Bible Translations at Suber Road Baptist

Throughout Scripture the biblical writers presuppose that God intends that His Word be understood by His people.[1]Deuteronomy 6:6-7 assumes that fathers are able to teach their children the Law of Moses. In another passage Moses tells that the Word of God is clear and understandable:

For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it. (Deut. 30:11-14)
The New Testament is equal in its affirmation of the clarity of Scripture. Most notably, Jesus assumes that His listeners are able to read and understand the Word of God. Six times in the Gospel of Matthew the Son of God asks, “Have you not read …” When confronted by the Pharisees Jesus tells them, “Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mat 9:13). The assumption in passages such as these is that the misunderstanding lies not with the text of Scripture, but with the hearer.[2] It has also been pointed out that most of the letters in the New Testament are written to churches, not to pastors and/or elders. These biblical writers take for granted that ordinary, average church members can understand their epistles. Some passages of Scripture even assume that children are in the listening audience (such as Eph. 6:1-3).[3] In light of this evidence we must conclude with Paul that “if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost” (2 Cor. 4:3).
Though the implications of the doctrine of perspicuity are numerous, the purpose of this paper is to highlight just one: translations. If God intends the Scriptures to be clear and understood, then each group of Christian people must seek a translation that best communicates the Word of God in their respective language. This does not mean that translations should be rendered in the simplest possible language, so as to accommodate all within the culture or church. With few exceptions, the target audiences of the original Scriptures (autographs) were adult believers. This is generally true for both the Old and New Testament. Therefore, the most faithful translation is one that targets adult believers as the primary audience.[4] Among other tests (the primary being accuracy in translation), this means that each generation of English speaking Christians must wrestle with and determine which translation of the English Bible is the clearest.
King James Version
Though numerous English translations have been available to the public for some time, up until recent decades the King James Version has been the translation from which most Christians and churches have chosen to read. This is not without good cause. Beyond the memorable and poetic language, the translation itself is very much in tune with the original languages. With the passing of time, however, the English language has changed. Whereas in times past the KJV was one of the clearest and most understandable of the English translations, this is no longer the case.Let me be perfectly clear here. In my opinion the issue with the KJV is not one of philosophy. Without question, the KJV translators desired to honor the Lord in their translation by being as accurate and honest with the text as possible. Nor am I convinced that the translators missed the mark on a balance between dynamic (conveying the thoughts) and formal equivalence (word for word or literalness). The issue is not one of philosophy; the KJV is an outstanding translation. The question is one of clarity. Is the KJV the clearest and most understandable translation for modern day English speakers?[5]
Comparison of Clarity[6]
Because of the evolution of the English language, the KJV struggles to communicate with the same clarity that it did centuries ago. While scores of examples could be given, I offer the following list.[7] Though a few other modern translations would do well for comparison, the following verses from the KJV will be compared to the English Standard Version (ESV).
Peculiar or Possessed?
KJV 1 Peter 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for
his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
In this passage Peter tells that the church is the possession of God. At one time the KJV’s peculiar may have communicated the idea of possession. But this usage has since changed. Today peculiar means “strange,” “unique” or “odd.” Unfortunately, to this day some Christians continue to justify unusual behavior and standards through this reading of the verse.
Prevent or Precede?
The word prevent is a good case study since it not only means something different today, but almost holds the opposite definition. Four hundred years ago prevent meant “to come before.” Today, the word communicates the idea of stopping something or someone. Consider the following examples.
  •  Psalm 119:147
 KJV I prevented the dawning of the morning, and cried: I hoped in thy word.
What does the Psalmist mean in this verse? Can he possibly mean that he is stopping the dawn? No. The idea here is that the psalmist rose up before the dawn. Notice the clarity in the ESV: “I rise before dawn and cry for help; I hope in your words.”
  • Matthew 17:25
KJV Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers?
ESV Jesus spoke to him first, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do kings of the earth take toll or tax? From their sons or from others?”
  •  I Thess. 4:15
KJV For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
ESV For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.
Examples of Obsolete Words[8]
As language changes, not only do new words come into the vocabulary, but some make their way out. The KJV contains several obsolete words. Most church members would be hard-pressed to define even a few of the following.
  • amerce (Deut. 22:19)
  • blains (Exod. 9:9)
  • brigandine (Jer. 46:4)
  • crookbackt (Lev. 21:20)
  • chambering (Rom. 13:13)
  • champaign (Deut. 11:30 – not the drink)
  • charger (Matt. 14:8 – not the animal)
  • churl (Isa. 32:7)
Biblical Names
One of the benefits of most modern translations is the continuity of names in the Bible. The same name is translated the same way. This is not always the case with the KJV. For example, in Genesis 5 Seth has a son and names him “Enos.” The name is repeated five times in this chapter. But in 1 Chronicles 1:1, the name is rendered “Enosh.”[9] Will a careful reader of the KJV realize these variations of spelling refer to the same person? Perhaps. But the clearest translation will render the name the same throughout the Word of God.
Sentence Structure
A change in language may also bring about change in sentence structure. Some sentences in the KJV are difficult to follow.
KJV 2 Corinthians 8:1 Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia;
ESV  2 Corinthians 8:1 We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia,
The ESV reads with a much greater clarity in a verse such as this.
KJV 2 Corinthians 5:21For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
ESV 2 Corinthians 5:21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Punctuation has also changed. In the case of 2 Corinthians 5:21, the reader is led to believe that it is “us” who knew no sin. None would punctuate a sentence this way today.
Implications of the Study
The KJV is to be admired. It is a wonderful translation that God has used mightily. However, the KJV does not communicate with the same degree of clarity that it once did. As the pastor of SRBC, it is of the utmost importance to me that people understand the Word of God. Surely this can be done by continuing to use the KJV. But is this the best approach? While we could continue to exegete our way through some obsolete words and awkward sentence structures, for many, these are unnecessary obstacles to understanding the Bible. It is for the sake of clarity and understanding that I wish to move to a modern translation in my preaching and teaching.I prefer the ESV for the same reasons that previous generations preferred the KJV. Both translations reflect a reverence for the Word of God. Both seek to communicate the literalness of the ancient languages without sacrificing readability. Both are widely accepted translations among conservative Bible-believers.Though not a translator by trade, in the last several years I have had the opportunity to translate several books of the Bible while preaching and teaching through them. Through this process I have grown quite confident in the ESV, not only because of the reports of other pastors, but because of my own comparative work. My level of confidence is as strong in the ESV as it is for the KJV.

Appendix A
Further Examples of Clarity
Perfecting or Equipping?
KJV Ephesians 4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
ESV Ephesians 4:12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.
The idea in this text is clearly one of equipping. Not only is this indicated by the Greek word itself,[10] but the context makes this clear. In centuries past, perfecting was a legitimate
translation for this passage. Today, however, perfecting carries the idea of perfection or excellence, not equipping.
Thought or Meant?
KJV Genesis 50:20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.
ESV Genesis 50:20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.
It is in a story of forgiveness that we come across this great statement on the providence of God. The idea in this text is not that the brothers just thought evil against Joseph, but that they actually tried to carry it out. They meant evil.
By and By or At Once?
KJV Mark 6:25 And she came in straightway with haste unto the king, and asked, saying, I will that thou give me by and by in a charger the head of John the Baptist..
ESV Mark 6:25 And she came in immediately with haste to the king and asked, saying, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.”
Centuries ago “by and by” was an expression that meant “right now” or “immediately.” Today the word communicates the opposite idea: “in time” (or casually). In this text the daughter of Herodias wants the head of John the Baptist. The phrase in question is communicating the urgency of the request. She wants it now. This is further seen by the expression “she came in immediately” or “straightway.”
Fetched a Compass or Set Sail?
KJV Acts 28:13 And from thence we fetched a compass, and came to Rhegium: and after one day the south wind blew, and we came the next day to Puteoli:ESV Acts 28:13 And from there we made a circuit and arrived at Rhegium.
We can be sure that “fetched a compass” was an excellent way to say “set sail” four hundred years ago. But today it means what it sounds like: “we secured a compass.”
Conversation or Citizenship?
KJV Philippians 3:20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:
ESV Philippians 3:20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,
 In times past conversation could refer to citizenship or even lifestyle. Today it means “to talk.”
Banquetings or Drinking Parties?
KJV 1 Peter 4:3 For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:
ESV 1 Peter 4:3 For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry.
While I’m sure banquetings communicates the idea of drunkenness to some, drinking parties is much clearer for today’s readers. In addition to banquetings this verse contains a couple of other words that may be unclear to modern readers: lasciviousness and revellings.
Turtle or Turtledove?
KJV Song of Solomon 2:12 The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land;
ESV Song of Solomon 2:12 The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.
What does a turtle sound like?
Target or Javelin?
KJV 1 Samuel 17:6 And he had greaves of brass upon his legs, and a target of brass between his shoulders.
ESV 1 Samuel 17:6 And he had bronze armor on his legs, and a javelin of bronze slung between his shoulders.
The KJV uses target. Does this mean that Goliath had a bull’s eye between his shoulders? Javelin is a much clearer translation.
Meat or Flour?
KJV Leviticus 14:10 And on the eighth day he shall take two he lambs without blemish, and one ewe lamb of the first year without blemish, and three tenth deals of fine flour for a meat offering, mingled with oil, and one log of oil.
ESV Leviticus 14:10 And on the eighth day he shall take two male lambs without blemish, and one ewe lamb a year old without blemish, and a grain offering of three tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil, and one log of oil.
Road or Raid?
KJV 1 Samuel 27:10 And Achish said, Whither have ye made a road to day? And David said, Against the south of Judah, and against the south of the Jerahmeelites, and against the south of the Kenites.
ESV 1 Samuel 27:10 When Achish asked, “Where have you made a raid today?” David would say, “Against the Negeb of Judah,” or, “Against the Negeb of the Jerahmeelites,” or, “Against the Negeb of the Kenites.”
Aschish is not asking David if he is doing construction. He is asking about a raid. Perhaps making a road communicated this idea four hundred years ago. It does not today.
Appendix B
More Examples of Obsolete Words
·      cieled (Hag. 1:4)
·      cockatrice (Isa. 11:8)
·      collops (Job 15:27)
·      confection (Exod. 30:35 – This has nothing to do with baking.)
·      hoised (Acts 27:40)
·      wimples (Isa. 3:22 – This is a coat.)
·      stomacher (Isa. 3:24)
·      suretiship (Prov. 11:15)
·      sackbut (Dan. 3:5)
·      the scall (Lev. 13:30)
·      muffler (Isa. 3:19 – not the car part)
·      descry (Judg. 1:23)
·      glede (Deut. 14:13)
·      habergeon (Job 41:26)
·      neesing (Job 41:18)
·      minstrel (Matt. 9:23)
·      nitre (Prov. 25:20)
·      tabret (Gen. 31:27)
Appendix C
A change such as this may spur on a number of questions. In this section I will answer a few of the most common. I will keep my answers as concise and brief as possible, but I am more than willing to follow up in person.
Are modern translations as literal and honest to the original languages as the KJV?
Not all modern translations are equal. Some lean to the side of “formal equivalence” (literal) while others employ a more “dynamic equivalence” (gives the meaning of the text). Examples of translations that lean towards formal equivalence are KJV, NKJV, NASB, and the ESV. Those that favor more dynamic equivalence are NLT and the LB. Those in the middle may be NIV, JB, NEB, and the NAB.[11]A balance here can be quite difficult to strike. James White gives the following example. The French have a saying, “I have a cockroach,” which means, “I am depressed.” So if you translate that into English you have to either say, “I have a cockroach,” (formal) which few English speakers will understand, or you can translate it, “I am depressed” (dynamic).[12]
Consider 2 Corinthians 5:7. The text literally reads, “We walk by faith, not by sight.” This literal translation is seen in versions that follow a formal equivalence, such as the ESV and KJV. However, since this is a metaphor for life as a journey, the NIV moves in the direction of dynamic equivalence: “We live by faith, not by sight.”
In some cases a translator does well to apply a degree of dynamic equivalence. Concerning the story of Mary in Matthew 1:18 the Greek text literally reads, “having in belly” (ἐν γαστρὶ ἔχουσα, en gastri echousa). Clearly, the Greek idiom means “pregnant.” Since a literal translation into the English may not communicate as well as the Greek, most translations render this expression dynamically: “with child” (KJV, ESV, NIV, NAS).
While some congregations will use translations that lean towards dynamic equivalence, it is my conviction that we should use those that favor formal equivalence (literalness). This is why I prefer the ESV to most other modern versions.
Aren’t modern translations the product of textual criticism?
Textual criticism is the process of reconstructing the original reading of a text when two or more manuscripts disagree. Incredibly, we have over 5,700 Greek manuscripts! None of these are in exact agreement. However, over 99% of the disagreements are easily explained: a misspelled word, a same line repeated twice, a line left out, etc. Sometimes a scribe will import a familiar phrase into a passage. He might be used to hearing, “Grace and peace unto you,” and he comes across a passage that says, “Grace unto you.” So he accidentally writes, “Grace and peace unto you” since he is used to hearing it that way. Again, almost all of the textual variants are easily explained.
Are modern translations wrong for using textual criticism? No. EVERY translation, including the KJV, is a result of textual criticism. The underlying Greek text of the KJV is called the “Texus Receptus.” The original TR is the result of the textual criticism of the Catholic monk, Erasmus. Later, Theodore Beza made nine more editions to Erasmus’s text.
Do modern translations intentionally alter the text to remove important doctrines?
There will always be some who intentionally mistranslate the Bible in order to communicate false doctrine (e.g. The New World Translation), but this is a false and slanderous accusation against good, conservative translations, and a classic case of circular reasoning. Someone will open their KJV, compare it with a modern translation, and then show that a doctrine has been left out. They may then accuse the modern translation of heresy. But the original languages must be the standard, not the KJV or any other English translation.
If there is a modern translation conspiracy, it’s a pretty poor one since some verses in modern translations express the fundamentals of the faith with greater clarity than the KJV. Several examples could be pointed out.[13] Consider just one: Romans 9:5. The KJV reads, “Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.” Compare that with the ESV: “To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.” The ESV is much clearer on the deity of Christ in this verse. Jesus is God over all! Once again, if there is a conspiracy, it’s a pretty poor one.
In addition to the changes in the text itself, some object to modern translations because of their marginal notes. For example, in Mark 1:1 the evangelist employs the phrase “Son of God.” This expression is found in the KJV, NAS, NIV, and ESV. However, the three modern translations (NAS, NIV, and ESV) contain a marginal note telling that some early manuscripts do not contain the phrase. It may be suggested that marginal notes such as these confuse the reader. However, when first published, the KJV contained 8,422 similar marginal notes, some of which are still contained in some modern editions of the KJV.
Aren’t there some verses missing in most modern translations?
Since there are some discrepancies among the 5,700 plus Greek manuscripts, each translation committee must determine which reading to follow. Modern translations may omit words or verses due to evidence in the manuscripts. The three that are most commonly noted are Mark 16:9-20, John 7:53-8:11, and I John 5:7-8.
Simply put, no conspiracies exist here. Translators of good, modern translation are simply following the manuscript evidence. Consider an example from Revelation 16:5.
KJV Revelation 16:5 And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus.
ESV Revelation 16:5 And I heard the angel in charge of the waters say, “Just are you, O Holy One, who is and who was, for you brought these judgments.
The KJV uses the phrase “and shalt be” where virtually every modern translation (apart from the NKJV) inserts “O Holy One.” Why do modern translations move in this direction? Because every single Greek manuscript on Revelation 16:5 contains the reading “O Holy One” instead of “and shalt be.”[14] Modern translators are not seeking to undermine the Word of God. They are merely reflecting the evidence in the Greek manuscripts.
In the cases of Mark 16:9-20 and John 7:53-8:11, neither are found in the earliest of the Greek manuscripts. However, though both lack strong support, most modern translations, including the ESV, do include these verses in the translation. Most contain a marginal note telling that the earliest manuscripts do not include these verses. A marginal note such as this does not distort the Word of God.  As mentioned elsewhere in this document, the original publication of the KJV contained over 8,000 marginal notes.
The most controversial omission is I John 5:7-8: “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one” (KJV). This text is commonly called the Comma Johanneum. Why do many modern translations omit this sentence? Once again, they choose to follow the evidence in the manuscripts. The earliest manuscripts of 1 John do not contain the sentence, and it is barely attested to in the recent ones. Erasmus, the man responsible for editing the Greek text that underlies the KJV, did not put the Comma in the first or second editions. And though it appeared in the third edition (1522), many believe that he inserted it to harmonize with the Latin Vulgate, which contains the verse. To date, there are only a few manuscripts that contain the Comma, all of which are recent, and most of which have the reading in the margin, not the text itself. In short, no conspiracies exist. The translators are simply following the evidence in the manuscripts.
Modern translations are under copyrights. Isn’t this marketing the Word of God?
It is true that virtually all modern translations fall under copyright laws. However, upon completion of the KJV, King James I of England assigned it Cum Privilegio (Lat. “with privilege”). The Cum Privilegio is a patent which protects the work for the life of the person who holds the copyright, plus 50 years. In this case, the patent was secured in the name of the Crown. Therefore, the patent on the KJV is in place for the duration of the British Crown, plus 50 years. Today, although the KJV is not copyrighted in the US or most other countries, the patent is still in effect in England. All Authorized Versions of the Bible in Great Britain are generally printed under agreements with Cambridge and Oxford. If the fact that the KJV is to be preferred in the US because it is not under copyright, does that mean that it shouldn’t be preferred in the England since it is still under the Cum Privilegio? By no means. Any translation should be taken upon its own merits, not whether or not it is under copyright.
Are those who work on modern translations liberals who smuggle their homosexual agenda into the translation?
This was an accusation leveled at the NIV. Though I prefer not to use the NIV in public ministry, this is a false accusation. The easiest way to discover if there is a conspiracy is by looking at passages in the NIV that deal with the topic of homosexuality. Here is a comparison of a few:
  • Romans 1:26
KJV For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
NIV Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones.
  • I Corinthians 6:9
KJV  Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
NIV Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders
Romans 1 is a very important text on the topic of homosexuality. As the reader can see, the NIV makes no effort to alter the meaning from the KJV. I Corinthians 6:9 is even more telling. The phrase “homosexual offenders” in the NIV is even clearer than the KJV. Once again, if the NIV translators have a conspiracy, it’s a pretty poor one.

Another objection that moves in this direction regards Westcott and Hort. Some charge that these two men, who worked on the Greek text that underlies some modern translations (first published 1881), were heretics and sympathetic to Roman Catholicism. In response to this charge, I am not aware of any modern translation since WWII that has used Westcott and Hort’s text. In addition to this, the Roman Catholic monk Erasmus worked on and edited the text that underlies the KJV. If Westcott and Hort’s work should be dismissed because an alleged association with Rome (which is a false charge to begin with), should the text edited by a member of the Roman clergy be given a pass?
Shouldn’t the KJV be preferred since it is easier to memorize?
There is some merit to this argument. For many, especially for those who grew up under the sound of the KJV, it is easier to memorize and it sounds like Scripture. However, not all have this experience. Frankly, there are many who find modern translations easier to memorize (myself included). Each person ought to memorize out of the translation of his or her own choosing.
Doesn’t a change in translations indicate a move in the wrong direction, usually towards liberalism?
This may be true some of the time, but this is certainly not true across the board. In the last couple of decades, broader Christianity has seen a major shift towards conservative doctrine. Some of these were denominations and churches who were overrun by liberals. This shift did not take place under the KJV but primarily under modern translations.
Changing to a good, modern translation does not indicate a change in philosophy or doctrine. Rather, it indicates respect for the doctrine of perspicuity.
Will I be asked to change the translation I carry if the pastor begins preaching out of a different translation?
Isn’t the ESV descended from the RSV? Is the ESV any different?
One of the main concerns about the RSV was that the translation committee contained some liberal scholars. In stark contrast, both the oversight and review committees of the ESV were comprised of conservative, orthodox scholars and pastors. This difference is evidenced by a comparison between the two translations.Consider the following examples:
  •  Deity of Christ in the Psalms
 Psalm 2:7
RSV I will tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to me, “You are my son, today I have begotten you.
ESV I will tell of the decree: The LORD said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you.
   Psalm 110:1


RSV A Psalm of David. The LORD says to my lord: “Sit at my right hand, till I make your enemies your footstool.”


ESV A Psalm of David. The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.”


  • Virgin, not young woman
 Isaiah 7:14


RSV Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, a young woman shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
ESV Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.


  • Person of the Holy Spirit
Romans 5:5


RSV And hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us.


ESV And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
  • Propitiation not expiation
Romans 3:25


RSV Whom God put forward as an expiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins;


ESV Whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.


  • Deity of Christ in the New Testament
Romans 9:5


RSV To them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ. God who is over all be blessed for ever. Amen.


ESV To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.

Why is this a good time to change translations at SRBC? 

The KJV is a fine translation (one that leans towards formal equivalency); therefore, up until this point, I have not felt the urgency to change. In addition to this, I believe it is very important to respect those who have grown up under the sound of the KJV. For the first ten years of my public ministry, I have asked those who carry modern translations to be patient with those who still carry the KJV. However, I believe we are at the point where the overall congregation (as well as both saved and lost visitors) will profit from a clearer and more understandable translation of the Word of God.


[1]. The clarity of Scripture is known as the doctrine of perspicuity. Though several definitions could be offered, Mark Thompson’s serves well: “The clarity of Scripture is that quality of the biblical text that, as God’s communicative act, ensures its meaning is accessible to all who come to it in faith” in A Clear and Present Word, NSBT (Downers Grove: Invervarsity, 2006), 169-70. It should be noted, however, that although the perspicuity of Scripture assumes clarity, Wayne Grudem is correct when he says that Scripture is not able to be understood all at once, without effort, without ordinary means, without the reader’s willingness to obey, without the help of the Holy Spirit, without the possibility of human misunderstanding , and never completely. See Grudem’s article, “The Perspicuity of Scripture” in Themelios 30:3 (2009): 291-301.

[2]. Grudem’s (292) sarcasm is helpful here, “In a day when it is common for people to tell us how hard it is to interpret Scripture rightly, we would do well to remember that not once in the gospel do we ever hear Jesus saying anything like this: “I sympathize with your frustration – the Scriptures relevant to this topic contain unusually complex hermeneutical difficulties.”
[3]. Ibid., 293.
[4]. Ibid., 306.
[5]. This may be a good place to remind ourselves that the KJV translators were quite concerned with the clarity of God’s Word: “We do not deny, nay, we affirm and avow, that the very meanest translation of the Bible in English set forth by men of our profession … containeth the word of God, nay, is the word of God.… No cause therefore why the word translated should be denied to be the word, or forbidden to be current, notwithstanding that some imperfections and blemishes may be noted in the setting forth of it….” (The Translators to the Reader, 1611, xix). The Baptist Confession of 1688 reflects a similar idea: “Because these original tongues are not known to all the people of God, who have a right unto; and interest in the Scriptures, and are commanded in the fear of God to read [Ac 15:15] and search them [Jn 5:39], therefore they are to be translated in to the vulgar language of every nation, unto which they come [1 Cor 14:6, 9, 11-12, 24, 28], that the Word of God dwelling plentifully in all, they may worship Him in an acceptable manner, and through patience and comfort of the Scriptures may hope [Col 3:16].”
[6]. See Appendix A for a more extensive list of examples.
[7]. A more exhaustive list can be found in James R. White’s The King James Only Controversy (Minneapolis: Bethany House, 1995, 2009). I have found White’s work to be the most comprehensive, fair, and articulate book on this subject.

[8]. Further examples of obsolete words can be found in Appendix B.[9]. Other examples are Sheth and Seth; Pau and Pauh; Cis and Kish; Agar and Hagar; Jeremiah, Jeremias, Jeremie, and [Jeremy]; Henoch and Enoch;  Jered and Jared; Noe and Noah; Jonah, Jona and Jonas; Jephthae and Jephthah; Balak and Balac; Sara and Sarah; Gidion and Gideon; Elijah and Elias; Kora and Core; Elisha and Eliseus; Hosea and Osee; Isaiah, Esaias and Esay; Hezekiah and Ezekiah; Zechariah and Zecharias; Judas, Judah, Juda and Jude; Zera, Zara and Zarah; Marcus and Mark; Lucas and Luke; and Timothy and Timotheus. Jack P. Lewis, The English Bible from KJV to NIV, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1991), 48, cited in White, 288.

[10]. The word Paul employs here is καταρτισμός (katartismos). If Paul wanted to communicate the idea of “perfecting,” he could have used another word, such as τέλειος(teleios) or perhapsπληρόω(pleroo).
[11]. Gordon D. Fee and Mark L. Strauss, How to Choose a Translation for All Its Worth(Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2007), 28.[12]. White, 47.[13]. John 1:18, 14:14; Acts 16:7; Rom. 10:17; 1 Pet. 3:15; 2 Pet. 1:1; Jude 5; Rev. 1:8.

[14]. From where, then, did this reading in the KJV come? John Calvin’s successor, Theodore Beza, assumed a different reading from the Greek manuscripts that he had in his possession. The Greek word for “O Holy One” (ὁ ὅσιος) is similar in appearance to the verb “and shalt be” (ἐσόμενος). In the words of James White (237), “Beza believed there was sufficient similarity between the Greek terms … to allow him to make the change to harmonize the text with the other such language in Revelation.” But the KJV reading is not found in any Greek manuscripts.

Due to local weather conditions, we will not meet for our prayer service this evening, Wednesday, January 17, 2018. We look forward to joining together on Sunday for our worship service at 9:30 am.