The Myth of the King James Only - Answering Tim Conway’s video presentation.
Tim Conway is one of the teachers at Grace Community Church in San Antonio, Texas. He claims to believe the Bible is the inerrant words of God but has NO inerrant Bible to actually give you. He has posted a 120 minute video on Youtube called The Myth of the King James Only. You can see it here -
As is usual with these folks, his video says: “Comments are disabled for this video”. They don’t like to have the other side presented or their shallow and unfounded arguments challenged.
I listened and took notes on Mr. Conway’s video presentation, and a much more accurate title for his presentation would be “The Myth of the Imaginary Inspired and Inerrant Bible”
Mr. Conway tells us that he believes The Bible IS the inspired, inerrant, authoritative and preserved words of God and our final authority.
This of course sounds very spiritual and Orthodox, but If you were to ask Mr. Conway where we can get a copy of this infallible and authoritative word of God Bible he professes to believe in, all he can show us are a multiplicity of conflicting translations, from three different textual bases (he mentions the “Majority”, the Textus Receptus and the Alexandrian Critical text) that differ from each other both textually and in meaning in literally hundreds of verses and by thousands of words.
Yet somehow Mr. Conway says he believes the Bible IS the infallible and authoritative words of God, even though he is unable to actually identify for us which one it is.
Throughout his discussion he reads from mimeographed notes. He actually got all this bogus information (and there is a LOT of misinformation) from a Wikipedia article.
Other anti-KJB only sites have used these very same notes in their criticisms of the King James Bible. Bible agnostics are those who do not know for sure (a = not + gnostic = to know) what God said in His book in hundreds of places, and Mr. Conway is no different.
You can take a look at my article “Answering the Typical Anti-King James Bible sites” here and see the similarities -
Many Bible agnostics are true Christians, as I believe Mr. Conway is, but all they have to give you is speculations, theories, and contradictory opinions about what the true words of God might be and where they can be found today.
And what has been the result of all these modern versions flooding the market? The polls show that the majority of present day professing Christians do NOT believe the Bible is the inerrant words of God and among seminarians the percentage is in the 90s. And even the modern version users are publicly lamenting the fact that ignorance of basic Bible truths has reached scandalous proportions.
See what the polls say in my article "The Bible is NOT the inspired and inerrant words of God."? -
In his whole hour and 20 minutes he basically repeated the same misinformation he got from the Wikipedia article and only took time to read one small section from his ESV found in 1 Peter 1:23-25. That was the only scripture he used during his entire hour and 20 minute presentation.
I would agree with Mr. Conway that the gospel of salvation is found in ANY Bible translation in any language out there and God can and does bring His people to faith in the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ through reading any bible version, no matter how corrupt it may be in other ways.
But Mr. Conway is confusing the message of the gospel with the issue of a complete, inspired and infallible words of God Bible. The two issues are not the same at all.
Mr. Conway tells us how he got saved using the NIV, which he said he would not recommend (even though according to him it is the inspired and authoritative word of God), and then started using the King James Bible for about ten years and then moved on to the NKJV and finally to the ESV.
His ever-changing ESVs (three different editions in just 10 years) is one of the new Vatican Versions that omits even more entire verses from the N.T. than do the NIV or NASB and 18 fewer than the NKJV. It rejects numerous Hebrew readings and ADDS literally hundreds of words to the Hebrew O.T. taken from the so called Greek Septuagint version (more about this in a moment)
See The Ever Changing ESVs 2001, 2007 and 2011 = just another Vatican Version
You might also like to take what I call The Bible Agnostic Test. Just go to the first part of this study where I prove that versions like the ever changing ESVs, NIVs, NASBs, NET, Holman and the Catholic versions reject the Hebrew readings in numbers and names, and don’t agree with each other. Look at the first 20 examples and tell us if you know which readings God inspired in His Book.
The NIV, NASB, ESV, NET and other Vatican Versions reject the Hebrew Texts Part One - Genesis through Psalms
"The meanest translation is still the word of God"
In his presentation Mr. Conway pulls out all the stops and proceeds to give us the tired and trite anti-KJB clichés we have been hearing for years now.
He takes a couple of quotes from the Wikipedia article he’s reading about what the King James Bible translators said in their Preface to the Reader. James White does the same thing. But they have taken the quotes completely out of context and misapply them.
In fact, the whole point of the quote by the KJB translators went completely over the head of Mr. Conway when he refers to the famous “the very meanest translation is still the word of God”.
See my article “The very meanest translation”
Mr. Conway begins to read the quote and says “He is referring to somebody here” and then reads the quote - “the very meanest (common) translation is still the word of God.” What Mr. Conway completely missed is the fact that the “somebody” the KJB translators are referring to is the Roman Catholic versions!
The whole quote in context is this. “Now to the latter we answer, That we do not deny, nay, we affirm and avow, that THE VERY MEANEST TRANSLATION of the Bible in English SET FORTH BY MEN OF OUR PROFESSION, (for we have seen NONE OF THEIRS of the whole Bible as yet) containeth the word of God, nay is the word of God.”
It should be clear that Miles Smith (the man who wrote the Preface) is referring to the Douay-Rheims ENGLISH NEW TESTAMENT here, which was published by the Roman Catholics in 1582, the Old Testament not appearing until 1610, some five or six years AFTER the King James Bible translators began their own work of translation. Thus the reason for Smith's notation that they had "SEEN NONE OF THEIRS OF THE WHOLE BIBLE AS YET."
“Men of our profession” refers to the Protestant, Reformation Christians and the “theirs” refers to the Catholics. In the previous paragraph to this quote we read them say regarding “the translations of the Bible maturely considered of and examined” that “all is sound for substance in one or other of OUR editions, AND THE WORST OF OURS FAR BETTER THAN THEIR AUTHENTICK VULGAR” (which refers to the various Latin Vulgate versions)
The context of the Preface by Miles Smith shows the contrast between early English Protestant translations and the "Bible" of the Roman Catholic Church. Translations like Tyndale's 1525, Coverdale's 1535, the Great Bible 1540, Matthew's Bible 1549, the Bishops' Bible 1568 and the Geneva Bible 1587 and such were translations "set forth by men of our profession" and thus, "containeth the Word of God, nay is the Word of God."
Throughout the Preface there is a constant contrast between "our" and "their" translations, and between Protestant thought and Catholic thought. They also state in their Preface - "also on the other side we have shunned the obscurity of the Papists, in their asimes, tunike, rational, holocausts, praepuce, pasche, and a number of such like, whereof THEIR LATE TRANSLATION, and that of purpose to darken the sense, that since they must needs translate the Bible, yet by the language thereof, it may be kept from being understood.”
In another part they stated: "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”.
The translators of the AV saw their task as the perfecting of the earlier English translations that followed the Traditional Greek texts as found in the Reformation bible translations of Tyndale 1525, Coverdale 1535, the Great Bible 1540, Matthew’s Bible 1549, the Bishops’ Bible 1568 and the Geneva Bible.
As they state in this same Preface to the Reader: “Truly, good Christian reader, we never thought, from the beginning, that we should need to make a new translation, nor yet to make of a bad one a good one; but TO MAKE A GOOD ONE BETTER, or OUT OF MANY GOOD ONES ONE PRINCIPAL GOOD ONE, NOT JUSTLY TO BE EXCEPTED AGAINST that hath been our endeavour, that our mark."
The supreme irony today is that these same modern versions most anti-King James Bible folks are promoting are in fact the new Vatican Versions.
See "Undeniable Proof the NIV, NASB, ESV are the new 'Catholic' versions" here- Please read both parts
“Variety of Translations”
Mr. Conway, just like James White does, goes on to tell us that the KJB translators recommended “a variety of translations” and he tells us that he likes to read out of 8 different translations himself when he does his studies so he can find out “the nuances of word meanings and get closer to the meaning of the original.”
What Mr. Conway seems to be blissfully unaware of is that this quote is taken entirely out of context and is not at all recommending different TEXTS or entire verses found in some bibles and not in others. The context is the meaning of individual words referring to the names of certain plants, stones and animals.
See my article “Variety of Translations” -
The context of this statement was the use of marginal notes to explain the meaning of some Hebrew and Greek words which either carry several meanings or for rare animals or precious stones. Please note the full context of the phrase in question:
The King James Bible translators write: "There be many words in the Scriptures which be never found there but once, (having neither brother nor neighbour, as the Hebrews speak) so that we cannot be holpen by conference of places. AGAIN, THERE BE MANY RARE NAMES OF CERTAIN BIRDS, BEASTS AND PRECIOUS STONES, &c., CONCERNING WHICH THE HEBREWS THEMSELVES ARE SO DIVIDED AMONG THEMSELVES FOR JUDGEMENT…NOW IN SUCH A CASE, doth not a margin do well to admonish the reader to seek further, and not to conclude or dogmatize upon this or that peremptorily? For as it is a fault of incredulity, to doubt of those things that are evident, so to determine of such things as the Spirit of God hath left (even in the judgement of the judicious) questionable, can be no less than presumption. Therefore as S. Augustine saith, that VARIETY OF TRANSLATIONS IS PROFITABLE FOR FINDING OUT THE SENSE OF THE SCRIPTURES: so diversity of signification and sense in the margin where the text is not so clear, must needs do good, yea, is necessary, as we are persuaded."
Obviously the KJB translators were referring to the variety of translations regarding specific names of certain birds, beasts and stones, NOT to the wholesale omission or addition of thousands of phrases, verses and words to the God inspired texts.
The modern version proponents like James White and Tim Conway rip this quote out of context and apply it in an attempt to justify their rejection of the Traditional Greek Text of the Reformation Bibles, and their rejection of many Hebrew texts as well.
"Erasmus was a Catholic humanist"
Another tired and untrue argument Mr. Conway brings up to try to discredit the King James Bible is the old argument about Erasmus. He tells us that “Erasmus was a Catholic and a humanist, and he only had 6 Greek manuscripts to work with when he made the TR and he had to back translate parts of it from the Latin Vulgate.” Where have we heard this before?
The truth of the matter is that Erasmus never was a practicing Catholic priest; he often criticized many doctrines and practices of the Roman Catholic Church; he died in the presence of his Protestant friends; his books were eventually placed on the forbidden to read list by the RCC and most importantly, no Catholic bible version ever used the Greek text of Erasmus to make up their translations, but ALL Reformation bibles did use Erasmus, Stephanus and Beza as their textual basis.
It was soon said by the Catholics that Erasmus laid the egg and Luther hatched the chickens. His books and writings were soon banned by the Pope himself. Erasmus examined hundreds of Greek manuscripts from all over Europe. He was familiar with virtually every variant reading we know of today. He was NOT limited in his knowledge of Greek readings by the alleged six or ten manuscripts he used to put together the New Testament Greek text. His Greek text, along with the minor revisions of Stephanus and Beza became the basis for the New Testament texts of all Reformation Bibles. The King James Bible translators worked primarily with Beza's fifth edition of the Greek Traditional text of 1598.
What is called the Textus Receptus was NOT the basis for the Catholic Bibles, but rather for the Reformation Bibles like Luther’s German Bible, the French Olivetan, the Italian Diodati, the Portuguese Almeida, the Spanish Reina Valera, the English Geneva Bible and of course the King James Holy Bible.
The Catholic church never did approve of the Textus Receptus. In fact, the Council of Trent (1545-1564) branded Erasmus a heretic and prohibited his works. In 1559, Pope Paul IV placed Erasmus on the first class of forbidden authors, which was composed of authors whose works were completely condemned.
1 John 5:7 "and these three are one"
One of the sections of Scripture Mr. Conway tells us should not be in the Bible is 1 John 5:7 as it stands in the King James Bible and many others. Yet the information he gives us about this verse is very flawed and incomplete. He hasn't done his homework. I and many other Bible believer are convinced it is inspired Scripture and the strongest testimony to the Trinity in the entire Bible. See-
However he says that he "FEELS" that the ending of Mark 16:9-20 is inspired Scripture and also "FEELS" that the woman taken in adultery in John 7:53 - John 8:11 is also Scripture, but a lot of his fellow bible agnostic friends like Dan Wallace, John MacArthur and James White do not.
James White says of Mark 16:9-20 -"there is good reason to doubt the authenticity of the passage" page 257 KJV Controversy. And of the woman taken in adultery James White says "it is near certainty that this passage was not originally a part of the Gospel of John." page 262 KJV Controversy. James White also would omit Luke 23:34 "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." I wonder how Mr. Conway FEELS about this one?
"In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes." Judges 21:25
See Mark 16:9-20- http://brandplucked.webs.com/mark16920.htm
And John 8 the woman taken in adultery - http://brandplucked.webs.com/john753811.htm
Mr. Conway also seems to have a problem with "unicorns" in the KJB, but he doesn't really go into why this might be.
See - Unicorns in the King James Bible (and many others too) - http://brandplucked.webs.com/unicorns.htm
"Jesus and the apostles used the Greek Septuagint"
Not to leave any stone unturned, Mr. Conway also drags out the usual argument that Jesus and the apostles used the Greek Translation called the Septuagint in their quotations, so there is nothing wrong with using different versions even when they don’t match the Hebrew texts.
This Fairly Tale has been circulating for years among the Bible critics, and the truth of the matter is that even men like John Owen, John Gill and Jerome himself acknowledged that many readings were taken from the already completed New Testament and placed back into the so called Greek Septuagints (there are several of them and they often disagree with each other.)
See The Fictitious Use of the so called Greek Septuagint -
One major issue Mr. Conway brings up is the use of marginal notes in the KJB. He even says that later editors took some of these marginal notes and put them into later editions of the King James Bible. Does he give any examples to back up this statement? Of course not. His Wikipedia article didn’t give any, but it makes for a good story, huh.
The irony is that the very article by Wikipedia he has done his “research” with mentions the answer to our bible agnostic’s dilemma.
They tell us the King James Bible translators “were not inspired” in their translation work and then post: “No one questions the Greek and Hebrew is inspired. But if the translators were also inspired by the Holy Spirit, in their work of translating the inspired Hebrew into English, THEY WOULD HAVE BEEN GUIDED BY DIVINE INSPIRATION THE CORRECT RENDERING, hence no need for any alternate readings in the margin.”
Yes, that’s right. It’s what’s IN THE TEXT of the King James Bible that God wants there; not the marginal reading!
First of all it should be noted that we do not believe the KJB translators were inspired. They were not writing new Scripture in the same way the original writers were moved by the Holy Ghost (2 Peter 1:21) They were merely the chosen vessels God used to preserve His already inspired words and to gather them into one Book and translate them into the English language.
Secondly, these Bible agnostics reveal the emptiness of their present position when they piously tell us that “No one questions the Greek and Hebrew IS inspired.” Well, just ask them where we can get a copy of this “the” Greek and “the” Hebrew that IS inspired. They won’t tell you! They will NEVER tell you where to get a copy simply because they do not have one and they don’t believe such a thing exists anywhere on the face of this earth.
They are professing a faith in something that they KNOW does not exist.
As far as the marginal notes go, they are all easily explained. The group of translators gathered together to give us the King James Bible numbered about 54 learned men, every one of whom was highly trained in biblical languages. There quite naturally would arise individual differences of opinion regarding how to translate certain words or passages, but we believe that the invisible hand of God was guiding these men to put INTO THE TEXT the readings and translation into English that He knew to be the correct ones.
Aside from the issue of the correction of minor printing errors and changes in the spelling of certain English words, the text of the King James Bible has not changed in 400 years. This is in sharp contrast to such modern versions as the NIV, ESV, NASB, NKJV that continually and deliberately keep changing both their underlying Hebrew and Greek as well as their English translations from one edition to the next.
Mr. Conway also brings up the example found in Judges 19:2 of a marginal note that he thinks proves that we can translate the Bible in a wide variety of ways.
Let’s take a closer look at this one example he was able to produce for us.
Here we read: “And his concubine played the whore against him, and went away from him unto her father’s house to Beth-lehem-judah, and was there FOUR whole months.”
He then points out that the marginal note reads: ‘four whole months: or, a year and four months: Heb. days, four months.’
All the KJB translators were doing is to point out the truth of the Hebrew language in this passage. The word for “day” is # 3117 yohm, and in ALL versions it is translated either as ‘day’ or ‘year’ depending on the context.
For example, the NASB has translated this same Hebrew word as “day” or “days” or “daily” 681 times and as “years” 28 times, while the NIV 1984 edition has translated it as “day” 950 times and as “year” or “years” 25 times while not translating it at all some 65 times according to the NIV Complete Concordance, which I have right here in my study.
As far as I know there is not a single Bible translation that translates this passage any differently than “four months”. This includes Wycliffe, Coverdale, Bishops’ Bible, the Geneva Bible, the RV, ASV, NASB, NIV, NKJV, RSV, NRSV, ESV and Holman Standard. The Jewish translations like the JPS 1917 and the 2004 Complete Tanach likewise translate this phrase as “four months” and not as “a year and four months”, though the Hebrew text itself could be translated in this manner. God guided the translators to put INTO THE TEXT what the correct reading should be.
Mr. Conway tells us that one of the main reasons he changed bible versions from the KJB to the NKJV and then to the ESV was NOT because of the textual issue (apparently the TEXT is not that much of a concern to him) but because of the “archaic” language of the KJB. He said even the KJB translators mentioned the need to put the Bible into the “vulgar” (common) language.
What Mr. Conway apparently doesn’t understand is that when they referred to “the vulgar tongue” they were contrasting ENGLISH with the LATIN used by the Catholic church and even the original languages of Hebrew and Greek, which hardly anybody understands and which themselves are in an archaic form. They were NOT referring to making modern comic book versions and paraphrases so common today.
At the 38 minute mark in his video presentation, Mr. Conway reads from his mimeographed sheet and complains about "the old language of the KJB that is not in the common speech of today." He specifically mentions his disapproval of the use of the words "thee, thy, thou, thine and ye" as not being "modern speech" and one of the main reasons why he decided to abandon the King James Bible for a more modern version.
What he apparently does not know or he just doesn't care about, it the fact that all those "thee's, thy's, thou's and ye's" are far more accurate to the language of the underlying Greek and Hebrew texts. In fact, you can't have an accurate translation without them. Do you know why? Most people do not.
See Why Those Thee's and Ye's Are More Accurate
It's more that a little troubling to see a man like Mr. Conway speak about something so vitally important as God's holy words in the Bible, bumbling along so badly in his blind criticisms of the King James Bible. He begins to list a few of these "archaic" words that he thinks he's found in the KJB and among them he lists "Suffer the little children to come unto me" as his prime example. He emphatically affirms that the word "to suffer" does NOT mean to allow or permit.
Little does this man know about his own English language. See my article on the word "suffer" here - http://brandplucked.webs.com/suffertocomeuntome.htm
In his list of hard to understand words he apparently got from the copied article he is reading from, he mentions "phylacteries and diadems". Apparently Mr. Conway neglected to "research" his own ESV he's holding in his hands, since it also uses the word "phylacteries" in Matthew 23:5 and has the word "diadem" in it 5 times - Isaiah 28:5; 62:3, Revelation 12:3; 13:1 and 19:12. And this guy is teaching the Bible somewhere in America?
See also the use of many difficult words found even in modern versions like the NIV and the NKJV and how this cry for “Let’s put the Bible in our modern speech” bait and switch thing really plays out, here -
The "Old fashioned language" of the King James Bible - "Archaic and inerrant", beats "modern but corrupt" any day.
One last example Mr. Conway brings up is the word Baptism. He tells us that king James was an Anglican and that he had an agenda to transliterate the word into “BAPTIZE” (baptizo in the Greek) because he was the head of the Anglican church. Then Mr. Conway said that it could be better translated as IMMERSE.
Mr. Conway only reveals his ignorance of history and his own inconsistencies. There were many Puritans among the King James Bible translators as well as Bible believing Anglicans. The Anglicans in 1611 were Reformed in their theology as can be seen by The 39 articles of faith of the Anglican church -
They were far more Orthodox in 1611 than the liberal, ecumenical, modernized Anglican church of today and their use of "the modern versions".
Not only does the King James Bible translate the word as BAPTIZE but so do the RV, ASV, RSV, NRSV, ESV, NET, NASB, NIV, NKJV, Holman Standard and every major Bible translation in both English and foreign languages.
"I indeed BAPTIZE you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall BAPTIZE you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire."
Also reading "BAPTIZE" are Tyndale 1525, Coverdale 1535, the Great Bible 1540, Matthew's Bible 1549, the Bishops' Bible 1568 and the Geneva Bible 1587.
So this is not at all a case of king James having an Anglican agenda to "transliterate" the word baptizo as "baptize" as bible agnostics like Tim Conway affirm.
Mr. Conway closes out his video presentation with the usual mantra about how only 2% of the Bible is unsure and that NO Major Doctrines are affected.
Well, he is wrong on both counts. Even James White estimates the differences at 5% and Maurice Robinson (of the Majority text promoters) estimates it as 15%.
See for yourself some of these very real textual differences here in Part Two of Undeniable Proof the ESV, NIV, Holman Standard, NET, NASBs are the new "Vatican Versions"
And as for “No major Doctrines are affected” see 15 examples of how the modern versions DO weaken, change and corrupt many important doctrines of our Christian faith.
Fake Bible Versions DO teach false doctrines - Links to examples
I think Mr. Conway is sincere in what he believes, but he is sincerely wrong. He talks piously about how “The Bible IS the inspired, inerrant and authoritative words of God” but the fact is, he couldn’t show you a copy of an infallible Bible in ANY language if his life depended on it.
All of grace, believing the Book - the infallible King James Holy Bible.
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