Brian M. Hanley on the translation of the Authorized King James Version

King James Bible 400th Anniversary 1611 – 2011

By Mr. Brian M. Hanley

It is thankworthy that God preserves His Word (in the original languages of Greek and Hebrew) ‘by his singular care and providence kept pure in all ages’. Also it has been wonderful that God has given the English speaking churches the King James Bible for the last 400 years. First it was Tyndale Bible of 1526, the Great Bible of 1539, the Geneva Bible of 1560, the Bishops’ Bible of 1568, and then the King James Version of 1611. Each Bible translation was based on the Byzantine Greek manuscripts. Each translation was done carefully, not changing needlessly from it’s predecessor.

The scripture text for properly understanding the preservation of God’s word comes from Matthew 5:18, “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” (also see Prov. 30:5, 6) . “All scripture”, is clarified with the phrase “jot and tittle” indicates that every small detail has received attention.

The new modern translations, are not built upon the Byzantine Greek manuscripts nor do they follow the Bibles translations of the Reformation, instead they went into a radically new direction. The modern translations which are based on Cordex B (Vatican) and Aleph (Sinai) manuscripts that was used by Westcott and Hort. These Greek manuscripts have been purposely rejected by the early church as corrupt and have not been in use for over a thousand years. The Bible teaches that the Bible was given to the church (Romans 3:2) – and as mentioned before, every jot and tittle is preserved. How then can these manuscripts be absent from the church and also be the preserved Word of God?

This new methodology of having original Bible text—which can get better with each new finding, means the present Bible text cannot be trusted. So hypothetically, any day now, an older manuscripts can be found to invalidate what we have in our Bibles today. This type of reasoning undermines the authority of scripture and places man over the Bible. For this very reason we must reject the new translations based on the manuscripts of Westcott and Hort. On the other hand the Byzantine Greek text which was used by all the reformed fathers can be traced back to the early days of the church.

I am an advocate of employing the Authorized King James Version in public and private worship. The King James Version had been authorized by the Church of Scotland (1647) and the ‘Presbyterian” Church of England (1647). I am grateful that the WPCUS has from it’s founding made the Authorized Version their official translation.


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