Thoughts of a messed up Christian saved by God's grace

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

And his bishopric let another take

      In my Sunday School class, we are doing most of the year on apologetics, with a break every once in a while on an obscure person of the Bible - a person we don't know much about, but is mentioned usually very briefly in the Bible. This week's lesson was on Matthias and Joseph Barsabbas, the two men they picked between to replace Judas as an apostle in the first chapter of Acts. The Sunday School  teacher was reading aloud the verses he had selected from that chapter, pausing to comment occasionally. I was reading ahead, and my eyes fell on verse 20, which says:

"For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishopric let another take."

  Bishopric? What on earth is that?

   My church uses the King James Version of the Bible, which is the version I was raised on. Occasionally, my pastor will brave the rabid KJV only people in the congregation and read from the NKJV for the verses used for his sermon, but for the most part it is KJV.

 And that is the version this weird word appears in.

 I was using my Bible app, so I went to the versions page and picked one of my favorites, the CEV(Contemporary English Version) and pulled the verse up again:

"In the book of Psalms it says,

"Leave his house empty,
and don't let anyone
    live there."

It also says,

"Let someone else
    have his job."

  Job. Ah, that makes a lot more sense. I checked a few other versions and the word was also interpreted "office" in some.

    I am not anti-King James Version, but rarely use it. I can't remember the last time I used it outside of church, preferring to use other versions at home in my personal devotions and for other Bible-related things. I would rather read versions with updated language that don't use words like thou, thine, lovest, and other outdated words.

  When I pray, I don't talk like that, nor do I talk that way to anyone. "How art thou today? Lovest thou the day we are having? Has anyone taken your bishopric at the job you just quit?"

  The KJV translation was done at the order of a very immoral king. Could that have affected the translation any? I don't know, but it is amazing how fired up and self righteous people can get about being KJV only. I say self-righteous, because I think they are being that and a tad bit hypocritical. Yes, hypocritical.

  No one that I know of reads the original King James Bible. What we have as our King James Bible is an updated version of the 1611 translation.... hmm, almost sounds like the NKJV, an updated version of the KJV.......exactly! The same people condemning anyone who dares use a more modern translation than the KJV are themselves using a more modern translation than the original KJV. Yes, hypocrisy thy name is KJV only people.

  And no, I am not putting all KJV people in the same category. I know a lot of people who prefer the KJV, and that is fine. What is not fine, is the ones who condemn other translations and people who use them and spend a lot of time putting down those translations and those who use them. Those are the people I have a problem with...... the ones who pull their righteous robes around them and proudly announce they use only the KJV.

  I actually own a copy of the 1611 KJV Bible.... and wow. I challenge anyone to read it.

   There seems to be an almost idolization of this version of the Bible by many. The idea that this one translation done 400 years ago is the only translation that is infallible and perfect, and we cannot use any other and truly have God's Word....that is arrogant, silly, and wrong. Is every translation since then good? No, but there are several that are. If the KJV is the only Bible that is truly God's Word, one has to wonder about all of the poor souls prior to the KJV....how on earth did they serve God and make to to Heaven without the KJV? Is it possible they missed Heaven because they lived before King James ordered the perfect and flawless translation that is the only true Word of God? (Sarcasm intended)

  But let's be realistic and serious: can we truly say this one translation done so many years ago is the best and only translation that we should use? Who has the authority to make that decision? I know of no man who has the authority or perfect knowledge to make that decision for all of Christendom......and it is arrogant to make the claim that one knows that for sure.

  But yet there are several out there trying to do such a thing.

  Ironically, the newer translations have been translated using way more manuscripts than were available when they did the KJV translation. Interesting....

  So go ahead and read the KJV if you prefer it. That is your prerogative and your right. But it isn't your right to tell other Christians that we must use that translation.

  Meanwhile, I will be reading translations I prefer and getting more out of my Bible reading than if I were only using the KJV. You could even say that other versions have taken the bishopric of the KJV in my Bible reading.....

And for further reading, 7 things you may not know about the King James Version (taken from here):

7 things you may not know about the King James Bible

By Margaret Mowczko

The King James Version of the Bible is a great translation and has helped countless
thousands of people to find and know God, to receive his gift of salvation, and to effectively
serve him and his people. The Bible was beautifully written by some of the best scholars of
the day, and its reputation as fine literature is deserved.

Some Christians today maintain that the KJV is the superior English translation. Some
Christians and churches are so enamored with the KJV that they refuse to use, or give
credit to, any other Bible. The stance of these Christians has been referred to as KingJames-Onlyism
The KJV is an excellent English Bible and if you can easily understand it there is no real
reason to change to another English translation. However, one of the biggest shortcomings
for most people is its dated language.

The KJV uses many archaic words: words such as “jangling”, “subtil”, “privily”, and “holpen”,
etc. And it uses archaic expressions that are unfamiliar to modern readers and audiences.
For instance, how many people readily understand “Charity vaunteth not itself” (1 Cor.
13:4c). The earlier editions of the KJV also used spelling that is outdated, such as sunne for
“sun”. Moreover, the edition of the KJV that is still commonly used contains several words
which have changed in meaning over time. Words such as "suffer, “vile”, “conversation”
and “quit” convey a very different meaning to modern readers than was intended by the
translators. (See Matt. 19:14 KJV; Phil. 3:20-21 KJV; 1 Cor. 16:13 KJV, etc.) The fact that the
KJV uses the word “unicorn” nine times in the Old Testament is also problematic, as a
unicorn is regarded as a mythological creature rather than a real animal.

Apart from its dated language, there are a few other shortcomings of the KJV. KJV-only
people seem unaware of these shortcomings. Moreover, many accept incorrect statements
that are frequently made about the KJV. The following paragraphs contain seven pieces of
information that some KJV-only Christians may not be aware of.

(1) The KJV was not the first English translation.

A few King-James-Only Christians believe that the King James Bible was the first English
translation of the Scriptures. This is incorrect. John Wycliffe’s Bible was translated from
Latin into English and hand copied in the 1400s. In 1526, almost 100 years before the KJV
was first published, William Tyndale's English translation of the Greek New Testament was
published. “After Tyndale's, a number of other versions were produced. Among them were
the Coverdale Bible, the Matthews Bible, the Great Bible, the Geneva Bible, and the Bishops'
Bible.”[1] In fact much of the KJV borrows heavily from earlier English translations,
especially the Bishop’s Bible.

(2) The KJV has been revised several times.

Some King-James-Only Christians believe that the King James Bible perfectly preserved the
Scriptures for all time. If this is the case there would have been no need for further edits.
The current edition of the KJV is different from the original 1611 translation and several
other early editions. “The KJV Bible we use today is actually based primarily on the major
revision completed in 1769 - 158 years after the first edition.”

(3) All early editions of the KJV contained the apocryphal books.

The 1611 version, and all other editions of the KJV that were published for the next fifty
years, contained the Apocrypha. Protestant Christians do not regard the apocryphal books
as uniquely inspired and authoritative. The 1666 edition was the first edition of the KJV that
did not include these extra books that are not included in the canon of Holy Scripture.

(4) King James authorized the new Bible translation for political reasons.

King James believed that a single ‘Authorized Version’ was a political and social necessity.
He hoped this book would hold together the warring factions of the Church of England and
the Puritans which threatened to tear apart both church and country.[3] Most of the
translators, however, were clergymen belonging to the Church of England, but at least some
had Puritan sympathies.

King James issued over a dozen rules that the translators had to follow. King James disliked
the Geneva Bible, the Bible used by the Puritans, because he believed that some of the
commentary in the margin notes did not show enough respect for kings.[4] James' new
translation was to have no commentary in the margins.

King James favored the hierarchical structure of the Church of England and wanted the
new translation to keep words that supported a bishop led hierarchy. In keeping with
James' preferred views on church government he specified, "The old ecclesiastical words
[are] to be kept; as the word church [is] not to be translated congregation." (I personally
believe that congregation is a better translation in some instances.) King James also ruled
that only his new Bible could be read in England's churches. The translation rules of King
James can be found here. The political motives of King James had a direct influence on the
translation of the KJV.

(5) The translators of the KJV 1611 were untrained in Koine Greek.

Koine (common) Greek is the original language of the New Testament. Koine Greek had
been a dead language for over a thousand years when the KJV was published for the first
time in 1611. The translators of the KJV didn't even know what Koine Greek was. Some
people believed that the Greek language of the NT was a unique Spirit-inspired dialect.[5] It
was not until the late 1800s and during the 1900s, when tens of thousands of papyri
documents were discovered - many written in Koine, that we could begin to understand the
language more fully.[6] Unlike the translators of the KJV, modern translators of the New
Testament are scholars of Koine Greek.

(6) The KJV translation of the NT is based on relatively recent Greek manuscripts.

As well as relying on previous English translations, the 1611 edition of the KJV relied on a
critically edited Greek text that was “for the most part based on about half a dozen very late
manuscripts (none earlier than the 12th century AD)."[7] These late manuscripts include
editions of the Greek New Testament by Erasmus[8], as well as Robert Estienne's (a.k.a.
‘Stephanus’) edition (1550), and Theodore Beza's edition (1598). Unfortunately, one of the
manuscripts Estienne and Beza used for their Greek editions contained a few "corrections"
that downplayed the importance of women in the church.[9]

(7) The early editions of the KJV are not based on the Received Text.

Most KJV advocates claim that the KJV was translated from a Greek text known as the
Textus Receptus (TR) and that the TR is especially accurate and inspired. However the TR
did not exist in 1611 when the first King James Bible was published. The first TR was written
in the 1633. “The TR used today is normally the one created by Scrivener in 1894, which
took as its basis the English translation of the KJV, giving the reader the Greek textual
choices made by the KJV translators.”[10] Conversely, most modern translations of the New
Testament are based on critical texts which take into account much more ancient, and much
less handled, Greek manuscripts. A few of these Greek manuscripts date from as early as
the third century.

Other Criticisms and Considerations

One of the criticisms leveled at some newer English translations is that the New Testament
was translated from the Westcott and Hort Greek New Testament. However, the 2011
edition of the New International Version (NIV) is based on the 27th edition of the NestleAland/United

Bible Societies' Greek New Testament which is a critical text that takes into
consideration all known Greek manuscripts, and lectionary quotes, of the New
Testament.[11] Any criticism of the Westcott and Hort text, or the men themselves - and
much of the criticism has been misleading and outright slander - has no relevance
whatsoever to the latest edition of the NIV and other modern translations.

Another criticism of newer translations is that some words and phrases, and even a few
passages, that are included in the KJV are absent in newer translations. These are not
omissions. Rather, these words and phrases are additions in the KJV. These additions are
absent in the more ancient Greek manuscripts. Most modern translations still acknowledge
the traditional additions in some way (e.g. margin notes, footnotes, or in a different font,

The King James Version is a good translation, but I believe the NIV (2011) to be better. I
mostly read the New Testament in Greek, but the English translations I use, roughly in order
of preference, are: the NIV (2011), the New American Standard Bible (NASB), the New
Revised Standard Version (NRSV), and the King James Version (KJV). Most of the other,
better known English translations are fine too.

It is most important that we read a Bible that we can understand. The New Testament was
originally written in common, everyday Greek - a language that almost everyone in the
Roman Empire (the world of the New Testament) could easily understand. We need
modern English translations of the Bible for modern audiences.

1 comment:

  1. Fair points on the KJV which I enjoyed reading. But what does the verse itself, in whatever version, show us about the character of God, who we are in Christ, or, after those are established, how we treat each other? That's what I was looking for when I saw someone blogged on that verse. I look forward to conversing with you if you have any interest.