From "The Understandable History of the Bible" ©1987 Samuel C. Gipp. Reproduced by permission
For approximately one hundred years now,
a battle has been raging over the question, "Where
is the Word of God?"
Surely we Christians cannot expect a
Christ-rejecting world to accept our Book as its
authority. We can, of course, expect rebellion. We can
expect the world to make attempts to discredit the
Bible's reliability. The battle of the lost theologians
against the Bible has been waged since the Garden of
Hills states: "Although it is often called
the 'Authorized Version,' it actually was never
authorized by any official action on the part of
the Church or State. On the contrary, it's [sic]
universal reception by the common people of all
denominations seems clearly to be another
instance of the providence of God working through
the God-guided usage of the Church."3
Ruckman points out: "As anyone
knows, the A.V. 1611 had no royal backing, no royal
promoting, no act of Parliament behind it, and the
University Press was allowed to print any other
version of the Bible along with it." 4
McClure states concerning the King James Bible:
"Its origin and history so strongly
commended it, that it speedily came into general
use as the standard version, by the common
consent of the English people; and required no
act of parliament nor royal proclamation to
establish it's [sic] authority."5
As well, the footnote from the above
reference in McClure's book reads as follows:
Says Dr. Lee, Principal of the University of
Edinburgh: "I do not find that there was any
canon, proclamation, or act of parliament, to
enforce the use of it. 'The present version' says
Dr. Symonds, as quoted in Anderson's Annuals,
'appears to have made its way, without the
interposition of any authority whatsoever; for it
is not easy to discover any traces of a
proclamation, canon or statute published to
enforce the use of it.' It has been lately
ascertained that neither the King's private
purse, nor the public exchequer, contributed a
farthing toward the expense of the translation or
publication of the work."
Then in the mid to late 1800's a theory
was initiated by two scholars of the names Brooke Foss
Westcott and Fenton John Anthony Hort. This is the theory
that the Traditional Text was a "conflate" text
produced by editors and not merely by scribes. Their
theory has remained over the years, as Darwin's theory of
evolution has remained, just a theory.
It has never been proven and has in fact lost support
over the years. Fuller confirms this when he records
Martin's statement that "the trend of scholars in
more recent years has been away from the original
Their theory will be looked at in depth
in a later chapter of this book.
By 1870 England was ripe for Westcott's
and Hort's radical ideas, and their Greek Text was used
by the Revision Committee of 1871 and by every revision
and version ever since.
The battle began! Which text is closest
to the "originals?" And, of course, the
ultimate question: "Do we have a perfect Bible in
Today, three-quarters of the way through
the Twentieth Century, Christianity is still divided over
the question, "Do we have a perfect Bible in English
today?" This battle will probably continue for the
remainder of this century and well on into the next, if
the Lord tarries His coming.
Do we have a perfect Bible in English
today? This is not an amazing question at all. In fact,
it is quite a natural question that comes to every
Christian at one time or another. Surely a naive babe in
Christ would never approach an unbelieving scholar with
this question and then lay the Bible in his hands so that
he may do with it as he pleases. Surely he would not lay
God's book at man's mercy. If he would, he should not be
surprised when the scholar's answer, flowing in terms not
easily understood, comes back, "No."
Unbelieving scholarship is its own
authority. It does not need any competition from a book!
Unregenerate man goes about believing a theory
that man has evolved and was not created. Yet when this
theory is examined scientifically and logically,
it cannot be proven to be true. Does this upset
the unbeliever? No. He just sets about to believe his
theory, for he knows that believing it allows him to be
his own final authority. He also knows that to reject the
theory of evolution means he must accept creationism as
true, and this he has avowed in his heart not to do. He
does not want to be associated with a few fanatics!
Why is it that this type of reaction is
found when dealing with Christian scholarship concerning
the Bible? Ask a Christian scholar to tell you where the
Word of God is, and he will tell you, "in the
Bible." Yet, hand him any English Bible, and he will
reply, "It's not there." How can we as
fundamental Bible-believers tell people from our pulpits
that the Bible is "infallible, without error, the
very words of God" and then step out of the pulpit
and allege to be able to find a mistake in it? This would
not seem so serious if "the infallible Word of
God" was not one of the doctrines that separates us
from the world. We take pride in thundering forth that we
are not as the unregenerate world, without an
absolute guideline. We have a guideline. We have
the guideline, the Word of God! Then we
hold our open Bible up for all to see and shout,
"This is God's Word! It's perfect, infallible,
inerrant, the very words of God!" Yet in our hearts
we are saying, "I believe all this about the
original; this is just a mistake-filled
Most fundamentalists today vehemently
reject the thought that God has preserved His words in
English. We have "the Bible" they say, but it
isn't in any one English version. Most fundamentalists
never truly realize the weight of their statements when
they say that we have no perfect English Bible. Anyone
who has studied even a little about Greek manuscripts
knows that the Word of God isn't found in any of
the Greek texts when translated literally.
What has started this controversy? From
whence has this division of the brethren come?
The first answer that comes to the mind
of some Christians is that this division has been caused
by a small group of fanatics who think that only the King
James Bible is the Word of God, and who refuse to face
the facts that the oldest and best manuscripts support
the new translations flooding Christianity.
Strangely enough, history points to just
the opposite being true. The text used by the Authorized
Version has been used from the time of the early church
until today by true Christians. It is supported not only
by the vast majority of manuscripts existent today but
also by those of the highest quality and oldest reading.
It has been used throughout history with the blessing of
God among His born again believers.
It is only a recent occurrence that
Biblical Christianity has begun to use the inferior Roman
Catholic manuscripts and asserted that they are better.
This is the mistake garnered by the errant
"scholarship" of Wescott and Hort. These people
are the new young sect of Christianity who will not
accept the oldest and best. Usually unsuspectingly, they
put their support to manuscripts which are decidedly
Roman Catholic in doctrine and history. It is we
who are sure we hold the true words of God brought down
through the centuries by the blood of our martyred
Ironically, those that take up the
"new" versions, with their "better"
Greek text, are voluntarily taking up the Bible which
their early Christian brethren refused to use, a refusal
that brought the Roman Catholic Church, the historic
enemy of the Truth, crashing down on them. That same
Roman Catholic Church is still active against the Truth
today, only now many Christians are using her Bible.
I know that these are strong statements.
I intend throughout this work to prove their truth, but I
state now, that I do not intend to bring railing
accusations on those brethren who do not agree with me. I
will state that they are wrong, prove that they are
wrong, and attempt to point out their position in regard
to God's revealed Word. I do not intend however,
to forget that they are my brethren (those who have
trusted Jesus Christ as their own personal Saviour) and
will treat them as beloved.
The Shot Heard 'Round the World
This one hundred year war of words
started back when the supporters of the Oxford Movement
(apostates) realized that they must discredit the
Reformers and Fundamental theologians in order to support
their Roman Catholic Greek Text in place of the Received
Text. Their salvo was returned by men like Burgon,
Wilson, Scribener, Mauro, Hoskier, Cook, Salmon, Beckett,
Malan and Wilkenson, and continues today with many of our
modern day scholars.
On both sides of the issue, men
are called fanatic, heretic, cultist, Bible-rejecter,
demon-possessed and more. These two sides have fought
until the facts about which they fight are
obscured by the dust of the battle. They call each other
names until the student of Scripture finds reputable men
on both sides of the controversy damaging their
potential influence by using some adjectives which,
indeed, are very descriptive but totally unnecessary. I
am not a soft city gentleman who thinks we should all sit
around and talk in quiet tones while sipping tea and
eating "brunch." I am a militant Bible-believer
who hates the devil, sin, heresy, and apostasy.
Yet, I think it is time that we who claim to be
"fundamentalists" step back and look to see who
our enemy really is!
The True Enemy
The subtle Roman Catholic Church has
assumed the position of the lad who told two of his
enemies, "You and he fight ...
I'll hold the coats!" After all, is not "divide
and conquer" one of the oldest military strategies
known to men? The fundamentalists have laid their coats
at the feet of "Holy Mother Church" and for the
past 100 years proceeded to "knock each others'
block off." Is it any wonder that the Pope smiles so
much? Who is our enemy? Let's find him
and fight him. Today it seems, on both
sides, that we are concerned more with finding fault
with the people that we disagree with rather
than what they teach. Let me make this statement: If
what I believe about the King James Bible can be
disproved, I will gladly trade it in for the
We have an enemy, and I believe we should be
verbal and active against that enemy, but I feel
it is time that we realize that our enemy is not
our brother. It is the one holding his coat!
The part of the Roman Catholic Church in
the affair is similar to that of a soldier leaping into
the foxhole of the enemy, only to find that all of
the enemy soldiers have strangled each other!
Occasionally on either side we will be
forced to face a railer, but instead of "writing him
off" we will have to be charitable and look past his
railing to see what his facts say. If we can disprove his
facts, we need not worry about his mouth!
"Am I therefore become your enemy,
because I tell you the truth?" Galatians 4:16.
What we must do as men of understanding
is look into these statements and the questions which
they naturally provoke.
"For the prophecy came not in old
time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as
they were moved by the Holy Ghost." II Peter 1:21.
Did God inspire His Word perfectly in
the original autographs?
"The words of the LORD are pure
words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified
Thou shalt keep them O LORD, thou shalt
preserve them from this generation for ever." Psalms
Has God preserved His words?
"Heaven and earth shall pass away,
but my words shall not pass away." Matthew 24:35.
Do we have Christ's words, or have they
The first verse, II Peter 1:21,
guarantees that God was active in originating His Word in
the first place. "Inspired" we call it.
Inspired perfectly, without any error. God was the
all-powerful agent in seeing to it that sinful man wrote
down His Word flawlessly.
The second verse, Psalms 12:6, 7, claims
that God is not only the agent in writing His words
(verse 6) but is also the primary agent in preserving His
words. Note that the subject is God's words, not
In the third verse, Matthew 24:35, Jesus
Christ, God in the flesh reinforces what Psalm 12:7 has
already said. Christ said that His words would
not pass away before heaven or earth. Heaven is still
above us, and I am relatively sure that the earth is
still beneath our feet, so the words of God must be here,
within our grasp. Somewhere. If His words are
only in Greek, then he has restricted their usage to an
elite number of scholars. This, however, was never Jesus
Christ's method when He was on this earth. He always went
past the religious, scholarly minority and took His words
to the common people. Until then, only the
Pharisees had possessed God's words in the form of the
completed, accepted Old Testament books, and although
they were well educated and very religious, they were
found to be taking advantage of the common people. Christ
eliminated this problem by going directly to the common
people of His day.
The Gospel is to all. God gave His Word
to every person and gave the Holy Spirit as a guide to
all truth (John 16:13) in spite of the Roman Catholic
teachings that only the "clergy" are allowed to
interpret the Scripture.
If God's words are locked up in the
"Greek Text," then once again education is a
prerequisite to having the Word of God and knowing what
it says. This type of philosophy would have eliminated
Peter and John from the ministry, for they were
"unlearned and ignorant men." They were
unlearned, and the Bible states that they were ignorant
as though incapable of learning. Yet, "they
had been with Jesus"! (Acts 4:12, 13). Jesus Christ
made the difference, giving Peter a great understanding
of Scripture! Notice his delivery in Acts 1:15-22,
2:14-36, 4:8-12. He understood, though unlearned and
ignorant. Education, though beneficial, is not a
necessity for being used of God. I am not anti-education
or anti-college, but the first requirements are that a
person has "been with Jesus" (Acts 4:13) and
that they realize and believe that the written Word which
they have in hand is "more sure" than God's
Now today we know that it is easy to
"be with Jesus." The Bible says in Romans 10:9,
"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord
Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath
raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." In
John 14:20 it says, "At that day ye shall know that
I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you."
But what about the second half? What
about a written Word that we can believe is "more
sure" than God speaking from heaven? A Word which
the Bible claims God has exalted above all of His name?
(Psalms 138:2). Can we have God's words today in our
The Common Language
While on the subject of a common
language, let me point out that many opponents of the
infallibility of the Authorized Version say that if God
put a perfect Bible in English, He is also obligated to
furnish such a translation in every other language. There
must be a perfect Bible in German, French, Japanese and
all of the other languages of the world. Unfortunately
for them, this argument will not stand. There were many
languages on this earth at the time that God chose to put
it in Hebrew. There were hundreds of languages on this
earth also, when God chose Greek for his New Testament.
Matthew 13:18, Acts 13:46, 28:28, and Romans 11:11 show
that God this time was going to be taking His message to
the Gentiles, so He furnished it in the common language
of the day -- Greek.
Question: When would the two Testaments
be combined into one perfect Book?
Answer: As soon as God chose a language
to become common to the entire world. Germany, Spain,
France and most of Europe were soon to be overly
influenced by Rome. No language there. There have been
great Latin and Syrian translations, but these languages
never became common to the entire world. God
needed an island of purity, a nation not shackled by
Romanism, and a language so descriptive and simple that
it could best deliver His message. These needs were
satisfied in England. Here was a people who threw off the
bondage of Rome and a young language which was to creep
into every corner of the world, from the Arctic to the
Antarctic, and from England and America to Moscow and
Peking. English is the language of this world!
English is taught to Russian pilots,
because it is universal. It is learned by
Oriental businessmen, because it is universal.
It was the first language spoken on the moon!
English is spoken the world over. This is the language
God would use. Being a God of purity, He would want to
use it in its purest form. The English of the King James
Bible has been known to be the finest form of the
language ever used. McClure praises the Authorized
Version in this manner:
"The English language has passed through
many and great changes, and had at last reached
the very height of its purity and strength. The
Bible has ever since been the great English
classic. It is still the noblest monument of the
power of the English speech. It is singularly
free from what used to be called 'ink-horn terms'
that is, such words as are more used in writing
than in speaking, and are not well understood
except by scholars."7
The English language was, in the 17th
Century, just solidifying. It had been a fluid language,
made up of elements of Danish, Old Norse, Latin, Greek,
French, and many other dialects.
In about 1500, major changes in vocal
pronunciation, inflection, and spelling simplified and
helped solidify the language.8 This was all in
preparation for the ultimate English work, the Authorized
Version of 1611.
Many claim today that since the
Authorized Version was printed in the common English of
that day, that the Bible should be retranslated into the
common English of today, but this is not a valid claim.
It must be remembered that the English used in the
Authorized Version was not only the common language, but
it was also the English language in its purest form. The
English language has degenerated from what it was in 1611
to what it is today. Those claiming to put the Bible in
"modern English" are actually, though possibly
not intentionally, trying to force the pure words of God
into the degenerated vocabulary of today! What a disgrace
to God's Word! What a shame to those who propose such a
The Archaic Con Job
A charge often brought against the
Authorized Version is that it is full of
"archaic" words. But are we to make the Bible
pay the penalty of our own irresponsibility in not
keeping our language pure and descriptive? Would we not
be richer to learn the meaning of those nasty, old,
"archaic" words and add them back into our own
vocabulary? Would we not be making the Bible poorer by
depriving it of its descriptive style? Are these words
truly "archaic?" I have seen stores today that
still advertise "sundry" items. Perhaps the
store owner didn't realize that it was supposed to be
archaic. Perhaps it is like the fish caught off the
Atlantic Coast a few years ago which was supposed to have
been extinct for over one million years. Of course
it was extinct! It just didn't know it! Science
said it was extinct, so it must be. (They first
had better prove that the world was here one
million years ago.)
Let us look at the word
"conversation" in Philippians 1:27 and see how
God chose the most descriptive words He could. Is not
"conversation" a much more descriptive
term than "life?" When we realize that our life
speaks to people then we must live our
Christianity, not talk it. The Authorized
Version obviously gives us a deeper meaning.
What about words whose usage has
definitely been dropped from modern English? Those words
which are just not used anymore? What shall we do with
them? In answer to this question, let us remember that
the Bible is The Word of God. We "Bible
people" claim to accept its authority in all matters
of faith and practice. But do we? Do we accept the
Biblical practice of how to deal with situations today?
Would we be willing to accept the Biblical example
of how to deal with words whose meanings have changed?
Let us look and learn and follow
the Bible example of handling
"archaic" words. Surely the Bible, God's Word,
cannot be wrong! Let us look at I Samuel chapter 9.
1. "Now there was a man of Benjamin,
whose name was Kish, the son of Abiel, the son of
Zeror, the son of Bechorath, the son of Aphiah, a
Benjamite, a mighty man of power.
2. And he had a son, whose name was Saul, a
choice young man, and a goodly: and there was not
among the children of Israel a goodlier person
than he: from his shoulders and upward he was
higher than any of the people.
3. And the asses of Kish Saul's father were
lost. And Kish said to Saul his son, Take now one
of the servants with thee, and arise, go seek the
asses." (I Sam. 9:1-3)
These verses give us the circumstances
involved. After searching fruitlessly for his father's
asses, Saul decided to give up, fearing that his father,
Kish, may begin to worry about Saul and his servant.
6. "And he said unto him, Behold now,
there is in this city a man of God, and he is an
honourable man; all that he saith cometh surely
to pass: now let us go thither, peradventure he
can shew us our way that we should go.
7. Then said Saul to his servant, But,
behold, if we go, what shall we bring the man?
for the bread is spent in our vessels, and there
is not a present to bring to the man of God: what
8. And the servant answered Saul again, and
said, Behold, I have here at hand the fourth part
of a shekel of silver: that will I give to the
man of God, to tell us our way.' (I Sam. 9:6-8)
Now let us watch very carefully, for an
"archaic" word is about to make its appearance
in the next verse. But before it can, God inserts a note
to the reader!
9. "(Beforetime in Israel, when a man
went to enquire of God, thus he spake, Come and
let us go to the seer: for he that is now called
a Prophet was beforetime called a Seer.)" (I
God knows that the word "seer"
is no longer in common usage; it is archaic. He
defines it so that we will better understand His choice
of words. Is this changing the text? No! Look at the
following two verses.
10. "Then said Saul to his servant, Well
said; come, let us go. So they went unto the city
where the man of God was.
11. And as they went up the hill to the city,
they found young maidens going out to draw water,
and said unto them, Is the seer here?" (I
Notice in verse 11 God leaves the
"archaic" word in the text! He does not
change it to "prophet." He does not
change the text. God gives us a definition of the word
which He chose to use in the text, but He does not
give us a "modern" or "updated"
edition. This is the Biblical example of how God
handles an "archaic" word without rewriting the
"We fundamentalists accept the
authority of the Bible in all matters of faith and practice."
I suggest we practice this method. Define what a
word, whose definition has become cloudy through the
changes in the English language, really means. I am not
advising "running to the Greek." I am advising
"running to the dictionary" and letting the
text stand as it reads without the derogatory remarks
about "archaic" words and "out of date
usage." Let us respect God's text more than that.
God has given us every word; we do well
to accept them from Him as they are and not attempt to
"improve" on them. As one great preacher said,
"The Bible doesn't need to be re-written, it needs
to be reread." I concur. Born again Christians are
intended to be "Bible people." Are we not
expected to read the Book we claim so loudly to believe?
Upon receiving a lengthy letter from
home, does a lonely soldier proceed to the third page to
begin his reading? After page 3 does he "speed
read" page 4, skip page 5, and read half of page 6?
Does he attempt to understand the last page and then
proceed to the first? Ridiculous isn't it? Yet it
describes the Bible reading habits of many of God's
people. Obviously, our soldier, so far away from the home
he loves and the writer of his letter, is going to devour
every word of this letter and upon finishing it,
he will read it again -- every word.
God sent us, His homesick
soldiers, a "letter from home," yet we steadily
refuse to read it. He didn't give us the whole Book just
so that we could read the Psalms. We are expected to read
Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy as well as John,
Acts, and Romans. The same author who inspired I and II
Corinthians placed every bit as much inspiration into I
and II Chronicles. We are to read Malachi as well as
Revelation. God has given us every word of the
Bible. We are to start at the beginning and read every
word! Upon reaching Revelation 22:21, we are not
expected to quietly lay the Bible aside as if our work
has been done. We are to begin afresh at Genesis 1:1.
There are only two events that should stop a Christian
from reading through his Bible continuously, cover to
cover: death and the rapture. All other
"reasons" are really weak excuses. We are to read
Many exclaim, "But I can't
understand it! There are portions with deep and difficult
meanings." They find a difficult passage, give God
approximately five minutes to deliver the answer, and
then turn to a "better translation" or a Bible
commentary for the answer. They are like the
four-year-old child who wishes to drive a car. He
sincerely wants to drive a car. His motive for wanting to
drive may be pure. He believes that he can handle the
job, and he wants the answer now. He will not
only be refused permission to drive the car, but he as
yet won't even be allowed on a bicycle. He cannot handle
anything larger than a tricycle. As he matures, he will
"graduate" to bigger and more complicated
This is true with our English Bible. We
begin to read through it for the first time and ask God a
question, the answer of which we just cannot handle until
our fourth or fifth or sixth time through. We sincerely
want the answer. Our motive may be pure. We believe that
we can handle the answer, and we want it now.
God will not show us on our first time through
the Bible what He has ready for us on our tenth or
eleventh time through. We must grow, and there are no
shortcuts. A shelf full of Bible commentaries and other
translations is an attempt at a shortcut, but it will not
work. I am not opposed to Bible commentaries. I am
opposed to their de-emphasizing the Bible and replacing
the Holy Spirit. I am in favor of intensifying our
reading time in the only authority we have, the
But why the Authorized Version? Who says
we have to use only this particular translation? Why
couldn't some other version be perfect in English instead
of the Authorized Version?
To get the answers to these questions,
we will have to take our hands off each other's throats
long enough to examine the evidence which has come down
to us through history. First, let's study where the
manuscripts came from.