Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Best Contemporary Book on the Bible Versions Controversy

I think I've finally recognized that there is a more recent contribution to the Bible versions discussion than Dean Burgon's Revision Revised that I can wholeheartedly recommend, and that is David Cloud's For Love of the Bible.

It's a thorough compilation of writings on both sides of the controversy starting in 1800, showing the modernist mentality behind the new versions in quote after quote down through all the new translations and revisions.

A quote from the Preface to the First Edition, p. 6:
In light of the prophecies of the Scriptures that foresee the apostasy of the visible "church," I do not find it strange that the pure Bible is rejected by the majority of those that profess to be Christians today. Truth has long been a remnant position in this dark world.
And here is his statement of his basic position on the King James, page 11:
I believe the King James Bible is an accurate and lovely translation of the preserved Greek and Hebrew texts of Scripture. I do not believe the King James Bible contains any errors.* I believe that God had His hand upon the KJV in a special way because of the singular role it would play in the transmission of the Word of God during a long and crucial epoch of church history.

In contrast with the modern English versions, I believe the KJV is based upon a superior underlying text; it was produced by superior translators; it incorporates superior translation techniques; it demonstrates a superior theology; it embodies a superior style of English; it was created in a superior era; and it has a superior history. I believe the King James is the inspired Word of God because it accurately translates the inspired preserved text.

To reject the King James Bible for the modern versions is one's privilege this side of eternity; to claim or imply, on the other hand, that the King James Bible is no longer defensible and is only guarded today by sentimental, tradition-bound cultists is to darken the truth.
The book is available from Cloud's Way of Life Literature, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, or through his website, Way of Life dot org.

This is a fundamentalist Baptist ministry, by the way, and I consider myself to be a Calvinist, which is near-anathema to them, so it's not because I share their theology that I recommend this book. It's just a very good book that covers what needs to be covered and does it well.

[I see I did a post on Cloud's book back when I first read it, highlighting a great quotation from Martyn Lloyd-Jones. I didn't quite realize at the time, however, that I can recommend it as THE place to start on this subject as I realize now]

*For a while I was confused by the statement that the KJV has no "errors" as if it were a claim for its perfection on the superstitious level of the extremist KJV-onlies, but it's not. To say it has no errors is not to say that it couldn't be improved for modern readers by updating some of the English. I haven't yet studied all the claims about its supposed "errors" myself, but I'm convinced that if there is anything that deserves that label it's trivial, on the order of misidentifying a particular animal or something like that.

Another book that is good for correcting the propaganda on the side of the modernist versions is Cloud's The Glorious History of the King James Bible. He sketches the history of the English Bibles that preceded the King James and then shows what went into the King James itself, the character of the translators, how the work proceeded and so on. Then when you know anything about the revisionist versions it becomes very clear what a profane disaster they are by comparison.


Well, I guess I can keep putting out tidbits on this topic but there's no reason anyone should pay attention to me of course. It can be pretty discouraging to keep encountering the stubborn prejudice for the modernist Bibles even by Christians who would otherwise oppose anything modernist in the churches. James White is going to have plenty to answer for, not to mention Bruce Metzger and Westcott and Hort and all the rest.