Friday, July 4, 2008

A famine of hearing the word of the LORD (Pt. 6)

Update 7/30:

My position has now settled down to this:

Westcott and Hort pulled a flimflam with their new version, violating the trust committed to them, making thousands of corrections (36,000 if I recall correctly) that are mostly no help but a nuisance, selling the unwary church on a set of texts that history including the KJV translators had rejected as corrupt, and in general leaving a legacy of chaos and disorder in the churches. (They were not even true believers. Their letters reveal doubts about the most important tenets of the Christian faith. The texts they preferred were denounced as corrupt beyond belief by a colleague and contemporary of theirs, Dean Burgon. I want eventually to get some quotes up from him.)

It's not that the word of God is not in the new versions, but it's certainly true that it is truncated.


I haven't yet posted all the many comparisons that demonstrate this, but the differences are many.

It's also not that the KJV is perfect in itself, despite the insistence of a certain branch of the church -- it may have needed and still need some minor updating. But it certainly did not need what they did to it.


1. We don't need to answer all the objections to the KJV. It's not necessarily that the KJV doesn't need some corrections to make it more accessible to people today, but

  • as a practical matter it is not going to happen as it should -- under the authority of the true churches;
  • as a practical matter it isn't really all that hard for everybody to read it, especially if it is preached to them as well;
  • as a practical matter the changes that might really be necessary (as opposed to those that might be desired by any given person) are very very few;
  • so as a practical matter it IS the word of God and we would do well to throw out all the others and stick to it.

2. The vast preponderance of the changes made by Westcott and Hort in the translation itself, quite apart from changes based on a different set of Greek and Hebrew texts, are manifestly unnecessary. They clarify nothing, in fact they make the meaning less accessible in some cases (pinions over feathers???). Westcott and Hort violated a trust in making so many absolutely unnecessary changes, creating a dissonance in the reading of the word in churches that accept all the versions, and in general promoting chaos. The very fact that they did such a thing ought to make the new versions suspect.

3. As a practical matter, we need to have the same Bible. We need to have an authorized English Bible. We need to be able to memorize and quote it and have all the words match up with everybody else's version. It's a depressing situation that we don't have this.

4. Apart from the translational stupidities, the W&H preferred Greek and Hebrew texts are the inferior ones, not those that the KJV is based on. I know this is argued up one side and down the other, but the KJV translators were God-fearing men as well as men of the highest scholarship, and they weren't ignorant of the other textual lineages either. It wasn't as if those preferred by W&H were unknown, they had been rejected by the church down the centuries. They simply had some very old copies of those corrupted texts and argued that their mere age made them superior, although this is highly illogical reasoning. The age of any copied text shows only that that copy happened to survive the ravages of time, it says nothing at all about its superiority to other texts, and may in fact if anything speak to its inferiority. The fact that the preponderance of preserved copies and fragments are of the other type, the type on which the KJV was based, although they are not as old as W&H's, their very preponderance, I'm saying, make them far more likely to be the superior texts, as having been copied so frequently shows them to have been more acceptable to the church down the centuries.

The KJV translators knew what they were doing, they were highly learned scholars. Dean Burgon describes Westcott and Hort's knowledge of Greek as on the level of schoolboys, and their use of the English language as clumsy. Also, there were 47 who worked on the KJV and they consulted one another, while Westcott and Hort were a party of two who did not even believe in the basics of Christianity. WHY OH WHY OH WHY do we allow their false productions to proliferate and corrupt the churches????

The basic rejoinder to the anti-new versions position is that the KJV has errors of its own.

Before getting into that dispute, and I may not be able to go far with it myself though I know I can find references to post instead, I want to reemphasize the points I've been trying to make so far.

First of all, it has to be remembered that the KJV was THE Bible for over 200 years before they set about revising it in the 19th century. It was the standard. It is still the standard. The revisers were not to alter it beyond the absolute minimum required to bring some of its language up to date.

However, in revising it, Westcott and Hort violated a trust by introducing new texts, and made changes that couldn't possibly be defended as compelling although they had agreed to make no other kind, and that in fact the changes they made are so frequently of such a mindlessly trivial sort (which I believe is shown in the first few verses of Psalm 91 alone) that the authority that appointed them should have thrown it all out. You have to keep in mind that the KJB was first, it was there, it was God's holy word and those who set about changing it behaved with an appalling cavalierness to take the breath away.

Now, after all that, and after dozens of newer versions spawned from that original profane assault on the word of God, all following in its footsteps, even vying with each other to come up with more and more absurd alterations, the argument forwarded in FAVOR of it all is that the KJV was flawed and that Westcott and Hort's manuscripts were superior, so that the readings in the new versions -- or some of them, they are not all the same so who knows which are right? -- are superior.

We're supposed to forget that a couple of liars and thieves put the whole thing in motion and nevertheless accept that they were right to do so because supposedly they had the superior manuscripts to work from.

I'm not going to get into this right now. It's beyond my knowledge for starters, but I do know that most of the argument rests on the greater age of the manuscripts used by Westcott and Hort (not that they needed manuscripts at all, since most of their changes appear to be simply whimsical changes in translation of the SAME manuscript texts). Where the KJV people argue that their texts have left out much of the word of God, they counter that apparently the texts underlying the KJV, on the contrary, added in what was not originally there, pointing to these earlier manuscripts as evidence.

It's amazing how many fall for this earlier-manuscripts = superior manuscripts argument. The fact that they survived so long might just as well be evidence that they were not much used, while manuscripts that are preserved in the thousands from later times are those that the church recognized as authentic. There ARE differences in the manuscripts. Should we trust that the eminently qualified KJV translators knew of all the differences and knew which were most reliable, or should we trust those two of inferior qualifications and proven bad character who then came along, violated a sacred trust, instead of clarifying the Bible actually mutilated it, and who are somehow now considered to be justified by the claim that their texts were superior?

A famine of hearing the word of the LORD (Pt.5) Some credits and explanations

I'm no scholar, I'm just a member of the flock of Christ who recognizes a flimflam in the modern Bible versions. There are plenty of others out there like me, and some of them ARE scholars. I hope as I go along on this topic I'll be able to quote them to good purpose and give credit where credit is due.

I do have Gail Riplinger to thank for writing the book that brought the problems of the Bible versions to my attention. I'm aware that there are errors in her book, and in fact many in the KJV-only camp don't regard her work as solid enough to credit her. David Cloud, a KJV-onlier himself, agrees with her that the new versions have done much spiritual damage to the body of Christ, but he finds serious errors in her work, which he exposes here:

James White, who is a defender of the new versions, was able to point to many errors in her book, including unproven attacks on the character of the revisers.

However, White's is a broadside attack that needs to be answered back and I haven't found a rejoinder to this particular article yet. But here are a couple of answers to his book

Although I'm aware of the objections to her work, which seem to have some validity, nevertheless she was a groundbreaker for me. As David Cloud points out, her sensationalistic approach gave the problem a wide audience. She brought the problem to my attention and I am grateful to her for that. She has the spiritual nose for fraud even if her scholarship doesn't hold up in some ways. Her main work was a work of collation, of making the kind of comparisons I just made for Psalm 91 only she went into the underlying texts as well and she did it for the entire Bible. The method is pretty straightforward, it can't be faked. In its simplest form it's a project anyone can take up. It's laborious and timeconsuming but it is necessary for revealing the utterly unjustifiable changes from the KJV that are in the new versions.

Mrs. Riplinger apparently went beyond that work to make errors of scholarship and attribution, and also went on to make unsupportable accusations of some of the Bible scholars behind the new versions. As I just discovered myself, however, it is very hard to avoid suspecting the motives of those involved in such an undertaking when you really look at those comparisons. A spiritual fraud of the deepest deceitfulness imaginable seems the only explanation for the mindless destruction wreaked upon the word of God by the changes in the new versions. Perhaps most of those who defend the new versions today are innocent of such deceit themselves, but it is hard to think those who did the revising could possibly be innocent, when you see the choices they made.

I suppose it's possible that in some cases they merely intended to find the best possible rendition of the text, but it's hard to hold to that idea when you contemplate the actual choices they made, And when you remember that Westcott and Hort, the original revisers, were charged with and agreed to, preserving the English Bible as intact as possible and making any change with extreme caution and respect, and then you realize that they substituted a completely different set of texts for the KJV's, and you see the actual changes they made, and then you see the subsequent changes made in later revisions that build upon their revision, it is very hard to avoid the impression that there is a concerted effort to destroy the Bible rather than preserve it. Very hard. When you see changes made toward a minority reading and even apparently merely whimsical choices that throw good English and good sense along with caution to the wind, there is no scholarly justification for such things that can be anything but a rationalization of the absurd.

My favorite writer on the subject right now is Dean John William Burgon, who wrote tomes on the subject during the time of the Westcott-Hort revision, and I've only recently discovered him so it will be a while before I can do him justice. I'm going to have to put up some wonderful quotations from his writing, some of which I have available already but it takes time to get such things together to post them. He is a scholar of the Biblical texts so when he says that Westcott and Hort violated their agreement to make only the most necessary changes in the text, even making changes that are so far from necessary they are unconscionable, he has a knowledge to back him up that I don't have.

My approach is naive, of necessity, but also it's better that way if I hope to talk to Christians in general. I'm relying on common sense and spiritual sense to recognize the problem when it is demonstrated, as I've just done with Psalm 91.

A famine of hearing the word of the LORD (Pt. 4)

Since this is taking so much time I doubt I'll get through the whole of Psalm 91 in my project to show the falseness of the modern Bibles just in this tiny portion of the scriptures, the unconscionable attack on the word of God that the modern Bible versions really are. I've been moved to this kind of language in denunciation of them, by the way, because of this little project. Getting into the actual differences between the modern texts and the KJV shows the sheer mindless destructiveness of the revisions in a way all the scholarly discussions don't. You can see right before your eyes that there is no rational foundation for the changes that were made, just in the first few verses of Psalm 91.

In most of the differences I've highlighted, the revisers seem to be making change for change's sake, the exact opposite of what the original revisers, Westcott and Hort, were commissioned to do - make only compellingly necessary changes for the sake of improving comprehension. On the contrary, the whimsical changes that dot the various revisions show that not only W&H but all the revisers that followed them in multiplying versions seem merely to want to throw a cloud of confusion over the word of God.

There can be only one spiritual source of such an undertaking.

I'll do at least another verse of Psalm 91, verse 4:

KJV: He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.

NKJV: He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.

RSV: he will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.

NASB: He will cover you with his pinions, And under His wings you may seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.

NIV: He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

The more I do this the madder I get.

Even in the very popular Psalm 91, which you'd think any revisers would want to preserve at the very least for the sake of those who memorize scripture (unless of course there is an absolutely imperative compelling reason for a change), the NKJV, which SEEMS to be dedicated to preserving the KJV more than all the others, makes the unjustifiable change from "noisome" to "perilous" in verse 3, and now makes in verse 4 the unjustifiable change from "under his wings shalt thou trust" to "under His wings you shall take refuge." In this alteration the NKJV is following the modern revisions instead of the KJV.

Here is another of those places where the revisers seem to have gone out of their way to choose a minority reading. Strong's gives both definitions, trust and take refuge, for the underlying Hebrew term, and shows that the Hebrew term occurs 37 times in the Hebrew Bible and is translated as "trust" in the KJV in 35 of those places. 35 out of 37. But the revisers decided to substitute "take refuge" for this obviously preferred reading of the KJV. Why? Don't they seem to be making changes for change's sake, simply to distance today's Bible as far as possible from the KJV, simply to add confusion to doubt? The more of these bogus Bibles are out there circulating among God's people, the more they have succeeded in obfuscating God's word and disunifying the flock.

Here's Strong's, from the Blue Letter Bible site:
1) (Qal) to seek refuge, flee for protection
a) to put trust in (God), confide or hope in (God) (fig.)
AVto trust 35, to make a refuge 1, have hope 1

The RSV has you finding refuge instead of taking refuge; the NASB has you seeking refuge rather than taking it or finding it, and on this one the NIV agrees with the RSV that you will find it.

They all agree in their shared mission to destroy the word of God that the KJV has it wrong in saying thou shalt trust, but they don't even want to preserve a semblance of unity among themselves about whether one takes refuge, seeks refuge or finds refuge. Don't you get the impression that the honored revisers just sat around asking themselves, "Let's see, how can we introduce a little change here that looks plausible enough to pass with the unwary reader, while throwing the whole thing into doubt in such a way that nobody will be the wiser?"

Oh, but the masterpiece of change in this verse is from "feathers" to "PINIONS!" Yikes!
pin·ion 1
1. The wing of a bird.
2. The outer rear edge of the wing of a bird, containing the primary feathers.
3. A primary feather of a bird.
1: the terminal section of a bird's wing including the carpus, metacarpus, and phalanges; broadly : wing2: feather, quill; also : flight feathers
— pin·ioned \-yÉ™nd\ adjective

Yoo hoo, hey guys! Wasn't the idea to IMPROVE THE READABILITY of the Bible for the millions? What sense could it possibly make to go from the eminently readable "feathers" to the peculiarly technical "pinions?"

Oh, SURELY, my readers (I pray the Lord will bring me a few), we see here the nefarious plot of the revisers as naked as it's going to get. Can't you just picture the guy who came up with this cracking up over his clever coup? Hee hee hee, he's going, and his band of pranksters with him.

Then we've got the NASB replacing "buckler" with "bulwark" and the NIV replacing it with "rampart." A buckler is a small shield, a bulwark is a fortification or embankment, a rampart is another synonym for bulwark or fortification. It appears the NIV just took the NASB's "bulwark" and produced another variation on the theme, or vice versa, depending on which translation came first. Change for change's sake.

Well, there is a stretch of the term that is possible, from shield to surround to fortification, and God IS a bulwark, but what reason can there be to make that the meaning of the word in this case? I can't see any reason except a perverse desire to injure the KJV. They seem to be sprinkling changes everywhere that are justified only by the very flimsiest seeming plausibility, anything to corrupt God's word and hurt His people. This may not be their conscious intention, but if it is not, then it shows a cavalier attitude toward the text that is hardly any better.

Then we've got the RSV, NASB and NIV all substituting "faithfulness" for "truth!" In this case if you check the Concordance you will find that there are 117 places the Hebrew term is translated truth, true or truly in the KJV, out of 128 occurrences of the Hebrew term in the entire Bible, only 3 of which have faithful or faithfully. Again, the revisers are going out of their way to find the least acceptable rendering of the Hebrew while keeping enough thin plausibility to fool the nonexpert. ANYTHING to contradict the KJV! Anything will do!

For some reason, here as in other places I've noticed, the NIV prefers the KJV's reading of a word, in this case "feathers" while it indulges in the other mutilating corrections of its kin. Anything to confuse, to keep the potential critic unsettled?

I'm going to end this project for now. If anyone wants to take up the project from this verse on, I think you will continue to find small changes that have no justification except to obfuscate and confuse.

A famine of hearing the word of the LORD (Pt. 3)

This little project to compare the verses of Psalm 91 in the KJV with the modern Bible versions is already revealing the deceitfulness of the revisers, it seems to me. I was already convinced that the revisions are a trojan horse in the house of God, but the pernicious extent of it is coming home to me with peculiar force as I've done this experiment.

To continue with Psalm 91, verse 2:

KJV: I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.

NKJV: I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust."

RSV: I will say to the LORD, "My refuge and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust."

NASB: I will say to the LORD, "My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!"

NIV: I will say* of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
[* footnote here has "or He says."]

I can only repeat that there is no reason for any of these changes, showing that the revisers did not honor their agreement to leave the text intact unless there was a compelling reason to change it. Again, the changes seem minor, but the very fact of making them at all is an offense because it is unnecessary, makes the sharing of God's word among the flock difficult and raises doubt in people's minds: So what DOES the Hebrew say? OF the LORD, or TO the LORD?

Why would the NIV take "He is" out of italics, which in the KJV are there to indicate that the words are not in the Hebrew but are needed to complete the sense of the English? Is that mere sloppiness?

There is no reason not to trust the KJV translators who were a formidably learned lot, and again, the revisers are without excuse.

It is hard to avoid the impression in surveying the scattering of unnecessary little changes they made that the revisers were in fact intent on mutilating the Bible.

But to continue:

Psalm 91, verse 3:

KJV: Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.

NKJV: Surely he shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler And from the perilous pestilence.

RSV: For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence.

NASB: For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper, And from the deadly pestilence.

NIV: Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare and from the deadly pestilence.

In none of the changes identified so far is there any hint that the Hebrew requires them. They are all English substitutions, simply translational choices, all of them utterly unnecessary, and in fact they are vicious in the context of the stated objective to change as little as possible in the Authorized text.

Well, let's start with "noisome" which the noisome, pestilential and perhaps also deadly modern mutilations have managed to change into something else entirely. "Noisome" does NOT mean "deadly" or "perilous."

The dictionary has: noisome \NOY-sum\, adjective:1. Noxious; harmful; unwholesome.2. Offensive to the smell or other senses; disgusting.

It's hard to see how you get from that to "deadly" or "perilous."

The Hebrew word translated "noisome" in the KJV occurs 15 times in the entire Bible, and is translated "noisome" once, here, and in nine other ways elsewhere:

AVcalamity 4, wickedness 3, perverse thing 1, mischief 1, noisome 1, iniquity 1, substance 1, naughtiness 1, naughty 1, mischievous 1

Not one of these renderings includes a hint of "deadly" or even necessarily "perilous." "Destructive" perhaps, even "ruinous" but overall it is closer to "noxious" or "disgusting" or "obnoxious" or "extremely annoying."

Leave the word alone, it's quite apt, and "deadly" is not apt. "Noisome" is not even archaic.

Again, there was no compelling need to make this change in the Bible. Again, it serves only to obfuscate, not to clarify, only to make things more difficult for God's people, not easier.

Is "trapper" an improvement on "fowler?" True, it may be more recognizable to moderns, but even the other modern mutilations didn't use it. Again, the principle that was to have been followed was to make no unnecessary changes. This is another unnecessary change.

So is "fowler's snare" versus "snare of the fowler" (and the latter is better aesthetically). So is "save" versus "deliver" unnecessary.

All these changes do nothing but disunify believers, even in ways that escape detection. It begins to seem this had to have been the real intention of the revisers. Woe to the shepherds who scatter the flock.