Sounding a Clear Call

A love Letter to “KJV—Only” Proponents                                                                                                          by The Mad Preacher, Rod Davis

Again, if the trumpet does not sound a clear call, who will get ready for battle? So it is with you. Unless you speak intelligible words with your tongue, how will anyone know what you are saying? You will just be speaking into the air. (1 Corinthians 14:8-9)

“[A] variety of Translations is profitable for the finding out of the sense of the Scriptures.”  — The 1611 KJV Translators in the preface [1], TO THE READER)

“Do not give them a loaf of bread, covered with an inedible, impenetrable crust, fossilized KJV onlyby three and a half centuries. Give them the word of God as fresh and warm and clear as the Holy Spirit gave it to the authors of the Bible … For any preacher or theologian who loves God’s Word to allow that Word to go on being misunderstood because of the veneration of an archaic, not-understood version of four centuries ago is inexcusable and almost unconscionable.” (Edwin H. Palmer, spokesman for the NIV[2])

I understand one’s concern over guarding the inerrancy of the Holy Scripture. I share their concern. That’s one of the reasons that I do word studies from the original Greek and Hebrew when I study The Bible. I often use several different English translations of God’s Word. As you know, The Bible was not written in English. In fact, the English language did not even exist 2,000 years ago. So it stands to reason that any Bible you choose to use, from the KJV to the NIV, is obviously not word for word as accurate as it is in the original language.

I’m like the guy who said, “I know a little Greek and a little Hebrew. The little Greek owns a delicatessen and the little Hebrew owns a shoe store.” Tah-dump-dump! I’m not a Greek or Hebrew scholar. Therefore, I must depend on the skill and devotion of those anointed men and women who are. For every Bible known to man was translated by scholars. In fact, there are Bibles throughout the world that’s translated into many different languages. However, it’s important to note that Bibles in other languages were not translated from the King James Version, or from any other English translation for that matter. They were translated from the original Greek and Hebrew text.

I once felt just as strongly as some of you about the KJV. I would argue passionately with anyone who did not hold my views. I dare say I was more of a KJV proponent then some of you. Anyone who knew me back then can attest to this fact. Consequently, I understand where you are coming from. However, my attitude started to change over the years when God pointed out two eye-opening truths to me.

Number one: I discovered that it was foolish of me to judge the accuracy of the NIV, or any other modern translation, by comparing it to the KJV. Love it as I did, I had to admit that the KJV is not the ultimate standard—the original text is the standard. So, for me to compare the NIV to the KJV and then say that the NIV was guilty of leaving something out because the KJV had it in was a poor argument. As I said, I am not a Greek or Hebrew scholar; so, how could I know that the KJV translators didn’t put something in their version that wasn’t in the original text? How could I be so certain, considering that I wasn’t there and I had never examined the Greek and Hebrew documents that the those scholars used? As a matter of fact, I wouldn’t even be able to read them if I saw them. Do you see all the holes in that line of reasoning?

Please go to http://www.kjv-only.com/qere.html and read an eye opening article entitled, “Something “qere” and is going on in the KJV”. It clearly explains the reason why modern translations, like the NIV, removed certain verses that were in the KJV and other previous English translations. It has to do with geres and Ketiv. What is a qere (pronounced “keh-ray”)? It’s a marginal note that scribes wrote into the text for a clearing meaning that later became scripture in the KJV and others. It was not used by the NIV translators. Ketiv (pronounced “keh-teev”) is the actual text itself.

Number two: My arguments for the KJV really began to unravel one day with this discovery. I was studying my Bible and was reading the words of Jesus as he was quoting from the Old Testament. (Matthew 4:10) “Then saith Jesus unto him, “Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” (KJV) However, when I went to the Old Testament reference that Jesus used and read it, I found that this was not exactly what the passage said! The verse Jesus used is in Deuteronomy 6:13 and is worded very differently from what Jesus said. “Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name.” Jesus quoted the verse using the word “worship”—not “fear!” It blew my mind! I researched further and discovered many other examples of variations in New Testament quotes of Old Testaments scriptures.

For example:

Isaiah 9:

1 NEVERTHELESS the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations. 2 The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.” (KJV)

Matthew 4

14 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias [a variation of Isaiah] the prophet, saying, 15 “The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles: 16 The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.” (KJV)

Here’s another example. Notice the difference in the wording:

Mark 11:17, And he taught, saying unto them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer?’ but ye have made it a den of thieves.” (KJV)

Here is the passage that Jesus quoted.

Isaiah 56:7, Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called a house of prayer for all people.

And, there are many others examples like this.

I then thought to myself, “Why are these, and many other quotes in the New Testament, worded differently from the original passage in the Old Testament?” Then I found out about The Septuagint. Please indulge me if you already know about this. The Septuagint was the modern Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible that was used by the first century Jews. It was also used by the first Christians, the apostles and by our LORD, as well.

This intrigued me, considering the fact that Jesus was the Living Word in flesh while he was on the Earth. (John 1:1&14) Wouldn’t the One who was the living embodiment of God’s Word realize that the Greek translation of the writings of Moses and the prophets from Hebrew and Aramaic to Greek was done by men, and these men at times did not exactly get it word for word correct? The old expression remains true, “Something gets lost in the translation.” Doesn’t it stand to reason, then, that Jesus would quote it the way it was originally written?  In addition, wouldn’t the Holy Spirit also inspire the writers of the New Testament to do the same?

Then it dawned on me. [It takes some doing but I do eventually get it] The message and the spirit of the scripture, as in the Septuagint, were found in the words used by its scholars. The same is true for any legitimate translation of Holy Scriptures. If John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (KJV), what difference does it make if the wording says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”? (NIV) The message is the same. One must, therefore, be careful about judging another version of The Bible lest one find one’s self guilty of religious nitpicking, or straining out a gnat while swallowing a camel. (Matthew 23:24)

The Septuagint was a version of scripture that was presented in what was then the modern language of the day. It was a contemporary version of The Bible. To Jesus the clarity of the message was of greater importance than criticizing the translation. I believe that the scholars who translated the KJV [which was revised four times, the last being in 1769] felt as Jesus did. They wanted God’s Word to be translated into the language of the day. It was very important to them that the message be clear to their particular culture.

The same rings true for the scholars who came together in 1965 [Updated in 2011] under the watchful eyes of God and of the Christian world. The English language has changed drastically over the past 400 years. They translated directly from the best available Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic texts such as the Dead Sea scrolls discovered in 1947 which was centuries older than the manuscripts used by the KJV scholars).

There were over 100 dedicated theologians and Bible scholars involved in giving us the New International Version. They came from different denominations and their work was endorsed by the National Association of Evangelicals, as well as by leaders from many major denominations. Now, compare this to the scholars who gave us the KJV. They were part of the Church of England, a church that’s anything but evangelical. In fact, it is the daughter of the Catholic Church. However, they worked hard and got the job done. We thank them and praise God for what they did.

“The language of Generation X and Millennials is changing every day, and those in their teens, 20s and 30s are on the Internet all the time, creating and adapting words from pop culture in their emails and Web logs. In 2003, Merriam-Webster updated its collegiate dictionary. The dictionary’s lexicographers made more than 100,000 changes and added more than 10,000 new words and phrases that did not appear in 1993. According to a 2004 nationwide Harris Interactive poll, 80% of people surveyed preferred more readable language in their Bible when given the choice. While younger generations long for timeless truth, they want it in today’s language.”[3]

The King James Translation was introduced 400 years ago! We don’t use Elizabethan English in 21st century America. God’s Word is much too important to leave it in antiquated terms that are no longer in use, or words that have a totally different meaning today then they did in 1611. The inspired writers of The Bible wrote the words down in the language of the day. Shouldn’t we have Gods WORD in the language of our day? We must update the language and keep God’s Word fresh and readable. We must make sure that the message remains clear. The translators of the KJV understood this. That’s why it went through many revisions before we got the one we all know and love today.

You see, the original KJV 1611 is not the same one we know today. The beloved KJV we use is the 1850 revision. Hundreds of changes took place from 1611 and 1850. In fact, “More than 400 errors in the first edition of the KJV were corrected in a subsequent edition two years later.” (How We Got the Bible- by Neil Lightfoot) Over the years devoted scholars have updated, and at times even corrected the KJV, and it has come to us in the form it is today—the latest revision is the New King James Version published in 1982 by Thomas Nelson Inc.

“The two most important characteristics of a Bible translation are accuracy and readability. After 30 years of researching the English Bible in light of the original languages, I have found the New International Version to be the best combination of accuracy and readability of any English Bible ever done. That is why I have committed most of my career to producing reference books that help other scholars and laypeople better understand God’s word using the NIV.”  John R. Kohlenberger III, Editor, The Interlinear NIV Hebrew-English Old Testament; Co-editor, The Exhaustive Concordance to the Greek New Testament

I hope this has been helpful. As I said, I mean no offense to anyone who prefers the KJV. In addition, I mean no offense to the KJV Bible. I grew up with it and loved it. It’s a beautiful and beloved work of art. It has been used mightily over the years; then again, so has the NIV and many or the other wonderful translations. After all, they’re each a translation of the Word of God that was designed to speak to their peculiar generation.

I use the NIV to preach from and for personal Bible study. I use it on my ministry website, SoaringWings Ministries, and my blob, The Mad Preacher. I do so for many of the reasons that I mentioned, but the main reason I use it is simple. It is the most widely used Bible in the English-speaking world. “Since the mid 1980s, the NIV has been the best-selling English Bible in the US.”[4]

_________________________________________________________________

[1] THE TRANSLATORS TO THE READER, Preface to the King James Version 1611

(Not Copyrighted) THE BEST THINGS HAVE BEEN CALUMNIATED. You can read it in its entirety at http://www.ccel.org/bible/kjv/preface/pref1.htm

[2] The King James Version Debate: A Plea For Realism, D. A. Carlson, Baker Book, 1979, pp. 101,102)

[3] The Generation X & Millennial’s Fact Sheet taken from http://www.tniv.info/why.php

[4] This is based on actual sales statistics published by Spring Arbor Distributors, the largest distributor of Christian books to the retail trade, and monthly sales statistics gathered and published by Bookstore Journal, the official publication of the Christian Booksellers Association.’ http://www.equip.org/free/DB135.htm

 

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Just in case you’ve forgotten…

by The Mad Preacher, Rod Davis

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.                      (1 John 3:1 NIV)

I’m not certain why I’m saying this to you. Maybe it’s that God feels you need to be reminded of something. It’s a singularly wonderful and liberating truth. God loves you, my friend. He loves you with an eternal, unchanging, passionate, unfailing love. If you’re a follower of Jesus I’m sure that you know this by now, however, we’re human and we need to be reminded from time to time. Therefore, I’m praying that God will remind you of just how lovely you are in His eyes. I pray that God will comfort your heart and help you to, once and for all, arrive at this established truth.

                  Within your temple, O God, we meditate on your unfailing love. (Psalms 48:9 NIV)

I am so convincedloved you at your darkness of the sincerity and the scope of God’s love for you that I’ve come to this astounding conclusion; God’s love for you is so pure, so intense that if you were the only person who ever lived God would still have come to this earth in the person of Jesus Christ. He still would have somehow climbed up on that splintery cross and endure the wounds in His hands, feet and side. Then he would bleed and die for you. That’s the Master’s awesome love for you!

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Could oppression, or anguish, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Even as it is written, “For your sake we are killed all day long. We were accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” No, in all these things, we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ          Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35-39 NIV)

Paul was saying not only is God’s love for you eternal and all sufficient, it’s also steadfast and dependable. No matter what you may do in life—be it good or even bad—God’s love for you will remain unchanged and unending. It would remain alive and passionate. Furthermore, his love for you never cools down with the passing of time, as often happens is with the love of people. God’s passion for you continually burns brighter than the sun deep in the recesses of God’s loving heart―24/7.

Its flames are unquenchable even during those times when your love for him seems less than fervent, during those times when you don’t feel so loving. God’s love for you remains constant during the good times and even during the bad times. It doesn’t change. It doesn’t end. His love for you will always remain alive and powerful. It’s there for you when you’re at your best, and, praise God, it watches over you when you’re at your worst.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8 NIV)

God’s love is the driving force behind everything he does for you. It’s the sustaining factor that knits your heart to God’s heart and causes him to unswervingly stand by your side, no matter what the world may dish out or how many times you may fall. And I just wanted to remind you of that… just in case you’ve forgotten.

Praise be to the LORD, for he showed his wonderful love to me when I was in a besieged city. (Psalms 31:21 NIV)

Well like I said you probabl
y already know this. Yet, perhaps you’re like the rest of us. We all need a little reminder from time to time of just how much God adores us.

How precious is your loving kindness, God! The children of men take refuge under the s
hadow of your wings.
(Psalms 36:7 NIV)

I am loved, I am loved, I can risk loving you,
For the one who knows me best loves me most.
I am loved, you are loved, won’t you please take my hand?
We are free to love each other, we are loved.

I said, “If you knew, you wouldn’t want me;
My scars are hidden by the face I wear.”
He said, “My child, my scars go deeper;
It was love for you that put them there.”*

*I Am Loved Performed by: Bill And Gloria Gaither – Composed by: William J. Gaither, Gloria Gaither and Don Wyrtzen – © 1978

Dry Wells —a lamentation by Rod Davis

Often I’ve poured out my love, my passion on women with getting little or none in return. I have dug empty well, after empty well without striking water. Still my heart remains parched. I have tried to plant my very best seeds of love and devotion only to reap a harvest of thorns. When I offered love I only received scorn. When I offered my heart it was cast aside. The pain, unbearable.

Sadness“What’s wrong with me?” I ask. “How big of a fool am I?” Will I ever know happiness with someone who actually loves me back, completely, without restraint? This question haunts me. I pray “Lord, you said in your WORD ‘It is not good for a man to be alone.’ Yet, this seems to be my plight.” I ask “Lord, you know me better than anyone else knows me. What’s wrong with me? Is it some deficit in my character, some flaw to which I am blinded? Is my love not pure enough?” These questions continue to hover over me like dark clouds covering the sun, hiding the answers I seek. They cruelly mock me.

I said to the Lord, “Father you made me the way I am, a hopeless romantic who loves to pour out his affection and passion on the lady in my life. If you mean for me to be alone then please, please, remove this desire from my heart. I’m yours, Father. My life belongs to you. I know you want what’s best for me. I trust you implicitly. If being alone is what you want for me. Then so be it.  Just please remove this desire from my heart for it causes me pain.”

I’ve made that request time and time again. So far the Father remains silent on the issue. So I will continue to trust him because I know that for some strange reason He loves me.

“Speak of me as one that loved not wisely but too well.” —Othello

An Addendum to Dry Wells—a lamentation by Rod Davis

While I was praying and trying to minister to a dear friend of mine God reminded me of something he told me years ago. Please, don’t miss this! This is extremely important! As stated earlier, “I have tried to plant my very best seeds of love and devotion only to reap a harvest of thorns.” Then I asked God this very personal question, “What’s wrong with me? Is it some deficit in my character, some flaw to which I am blinded? Is my love not pure enough?”

Are you going through a bad relationship with a spouse, family member or friend and you’ve poured you love into that relationship, and it’s still not working? Are you asking God the same questions I ask? If so, this will be truly liberating.

Jesus told this story in Matthew 13.

3“A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 Whoever has ears, let them hear.”(NIV)

You see, my hurting friend, there if nothing wrong with the seed you’ve been planting into that relationship. The problem lays with the ground in which you’re sowing. If that ground is good the relationship will be good, healthy and growing. But if it’s bad, you will likely reap only thorns which will grow up and choke that relationship leaving a harvest of only loneliness, sadness and confusion.

Don’t make the mistakes I’ve made. Prayerfully pick your ground and be sure it’s good before you start investing yourself into it.

I am overwhelmed when I consider the great mercy and grace of our LORD! But is God’s grace free? Absolutely not! It was bought and paid for by the precious blood of Jesus. Now, it’s free to all who come to him, asking forgiveness and asking the LORD Jesus to take control their lives.

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace… (Ephesians 1:7 NIV)