Can Peter Ruckman be trusted to give an objective view of facts in areas that could affect some of his views? Is he fair and impartial with the facts? You be the judge.
Ruckman states repeatedly in his writings that the KJV translators placed a statement or note to indicate that the Apocrypha was not inspired and was not part of the Scriptures. Notice:
…and when the King James translators translated their version, they were very careful to separate the Apocrypha from the Old and New Testaments and place it between the testaments, with the specific note that it was not the inspired word of God and not considered to be holy scripture. (Ruckman, Peter. Theological Studies Vol. 15. Pensacola, FL: Bible Baptist Bookstore, 1988, p. 4)
The AV has a statement that the Apocrypha is NOT part of the Old or New Testament… (Ruckman, Peter. The Alexandrian Cult, Part 2. 1978, 1982, p. 6)
The A.V. 1611 translators translated the Apocrypha, but they made a note by it that it was not inspired, and not to be included in the Old Testament. A couple of years later, they threw it out entirely and didn’t even want it in their Bible. It has never been in the A.V. 1611 Bible since, and you didn’t see any fire coming out of the Apocrypha and burning any A.V. 1611 translator! (Ruckman, Peter. The Book of Revelation. 1970, 1982 printing, p. 221)
And he forgot to tell you that the Apocrypha was placed between the testaments with a note that it was not the Scripture. (Ruckman, Peter. Alexandrian Cult Correspondence Vol. 3, tape 3. [About 9/10 into side 1])
The AV has a statement that the Apocrypha is NOT part of the Old or New Testament and therefore it is NOT included as part of the Old Testament, but is inserted between the Inspired Testaments (as the Scofield notes will be found! Ah, yes, kiddies, we have your number!) See photographs of a copy of the AV of 1611. (Ruckman, Peter. Bible Believers’ Bulletin. Jan. 1979, p. 3)
But those books were of such doubtful authority that Martin Luther and the King James translators took them out of the Old Testament Canon and stuck them between the two Testaments with a note that, though they were recommended reading (like the Scofield notes), they were not inspired Scripture.
Ruckman, Peter. Ruckman Reference Bible. First edition, Pensacola, FL: Bible Baptist Bookstore, Postscript to the Old Testament, p. 1231
To the KJV translators’ credit, they did place the Apocrypha between the Testaments, instead of interspersed in the Old Testament. However, there was no "specific note" as Ruckman states, "that it was not the inspired word of God and not considered to be holy scripture." The Apocrypha in the original KJV 1611 still had chapter and verse divisions, as well as marginal notes. Each page of the Apocrypha was identical to the rest of the Bible with the exception of a double heading labeled “Apocrypha” (meaning "hidden" in Greek) at the top of each page. The last page of the Old Testament had the remark “The end of the Prophets.” The start of the Apocrypha did not have an elaborately illustrated title page as the beginning of the Old and New Testament, but rather a quarter-page heading slightly larger than the start of each Old Testament book. At the end of the Apocrypha there was simply a line that stated "The end of Apocrypha."
Strangely, no mention was made of the Apocrypha in the preface of the KJV entitled The Translators to the Readers. No warning could be locating indicating to the unlearned that the Apocrypha was not true Scripture.
The index of books in the original 1611 edition did distinguish the Apocrypha, but in an incomplete form. This is because the heading at the top of the index page states “The names and order of all the Bookes of the Olde and New Testament, with the Number of their Chapters.” The books of the Apocrypha have the number of their chapters just like the Testaments. The index could cause an unlearned person to assume that the Apocrypha is a section of the Old Testament (also remember that the end of Malachi had a note stating it was the “end of the Prophets,” instead of the end of the Old Testament).
Ruckman is only right to the extent that the 1611 edition of the KJV does indeed separate the Apocrypha from the Testaments, made it clear where it started and ended, and listed the books it was composed of in the index. However, to state that the translators made a specific note by the Apocrypha “that it was not inspired” is simply not true. It was also not true for Ruckman to claim that “the Apocrypha was placed between the testaments with a note that it was not the Scripture.” No note could be found anywhere in the 1611 edition in which the translators affirmed the Apocrypha was not Scripture. Those who are familiar with the Scriptures would naturally be able to recognize that Apocryphal sections are not to be treated as Scripture, but the unconverted, new or uninformed Christians could have thought all portions with chapter and verse numberings to be Scripture as presented in the 1611 edition.
Although it has some merit for its historical value, it is unfortunate that the KJV translators took the Apocrypha more serious than they should have. In addition to its inclusion between the Testaments, a schedule of Scripture readings for morning and evening prayer included passages from the Apocrypha, and the 1611 edition also had some marginal cross-references to books of the Apocrypha in the Old and New Testament. All this does not mean that the KJV translators themselves believed the Apocrypha was true Scripture, but the issue is whether there was a statement or note to that effect as Ruckman claims.
In the January, 1979 edition of his Bible Believers’ Bulletin, Ruckman included some pictures of select pages of the 1611 edition in an attempt to back up the following claim:
The AV has a statement that the Apocrypha is NOT part of the Old or New Testament and therefore it is NOT included as part of the Old Testament, but is inserted between the Inspired Testaments … See photographs of a copy of the AV of 1611. (Ruckman, Peter. Bible Believers’ Bulletin. Jan. 1979, p. 3)
His photos consisted of a picture of the index of books, the last page of the Old Testament, the first page of the Apocrypha, and an underlined portion of the translators’ preface. The part of the translators’ preface Ruckman underlined reads as follows:
the Hebrewe Volumes, so of the New by the Greeke tongue, he meaneth by the original Greeke. If truth be tried by these tongues, then whence should a Translation be made, but out of them? … the tongues wherein God was pleased to speake to his Church by the Prophets and Apostles…Origen… he overshot himselfe many times. [Above the underlined portion there is a handwritten note stating “No Apocrypha Included”].
The above only reinforces what knowledgeable Christians already know: That Bible translations should be done from the Greek and Hebrew, and truth should be tried by these tongues, and it was the languages through which God spoke to the Bible writers. However, it does not inform ignorant readers that this would exclude the Apocrypha. The pictures only served to show that Ruckman was making exaggerated claims in his zeal to defend the KJV.
According to the article Bible Translations and the Apocrypha by the Trinitarian Bible Society (www.tbsbibles.org/pdf_information/307-1.pdf), several Protestant translations before the KJV had clear and unmistakable warnings about the Apocryphal portions they included. Below are four relevant facts from the article:
In the Wyclif Bible, which was the first translation of the Bible into English [in 1385], the prologue listed the books of the Hebrew Canon and added, "Whatever book is in the Old Testament besides these. . . shall be set among the Apocrypha, that is, without authority of belief."
The complete edition of Martin Luther's Bible appeared in 1534 with the Apocrypha separated from the rest of the Old Testament and placed between the Old and New Testaments under the title, "Apocrypha; that is, Books which are not to be considered as equal to Holy Scripture, and yet are useful and good to read."
The six editions of the Great Bible published in 1540 and 1541 included a "prologue or preface" by Archbishop Cranmer, in which a distinction is drawn between the authority of these books and the rest of the Old Testament. . . "In consideration that the books before are found in the Hebrew tongue received of all men, and that the other following, which are called Hagiographa, because they were wont to be read, not openly and in common, but as it were in secret and apart, are neither found in the Hebrew nor in the Chaldee, in which tongue they have not of long been written. Wherefore, when thou wilt maintain anything for certain, rendering a reason for thy faith, take heed to proceed therein by the living and pithy Scriptures ……
The Geneva Bible of 1559 contains the Apocrypha preceded by an article entitled "The Argument" asserting that these books were not received by a common consent to be read and expounded publicly in the church, and that they could not be used to confirm a matter of doctrine excepting in instances where they are in agreement with the canonical Scriptures.
Some Ruckmanites have been even less accurate than Ruckman in this very area we have examined. Sam Gipp, who studied under Ruckman and openly defends him, wrote as follows in his Answer Book:
The King James translators therefore placed it between the Old and New Testaments for its historical benefit to its readers. They did not integrate it into the Old Testament text as do the corrupt Alexandrian manuscripts.
That they rejected the Apocrypha as divine is very obvious by the seven reasons which they gave for not incorporating it into the text. (Gipp, Sam. The Answer Book. Shelbyville, TN: Bible and Literature Missionary Foundation, 1989, p. 95)
As could be expected from such an inaccurate assertion, there was no documentation provided for the supposed "seven reasons." William Grady, another Ruckmanite who has openly defended him makes a strikingly similar claim:
…the translators were careful to set these spurious books apart from the inspired text by inserting them between the Testaments. And to insure that there was no misunderstanding, they listed seven reasons why the apocryphal books were to be categorically rejected as part of the inspired canon. (Grady, William P. Final Authority. Schereville, IN: Grady Publications, 1993 second printing, pp. 166-167)
Ruckman makes another claim regarding the Apocrypha and the KJV which deserves attention:
A couple of years later, they threw it out entirely and didn’t even want it in their Bible. It has never been in the A.V. 1611 Bible since, and you didn’t see any fire coming out of the Apocrypha and burning any A.V. 1611 translator! (Ruckman, Peter. The Book of Revelation. 1970, 1982 printing, p. 221)
Notice how Ruckman’s affirmation differs from authoritative sources:
Although it is not till 1640 that we find and English Bible which deliberately drops them out from its list of books, yet as early as 1615 Archbishop Abbot [a KJV translator] had forbidden any stationer to issue a Bible without the Apocrypha, under penalty of a year’s imprisonment. (Darlow, T. H., Moule, H. F. Historical catalogue of the printed editions of Holy Scripture, Vol. 1. London: Bible House, 1911, p. xii)
The Apocrypha continued to be included in many editions of the King James Version until the controversy arose in the 1820's over the inclusion of these books in some of the foreign versions published by the British and Foreign Bible Society. After that time it became much more common for the Authorised Version to appear without the Apocryphal books… (Bible Translations and the Apocrypha by the Trinitarian Bible Society www.tbsbibles.org/pdf_information/307-1.pdf)
The book A list of editions of the Holy Scriptures and parts thereof; Printed in America previous to 1860 by E. B. O'Callaghan in 1861 lists dozens of editions of the KJV printed with the Apocrypha before 1860. For more recent reference material on the issue, see A Textual History of the King James Bible by David Norton.
The inclusion of the Apocrypha was a mistake—but to not single out the KJV translators—it was a mistake of Protestant translators and printers of the era. It does not make the actual text of the Old or New Testament of the KJV any less accurate. The text of the King James has passed the test of time, and is accurate and reliable.
Was Ruckman factual, ethical, and above board in his affirmations about the Apocrypha and the 1611 KJV? The facts indicate he was not. This is more proof in addition to what has already been presented throughout this website demonstrating that Ruckman’s writings cannot and should not be trusted.