Mark Ward, PhD (Bob Jones University) has written an article critical of those who prefer the King James Version (KJV) and the Textus Receptus (TR)…
3 Ways to Graciously Engage KJV-Only Believers https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/3-ways-graciously-engage-kjv-believers/
In his article which, according to its title, supposedly deals with “KJV-Only Believers,” Ward says,
“The mainstream KJV-only movement insists that its ultimate concern is not actually the KJV. It’s the full ‘preservation’ of the Greek and Hebrew texts from which the KJV was translated, namely the Masoretic Hebrew Text and the Greek Textus Receptus, or ‘TR.’ KJV-onlyism is actually, officially, TR-onlyism.”
Ward, here, shifts from KJV-only believers to those who believe in the “preservation of the Greek and Hebrew texts from which the KJV was translated.”
Contrary to what Ward asserts, here, about “the mainstream KJV-only movement,” many confessional Protestant Christians believe God, by his providence, watched over and preserved sacred Scripture over the centuries, in order for the people of God to always have access to the written Word of God. In fact, the historic Protestant confessions of faith, in their Scripture references, refer readers to passages found in the Masoretic Hebrew text and the Greek Textus Receptus (TR).
The Westminster Confession of Faith (1:8) states that the Hebrew and Greek texts of Scripture, “being immediately inspired by God, and, by His singular care and providence, kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentical,” meaning: God has providentially preserved the original language biblical texts throughout the ages.
It’s not extremist to believe God inspired and preserved his written Word.
It’s not something we should pity our poor misguided brothers and sisters for believing.
The inspiration and providential preservation of Scripture used to be something all Protestants believed, which tells us how far Ward and many other modern day “Protestants” and “Evangelicals” have drifted from historic Protestantism.
Further on in his sad article, Ward betrays his failure to grasp the subject with which he is dealing….
“But here’s something every KJV reader ought to know: Elizabethan English is no longer fully intelligible, and 1 Corinthians 14 tells us explicitly and repeatedly that intelligibility is necessary for edification.
“If with your tongue you utter speech that is not intelligible, how will anyone know what is said? For you will be speaking into the air (1 Cor. 14:9).
“Even KJV extremists know it contains ‘dead words’ and obsolete phrases no longer present in the real-life lexical stock of English speakers.”
Is Mark Ward correct? Let’s read, in the KJV, the same verse he quoted,
“In the same way, unless you use your tongue for intelligible speech, how will what is spoken be known? For you will be speaking into the air” (1 Cor. 14:9, KJV).
Does anyone believe this verse in the KJV is not intelligible?
No doubt the KJV does contain some obsolete words, but it’s not hard — let alone impossible — to read the KJV if one desires to do so. I read it every day. When I do come across a word I don’t understand, which is rare, I look it up.
I look up the meanings of words all the time. In all sorts of books and articles I read. I’ve done this all my life, and I always will. It’s how I learn and increase my vocabulary.
There are dictionaries available that define the meanings of outdated words found in the KJV, such as the one available (free of charge) from the Trinitarian Bible Society; there are glossaries of outdated words bound in some editions of the KJV (e.g., Cambridge Concord); and some editions of the KJV include modern word alternatives in their margins (e.g., Westminster Reference Bible). Not to mention, there’s always Google.
What about Ward’s assertion that the KJV is written in Elizabethan English?
Is this true? No, it’s not.
The translators of the KJV gave us a unique form of English.
Unlike modern translators, whose translations Ward insists we use, the translators of the KJV reshaped early modern English by adapting it to the original language texts they were translating, thus providing us with a unique form of English; a unique biblical English shaped by the Hebrew and Greek texts of Scripture.
The spelling and grammar of the KJV was updated in 1769, making the English of the KJV very accessible to readers today.
In short, Mark Ward’s article is pathetic. I suggest you ignore it, and him.
“While the Renaissance Bible translator saw half of his task as reshaping English so that it could adapt itself to Hebraic idiom the modern translator wants to make no demands on the language he translates into.”
“The basic distinction between the Renaissance and the modern translators is one of fidelity to the original. Partly the loss of faith in the Hebrew and Greek as the definitive word of God has led to the translators’ loss of contact with it, but more responsibility lies in the belief that a modern Bible should aim not to tax its readers linguistic or interpretive abilities one bit. If this aim is to be achieved then it seems clear that a new Bible will have to be produced for every generation—each one probably moving us further away from the original text, now that the initial break has been made.”
Gerald Hammond, The Making of the English Bible (2; 12)
Gerald Hammond, The Making of the English Bible https://www.amazon.com/Making-English-Bible-Gerald-Hammond/dp/0856354333
Alan Macgregor, Three Modern Versions: A critical assessment of the NIV, ESV & NKJV, and reasons for keeping to the AV http://www.bibleleaguetrust.org/publications/three-modern-versions/
Robert Preus, The Inspiration of Scripture: A Study of the Theology of the Seventeenth Century Lutheran Dogmaticians https://www.cph.org/p-655-The-Inspiration-of-Scripture.aspx
Garnet Milne, Has the Bible been kept pure? https://www.amazon.com/Westminster-Confession-providential-preservation-Scripture/dp/1522039155
Edward Hills, The King James Version Defended https://www.heritagebooks.org/products/the-king-james-version-defended-hills.html
Theodore Letis, The Ecclesiastical Text https://www.amazon.com/Ecclesiastical-Text-Criticism-Biblical-Authority/dp/0965860701
Theodore Letis Resources: http://www.holywordcafe.com/bible/Letis.html
Jakob van Bruggen, The Ancient Text of the New Testament https://tinyurl.com/yctj2o2r
Why Use the Authorised (King James) Version? http://www.tbsbibles.org/articles/why-use-the-authorised-king-james-version
TBS Bible Word List https://www.tbsbibles.org/store/ListProducts.aspx?catid=607222&view_type=0
Confessional Bibliology http://confessionalbibliology.com/
Word Magazine https://tinyurl.com/ycereb4y