Friday, January 22, 2010

The Book That Has Outlasted It’s Critics

See what happened this week in history 406 years ago.

From the Pastor Pen of ...

Pastor David J. Harness

Victory Baptist Church

52260 Range Road 231

Sherwood Park, Alberta CANADA T8B 1A7


Pastor’s Pen

The Book That Has Outlasted It’s Critics

“Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? Therefore have I uttered that which I understand not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not.” Job 42:3

Four hundred and six years ago, on January 14-18th, 1604, the historic Hampton Court Conference was held by King James I, King of Great Britain. The Puritans (those within the Church of England who wanted to purify it further of its Romish practices) was the primary group pushing for this conference. One outcome of the conference was the decision to produce a new translation of the Scriptures, which would refine the former English translations. Forty-two of the most learned and godly men throughout the kingdom were chosen to work on this new translation. In addition, those ministers throughout the kingdom who were knowledgeable in Hebrew or Greek were invited to give their submissions to the translation committee. The result seven years later (1611) was the Authorized Version of the Bible, commonly called the King James Bible.

This new translation was “translated out of the original tongues [Hebrew and Greek] and with the former translations diligently compared and revised.” In many cases no changes were made to the earlier translations - the exact wording of the earlier translations remained. This cannot be said of the modern translations. Copyright laws require each new version to be substantially different from other versions, lest the publishers be charged with plagiarism.

The King James Bible, the jewel of the English language, and monarch of books, has often been criticized. (Remember, our Lord was often criticized also.) Our Authorized Bible has sometimes been criticized by wicked unbelievers, sometimes by men who know better but seek to mislead, sometimes by unlearned and ignorant men parroting criticisms they heard others say. Some have unjustly and incorrectly criticized the manner of translating, the motives of the King, the morals of the King, and even the very words themselves.

Here is an example of unjust criticism: Dr. Richard Kilbye, an excellent Hebrew scholar and one of the KJV translators, along with a friend, visited a church one Sunday and “heard a young preacher waste a great amount of the time allotted for his sermon in criticizing several words in the then recent translation. He carefully showed how one particular word should have been translated in a different way. Later that evening the preacher and the learned strangers were invited together to a meal, and Dr. Kilbye took the opportunity to tell the preacher that he could have used his time more profitably. The Doctor then explained that the translators had very carefully considered the “three reasons” given by the preacher, but they had found another thirteen more weighty reasons for giving the rendering complained of by the young critic” (Fuller: Which Bible, p.17). Don’t be like Job who “uttered that [he] understood not.” Instead of trying to correct the Bible, let the Bible correct you.

Pastor David Harness

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