The pastor who became "an expert in Greek" and lost his Bible.
This article is written in response to a post made at the internet club called The Baptist Zone. A man who calls himself Pastor Tim made the initial post and claimed he used to be a King James Bible believer but now, having studied Greek, thinks his own opinions and insights are far better than those of the men God chose to put together the greatest masterpiece in the English language - the Authorized King James Bible.
"Pastor" Tim no longer believes that any Bible is the infallible word of God and he now uses the NKJV, but, of course, he doesn't believe it is without error either. In fact, as we shall soon see, the very things he criticizes about the KJB are also found in his new version of choice. So the only way a member of Tim's flock can find out for sure what God REALLY said, is to ask Tim. This is the position that every Bible corrector eventually comes to - he becomes his own final authority and steals the words of God from the flock.
Originally Posted by Pastor Tim
Hello, I used to be a KJVO believer. I definitely believe that the TR is the most accurate Greek NT.
However, having studied Greek, I was eventually forced to abandon the KJVO position because of translation problems. In fact, I no longer preach or teach from the KJV. I use the NKJV exclusively. It uses the TR for its NT base, but corrects the translation errors in the KJV. I am referring to the plethora of cases where the KJV mistranslates the tenses of Greek verbs. The KJV's mishandling of verb tenses usually takes the form of rendering aorist indicative verbs as though they were present indicative verbs. This has the effect of repeatedly rendering a past completed act as though it was a present condition. I'll give a few examples from Romans 6. I will use the NKJV for comparison.
Verse 2 - God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? KJV
2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? NKJV
Verse 4 - Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: KJV
4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, NKJV...
(Note: since all his 7 examples are of the same nature, I will not post all the verses. They are all of the same type. The KJB says "are dead" v.2; "are buried" v.4; "is crucified" v. 6; "he that is dead is freed from sin" v. 7; "if we be dead with Christ" v. 8 and "Christ being raised" v. 9. We are looking at only one example of whether the Greek aorist can legitimately be translated as showing the resultant "state" or "condition" of an action or should always be translated as a simple past.)
Pastor Tim continues: “As you can see, within a block of just 8 verses, there are 7 definite translation errors in the KJV (2 in verse 7), all dealing with verb tense. The KJV translators also took too much liberty in verse 2. The words "God forbid" do not occur in the Greek at all. This is a case where the KJV is guilty of doing what the Message does, substituting an English figure of speech in place of a literal translation. The Greek literally says, "May it not become!" God is not mentioned, nor the concept of "forbidding" anything. That makes for a total of 8 errors in 8 verses. Not a very good record. Pastor Tim
Regarding Tim's other oft repeated criticism of "God forbid", (which even his NKJV does too!) I have already addressed in another article which can be seen here:
Again, what "pastor Tim" abundantly demonstrates is typical of all bible correctors. He criticizes something in the King James Bible, but then merely "uses" some other modern bible version which in turn does the very thing he criticizes in the KJB. He will then tell us that he doesn't believe any translation or specific text is the inspired and infallible word of God, but he himself has to alter, change and correct both the texts and the translation as he works through it. Tim has set up his own mind and understanding as the final authority, and consistently agrees with nobody else.
Here is my first response to Tim's criticism of the King James Bible in Romans chapter six.
Hi Tim. This has got to be one of the silliest allegations of error I have seen so far. Don't you understand simple English? The King James Bible is correct when it says "we are dead" and "we are buried". It is NOT talking about an ongoing process - that would be "we are dying" and "we are being buried".
Not only does the KJB correctly read this way but so also do Tyndale, Coverdale, the Geneva, Bishops' bible, Wesley's 1755 translation and Lamsa.
A basic knowledge of Greek should have taught you that the aorist frequently describes the entrance into a state of being. Try Goodwins Greek Grammar.
Even your perverted NKJV frequently translates the aorist in this manner. As a small sampling of examples take a look at Mark 3:21; John 15:7; Mat. 13:15; Luke 24:34 "he IS RISEN" (Hello?!), John 13:21; John 11:14 Lazarus IS DEAD!!!. These are just a few of numerous examples of where your NKJV does the same thing. Get a clue and learn a bit more about simple English. Will Kinney
Pastor Tim responds: Will,...you are mistaken about the aorist tense. The aorist tense says absolutely NOTHING about results flowing from the action of the verb, or entrance into a state. If the action is of entering a static state, the aorist says nothing about it either way. To translate it as a static state adds ideas to what the Greek says. Furthermore, it takes away the real sense of the aorist indicative, which is to describe a past completed event or action.
Regarding your examples where the NKJV does the same thing, I never claimed perfection for the NKJV. (I do not claim perfection for ANY translation). The NKJV does have a few similar errors. But they are nothing like the magnitide in the KJV, where I showed 7 such errors in 8 consecutive verses! My point is simply that the KJV is not perfect. It is far less perfect than the NKJV in the way it handles verbs. My original question simply asks for an explanation from those who hold that the KJV is perfect in every detail, when it clearly differs from the underlying Greek TR in such cases, virtually on every page of the NT. Either the KJV is perfect, or its base (TR) is perfect. You can't have it both ways because they differ in places that affect theology. Tim
NOTE: For the sake of summing up pastor Tim's "every man for himself bible versions" mentality, here are some direct quotes from Tim's rebuttals. You can see them at the Baptist site: “The Bible I have on the desk in front of me is a NKJV. I use it for preaching and teaching. It is a very good translation, but not perfect. When I think there is some question of interpretation, I go to the Greek Textus Receptus. I DO have solid criteria for assessing the text of any English translation. I compare them to the Greek of the Textus Receptus.The TR does not have to be perfect to be my authority. Neither does the NKJV have to be a perfect translation to be my authority. I don't need to "prove" that any particular version of the TR is perfect. I only need to examine the evidence, and decide for myself which is BEST. That is what I have done. I agree with the thinking of Dean Burgon, that the TR needs only very minor revision based on newer evidence that the KJV translators did not have. I take the TR readings as authoritative UNLESS overwhelming evidence from ancient sources can be shown to cast doubt some of them. If the evidence is overwhelming, then the TR should be revised in those places.”
It should be obvious from pastor Tim's comments that he does not have a complete and infallible Bible. He has placed his own mind and understanding as his final authority regarding both the text and the translation of his ongoing, highly personalized and subjective "work in progress".
My final answer to “pastor” Tim’s alleged errors.
Pastor Tim says quite emphatically: “The aorist tense says absolutely NOTHING about results flowing from the action of the verb, or entrance into a state.”
OK. First let’s take a brief look at what other “experts” tell us about the aorist sometimes being used to refer to the entrance into a state or condition. Then, more importantly, we will take a brief look at just some of the NUMEROUS examples of where every Bible translation out there, including the NKJV, RSV, ASV, RV, ESV, NASB, NIV, Holman Standard and NET version do EXACTLY THE SAME THING Pastor Tim criticizes about the KJB.
Pastor Tim: “The aorist tense says absolutely NOTHING about results flowing from the action of the verb, OR ENTRANCE INTO A STATE.”
Greek Grammar Beyond the Basic, by Daniel B. Wallace Ingressive (Inceptive, Inchoative) Aorist - The aorist tense is often used to stress the beginning of an action OR THE ENTRANCE INTO A STATE.” (Caps are mine.)
The Use of the Aorist Tense in Holiness Exegesis by Randy Maddox - “The question which now arises is how one determines which of these three shades of meaning is to be understood in a particular passage. Robertson sums it up by saying that we must consider the "total result of word context and tense." That is, the context and the meaning of the word are the primary categories (assuming the tense is aorist). Here Burton is helpful when he points out that the ingressive aorist belongs primarily to verbs which DENOTE THE CONTINUANCE OF A STATE.”
This is a very technical article but it shows how varied and contradictory are the opinions of the “experts” on the meaning and use of the Greek aorist. What one expert affirms another just as emphatically denies. It is titled ‘Errant Aorist Interpreters” by Charles R. Smith.
Mr. Smith states:”The thesis of this essay is that exegesis and theology have been plagued by the tendency of Greek scholars and students to make their field of knowledge more esoteric, recondite, and occult than is actually the case. There is an innate human inclination to attempt to impress people with the hidden secrets which only the truly initiated can rightly understand or explain. Nowhere is this more evident than in the plethora of arcane labels assigned to the aorist tense in its supposed classifications and significations. Important theological distinctions are often based on the tense and presented with all the authority that voice or pen can muster. It is here proposed that the aorist tense (like many other grammatical features) should be "de-mythologized" and simply recognized for what it is-the standard verbal aspect employed for naming or labeling an act or event. As such, apart from its indications of time relationships, it is exegetically insignificant: (1) It does not necessarily refer to past time; (2) It neither identifies nor views action as punctiliar; (3) It does not indicate once- for-all action; (4) It does not designate the kind of action; (5) It is not the opposite of a present, imperfect, or perfect; (6) It does not occur in classes or kinds; and, (7) It may describe any action or event.”
Mr. Smith continues with these Biblical examples: “Even in the indicative, time is not intrinsic to the aorist tense.The following are examples of biblical texts which employ aorist indicatives in ways that do not designate past events--they are essentially timeless. "In you I am well pleased" - Mark 1:11). "Now is the Son of Man glorified"- John 13:31). "In this is my Father glorified" - John 15:8). "Wisdom is justified by all her children" - Luke 7:35)."The grass withers" - I Pet 1:24). All of these examples appear to be timeless in their connotations and they adequately demonstrate that the aorist, even in its indicative forms, need not refer to past time.”
Goodwin’s Greek Grammar, 1892 page 270 - #1260 “The aorist of verbs which denote a state or condition MAY EXPRESS THE ENTRANCE INTO THAT STATE OR CONDITION.”
A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament by Dana and Mantey on page 196 says regarding the Ingressive Aorist - “The action signified by the aorist may be contemplated in its beginning. This use is COMMONLY EMPLOYED with verbs which signify a state or condition, and DENOTE ENTRANCE INTO THAT STATE OR CONDITION.”
Brief Greek Syntax by Louis Bevier, American Book Company 1903 section 145 says: “Ingressive aorist - the aorist of verbs expressing a condition may denote ENTRANCE INTO THAT STATE OR CONDITION.”
Pastor Tim - “The aorist tense says absolutely NOTHING about results flowing from the action of the verb, OR ENTRANCE INTO A STATE.”
Now, to close out this little study, let’s take a look at just a few of the numerous examples of where every single Bible translator out there frequently does the very thing “pastor” Tim criticizes about the King James Bible.
Regarding the verses in Romans 6, let’s just take the first example found in Romans 6:2 and see what other Bible translations have done. The example in Romans 6:2 is of the exact same nature as the ones found in verses 4, 6, 7, 8 and 9, so if we knock the one down we knock them all down.
Not only does the King James Bible correctly state: “How shall we that ARE DEAD to sin, live any longer therein?”, but so also do the following English and foreign language bibles: Wycliffe 1395, Tyndale 1525, Coverdale 1535, Bishops’ Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible 1599, John Wesley’s 1755 translation, Webster’s 1833 translation, Lamsa’s 1933 translation of the Syriac, the Douay-Rheims 1950, the KJV 21st century Version 1994, and the Third Millenium Bible 1998.
There are a few foreign language bibles I can read and among those that read exactly like the King James Bible are the Spanish Sagradas Escrituras 1569, the Reina Valera 1909 “somos muertos al pecado”, the French Martin 1755 “sommes morts au péché”, the French Louis Segond 1910, the French Ostervald 1998, the International Bible Society’s La Bible du Semeur 1999 (the same people who put out the NIV), the Albanian New Testament (a native born Albanian showed me this one), the Italian Riveduta 1927, and the New Diodati 1991 “noi che siamo morti al peccato”.
The Greek aorist can be translated in a wide variety of ways. Sometimes a simple past is called for, like “he died” and yet many other times the aorist describes the entrance into a state or condition. Here are just a few of the many examples found in ALL Bible translations put out by people who know just as much Greek speak as our dear “pastor” Tim.
John 7:26 “DO the rulers KNOW indeed that this is the very Christ?”. They came to this knowledge and they obviously still know it. See RV, ASV, NASB, NKJV, RSV, NRSV, ESV, Holman and NET.
John 13:31 “Now IS the Son of man GLORIFIED” - See RV, ASV, NASB, RSV, NRSV, ESV, NKJV, NIV, Holman and NET.
John 11:14 “Lazarus IS DEAD.” See RV, ASV, NASB, RSV, NRSV, ESV, NIV, NKJV, Holman Standard, and others.
Romans 3:27 "Where is boasting then? IT IS EXCLUDED." - RV, ASV, NASB, NIV, RSV, NRSV, ESV, NET, NKJV and Holman Standard.
2 Timothy 2:19 "the Lord KNOWETH them that are his." - RV, ASV, NASB, RSV, NRSV, ESV, NIV, NKJV, NET and Holman Standard.
1 Corinthians 15:54 “Death IS SWALLOWED UP in victory” See RV, ASV, RSV, ESV, NASB, NKJV.
Romans 13:12 “The night IS far SPENT” - See RV, ASV, NASB, NIV, NKJV, RSV, NRSV, ESV, Holman Standard.
These are just a few of the dozens of places in the New Testament where all the bible translators, who likewise have gone to seminary and studied the Greek just like “pastor” Tim, have seen that the Greek aorist sometimes describes the entrance into a state of being or condition which continues into the present.
Pastor Tim has proven nothing in the way of translational errors in the King James Bible. The only thing he has clearly demonstrated is that once a person sets up their own mind and understanding as their final authority, they become hardened in pride and end up with no bible in any language that they consider to be the complete, infallible and 100% true word of God. They both lose the Book themselves and steal it from their flock.
The King James Bible is always right. It is God’s Book to the nations and will be till our Lord Jesus Christ comes again for His people.
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