Bruce Lackey

"The King James Version was the only Bible available to most English-speaking people for centuries. The manuscripts from which it was translated were used by the majority of believers through the centuries. Thus they represent the Word of God which He promised to preserve for all generations. ‘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’ (Psalm 12:6-7). ‘For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations’ (Psalm 100:5).

"Almost every modern version has been made from manuscripts which were rather recently discovered, though they claim to be more ancient. These are highly touted to be more accurate than those from which the King James Version came, and have led to the charge that many errors exist in the KJV. It is the author’s experience that this has caused many people to doubt whether there is any Bible in the world today that is accurate, infallible, or dependable. ...

"When the so-called facts of textual criticism produce doubt in the Bible which people have had for centuries, they should be considered as no better than the so-called facts of evolution. In reality, there are very few "facts" in textual criticism today. It is very difficult to get textual critics to agree on their conclusions which are drawn from the principles which most of them accept. Even a cursory study of the material available on the subject today reveals that there is much personal opinion and bias regarding which manuscripts are the oldest or best. ...

"The most serious problem created by the multiplicity of versions and half-truths from textual critics is that many believe that we have no accurate, infallible Bible anywhere in the world today. To say that it exists in all the versions is to say, in effect, that you can not find it, since no one can agree on the best way to resolve all the differences in the versions.

"To say that the various differences in versions are unimportant is to raise a basic question: Why make them? If there is no basic difference, why do we need them? ... Every version claims to be ‘more accurate ... more understandable,’ but when faced with the problem of difference with others, almost every scholar, professor, translator, and textual critic says that no major doctrine is affected, and that the differences are minor and relatively unimportant. One wonders if the motive for more and more translations might not be commercial, rather than spiritual.

"The fact is that many a Christian has had doubts, fears, and skepticism instilled in his mind by these claims of discovering ‘more accurate manuscripts.’ ...

"If we believe God’s promises of preservation, we must believe that the Bible which has been available to all generations is that which God has preserved. Conversely, that which was hidden was not God’s truth, ‘which endureth to all generations’" (Lackey, Can You Trust Your Bible?, Chattanooga, Tenn., BIMI Publications, copyright 1980, pp. 48-52).

"‘Atonement,’ in Rom. 5:11, is said to be another error, since it comes from the Greek word (KATALLAGE) which is always translated ‘reconciliation’ in other places. It is also supposed to show doctrinal error, since ‘atonement’ describes a temporary condition which the Old Testament saint had, whereas ‘reconciliation’ describes the permanent condition of the New Testament believer. If all this is so, why did the KJV translators choose a different word in this place, from all others in the New Testament? The word ‘now’ indicates that they evidently believed the Old Testament doctrine of atonement to be fulfilled in the one great sacrifice of the Lord Jesus. We have ‘now’ received that which was only foreshadowed and promised in every bloody sacrifice that was made before the cross. There is no error here; if the KJV translators were intelligent enough to use ‘reconciliation’ every other instance in the New Testament, they surely must have had a good reason for choosing ‘atonement’ in Rom. 5:11. Every translator knows that in all translation there will be some interpretation. Such is unavoidable. This instance is obviously a matter of their interpretation, which, by the way, is clearly a correct one. Every Bible-believer knows that the sacrifice of Christ fulfilled all that was foreshadowed in the many sacrifices of the Old Testament. Again we see that, before one charges error, it is a good idea to stop and think about what is actually being said and try to find a reason why a different word was chosen. When such is done, there will always be a great and precious truth learned.

"‘Devils’ is another word that the critics delight in pouncing on, as a wrong translation. Everyone knows, they say, that there is only one devil (Satan), but many demons. Also, the Greek word from which ‘devils’ comes (DAIMON, and cognates) is different from that which refers to Satan (DIABOLOS). Again, a little investigation will prove this charge to be foolish, to say the least, and ignorant, at the most. Consider:

"(1) The word translated ‘devil,’ when referring to Satan, does not always refer to him; DIABOLOS is translated ‘slanderers’ in 1 Tim. 3:11, ‘false accusers’ in 2 Tim. 3:3 and Tit. 2:3. In all three places, it refers to human beings. Again, we see the necessity of translating in a manner which will be understood by the readers.

"(2) Devil in the English language has multiple meanings; it may refer to Satan, demons, a very wicked person, an unlikely person (that poor devil), a printer’s devil (apprentice or errand boy), and various other persons, as any good English dictionary would show. To say that ‘devil’ is an erroneous translation, because it can only refer to Satan, is to ignore the dictionary!

We must say, again, that no translation always renders a particular Greek word with the same English word in all places. In all translations there is some interpretation. Translators must use words which the people will understand. To say that calling a demon a devil is an error is to show ignorance of the English language.

"Then, someone is always trying to show that a particular verb tense has been wrongly translated. It has been well said that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, and this can correctly be applied to a little knowledge of Greek. To assume that the aorist tense, for instance, always means punctiliar action, is to ignore what Greek grammars teach: Greek tenses have flexible meanings and must be interpreted according to context. For example, the word ‘building’ in John 2:20 is aorist, but it cannot describe action which happened ‘at once,’ as some people insist that the aorist always does. In that sentence, the Jews were referring to the 46 years which were required for the building of the temple. Forty-six years is certainly not ‘at once’!

"2 Cor. 11:4 is supposed to be one of those places where a verb tense is wrongly translated, when it says, ‘ye might well bear with him.’ The tense is imperfect, which some people insist always means continuous action in the past. Why then does the KJV put this in the future? Is that an error? A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament, by Dana and Mantey, gives several uses of the imperfect tense in just the way it is used here, saying that it may refer to ‘the lack of a sense of attainment.’ In other words, it may refer to something which has not yet been attained, therefore, future! In this light, no error exists in the KJV. They chose these words carefully, because the context shows that Paul was concerned about what might happen, rather than what had already occurred. In v. 3, he was afraid that their minds might be corrupted; in v. 4, he referred to the possibility of false preachers coming to them when he said, ‘For if he that cometh...’ the word ‘if’ clearly shows a possibility in the future. Once again we see that a careful examination of grammar and the context would show any honest inquirer that there is no error. Although the translation may be unusual, it is a possible one and cannot be called a mistake. Anyone has the privilege of disagreeing with a translator’s interpretation, but if the translation be grammatically and contextually possible, it cannot be called an error....

"Of course, this list could go on and on, but there is no real need. Some people will never be convinced. This author, however, has learned many precious truths through the years by meditating on these and other such places, trying to find out why an unusual translation was made. Rather than treat these places as errors, why not remember that the KJV translators were intelligent and reverent scholars, and try to find out why they did a particular thing in the way that they did?" (Bruce Lackey, Why I Believe the Old King James Bible, pp. 44-48).