Baptism In Matthew 3:11 And Bible Translators

by Rick Norris

Which Bible is more accurate or better translated concerning baptism at Matthew 3:11?

First, let's note the renderings of several English translations:

Matthew 3:11a --

"I baptize you in water" (1526 & 1534 Tyndale's, 1537 Matthew's, 1539 Great, and 1568 Bishops' Bibles)

"I indeed baptize you with water" (1611 KJV)

"I indeed immerse you in water" (1842 Bernard's Bible)

"I indeed am immersing you in water" (Rotherham's Emphasized Bible)

"I indeed baptize you in water" (1901 ASV)

"I indeed baptize you in water" (1987 Green's Literal Translation).

Next, consider a few comments by Baptists.

Henry Burrage noted: "In those passages in our English version [KJV] where we find the words 'with water,' as in Matt. 3:11, 'I indeed baptize you with water,' the Greek has 'in water'" (Jerkens, BAPTIST DOCTRINES, p. 153).

S. E. Anderson observed: "The KJV of Matthew 3:11 reads, 'I baptize you with water,' but the Greek has it, 'I immerse you in water'" (BIBLICAL BAPTIST BELIEFS, p. 17).

M. L. Moser, Jr., a KJV defender, wrote: "If we should say that John immersed in water, are we to be considered as Bible correctors?" (BAPTIST CHALLENGE, June, 1989, p. 16).

Does the KJV have the best and most accurate rendering of Matthew 3:11? Do these other translations corrupt God's Word when they translate "immerse in" or "baptize in"? Do KJV-only advocates accept the opinions of the Church of England translators of the KJV as infallible or will they accept the superior authority of God's Word in the original languages?