What was the response to the KJV? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
So as we continue, now we get to the rave reviews of the KJV. It’s strange to point to what would normally be considered the approval of men. Also, I can point to high praise of modern translations, but I suspect that will not count. At any rate, the source material is here.
What do you get when you start with the true Word of God and then add: the anointing of the Holy Spirit, godly men in excellent health, an optimum work environment, an organized work approach, and a system of quality control though comprehensive peer reviews?
Gotta love the stacking of the deck. It’s noteworthy that nothing is said about the preface of the KJV which we have talked about in earlier posts.
You get the following:
“The KJV reverberates with eternal familiarity” [S6Pvi].
Of course, Johnson doesn’t tell us who said this. No. I’m not going back and checking all his sources to find justification for one quote.
Of the Bible: Queen Victoria said: “… That book accounts for the supremacy of England”, George Washington said: “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible”, Patrick Henry boasted: “The bible is worth all other books which have ever been printed” [S9P3].
While Washington did use the KJV, it doesn’t follow that he means only the KJV here. I couldn’t find what Bible Henry used, but a user of modern translations could easily agree with these statements. The same applies to Queen Victoria.
“Priests, atheists, skeptics, devotees, agnostics, and evangelists, are generally agreed that the Authorized version of the English Bible is the BEST example of English literature that the world HAS EVER SEEN …” [S2P260].
Someone point me to these atheists and skeptics and others please.
Ivy league scholars have selected the King James Bible as: “one of the FINEST samples of writing styles IN EXISTENCE” [S3P212].
And someone who agrees with modern translations can affirm this as well.
“… 250 different versions of the Bible were tried in England between 1611 and now, but they ALL FELL FLAT before the majesty of the King James” [S2P253].
No references are given for this. It would be interesting to explore what other factors could be in place, but unfortunately, Johnson doesn’t bother with that.
“[The King James Bible] was accepted in common use by the people, without coercion, and has been blessed of God as no other book of any language …” [S9P1].
The KJV: “… has proven itself for almost 400 years, it is the most beautiful, it bears the most fruit, it produces spiritual revival, it is easiest to memorize, its readers are the most zealous to read it often” [S9P2].
It would be interesting to see how anyone could demonstrate any of these claims.
“But upon the whole the version of 1611 … is probably the best version ever made for public use. It is not simply a translation, but a living reproduction of the original scriptures in idiomatic English, by men as reverent and devout as they were learned. It reads like an original work, such as the prophets and apostles might have written in the seventeenth century for English readers. It reveals an easy mastery of the rich resources of the English language, the most cosmopolitan of all modern languages, and blends with singular felicity Saxon force and Latin melody. Even its prose reads like poetry, and sounds like music. It is the first of English classics, and the greatest modern authors have drawn inspiration from this pure well of English undefiled. Its best recommendation is its universal adoption and use … Next to Christianity itself, the version of 1611 is the greatest boon which a kind Providence has bestowed upon the English race. It carries with it to the ends of the globe all that is trulyvaluable in our civilization, and gives strength, beauty, and happiness to our domestic, social, and national life” [S6P96].
This is all well and good, but it doesn’t make the case for Johnson. You can believe this and still not be a KJV-onlyist. Of course, primary sources are never used.
“The Majority text, it must be remembered, is relatively uniform in its general character with comparatively low amounts of variation between its major representatives. NO ONE HAS YET EXPLAINED how a long, slow process spread out over many centuries as well as over a wide geographical area, and involving a multitude of copyists, who often knew nothing of the state of the text outside of their own monasteries or scriptoria, could achieve this widespread uniformity out of the diversity presented by the earlier forms of text … an unguided process achieving relative stability and uniformity in the diversified textual, historical, and cultural circumstances in which the New Testament was copied, imposes IMPOSSIBLE strains on the imagination” [S2P34]
This is similar also to claims made about the Koran and about the Book of Mormon and the account of the seventy in making the Septuagint.
“Herein lies the greatest weakness of contemporary textual criticism. Denying to the Majority text any claim to represent the actual form of the original text, it is nevertheless unable to explain its rise, its comparative uniformity, and its dominance in any satisfactory manner. All of these factors CAN be rationally accounted for, however, IF THE MAJORITY TEXT REPRESENTS SIMPLY THE CONTINUOUS TRANSMISSION OF THE ORIGINAL TEXT FROM THE VERY FIRST” [S2P34].
And isn’t the last one the question to be asked? Also, go talk to any of these scholars. They easily can explain what happened.
We will continue next time.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)