The reason this is presented as a question is due to the fact that Ruckman occasionally appears to make contradictory statements at different times in his writings regarding this matter. Our experience is that some Ruckmanites remain unclear about Ruckman’s true position on this and related issues, and this can also be verified by correspondence with Ruckmanites published in Gary Hudson’s Why I left Ruckmanism (1988). It seems as if Ruckman enjoys leaving Ruckmanites and opponents guessing at what his position truly is. If an opponent portrays Ruckman in a way he disagrees because of the confusion regarding his views, Ruckman will split hairs and accuse his opponent of lying.
In the first part of this article, we will cover statements in which Ruckman either states outright or implies that the KJV is not inspired, followed by statements where the opposite is being stated. This is followed by a brief analysis in an attempt to decipher Ruckman’s seemingly shifting beliefs regarding this issue.
Ruckman stating outright or implying that the KJV is not inspired
Although not all Ruckman’s statements will be listed here in chronological order, the following statement from early 1971 is the oldest quotation we could find on this matter. It comes from an undated letter by Ruckman written in response to a letter by Evangelist Robert Sumner dated Dec. 15, 1970:
Notice the following offer for anyone finding him stating that the KJV is the inspired original:
Five hundred thousand dollars, in cash, payable on demand, to anyone who can find, anywhere, in 120 of my publications (stretching from 1959 to 1994), any claim that the King James Bible is the “inspired original.” (Bible Believers’ Bulletin, Dec. 1993, p. 5)
Of course, the above offer is worthless, because he uses an uncommon and awkward-sounding statement about the KJV being the "inspired original." But he did not make an offer for those who could find him stating that the KJV was given by inspiration (for a quote of Ruckman saying exactly that, see the next section of this article).
In the following statement, Ruckman makes a hypothetical statement in the third person and proceeds to deny it:
“Ruckman believes the AV is the plenary, verbally inspired Word of God, and a word-for-word exact translation of the originals.” That is a sample of what is meant by “evil speaking.”
(Ruckman, Peter. Pastoral Epistles. 1989, p. 374)
The following statement is one of the clearest you will find:
I've never said that the King James Bible was inspired, although I've broadly intimated it sometimes. (Ruckman, Peter. Why I Believe the King James Version Is the Word of God. 1983, p. 7)
Is this really true? Notice that he made that statement in a booklet copyrighted in 1983. In an upcoming section we will document how Ruckman has indeed taught that the KJV was “given by inspiration.”
Misc. relevant self-explanatory statements by Ruckman saying the KJV is not inspired
The wild irresponsible statement that Ruckman believes in “the verbal inspiration of the King James Bible” … (Ruckman, Peter. The Last Grenade. 1990, p. 102)
… like that “desperate lie” concerning Christians believing the AV was inspired … (Ruckman, Peter. The Last Grenade. 1990, p. 92)
That the KJV is verbally inspired…“Ruckman” never believed that for a minute. (Ruckman, Peter. Pastoral Epistles. 1989, p. 417)
We do not refer to the AV as the “verbally inspired, inerrant Word of God”…that has been our position, and will be our position until hell freezes over. (Ruckman, Peter. Pastoral Epistles. 1989, p. 270)
Ruckman stating outright or implying that the KJV is inspired
On p. 73 of Ruckman's 1964 book The Bible Babel he has an illustration with a Bible labeled as KJV at the top of a tree, with the statement “The one, true, infallible God-breathed Bible” beneath the tree. It is not likely a reference to the originals, as the originals were already mentioned part-way up the tree, and the KJV label is by far the largest single item mentioned in the illustration.
Here are more misc. relevant self-explanatory statements by Ruckman saying or implying that the KJV is inspired:
…the Authorized Text, inspired and preserved by the Holy Spirit. (Ruckman, Peter. The Monarch of the Books. 1973, p. 23.)
…whining about God “not promising to inspire a translation.” The folly in this is self-evident; he did it without promising to do it. (22 Years of the Bible Believers' Bulletin. Vol. 2 Corrupt Bible Versions. p. 149)
That is what they said to deny that the AV could be “given by inspiration”… (Ruckman, Peter. The Christian Liar’s Library. 1997, p. 189)
I teach that the AV was “given” to us “by inspiration” while knowing as well as I know my own name, that an EXACT word-for-word in ANY language, from any so-called “original Greek text,” would be an awkward, stilted, ambiguous, ROTTEN Bible revision. (Ruckman, Peter. The Christian Liar’s Library. 1997, p. 141)
…the God-given English text… (Ruckman, Peter. The Unknown Bible. 1984, 1996, p. 92)
The text of the A.V. 1611, in Genesis 27, is the inspired infallible text, preserved without error. (Ruckman, Peter. The Book of Genesis. 1969, 1980, p. 549)
We cannot but admire the amazing undersigned coincidences in the AV 1611, which were inserted unintentionally on the part of the human instruments, but intentionally on the part of the Author. (Ruckman, Peter. The Book of Matthew. 1970, 1978, p. 299)
The Holy Spirit has thrust Himself into the AV committee of 1611 and said, “WRITE…!” (Ruckman, Peter. The Book of Acts. 1974, 1984, p. 356)
Every one of these fellows, every one of them, is obsessed with this idea, that if you teach that the King James Bible is the Scripture, and is infallible, and God gave it to us by means of inspiration, that this is a heresy—on the grounds of what? (Ruckman, Peter. Special Studies – Gary Hudson. MP3 CD, track 3, n.d.)
We believe that since “ALL SCRIPTURE IS GIVEN BY INSPIRATION” that the Scriptures we have must have been “GIVEN BY INSPIRATION.” (Ruckman, Peter. 22 Years of the Bible Believers' Bulletin Vol. 3 Doctrinal Studies. 2000, p. 70)
It serves you right to be classified with a depraved scoundrel like “Ruckman” who thinks that he has THE “SCRIPTURES,” for if he does, the ones he has are “GIVEN BY INSPIRATION.”
Who taught Ruckman that “heresy”? (Ruckman, Peter. 22 Years of the Bible Believers' Bulletin Vol. 3 Doctrinal Studies, 2000, p. 155)
“No translation of the Scriptures can be inspired.” This desperate Satanic lie… (Ruckman, Peter. Why I am not a Campbellite. 1997, p. 7)
The “truth” is that translations can be given by inspiration… (Bible Believers’ Bulletin Mar. 2007, p. 10)
My “Teacher” in those four years was the AUTHOR of the King James Authorized Version. Guess Who. (Bible Believers’ Bulletin Apr. 2007, p. 4)
The Author of a Book: one Book—one Book in English. (Ruckman, Peter. General Epistles Commentary Vol. 2. 2004, p. 310)
…the revelations of the Holy Spirit given in 1611. (Ruckman, Peter. The Book of Psalms Volume 2. 2002, p. 801)
The horror of this advanced revelation is that if you deny that it was supernatural (because the “AV translators didn’t profess to be blanket, blank”; we all know the line) you have medical proof that you are PSYCHO. What is revealed shows an invisible hand on the Authorized Version that no computer could duplicate. (Heretical “Advanced Revelations” Bible Believers' Bulletin. Feb. 1996, pp. 1, 6)
So when the Holy Author of that Holy Book (AV, 1611)… (Ruckman, Peter. The Book of John. 2005, p. 85)
You have taken the stand of more than 50,000,000 Americans who still believe the final authority in all matters of faith and practice is a KING JAMES AUTHORIZED
VERSION which was “given” to us “by inspiration” (2 Tim. 3:16). It is INFALLIBLE and INERRANT… (Ruckman, Peter. Bible Believers' Bulletin. Dec. 2007. p. 4)
Ruckman's own periodical using the forbidden expression inspired for the KJV
God did inspire the old sixteen-eleven,
It’s words are faithful…sent straight down from Heaven!
[The ellipsis was in original]
(Gasparetto, Joey. Bible Believers' Bulletin. July 2008, p. 16)
The following are instances where Ruckman quotes someone stating the KJV is inspired, or even attributing such a belief to Ruckman, but he does not correct them:
…you hold the AV as inspired… [Ruckman quoting someone else’s letter to him approvingly. Ruckman did not correct him.] (Bible Believers' Bulletin, Sep. 2003, p. 20)
Herb Evans says…If we believe the AV Bible is both alive and inspired…[Ruckman resumes] I concur with only one addition.
(Ruckman, Peter. Bible Believers' Bulletin Reprint Vol. 3 Doctrinal Studies. 2000, p. 190)
…the 1611 AV is the inerrant, inspired word of God…
[letter to Peter Ruckman reproduced by him, and he did not express disagreement with statement] (In Case You Missed It. Bible Believers' Bulletin. July 1991, p. 20)
Ruckman splitting hairs by distinguishing between inspired and given by inspiration
“What version of the Bible was the inerrant, infallible, inspired translation prior to the AV1611?” Answer: Who cares? Ask the people that read it. We believe the one we have is infallible and inerrant and is “given by inspiration” (not “inspired”).
Ruckman, Peter. Bible Believers' Bulletin Reprint #7 Strictly Personal. 2004, p. 251
[From Ruckman’s Bulletin, but not written by him] For your information, Dr. Ruckman doesn’t teach that the King James is inspired. He teaches it was “given by inspiration.” That’s the Biblical terminology.
(Waddle, Tom. Bible Believers' Bulletin. May 2008, p. 7)
How can anyone maintain the KJV to be ‘inspired’ (“given by inspiration,” stupid—quote the Scripture right, even if you can’t believe it: 2 Tim. 3:16) and still maintain that the canon of Scripture ended with the last book of the Bible (Rev.)?” Answer: Simple. The word “CANON” has nothing to do with the MANNER in which God would give the Bible to 20th century man or, for that matter, 1st century man. (Ruckman, Peter. Bible Believers' Bulletin Reprint #7 Strictly Personal. 2004, p. 252)
Why Ruckman would make a distinction between inspired and given by inspiration is puzzling. The words "given" and "by" are not included in the Greek, but rather added by the KJV translators for clarification. With that in mind there really is no distinction between inspired and given by inspiration, except in Ruckman's vivid imagination. He has not produced any documentation from Greek grammar or Greek experts to back up his claim that they are different.
Making sense of it all
One of our personal theories is that Ruckman has gone back-and-forth with his views over time regarding the inspiration of the KJV, but he refuses to admit it. At times he states that he has never changed his position on the KJV (see quotes provided), so he feels duty-bound to conceal changes in his positions. In an attempt to hide the fact that at certain times he taught that the KJV was not "inspired," but he now teaches that the KJV is "given by inspiration," he has invented an artificial distinction between the two terms.
Another personal theory is that by sticking mostly to the “given by inspiration” phrase rather than “inspired,” if an opponent accuses Ruckman of believing the KJV is inspired, Ruckman feels justified in accusing them of lying, which provides Ruckman with ammunition in the form of a strawman fallacy. The plausibility of this theory is seen in a number of cases in which Ruckman quotes letters from admirers in his Bulletin that affirm in certain terms that Ruckman believes the KJV is inspired, but he doesn’t correct them or issue any clarification.
What do you think? Do you disagree or do you have another explanation for Ruckman's seeming inconsistency on the inspiration of the KJV and his distinction between inspired and given by inspiration? Feel free to leave a respectful comment at the bottom of this page.