Misusing the "Variety of Translations" quote -
The Bible Agnostic crowd, none of whom believes that ANY Bible in ANY language IS now nor ever was the complete, inspired and 100% true words of God, often yank a phrase found in the King James Bible Preface completely out of context and try to apply it to their multiple choice, contradictory and textually corrupt Bible Babble Buffet versions that NOBODY believes are God's infallible words.
They piously inform us that the KJB translators themselves said that a variety of translations are profitable. Well, let's actually take a look at the quote and what they were referring to, OK?
Variety of translations
One line from the Preface to the KJV is often cited by supporters of modern versions. It has to do with the goal of the KJV translators in making a good translation better. In his tract entitled, Pick a Bible, Any Bible, Mr. Terry Alverson cites Dr. Miles Smith of the KJV translation committee and states, "Obviously Smith and his co-workers did not undertake the task of translating the KJV with the intent that it was to be the only Bible. Quite the contrary. It appears the 1611 KJV translators would be the first to applaud a modern day effort to 'make a good translation better.' "(p.2).
One wonders if the claim that the KJV translators would be the first to applaud a modern day effort is correct in light of their full statement. The context of Dr. Smith's citation is given below:
Truly, good Christian reader, we never thought from the beginning that we should need to make a new translation, nor yet to make a bad one a good one, (for then the imputation of Sixtus had been true in some sort, that our people had been fed with gall of dragons instead of wine, with whey instead of milk:) but to make a good one better, or out of many good ones, one principle good one, not justly to be excepted against; that hath been our endeavour, that our mark.
The history of all the "good ones" which predated the KJV shows that they were all based upon the same Greek line of manuscripts; the Traditional Text. Further, it should be noted that the translators said their goal was NOT to make a bad one good, else the accusation from the Pope that the translators were feeding their people with "gall of dragons" might have some basis. Their goal was to make "one principle one" from the good ones which predated the KJV. Clearly, this is not an affirmation to alter the text based on either the Alexandrian or Western line of manuscripts.
Likewise, the KJV translators spoke of the need for many translations. Some have used this to justify the use of modern versions based on a differing line of manuscripts. (end of Mr. Alverson's comments)
Bible agnostic and professional liar, James White, who SAYS he believes the Bible is the infallible words of God, yet when asked to tell us where we can get a copy of this "infallible Bible" he professes to believes in, he immediately changes the subject, writes in his book: "When the very preface to the KJV says, 'variety of Translations is profitable for the finding out of the sense of the Scriptures,' it is obvious that the KJV Only position is proven utterly ahistorical thereby. The position requires the translator to be something its own authors never intended it to be." (The King James Only Controversy, pp. 76-77).
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 ARE 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 THE FINDING OUT OF 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 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.
See also this article dealing with the real meaning of another phrase that is taken totally out of context - "THE VERY MEANEST TRANSLATION IS THE WORD OF GOD." They are actually contrasting the English Reformation Bibles from the Catholic versions!
Notes from the Internet -