False or Irrelevant Claims About
the KJV [King James Version] and New Translations
KJVO proponents characteristically make a number of false
or irrelevant statements concerning the new translations and even the
King James Bible itself. For example: "The KJV Was No Ordinary
Translation, but Divinely Inspired."
As noted previously, many KJVO writers argue God had
the KJV written so that through the translators, He could produce an
inerrant English Bible.
But once one realizes how Erasmus, who was a Roman
Catholic priest, put together his authoritative Greek text from which
the Textus Receptus and the 1611 King James edition came, it is
clear that Erasmus’ text is not perfect.
Some of the problems which Erasmus bypassed in his
hasty work have been summarized by noted Princeton scholar Bruce M.
Since Erasmus could not find a manuscript which contained the
entire Greek New Testament, he utilized several for various parts of
the New Testament. For most of the text he relied on two rather
inferior manuscripts in the university library at Basle, one of the
Gospels and one of the Acts and Epistles, both dating from about the
twelfth century. Erasmus compared them with two or three others of the
same books and entered occasional corrections for the printer in the
margins or between the lines of the Greek script. For the Book of
Revelation he had but one manuscript, dating from the twelfth century,
which he borrowed from his friend Reuchlin. Unfortunately, this
manuscript lacked the final leaf, which had contained the last six
verses of the book. For these verses, as well as at numerous passages
throughout the book where the Greek text of the Apocalypse and the
adjoining Greek commentary with which the manuscript was supplied are
so mixed up as to be almost indistinguishable, Erasmus depended upon
the Latin Vulgate, translating this into Greek. As would be expected
from such a procedure, here and there in Erasmus’ self-made Greek text
are readings which have never been found in any known Greek manuscript
but which are still perpetuated today in printings of the so-called
Textus Receptus of the Greek New Testament.
This evidence demonstrates that Erasmus’ text, which
evolved and became the basis for the Textus Receptus, "…was not
based on early manuscripts, not reliably edited, and consequently not
Do Modern Versions Corrupt the Purity of God’s Word?
We now continue our examination of the arguments
against modern versions made by KJV Only writers, especially those of
Gail Riplinger in New Age Bible Versions (NABV).
The back cover of Riplinger’s book declares that she
has the B.A., M.A., and M.F.A. degrees and has done additional
post-graduate study at Harvard and Cornell Universities. What needs to
be understood is that her degrees are in interior design. None of them
are in biblical languages, theology, or in any area relevant to the
subject of her book. This may help the reader to understand the
information that follows.
KJVO proponents claim that modern versions have
corrupted the doctrinal purity of God’s Word and that only the
King James Version is doctrinally sound. For example, Dr. Logsdon, David
Cloud and others assert the following, "Friends, you can say the
Authorized Version (KJV) is absolutely correct. How correct? One hundred
percent correct! Because biblical correctness is predicated upon
doctrinal accuracy, and not one enemy of this Book of God has ever
proved a wrong doctrine in the Authorized Version."2
Let’s consider two key examples to see if (a) the
charge of corruption in good modern translations is true and (b) the KJV
itself is 100 percent doctrinally correct in its own translation. Here
we will examine the doctrine of salvation by grace. (Next month we will
look at the doctrine of the deity of Christ.)
First, proponents claim that only the KJV defends
salvation by grace through faith alone and that in many places the new
translations actually insert salvation by works. In Chapter 15 of New
Age Bible Versions, G.A. Riplinger claims that modern versions
attempt to dismantle salvation by faith and instead present a theology
of works-salvation. But every one of her arguments is false, as is
For example, on page 253 of her book, Gail Riplinger
claims that, "Verses critical to an understanding of this concept [of
salvation by grace through faith] are omitted from the new version
[sic]." She proceeds to cite Romans 11:6, implying that the essential
concept of salvation by grace has somehow been inaccurately portrayed in
the NIV [New International Version] and NASB [New American Standard
Bible]. But the NIV of Romans 11:6 reads, "And if by grace, then it is
no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace." In a
similar fashion, the NASB of Romans 11:6 reads, "But if it is grace, it
is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace."
These verses teach salvation by grace, not by works. Nothing could be
The truth is that all Bible translations
present salvation by grace through faith alone.
Anyone who wishes can cite dozens of verses
from the NKJV [New King James Version], NIV, NASB, etc., and show these
Bibles clearly teach that salvation is by grace through faith alone.
This suggests the "conspirators" did not do a very good job of
corruption. For example, Ephesians 2:8–9 in the NIV reads, "For it is
by grace you have been saved, through faith— and this not from
yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one
can boast." In a similar fashion, Galatians 2:16 in the NASB reads,
"nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the
Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed
in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by faith in Christ, and
not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the law
shall no flesh be justified."
In fact, if one uses the same logic as the KJVO
proponents, and cites selected passages which seem to teach
salvation by works, one could even argue that it is the KJV itself
which distorts the doctrine of salvation. Remember that the KJV
has been the favorite Bible of new religions and cults, like Mormonism,
that promote salvation by works. Why? Because in many places the KJV
verses are less clear than the reliable modern versions.4
But, of course, if members of different cults looked
up the specific verses in the King James Version—verses which their
organization claims teaches salvation by works, they would find that
they really do not. Their organization has only distorted what the words
of the KJV mean through a false interpretation. For example, the KJV of
Titus 3:5 reads as follows: "Not by works of righteousness which
we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us…."
In spite of the cults’ misinterpretation of the KJV or
the fact that the KJV may be somewhat less clear in certain places, does
this mean we should reject the KJV? Of course not. It still clearly
teaches salvation by grace in scores of passages. It only means
those who wish can misuse any translation in order to support their own
Consider another example. Pointing out that some
Catholics were involved with the Greek text of the United Bible Society
(UBS), Gail Riplinger argues, "The Catholic doctrinal bend in the NIV
and NASB and other ‘new’ Bible [sic] is substantial."5
Thus she claims, "The Catholic teachings of salvation
by works, purgatory, infant baptism,… ‘the Virgin’… the papacy,… [and]
the Roman Catholic sacraments of penance, Holy Orders, and the ‘Holy
Eucharist’… have been sewn into the new versions…."6
For example, on page 145 Riplinger points out that
the KJV of James 5:16 reads, "Confess your faults [paraptoma] one
to another," and claims, "All Greek texts have the word for faults
here—not sins." She then points out that the new versions read, "Confess
your sins" and argues or implies that the new versions not only
mistranslate the word paraptoma but also support the Catholic
sacrament of penance. But her argument is false.
First, the Greek word is correctly translated as
"sins" as any Greek dictionary, such as W. E. Vine’s An Expository
Dictionary of New Testament Words (page 1046), or as Zodhiates’
The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament (page 1103) will
prove. Thus, even the KJV translates the same word in Ephesians 1:7 (paraptoma)
Second, Riplinger errs when she writes that the
translation "confess your sins" supports the Catholic sacrament of
penance. All Christians are to confess their sins one to another. But
this in no way supports the specific teachings of the Catholic doctrine
of penance, which is another matter entirely. Penance specifically
involves allegedly "deadly" or mortal sins, supposedly
restores the on-going process of justification (in a Catholic sense)
and includes mandatory confession to a priest.
The truth is that
not one of the Roman Catholic doctrines
cited by Riplinger can be objectively and fairly proven to be taught by
the NIV, NKJV, NASB, etc. Also, why would conservative Protestants
who produced the NASB and the NIV have any desire to produce a Bible
containing Catholic doctrines? In fact, there is little
difference in word translation between official Catholic Bibles (JB/NAB,
etc.) and the KJV. It is how theologians misinterpret those words
that cause denominational differences.
(to be continued)
1 Norman Geisler, William Nix, A General Introduction to the
Bible (Chicago, Moody, IL: 1971), p. 384.
2 Frank Logsdon, "From the NASV to the KJV," O Timothy, Vol.
9, no. 1, 1992, 6; Vol. 11, no. 8, 1994, p. 2.
3 James White, The King James Version Only Controversy
(Minn., MN: Bethany, March, 1995), pp. 103-107.
4 White, p. 118.
5 G. A. Riplinger, New Age Bible Versions (Munroe Falls, OH:
A V Publishers, Second Edition, 1993), p. 498.
6 Ibid., 143.