HAIL TO THE KING?
AN UP-CLOSE LOOK AT THE KING JAMES BIBLE
by John Weston
I've met quite a few individuals whom swear by and will only accept the KJV of the Bible. So I thought I'd check it out and see what all the hype was about.
It seems the main point of the pro-KJVers is that it's the "authorized" Bible. Which begs one to wonder: "Authorized by whom?" Well, most people will attest that it was authorized by King James, the king of England, and this is true. But only to the extent that the king authorized the English version. In the publisher's preface of my copy, of the original 1611, we read:
"Because he was the King of England and because he sanctioned and supported this revision of the English translations, it is natural to associate this Bible with King James. Just be aware that James did not translate nor edit any of its contents. However, the royal family of England has perpetual Crown Copyright of the version of 1611 and still receives royalties within the British Commonwealth."
One of the die-hard KJVers I came across stated that all the other version of the Bible were done "only for the money, they did it for the money." Yet the above shows that the royal family must be in it for the money, too!
Incidentally, the King James Bible wasn't originally the King James Bible at all. It was the King Iames Bible. The letter "j" did not exist in any language on this planet before the mid 15th century, and was not commonplace in England until 1630 [Encyclopedia Americana Vol 15 c. 1978, pg. 636].
I just happen to own an "authorized" 1611 copy of the King Iames Bible, and it is dedicated as such:
"To the most high and mightie prince, Iames by the grace of God King of Great Britaine, France, and Ireland, defender of the faith, &c."
Now, the modern versions of the highly coveted KJV Bible are NOT the same as the "authorized" version. In the 1611 version, there are fourteen additional books known as the Apocrypha. Apparently, they were "authorized" and then "unauthorized" later. Did King Iames get overturned?
Of further interest to this author is the fact that there exists no "j"'s in the 1611 version, as stated with the original "King Iames". But this also includes no Jesus, James, John, Jerusalem, Jordan, Jacob, Jonah, and every other name and/or word that would contain the "j" letter. "Iesvs" is used for Jesus since Jesus was unheard of before 500 years ago. The Greek manuscripts contain no "j" either, as there is no "j" in Greek. "Ieusus" was the Greek manuscript name. The true Hebrew name for the Messiah or Christ is Yahushua, meaning "Yahu Saves."
It should be known, and is readily acknowledged in the historical commentary of my 1611 copy, that the 1611 KJV Bible is largely a copy of the 1537 Matthews Bible translated and compiled by William Tyndale, Myles Coverdale, and John Rogers. The historical commentary of the 1611 copy states:
"Indeed, so well-accepted were Tyndale's renderings that they accounted for over eighty percent of the 1611 King James version's New Testament" (Introduction, p. ix).
This author also happens to have a copy of the 1537 Matthews Bible and has compared it with the 1611 KJV, and can attest that it does indeed strongly resemble the 1611 KJV. This adds further credence to the idea that the 1611 KJV is largely a copy of the 1537 Matthews Bible.
But can the 1537 Matthews Bible boast about being an "authorized" translation? Yes, it is written in the introduction of my 1537 copy. Dr. Joseph W. Johnson writes:
"...Less than a year after William Tyndale has been burned at the stake for translating the Scriptures into the language of the common man, the entirety of his work was published in a single volume—one that was licensed by his royal foe, King Henry VIII."
Since 1611, the KJV Bible has been revised no less than 30 times. As the publisher's preface states in my 1611 copy:
"...until the advent of modern photo-mechanical printing processes and digital data archiving, no two prints of the KJV were precisely the same." It goes on to say: "Printers, often scholars in their own right, saw no problem in changing the spelling and punctuation as they typeset their editions. This practice of intentional changes, as well as the introduction of unintentional errors, led to significant official revisions in the last three centuries."
The translators of the 1611 KJV Bible were clearly convoluted into believing the false translation of God's personal name when they rendered it as "I-E-H-O-V-A-H", which in newer versions is rendered as "J-E-H-O-V-A-H."
"The pronunciation 'Jehovah" was unknown until 1520 AD, when it was introduced by [Petrus] Galatinus; but was contested by Le Mercier, J. Drusuis, and L. Capellus as against grammatical and historical propriety." —Brown, Driver-Briggs, Hebrew-English Lexicon, p. 217
So one must beg to wonder, did the translators really translate from the original Hebrew and English manuscripts, Latin Vulgate, etc., or did they simply accept someone else's "modern" ideas—as is obviously the case with the translations with the Father's name?
It is interesting to note that "Iehovah" also exists in the 1537 Matthews Bible. Iehovah was invented in 1520, used in the 1537 Matthews Bible, and copied in the 1611 KJV Bible? And all while it was contested by the Hebrew-English Lexicon experts.
I was given numerous pamphlets of pro-KJV, anti-other-translation Bibles, and, in every single pamphlet, the main focus is in the wording of numerous scriptures. Yet every time I put the other translations to the test, the context and meanings are nearly always the same, regardless of which specific word is used.
It seems the pro-KJVers are too focused on exact wording than meaning or contexts of the scriptures. In my opinion, the Holy Spirit is exactly a Spirit, and we are told that God is Spirit and his worshipers will worship him in Spirit and in truth. Yet the KJVers prefers the term "ghost." So are they insinuating that God is a ghost? Such a big issue is made of the other translations using Spirit rather than Ghost when referring to the same exact being. Yet if we only use ghost, then we must call our God a ghost.
I, for one, don't believe God to be a ghost. But a Spirit and Holy, yes, indeed. Spirit is, in my opinion, the more correct word.
An example of how ludicrous those nitpicking anti-other-Bible-translation-tract gets is that they take issue that the KJV uses "firstborn" in Matthew 1:25.
"And knewe her not, till shee had brought forth her first borne sonne, and he called his name Iesus"
—KJV, 1611 version
Now my NIV states:
"But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he named him Jesus."
Since "Mary" was a virgin pregnant by the Holy SPIRIT, it's clearly plain to see that this would be her "firstborn" child. It goes without saying. Any intelligent being reading the story would already know this would be the firstborn child. But our KJVers take issue with the word not being there because they, of course, have the only possible translation—in their minds, that is.
Incidentally, my 1537 Matthews Bible doesn't say "firstborn" either. It says, "hyr fyrst sonne."
So, since the 1537 Matthews Bible was also an "authorized" translation, authorized by King Henry VIII, and there are some differences between the 1537 Matthews and the 1611 King Iames Bible, could one argue that the Matthews Bible is the standard since it predates the KJV, and that all the differences are the result of the KJV being a poor translation or a non-acceptable translation? This appears to be the argument with the KJV verses in all other translations, so we can certainly apply it to the KJV too, right?
Again, I have compared the KJV, 1611 KJV, 1537 Matthews, NIV, NASB, JSP Hebrew-English TaNaKh, The Scriptures (ISR), and NKJV—and I have yet to find anything that differs in wording enough to create any major doctrinal differences. For the most part, the context remains the same. If one prefers KJV over the NIV or NASB, then goody for you.
But to assert that the KJV, especially in view of this essay, is any greater, or the only "authorized", or acceptable, or the standard, is purely poppycock in this author's opinion and is clearly disaproved here.
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