Was there a perfect Bible before the King James Bible? or Does the King James Bible only position “blow up”?
“Seek ye out of THE BOOK OF THE LORD, and read” - Isaiah 34:16
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise” - 1 Corinthians 1:19
The one argument the “No Bible is inerrant” crowd continually throws in our face as being unanswerable is this: “Where was the perfect and inerrant Bible before 1611?”
Here are some direct quotes from a seminarian who thinks this question completely destroys our position. He writes: “I must ask you this in return, where was the Word of God prior to the KJV being written? This is where your position blows up at. You MUST claim that God didn't write an infallible Bible until 1611 if you hold to all of this. Can you name where the "complete, inspired, inerrant and 100% true wordS of God existed before the KJV was translated?" The answer needs to stay consistent with your position. Don't say they were found here or there. You MUST, to be consistent, say a specific Bible in a specific language that the "complete, inspired, inerrant and 100% true wordS of God" were located.”
Keep in mind that these King James Bible critics do not believe that there EVER existed a perfect and infallible Bible in ANY language (including "the" Hebrew and Greek) and they certainly do not believe there exists one NOW. The force of their argument is that since there was no perfect and infallible Bible before the King James Bible, then the King James Bible itself cannot be the perfect words of God anymore than their favorite, multiple choice and contradictory bible versions.
They don’t defend any of their modern versions like the RSV, NASB, NIV, ESV, NET, NKJV or Holman Standard as being the 100% true words of God in contrast to the other versions. Most of them don’t claim to have an infallible Bible but they take offense at our claim that we do.
There are only Four options open to them.
#1. “Only the originals were inspired and infallible.” It should be pointed out that the originals never did form a 66 book Bible and they have not seen a single word of these “originals” a day in their lives.
At one Bible club I belong to there was one guy who objected to my King James Bible only position saying that he was against any form of "onlyism" because it was unbiblical and elitist. I then pointed out to him that if he bothered to check almost any Baptist or other Christian site that addressed the issue of their belief about "the Bible" they almost always say: "We believe that ONLY the originals are (were) inspired and inerrant; no translation is inerrant." This most certainly is itself a form of "onlyism" and it is far worse than believing that the King James Bible is the only pure and perfect Book of the LORD.
The "originals only" position leaves us without a perfect and inerrant Bible NOW, and it is a profession of faith in something that THEY KNOW does not exist. Now how silly is that?!? (Note: See comments at end of this article regarding a Facebook interchange with an "originals" onlyist)
#2. “All reliable bible versions (NASB, NIV, RSV, ESV, NKJV, Holman, KJV, Spanish, German etc.) are the inspired and infallible words of God.”
How someone with the discernment of a poached egg can say such a thing is beyond me, but I do run into this type of nonsense. I call this intellectual suicide the "Fruit Loops Logic". In order to hold to view #2 they need to give new meanings to old words.
"Infallible" no longer means "without errors"; it now must mean something like "ballpark close enough to be divinely useful" or something like that.
These modern versions differ among themselves by omitting or adding literally THOUSANDS of words from the New Testament alone, and the modern versions change the meanings of hundreds of verses and often reject the Hebrew readings, and not even in the same places as the others. Not one of them agrees textually with any other in scores if not thousands of places.
For a person to affirm that all these contradictory and textually very different "bibles" are all the infallible words of God, they end up portraying a god who is apparently suffering from Alzheimer's disease; he can't remember what he said, how he said it, or if he even said it at all.
Try arguing that they are all “the inspired and 100% true words of God” before a court of law or even a high school debating team and you will be laughed out of the room.
To prove the utter absurdity of making such a claim that all versions like the NASB, KJV, NIV, ESV etc. are the perfect and infallible words of God, just take a look at this study I have put together showing in clear black and white how all these versions differ radically from each other in numbers and names alone.
The Bible Agnostic Test.
Then get back to us and tell us once again with a straight face that all these different versions are the infallible words of God.
#3. "The words of God are preserved in the extant or remaining 5000 plus Greek manuscripts that we have today."
This is a very common explanation that ends up meaning absolutely nothing. Men who generally hold this type of position are what I call Bible Agnostics like James White, Doug Kutilek, Rick Joyner, Rick Norris, James Price, Daniel Wallace and company.
Their position is on the same level as saying "God's words are preserved in Webster's Unabridged Dictionary. They are all out of order and mixed up among thousands of other words that are not God's true words, but, Hey, they're in there someplace."
The simple fact is that among these thousands of remaining (not counting of course all the thousands of manuscripts that have disappeared and turned to dust over the centuries) manuscript scraps, pieces, partial books and sections of the New Testament (none of which is an entire New Testament) there are literally thousands upon thousands of very real and serious variant readings, and nobody is sure which ones are God's words and which ones are not.
The modern bible versions are based on the constantly changing theory called the "science" of textual criticism. They have no fixed and settled text and what they do have can and does change at the slightest whim, and no two modern scholars are agreed on what the New Testament should look like.
For some concrete examples of what this so called "science" of Textual Criticism looks like and how it really works, check out these examples here:
The so called "Science" of Textual Criticism.
Also, be sure to take a look at this one called "The Oldest and Best Manuscripts?" It will show you some clear examples of the total confusion found in these so called "oldest and best manuscripts" upon which most modern versions like the ever changing NASB, NIV, ESV, Holman Standard, etc. versions are based on.
#4 There really is a complete, inspired, inerrant and 100% true Holy Bible and history and the internal evidence points to the Authorized King James Bible as being the Final Written Authority - the true words of the living God.
You only have these four options. There is no other alternative left for you to go with.
You might be interested in reading "The Absolute Standard of Written Truth", which lists several historic reasons and internal evidence for the King James Bible as being the Absolute Standard by which all other bible versions are to be measured. You can see it here -
There is a huge difference between the wisdom of men and the wisdom of God. As God says in Isaiah 55:8-9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. Far as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
And again God says in 1 Corinthians 1:19-20 “For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?”
I readily admit that “the book of the LORD” (the Holy Bible) was in a rather lengthy process of being perfected and brought to full maturity, but I and thousands of other Bible believers affirm that the final product was and is the King James Bible.
In general terms God preserved His words in the Bible versions that existed before the perfection of the King James Bible when they followed the same Hebrew texts and the traditional Greek texts.
For example, you will find 1 John 5:7 in Wycliffe 1395, Tyndale 1525, Coverdale 1535, the Great Bible 1540, Matthew's Bible 1549, the Bishops’ Bible 1568 and the Geneva Bible 1560 to 1602.
Even the Catholic Douay-Rheims of 1582 included all of 1 John 5:7 "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one" etc. and not even in brackets.
The later Douay version of 1950 still included the phrase but in brackets, but the more recent Catholic versions like the St. Joseph New American Bible 1970 and the New Jerusalem bible 1985 began to omit the Trinity phrase altogether just like the modern versions like the NASB, RSV, ESV, NIV, NET, Jehovah Witness NWT and Holman Standard versions do.
But wait. Now once again in 2009 The Catholic Sacred Bible Public Domain Version has gone back to include it! However there was no perfect and inerrant Bible until God brought forth His finished product in the King James Bible.
Did the King James Bible translators know they were putting together God's perfect and infallible words?
No, they probably did not. Do we always or even usually know how God might be using us? Of course not. God often uses people, both believers and non-believers, to carry out His purposes without them knowing it.
Did king Nebuchadnezzar know that he was God's servant being used of God to carry out His purposes? (See Jeremiah 25:9; 27:6; 43:10)
Was the unbelieving high priest aware that God prophesied through him that Jesus would die for the nation of Israel and gather together the children of God that were scattered abroad? (See John 11:49-52) or did Judas know that his betrayal was going to be a fulfillment of prophesy and that God was carrying out His eternal purpose through him? No, of course not.
Likewise did Cyrus know that he was the Lord's shepherd who would perform all His pleasure by decreeing that Jerusalem would be rebuilt, even though he did not know the LORD? (See Isaiah 44:28-45:1-5)
Or did Samson's parents know that they were being used of God when they helped their son get a Philistine wife? "But his father and his mother knew not that it was of the LORD, that he sought an occasion against the Philistines; for at that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel." (Judges 14:4.)
"The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water; he turneth it whithersoever he will." Proverbs 21:1
What may appear to the workings of the human mind as a natural course of events, as in the changing course of a river, is actually the directing hand of the sovereign God.
“God calls those things that be not as though they were”
I believe that those who say there must have been a perfect Bible before the King James Bible or our position "blows up" or falls to the ground as being inconsistent are guilty of using the wisdom of men rather than the wisdom of God, and their thinking is decidedly unbiblical.
Was there a perfect Bible consisting of the present 66 book canon in the year 90 A.D? No. Not all of it had even been written yet. Why is it that the God of history didn’t allow the invention of the printing press until around 1455 A.D? Most Christians didn’t even have an opportunity to have their own copy of any printed Bible till around 1550.
Even regarding the canon of Scripture, or the individual books that, taken as a whole, form the Bible, a full dogmatic articulation of the canon was not made until the Council of Trent of 1546 for Roman Catholicism, the Thirty-Nine Articles of 1563 for the Church of England, the Westminster Confession of Faith of 1647 for British Calvinism, and the Synod of Jerusalem of 1672 for the Greek Orthodox.
There was no formal church agreement on the present day Protestant Bible consisting of 66 books until 1563. The Catholics still do not agree with the Protestants and include several other books called the Apocrypha.
Read through the 34th chapter of the prophet Isaiah. Here God records the coming judgments upon all nations when the host of heaven shall be dissolved and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll.
We find similar references to these future events in the book of the Revelation. Though none of these things had actually happened at the time Isaiah wrote them, yet God sometimes referred to these events as having already happened. - “he HATH utterly destroyed them, he HATH delivered them to the slaughter.”; “my mouth it HATH commanded, and his spirit it HATH gathered them.” (Isaiah 34:2, 16)
So too in this chapter we read about “the book of the LORD”. “Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read: no one of these shall fail...” (Isaiah 34:16)
What exactly was this “book of the LORD” at Isaiah’s time in history? Was it all the books of the Bible written up till the time of Isaiah? Was it just the book of Isaiah? In either case the Bible as we know it today was not a completed Book.
Isaiah was still being written at this time and there yet lacked many other Old Testament books still to be written. And that’s not even mentioning the entire New Testament. Yet God calls it “the book of the LORD” and commands us to read it.
God can and does refer to the Book of the Lord as being a real object even though it is still in the process of being written and perfected. Yet He sees the end from the beginning and refers to a future event (from our point of view) as a present reality.
Daniel 10:21 - 11:2 - "the Scripture of Truth"
Another clear example of God's Book being progressively revealed to us is found in one of the heavenly visions revealed to the prophet Daniel. In chapter 10 a heavenly messenger is sent to Daniel who tells him: "But I will shew thee THAT WHICH IS NOTED IN THE SCRIPTURE OF TRUTH".
The angel then says - "And now will I shew thee THE TRUTH. Behold, there shall stand up yet three kings of Persia: and the fourth shall be far richer than they all..."
Here the angel refers to a Book of Scripture that is ALREADY WRITTEN IN HEAVEN, and that is progressively revealed to man. This "Scripture of truth" has already recorded coming events BEFORE they happen in time.
Nothing takes God by surprise; He sees the end from the beginning, and there is a completed Book in heaven that God progressively reveals to His people in time and history.
Psalm 119:89 " For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven."
God has preserved His words in the Scripture of truth that is recorded in heaven. They will never pass away. But we also see the Scriptural principle that, though His words may be hidden away or forgotten for a time, as the history of Israel itself shows, yet He progressively reveals them and when they are all gathered together and brought to light, then make up "the book of the LORD."
Let’s look at some other Biblical examples of where God calls something that is not as though it were.
In Genesis 17:5 God tells Abraham: “Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; FOR A FATHER OF MANY NATIONS HAVE I MADE THEE.”
The Bible critic using human logic and wisdom can easily say: “Hey, wait a minute. Abraham didn’t have any children at this time. There was no Isaac nor Ishmael; no Esau nor Jacob, and certainly not the nation of Israel much less other nations (plural). God must be wrong. The Bible can’t be true and inerrant.”
Yet the verse is repeated again in the New Testament were we read in Romans 4:17 “(As it is written, I HAVE MADE THEE a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and CALLETH THOSE THINGS WHICH BE NOT AS THOUGH THEY WERE.”
What we see here is God naming something as real and yet it wasn’t fulfilled in history till some 2000 years later. God was in a long process of gradually bringing about the fulfillment of His promises, yet He referred to them as something He had already accomplished.
Psalms 12:6-7 says: "The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever."
I believe that these verses, like many other Scriptures, have a double fulfillment. It can only be seen in the second way after it has happened, not before. How many prophecies of Christ Himself were not understood until after they had happened? Many if not most of them.
Even at the time of the writing of Psalm 12 not all but maybe half of God's words had been penned, yet they are and were pure at that time. This Psalm says the words of the LORD ARE pure, and that God will keep them from this generation for ever.
Up to this point we only have about half of the Old Testament and it was in the Hebrew text. God has kept His pure words in the Hebrew text. GOD keeps His words, even though man may forget them or hide them away, or not even has access to them himself. But God knows where they are and He will keep and preserve them from this generation for ever.
The King James Bible always follows the Hebrew texts. It is the modern versions like the ESV, NIV, NASB, NET, Holman, etc. that so often reject these very same Hebrew readings. Want proof of this accusation? Here it is -
The NIV, NASB, ESV, NET, Holman Standard and other Vatican Versions reject the Hebrew Texts Part One - Genesis through Psalms
NIV, NASB, ESV, NET and other Vatican Versions Reject the Hebrew - Part Two Proverbs through Malachi
Are all the rest of the O.T. books that were written after David penned Psalm 12 part of the words of the Lord? Yes, we believe they are. How about the whole New Testament? Can we apply the principle of preservation to the New Testament as well? Are they also part of the pure words of the Lord? Again, we affirm that they are.
Keep in mind, it is GOD who preserves His words, even though man may not know where they are, or has neglected them or forgotten them or doesn't even have access to them. This in no way nullifies the promise of God to preserve His words.
If God was going to keep them from this generation for ever, then He must have included what He knew would be written in the future as a present reality - the words of the LORD. Obviously God's words over the centuries had become corrupted through false readings, omissions and additions. If God did not purify them, then there never would have been a perfect Bible.
God Himself promised to preserve His words and we believe He did. He alone knows for sure which words are His and which "variant readings" are not His. He has kept and preserved them, but how do WE know which words are His preserved words?
In a general way we can say that God preserved His words in a form that we can know them in the Hebrew Masorretic texts (the ones so often rejected and added to today in such new Vatican Versions as the ESV, NIV, NASB, NET, Holman and even the NKJV) and in the Traditional Greek texts that are in 85 to 90% general agreement and were the basis of Bibles everywhere until the Westcott-Hort, UBS/Nestle-Aland/Vatican critical texts started to come on the scene.
But after the invention of the printing press with its moveable type by Gutenberg around 1540, the Bible could be printed on a wide scale and placed in the hands of the common man, God gathered ALL His preserved and perfect words, purified them from minor corruptions and had them put into His final masterpiece - the Authorized King James Holy Bible - the Book that has indeed transformed our world and that He has been pleased to use far more than any other Bible in history.
We see the same Biblical principle of "calling those things which be not as though they were" in the words of our Lord Jesus Christ in John 17:4 where He says: “I have glorified thee on the earth: I HAVE FINISHED THE WORK which thou gavest me to do.”
Again, the Bible critic will protest. “Now just hold on here a minute. Jesus hadn’t gone to the garden where He prayed with great drops of blood. He hadn’t yet been betrayed nor handed over to the Roman authorities. He certainly hadn’t yet died on the cross for our sins nor risen from the grave three days later. How can He then truthfully say that He had finished the work God gave Him to do? He must have been mistaken.”
Yet in the wisdom of God the thing was so sure that He referred to it as a present reality - a finished work - even though in human terms His redemptive sacrifice was not accomplished till some time after these words were spoken by our Saviour.
A third Biblical example that shows the principle of how God can refer to something as already existing (the book of the Lord) when from our point of view it doesn’t at all, is found in Ephesians 2:4-6.
Here we read: “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace are ye saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”
God speaks of this glorious redemption and new life from the dead as being a present reality which has already been accomplished - “quickened together with Christ, raised up and seated in the heavenly places” - Yet multiplied millions of us all over the world had not even been born yet, let alone had made some kind of a “decision for Christ”! Yet God refers to them as already done. We are seated together in the heavenly places.
In the same way, the King James Bible believer does not need to somehow trace all the way back in history to try to find any perfect and inerrant Bible that existed before God brought the finished product of the King James Bible on the scene in 1611.
The Sovereign God of history sees the end from the beginning and He can refer to the true “book of the LORD” even when, from our point of view, it wasn’t yet complete nor perfected.
As the King James Bible translators themselves wrote in their Preface: “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 King James Translators also wrote: "Nothing is begun and perfected at the same time, and the later thoughts are the thoughts to be the wiser: so if we build upon their foundation that went before us, and being holpen by their labors, do endeavor to make better which they left so good...if they were alive would thank us...the same will shine as gold more brightly, being rubbed and polished."
The King James Bible believer is the only one today who consistently, historically and logically stands for the doctrinal truths that God has kept His promises to preserve His inspired words and that there really exists such a thing as a complete, inerrant and 100% true Holy Bible.
Remember, God says: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? ...even God who calleth those things which be not as though they were.” (1 Cor. 1:19-20; Romans 4:17
For some additional thoughts on the subject Where was the word of God before 1611 and its purification process please see my article here:
“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” Luke 8:8
"But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant." 1 Corinthians 14:38
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Three good articles about Erasmus, king James and the King James Bible translators by David H. Sorenson.
What about Erasmus - http://av1611.com/kjbp/articles/sorenson-ch10-1.html
What about king James? - http://av1611.com/kjbp/articles/sorenson-ch10-2.html
What about the King James Bible translators - http://av1611.com/kjbp/articles/sorenson-ch10-3.html