#054 The King James Bible 400th Anniversary Tribute

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SHOW NOTES

Links Mentioned:
Bro. Giardino’s bookstore – http://www.glbbc.org/bookstore
DVD – The Great Debate
Bro. Vance’s book “King James, His Bible and it’s Translators
Bro. Faggart’s website – http://harvestbaptistnc.org
DVD – KJB:The Book That Changed the World: At Amazon.com
The Translators to the Reader – Preface to the King James Bible 1611 PDF File
The King James Bible Dedicatory – PDF file
Rules To Be Observed in the Translation of the Bible – PDF File

King James Bible 400th Anniversary Tribute

The King James Bible was originally published in 1611, thus this year marked the 400th anniversary of its publication.

With the glut of English versions available on the market today, it may be hard for the average Christian in 2011 to appreciate the fact that the Bible was not always available in English.

And although the King James Bible was not the first attempt at an English translation, it was the one that provided a purified English text and had the breath of God and the approval of the Holy Ghost.

If you’ve studied the 7 churches of the book of Revelation, you may be aware that in addition to being historical churches they were prophetical pictures of different chapters in the age of the New Testament Church.

One does not have to look very long or very hard at the churches or Christians of today to find in them the same characteristics of the church of Laodicea.

The church of the Laodiceans is the last of the churches that Jesus had John write to and it is characterized as being “lukewarm”. Not on fire with zeal, but not all cold and out of church and living in complete sin.

Contrary to their own assessment of themselves, Jesus said that they were, wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked, though they thought they were rich.

This is the church today. The Laodicean Church period runs roughly from 1900 until the rapture.

The church right before the church of Laodicea was the church of Philadelphia. It covers the period of church history from about 1500-1900.

This period of church history included the Protestant Reformation, the Great Awakening and other great Revivals, the greatest missionary movements the world had ever seen and the publishing of the King James Bible.

The missionary movement is signified by Jesus saying to them, “I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it” in Rev. 3:8.

That open door has to do with an opportunity to preach the gospel.

Acts 14:27 And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles.

I Corinthians 16:8-9 But I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost. {9} For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries.

And then again in Rev. 3:8 Jesus told the church of Philadelphia that they had kept His word

“I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.”

And lo and behold, it was in this period of church history that in the wisdom and foresight of Almighty God, He moved upon the hearts of men to have His Bible translated into English, the language that would be the most widespread and universal language of the world in the last generations before the return of Jesus Christ.

And so it was that in the King James 1611 Bible the Lord perfectly preserved His word in the English language for our benefit.

The idea of preservation is given to us in Psalm 12:6-7 The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. {7} Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.

One of the differences between a King James Bible Believer and one who promotes other versions above the King James, is that the K.J. Bible Believer believes we have every word of God in English and the promoters of other Bibles believe we don’t! Whatever Bible they prefer they still don’t believe it’s perfect. That’s why they keep cranking out new English “Bibles”. Why they even came out with a new New International Version for 2011. Perhaps this was their attempt to counter the 400th Anniversary of the King James.

Matt. 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

If God expects us to live by every word that proceeds out of His mouth, then we must have access to every word that proceeds out of His mouth, and thus the purpose of translation is to give those that don’t know the original Bible languages access to the word of God in their own language.
But make know mistake about it – when this is properly done, it cannot be done on a whim – God Himself moves to have it done, for Ps. 12:7 said, “Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.”

Now let’s talk about the purification process.

Psalm 12:6 says, The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.

Because the King James Bible is associated with preservation, those who believe it have made various and sundry attempts to weave a seven-fold purification into its fabric. A number of different conclusions have been drawn to try to force the issue; but if the issue be right, it need not be forced.

Laurence M. Vance has done a particularly good job of expounding these things in his book King James, His Bible, And Its Translators. This book is available at http://www.vancepublications.com.

Here he points out that the key to understanding the seven-fold purification process is found in a publication of “Rules to be Observed in the Translation of the Bible”. Bro. Vance cites and reprints 2 of these rules in his book that will point out what we need to know for the issue of purification.

There are a total of 15 rules. I have elsewhere read the number to be 16, but 15 seems to be the generally accepted number, and in all the copies of full lists I’ve been able to examine I have only seen 15. I will try to reprint the entire list for you in the show notes, as they are very instructive in themselves.

These rules are rules that King James gave to Richard Bancroft to give to the translators. Bancroft was “the chief overseer and task-master under his Majesty” for the King James Bible translation project.
But, as mentioned before the King James Bible was not the first attempt at English translation of the Bible. There were at least 9 other major English Bible Translations prior to the King James, though one of them was the Roman Catholic Duoay-Rheims version. The others were Wycliffe, Tyndale, Coverdale, Matthew, Whitchurch (the Great Bible), Taverner, Geneva & the Bishops’ Bible.

This gives a total of 10 English translations, of which the King James would be the tenth. Not the seventh. But back to the Rules to be Observed in the Translation of the Bible:

Rule # 1

1. The ordinary Bible read in the church, commonly called the Bishops’ Bible, to be followed, and as little altered as the truth of the original will permit.

14. These translations to be used, when they agree better with the text than the Bishops’ Bible:
{
Tyndale’s,
Matthew’s,
Coverdale’s,
Whitchurch’s [Great],
Geneva.

The Duoay-Rheims version was omitted because it was a Catholic Bible. Taverner’s was a revision of Matthews and had little influence on later English versions and was omitted, and Wycliffe’s was omitted having been translated from the Latin instead of the Hebrew and Greek.

This leaves a total of six English translations that were consulted when purifying the English text; the resultant King James Bible being the English purified for the 7th and final time.
Now, as you know by know, this show is called That’s in the Bible.
Now I want to give you some insight regarding some other things that were in the original 1611 Bible that you don’t always find in a King James Bible today. What I’m speaking about is not something in the text of the Bible, but rather additional things that were printed with the King James.

The first is called The Epistle Dedicatory. This is a letter of dedication presented by the translators to the King along with the finished product of the King James Bible. It is sometimes still printed today in King James Bibles. It is not very long usually taking up a portion of two pages when printed. I recommend you taking the time to read it. I will here highlight a warning given by the translators that is arguably prophetic. At the same time the character and mindset of the translator’s comes through.

The portion from which I will read is very near the end of the epistle.

“So that if, on the one side, we shall be traduced by Popish Persons at home or abroad, who therefore will malign us, because we are poor instruments to make God’s holy Truth to be yet more and more known unto the people, whom they desire still to keep in ignorance and darkness; or if, on the other side, we shall be maligned by self-conceited Brethren, who run their own ways, and give liking unto nothing, but what is framed by themselves, and hammered on their Anvil; we may rest secure, supported within by truth and innocency of a good conscience, having walked the ways of simplicity and integrity, as before the Lord; and sustained without by the powerful protection of Your Majesty’s grace and favour, which will ever give countenance to honest and Christian endeavours against bitter censures and uncharitable imputations.”
Here we note the humility of the translators, referring to themselves not as worthy scholars, but rather as “poor instruments to make God’s holy Truth to be yet more and more known unto the people”.

And the warning is sounded against two enemies of the work. The Roman Catholic Church and self-conceited Brethren.

These two groups continue to be enemies of the King James Bible to this very day.

Now another thing you find even less published in a King James Bible today is a more lengthy treatise called The Translators to the Reader. This was authored by Miles Smith who was one of the translators. It was printed in the original King James directly after the Epistle Ded-icatory.

Again, I recommend that you read it, though it will certainly be more of a chore than reading the Epistle Dedicatory, and just reading that is too much for the average Christian today.

Nonetheless, I will try to include both in the show notes. Let me give you some of the highlights from The Translators to the Reader.

But now what piety without truth? what truth (what saving truth) without the word of God? What word of God (whereof we may be sure) without the Scripture? The Scriptures we are commanded to search. John 5:39. Isa 8:20. They are commended that searched and studied them. Acts 17:11 and 8:28,29. They are reproved that were unskilful in them, or slow to believe them. Matt 22:29. Luke 24:25. They can make us wise unto salvation. 2 Tim 3:15. If we be ignorant, they will instruct us; if out of the way, they will bring us home; if out of order, they will reform us; if in heaviness, comfort us; if dull, quicken us; if cold, inflame us. Tolle, lege; Tolle, lege, Take up and read, take up and read the Scriptures…

Also we forebear to descend to latter Fathers, because we will not weary the reader. The Scriptures then being acknowledged to be so full and so perfect, how can we excuse ourselves of negligence, if we do not study them, of curiosity, if we be not content with them? Men talk much of , how many sweet and goodly things it had hanging on it; of the Philosopher’s stone, that it turneth copper into gold; of Cornucopia, that it had all things necessary for food in it, of Panaces the herb, that it was good for all diseases; of Catholicon the drug, that it is instead of all purges; of Vulcan’s armor, that it was an armor of proof against all thrusts, and all blows, etc. Well, that which they falsely or vainly attributed to these things for bodily good, we may justly and with full measure ascribe unto the Scripture, for spiritual. It is not only an armor, but also a whole armory of weapons, both offensive and defensive; whereby we may save ourselves and put the enemy to flight. It is not an herb, but a tree, or rather a whole paradise of trees of life, which bring forth fruit every month, and the fruit thereof is for meat, and the leaves for medicine. It is not a pot of Manna, or a cruse of oil, which were for memory only, or for a meal’s meat or two, but as it were a shower of heavenly bread sufficient for a whole host, be it never so great; and as it were a whole cellar full of oil vessels; whereby all our necessities may be provided for, and our debts discharged. In a word, it is a Panary of wholesome food, against fenowed traditions; a Physician’s shop (Saint Basil calleth it) of preservatives against poisoned heresies; a Pandect of profitable laws, against rebellious spirits; a treasury of most costly jewels, against beggarly rudiments; finally a fountain of most pure water springing up unto everlasting life. And what marvel? The original thereof being from heaven, not from earth; the author being God, not man; the inditer, the holy spirit, not the wit of the Apostles or Prophets; the Penmen such as were sanctified from the womb, and endued with a principal portion of God’s spirit; the matter, verity, piety, purity, uprightness; the form, God’s word, God’s testimony, God’s oracles, the word of truth, the word of salvation, etc.; the effects, light of understanding, stableness of persuasion, repentance from dead works, newness of life, holiness, peace, joy in the holy Ghost; lastly, the end and reward of the study thereof, fellowship with the Saints, participation of the heavenly nature, fruition of an inheritance immortal, undefiled, and that never shall fade away: Happy is the man that delighteth in the Scripture, and thrice happy that meditateth in it day and night.
Translation Necessary
But how shall men meditate in that, which they cannot understand? How shall they understand that which is kept close in an unknown tongue? as it is written, Except I know the power of the voice, I shall be to him that speaketh, a Barbarian, and he that speaketh, shall be a Barbarian to me. [1 Cor 14] The Apostle excepteth no tongue (note that the KJ translators understood the meaning of “unknown tongues” in I Cor. 14 to be other languages); not Hebrew the ancientest, not Greek the most copious, not Latin the finest. Nature taught a natural man to confess, that all of us in those tongues which we do not understand, are plainly deaf; we may turn the deaf ear unto them. The Scythian counted the Athenian, whom he did not understand, barbarous; so the Roman did the Syrian, and the Jew (even S. Jerome himself calleth the Hebrew tongue barbarous, belike because it was strange to so many) so the Emperor of Constantinople calleth the Latin tongue, barbarous, though Pope Nicolas do storm at it: so the Jews long before Christ called all other nations, Lognazim, which is little better than barbarous. Therefore as one complaineth, that always in the Senate of Rome, there was one or other that called for an interpreter: so lest the Church be driven to the like exigent, it is necessary to have translations in a readiness. Translation it is that openeth the window, to let in the light; that breaketh the shell, that we may eat the kernel; that putteth aside the curtain, that we may look into the most Holy place; that removeth the cover of the well, that we may come by the water, even as Jacob rolled away the stone from the mouth of the well, by which means the flocks of Laban were watered [Gen 29:10]. Indeed without translation into the vulgar tongue, the unlearned are but like children at Jacob’s well (which was deep) [John 4:11] without a bucket or something to draw with; or as that person mentioned by Isaiah, to whom when a sealed book was delivered, with this motion, Read this, I pray thee, he was fain to make this answer, I cannot, for it is sealed. [Isa 29:11]

Remember the translation work of William Tyndale we mentioned earlier, and then remember the warning of the King James translators of Popish persons being enemies to their work. They surmised this because it was so at the time and had been so before their work. When Tyndale produced and distributed his English New Testament he did so under persecution which ultimately cost him his life. But you may see Tyndales’s mindset in his following words:

“I defy the Pope and all his laws. If God spare my life, ere many years I will cause a boy that driveth the plough to know more of the Scripture, than he dost.”

Now let me make mention of a third thing that was in the original King James that is not usually printed in today’s King James Bibles and that is the Apocrypha. Now let’s just be honest about it, most of us who are King James Bible believers wish they had not printed the Apocrypha in the original 1611. But they did. However they did not think it part of the canon of inspired Scripture. Here’s some things you should know about it.

1. It was not unusual for Bibles printed in that day to include the Apocrypha. The King James also included many pages of charts and other study notes that were not part of the text.

2. The Apocrypha was included in between the Testaments and was not interwoven into the Old Testament text as it is in R.C. manuscripts and translations.

3. They rejected the Apocrypha because they were not written in Hebrew as the other OT writings were. Again, I sight from The Translators to the Readers. Speaking of the translators themselves and the non-English manuscripts they used for translating, it reads:

If you ask what they had before them, truely it was the Hebrew text of the Olde Testament, the Greeke of the New. These are the two golden pipes, or rather conduits, where-through the olive branches emptie themselves into the golde.

4. If you peruse an original King James or a facsimile thereof, you will notice that on the top of each page of the text there are headliner notes on the left and right sides. These notes summarize some of the page contents; and the notes on the left are different then the notes on the right. They are also, obviously, different from page to page.

When you go from Malachi to the Apocrypha in an original King James, the top left and right headliner summary notes are replaced on both sides with one word: “Apocrypha”. It’s written twice on each page. Once on the top left, and once on the top right.

Even if you are just looking through the pages, the contrast is striking. The translator’s are sounding a loud and clear warning to the reader This is not the Bible – this is the Apocrypha!

OK, a 4th thing you’ll notice in an original King James Bible is a different type-face. This is much easier for us to understand in our computer savvy world. The original King James used a different font than we use today. If you can get the right type of font you can actually demonstrate this by changing your text and watching some of the letters change to other letters, which would be the old English equivalent of the letters we use today. For example, an “s” looked like an “f” unless it occurred at the end of a word.

Some critics of King James 1611 Bible believers like to point out that the King James had subsequent editions that are different than 1611. They say this trying to make you think what you have now is a different translation than the King James 1611. It is not! The changes consisted of altering the font, correcting spelling errors, and correcting typographical errors, so don’t let them throw you.

All right let’s take a moment and consider something else that King James Bible critics bring up The italicized words.

These are still in most King James Bibles printed today. The honesty of the translators moved them to italicize words when it was necessary to add English words to give proper meaning to the translation. Sometimes a single foreign word takes more than one word in another language to comprehend its meaning when translating. When this was the case and there was not a corresponding Hebrew or Greek word for an English word that was used, those words were italicized.

Some people think that this makes the italicized words uninspired or less the word of God than the unitalicized words. As you should expect by now, the Scriptures have the answer to this dilemma and God gives us the final word about the trustworthiness of italicized words.

Earlier I quoted Matt. 4:4 where the Bible says, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”

Matt. 4:4 is a quotation of Deut. 8:3. You take your King James Bible and look up the verses and you’ll notice that in Deut. 8:3, the word “word” is italicized. Then go to Matt. 4:4 and notice when Jesus quotes the verse, the word “word” is included but it is NOT italicized. Jesus accepted it as inspired.

So don’t go changing Ps. 14:1 and trying to make it say something it doesn’t say so you’ll have something to preach on that’s not there. And don’t go changing I Cor. 14 because you can’t handle the word “unknown” when you’re dealing with a Charismatic. As I said before, read The Translators to the Reader, they cleared it up for you right there.

Before we close, let’s consider another nugget. Ecclesiastes 8:4 Where the word of a king is, there is power: and who may say unto him, What doest thou?

Again, remember William Tyndale.

While tied to the stake where he would be martyred, and his body burnt for his work of Bible translation, Tyndale prayed this prayer:

“Lord open the King of England’s eyes.”

This was in 1536. That prayer would ultimately be answered. Just three years later in 1539, Henry the VIII would allow for the printing of Whitchurch’s English Bible, The Great Bible.

And then years later, James would ascend to the English throne. He was King James I of England, but his was a dual monarchy, for he was already King James VI of Scotland.

This Scottish King of England ascends to the throne with a Jewish name. For James is the English translation of Jacob. If you check a Greek NT you will see the epistle of James in Greek looks more like “Jacob” than “James”. A transliteration of the word James from James 1:1 would look something like this: Jacobos. But you don’t need to know Greek to know that or to prove that, you just need to know history. Look it up for yourself. For the name of the historical period that correlates to the reign of James I of England is Jacobean.

“Where the word of a King is, there is power…”

And dear friends there is power in that King James Bible that you won’t find in an RV, ASV, RSV, NIV, NEB, etc., etc., etc…

In closing, let me recommend to you a video that was made for the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible and came out earlier this year.

The video is what I believe they would term a “docudrama”. It is a documentary along with acting out of historical incidents.

It is called KJB: The Book That Changed the World.

It will take you through King James’ ascension to the throne, the Hampton Court Conference where the idea of translating the Bible into English was presented to the King. It covers the gunpowder plot where Guy Fawkes led the Jesuit attempt to blow up King James and the house of Lords. And then it takes you through the moving reenactment of the printing of the first King James Bibles.

The movie runs 94 minutes; it’s produced by Lions Gate and is available right now on Amazon.com as well as other places.

The translation of the King James Bible was begun in 1604 after the Hampton Court Conference and completed in 1611. It indeed changed the world, and thankfully for me, it changed my life…

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