Does Revision of a Translation Involve the Changing or Altering of God's Word?

by Rick Norris

The KJV translators claimed to have "diligently compared and revised" the former or earlier English translations of God's Word. In their preface, they stated that "revising that which hath been laboured by others deserveth certainly much respect and esteem." Evidently, the KJV translators had enough knowledge to know that revision of a translation does not involve the changing of God's preserved Word in the original languages. Do defenders of the KJV today have the same respect for revisers of translations that the KJV translators had?

In a section of his book entitled "Superior Translation Technique," D. A. Waite condemned "the diabolical principle" of subtracting from the Words of God, "the diabolical principle" of the changing of the Words of God, and "the diabolical principle" of adding to the Word of God" (DEFENDING THE KJB, pp. 91, 92, 93). Waite wrote: "There's nothing more Satanic than altering or changing the Words of God" (Ibid., p. 107). Waite then implied that any revision or changing of the words of a translation [the KJV] was Satanic. The problem is that defenders of the KJV fail to see how their misinterpretations would make the revision of the early English translations by the KJV translators into something evil or Satanic.

Have the defenders of the KJV diligently compared the good English Bibles that they put on their line or tree of good Bibles? If they had, they would know that the KJV added over 100 words to the early good Bibles. Check Mark 11:26, Mark 15:3c, Luke 17:36, John 8:6, John 8:9b, John 8:59c, John 19:38c, James 4:6b, 1 John 2:23b, Revelation 18:23a, and Revelation 21:26. The KJV subtracted over 100 words from the first authorized Bible [the Great Bible] in the book of Acts alone. The KJV omitted three verses found in one of the Psalms in the Great Bible. The KJV also omitted the phrase "And he said to his disciples" (John 14:1) found in several of the early English Bibles.

The Church of England translators of the KJV also changed or revised many, many words in the former translations. According to the claimed principles of defenders of the KJV, some of these changes even involve important Bible doctrines.

Tyndale's Old Testament has the name "Jehovah" at least 14 times where the KJV does not. For example, Tyndale's, Matthew's, and Geneva Bibles have "the Lord Jehovah" at Exodus 23:17 while the KJV has "the Lord GOD." At Genesis 23:6, Tyndale's, Coverdale's, and Geneva have "prince of God" while the KJV has "mighty prince." In the margin of the 1611, the KJV translators had the following note: "Hebr. a Prince of God." Matthew's has "a fear sent of God" at 1 Samuel 14:15 while the KJV has "a very great trembling." Six early English Bibles have "wrath of God" at 1 Thessalonians 2:16 while the KJV only has "wrath." "Servings of God" is the rendering of five early English Bibles while "divine service" is the KJV rendering.

At 1 Thessalonians 4:2c, at least four English Bibles has "Lord Jesus Christ" while the KJV has "Lord Jesus." At Colossians 4:18, Wycliffe's and the Great Bible has "grace of our Lord Jesus Christ" where the KJV has "grace." At Acts 10:48, the KJV has "Lord" where Wycliffe's has "Lord Jesus Christ."

While the KJV has "baptize with water" at John 1:33, some early English Bibles had "baptize in water." The claimed stronger word "damnation" in some of the early English Bibles was changed to the claimed weaker word "condemnation" in the KJV at Romans 5:16 and James 3:1. At Romans 10:21, several early English Bibles have "believeth not" while the KJV changed it to "disobedient."

When the facts are examined, it becomes obvious that a claim that revision of a translation must involve corrupting or altering the Word of God is misleading at best. A consistent application of the KJV-only principle that any revision of the KJV involves adding to, subtracting from, or changing God's Word would likewise condemn the KJV since it added to, subtracted from, and changed the early English Bibles. The former translations and revised version of 1611 provide the proof that the KJV-only view is incorrect in many of its claims. Would a correct view of Bible translation ignore the diligent comparison of the early English Bibles? Will a correct view of Bible translation view revision of earlier translations with only suspicion or with respect?


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