebrew Bible (p. 613). The KJB communicates the intended tone by varying the type of meter, a technique copied by the worldly movie industry, which changes the music when the villain enters. Professor Ward Allen states, “The translators’ lifelong use of poetry has left its mark on the King’s Bible” (The Coming of the King James Gospels, p. 48). The KJB’s syllabication communicates meaning. The KJB’s rhythm allows scripture to be committed to memory more easily. In The Story of English the author observes that the KJB “makes the sentence sing” (Robert McCrum, NY: Penguin Books, 1987, p. 113). Children love its rhythms. They can sing and say the King James. The KJB’s mathematical order conveys the precise and masterful character of the Creator. Nobel Prize winning poet, T.S. Eliot, also observed the fact that elevated writing, like that seen in the Bible, has a “…feeling for syllable and rhythm, penetrating far below the conscious levels of thought and feelings, invigorating every word” (Adam Nicolson, God’s Secretaries, NYC: HarperCollins, 2003, p. 223).
The rhythmic turns and metered refrains of our royal King James Bible have encored in hearts since the 17th century. Its timelong vocabulary gives the Bible deeper wells from which to draw when casting poetic effects. Its time-stretching stream of words includes big words, little words, easy words, and “separate from sinners” words. In the time-traveling KJB, we discover several synonyms to express the same thought. Synonyms are different words which have much the same meaning. But only one of them may have the correct letters, accented syllable, or number of syllables to create the desired effect in a particular context. (Synonyms are also the Bible’s built-in dictionary.) Observe Matt. 16:8, 9: “Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread? Do ye not understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand….” `Perceive’ and `understand’ are synonyms; they have the same meaning. The KJB translators change the Bishops’ `perceive’ to `understand’ in verse 9 (to pair it with the word `thousand’). Conversely they changed `understoode’ to `perceived’ (and `you’ to `ye’) in verse 8 (to match the many strong `e’ sounds there). ([Matthew 16:8] Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread?  Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? ) In Luke 12:33 the KJB changed the Bishops’ “Sell that ye have…and prepare you bagges” to “Sell that ye have…provide your selves bagges.” ([Luke 12:33] Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. ) The echoed sounds now include `sel’ (Sell + selves), `v‘ (have, provide + selves), `y‘ (ye + your), `a‘ sound (have + bagges), and a closing soft `s‘ (yourselves + bagges). ([Matthew 16:8] Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread?  Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? )
The reflecting sounds in the King James Bible shine, “as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times” ([Psalms 12:6] The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. ). In Luke 19:21 the KJB changed the Bishops’ “because thou art a strait man” to “because thou art an austere man.” Now the silver sword shines as `because’ and `austere’ share the sight-rhyme `aus.’ Sense-rhyme chimes with the mutual `a’ `r‘ and `t‘ sounds in `art‘ and `austere.’ ([Luke 19:21] For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow. ) In Gal. 2:6 the KJB changed the Bishops’ “them which seemed to be” to “these who seemed to be.” The Bishops’ Bible rhymes in only two words. By changing two other words, the KJB manages to alliterate all five words: `these,’ `seemed,’ and `be‘ have the long `e‘ sound; `who‘ and `to‘ have the same `o‘ sound. ([Galatians 2:6] But of these who seemed to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth no man’s person:) for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me: ) In 1 Cor. 4:16 the KJB changed “I desire you, be ye followers of me” to “I beseech you, be ye followers of me.” This doubled the reflecting `e’ pattern by changing “desire” to “beseech.” ([1 Corinthians 4:16] Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me. ) Would you want a real solid silver sword or a forged imitation, a real son of God or one who imitates him? In this verse the new versions say such things as, “I urge you to imitate me.” The imitative new versions’ only virtue is that their heresy-haunted texts are unmelodic and hard to remember. ([Luke 19:21] For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow. )
The rippling sound effects of the KJB are as, “a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters…” ([Revelation 14:2] And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: ). In Matt. 24:51 the KJB changed the Bishops’ “hew him in pieces, and give him his portion with the hypocrites” to “cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites.” The echoing `asunder’ and `appoint’ replace `pieces’ and `give.’ The word `appoint’ is more easily memorized than `give,’ because it contains the beginning `a‘ of asunder, the `po-’ of portion, and the final `t‘ of cut. Three of the words terminate their second syllable with the `n‘ sound: asun-der, ap-point, and por-tion. The easier `cut‘ replaces `hew.’ Its `u‘ rhymes with the `u‘ in `asunder.’ Its `t‘ matches the `t‘ in `appoint‘ in sound and position. In Matt. 3:7 the KJB changes “hath warned you to flee from the anger” to “hath warned you to flee from the wrath.” Now `hath‘ rhymes with `wrath,’ whose `r’ sound and eye-rhymed `w’ and `a’ match `warned.’ ([Matthew 24:51] And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. )
Beauty is more than skin deep in the KJB. In Matt. 22:21 the KJB changed the Bishops’ “Give therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s” to “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s.” The KJB substitutes `Render’ for the Bishops’ easy word `Give.’ The re-version NIV, TNIV, and HCSB also use `Give.’ The one syllable word `give’ does not match the two syllable pattern heard in the rest of the sentence. The word `Render’ also matches the final `r’ sound repeated throughout the sentence. Most importantly, `Give’ does not have the same built-in connotation as `Render,’ which is a part of the word surrender. To rend is to split or take away. To render carries with it the idea that what is given is due to the person to whom it is given. It is not a gift; something we `give’ can be a gift. To render is to give in return, not just to give. The first usage of `render’ in the KJB gives a picture of this ([Numbers 18:9] This shall be thine of the most holy things, reserved from the fire: every oblation of theirs, every meat offering of theirs, and every sin offering of theirs, and every trespass offering of theirs which they shall render unto me, shall be most holy for thee and for thy sons. ). God says I have `given’ ten times in Numbers 18:6-26, but only once does he say, “they shall render unto me.” In other words, God gives first; only then can we render to him. (See also OED s.v. rend, render.) ([Matthew 22:21] They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s. )
([Numbers 18:6] And I, behold, I have taken your brethren the Levites from among the children of Israel: to you they are given as a gift for the LORD, to do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation.  Therefore thou and thy sons with thee shall keep your priest’s office for every thing of the altar, and within the vail; and ye shall serve: I have given your priest’s office unto you as a service of gift: and the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death. ~The Priests’ Portion  And the LORD spake unto Aaron, Behold, I also have given thee the charge of mine heave offerings of all the hallowed things of the children of Israel; unto thee have I given them by reason of the anointing, and to thy sons, by an ordinance for ever.  This shall be thine of the most holy things, reserved from the fire: every oblation of theirs, every meat offering of theirs, and every sin offering of theirs, and every trespass offering of theirs which they shall render unto me, shall be most holy for thee and for thy sons.  In the most holy place shalt thou eat it; every male shall eat it: it shall be holy unto thee.  And this is thine; the heave offering of their gift, with all the wave offerings of the children of Israel: I have given them unto thee, and to thy sons and to thy daughters with thee, by a statute for ever: every one that is clean in thy house shall eat of it.  All the best of the oil, and all the best of the wine, and of the wheat, the firstfruits of them which they shall offer unto the LORD, them have I given thee.  And whatsoever is first ripe in the land, which they shall bring unto the LORD, shall be thine; every one that is clean in thine house shall eat of it.  Every thing devoted in Israel shall be thine.  Every thing that openeth the matrix in all flesh, which they bring unto the LORD, whether it be of men or beasts, shall be thine: nevertheless the firstborn of man shalt thou surely redeem, and the firstling of unclean beasts shalt thou redeem.  And those that are to be redeemed from a month old shalt thou redeem, according to thine estimation, for the money of five shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary, which is twenty gerahs.  But the firstling of a cow, or the firstling of a sheep, or the firstling of a goat, thou shalt not redeem; they are holy: thou shalt sprinkle their blood upon the altar, and shalt burn their fat for an offering made by fire, for a sweet savour unto the LORD.  And the flesh of them shall be thine, as the wave breast and as the right shoulder are thine.  All the heave offerings of the holy things, which the children of Israel offer unto the LORD, have I given thee, and thy sons and thy daughters with thee, by a statute for ever: it is a covenant of salt for ever before the LORD unto thee and to thy seed with thee.  And the LORD spake unto Aaron, Thou shalt have no inheritance in their land, neither shalt thou have any part among them: I am thy part and thine inheritance among the children of Israel.  And, behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, even the service of the tabernacle of the congregation.  Neither must the children of Israel henceforth come nigh the tabernacle of the congregation, lest they bear sin, and die.  But the Levites shall do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they shall bear their iniquity: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations, that among the children of Israel they have no inheritance.  But the tithes of the children of Israel, which they offer as an heave offering unto the LORD, I have given to the Levites to inherit: therefore I have said unto them, Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance.  And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,  Thus speak unto the Levites, and say unto them, When ye take of the children of Israel the tithes which I have given you from them for your inheritance, then ye shall offer up an heave offering of it for the LORD, even a tenth part of the tithe. )
The following examples demonstrate just a few of the thousands upon thousands of examples of alliteration, rhyme, assonance, and consonance seen in the KJB. These are just a few of the ones that were polished in the transition from the Bishops’ Bible to the KJB. The sources of the KJB’s choices were often from earlier English versions. The KJB changed “halt came” to “lame came” ([Matthew 21:14] And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them. ), “heart was blinded” to “heart was darkened” ([Romans 1:21] Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. ), “causeth wrath” to “worketh wrath” ([Romans 4:15] Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression. ), “cannot abstaine” to “cannot contain” ([1 Corinthians 7:9] But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn. ), “boldness and entrance” to “boldness and access” ([Ephesians 3:12] In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him. ), “measure of the age” to “measure of the stature” ([Ephesians 4:13] Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: ), “powdered with salt” to “seasoned with salt” ([Colossians 4:6] Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man. ), “suddenly moved” to “soon
shaken” ([2 Thessalonians 2:2] That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. ), “spirites of errour” to “seducing spirits” ([1 Timothy 4:1] Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; ), “partaker…chaste” to “partaker…pure” ([1 Timothy 5:22] Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins: keep thyself pure. ), “lucre is godliness” to “gain is godliness” ([1 Timothy 6:5] Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. ), “made perfect from the foundation” to “finished from the foundation” ([Hebrews 4:3] For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. ), “blood of oxen” to “blood of bulls” ([Hebrews 9:13] For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: ), “win gain” to “get gain” ([James 4:13] Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: ). In Mark 9:3 the KJB transforms the Bishops’ Bible into the engraved-memory KJB. The Bishops’ “did shine, and become very white” developed into “became shining exceeding white.” It uses the long `e‘ in `exceeding’ to match the long `e‘ in `became.’ It pairs the `-ing’ sounds in `shining‘ and `exceeding.’ ([Mark 9:3] And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them. )
The Comfort of the Scriptures
The polishing of “the sword of the Spirit” done by the KJB translators was done on both of its edges. They forged contextually precise word meanings with the intricate literary devices available in the English language. Today’s Bible critics and translators evidence little sensitivity to the aesthetic potential of our language. The KJB translators prayerfully put the God-provided linguistic puzzle pieces into the correct places, much like parent-guided children putting a puzzle together, that when finished, is a Rembrandt painting. God provided the heaven-sent building blocks at Babel and in Acts 2; the God-guided hands of the KJB translators simply set the blocks into their fitting places preserved by the Holy Ghost. The KJB is called “the word of God” and “the word of the Lord” in hundreds and hundreds of verses, because it is God, who needs no translator, speaking directly to the reader ([1 Thessalonians 2:13] For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe. ). God can speak English and all of the languages of the world. “Do not interpretations belong to God?” ([Genesis 40:8] And they said unto him, We have dreamed a dream, and there is no interpreter of it. And Joseph said unto them, Do not interpretations belong to God? tell me them, I pray you. ). Would God, who himself created new words and languages for men at the tower of Babel, commit the communication of his pure and perfect mind, to sinful man?
How can you tell if you have the English Bible which has the life-giving breath of the Spirit of God? The King James Bible of 1611 is still living and loved by millions now, 400 years later. Hundreds and hundreds of would-be bibles are buried with their copyright holders, unable to breathe without the hot air of advertising campaigns. They have no life and breath of their own. The KJB’s “author” lives “for ever” ([Hebrews 5:6] As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. , [Hebrews 5:9] And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; ). God’s handywork, his world and his word, came from the breath of his mouth. Like breathing, they exhibit rhythm.
Rhythm is evidenced in the KJB in several ways. One means is through the regular repetition of accented syllables. When these loud accented syllables are placed at equally proportioned intervals, a sense of rhythm and order is achieved. The continued ebb and flow of evenly spaced accented and unaccented syllables mirrors the rhythm of a living, breathing speaker, GOD. The ordering of accented syllables accomplishes more than just rhythm. It is used in the KJB to direct the reader to mirrored meanings. In Psalm 73:2 the matching iambic meter helps the reader find the parallel definition of words. It chimes: “my feet were almost gone/my steps had well nigh slipped,” Each line has six syllables, divided into 3 identical two syllable feet each. These pair up perfectly to create parallel definitions for `feet’ (steps), `were’ (had), `almost’ (well nigh), and `gone’ (slipped). In iambic meter, there are two syllables, the first syllable is unaccented, the second is accented. This is a trimeter (three meter) line, with three feet in each line. ([Psalms 73:2] But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped. )
Every line of the King James Bible pulses with such rhythms. A randomly chosen verse, John 16:29, exemplifies the miraculous cadence of the word of God. 1.) Note that the beginning words, “His di-sci’-ples/ said un-to’ him,/ Lo, now speak’-est” break up into identically matched sets of 4 syllables. The accented (loud) syllables occur on exactly every 5th syllable. 2.) The remainder of the verse, “thou plain’-ly/ and speak’-est/ no pro’-verb” breaks up into identically matched sets of 3 syllables. The accented syllable occurs on exactly every 4th syllable. The rhythm of the recurring accented syllable is magnified because they begin with `s’ and `p’ sounds. 3.) The loud accented syllables are in the most important words in the verse. The words that do not contain accented syllables can be eliminated and the remaining words will still communicate the essence of the verse. 4.) Not only do the accented syllables serve to communicate meaning (i.e. the loud words should be heard), but also the groups into which the words unite together communicate a complete thought. They are not paired in chaotic senseless syllables like `him Lo now’ or `ly and speak.’ All of the rhythm and special effects would disappear if the word “speakest” was changed to `speak’ and “unto” was changed to `to.’ ([John 16:29] His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb. ) New versions omit these seemingly tiny elements and mutilate the masterful word of God. A poet might miss the aforementioned phenomenon and simply see the trochaic meter, which accents every other syllable, and the dactylic meter which accents every fourth syllable. Note also the `s’ and `p’ sounds in the precise position for rhythm (For many more examples and further elaboration on any topic in this booklet see G.A. Riplinger, In Awe of Thy Word, e.g. pp. 346-348 et al.).
If God does “count all my steps,” how much more closely would his thoughts be “weighed in an even balance” ([Job 31:4] Doth not he see my ways, and count all my steps? , [Job 31:6] Let me be weighed in an even balance that God may know mine integrity. ). For example, in Romans 2:20 the Bishops’ uneven 3/7 syllable pattern (“in-for-mer/of them which lacke dis-cre-tion”) became the mirrored 4/4 syllable and accent pattern in the KJB’s “An in-struc’tor/Of the fool’-ish.” ([Romans 2:20] An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law. ) In Romans 13:12 the Bishops’ 4/5 syllable pattern “the night is passed/the day is come nigh” became the mirrored 5/5 syllable pattern, “The night is far spent/the day is at hand.” The NIV and TNIV destroy this with the 7/6 mis-match, “The night is nearly over:/the day is almost here.” ([Romans 13:12] The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. ) Through the pulsing pages of the King James Bible, “the Spirit of the living God”…”shall talk with thee…” ([2 Corinthians 3:3] Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart. , [Proverbs 6:22] When thou goest, it shall lead thee; when thou sleepest, it shall keep thee; and when thou awakest, it shall talk with thee. ). How is all of this possible, the critic may ask? English is a gifted language. Through the centuries missionaries both into and from English-speaking nations have brought to it the gift of words from many languages. This makes English perhaps the most poetic language in the world, because English provides the largest vocabulary with which to work. Nearly every English word has many synonyms. We who speak English can say the same thing using a three syllable Latinate word or a one syllable Germanic word. English (and the KJB) have become today’s international language, in part, because of this.
“Come ye yourselves apart…and rest a while…” Mark 6:31
([Mark 6:31] And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat. )
“And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me…” ([Exodus 33:21] And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: ). The rhythmic heartbeat of Jesus Christ, the Word, was heard by the apostle John “lying on Jesus’ breast” ([John 13:25] He then lying on Jesus’ breast saith unto him, Lord, who is it? ). We too can move close to the living Word of God and hear him yet today through his written word, “the spirit of his mouth” ([2 Thessalonians 2:8] And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: ). We can hear the heartbeat of God through the rhythm in the King James Bible. Our stethoscope on the KJB tells us it is alive and well. For example, in 2 Cor. 4:10 the KJB changed the Bishops’ Bible’s “beare about in the body” to “bear-ing a-bout in the b-ody,” so that the `b‘ sound resonates uniformly every 4 syllables. ([2 Corinthians 4:10] Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. ) The KJB’s miraculously ordered pattern and sequence of sounds sing to us of a heavenly kingdom where disorder and chaos do not exist. The Bible is our placid land of rolling hills and trickling brooks, of the high then soft sounds of a sea rushing then receding to carry us off to the land of an unclouded day. Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth…” ([John 14:27] Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. ). Curl up in the “clift,” as Moses did ([Exodus 33:21] And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock:  And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: ); listen closely to sounds from the heart of God, echoed line after line in the KJB. The translators wrote that the scriptures will first, “make thee wise unto salvation” ([2 Timothy 3:15] And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. ) then, “…if out of the way, they will bring us home; if out of order, they will reform us, if in heaviness, comfort us; if dull, quicken us; if cold, inflame us…” (The Translators). When the storms surge in the soul, the sea rages, and the gales rip, linger in their pages. Hear heaven’s harps through the strains of the King James Bible.
THIS BOOK is a summary of the 662 page history section of the 1,184 page color-coded hardback book, In Awe of Thy Word: Understanding the King James Bible, Its History and Mystery. That book is the first and only documented history of the words of the Holy Bible. ·
It is based on a word-for-word and letter-by-letter analysis of a vault of ancient, rare and valuable Bibles. Ten thousand hours of collation rescued echoes from these documents almost dissolved by time. ·
See for yourself the unbroken preservation of the pure holy scriptures from the first century to today’s beloved King James Bible. Watch the English language and its Holy Bible unfold before your very eyes. ·
Examine the letters and sounds, shown in red, which bind the words of each successive Bible from the Gothic, Anglo-Saxon, pre-Wycliffe, Tyndale, Coverdale, Great, Geneva, and Bishops’ to the King James Bible. ·
Uncover time-buried eyewitness reports, views, and Bible study secrets of history’s great translators and martyrs. ·
See word-for-word collations, aided by the KJB translators’ newly discovered notes, revealing exactly how the translators polished the sword of the Spirit. ·
Watch in horror as the destroyer, through the NIV, TNIV, HCSB, NKJV, and ESV, teams up with Jehovah Witness and Catholic versions to silence the utterances of the Holy Ghost. History’s Bibles and their champions defeat their challengers, as they meet on this book’s pages.
In Awe of Thy Word also contains 522 pages explaining what past generations knew how to find the meaning of each Bible word, inside the Bible itself. ·
Understand also what translators, such as Erasmus and Coverdale, meant when they spoke of the vernacular Bible’s “holy letters” and “syllables.” See how these God-set alphabet building blocks build a word’s meaning and automatically define words for faithful readers of the King James Bible which alone brings forward the fountainhead of letter meanings discovered by computational linguists from the world’s leading universities. ·
Learn the latest research tools from the Universities of Toronto and Edinburgh, which prove the purity of the KJB and the depravity of the new versions. ·
Find out how only the King James Bible teaches and comforts through its “miraculous” mathematically ordered sounds. ·
Meet the KJB’s built-in English teacher, ministering to children and over a billion people around the globe. ·
Journey around the world and see that only the KJB matches the pure scriptures preserved “to all generations,” including the Greek, Hebrew, Old Itala, Danish, German, French, Spanish and others.
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