The KJV Preserves the Accuracy of the Received Text: Various Examples
by Dr. L. Bednar
*Summaries of the subjects in this essay are presented below to introduce details of the discussions presented in the links
Many readers are accustomed to thinking of inerrancy as limited to the autograph originals through the inspiration process, and wonder how a translation can be totally accurate, especially since scholars say this is impossible. But this view considers only the human element, overlooking the daily involvement of God in His creation. Do not God's redeemed people experience His intervention in their lives at times when they are much in need of this? The present writer can testify of having a number of such experiences, and has heard the testimony of other followers of Christ who had them. Why would it be difficult to believe that God intervenes in the process of a translation, guiding men whom He has ordained? His intervention in translations in languages of His people is vital to assure them of His care and guidance in all the trials of life, informing them of His plan for them, all the way from the day of their salvation to their eternal destiny. How else can they know of such matters with absolute certainty?
In this writer's view, God's intervention in an ordained translation would first take the form of selection of scholars having the skills & reverence needed to ensure complete accuracy through laborious devotion to the task. KJV translators clearly had such skills (see The Learned Men, Article 25, Trinitarian Bible Society, London). God's guidance of such men would provide key words that determine the sense of a verse or passage, the guidance being unknown to the translators, and the bulk of the text would be rightly determined entirely through their scholarship. In essay 5 we illustrate this guidance in selection of key words by His providence in a case involving a great faithful scholar & translator who sealed his total devotion to God's truth by the cost of his life at the martyr's stake, namely William Tyndale. No modern translator or critic will remotely approach the qualifications of such a man, and the committee of the KJV was very wise to pay close attention to his work. Notable cases of textual matters that reflect God's guidance of the KJV committee noted in essay 5 are summarized below.
a. Easter or Passover?
Scholars think Greek pascha in Acts 12:4 is incorrectly rendered Easter in the KJV, saying Passover is correct. And they note the term Easter wasn’t coined until well after the New Testament was written, so they consider it totally inapplicable, and White supports their view (White, J.R. The King James Only Controversy. p233), but they are all totally wrong.
Scholars say the KJV follows Tyndale in rendering pascha as Easter in the New Testament, but pascha is rendered passover everywhere else in the KJV, Acts 12:4 being the only case where it's rendered differently. We should ask if there's something unique in the sense of the term in Acts 12 calling for a different rendering.
English versions preceding the KJV were moving away from Easter, and it appeared in the Bishop's Bible in only two verses. The KJV translators examined Tyndale's work, doubtless retaining Easter in Acts 12:4 on the basis of support by context and history, so its use here would be indicative of excellent scholarship, preceded by providential intervention motivating Tyndale's use of Easter in his text. This would indicate that providential intervention applies primarily to guidance of scholarship pertaining to any words that influence passage sense, the scholarship of an ordained committee being sufficient to ensure accuracy of the bulk of a verse or passage. It also indicates that providential intervention in a translation tends to be subtle, perhaps to ensure that it's not confused with inspiration.
When we study the context of Acts 12 and related history, we find that Providence preserved something uniquely important here through the KJV. The case parallels that of Isaiah 7:14 where virgin refers to Mary regarding the Savior's Virgin Birth. The Hebrew for virgin has more than one possible meaning and can be rendered as young woman or maiden in some contexts. But it can only be rendered virgin in Isa. 7:14, for passage context and related word choice demand it. Pascha in Acts 12:4 has more than one possible meaning, but Resurrection Day or Easter is demanded by context and related history.
b. The Holy Spirit and the pronoun it: 1 Pet.1:11
Those who say use of the pronoun it to refer to the Holy Spirit is great error likely view this use as unorthodox, but they are wrong, for they overlook grammar and context considerations. Inerrant grammar follows inerrant context.
c. Jesus or Joshua? Scholars say the name Jesus in the KJV at Hebrews 4:8 & Acts 7:45 is incorrect, the name Joshua supposedly being the proper rendering, but they are totally wrong.
d, e. No Works salvation or body abuse in the KJV
Works salvation or abuse of the body can appear in a translation through wrong word choice that doesn't fit context, but such problems don't appear in the KJV.
f. Wise men or Magi: Translation or transliteration
There are times when transliteration cannot be avoided, but translation is always the preferred course. In the case of Greek magoi, modern translators transliterate since they evidently see the term as referring to personages like astrologers, sorcerers, court magicians and the like, who were esteemed by their contemporaries. But the men noted in Matthew 2 were true wise men who knew scripture and the prophecy on Israel’s true king, and they spent much time and substance to reach Him and pay Him honor, as all wise men should.
g-m Various other such topics illustrating the total accuracy of the KJV