Book Review - Riplinger, Gail. "The Language of the King James Bible"

Ararat, VA: A. V. Publications Corp., 1998

by Rick Norris

This review attempts to provide a brief overview or evaluation of the apparent underlying assumptions of Gail Riplinger's new book. Is the research or information in her new book interpreted correctly? If her underlying assumptions or premises are faulty, will not her interpretations of her research be faulty?

After reading this book and her other books, it is apparent that Riplinger writes from an underlying premise of a KJV-only view. She implies or assumes that the KJV is a translation directly inspired or given by God. Her first stated aim or goal was to show that "the King James Bible contains God's Built-in Dictionary" (p. xvi). She claims that "God defines" the 1,000 most difficult words in the KJV (p. 3). She wrote: "The Bible contains God's own built-in dictionary" (p. 59). Does this last statement indicate that Riplinger regards the KJV as though it was the originals or as though it was directly inspired by God? She also announced her seemingly new revelation: "God created the meaning of the words in the Bible itself" (p. 5). [Underlining added by this reviewer]

Is Riplinger implying that every English word in the KJV was chosen directly by God or was given by "advanced revelation?" If the choice of words by the KJV translators cannot be evaluated by comparing them to God's preserved Word in the original languages, it is being assumed that God's dictated directly to the the KJV translators which English words to use. It seems that Riplinger believes that the standard and authority that the KJV translators accepted [God's Word in the original languages] is not be consulted or examined. Were the Church of England translators of the KJV perfect and infallible in their interpretation and translation of God's Word?

Riplinger seems to hold to the same unscriptural advanced revelation view as Peter Ruckman. In an earlier book, Riplinger even suggested that the words in italics in the KJV should be regarded as inspired. She wrote: "The veracity of the italics in the KJV have been proven true to such a degree that this author feels no need to pick them out and set them apart as uninspired" (BLIND GUIDES, p. 41). Does not Riplinger make a translation (the KJV) superior in authority to God's preserved Word in the original languages?

How is her claims any different than the claims of Roman Catholics that claimed that the Latin Vulgate was superior to God's Word in the Hebrew and Greek? The preface to the 1582 Roman Catholic Rheims New Testament stated: "It [the Latin Vulgate] is truer than the vulgar Greek text itself. It is not only better than all other Latin translations, but than the Greek text itself, in those places, where they disagree."

Riplinger proclaimed: "The KJV is a Greek Grammar" (p. 110), "The KJV is a Lexicon" (p. 120)., and "The KJV is a Dictionary of Etymology" (p. 122). Are these claims true and scriptural? Are these claims her new revelations?

Riplinger admitted: "Dictionaries and reference books are not infallible" (p. 47). Why does Riplinger use fallible and imperfect English dictionaries to provide supposed evidence for her KJV-only view instead of proving her case from God's Word in the original languages? She claimed that her research "has proven the KJV flawless" (p. 127). Why does she think that her fallible sources and her fallible opinions provide proof for an unscriptural advanced revelation view?

Does Riplinger hold to a mystical view of Bible translation? A mystical view of translation would be one that claims that a translation is inspired when or if the reader or hearer feels or experiences something from reading or hearing it. Wally Beebe described and condemned this mystical view. He noted that the neo-orthodox say: "Only what speaks to me is the real Word of God" (CHURCH BUS NEWS, Oct.-Dec., 1997, p. 3). Robert Barnett noted; "Neo-orthodoxy would say that the Bible is only the Word of God when an individual experiences the Word through the work of the Holy Spirit" (WORD OF GOD ON TRIAL, p. 37). Riplinger announced: "The KJV is the Bible through which God speaks to me and with which he has shown me the majesty of the word of God" (p. xviii). It seems that another underlying premise of Riplinger's book is a mystical view.

These are not the only problems with Riplinger's new book. The point is that since her underlying premises or assumptions are faulty, her interpretations of any actual evidence in her book cannot be trusted or replied upon. Her blanket condemnation of all other present English translations as "corrupt" is also misleading and inaccurate. Riplinger's book completely fails in its attempt to prove a KJV-only view.


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