QUESTION: Did the translators of the
Authorized Version claim to be inspired by God?
ANSWER: No. But Biblically that does
not mean that they could not have been inspired.
EXPLANATION: The men on the translation
committee of the King James Bible were, without dispute, the most learned
men of their day and vastly qualified for the job which they undertook.
They were overall both academically qualified by their cumulative knowledge
and spiritually qualified by their exemplary lives.
Among their company were men who, academically, took a
month's vacation and used the time to learn and master an entirely foreign
language; wrote a Persian dictionary; invented a specialized mathematical
ruler, one was an architect; mastered oriental languages; publicly debated
in Greek; tutored Queen Elizabeth in Greek and mathematics; and of one
it was said, "Hebrew he had at his fingers end". Yet head
knowledge can be a curse if not tempered by a fervent, pious heart.
In this, the spiritual realm, they were light years ahead
of many today who flaunt their education yet fail in any attempt at
a practical, personal witness.
This company was blessed with men known for their zeal
and tact in debating and converting Romanists to Christ. They spent
hours in private and family devotions. Many did the work of evangelism
and even that of missionary representatives of later Queen Elizabeth.
One, lived to the age of one hundred and three years. In the closing
years of his life, after preaching for two full hours he said to his
congregation, "I will no longer trespass on your patience"
to which the entire congregation cried out with one consent, "For
God's sake go on". He then continued his exposition of the Word
of God at length.
Yet humanity was a universal trait shared among them as
is so amply revealed in the Epistle Dedicatory. "So that if, on
the one side, we shall be traduced by Popish Persons at home or abroad,
who therefore will malign us, because we are poor instruments to make
God's holy Truth to be yet more and more known unto the people, whom
they desire still to keep in ignorance and darkness; or if, on the other
side, we shall be maligned by self conceited Brethren, who run their
own ways, and give liking unto nothing, but what is framed by themselves,
and hammered on their anvil;" Yet, in spite of their outstanding
character, they never claimed divine inspiration. (A claim which, if
they had made, would over joy their detractors as evidence
of a prideful spirit.) They never even claimed perfection for their
Does this mean that, because they did not claim
God's hand in translating the Scripture that He could not be or was
not in control of their commission? For the answer we must look to the
Bible, our final authority in all matters of faith
When John the Baptist was accosted by the Levites in John
chapter one and asked if he was Elijah (John 1:21) he answered that
he was not Elijah. Yet in Matthew chapters 11:7-14
and 17:10-13 Jesus Christ plainly stated that John was Elijah.
Did John the Baptist lie? No. Did Jesus Christ lie? Of
course not. The answer is very simply that John was
Elijah but he didn't know it! Thus we see from our
Bible example that a man can have God working through
him and not know it. Likewise, God could easily have divinely directed
the King James translators without their active knowledge.