Acts 16:17 “THE way of salvation” or “A way of salvation”. Is there an error in the King James Bible?
In the King James Bible we read in Acts 16:17 of a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination who followed the apostle Paul and those with him and kept crying out: “These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us THE way of salvation.”
“And this she did many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.”
Some bible critics have complained that the King James Bible is in error here because it says “THE way of salvation.” They tell us that the spirt was really saying “A way of salvation”, because there is no definite article “the” in the Greek text. But are they right?
First of all, Satan and his hoards of devils and spirits of divination DO know a lot of truth about Jesus Christ. We see several examples of this in the gospels.
In Mark 1:34 we read of Jesus: “And he healed many that were sick of divers diseases, and cast out many devils; and suffered not the devils to speak, BECAUSE THEY KNEW HIM.”
In Luke 4:41 we read: “And devils also came out of many, crying out, and saying, THOU ART CHRIST THE SON OF GOD. And he rebuking them suffered them not to speak; for THEY KNEW THAT HE WAS CHRIST.”
And in Mark 5:1-9 we read of a man with an unclean spirit, who, when he saw Jesus ran to Him “and worshipped him, And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, JESUS, THOU SON OF THE MOST HIGH GOD? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not. For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit. And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion; for we are many.”
And in the account given in Matthew 8:28-33 we read of the two possessed with devils “And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, JESUS, THOU SON OF GOD? art thou come hither TO TORMENT US BEFORE THE TIME?”
These devils not only knew that Jesus was the Son of the Most High God, but that there is a future judgment of torment that awaits them.
In all these examples, what the devils said was true. But Jesus, like Paul later on in the book of Acts, rebuked them and cast them out. The Lord Jesus does not need nor desire the testimony from devils, even though it is true.
Secondly, the definite article in Greek is not used like it is in English. See Dana and Mantey, The Article and The Absence of the Article, pages 135 to 153.
There are many examples in the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) where in the same accounts with the same sayings, in one the definite articles are used, while in the others they are not.
Virtually every Bible translation out there, Tyndale, the Geneva Bible, the RV, ASV, NASB, NIV, ESV, NKJV, NET, Holman etc. ALL frequently use the English definite article “the” when it is not in the underlying Greek text, and OMIT it when it IS in the Greek text. All of them do this.
One such Bible critic, who tells his congregation that ALL Bibles have errors in them, and presents himself as The Man who is going to tell them what God REALLY said, is David Middleton. Since he uses the TR that underlies the KJB, I will take the NKJV as an example of their use and disuse of the English definite article.
In this one chapter alone, Acts 16, the NKJV ADDS the definite article “the” four times when it is not in the Greek text, and they OMIT the definite article “the” when it IS in the Greek text a whopping 57 times! And that is just one chapter.
Even in the same verse we we are looking at - Acts 16:17 - the NKJV omits the definite article when it is found in the Greek text before the words “Paul, men, God” and they add the definite article “the” before the word “servants” and before “way of salvation” (just like the KJB does), when it is not there in the Greek text.
Not only does the King James Bible record this damsel who had the spirit of divination saying: “These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us THE way of salvation.” but so also do the following Bible translations -
Wycliffe Bible 1395, Tyndale 1534, Coverdale 1535, The Great Bible 1540, Matthew’s Bible 1549, the Bishops’ Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible 1587, Mace N.T. 1729, Whiston’s N.T. 1745, Wesley’s N.T. 1755, Worsley Version 1770, Haweis N.T. 1795, Webster’s Bible 1833, the Living Oracles 1835, Etheridge Translation 1849, Murdock Translation 1852, Sawyer N.T, 1858, American Bible Union N.T. 1865, Noyes Translation 1869, The English Revised Version 1885, Darby 1890, the ASV 1901 - “THE ways of salvation”, Godbey N.T. 1902, Weymouth 1912, the Revised Standard Version 1946, J. B. Phillips 1962, the Amplified Bible 1987, the NKJV 1982, the KJV 21st Century Version 1994, the NASB 1995, Dan Wallace’s NET version 2006, Holman Standard 2009, Jubilee Bible 2010, the ESV 2011, the Mounce Reverse-Interlinear N.T. 2011, the Orthodox Jewish Bible 2011, NIV 2011 - “telling you THE way to be saved.”, The Voice 2012, Lexham English Bible 2012 and Modern English Version 2014 - “THE way of salvation.”
Don't let "ran but not sent" Bible correctors like David Middleton steal your Bible from you with their "school boy" Greek "expertise". The man has made himself his own final authority and he wants to be yours as well. Run from such men like your hair was on fire. Get yourself the King James Bible and stick to it. It is the only one people really believe is the complete and inerrant words of the living God.
Will Kinney Return to Articles - http://brandplucked.webs.com/kjbarticles.htm