It is interesting to note that these idolized original manuscripts never were compiled to make a complete Bible. The word "Bible" means "book" or a "collection of books," but the original autographs of the Old Testament writers were NEVER in a single volume with the autographs of the New Testament writers! That is, the "Bible" scholars and fundamentalists place so much emphasis on NEVER EXISTED at any time in any language! The autographs of Moses, David, Isaiah, etc., had vanished from the earth long before Paul, Peter, John, and the other New Testament writers sat down to write (or speak, 2 Peter 1:21). It is not only that the scholar's final authority does not exist now in one volume, it NEVER existed! According to their doctrine, there is no time or place in history where a person could have had ALL of God's pure word (the complete canon). So the "Bible" the "scholars" appeal to to change the King James Version is a "mythological Bible," a final authority that is nothing but fantasy.
Now, of course, the original manuscripts WERE scripture, but since they all dissolved into dust centuries ago what kind of Bible do we have today? Do we have the pure and inerrant words of God available to us today? This is where the fireworks start. The issue we will address in this chapter is not whether the Bible was originally "given by inspiration," but whether it has been preserved for all generations to have, believe, and enjoy.
Back To Contents
6 The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.
7 Thou shalt keep them, O Lord, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.
Other verses to study concerning preservation are: Deuteronomy 8:3; Psalm 119:89, 144, 152, 160; Isaiah 30:8, 40:6-8, 59:21; Jeremiah 30:2; Matthew 4:4, 5:17-18, 24:35; John 10:35; 1 Peter 1:23-25; etc. These verses prove to anyone who is willing to believe them as they stand that God has sworn to preserve His word. The way many of our fundamentalist friends handle them, however, is with double-talk and flawed logic. These characters will quickly agree that God has preserved His word, but then turn around and maintain that it is impossible for it to be preserved without error! Their reasoning behind this is since man is fallible, errors must have been made in copying the manuscripts, thus corrupting them to some extent; how much though they cannot determine. It is amazing how they can contradict themselves in the same breath and claim to be credible. How can something be preserved and not be preserved at the same time? How can God give His pure word, promise to preserve its purity, and then preserve it and it not be pure without Him being a liar (Romans 3:4)? These so-called scholars cannot produce one Bible in any language from anywhere on earth they believe to be completely pure and inerrant. What would this say about God's integrity if it were true? Did God fail in His promise? Perish the thought! When the Psalmist said "thou shalt keep them, O Lord, thou shalt preserve them..." in verse 7, he is referring to the "pure words" in verse 6! Furthermore, these "pure words" are not just some of God's words, they are all "The words of the Lord...." If God cannot keep His word pure and free from error, what makes these people think he can keep their SOUL! Both are spoken of as preserved (1 Thessalonians 5:23).
Concerning the words being purified "seven times," it is interesting to observe that the King James Version is the seventh major English translation. The six translations before it were: Wyclif's Bible (1382), Coverdale's Bible (1535, using Tyndale's New Testament from 1525), Matthew's Bible (1537), The Great Bible (1539), The Geneva Bible (1560), and The Bishop's Bible (1568). Each of these Bibles was (and still is) a valuable translation, but the King James of 1611 is the purest—the seventh and final purification. It has completely replaced all six of its predecessors.
We have only looked at one passage on preservation and it alone has destroyed the position of the Bible correctors. The reader is encouraged to study the others so he will have even more ammunition.
Back To Contents
1. Do you believe the King James Version of 1611 is the pure, inerrant word of God and absolute final authority for believers?
2. If no, does your FINAL AUTHORITY exist on earth today in pure, inerrant, tangible form in any language?
3. If yes, what and where is it? And if no, why not?
As simple as these questions are, many of the leading "fundamentalists" in America refuse to answer them. They refuse because they cannot answer them and still appear as "defenders of the faith." The author has read the replies of some of them who responded to questions similar to these, and they dance around them without clearly answering one. All of their scholarly talk, appeals to Greek authorities and historic positions, and references to nonexistent "originals" is just a smokescreen to veil their unbelief. They simply do not believe an infallible Bible exists. Ironically, all of these questions can be answered by a Bible believer with no more than a grade school education (or even less) in one word. To the first he will answer "Yes," this also answers the others.
The refusal of these preachers to say the King James Version is inerrant, however, does not mean they won't use it to their advantage. Many of them USE it exclusively in public because it is the version they want to be identified with, yet personally they believe it contains errors and is not the best translation. This is inconsistent to say the least. Why would a preacher, who is supposed to preach the truth, preach from (and by doing so recommend) a version he believes contains errors? If he really believes the NASV (or any other version) is better than the King James, why doesn't he preach from it? Would it not be a more ethical practice if he did? Do not his hearers deserve the "best" Bible? Some of the more liberal preachers who have completely abandoned the Authorized Version for the modern versions are more ethical in this regard than the above fundamentalists. At least they use in public the version they think is best!
Back To Contents
The complete title on the cover of this book says: Our God-Breathed Book—The Bible. The Verbally Inspired, Eternal, Inerrant Word Of God. In this book Mr. Rice does a very good job of documenting why a person should believe the "Bible" is God's word, and he defends it as perfect in every way. The tragedy is the Bible Mr. Rice defends so well DOES NOT EXIST! He uses over 400 pages to explain why the Bible is "inspired," "eternal"(?), "perfect," and "inerrant," and then destroys it all by saying this Bible DOESN'T EXIST. He says on page 68 and 69 concerning inspiration (emphasis mine):
Inspiration is claimed for original autographs, NOT for translation or copying. When we say that the Bible is inspired, we do not refer to the translations or copies but to the original autographs, written down under God's direction.... But WE DO NOT claim for ANY copy or ANY translation the absolute, divine PERFECTION that was in the original autographs. Inspiration refers to the original autographs.
Since the original autographs no longer exist, Mr. Rice is actually saying that all the copies and translations that do exist are NOT "inspired," "perfect," or "inerrant," etc. He only allows these qualities to refer to the lost originals. Statements like this are numerous in his book. On page 84 he has a section headed, "There Are, Then, No Errors In The Original Word Of God," and continues insisting that inerrancy CANNOT apply to copies and translations. Clearly he does not believe God has preserved His word in its purity. As destructive as Mr. Rice's views are, they are typical for the majority of America's fundamentalist preachers and "scholars." Satan has pulled many of today's best preachers into his web of unbelief.
Our intention in this book is to slander or misrepresent no one. Again, if the reader questions some of our statements concerning the typical views of many fundamentalists and others, let him find their position out for himself by asking one the three simple questions above. The answer he gets should settle the matter.
Back To Contents
This does not mean that a believer should not follow what is scriptural in the lives of these men (soul-winning, prayer, etc.), but only that he should not be gullible enough to follow them when they correct the Bible. Follow them where they follow Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1), and where they do not follow Christ (and His word), ABANDON THEM! A TRUE Bible scholar is one who uses his knowledge and education to DEFEND the Bible. Many who claim scholarship, however, use their education as a basis to QUESTION it. Unfortunately, in this age of apostasy, there are more of the latter than the former.
Furthermore, the reader should not think the author does not believe the "fundamentals of the faith" just because of the way he speaks of "fundamentalists." He not only believes all the fundamentals, he also believes the book they came out of (KJV)! A true Bible Believer believes the entire Bible (KJV), not just some truths extracted from it.
Back To Contents
The group of Jews that was responsible for keeping and preserving His words were the Levitical priests. They were to keep the Law safe by putting it beside the Ark of the Covenant in the tabernacle (Deuteronomy 31:24-26). Since the priests were the only group of Jews that had access to the Ark and the Holy Place in the tabernacle, they were responsible for making the Law known unto the people (Deuteronomy 31:12). And when copies of it were required, they had the duty of making these also (Deuteronomy 17:18).
Later in Israel's history there were times when the priests neglected their duties, and during these dark periods God's word became unavailable for a time (2 Chronicles 15:3). God, in His providence, however, protected His word in spite of their failures (examples shortly). Even during the Babylonian captivity (which was caused in part by the priests failure to teach the people, (Micah 3:11-12), His word was available to those who wanted it (Daniel 9:2).
When the Jews returned from their captivity to rebuild Jerusalem, the scriptures were still pure and intact. Ezra, the scribe (Ezra 7:10-11), spent nearly six hours one day reading them to the people, and the Levites caused them to understand what he read (Nehemiah 8:1-8). During the 400 years from Ezra to the time of Christ the last books of the Old Testament were added to the canon, and copies of it were made so meticulously and carefully that when the Lord came He made NO DISTINCTION between them and the originals! God had faithfully preserved His word, parts of it for nearly 1500 years!
After apostolic times, the Jews continued to keep the Old Testament pure. A group of them known as the Masoretes is credited for keeping it pure until the invention of the printing press. The first complete Hebrew text was printed in 1488. This text is called the Masoretic Text in memory of the Jews who so faithfully (though in blindness) preserved it through the centuries. This is the Old Testament text that was used by the King James translators.
Here, you may ask, "I understand how the Jews were responsible for preserving the Old Testament, but what about the New Testament? The Jews do not believe the New Testament to be scripture, so how was it preserved?" In much the same way as the Old Testament, only through Bible believing Christians instead of Jews.
The Lord said in Matthew 24:35, "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away," indicating that His words would be preserved through eternity. Furthermore, all the Old Testament passages which refer to preservation refer to His words too because He is the same "LORD" speaking (Psalm 12:6). Christ also said that after He ascended back to His Father, the Holy Spirit would guide the disciples in all truth and speak to them of Christ and of things to come (John 14:25-26; 16:12-14). Many of these words were written down (or dictated) by the apostles as epistles or other letters, thus completing the New Testament canon.
At this point another question arises: Since Christ's death on the cross destroyed the Levitical priesthood, and He did not establish a special priest hood of Christians to take its place, how did early Christians determine the New Testament canon and how did they preserve it after they found it? The answer to this is found in 2 Peter 2:9 and Revelation 1:5-6. EVERY CHRISTIAN IS A PRIEST; a member of the "royal priesthood." No believer has to go through any other priest to get to his "High Priest:" the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, the Christians of the late first century, including the apostle John, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, determined the true New Testament canon and separated it from all the phony "epistles" which were numerous at the time. This may be one reason why God allowed John to outlive the other apostles, so he could sort the true books from the false and finish the canon with Revelation.
The contention of the Catholics and many Protestant Denominations that the New Testament canon was not officially established until the council of Carthage in 397 A.D. is silly. Did the first, second, third, and fourth century Christians not know which books were scripture until a Catholic council determined it for them? Nonsense. After John penned Revelation the matter was settled for Bible believers. The Bible was complete—66 books, each witnessed by the Holy Spirit.
Concerning the New Testament's preservation, it is only reasonable to conclude that God used the same group of people to preserve His word as He used to form the canon: the universal priesthood of believers. After the New Testament was completed (and even before), true believers were at work faithfully making copies for their own use and for the use of local churches. As the copies they used wore out they would make even more copies to replace them. In this manner the New Testament became widespread and its copies numerous. Needless to say, however, Satan was active in trying to stop this flood of Bibles, and he retaliated by "inspiring" counterfeit gospels and phony epistles. But the Bible believers were not fooled, they steadfastly kept God's word pure.
During this period (100 AD to 500 AD) Satan devised another devious tactic to try and stop the spread of Christianity; he raised up "scholars" to rationalize, criticize, and "revise" the scriptures. One of them, a man named Origen, is probably more responsible for the mass of translations we have today than anyone else in history. When he read the New Testament, the passages he couldn't understand he freely "revised," claiming the original had been miscopied. He was his OWN final authority, just like his counterparts today. Origen's humanistic attitude toward the scriptures was popular to the educated people of his day, and many so called "church fathers" became engaged in "correcting" the Bible also. Some of these "revisions" still exist today and are called "the oldest and best texts" by modern translators. It is true they are older than the majority of manuscripts, but the main reason they still exist is because Christians down through history knew they were corrupt and never used them. The "scholars" today who accept them are much more gullible than the average Christian of the fifth century. The "Textus Receptus" copies of the New Testament we have today are newer only because the believers were constantly handling and reading their parent copies, they simply WORE THEM OUT!
Near the beginning of the "dark ages" (now called the "middle ages" by those who ignore the millennium of Catholic inquisition) Satan made one of his most ingenious and diabolical moves. He "Christianized" the pagan religion of Rome and formed what is now known as the Roman Catholic Church. He led the Roman emperor Constantine to prepare the way for his brand of Christianity to become the state religion, making it illegal for Christians to "worship" except through the church at Rome. Though many believers were deceived and joined with the "MOTHER OF HARLOTS" (Revelation 17:5), many others refused and were sorely persecuted (see Foxe's Book Of Martyrs). This persecution continued for centuries, but small remnants of believers, scattered throughout Europe and western Asia, remained true to God and continued to preserve His word in various languages. These believers were known by many different names (Waldensians, Albigensians, Lollards, and others), but they all believed they had God's word and were not about to let the pope take it from them. Many of them died horrible deaths at the hands of the Catholics because of their steadfast refusal to conform to Rome's doctrines or give up their beloved Bible. There were times when the Romanists would find some of their Bible texts and burn them in great piles with much ceremony, but there were always some copies that escaped detection. During this millennium of darkness untold gallons of blood was shed to preserve the purity of the scriptures. Does your Bible mean that much to you?
As with the Old Testament, the invention of the printing press changed things, and in 1516 some New Testament manuscripts were compiled together to make a complete text and was printed. The press made the Bible much more available to the public and thus harder to destroy. This directly led to the Protestant Reformation. This text, after some revision, became known as the Traditional Text or the Received Text (Textus Receptus). The corrupt text that came from Origen is called the Alexandrian Text. It was named this because it originated in Alexandria Egypt (a type of the world). The Textus Receptus originated in Antioch Syria; the place where the disciples were first called "Christians" (Acts 11:26), and the center of operations for Paul's missionary journeys (Acts 13:1-3).
For an enlightening study, the reader is encouraged to check all the verses in the Bible which mention "Alexandria" or "Antioch." "Alexandria" is usually mentioned in a negative light (Acts 6:9) and "Antioch" in a positive (Acts 11:26). Is the Holy Spirit trying to tell us something? Undoubtedly so.
The two most "universally esteemed" representatives of the Alexandrian Text are the vile Vaticanus and Sinaiticus manuscripts. These two corruptions are considered "the oldest and best texts" by most scholars, yet they have hundreds of contradictory readings between them and THOUSANDS compared with the Textus Receptus. Furthermore, these two manuscripts were LOST to humanity for nearly one thousand years! Vaticanus "turned up" in the Vatican in 1481; Sinaiticus was discovered in a Catholic monastery in the mid nineteenth century. Did God lose His "best" manuscripts until then? Did the Christians before this time not have access to the "most reliable and accurate texts?" Nonsense. The Bible believers of the past knew these manuscripts were corrupt because they didn't agree with their pure Bibles and because their sworn enemy the Catholics had them. "By their fruits ye shall know them"
In short, the Authorized Version was translated from the God honored Received Text which is covered with the blood of countless martyrs; nearly all the "new" translations came (at least partially) from the corrupt Alexandrian Text which no one shed a drop of blood to protect. This alone should make any Christian think twice before he abandons the King James Version for a modern translation.
Back To Contents
For another example check in Jeremiah chapter 36, where Jeremiah had "all the words of the Lord" written upon a roll (vs. 4). Then see how after the roll was cut up and burned (by a Bible revisor), God commanded him to write "all the former words" (vs. 28) upon another roll, plus, some NEW WORDS (vs. 32)! This is very significant. The ORIGINAL is destroyed and Jeremiah makes a COPY of all the original words and then adds MORE. The copy is NOT identical to the original yet BOTH are scripture! They do not contradict but complement each other, similar to how each of the four Gospels complements the others without contradiction. The lesson here is: a copy does not have to be verbally and plenarily identical to the original to be scripture (more on this later).
For a New Testament account showing preservation, look in Luke chapter 4 where the Lord goes into the synagogue to read "the book of the prophet Esaias..." remembering that He read from a COPY of Isaiah and NOT the original. He did not once correct any "errors that crept into the text" or omit any words which were "added" by scribes. The copy He read from was just as pure as the original. If it wasn't He would have said so (Matthew 4:4)!
The above reference leads us to consider the critic's argument that copies cannot be as pure as the original. The King James Version completely decimates the logic of those who hold this view. To quickly settle this "problem," one needs only to believe two verses: 2 Timothy 3:15-16. This is the classic passage on the inspiration of the scriptures. Most Christians are familiar with verse 16, but let's look at verse 15 with it. Paul says in verse 15 that Timothy had known the "holy scriptures" since he was a child, and in verse 16 he says "all scripture is given by inspiration of God...." It is clear Paul considered the "scriptures" (copies) Timothy had to be "given by inspiration," since he says in the next verse that "all scripture" is. These two verses alone prove that COPIES can be "given by inspiration." What a terrible passage to face if one has "originalitis"! These verses are so plain in declaring that copies can be scripture that some of the new "Bibles" change them so their scholars can "save face." The reader should carefully note that verse 16 does not say the original writings WERE given by inspiration, but that all scripture IS (present tense).
Scholars use this passage to teach that only the "originals" were inspired, but it says no such thing! Not one time in the Bible is the word "scripture(s)" a reference to an original autograph. It ALWAYS refers to a copy! The originals were "given by inspiration" not because they were original manuscripts, but because they were SCRIPTURE. The key word is SCRIPTURE. Do not make the mistake of forcing the Bible to teach something it does not say, but remember, for a text to be scripture it does NOT have to be the original. God makes no distinction between the purity of an original and of an accurate copy made of it, even a copy made from another copy hundreds of years after the original!
Since "all scripture is given by inspiration of God," the "scripture" Christ quoted in Luke 4 was pure, as were the "scriptures" He commanded the Jews to search in John 5. Likewise, the "scripture" the Ethiopian eunuch had in Acts 8 was pure; the "scriptures" the Bereans had in Acts 17 were pure; the "scripture" Paul had in Romans 4 was pure; and also, according to Peter, all the epistles of Paul are scripture and thus pure (2 Peter 3:16). Every reference to scripture in the Bible is a reference to God's infallible, inerrant word. Whether the scripture is an original autograph or a copy is immaterial. God does not esteem the former above the latter in any way and neither should we.
Now that we have shown that God's word must exist somewhere on earth in pure form you may ask: "How does one determine where God's word is or which Bible it is"? Or, "How can one know the King James Version is pure and free from error"? In the following chapters we will address these questions, but there is something else we must look into first.
Back To Contents
The Holy Spirit does not use the terms "verbal" and "plenary" to describe scripture. He simply says it is "given by inspiration" (God-breathed). Verbal and plenary are terms theologians use to define their idea of inspiration. Evidently, the Holy Spirit's choice of words is not enough for them. At this point you may be thinking: "Do you mean to tell me that the Bible is not inspired word for word and completely and totally? I have believed this all my life and...." Well, "hold your horses" and don't jump to conclusions. We just mentioned how we believe "the words of the Lord are pure words," how we believe all scripture is infallible, inerrant, "God-breathed," and how we believe we have a copy. What we are referring to here is terminology. How words and terms are used and the implications that result from their use. If verbal and plenary are used the way most scholars use them, no one could know he had a perfect Bible or not because the standard or authority to appeal to no longer exists. However, if we use Bible terminology, i.e. "given by inspiration," and do not force the scriptures to say something they do not, a person can know he has the words God wants him to have. This is really the heart of the Bible controversy: can a person KNOW he has a copy of the Scriptures—the pure words of the living God? We contend that he can; not because of man's ability, but because of God's promise of preservation.
Concerning translations, the Bible critic's mentality compels him to dogmatically proclaim that NO translation can be inspired because it is impossible for it to be verbally and plenarily identical to the original. In their way of thinking, it could be possible for a Greek text to be identical with the "original Greek," but never a translation. They insist translated words cannot have precisely the same meaning as the words in the original language. Granted they can't, but who says they have to? The Bible doesn't. This argument is based on the assumption that only the original language can convey the exact words God wants man to have, but the Bible makes no such requirement. In fact, it allows for the alternative.
There are several places in the scriptures where a translation is "given by inspiration." Joseph, when he was a ruler in Egypt, spoke to his brethren in Egyptian (Genesis 42:23). There is no record of anything he said to them being written down in Egyptian. Moses later made an account in Hebrew, and this Hebrew text is the text given by inspiration. To say that a translation cannot be "word-perfect" is to invent a problem where no problem exists. It does not bother God that languages are dissimilar, He can give man the words He wants him to have without worrying about being "word-perfect." Likewise, when Moses and Pharaoh talked to each other concerning the release of the Israelites they also conversed in Egyptian (Exodus chapters 4-14). Moses, again, recorded all the words in Hebrew.
Suppose Pharaoh's court recorder recorded all the words spoken between Moses and Pharaoh in Egyptian. Would it not be the original and Moses' account a mere translation? Would not this "original Egyptian" text be the "verbal and plenary" account of what was said? Yet which one is given by inspiration? See the problems scholars make for themselves? If one follows their reasoning, the account of Moses we have today has two strikes against it: it is a COPY AND A TRANSLATION! Does this mean anything regarding it being scripture? Of course not! Suppose we had the Egyptian original before us today, would it be better than the copies we have of Moses' translation? Not at all. The writings of Moses are scripture (2 Timothy 3:16); the first-hand account of a recorder is not, even if it is the "original"!
For another example, look in Acts 22, where Paul speaks to the Jews in Hebrew and Luke records it in Greek! There is no Hebrew manuscript of Paul's words in existence. Does this affect their purity? You should know the answer. Each one of these three translations (and there are over thirty more) God has honored and "given by inspiration." They all are scripture, yet God did not see fit to record them in the Bible in their original language. Some people behave like they have forgotten that God knows all languages. He knows German as well as Hebrew and English as well as Greek. Of course, every believer will agree with this, but many act like they do not. What God sees as no problem (having an translation "given by inspiration"), Bible scholars and translators see as a great problem. God can give His words to anyone in any language EXACTLY the way He wants them to have them, without the words being "verbally" and "plenarily" identical to the original language. Many Christians, from listening to the "scholars" humanistic rhetoric to long, have been brainwashed and cannot understand this, but it is no problem for a Bible reading Bible believer.
Back To Contents
As mentioned before, we agree that no translation can be "word-perfect" with the original, but this in no way means, as scholars assume, that a translation is of a lesser quality. It could just as easily be (as we have just seen) BETTER in quality than the original! The word of God does NOT lose its purity and authority by being translated. God can easily direct or influence translators to choose words that say what He wants said in any language. The words chosen may have a slightly different meaning than the original word, or they may not convey all of its "idioms" and "inflections" and the like, but so what? Many English words also have a uniqueness about them and can convey thoughts that no single Greek or Hebrew word can. It works both ways. God knew this, and He directed the Authorized Version translators accordingly. This is not to say that the translators themselves were inspired, but only that God used them to preserve His word in its purity in the English language.
Now that we have seen how God has promised to preserve His word, how He did preserve it, and how copies and translations can be scripture, we will begin to look at the King James Version in particular and see why it is to be preferred above all others.
Back To Contents