One of Peter Ruckman’s teachings that often goes ignored consists of teaching that the KJV can correct the main source its New Testament came from—the Textus Receptus (TR). Since there are some cases when the KJV does not follow the TR to the letter, Ruckman has no choice but to teach this as part of holding to the inerrancy of the KJV. Over the years we’ve had many Ruckman defenders state that when Ruckman says the KJV can correct the Greek, he is not referring to the TR, but rather the Critical Text. In this article, we shall document what Ruckman teaches regarding this in his own words, proving his defenders wrong.
In the following quote Ruckman mixes various TR editors with Critical Text editors and advocates:
Observe how accurately and beautifully the infallible English text straightens out Erasmus, Griesbach, Beza, Nestle, Aland, Metzger, Trench, Vincent, Davis, Wuest, Zodhiates, Elzevir, and Stephanus with the poise and grace of a swan as it smoothly and effectively breaks your arm with one flap of its wings. Beautiful, isn’t it? If the mood or tense isn’t right in any Greek text, the King James Bible will straighten it out in a hurry. (Ruckman, Peter. The “Errors” in the King James Bible. Pensacola, Bible Baptist Bookstore, 1999, p. 353.)
In the above list, the editors Erasmus, Beza, Elzevir, and Stephanus represent the Textus Receptus. In the next quote Ruckman expresses similar sentiment:
To blazes with “THE GREEK TEXT.” It is so inferior to the English text they are not worthy of standing on the same shelf. I put Nestle, Hort, Aland, Metzger, Alford, Souter, Erasmus, Stephanus, Elzevir, and the rest on a shelf below my original edition of the Authorized Version from 1613. (Ruckman, Peter. The Christian’s Handbook of Biblical Scholarship. Pensacola, Bible Baptist Bookstore, 1988, p. 338)
In this quote, Ruckman presents the TR as being practically worthless:
Never use the Textus Receptus to settle anything; THE BOOK will settle it. (Ruckman, Peter. How to teach the Bible. Pensacola, FL: Bible Baptist Bookstore, 2000 reprint, p. 15)
In some of his teachings, Ruckman uses convoluted arguments that are hard to follow. In the following case he goes to the other extreme, using a simplistic argument:
Now, “Ruckman” believes that the KJV, the Book he holds in his hand, is the Final Authority in all matters of “faith and practice.” That means when Erasmus disagrees with Beza, the AV decides which reading is correct. When Stephanus differs with Elzevir, the KJV tells you which one to follow. And if you have to choose between the Vaticanus and Sinaiticus and the AV text, if you stick with the AV text, you will be right every time. (Ruckman, Peter. Bible Believers' Bulletin. Feb. 2008, p. 1
The above simplistic approach actually leaves us with more questions than it answers. For example:
- How can he prove that is the biblical view and not merely his personal opinion?
- What about foreign language Bibles?
- What about before 1611?
- What about the rare cases in which there are slight differences between KJV editions?
These are the types of questions that strike at the heart of Ruckmanite teachings about the KJV. Do not expect Ruckmanites or Ruckman himself to be specific when pretending to answer those questions. Here is a quote from Ruckman in which his answers to some of these questions are as vague as can be:
If the King James reading is with Beza (where he disagrees with Erasmus) we take Beza. If the King James reading agrees with Erasmus but doesn’t agree with Stephanus, we take Erasmus.
We have a standard of final authority by which we judge Greek manuscripts. It’s a King James 1611 Authorized Version. That is our final authority. That is final. Not even our opinion about it is final. It itself is final. This makes Bible-believing Christians the only Christians in the world, as far as we know, that have a final authority that isn’t just somebody’s opinion. When the King James wasn’t around, then certainly God gave those Christians, in their language, a Book for their final authority; but when you consider the majority of human beings instead of a minority, you can see why He finally gave them a Bible in the universal language of the Twenty and Twenty-first Centuries—English. That’s our final authority. You say, “Which edition?” That is very simple: any edition. You say, “Well, what do you do when the two don’t agree?” They wouldn’t have to agree as long as they didn’t contradict. (Bible Believers' Bulletin March 2008, p. 12)
Notice how worthless the following answer was from the above quote: “When the King James wasn’t around, then certainly God gave those Christians, in their language, a Book for their final authority;” It was essentially a non-answer to a question that Ruckmanites can’t answer. Ruckman teaches that “the A.V. 1611 is necessary to recover the original text…” (Manuscript Evidence, 1970, p. 120) Too bad for those who lived before 1611 or speak other languages!
Also Ruckman’s “any edition” of the KJV is another attempt at avoiding specifics. When Ruckman critiques disagreements between the KJV and other translations, he treats those disagreements as contradictions. However, if there are disagreements between KJV editions, they cannot be contradictions. Ruckman loves changing the rules when they would otherwise invalidate his arguments.
At times Ruckman acknowledges that there are differences between editions of the TR. Observe how he proposes dealing with these cases:
“Well, when Erasmus, Colinaeus, Stephanus, Beza, and Elzevir disagree among themselves, how do you know which reading is right?” God the Holy Spirit let you know the correct text by the one on which He put His approval—the King James Authorized Version of 1611 (cf. Jer. 36:32). (Bible Believers' Bulletin Nov. 2011, p. 3)
Now, “Ruckman” believes that the KJV, the Book he holds in his hand, is the Final Authority in all matters of “faith and practice.” That means when Erasmus disagrees with Beza, the AV decides which reading is correct. When Stephanus differs with Elzevir, the KJV tells you which one to follow. And if you have to choose between the Vaticanus and Sinaiticus and the AV text, if you stick with the AV text, you will be right every time.
(Ruckman, Peter. Bible Believers' Bulletin Feb. 2008, p. 1)
Wasting time with Greek and Hebrew never did anything for a Bible believer but make an infidel out of him. (Ruckman’s Bible References: Personal Notes on Salient Verses in the Bible, p. 85)
If any doubt were to remain as to whether Ruckman believes the KJV corrects the TR, the following statement will remove all doubt:
Correct the Greek Textus Receptus with the AV, exactly as you would correct the Alexandrian text with the AV—always. (Bible Believers' Bulletin
Jan 2006, p. 5)
Many Ruckman defenders will insist that Ruckman believes in studying the Greek, and takes it seriously. However, the following quote demonstrates that any study of the original languages by Ruckman is done with an ulterior motive in mind:
Use “the Greek” where it will magnify, apply, glorify, and explain the infallible English, and where it doesn’t, pass it like a beer can on the highway. (The Christian’s Handbook of Biblical Scholarship. 1988, p. 343)
Ruckman accusses virtually everyone else of also “correcting the Greek with the English,” and therefore accuses them of hypocrisy for criticizing Ruckman on this matter. Notice this example:
… is setting himself up as a “savior” and “liberator” from “Ruckmanism” when the dirty rotten hypocrite has been correcting the TR all of his life with a King James Bible. He has been a “Ruckmanite” for more than twenty years. (Bible Believers’ Bulletin Aug. 1998, p. 7)
Now notice an example of how he accuses his detractors of “correcting the Greek with the English:”
There is no “God” in Stephen’s death in Acts 7:59 in ANY TR Greek manuscript. …has been correcting Acts 7:59 every time he mentioned it in or out of the pulpit; any pulpit. (Ibid., p. 7)
In the above case involving Acts 7:59, “God” is in italics in the KJV, but Ruckman does not point that out. See how Ruckman continues to berate one of his detractors accusing him of doing exactly what Ruckman is criticized of doing:
Can we correct “the” (a lying misnomer) TR Greek with the English? Yessiree, buddy boy! We sure can if YOU can. Don’t think you are superior to any of us when it comes to “executive privilege.” You have done it all of your life, you lying hypoctrite, and your attempts to force others, now, to adopt your profession—which is a lie—or else be branded as a “Ruckmanite” only shows what an inferior stripling you are. (Ibid., p. 7)
Ruckman tries to present correcting the Greek with the English as something normal and commonplace, practiced even among those he labels as Alexandrians. It is an attempt to make the concept sound innocent to condition his readers to think of his strange views as not being so strange after all. It is unfair to portray his detractors of practicing “correcting the Greek with the English,” when many of them do not consider the KJV to be absolutely inerrant or given by inspiration.
Ruckman’s simplistic approach is to arbitrarily decide that the KJV is superior to the source it came from, thereby invalidating the serious study of Greek and Hebrew, the various editions of Greek and Hebrew texts, and the Bible manuscripts. Ruckman’s easy way out appeals to those who are intimidated by the thought of diligent study of the biblical languages and associated manuscripts. Ruckman believes he has single-handedly solved the textual problems that have afflicted textual critics, Bible translators, revisers, commentators, preachers, and Bible students throughout the ages. Ruckman will go as far as to mock current and past dedicated Bible teachers who disagree with him, even though his view brings more questions to the surface than it claims to answer.