The highly anticipated Ruckman Reference Bible (hereafter RRB) was published in November of 2009. The introduction to the RBB itself states that "It has been a long time coming and long awaited by many Bible believers." Ruckman had arrogantly promised that:
The work will have in it a minimum of 8000 “facts” not found in any four other reference Bibles. Four study Bibles might have 1/10th of the information. (Ruckman, Peter. "The Ruckman Reference Bible" Bible Believers' Bulletin. December 2009, p. 2)
The first thing we noticed about the RRB was that the layout of the notes and references is similar to the Scofield Bible, except that it included 118 appendices in the back, making it a much thicker volume. It has the dedication to King James as in the original 1611, but considering that is included, it noticeably lacks The Translators to the Readers preface, probably because several statements therein by the KJV translators are contrary to Ruckmanism.
We will begin our critique backwards by going through the appendices first, followed by the notes in the body of the text. The fact that an appendix was skipped does not mean that the contents were found to be Biblical. We are simply jotting down some observations regarding what stood out to us the most during our first reading of the RRB.
The very first appendix includes a statement saying that if Jehovah had been used for Lord every time, it would have destroyed the unity of the Bible. Since Hebrew does not make the same distinction as in the KJV, he closed the appendix with the following statement: "The King James Version is an improvement over the 'Hebrew.'"
Although documented (mostly from E.L. Abel's questionable book Moon Madness published by the publisher Fawcett, not written by Fawcett as stated in the RRB) this appendix is loaded with superstition about the moon. Among the unusual things mentioned is the following: "In eight years, Henry Lee Lucas murdered one hundred girls. Every time the moon was full, he had intercourse with a corpse or a severed head." Needless to say, such information seems out of place in a reference Bible.
As part of this appendix there is a chart on p. 1707 in which Ruckman tries to prove through some illustrations and Scripture references that Mt. Zion is shaped like a pyramid. Ruckman's point can be summarized in the following two statements on this page: "Since God is a trinity, 'Mt. Zion' has to be a pyramid shape." "All Greek and Hebrew scholars missed all of the revelation."
Within this appendix there is a heading with the title "The Tricks of the Tradesmen (1880-2000)" Under this heading there is a list of statements in quotes which he does not comment on, but disagrees with or considers to be diversionary tactic. We will list some selected ones and comment on them:
"The Greek text says…" & "The original Greek text says…"
Even when the worst manuscripts are included, there is no dispute whatsoever concerning over 95% of the text of the New Testament. When all manuscripts agree on a given reading, this statement should be considered safe. In his RRB notes under Deut. 32:31, Ruckman refers to the "original Greek" as follows: "The Holy Spirit preserved (in 'the original Greek') the difference between the two words by using 'petros' for Peter and 'petra' for Jesus Christ in every copy of Matthew extant (Matt. 16:18). The words are not the same in English, Latin, or Greek."
"Erasmus was pro-Catholic."
Although it should be acknowledged that Erasmus was openly critical of some practices and beliefs of the Catholic church, he never left it.
"There was no Receptus before 1633."
The Textus Receptus (TR) got its name from a prefatory statement in Latin in a TR edition from 1633. However, the 1633 edition was part of a series of Greek New Testament editions that had only been lightly revised since Erasmus' 1516 edition; therefore Ruckman is right to point out that it is wrong to say there was no Textus Receptus before 1633.
"Editions of the Receptus differ"
That there are some variances between editions of the Textus Receptus is not in dispute, and Ruckman has even used that argument in his writings against those he calls "TR-men" in an attempt to justify correcting the Greek with the English.
"Where was the word of God before 1611?"
"The AV had a Crown copyright"
It absolutely did. The New Testament title page of the 1611 edition has cum privilegio, which is how copyright notices were noted in the 17th century.
"The Russians (Spanish, Germans, etc.) had no AV before 1611."
They had TR-based translations, but no AV. They are left with something Ruckman considers to be inferior.
Under this appendix there is a section called "'Ruckmanism' in the 17th-20th Centuries." Under this he has a list of 7 people who supposed taught that the Authorized Version of 1611 was a perfect Bible before his time. He does not quote any of them directly (if he would have, people could see that the quotes did not back up what he says). In six cases the reference is not to a primary source, but rather one of his publications which provides the quote. Six of the seven on his list were refuted in our article No evidence of Ruckmanism before 1950. The seventh one is new to us, and we will report on it once we obtain a copy of the book.
Update, Dec. 29, 2009: We obtained a copy of the only book on Ruckman's list we were not familiar with, and we were not surprised to find that on the page number Ruckman lists there is not mention of the "KJV," the "Authorized Version," or even "our English translation." All that was found is a statement that referred to the Bible in general terms, with no version specified: "When the Bible says one thing and scholarship says another, scholarship can go plumb to the devil." (20 Years with Billy Sunday by Homer Rodeheaver, p. 69)
Who but Ruckman would have a list of "asses" in the Scripture as an appendix to a reference Bible? He provides a list of 28 uses for them, then links it to the 28-day cycle of the moon!
This appendix contains a paragraph with one of Ruckman's strange beliefs:
Since the first public miracle in the Old Testament was Moses turning water to blood, and since the first public miracle in the New Testament was Jesus Christ turning water into wine (a type of blood), it stands to Biblical reasoning that the circulatory system which Adam and Eve had before they fell, was a water system … This brings up the problem of bloodsuckers like vampire bats and Dracula…
This appendix has to do with the tithe being one tenth, and it is so strange throughout, that we will only quote the first line which should be sufficient to demonstrate its weirdness: "In the Book, the 'tithe' is directly connected with cannibalism in the United Nations after the Rapture."
Most of this appendix has to do with Ruckman's superstitions regarding the letter x. He has a long list of words that contain this letter, and the ridiculousness of it all is summed up in the sphinx, a mythical creature which he defines as "a double-sexed cat!" Does Ruckman really expect people to take his Ruckman Reference Bible seriously?
Ruckman is still trying to guess the dates of the rapture, in spite of God's warning of such a futility in Mat. 24:36. In the current appendix he has the heading "The Calendar for the Second Advent." Under this he introduces his dates with the following statement: "Possible dates for a pre-Tribulation Rapture of the Church would be either three days after Passover or on Pentecost (on a Jewish calendar)." Then he lists the following possible dates:
Year Passover Pentecost
2010 March 29 May 18
2011 April 19 June 8
2012 April 7 May 27
2013 March 26 May 15
2014 April 15 June 4
2015 April 4 May 24
2016 April 23 June 12
As to the teaching that "Sinners are saved the same way in the Great Tribulation as they were saved before the Rapture," Ruckman calls it a "fable" that is more "'fabulous' than any of Aesop's Fables." In this list of "fables" he lists such things as the possibility that the KJV could have errors in it and that only the original autographs were infallible and inspired.
Miscellaneous observations about appendices:
Quite a few of the appendices do not add to the study of the Bible, as some of it is nothing more than sermon illustration material (see appendices 14-17, for example). One appendix covering nearly two pages consists merely of bumper sticker slogans. The introduction to the RBB itself states: "We trust you will be blessed and edified by the years of study and teaching Dr. Ruckman has assembled in these pages."
The notes in the body of the text
As expected, Ruckman starts off teaching the gap theory in Genesis 1, lamenting that people even call it a theory. By Genesis 2 he is already teaching that Adam's salvation was by works. He calls all teaching to the contrary regarding Old Testament salvation "irreligious claptrap." In this same chapter he is already into racist jabs, stating: "In northern Alabama, Negros used to eat red clay out of the clay hills on Sunday afternoon with spoons to get back their original color." In chapter 3 he is teaching that the lack of sweat due to air-conditioning is causing people's bodies to be full of poison by the age of forty, in which circumstance we can only survive with medicines and operations. Ruckman starts chapter four with his wondering imagination stating: "This means that the Bible implies, without stating it directly, that some kind of a sexual union could have taken place between Eve and the 'angel of light' (see 2 Cor. 11:14)." Under Genesis 8:21 Ruckman has a comment which is characteristic of his twisted view of God: "The printed record that God gives of what he thinks about you is the greatest 'hate literature' ever assembled on earth." Under Genesis 10:2, he has a list as to what people from different nationalities and races have been labeled. Some of the labels are non-offensive, while others are unchristian. Notice this one: "the Black man is a 'nigger,' 'Jungle-bunny,' or 'Porch-monkey.'" While passing himself off as a Baptist, Ruckman shows his true colors in this statement in notes under Gen. 22:5: "By perverting this Scripture, the Baptists (as well as other denominations) have constructed the foolish epigram that 'in the Old Testament people were saved by looking forward to the cross and in the New Testament they are saved by looking back to the cross,' which is a nice pious piece of drivel." Some might try to say “at least Ruckman does not believe in salvation by works only in the OT, but rather works plus faith.” However, notice the following in the RRB under Gen. 42:25: “Some dispensations manifest salvation by works without faith, such as Genesis 2-3 and Revelation 20-22.”
Note under Ex. 8:22: “Angels do not have wings (Gen. 18:2; Acts 1:10; Rev. 21:17).” These verses simply describe angels as men. Ruckman has to deny that Seraphims are angels, as they have wings (Isa. 6:2). Note also that Dan. 9:21 and Rev. 14:6 describes an angel flying. On another matter, a note for Ex. 16:20 explains a little more about his bizarre belief that tithing is related to cannibalism in the Tribulation.
Ruckman claims that Numbers 6:4 "identifies the exact fruit of which Adam and Eve partook;" (He describes it vaguely as a "vine tree," without identifying the exact fruit). He then goes on to castigate others for not finding this over a period of twenty centuries. The following is the entire note in which he attempts to prove he discovered what no one else could find in the Bible in 2,000 years:
The verse identifies the exact fruit of which Adam and Eve partook; this escapes the eyes of Bible correctors through a period of twenty centuries. It is a “vine tree” (Gen. 2:17; Judg. 9:8-15). How several thousand professing Christian scholars missed the connection between this and the Lord’s Supper (Deut. 29:6, 32:14, 32-33) is past finding out. As sure as Jesus Christ refused to call Mary His “mother” (John 2:4), the water pots of wine in John 2:10 were types of His blood shed on the cross (John 2:4).
The most logical explanation is since all Roman Catholics have been taught that it is perfectly all right to drink blood, that they instinctively overlooked all the verses. When you partake of blood, orally, you are violating three Testaments (Gen. 9:4; Lev. 17:14; Acts 15:20). It was connected with “original sin.”
On another topic, he claims that the word "pictures" in Numbers 33:52 is a reference to "the deadliness of television."
Concerning "giants" in Deuteronomy chapter 2, Ruckman believes there is a "connection to aliens from outerspace [sic]." For Deut. 4:19, Ruckman has the following unusual interpretation:
The truth is, there are twelve constellations for twelve nations to inhabit in eternity, after the Millennium is over. Each nation has been assigned a constellation, exactly as each nation has to have a matchmate [sic] from the twelve tribes of Israel (Deut. 32:8).
Under 1 Sam. 16:10 we find one of the RRB's "Ruckmanisms": "Always allow the English to correct the Greek and Hebrew texts; it will never fail a single time." In the notes for 1 Sam. 20:30, Ruckman feels compelled to tell you that the modern equivalent of the expression in this verse would be "son of a b—-." (He spelled the whole word out).
According to the center-column notes for 2 Kings 4:34, Ruckman treats this as a case of Elisha using CPR, instead of a genuine resurrection miracle. This is in spite of the chapter telling us twice that the boy had indeed died, and the considerable amount of time that had passed from when Elisha heard of his death and was able to come and lay upon him. Ruckman presents it as follows: "This is known as CPR, cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Elisha was about 2,700 years ahead of 'modern science.'"
At Psalm 139:15 Ruckman reveals an unusual view for someone who passes himself off as a Baptist. We will quote the entire note for this verse, so it cannot be said that we took Ruckman out of context:
Verses 13-16 are used by "pro-life Christians" (anti-abortionists) to prove that abortion is murder. The only way they can get that interpretation, though, is to ignore or alter this verse. Many expositors will make the expression "the lowest parts of the earth" a figurative reference to the "womb" (vs. 13). But the phrase has nothing to do with any woman's womb in Psalm 63:9; Isaiah 44:23; or Ephesians 4:9. Typical Laodicean, apostate scholarship–changing what God said to prove what you want the Scriptures to say. The reference is obviously to the creation of Adam (see note on Gen. 2:12).
Under Isa. 53:12, he goes into a confusing explanation about his views on what can happen to a soul. The following sentence summarizes his conclusion to the whole matter:
That would explain what Christ meant when he said a man could "lose his own soul" (Mark 8:36), for the soul would lose the bodily shape of the man and become a red maggot.
For Jeremiah 1:5 we find the following note, which we reproduce in its entirety: "This verse is used by 'pro lifers' to prove that abortion is murder. However, it is addressed to a grown man who was not aborted (see note on Psa. 139:15)." On another topic, observe this note for Jer. 36:32:
This means that what God originally inspired does not have to match the Scripture God preserved, and if you could get a copy of the "original autograph," you would not have the words God wanted you to have. What the silly scholars (afflicted with the disease of "Ruckmanitis") call "double inspiration" is known in the Bible as "sound doctrine" (1 Tim. 1:10; 2 Tim. 4:3; Tit. 1:9, 2:1). [Bold added for emphasis]
Ruckman has the heading "the UFO in the Temple" for Ezekiel chapter 10. This and some other references to UFO's in the RRB might be tongue-in-cheek, as the term merely means "unidentified flying object." However, Ruckman's book Black is Beautiful documents his belief in UFOs, so some of his references to UFOs might be meant in a literal sense to represent creatures from outer space.
In the introduction to the book of Jonah, Ruckman states: "Jonah died in the belly of the whale." In the notes for Jonah 2:2 he elaborates: "Jonah was the only man in the Old Testament to go 'To Hell and Back' (an Audie Murphy movie)."
A note for Mat. 4:1 reveals that Ruckman believes in the “peccability” of Christ:
Verses 1-10 deal with the question of the peccability of Christ; i.e., Could Jesus Christ have sinned? Every apostate Fundamentalist would say He could not have sinned, under any condition. If that were so, why would Satan tempt Christ if he did not believe there was a chance that he could have succeeded in getting Jesus to rebel against God? When a Conservative or Fundamentalist takes the position that Christ was impeccable (unable to sin), he is claiming to be smarter than the most brilliant being in the universe outside of God Himself (see Ezek. 28:3).
A note for Mat. 12:40 expands on what Ruckman had previously said about Jonah: "Jonah literally died, he was literally resurrected."
The note for Mat. 19:5 states: “But marriage per se, is intercourse, and it is defined as such even when there is fornication with a harlot (see 1 Cor. 6:16-18).” Even though Ruckman has a verse for this strange belief that says something similar, one should keep in mind that one of the most important rules of hermeneutics is that if a literal interpretation of an isolated passage would result in a total absurdity, the passage is speaking in figurative terms.
In his notes for 1 Cor. 14:14, Ruckman’s characteristic style comes forth as he portrays the apostle Paul telling Charismatics to “get mad, kick out the slats in their crib, throw their bottle on the floor…”
Ruckman’s arrogance is revealed in his comment for Heb. 6:4: “None of the scholars, commentators, or expositors understand verses 1:8…” Ruckman describes Scofield’s attempt at interpreting the passage an “excursion into theological madness.” Ruckman of course understands what no scholar, commentator or expositor ever could understand, so he proceeds to set them straight with an interpretation that includes works for salvation during the tribulation.
Hebrews 11 is a chapter which completely refutes Ruckman’s teaching that Old Testament saints were saved by works. The theme of this chapter is faith, but Ruckman tries to take away from that theme in his headings throughout the chapter. For example, above verse 6 he has the heading: "The faith of Abraham manifested by his works." Except for changing the names, he has the exact same heading for several others in the chapter.
Under 2 Peter 3:16, Ruckman makes the following claim:
…never does the word "scriptures," in the Scripture, ever refer to "original autographs" or "original manuscripts"–not a single time. That lie was invented to defraud you. Thieves (John 10:1, 8) invented it: Christian thieves.
However, 2 Tim. 3:16 tells us how the Scriptures were given, which has to refer to the originals. Some say that the Scriptures Timothy had mentioned in the previous verse demonstrates that the originals were not being referred to in verse 16, however the Greek word underlying "scriptures" in verse 15 is a different Greek word. Ruckman does not want to accept that 2 Tim. 3:16 is a reference to the originals, because it would demonstrate that inspiration took place only once with the originals, never to be repeated again.
We will end with this paragraph found under Rev. 21:24:
But the eternal life that these Gentiles get from the Tree of Life is different from that of the Christian. Christians don't bear children in Eternity (Matt. 22:30); these gentiles do (Isa. 9:7; Psa. 103:17). When these children reach a certain age (probably 33 1/2 years old–see 1 John 3:2), they enter into the city on the month each of them was born (Isa. 66:22-23) through the gate assigned to the nation to which each of them belongs. They then eat from the Tree of Life the specific fruit that grows on it for their nation (Rev. 22:3). As these "nations" grow in number and become too many for the earth to sustain, God transports them to one of the twelve "houses" of the Zodiac to populate outer space (see note on Deut. 4:19).
We will not comment on the above, as we believe its ridiculousness speaks for itself.
The RRB is loaded with slang in the notes, such as the expression “stuffing their gut with food,” (Ex. 32:19) “You’re liable to puke,” (Prov. 25:16) and “blow it out your nose” (p. 1498) which seems out of place in what is supposed to be a study Bible. Many crude words are used by Ruckman in his RRB to describe people with whom he disagrees, such as “dirty dogs” (p. 1485). Another example of impropriety in the RRB is the following note for Heb. 1:12: "Verses 1-12 record the greatest 'striptease' in the history of the universe, for the passage speaks of God taking off his clothes."
Like the Scofield Bible, the RRB has a center column for references. Sometimes Ruckman does more than insert references of parallel passages, as in this case in Matthew 20 in which he mocks how some old-time blacks preachers speak: “Hit don’t make no diffunce what time you went to work. De question is, is you on de job?” Perhaps it is not always wrong to see the humor in how others talk differently, but the fact that this appears in the center column of a reference Bible does nothing for its respectability nor does it aid anyone in the study of the Bible.
Over 90 percent of the time that he makes a reference to a belief that he labeled along the lines of being a Baptist or a Fundamentalist belief in the RRB, it was in a negative sense. If he is truly a Baptist as he calls himself and his church, why continually degrade Baptists beliefs?
Throughout the RRB we observed that Ruckman has an obsession with the United Nations. For example, in the book of Genesis alone there are nine headings in the text that he labels, “God’s warning to the United Nations.” In the note for Mat. 21:44 we find: “At His Second Advent, He is the smiting stone of Daniel 2:44-45 that comes to crush the UN beneath his feet (Rev. 14:14-20; Isa. 63:1-6).” As Christians we should not have confidence in the UN, and we believe that practical applications can be made to the UN with such verses as 1 Thes. 5:3 (For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them…). However, we sense that Ruckman goes far beyond that using his vivid imagination to interpret many dozens or perhaps hundreds of verses as containing specific warnings to the UN or prophecies about the UN.
In other writings Ruckman claims to be against abortion, but the way he denied in the RRB that certain passages could be applied to abortion as we have documented, you would never know it.
Although we do not agree with the influx of so many new versions, and we personally only use the KJV, we believe Ruckman is way out of line in referring to these new translations as “pieces of trash” (note for 1 Tim. 5:17). He claims people can be saved from modern translations, but you would never know from the way he portrays them almost as if they were satanic bibles. Problems with modern translation can and should be pointed out, but it does not have to be done at the cost of losing Christian dignity and respect. See our list of recommended books here: Recommended non-Ruckmanite literature in defense of the KJV or Textus Receptus.
We believe all the writings of Ruckman and authors influenced by him should be shunned, not only because of the bitter spirit manifested therein, but also because of doctrinal issues, many of which have been documented throughout ruckmanism.org.
Scan of a page from the RRB which did not contain notes. To be fair, this is not a typical page, as most pages contains some notes, as can be seen from what bled through from the facing page.