The KJV is trustworthy, but can it be inerrant?

Reasons why the KJV is trustworthy but cannot be inerrant

 

Historical reasons

  • The 1611 edition of the KJV contained thousands of marginal notes pointing out alternative translations or other possible meanings of certain words when the translators were unsure. They justified this by the following statement in the preface to their 1611: "Now in such a case, doth not a margin do well to admonish the Reader to seek further, and not to conclude or dogmatize upon this or that peremptorily?"
     
  • The KJV translators themselves did not claim inerrancy for their work.
     
  • Although it was mostly to correct printing errors and update spelling, the KJV has gone through various editions in which textual changes were made.
     
  • The original 1611 contained the Apochrypha. Although it was placed between the testaments and most KJV translators may have only had its historical value in mind, it should not have had chapter and verse divisions like the rest of the Bible, and the cross-references should not have made reference to passages in the Apochrypha.
     
  • The teaching of the inerrancy of the KJV was virtually unheard of before Peter Ruckman popularized it. For documentation on this, see our article Who was the first KJV defender to influence others to declare the KJV to be inerrant or inspired in the 20th century?
     
  • Even if it had been taught that the KJV derived its inerrancy from the Textus Receptus, one has to consider that the KJV departed from the Textus Receptus edition it followed the closest (Beza 1598) no less than 190 times according to F.H.A. Scrivener. If the KJV derived its inerrancy from the Textus Receptus, how come the same did not occur with Tyndale, Geneva, Bishops, etc.?
     
  • There should have been those who prophesied of an infallible translation before 1611. If we were supposed to conclude from the Bible that a miracle would take place someday and God would give mankind a perfect translation, this should have been prophesied beforehand. There is no account of people rejoicing in 1611 or shortly thereafter because "that which is perfect is come."
     
  • A statement against inspiration or infallibility would have ruled out inclusion of a book in the canon of Scripture. If a Biblical writer would have said something along the line of his writings not being inspired or infallible, they would have rightfully been excluded from the canon. However, the KJV translators in the introduction to the KJV disclaimed their work was infallible, so why is their product held to a different standard?

Exegetical reasons
 

A Bible translator is forced to interpret thousands of times. This is because Greek and Hebrew words can have different meanings in different contexts. The KJV translators wrote in their preface: "…for there be some words that be not the same sense everywhere…" John Burgon observed: "True, that even to translate is often to interpret;" (Inspiration and Interpretation, 1861, p. 140). To believe that the KJV is inerrant is to believe the KJV translators could not have erred a single time in the thousands of times they had to interpret during their translation work. Referring to "diversity of senses in the margin," the KJV translators wrote: "…it hath pleased God in his divine providence, here and there to scatter words and sentences of that difficulty and doubtfulness, not in doctrinal points that concern salvation, (for in such it hath been vouched that the Scriptures are plain) but in matters of less moment…" To interpret and translate perfectly, the KJV translators would have had to be infallible or inspired by God as when the Bible was originally written.

Practical reasons

  • There are nearly half a million Greek and Hebrew words in the Bible to translate. Each word involved a decision. Making half a million decisions perfectly every time by around 50 fallible men would require an absolute miracle akin to the original recording of Scripture. Translating every single one of those words accurately and in the proper context could not have been done perfectly without a miracle.
     
  • The factor of manuscript choices and differences between even Textus Receptus texts. Whenever the KJV translators had to make a choice as to which Greek or Hebrew reading to follow at a given point, they were implementing a form of conservative textual criticism. Since they followed the reliable Textus Receptus and the Masoretic text quite closely it reduced the number of decisions they had to make, but it did not eliminate them altogether. They would have had to be infallible to make the right choice every single time.
     
  • Virtually everyone who considers the KJV inerrant does not consider the Tyndale, Geneva, Bishops, Coverdale Bible, etc., to be inerrant. Also specific editions of the Textus Receptus are often not labeled as inerrant by the same people either. If God's plan was for a perfect English Bible, why wait until 1611 overlooking previous authoritative English translations, not to mention foreign language Bibles?
     
  • The real battle still taking place in seminaries all over the world is settling the issue as to whether the originals are inerrant. Many seminaries who once taught the inerrancy of the original autographs are sadly moving away from their original position. University professors everywhere are mocking the belief in the inerrancy of the originals. It is hard enough convincing our generation that the originals are inspired, let alone a translation, that this debate over the inerrancy of a translation has become a distraction from the real battle.
     
  • That God would select a committee holding to unbiblical Anglican views to produce an inerrant translation, while passing over more Biblical Reformers of the era seems inconsistent and illogical. 

Biblical reasons

  • The depravity of man. God did not translate the KJV–man did. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: Rom. 7:18. Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD. Jer. 17:5
     
  • Lack of a specific Bible promise or prophecy. There are many promises of preservation in the Scripture, but none that specifically deal with the inerrancy of Bible versions and translations. 

Bad strategies used and flawed reasons given for KJV inerrancy

  • In order to try to prove inerrancy for the KJV, some have tried to water-down the definition of inerrancy. Some have tried to teach that a translation can be inerrant even in spite of printing and typographical errors, for example. Some teach that the KJV remains inerrant in all its editions in spite of textual variations between them, however slight they may be (see Ruckman’s Differences in the King James Version Editions). Some may mean the KJV remains inerrant in doctrine across all editions, but unless this is consistently and openly acknowledged, the use of the term inerrant or infallible for the KJV without qualifiers is misleading.  The terms inerrant and infallible are broad terms, and as normally used in theology those special terms are references to not failing or erring in all areas, not just doctrinal. Here is a quote from Ruckman on this, although we believe he does not hold to it consistently:

…an infallible Bible. The word is apparent; it means “without error of ANY kind.”
Ruckman, Peter. The Book of Acts. 1974, 1984, p. 4

  • In an attempt to facilitate the teaching that the KJV is inerrant, there has been a movement underway to destroy confidence in Greek and Hebrew lexicons. Because in a number of cases the KJV translators were creative and did not translate some words strictly in accordance with their historical meaning, lexicons are considered to be a threat to the belief that the KJV is inerrant.
     
  • "You cannot prove it’s errant" or "there are no proven errors" is one of the arguments used for the perfection of the KJV. I used a similar statement in my younger years in my writings under the influence of an author who had made such an argument, so I understand how convincing it may sound on the surface. At the risk of being misunderstood, I still believe that there is some truth to the statement, but that is because there is no consistent agreement among parties how that determination is to be reached and what the standard of comparison should be. The argument starts off with the priori argument that the KJV is inerrant, and the demand is made to prove otherwise, with the demanding party using self-serving rules to achieve a desired outcome. This is not true scholarship. However, by the same criteria, especially since the original autographs are no longer with us for purposes of comparison and verification, it cannot be proven that the KJV is indeed inerrant either.
     
  • "I believe by faith that the KJV is inerrant" is a common defense when there is no answer to difficult questions. However, in order for faith to be valid enough to be imposed on others dogmatically, it must rest on the Word of God. Although there are promises of preservation throughout the Bible, there are no promises of perfection of translations. Some try to get around this by trying to blur the distinction between preservation and inerrancy of a translation.
     
  • “You believe God is incapable of giving us a perfect Bible.” However, no Christian would believe that God is unable to do something (Luke 18:27), unless it was against his nature or his own Word. This statement is as unfair as accusing people of believing in a God who is incapable of giving us a perfect Bible printed without typos.
     
  • Some who teach that the KJV is inerrant try to paint a situation in which you either have to choose to believe that the KJV is inerrant or else the only alternative is to believe that the KJV is totally unreliable. KJV defender Edward Hills disagreed and wrote that to believe that an error in one point causes a version's authority to collapse was "extreme." (The King James Version Defended, 1984, p. 197)
     
  • Inconsistency regarding foreign languages. In our experience reading books by proponents of KJV inerrancy, hardly anyone who declares the KJV to be inerrant considers any other foreign translation to be inerrant. Many of them may have the attitude "I have to have a perfect Bible to preach from," forgetting that such rationale cannot apply to around 90% of the world's population which does not speak English as their first language.
     
  • We must have an inerrant Bible in English. If not, God failed in his promises. The flaw in this logic is that if this would have been believed before 1611, the KJV would have been rejected, because some earlier translation would have been considered inerrant.

Testimony of KJV defenders against inerrancy of the KJV
 

Many KJV defenders have also taught that the KJV is not inerrant:

  • Edward Hills, concerning the KJV: "Admittedly this venerable version is not absolutely perfect, but it is trustworthy." (The King James Version Defended, 1984, p. 230)
     
  • Thomas Strouse: “Evidently, Peter Ruckman holds this view, affirming that the KJV is inerrant and infallible. Certainly this is going too far theologically;” (“The Supernatural Approach to Textual Criticism.” The Dean Burgon News. January, 1980, p. 2)
     
  • Terence Brown, in Which Bible? edited by David O. Fuller: "No reasonable person imagines that the translators were infallible or that their work was perfect…" (Which Bible? 1975, p. 23)
     
  • John Burgon: "…how very seldom our Authorized Version is materially wrong: how faithful and trustworthy, on the contrary, it is throughout." (The Revision Revised, 1883, p. 232)
     
  • Philip Mauro: “… we do not fail to recognize, what is admitted by all competent authorities, that the A.V. could be corrected in a number of passages where the meaning is now obscured because of changes which three centuries have brought about in the meaning of English words, or where diligent study or recent discoveries have brought to light better readings. Such instances, however, are comparatively few …” (Which Version? Authorized Or Revised? 1924, p. 87)
     
  • William Hoste: “The A.V. (though, of course, not perfect) was Translated on more Reliable Principles.”  (Remove Not The Ancient Landmark: The Case Against the Revised Version 1931, p. 10)
     
  • D.A. Waite:  "First, I have never said I believe in 'an inerrant KJV.' That is pure Ruckmanism. I do not say that the King James Bible or any other Bible is the exact reproduction of the originals because the King James Bible was written in English and the originals were written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek." (A Critical Answer to Michael Sproul's God's Word Preserved, 2008, p. 65) 

Inconsistency in treating those who affirm the KJV is not inerrant
 

One of the things that does not cease to amaze me is how proponents of KJV inerrancy will ridicule a writer for not holding to the inerrancy of the KJV, but that same proponent of KJV inerrancy in the same book will praise KJV defenders of the past who taught against KJV inerrancy. For example, it is not uncommon in my experience to read a book by a KJV inerranist who speaks strongly against those who dare question the inerrancy of the KJV, yet in the same book he will have a list of recommended books that include works by Edward Hills and John Burgon, who made it clear they did not believe in an inerrant KJV. As to John Burgon, Sam Gipp interestingly admits: "Because he is so far in the past we Bible believers embrace him as a friend rather than an adversary." (The 2006 Geneva Bible: A Trojan Horse. 2008, p. 5)

Reasons for the reliability of the KJV
 

See the following article on our website: Sensible reasons for retaining the KJV

Conclusion
 

If someone wants to personally give the KJV the benefit of the doubt when questions surface about its text, that is their privilege and their right. Since the KJV is the Bible we use, we personally go on the assumption that it is probably correct in the few places it is seriously questioned. However, this does not mean this personal way of approaching the KJV is not something that should be imposed on others, nor is this willingness to give it the benefit of the doubt proof that it is indeed inerrant.


This clip from the introduction to the KJV of 1611 demonstrates what the KJV translators thought about this very issue

 

14 Responses to “The KJV is trustworthy, but can it be inerrant?”

Read below or add a comment...

  1. Anonymous says:

    These are all nonsense reasons. Seriously. I challenge this: find *any* error in that 1769 Authorized Text (your common KJV Bible) and then you might have a case.

    This should be an obvious item that any article that argues the that KJV contains any error should have included.

    And please, before you try, be researched enough to know the difference between Easter [pagan] and Passover [Jewish] – and realize that Passover does not follow the days of unleavened bread…

    I do Bible inerrancy defense, and no other translation holds up. The New King James, for example, inserts horrible error.

    Don’t go so carried away with rejecting the spirit of Peter Ruckman, that you automatically reject anything he might have accidentially stumbled upon or is presumed to represent.

    -Andrew
    http://www.scribd.com/Rning1611

  2. Webmaster says:

    "These are all nonsense reasons. Seriously."

    You have not even tried to prove that to be the case. Just because you stated they were nonsense doesn't make it so. If they are nonsense they would be easy to refute. You did not deal with a single one.

    "I challenge this: find *any* error in that 1769 Authorized Text (your common KJV Bible) and then you might have a case."

    The burden of proof should be on those who believe that the KJV was inerrant. But I won't ignore your question. I don't have the custom of pointing out specific potential errors in the KJV text. When I don't understand why the translators translated something the way they did I give them the benefit. However, that I and some others are willing to do that does not prove it is indeed inerrant. Part of the complexity in all this is establishing criteria for determining an error in a translation. For example:

    • Will you allow for printing errors in a translation to be considered errors? Technically speaking they would be.
    • It is my understanding that there were several KJV editions issued in 1769, including Cambridge and Oxford. There is supposed to be some minute variations between them. Do you consider one of them to be the golden standard? If the Cambridge was the golden standard, for example, would any deviation from the 1769 Cambridge be an error?
    • If a given translation of a Greek or Hebrew word in the KJV differs from lexicons or grammars, is that allowed to be considered an error?
    • When the Greek and Hebrew force a translator to interpret, who gets to determine which interpretation is correct? In some cases either interpretation could have Biblical backing elsewhere in the Bible.
    • In the rare instances when the KJV departs from the Textus Receptus or Masoretic text, or from any Greek or Hebrew text for that matter, is that allowed to be considered an error?

    More questions about the specific criteria could be asked, but you should get the point. My concern is that some seem to set up criteria in such a manner that the KJV in any edition is itself the standard, and therefore only deviations from the KJV could constitute error. My experience reading KJV inerrancy literature is that those who teach this want to make up the rules to produce a desired outcome. What would normally be considered an error in other circumstances is not allowed to be considered an error when approaching the KJV. This is self-serving. An example of making any edition of the KJV the standard is Peter Ruckman defending both the reading of "he" and "she" in the KJV in Ruth 3:15: "'She went into the city' has been corrected from 'He went into the city' (Ruth 3:15), which constitutes no error, for both of them went into the city, which is perfectly apparent to anyone who can read two-syllable words." (Ruckman, Peter. Differences in the King James Version Editions. 1983, 1999 reprint, p. 17)

    By teaching that the KJV cannot be inerrant, I do not mean that the KJV is therefore unreliable and untrustworthy. In fact, the way some try to convince others that the KJV is inerrant is by creating a logical fallacy called a false dilemma. It goes something like this: "If you don't believe the KJV is inerrant, the only alternative is for you to believe it is full of holes, loaded with errors, and unreliable." That is a false dilemma because it is possible to believe the KJV is reliable and trustworthy without holding to its inerrancy. Now when it comes to the original manuscripts, I don't settle for anything less than absolute inerrancy, because God as its author cannot make mistakes. However, copying and translating are works of men, although with God's blessing as they carry out his promise that his Word will not pass away.

  3. Anonymous says:

    What exactly do you mean by inerrant as far as the KJB is concerned? I know that Peter Ruckman teaches “double inspiration” and that the English in the KJV “corrects” the TR and Masoretic Text.

    Does “inerrant” mean that the English of the KJV is “without error” because it supposedly “corrects” the Greek and Hebrew as Ruckman teaches?

  4. Webmaster says:

    Although some may not admit it, teaching inerrancy of the KJV leads to teaching it corrects the Greek and Hebrew. Why is that? There are a few places where the KJV does not perfectly match the Greek and Hebrew of any edition. If the KJV is inerrant, that means it has to correct the Greek and Hebrew if and when they don’t match in order for the KJV to remain inerrant. Let me illustrate. The closest edition of the Textus Receptus to the KJV is supposed to be Scrivener’s edition of the Greek New Testament. Scrivener’s edition was conformed to the KJV around 1880, although no exactly back-translated. In Mark 2:15, for example–the name of Jesus appears twice in the KJV, but only once in Scrivener. If the KJV is inerrant, that means Scrivener’s Greek New Testament is not. After taking that into consideration, for the KJV to remain inerrant, it would have to correct the Greek. Come to think of it–Ruckman, who holds to the inerrancy of the KJV, is actually more consistent in saying the KJV corrects the Greek than those who say the KJV is inerrant but doesn’t correct the Greek. One reason I do not hold to the inerrancy of the KJV is that I don’t believe the English corrects the Greek and Hebrew.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for your response. I know that Ruckman teaches that the English “corrects” the Greek and Hebrew, so I was pretty sure that this is what you meant by “inerrant”. It makes perfect sense. I just needed some clarification.

  6. Andrew Patrick says:

    Dear Webmaster,

    Sorry for the prolonged reply. I bumped into the site with Google and recognized a post that it seems I’d forgotten about. But it’s nice to see a reasonable and fair response, so I’d like to venture a reply:

    Please let me explain what I meant about “nonsense reasons.” For example, your second point that the King James translators did not claim inerrancy for their work is not a “Reason why the KJV is trustworthy but cannot be inerrant.” You said “cannot” implying an absolute proof. However, this measure would also “prove” that John the Baptist was not “Elijah” making Jesus a liar. Compare John 1:21 where John denies being Elias, to Matthew 17:12 where Jesus affirms that John was Elias.

    Another “nonsense reason” has to do with the claim that this is somehow a new idea descending from Peter Ruckman. The concept of King James inerrancy goes back to the King James text itself. Some of the evidence of this can be found in the claims of people who have complained (in their writing) of those who consider the KJV text as “inspired” or “inerrant.” However, the truth or accuracy of this claim has little to do with when it was realized. That’s why I called it a “nonsense reason” (and I apologize if this seemed inflammatory.)

    I could address many of the reasons that I summarized as “nonsense reasons” if given the space to write and a soapbox. I was probably a little “short” with my answer because many of these have been sufficiently answered before.

    I want to address the issue of “the burden of proof.” There’s a common saying that one cannot prove a negative. In other words, it is impossible to prove that there are “no errors” because this would involve positively proving against an infinite amount of imaginable arguments. When performing a mathematical proof, the practice is to assume the statement in question, and then based upon that assumption, to demonstrate a contradiction.

    Summarizing,
    1) It is impossible to prove “inerrancy” of anything in this world, including the King James text.
    2) The burden of proof in this type of challenge lies with those who seek to disprove inerrancy.

    I appreciate that you understand the complexity involved in trying to provide tests for this type of question, and that you don’t seem to be to invoking frivolous claims of “I think it should have been translated this way” claims as “errors.” I also understand what you are saying concerning “benefit of the doubt.” How does one form criteria?

    One thing that I did when I was first asked to consider this topic, was to pick an online group that was making fun of Christianity in general and to challenge “any and all” to show me anything they considered an error or contradiction in the Bible. Granted, they weren’t very high caliber or refined, and most of what they came up with was fairly easy to answer, but once they put forth the challenges, the burden of proof shifted to me to deal with specific objections.

    Not all of the questions had to do with the English translation: some of them went straight back to defending the source text of the Hebrew or Greek. Now, I will grant that just because you can come up with an answer does not mean it is correct, and neither does it mean that it is truly an error just because one is unable to answer. But this style does make for a good starting point: be willing to take on any and all challenges, and take the questions seriously.

    You’ve listed some suggestions of how to evaluate a claim of “inerrant” that I’d like to comment on:

    1) Were there ever any printing errors? I don’t think this is an appropriate measure. Printing is not the same as translation, and it seems that this would simply result in a defective copy. If a copy is defective, that implies that there is a non-defective version that does not have those errors.

    2) Concerning the “Golden standard” question between Cambridge and Oxford printings… you said there were minute differences. Do these constitute changes that would mean that at least one of them must be in error? Minute variations aren’t the way to prove or disprove error.

    Not to avoid your question: No, if we were to assume that the 1769 Cambridge text was inerrant, a deviation from the 1769 Cambridge text does not necessarily constitute error. Even if we were to assume that the 1769 Cambridge text represented perfection, it does not mean that a deviation represents error, although bear in mind that sometimes even a tiny change might have unanticipated implications or “ripple” effects.

    3) Concerning lexicons… who makes the lexicons, God, or men? Anyone can write a lexicon, and lexicons are often written with doctrinal slants. Unless you have an inerrant lexicon, you cannot judge the bible translation by the lexicon. If you do think you have an inerrant lexicon, talk to me, because I’ve got a couple of places where that can test (behemoth is not an elephant or a hippo!)

    4) When the Greek and Hebrew forces the translator to interpret, and biblical context does not contradict, we have to allow the benefit of the doubt in these particular instances, and find something else to test on.

    5) Concerning, “when the King James departs from the source text…” question: this needs to be defined in more detail. There are times when the King James uses a minority reading, and there are words inserted that were not present in the original text (words in italics.) The short answer is that this does not necessarily constitute error. It may represent a difference between minority and majority texts, or it may represent words that were necessary to complete the English grammar.

    I understand your concern about blindly assuming the King James as inerrant. However, consider that there is nothing wrong with taking any place that differs from the King James text, and then picking these points for analysis, examining both translations. In my experience, many times this does reveal “error” in other translations, and helps reinforce the “track record” of the King James.

    I’ve been testing the “King James perfection” premise for some time now. I’ve specifically sought out arguments against it for the purposes of trying to find places to “break” the Bible, either as to the preservation and perfection of the original languages or the Authorized translation.

    If you think about this from an engineering perspective, if you were to build a bridge, and then try to “break” it by overloading it with all sorts of weight, and in storms, and it still held up, you’d start to feel pretty confident about it. Every successful test increases your assurance of safety.

    Now, you might begin to think that the tests just aren’t sufficient. If so, start testing a bridge that someone else built with the same tests. If you can break their bridge, then maybe your tests weren’t so weak after all. My point is that the commonly hailed translations of NKJV, NASB, NIV, NLT, ESV, NET, WEB, etc… they aren’t able to stand up to the same level of testing that I’ve required of the Authorized version. They all break.

    You said that the Authorized text cannot be inerrant, because it is a work of men. However, this reasoning fails on two levels: first, even works of men can be perfect, however unlikely that may be, and second, this entire logic fails if God enters the picture: “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” (See Luke 18:27).

    I would counter your objection, that it is entirely possible that God could have had a hand in perfecting the translation of the Protestant Reformation. Again, this is difficult to prove, but I could point to William Tyndale’s answered prayer of “Open the eyes of the King of England” and the prophecy of the Jan Huss (also given as he was about to be burnt) of the swan that would arise in 100 years, that they would be unable to roast or cook (fulfilled in Martin Luther.)

    In all, one cannot absolutely prove that the scriptures are inerrant, inspired, or perfectly preserved. Everything could be reasoned around one way or another, no matter how dramatic the offered proof might be. Gideon could have reasoned that both of his tests could have been coincidences… but did he? It is not unreasonable to step forward on faith if you have done all you can to apply reasonable tests.

    But I do think it is unreasonable to discard the possibility of a perfected text all, until we have actual proven instances of error.

    I understand your concerns with how to formulate reasonable tests, because the required “benefit of the doubt” can seem pretty broad at first. It’s pretty easy to prove “very good” but impossible to prove “perfect.” However that doesn’t mean that it is inappropriate to continue to test against “perfection.” That’s why I was asking, “Show me an error.”

    Take care,
    -Andrew

  7. Webmaster says:

    Thank you for posting in a polite manner. I will be answering them as soon as I can. I'm going through a busy stage right now, so it may take a while and I may have to do it in stages.

    ««However, this measure would also "prove" that John the Baptist was not "Elijah" making Jesus a liar. Compare John 1:21 where John denies being Elias, to Matthew 17:12 where Jesus affirms that John was Elias.»»

    Luk 1:17 solves the dilema: "And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."

    Just about every Biblical writer claimed inerrancy by implication when they declared such things as "the word of the Lord came unto me saying…" Nothing written by the KJV translators in the preface or dedicatory or other writings even came close. In fact, in the preface to the 1611 they even wrote, "For whatever was perfect under the Sun, where Apostles or Apostolic men, that is, men endued with an extraordinary measure of God's spirit, and privileged with the privilege of infallibility, had not their hand?" They were not speaking of the Scripture not being prefect (they even stated they were) but rather of translation work.

    «Another "nonsense reason" has to do with the claim that this is somehow a new idea descending from Peter Ruckman.»

    There were some isolated claims of inerrancy for a translation before Ruckman, including the Catholic claim that the Latin Vulgate was inspired. A rare few hinted at least at the possibility of an inerrant KJV before Ruckman, but they did not go into detail giving reasons for such a claim. If someone before Ruckman wrote a book or even an entire article listing specific reasons why it should be believed that the KJV is inerrant, please provide documentation. I have studied the issue and wrote about my conclusions in Who was the first KJV defender to influence others to declare the KJV to be inerrant or inspired in the 20th century?

    My reply will be continued…

  8. Webmaster says:

    «The concept of King James inerrancy goes back to the King James text itself.»

    Where is this concept in the text of the KJV?

    «Minute variations aren't the way to prove or disprove error. …if we were to assume that the 1769 Cambridge text was inerrant, a deviation from the 1769 Cambridge text does not necessarily constitute error.»

    When there are deviations from something inerrant no matter how minute, only one is technically right, and the other is technically an error, even if doctrine is no affected. Among the points in my article is that there are those who are watering down the definition of inerrancy in order to teach the inerrancy of a translation done by man. You are helping to prove my point. You are redefining inerrancy to suit your agenda. When I say inerrant, I mean no errors of any kind or form.  When you say inerrant, you allow for errors. And you accused me of nonsense?

    You are right about lexicons being fallible, and your question, "who makes the lexicons, God, or men?" is appropriate. However, the question cuts both ways. If it's right to ask that, it's also right to ask the following: Who makes the translations, God, or men?

    «When the Greek and Hebrew forces the translator to interpret, and biblical context does not contradict, we have to allow the benefit of the doubt in these particular instances, and find something else to test on.»

    Allowing the benefit of the doubt in these thousands of cases is fine, but it does not prove perfection in interpretation, which would be required in every single case for the KJV to be inerrant.

    «…even works of men can be perfect…»

    Your statement is unbiblical. You quoted a verse, but it had to do with what God can do, which is impossible with man. The verse actually stated the opposite of what you were trying to prove. It is already established that God did not translate the KJV nor inspire its translators, so that verse cannot apply. The fact that God did not intervene with the KJV translators in a miraculous way can be proven by several factors. Among those factors are the alternative translations in the margins of the 1611, not to mention the inclusion of the Apocrypha between the testaments. The KJV is reliable and trustworthy, but could only be inerrant if God himself had translated it or inspired the translators.

     

    I need to ask you to be concise and to the point in your comments. Posting comments on this website is a privilege and not a right. If your comments are unnecessarily lengthy, if you convert them into a soapbox for yourself, or if you continue to attempt to redefine inerrancy to allow for errors, they run the risk of not being posted. I'm not afraid of being challenged, and proof of that is that I allowed your first two posts to begin with. 

  9. Visitor says:

    Surely ‘inerrancy’ is a false category for a translation – ‘accuracy’ is the proper category.

  10. Dr. Chad Bush says:

    You said was. Some of us still believe the KJV IS inerrant. The issue of inerrancy should not be weighed in matters of print errors. I would never fault a newer translation for printer’s mistakes. That does not mean the text was in error, only the final product. If the NIV were to print a version missing a page and missing a verse on a page by accident, I would not take it to task. Much rather I would understand that there had been printer’s issues. The effort to correct it would then show that they realized the printer made an error and they desired to fix it. There is a difference in textual errors, print errors, doctrinal errors and translation errors. Inerrancy does not rest upon the shoulders of print errors. The textual base is still inerrant.

    As far as lexicons go, a lot of times those follow man’s theological standings rather then factual translation. We must be careful to know what it is we translate or read. The choice of a word translated does not mean the text is in error. Remember, there were many men on the translation committee and a myriad of others consulted during the translation process which would have allowed every possible translation of a word to be discussed and weighed out. The proper words were chosen based on reliability and agreement by the majority rather than on a single man’s preference for what a word should be.

    There were a couple of minute word order or spelling differences between the Oxford and Cambridge 1769 printings of the KJV. Most who study the issue would say that the Cambridge edition is the proper one as it follows what the original text intended. Sometimes those print errors still get through. If I remember correctly off the top of my head the two printer’s printings differed in less than 10 places and most often have to do with spelling.

    If God’s words were written by men they could have made errors too. Surely God is good enough to guard against that. The fact that there have been those who have so closely watched the text of the KJV and tried to weed out print errors or spelling errors more than proves that God is keeping a watch care over the whole affair. As soon as an issue arose someone always pointed it out. Safeguarding against errors or deviation is preservation and God uses men in the act of preservation much like he uses man to win souls.

    I am not trying to put anyone down with this. I am merely stating through this that I have seen some fallible logic used on both sides of the issue. Both sides are creating a false dilemma in some ways, as you so stated in the previous post. Even your post creates the false dilemma that if there are print errors the KJV cannot be inerrant. As I stated, printers errors and textual errors are as different as night and day. Print errors would affect just those printings, whereas textual errors would affect all subsequent printings ad finitum.

    By the way, did you know that there are several copies of the booklets the translators used as well as a couple of the Bishop’s Bibles that the Translators used in their endeavor in libraries in England? As such, we can go back to the text and see what the original English text was supposed to read so we can weed out these errors. It would be like comparing our English translation to the Greek and the Hebrew that the Translators used in their endeavor to ensure accuracy and faithfulness to the original text. This is one of the many reasons I am more than confident in my stance on the issue.

  11. Andrew Patrick says:

    For the visitor that commented “The 1611 edition of the KJV contained thousands of marginal notes
    pointing out alternative translations …”

    Is it a fault for translators to be humble? Did John the Baptist claim the status of Elijah? Was he the Elijah to come? John said he was not, but Jesus said he was.

    The translation is in the words of the text, not in marginal notes that document the care and process followed by the translators.

  12. Webmaster says:

    If inerrancy in all aspects is not meant when declaring the KJV is inerrant/infallible, that needs to be pointed out. There is a tendancy with those who teach that the KJV is infallible to be very vague with their terms. How often do you read of a KJV inerrancy proponent stating "The KJV is inerrant except for…"? I already pointed out how Ruckman has written that infallible meant “without error of ANY kind.” Some of what you pointed out was already dealt with in a comment I posted on this page on 02/03/2010. If differences between the 1769 Cambridge and Oxford edition are printing errors, why have those printing errors not been corrected after hundreds of years? Is there a KJV edition with no printer errors/typos whatsoever? If so, which one?

    "By the way, did you know that there are several copies of the booklets the translators used as well as a couple of the Bishop's Bibles that the Translators used in their endeavor in libraries in England? As such, we can go back to the text and see what the original English text was supposed to read so we can weed out these errors."

    So are you admitting that after 400 years this has yet to be done to "weed out these errors"?

  13. Dr. Chad Bush says:

    There is indeed a KJB with no typos/errors. Many of us who have pursued the subject have pointed out that such a “mythological” creature exists. One of the best examples is the Cambridge Edition published from the 1900’s thru the 1970’s. Some call it the Pure Cambridge edition, but to me that seems a little too zealous as the variations in the other additions are usually a capitalized letter here or there. Yet, that edition lies in the vein of the editions which sought to weed out all the print errors.

    As for the issues between Cambridge and Oxford, the underlying matter appears to be pride. Oxford, long being a distinguished and elite printer, does not wish to admit to their faulty reading and will not change it. This is not the mistake of the Lord or of those who seek to ensure the purity of the text. Thus, once again the fault lies in man and not the Word of God.

    Yet, again, I could turn the issue around and simply ask, after 400 years and over 300 different versions of the Scriptures have been made, New and Old Testament included, then how do we not have a perfect representative? Surely after 400 years and knowing exactly where all the mistakes are, could the scholars not fix them? Our logic may be finite, but God’s Word is not.

    • Rod says:

      Typographical errors within some KJB continue to this day.  I discovered a typo in my Holman KJB and brought it to the attention of the publisher, B&H Publishing Group.  The Holman KJB text misspells "certain" in Acts 9:10. It is spelled as "cerain."  Therefore, I cannot recommend the Holman KJB until this has been corrected.  All Holman KJB editions after Nov 2014 should have the corrected spelling if indeed Holman corrected their mistake.

      +><>

       

Would you like to comment? Comments must be respectful. All comments will be moderated. The reason a comment may not be approved could range from provocativeness, going off topic, lack of substance, lacking Christian grace, baseless accusations, etc.

*