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The 1611 Embarrassment To Hyper-Fundamentalism

05/15/2018
Seek The Truth Blog

The 1611 Embarrassment To Hyper-Fundamentalism:

Many hyper-fundamentalist groups indoctrinate their followers to militantly defend the New King James Version Bible as the ultimate translation, ultimate authority, and effectively "only accurate" version of the Christian Bible. In doing so, they are not only promoting ignorance of the vast amount of complex history behind their freedom to read the Bible in their own language, they are in direct violation of the instructions given to readers by the fifty-four translators who originally produced the manuscript through the authority of King James VI and I.

In the original King James Version of 1611, an eleven-page preface introduced the Bible Canon that was the combination of multiple translations of translations from the original Greek and Hebrew into multiple variations of Greek, Latin, and other languages. The translators, aware of the unavoidable errors due to the complexity, openly discussed what they described as "imperfections and blemishes", and gave examples to further explain their struggle. The extent of which was so great that they did not feel the result of their work was worthy of being a replacement translation; it was simply the best translation possible that could be created by improving the previous ones. Some of the discrepancies between translations were so great, they admitted, that one could not rely on their text as the literal truth. For these instances, the King James translators provided both examples and explanations. Like any who study the history of the text would agree, and as St. Augustine noted, a "variety of translations is profitable for finding out the sense of the Scriptures".

From the 1611 KJV Translators:
Now to the later we answere; that wee doe not deny, nay wee affirme and avow, that the very meanest translation of the Bible in English, set foorth by men of our profession (for wee have seene none of theirs of the whole Bible as yet) containeth the word of God, nay, is the word of God. As the Kings Speech which hee uttered in Parliament, being translated into French, Dutch, Italian and Latine, is still the Kings Speech, though it be not interpreted by every Translator with the like grace, nor peradventure so fitly for phrase, nor so expresly for sence, every where. For it is confessed, that things are to take their denomination of the greater part; and a naturall man could say, Verùm ubi multa nitent in carmine, non ego paucis offendor maculis, &c. A man may be counted a vertuous man, though hee have made many slips in his life, (els, there were none vertuous, for in many things we offend all) also a comely man and lovely, though hee have some warts upon his hand, yea, not onely freakles upon his face, but all skarres. No cause therefore why the word translated should bee denied to be the word, or forbidden to be currant, notwithstanding that some imperfections and blemishes may be noted in the setting foorth of it. For what ever was perfect under the Sunne, where Apostles or Apostolike men, that is, men indued with an extraordinary measure of Gods spirit, and priviledged with the priviledge of infallibilitie, had not their hand? The Romanistes therefore in refusing to heare, and daring to burne the Word translated, did no lesse then despite the spirit of grace, from whom originally it proceeded, and whose sense and meaning, as well as mans weaknesse would enable, it did expresse. Judge by an example or two. Plutarch writeth, that after that Rome had beene burnt by the Galles, they fell soone to builde it againe: but doing it in haste, they did not cast the streets, nor proportion the houses in such comely fashion, as had bene most sightly and convenient; was Catiline therefore an honest man, or a good Patriot, that sought to bring it to a combustion? or Nero a good Prince, that did indeed set it on fire? So, by the story of Ezrah, and the prophesie of Haggai it may be gathered, that the Temple build by Zerubbabel after the returne from Babylon, was by no meanes to bee compared to the former built by Solomon (for they that remembred the former, wept when they considered the latter) notwithstanding, might this later either have bene abhorred and forsaken by the Jewes, or prophaned by the Greekes? The like wee are to thinke of Translations. The translation of the Seventie dissenteth from the Originall in many places, neither doeth it come neere it, for perspicuitie, gratvitie, majestie; yet which of the Apostles did condemne it? Condemne it? Nay, they used it, (as it is apparent, and as Saint Jerome and most learned men doe confesse) which they would not have done, nor by their example of using it, so grace and commend it to the Church, if it had bene unworthy the appellation and name of the word of God.
- 1611 King James Bible Preface

At the same time, the KJV translators took liberties with their choice of wording, which they failed to admit in the preface. The most obvious example of this is found in 1 Corinthians 13, when a translator chose the word "charity" instead of "love" to translate the word "agape" (Greek for divine love). While some translators correctly translated "agape" to "love" in several instances throughout the KJV, other translators (or likely one small group of translators) incorrectly chose "charity" -- which had a different meaning both in the early 1600's and in today's English. Though it could be argued that there is no harm in their mistake, or even that promoting charitable contributions was beneficial to the Cristian community, this translation has been abused by many situations. It is especially noticeable among the hyper-fundamentalist groups who practice forced Old Covenant tithing while ignoring the entire set of laws surrounding tithing in the Mosaic Law.

Those who leave hyper-fundamentalist groups must be aware of the complex issues with translation in order to better understand the Protestant faith and ultimately the Christian religion. The hardcore stance to preserve one single translation as authoritative is a relatively new concept and one that originated with those whose doctrine often conflicts with the overarching themes of the text of other translations. Instead of favoring accuracy, these groups favor specific wording by the King James translators who cautioned readers about an inaccurate result. Those who were aware of the text variance during the translation process were fully in favor of and even promoted text criticism. Their motive was to produce the most accurate result possible while understanding that without the original manuscripts, some variance could never be eliminated.