TO THE ACCUSATION THAT THE KJV
By Will Kinney
There are three verses which are frequently
brought up by those who believe the King James Bible has mistranslated references
to the deity of Jesus Christ. They are Romans 9:5, Titus 2:13 and II Peter l:1.
We will examine each of the three, and show that the first two verses are not
only not incorrect, but are more accurate, and the third is just as valid as other
Romans 9:5 says regarding the Jews: 'Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed forever.' Those who criticize the KJB say the rendering here does not declare the deity of Christ, but only says He is over all, and that God is blessed forever. They are correct in their understanding of the verse as it stands in the KJB. However, it should be pointed out that this is exactly what the verse means, both in Greek and in English. I fully believe that Jesus Christ is God manifest in the flesh; He is JEHOVAH God of the Old Testament. But this particular verse is not expounding that truth here. For the phrase 'who is over all, God blessed for ever' the Greek reads: ' ho on epi panton, theos eulogetos eis tous aionas.' This is what the KJB correctly says. Christ is over all, and it is God the Father Who placed Him there, after He finished His work of redemption.
Ephesians 1:20 -22 tells us of the mighty power of God 'which he wroght in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in the world to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church.' This is what God the Father has done in Christ, and God is to be blessed and praised for ever for having done this.
Other versions that read exactly as does the KJB are the ASV of 1901, thr Revised Version of 1881, the New American Standard Bible, the Jerusalem Bible, the 21st Century KJB, the RSV, NRSV, Douay, Third Millenium bible, Webster's Bible, World English Bible, Hebrew Names Bible and the New American Bible. Other versions that read in a similar way, as saying that Christ is over all, and that God is to be blessed or praised for ever for this victory are the New English Bible, New Life Version, Contemporary English Version, the Twentieth Century new testament, Wesley's N.T., Williams translation and J.B. Phillips. So the King James Bible is hardly alone in its rendering of this verse.
To accuse the KJB of not showing the deity of Christ in a verse which does not teach this truth is hardly a fair argument. The two versions which are usually cited in this attack on the KJB are the New KJV and the NIV. Neither of these two versions follow the Greek, but have altered it to teach the deity of Christ, and then blame the KJB for not doing the same. The nkjv says: 'of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, [the] eternally blessed God.'
The nkjv has added the word 'the' to the text. It changes the whole meaning, but there is no justification for adding this word here. And the phrase 'for ever' has wrongly been altered in the nkjv to read 'eternally'. It is rather the nkjv which has added to God's word and changed the meaning of this verse.
Likewise the niv has an almost complete paraphrase of the whole verse and has altered its meaning. The niv says: 'Theirs are the partriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.' The niv has changed the order of the Greek words to come up with a totally different meaning than that intended by the Holy Ghost who inspired this text. In fact, the niv has a footnote here that recognizes the KJB and nasb rendering. It says: 'or, 'Christ, who is over all. God be forever praised.' It is they who are twisting the words of God, and then critics blame the KJB for not following suite! The niv reading is false, not only because it alters the Greek word order, but because it also teaches a false doctrine. Christ is not ' God over all' because this would exalt Christ above the Father. Christ was, is and shall always be the second Person of the triune God, in submission to the Father. John 5:30 'I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.' I Cor. 11:3 'the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.' I Cor. 15:28 'And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.'
Wo we see that all three
of the popular modern versions, the nkjv, niv and nasb, all give a different rendering
from each other. Only the nasb agrees with the KJB.
The second verse is found in Titus 2:13 'Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of THE GREAT GOD AND OUR SAVIOUR Jesus Christ;' Here the critics say the KJB rendering does not fully bring out the deity of Jesus Christ. I don't really understand what they are talking about, because when I read this passage, it clearly declares that Jesus Christ is the great God as well as our Saviour.
The nkjv, niv and nasb all join here in rendering this verse as 'the appearing of OUR great God and Savior Jesus Christ.' They apparently think this brings out his deity more clearly. However, it is necessary to point out two very important things in this verse.
Number one is that the Greek reads exactly as it stands in the KJB, and not as it is in the nkjv, niv and nasb. The Greek in all texts reads 'the great God and OUR Saviour.'
The second thing to point out is the difference
in meaning. You see, when Christ appears again in glory, He is the God of everybody
- every man, woman and child, believer or unbeliever - but He is OUR Saviour.
He is the Saviour of only those who are true Christians, but He is the God and
creator of all, and He will be the judge of those who have not believed on Him.
So the KJB is actually more accurate here than the niv, nkjv and nasb. Other versions
that read as does the KJB are the ASV, Webster's Bible, J.B. Phillips, Tyndale,
Wycliffe's 1380, Cranmer's Bible 1539, Rheims 1582, Geneva Bible, Lamsa of
1933, the Spanish Reina Valera of 1909 , the Italian Diodati and the Third Millenium
II PETER 1:1
The third and last verse that critics cite against the KJB is II Peter 1:1. Here we read 'To them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.' Again they say the verse, as it stands in the KJB, does not clearly show the deity of Jesus Christ. The nkjv, niv and nasb read: 'through the righteousness of OUR God and Savior, Jesus Christ.' First, it needs to be pointed out that there are Greek textual differences in this verse. One of the 'oldest and best' (this is a blatant lie) manuscripts called Siniaticus reads 'Lord' or kurios instead of God. But the nasb and niv didn't follow this, but rather the majority reading of God. Secondly, in the texts followed by the KJB, Beza's of 1589 and 1598, as well as Elzevirs, there is an additional 'our' found before Jesus Christ. Regardless of these textual differences, the verse in question can either serve as a proof text for Christ's deity or not depending on how you choose to read it.
The reading as it stands in the KJB 'God and our Saviour Jesus Christ' can easily be seen as stating that He is both God and our Saviour. Compare other verses with similar wording. In Isaiah 44:6, 24 we are told 'Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, AND his redeemer the LORD of hosts: I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God...Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, AND he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things...' Even though there is the word 'and' in between the two nouns, we know there is only one person who is being referred to - God. The same thing is found in I Thes. 3:11 'Now God himself AND our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ direct our way unto you.'; Galatians 1:4 'according to the will of God AND our Father.' The 'and' is not implying another person, but is bringing out another aspect of the same one. He is both God and our Father. So too, in II Peter the 'God and our Saviour Jesus Christ' can be seen as showing another aspect of the same divine Person, just as II Peter 1:11 'kingdom of our Lord AND Saviour Jesus Christ.'
Even the reading of the nkjv, niv and nasb could be looked upon as describing two distinct persons; it all depends on how one reads it. 'Righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ', can be compared to statements like 'our Mom and Dad won't let us go to the party' or 'our boss and manager will be at the meeting'. In Scripture we have 'ye are our glory and joy' I Thes. 2:20, and Acts 15:25 'our beloved Barnabas and Paul'. You see, if you wish to see a declaration of Christ's deity in this verse, it is there. Likewise, it can be explained away by those who do not wish to see it in either rendering. So the KJB is in no way inferior to the other versions. Other Bible versions that read just like the KJB in II Peter 1:1 are the Italian Diodati, written before the KJB of 16ll, Webster's 1833 Bible translation, the 21st Century KJB and the Third Millenium Bible.
I hope this has been of some help to those who believe that we have all of God's inspired, pure words as found in the King James Bible.