Were KJV Translators Inspired?

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Was the translation process from original languages into English of 1611 A.D. protected from error by direct inspiration of the Holy Spirit?

"KJV only" advocates say yes!

The Facts say NO!

King James Version (KJV)


Irrefutable proof the translators were not inspired

Introductory notes

69 Questions for "KJV only" advocates

1611 marginal notes devastating!!!

Indisputable, universally recognized errors in the KJV

Inconsistency in translation

A Good Translation, But Nothing More

Egyptian Corruption Argument refuted

Historical bloodline of "KJV only" false teachers

Archaic Language of the KJV: 419 examples!

The Original translators Preface to the 1611 Edition


 If you have an argument for us that we missed... Let us know: Click here

Can you read the original KJV 1611 edition?

Click to see the whole page of the original 1611 Edition of the KJV

Parable of the Sower Matthew 13:1-29

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Introductory notes:

This outline is designed to refute the view that the King James Version (KJV) is the only modern Bible on earth that is 100% accurate and error free.

  1. Foremost, we feel that the KJV is an EXCELLENT translation, but not the ONLY excellent translation.
  2. In over 90 percent of the New Testament, readings are identical word-for-word, regardless of the family. Of the remaining ten percent, MOST of the differences between the texts are fairly irrelevant, such as calling the Lord "Christ Jesus" instead of "Jesus Christ," or putting the word "the" before a noun. Less than two percent would significantly alter the meaning of a passage, and NONE of them would contradict or alter any of the basic points of Christian doctrine. What we have, then, is a dispute concerning less than one-half of one percent of the Bible. The other 99.5% we all agree on!
  3. Because there are over 14,000 manuscript copies of the New Testament we can absolutely be confident of its accuracy. With this large number of manuscripts, comparing manuscripts easily reveals any place where a scribe has made an error or where there is a variation. There are approximately 150,000 variations in the manuscripts we have today. However, these variations represent only 10,000 places in the New Testament (if the same word was misspelled in 3,000 manuscripts, that is counted as 3,000 variations.) Of these 10,000 places, all but 400 are questions of spelling in accord with accepted usage, grammatical construction, or order of words. Of the remaining variations, only 50 are of significance (such as two manuscripts leaving out Acts 2:37). But of these 50, not one alters even one article of faith which cannot be abundantly sustained by other undoubted passages. There are some manuscripts that date as early as 130 AD, very close to the completion of the New Testament. These manuscripts are nearly identical to those dating 900 years later, thus verifying the accuracy of the scribes.
  4. These advocates reject all others Bible's that post-date the KJV.
  5. They believe that the KJV is not only inspired in the original language, but also in the translation process.
  6. This claim of an inspired translation process is not made for any other Bible translation.
  7. Only a very tiny fraction of people who use the KJV actually believe that the translation process was inspired by the Holy Spirit.
  8. We feel that the KJV is to be classed as one of several major standards of Bible translations including, NASB, RSV, NKJV, ASV, NIV. All these translations are equal in quality and all should be used for Bible study.
  9. The TR itself was based on a very few, late scripts, not one of which contained the entire Greek New Testament and none earlier than the 12th century. In the matter of the book of Revelation, a missing page was translated from the Latin Vulgate BACK to the Greek. Acts 9:6 although found in the Latin Vulgate, and thus the TR is found in no Greek manuscript at all. In light of its obvious shortcomings, a greater number of older and more complete manuscripts were used in the translation of subsequent versions (post-1881)} (The KJV Debate: A Plea for Realism, D.A. Carson)

Steve Rudd

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Photo gallery of 1611 edition, KJV marginal variations
This photo gallery single handedly refutes any notion that
the translators were inspired in their work of translation.

By Steve Rudd



Proof #1: that the translators were NOT inspired in their work of translation:

  1. There are over 8000 alternate English renderings from Greek and Hebrew manuscripts that were identical.
  2. The first example (Judges 19:2) below shows a place where the meaning of the Hebrew is obscure. Was it "4 months" or "a year and four months"??? Quite a difference! But the structure of the Hebrew makes it difficult to for any translators to know for sure which it is. So they show the alternate reading, NOT KNOWING THEMSELVES FOR SURE WHICH IS CORRECT!
  3. No one questions the Greek and Hebrew is inspired. But if the translators were also inspired by the Holy Spirit, in their work of translating the inspired Hebrew into English, THEY WOULD HAVE BEEN GUIDED BY DIVINE INSPIRATION THE CORRECT RENDERING, hence no need for any alternate readings in the margin.
  4. Remember, although we have only shown one example of this first type of marginal reading, there are over 8000 more we have not shown!
  5. The New American Standard Bible is in the left hand column for reference.



"But his concubine played the harlot against him, and she went away from him to her father's house in Bethlehem in Judah, and was there for a period of four months." Judges 19:2, NASB

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The KJV reading is identical to the NASB



Proof #2: that the translators were NOT inspired in their work of translation:

  1. Everyone agrees that there are minor variations in the copies of the original Greek and Hebrew manuscripts. There errors are typical of types of errors men make when they copy things and make absolutely no doctrinal difference. Jesus promised that "scripture cannot be broken" John 10:36 and Peter said, that the "imperishable ... word of the Lord abides forever" 1 Peter 1:23-25.
  2. Now KJV ONLY advocates believe that the translators were directed by the Holy Spirit to make the correct choice between two variations in the Greek or Hebrew text.
  3. There are a number of marginal readings that indicate alternate manuscript readings. This is different from two English readings from identical manuscripts.
  4. The fact that the translators placed into the margin alternate manuscript readings PROVES BEYOND ANY DOUBT that they WERE NOT GUIDED by the Holy Spirit as to which one of the two readings were correct.
  5. We have included in this collection 13 different places in the original 1611 edition of the KJV where the translators give alternate manuscript readings.
  6. The images on the right are from the original 1611 edition KJV. Few have ever seen it and are unaware that the original edition, like "modern versions" signal the reader of alternate readings in the underlying Greek manuscripts. If the KJV translators were inspired in their work... they didn't know it.



"Machnadebai, Shashai, Sharai" Ezra 10:40, NASB

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The KJV reading is identical to the NASB



"For my days have been consumed in smoke, And my bones have been scorched like a hearth" Ps 102:3, NASB

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The NASB reads like the margin in the KJV



"and to Josiah were born Jeconiah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon." Mt 1:11, NASB

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The KJV reading is identical to the NASB



"All things have been handed over to Me by My Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him." Lk 10:22, NASB

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The KJV reading is identical to the NASB



"*["Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other will be left."]" *Margin: "Many manuscripts do not contain this verse" Lk 17:36, NASB

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The KJV reading is identical to the NASB although both indicate in the margin that the verse is missing in most Greek manuscripts.



"And after he had spent not more than eight or ten days among them, he went down to Caesarea; and on the next day he took his seat on the tribunal and ordered Paul to be brought." Acts 25:6 NASB

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The NASB reads like the margin in the KJV



"And, masters, do the same things to them, and give up threatening, knowing that both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him." Eph 6:9, NASB

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The NASB reads like the margin in the KJV



But someone may well say, "You have faith, and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works." James 2:18, NASB

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The KJV reading is identical to the NASB



" For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps" 1 Peter 2:21, NASB

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The NASB reads like the margin in the KJV



"And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned" 2 Peter 2:2, NASB

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The KJV reading is identical to the NASB



"whereas angels who are greater in might and power do not bring a reviling judgment against them before the Lord" 2 Peter 2:11, NASB

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The KJV reading is identical to the NASB



"For speaking out arrogant words of vanity they entice by fleshly desires, by sensuality, those who barely escape from the ones who live in error" 2 Peter 2:18, NASB

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The KJV reading is identical to the NASB



"Watch yourselves, that you might not lose what *we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward" *Margin: "Some ancient mss. read you" 2 John 8, NASB

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The KJV reading is identical to the NASB although both indicate in the margin that some Greek manuscripts read "you" instead of "we".



KJV ONLY advocates will make these incredible arguments:
(actual arguments from those who defend the infallibility of the KJV)

KJV ONLY argument:

Refutation of this argument:

#1: The original KJV in 1611 AD when it first came out had no marginal notes.

  1. This is simply blind faith gone to seed!
  2. A statement based on wishful thinking without any proof and contrary to all known facts!
  3. The very first KJV had marginal notes. TAKE A SECOND LOOK AT THEM!!!



#2: These marginal notes were added by the publishers and did not originate with the inspired translators.

  1. As if the publishers would have the knowledge to make such judgements of alternate manuscripts.
  2. As if the Translators would have silently allowed the publisher to confuse the readers after the Holy Spirit had told them which reading was authentic.
  3. The translators made clear reference to the need of the marginal notes in the original preface
  4. Click here to read it for yourself!



#3: The original translators preface was not written by or authorized by the translators but was inserted against their wishes by the publishers.

  1. As ridiculous as it is unfounded and without proof!
  2. The last gasp of a dying false doctrine!



#4: The fact is, the marginal readings are NOT THE WORDS OF GOD and the TEXT IS. The translators did not KNOW that they were being guided to translate His word correctly, that much is certain. Just because they wrote in the margins doesn't mean the text is not accurate!

  1. Incredible!!! Imagine this. The KJV translators specifically dispel any notion that they were specially guided by God in the preface, but didn't know that what they wrote in the preface was wrong. God was inspiring their choices of manuscripts!
  2. Unanswerable question: "If the translators died not knowing they were inspired, HOW DID YOU FIND THIS OUT"???

By Steve Rudd



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Questions for "KJV only" advocates:

Some questions by Steve Rudd, who compiled the remaining questions from others.

  1. Which KJV is inspired, since it was revised four times, the last being in 1769.
  2. What Bible would these KJV worshippers recommend since before 1611 there was no Bible.
  3. Do they realize that the apostle Paul did not use the KJV.
  4. Why do KJV only advocates reject the apocrypha, since the original 1611 version contained the apocrypha?
  5. If the KJV translators were inspire, why did they use a marginal reference to the apocrypha:
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  6. If God always gives the world his word in one language (as KJV advocates say of English), then the KJV is certainly not that language, for God chose Koine GREEK not ENGLISH to reveal his New Covenant!
  7. If God gave us the KJV as an inspired translation, why would God not repeat the process again in modern language in each language?
  8. If God supervised the translation process so that the KJV is 100% error free, why did God not extend this supervision to the printers?
  9. Why did the KJV translators use marginal note showing alternate translation possibilities? If the English of the KJV is inspired of God, there would be no alternates!
  10. If the KJV translators were inspired of God in their work, why did they not know it?
  11. Why were all the marginal notes and alternate readings removed from modern editions of the KJV, along with the Apocrypha, the opening Dedication to James I, and a lengthy introduction from "The Translators to the Reader."?
  12. When there is a difference between the KJV English and the TR Greek, why do you believe that the Greek was wrong and the KJV English is correct?
  13. If the KJV-only supporters believe fully in the word-for-word inspiration of the KJV, why would italics be necessary?
  14. In defending the KJV's use of archaic language, do you really think it is a good thing that a person must use an Early Modern English dictionary just to understand the Bible in casual reading?
  15. Why do KJV only advocates feel that all modern translations are wrong for copyrighting the work of each translation when they copyright the materials on their websites, tracts and books they use to promote the KJV? Do they not realize that after 100 years all books pass into public domain and that all copyrighted Bibles today will soon be public domain just like the KJV? If "God's truth should not be copyrighted" then why do they copy write their defenses of God's ultimate truth, the Bible?
  16. Is it not ridiculous to suggest that when the TR disagrees with the KJV that Greek TR has errors, but the KJV doesn't? Is this not the ultimate example of "translation worship"? (Reject the original in favour of the translation)
  17. Did you know that the Textus Receptus, from which the KJV was translated, was based on half a dozen small manuscripts, none earlier than the 10th century?
  18. If the Textus Receptus is the error free text, then why are the last 6 verses of Revelation absence from the TR, yet present in the KJV? Did you know that for these verses, the Latin Vulgate was translated into Greek which was then translated into English - a translation of a translation of a translation?
  19. Why do KJV only advocates believe that the English of the KJV is clearer and more precise than the original Greek language manuscripts? Why should Bible students throw out their Greek dictionaries and buy an "archaic English" dictionary? Are there not word pictures in the original Greek words that the English cannot easily convey? (Jas 2:19 "tremble"; Greek: PHRISSO, indicates to be rough, to bristle. is a powerful word picture of how the demons are in such terror that their skin is rough with goose pimples. Also differences between "agape" and "phileo" love words.)
  20. Why did the translators make mistakes in the chapter summaries in the 1611 version? Wouldn't God have inspired this as well? Why would God inspire the English providentially accurate, but then allow misleading chapter headings? (Every chapter of the Song of Songs is interpreted as descriptive of the church. This is wrong. SoS is God's "mate selection manual." Also, Isa 22 "He prophesieth Shebna's deprivation, and Eliakim, prefiguring the kingdom of Christ, his substitution" This is wrong and reflect the incorrect theology of the day.)
  21. Why would the translators use book headings like "The Gospel According to Saint Luke" since the Greek merely says "The Gospel According to Luke". Does not this show that the translators were influenced by their contemporary theology and the Catholic false doctrine of "sainthood"?
  22. Do KJV only advocates realize that they stand beside the Mormon church in that both groups believe that they were delivered an "inspired translation"? (Mormon's believe Joseph Smith's English translation of the Book of Mormon from the Nephi Plates was done under inspiration.) Do KJV only advocates realize that the most powerful and irrefutable evidence that neither were translated under inspiration, is the very first edition with all their thousands of errors? (KJV- 1611 edition; BoM- 1831 edition)
  23. Do KJV only advocates realize that, to point out that all modern translations have the same kinds of mistakes we are accusing of the KJV, is irrelevant, because we maintain that all translations have errors and none were translated under the inspired supervision of God?
  24. Why would the Holy Spirit mis-guide the translators to employ the use of mythical creatures like "unicorn" for wild ox, "satyr" for "wild goat", "cockatrice" for common viper, when today we know what the real name of these creatures is?
  25. If the KJV is error free in the English, then why did they fail to correctly distinguish between "Devil and Demons" (Mt 4:1-DIABOLOS and Jn 13:2-DAIMONIZOMAI) ; "hades and hell" (see Lk 16:23-HADES and Mt 5:22-GEENNA; Note: Hades is distinct from hell because hades is thrown into hell after judgement: Rev 20:14)
  26. Why would KJV translators render Gen 15:6 which is quoted in identical Greek form by Paul in Rom 4:3, 9, 22; Gal 3:6, in FOUR DIFFERENT WAYS? Why are they creating distinctions were none exist?
  27. Why did the KJV translators have no consistent rule for differentiating between the use of definite and indefinite articles? (Dan 3:25 we have one "like the Son of God" instead of "like a son of God", even though in 28 Nebuchadnezzar states God sent "His angel" to deliver the men. The definite article was also added to the centurion's confession in Mt 27:54.)
  28. How can you accept that the Textus Receptus is perfect and error free when Acts 9:6 is found only in the Latin Vulgate but absolutely no Greek manuscript known to man? Further, how come in Rev 22:19 the phrase "book of life" is used in the KJV when absolutely ALL known Greek manuscripts read "tree of life"?
  29. How can we trust the TR to be 100% error free when the second half of 1 Jn 5:8 are found only in the Latin Vulgate and a Greek manuscript probably written in Oxford about 1520 by a Franciscan friar named Froy (or Roy), who took the disputed words from the Latin Vulgate? (we are not disputing the doctrine of the trinity, just the validity of the last half of this verse)
  30. How do you explain the grammatical error in the original 1611 KJV in Isa 6:2 where the translators made a rare grammatical error by using the incorrect plural form of "seraphims" rather than "seraphim"?
  31. Must we possess a perfectly flawless bible translation in order to call it "the word of God"?  If so, how do we know "it" is perfect?   If not, why do some "limit" "the word of God" to only ONE "17th Century English" translation?  Where was "the word of God" prior to 1611?  Did our Pilgrim Fathers have "the word of God" when they brought the GENEVA BIBLE translation with them to North America?
  32. Were the KJV translators "liars" for saying that "the very meanest [poorest] translation" is still "the word of God"?
  33. Do you believe that the Hebrew and Greek used for the KJV are "the word of God"?
  34. Do you believe that the Hebrew and Greek underlying the KJV can "correct" the English?
  35. Do you believe that the English of the KJV "corrects" its own Hebrew and Greek texts from which it was translated?
  36. Is ANY translation "inspired"?  Is the KJV an "inspired translation"?
  37. Is the KJV "scripture" ? Is IT "given by inspiration of God"?  [2 Tim. 3:16]
  38. WHEN was the KJV "given by inspiration of God" - 1611, or any of the KJV major/minor revisions in 1613, 1629, 1638, 1644, 1664, 1701, 1744, 1762, 1769, and the last one in 1850?
  39. In what language did Jesus Christ [not Peter Ruckman and others] teach that the Old Testament would be preserved forever according to Matthew 5:18?
  40. Where does the Bible teach that God will perfectly preserve His Word in the form of one seventeenth-century English translation?
  41. Did God lose the words of the originals when the "autographs" were destroyed?
  42. Did the KJV translators mislead their readers by saying that their New Testament was "translated out of the original Greek"? [title page of KJV N.T.]  Were they "liars" for claiming to have "the original Greek" to translate from?
  43. Was "the original Greek" lost after 1611?
  44. Did the great Protestant Reformation (1517-1603) take place without "the word of God"?
  45. What copy or translations of "the word of God," used by the Reformers, was absolutely infallible and inerrant?  [their main Bibles are well-known and copies still exist].
  46. If the KJV is "God's infallible and preserved word to the English-speaking people," did the "English-speaking people" have  "the word of God" from 1525-1604?
  47. Was Tyndale's [1525], or Coverdale's [1535], or Matthew's [1537], or the Great [1539], or the Geneva [1560] . . . English Bible absolutely infallible?
  48. If neither the KJV nor any other one version were absolutely inerrant, could a lost sinner still be "born again" by the "incorruptible word of God"? [1 Peter 1:23]
  49. If the KJV can "correct" the inspired originals, did the Hebrew and Greek originally "breathed out by God" need correction or improvement?
  50. Since most "KJV-Onlyites" believe the KJV is the inerrant and inspired "scripture" [2 Peter 1:20], and 2 Peter 1:21 says that "the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man:  but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost," would you not therefore reason thus - "For the King James Version came not in 1611 by the will of man:  but holy men of God translated as they were moved by the Holy Ghost"?
  51. Which reading is the verbally (word-for-word) inerrant scripture - "whom ye" [Cambridge KJV's] or, "whom he" [Oxford KJV's] at Jeremiah 34:16?
  52. Which reading is the verbally (word-for-word) inerrant scripture - "sin" [Cambridge KJV's] or "sins" [Oxford KJV's] at 2 Chronicles 33:19?
  53. Who publishes the "inerrant KJV"?
  54. Since the revisions of the KJV from 1613-1850 made (in addition to changes in punctuation, capitalization, and spelling) many hundreds of changes in words, word order, possessives, singulars for plurals, articles, pronouns, conjunctions, prepositions, entire phrases, and the addition and deletion of words - would you say the KJV was "verbally inerrant" in 1611, 1629, 1638, 1644, 1664, 1701, 1744, 1762, 1769, or 1850?
  55. Would you contend that God waited until a king named "James" sat on the throne of England before perfectly preserving His Word in English, and would you think well of an "Epistle Dedicatory" that praises this king as "most dread Sovereign . . .Your Majesty's Royal Person . . ." - IF the historical FACT was revealed to you that King James was a practicing homosexual all of his life?  [documentation - Antonia Fraser -- "King James VI of Scotland, I of England" Knopf Publ./1975/pgs. 36-37, 123 || Caroline Bingham -- "The Making of a King" Doubleday Publ./1969/pgs. 128-129, 197-198 || Otto J. Scott -- "James I" Mason-Charter Publ./1976/pgs. 108, 111, 120, 194, 200, 224, 311, 353, 382 || David H. Wilson -- "King James VI & I" Oxford Publ./1956/pgs. 36, 99-101, 336-337, 383-386, 395 || plus several encyclopedias]
  56. Would you contend that the KJV translator, Richard Thomson, who worked on Genesis-Kings in the Westminster group, was "led by God in translating" even though he was an alcoholic that "drank his fill daily" throughout the work?  [Gustavus S. Paine -- "The Men Behind the KJV" Baker Book House/1979/pgs. 40, 69]
  57. Is it possible that the rendition "gay clothing," in the KJV at James 2: 3, could give the wrong impression to the modern-English KJV reader?
  58. Did dead people "wake up" in the morning according to Isaiah 37:36 in the KJV?
  59. Was "Baptist" John's last name according to Matthew 14: 8 and Luke 7:20 in the KJV?
  60. Is 2 Corinthians 6:11-13 in the KJV understood or make any sense to the modern-English KJV reader? - "O ye Corinthians, our mouth is open unto you, our heart is enlarged.  Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowels.  Now for a recompense in the same, (I speak as unto my children,) be ye also enlarged."  As clearly understood from the New International Version [NIV] - "We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians, and opened wide our hearts to you.  We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us.  As a fair exchange - I speak as to my children - open wide your hearts also."
  61. Does the singular "oath's," occurring in every KJV at Matthew 14: 9 and Mark 6:26, "correct" every Textus Receptus Greek which has the plural ("oaths") by the post-1611 publishers, misplacing the apostrophe?
  62. Did Jesus teach a way for men to be "worshiped" according to Luke 14:10 in the KJV, contradicting the first commandment and what He said in Luke 4: 8?  [Remember - you may not go the Greek for any "light" if you are a KJV-Onlyite!]
  63. Is the Holy Spirit an "it" according to John 1:32; Romans 8:16, 26; and 1 Peter 1:11 in the KJV?  [Again - you may not go the Greek for any "light" if you are a KJV-Onlyite!]
  64. Does Luke 23:56 support a "Friday" crucifixion in the KJV?    [No "day" here in Greek]
  65. Did Jesus command for a girl to be given "meat" to eat according to Luke 8:55 in the KJV? [or, "of them that sit at meat with thee." at Luke 14:10]
  66. Was Charles Haddon Spurgeon a "Bible-corrector" for saying that Romans 8:24 should be rendered "saved in hope," instead of the KJV's "saved by hope"?  [Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Vol 27, 1881, page 485 - see more Spurgeon KJV comments in What is "KJV-Onlyism?", his & many others' views in the article, "Quotes on Bible Translations."]
  67. Was J. Frank Norris a "Bible-corrector" for saying that the correct rendering of John 3:5 should be "born of water and the Spirit," and for saying that "repent and turn" in Acts 26:20 should be "repent, even turn"?  [Norris-Wallace Debate, 1934, pgs. 108, 116] Also, is Norman Pickering an "Alexandrian Apostate" for stating, "The nature of language does not permit a 'perfect' translation - the semantic area of words differs between languages so that there is seldom complete overlap.  A 'perfect' translation of John 3:16 from Greek into English is impossible, for we have no perfect equivalent for "agapao" [translated "loved" in John. 3:16]."?
  68. Was R. A. Torrey "lying" when he said the following in 1907 - "No one, so far as I know, holds that the English translation of the Bible is absolutely infallible and inerrant.  The doctrine held by many is that the Scriptures as originally given were absolutely infallible and inerrant, and that our English translation is a substantially accurate rendering of the Scriptures as originally given"?  [Difficulties in the Bible, page 17]
  69. Is Don Edwards correct in agreeing "in favor of canonizing our KJV," thus replacing the inspired canon in Hebrew and Greek?  [The Flaming Torch, June 1989, page 6]
  70. Did God supernaturally "move His Word from the original languages to English" in 1611 as affirmed by The Flaming Torch?  [same page above]

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Indisputable, universally recognized errors in the KJV

Special thanks to Bill Reid for providing some source documentation in this section.

Errors where the KJV translation disagrees with the Textus Receptus:

KJV translates...

Textus Receptus actually says...

"robbers of churches." Acts 19:37

Every known Greek manuscript has HIEROSULOUS, "robbers of temples"

"Lucifer" Is 14:12

"O Day Star" (Lucifer is a human origin nickname for the Devil in the 1600's refers not to the devil but the king of Babylon)

"Easter" Acts 12:4

"Passover"(Easter very poor choice as it confuses the pagan origin Roman Catholic "Easter" holy day with what the TR clearly says is the Jewish Passover!)

"Baptism" (entire New Testament) Acts 2:38; 22:16

immersion, because sprinkling was the mode of baptism in 1611AD, they jelly-fished out and transliterated the Greek "baptizo" but refused to translate it.

"Tithes of all I possess" Lk 18:12

"all I acquire" (Not only variant with the TR, but quite wrong. Tithes were never paid on capital, only increase)

"Schoolmaster" Gal 3:24

"attendant" (the law was the one who brought us to Christ, not taught us about Christ)

"God save the King": 1Sam 10:24, 2Sam 16:16, 1Kings 1:25

"May the king live" ("God" not in TR, but reflects the British culture of the 1600's. Proof that the translators used dynamic equivalents.)

"God Forbid." Ro. 3:4,6,31; 6:2,15; 7:7,13; 9:14; 11:1,11; 1 Co. 6:15; Ga. 2:17; 3:21; 6:14

"may it not be" or "let it not be." (KJV adds the word God where it is absent in the TR because it was a common expression in 1600's. Proof that the translators used dynamic equivalents.)

"sweet savour" Lev 6:21; 8:28; 17:6; 23:18

"soothing aroma" (KJV appeals to wrong senses- taste instead of smell in the TR)

"ashes upon his face" 1 Kings 20:38

"bandage over his eyes" (KJV varies from TR by using ashes)

"flagon" 2 Sam 6:19; 1 Chron 16:3; SoS 2:5; Hosea 3:1

These verses contain the word "flagon" which is a fluted cup from which liquid is drunk. However, the Hebrew word is "ashishah" which has always meant raisins or raisin cakes. This is especially true in Hos 3:1 because raisin cakes were often offered to idols. This is an obvious error in translation.

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Inconsistency in translating identical words and phrases in the KJV

Special thanks to Bill Reid for providing some source documentation in this section.

Inconsistency in translating identical words and phrases in the KJV

Rom 4:3, 9, 22; Gal 3:6 Quotes Gen 15:6

KJV translates identical Greek phrases differently in each NT verse

Rom 12:19, Heb 10:30 quotes Deut 32:35

KJV translates identical Greek phrases differently in each NT verse

Heb 3:11; 4:3 quotes Ps 95:11

KJV translates identical Greek phrases differently in each NT verse

1 Cor 3:17

KJV translates identical Greek words into: "defile" & "destroy"

Mk 15:33, Lk 23:44

KJV translates identical Greek phrases: "whole land" & "all the earth"

Rev 4:4

KJV translates identical Greek words into: "seats" & "thrones"

Mt 25:46

KJV translates identical Greek words into: "everlasting" & "eternal"

Rom 4:3,4,5,6,9,10,11, 22,24

KJV translates identical Greek verbs: "counted", "reckon", "impute"

Rom 7

KJV translates identical Greek "epithumeo": "lust", "covet", "concupiscence"

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A Good Translation, But Nothing More

This text article by Jeff Smelser

The King James Version, or "Authorized Version," of the Bible, first published in 1611 under the authority of England's King James (hence the designation, "Authorized"), was in that day a very good translation, and is yet today a useful translation. However, it has never been due the reverence which many people have toward it. In fact, no translation is due the reverence which many have toward the King James Version.

The inspired word of God was and is free from error, being the work not merely of men, but of men directed by the Spirit of God (2 Pt. 1:20-21, Acts 1:16, 2 Tim. 3:16). Translations of that word, however, are subject to the limitations of human ability, and therefore, are imperfect. Moreover, errors arise not only in the process of translating from the original languages utilized by God to other languages, but also due to the fact that translations are made from texts of God's word in the original languages, texts which are themselves imperfect in varying degrees. This last point is that with which we shall concern ourselves in this study, and especially as it has to do with the King James Version. No scriptures exist today in the hand of the original writer. Rather hand-made copies, and in reality, copies of copies, of the originals exist, some very ancient. These are called manuscripts. These manuscripts are imperfect copies, containing the same kinds of errors that slip into hand-made copies of any piece of literature, whether it be a work of Shakespeare, Homer, or a book report for school.

Translators work with compilations of these manuscripts. These compilations represent the efforts of men to weed out the errors (interpolations, omissions, and substitutions) of each individual manuscript by comparing various manuscripts, and arrive at a text which represents as accurately as possible the original text of the scriptures. This process is referred to as textual criticism.

Over five thousand manuscripts, including several from as early as the third century, are available to textual critics today. Some of these include virtually the entire Bible, while others contain only certain books, or groups of books of the Bible. Some are mere fragments. Such extensive manuscript evidence contributes to the ability of modern textual critics to present us with a reliable text of God's word.

However, such extensive and ancient manuscript evidence was not available at the time the King James Version was translated. Even such manuscript evidence as was available was not used as effectively as it could have been in attempting to determine the original text.

The Text Behind the King James Version

The Greek text used by the translators who made the King James Version is commonly referred to as the Received Text, which in turn had its beginnings in the early 1500's when the first printed Greek texts were made. The Complutensian Bible was a polyglot Bible, published in several volumes. The fifth volume, which included a Greek text of the New Testament, was printed in 1514. However, Erasmus' Greek text, printed in 1516, was the first to be marketed. For this reason, and others, the text prepared by Erasmus surpassed the Complutensian text in popularity, and exerted the greatest influence on all the texts to follow for the next few centuries.

After Erasmus' text had seen several revisions, Robert Estienne, commonly referred to as Stephanus, published successive editions of a Greek text. His first two editions were compounds of Erasmus' text and the Complutensian text. However, the third edition (1550) was based primarily on the fourth and fifth editions of Erasmus' text. This 1550 edition gained wide acceptance in England, and for many is synonymous with the Received Text.

However, it was not until 1624 that the phrase, Received Text, or in the Latin, Textus Receptus, was actually coined, and then it was from the preface to the third edition of a Greek text published by Bonaventure and Abraham Elzevir. The words were, as described by Bruce Metzger, part of "a more or less casual phrase advertising the edition (what modern publishers might call a 'blurb')." The phrase boasted in Latin that the text presented was "the text which is now received by all." Thus came the phrase Textus Receptus, or Received Text.

The text published by the Elzevir brothers was mainly taken from a text published by Theodore de Beza in 1565. Beza's text showed its heritage from that of Stephanus, and ultimately from that of Erasmus. It is this basic text, common to Erasmus, Stephanus, Beza, and the Elzevir brothers, which lies behind all the protestant translations into English that were made from the Greek language prior to the nineteenth century, including the King James Version. According to The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, "The textus receptus...resolves itself essentially into that of the last edition of Erasmus."

As we stated before, no translation is due the reverence which many have toward the King James Version. Moreover, while the King James Version represents a scholarly translation from the Greek, because of the Greek text which lies behind it, it is perhaps even somewhat less deserving of such high esteem than some other translations. Bruce Metzger writes,

So superstitious has been the reverence accorded the Textus Receptus that in some cases attempts to criticize or emend it have been regarded as akin to sacrilege. Yet its textual basis is essentially a handful of late and haphazardly collected minuscule manuscripts, and in a dozen passages its reading is supported by no known Greek witness. (The Text of the New Testament, p. 106)

The vast majority of textual variations between the Textus Receptus and later texts (which are based to a large extent on older manuscripts that have been discovered or made available only in the last 150 years) are of no significance whatever. Often, variants are such that they are not at all distinguishable after being translated into English. At other times the variants merely represent the attempt of some scribe to supplement one synoptist's account with a detail legitimately provided in the account of another synoptist. However, occasionally the variations are more serious.

Although much credit is due to Erasmus for having made a Greek text available at all, the text which he presented was not of good quality. The half dozen manuscripts used by Erasmus were all of late origin. Most, if not all, were from the fifteenth century, while two may have been made as early as the twelfth century. He had only one manuscript which contained the book of Revelation, and it was missing the final leaf, which had contained the last six verses of Revelation. For these verses, Erasmus turned to the Vulgate, a Latin translation of the scriptures. Erasmus translated the Latin back to Greek. Thus, for those verses, it was a contrived Geek text which eventually came to be translated into English in the King James Version. Trying to discover the original Greek text by looking at a Latin translation is a little like trying to discover the exact ingredients used in making a German chocolate cake by tasting it. While your guess may be close, you will not be exactly right. Thus some words which have never been found in any Greek manuscript were incorporated into Erasmus' text, and in turn, into the Textus Receptus and the King James Version. For example, at Revelation 22:19, the phrase, "book of life" in the King James Version should be "tree of life" according to all known Greek manuscripts.

In other passages also, Erasmus took into his text words and phrases found in the Latin Vulgate, but supported by virtually no Greek manuscripts. Thus in Acts 9:5-6, the King James Version inherits from the Vulgate by way of Erasmus the following words:

...it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him...

We should note that these words do legitimately belong in Paul's account of his conversion as recorded by Luke in Acts 26 (verses 14-15), and therefore no factual error has been introduced in this instance.

A Spurious Passage Included Under Protest

An appalling case of a spurious passage coming from the Latin Vulgate down to the King James Version by way of Erasmus is described by Bruce Metzger:

Among the criticisms levelled at Erasmus one of the most serious appeared to be...that his text lacked part of the final chapter of I John, namely the Trinitarian statement concerning 'the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth' (I John v. 7-8, King James version). Erasmus replied that he had not found any Greek manuscript containing these words, though he had in the meanwhile examined several others besides those on which he relied when first preparing his text. In an unguarded moment Erasmus promised that he would insert the Comma Johanneum, as it is called, in future editions if a single Greek manuscript could be found that contained the passage. At length such a copy was found - or made to order! As it now appears, the Greek manuscript had probably been written in Oxford about 1520 by a Franciscan friar named Froy (or Roy), who took the disputed words from the Latin Vulgate. Erasmus stood by his promise and inserted the passage in his third edition (1522), but he indicates in a lengthy footnote his suspicions that the manuscript had been prepared expressly in order to confute him. (The Text of the New Testament, 1st-2nd Edition, Oxford, p 101) Marginal note in 3rd edition: See also p. 291 n.2
Footnote to the above comment by Metzger in the same book in a later edition: "What is said on p. 101 above about Erasmus' promise to include the Comma Johanneum if one Greek manuscript were found that contained it, and his subsequent suspicion that MS 61 was written expressly to force him to do so, needs to be corrected in the light of the research of H. J. De Jonge, a specialist in Erasmian studies who finds no explicit evidence that supports this frequently made assertion; see his "Erasmus and the Comma Johanneum,' Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses, lvi (1980), pp. 381-9 (The Text of the New Testament, 3rd Edition, Oxford, p 291 fn 2. Footnote Retraction)

In the time since Erasmus, among all the Greek manuscripts that have been examined, only three more, all of late date, have been found which include the passage, and it apparently comes to these from the Vulgate, not from earlier Greek exemplars. These three include one sixteenth century manuscript, one manuscript which is said to be from either the fourteenth or sixteenth century, and one twelfth century manuscript which has the passage added in the margin by a seventeenth century hand. In spite of the obvious lack of authenticity this passage, which probably originated as an attempt to augment the case for trinitarianism, is today included in the King James Version as if it were part of the inspired word.

Clearly, some of the passages included in the Textus Receptus, and consequently in the King James Version, are woefully lacking in credentials. But as the Textus Receptus became stereotyped, even later editors who were more abundantly supplied with manuscripts, including some from the fourth or fifth century, dared not stray too far from the text of the Vulgate and the Textus Receptus. This was the case until the nineteenth century.

In all our discussion we have not touched upon allegations of much more fundamental shortcomings of the text behind the King James Version. These have to do, not so much with the inclusion of passages supported by virtually no Greek manuscripts, but rather with readings found throughout the Textus Receptus which are supported by many late manuscripts, but which are not found in most of the earliest manuscripts.

The King James Version in Perspective

While there are perhaps no more than a dozen passages where the Received Text has an interpolation supported by no known Greek manuscript, there is a vastly greater number of passages where the Received Text has variant readings that are supported by Greek manuscripts. Often the manuscripts supporting such readings are in the majority. However, these manuscripts are generally of much later date than those which are deemed by most scholars to have the authentic reading.

These variations are almost always insignificant with respect to the practical meaning of God's word. Typical is the case of Mt. 13:9, where the King James Version has, "Who hath ears to hear, let him hear," while most modern translations (including the American Standard Version, the Revised Standard Version, and the New American Standard Bible) omit the words, "to hear". Most manuscripts include the words. However, the oldest manuscripts, and those considered most reliable by most scholars, omit the words. With reference to the meaning of the text, the variation is insignificant, especially because the words are included in the parallel accounts (Mk. 4:9, Lk. 8:8). Most scholars believe the variation is the result of scribes adding words to Matthew's account from the accounts of Mark and Luke. Such additions to the text seem to be characteristic of the manuscripts on which the Received Text, and therefore the King James Version, is based.

Some may wonder why we have spent so much time discussing variant readings if, in fact, they are as inconsequential as we have asserted. The very point we wish to make is that while the King James Version is a good and reliable translation of the inspired word, it is not itself inspired. It is not due any greater reverence than any other good translation, and it is certainly not due the reverence which it receives among some who believe it alone ought to be used and all others are "innovations". (The King James Version itself was considered a vile innovation by many when it first came out.) The fact is, the King James Version is a good translation, and far better than the paraphrases which are so popular today (e.g. The Living Bible, and The Book, which is a new edition of The Living Bible), but it is not perfect.

Today, some scholars are again asserting that although the manuscripts behind the Received Text are generally of very late date, they should be followed in passages where a variant occurs, even though the oldest manuscripts stand against the reading. Simplistically put, these scholars believe we should follow the reading of the majority of manuscripts instead of the reading of the oldest manuscripts.

In the midst of this debate, the New King James Bible has been published in an attempt to capitalize on the King James Version market. The New King James Bible updates the language of the King James Version, but again follows the Received Text. Hence the New King James Bible includes many readings which are found in a majority of manuscripts but not in the oldest manuscripts. Whether or not this can be justified, the inclusion of passages which have no support among the extant Greek manuscripts certainly cannot be justified. However, the translators of the New Kings James Bible inexplicably duplicated this blunder earlier made by the translators of the King James Version (e.g. see Acts 9:5-6, 1 John 5:7-8, and "book" in Rev. 22:19).

One should not adhere to any translation to the exclusion of all others, and this is certainly true of the King James Version and the New King James Bible. One who uses either of these should also have a copy of one of the newer translations which are not based upon the Received Text. Especially recommended are the American Standard Version and the New American Standard Bible.

Note: This article first appeared in 1985 in "The Thayer Street Messenger." It is based, in part, on Bruce Metzger's THE TEXT OF THE NEW TESTAMENT, Oxford University Press, 2nd ed.,

Jeff Smelser

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"KING JAMES-ONLYISM" and the "Egyptian Corruption" Argument

by Gary R. Hudson

A friend recently asked me about one of the common objections raised by the KJV-Only movement to the use of "any manuscripts that come from Egypt." One particular preacher he sat under was very fond of launching into a tirade against "those evil modern bibles" because "they're based on manuscripts out of Egypt" and "the Bible says Egypt is a type of the WORLD!" This is obviously typical of Peter Ruckman, Chick Publications, Gail Riplinger, J. J. Ray, and other KJV "defenders" who recklessly throw every device they can concoct against the early manuscripts of the Greek New Testament. They reason as thus: "The Bible says Egypt is a type of the world; the world is associated with sin; therefore, it must logically follow that Alexandrian manuscripts are evil." This is certainly a "case study" in one of the best examples of "guilt by association" ever imagined.

Actually, the Bible making "Egypt a type of the world" (which, by the way, is not explicitly stated in the Bible, only implied), does not mean it teaches that all other regions of the planet are untainted by sin. In fact, it implies the very opposite! If the Bible teaches that "Egypt is a type of the WORLD," then it DOES "logically follow" that "the whole WORLD is typified by Egypt" - which, in the case of KJV-Onlys, would make no region of the entire planet safe for preserving Bible manuscripts! (read 1 John 5:19).

Bob Ross comments: We should also remember the wonderful Providence of the Lord in regard to Moses, Joseph and the Israelites in Egypt, as well as how the infant Jesus was taken to Egypt as a means of escaping death in Israel during the time of Herod's campaign of infanticide. The Lord is Sovereign in Egypt as well as in Antioch, Jerusalem, and Rome! He works His wonders all over! In fact, if you had to have the "right place" in which the Lord could do His work, it would have to be a "wrong place," as the whole world is defiled by sin.

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The TRUE Genealogy & Genesis of "KJV - Onlyism"
The Bloodline of History







Self-described " Restorer " of the ' Missing Link ' of KJV ' Final Authority '

Peter S . Ruckman on the KJV -

  1. "I've NEVER said that the KING J AMES BIBLE was Inspired, although I've broadly intimated it sometimes ." [his booklet, "Why I Believe the King James Version Is the Word of God" pg. 6 ]
  2. "Not one time did G OD guarantee that O NE of the translations was inspired ." [Bible Believer's Bulletin, Nov. 91, pg. 10]
  3. "Now, at no time have I stated flatly that the A. V. 1611 was the ' verbally inspired Word of GOD . ' " Verbal inspiration has to do with 2 TIMOTHY 3:16 and deals with the O RIGINAL A UTOGRAPHS, as we all KNOW ." [Letter to Robert Sumner, 1971]




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Archaic language of the KJV

Example of why archaic language of the KJV is a barrier to knowing about Jesus. All the archaic words in this paragraph are found in the KJV:

"Sith the noise of the bruit of this school hath reached to thee-ward, we trust that our concourse liketh you well-particularly those who blaze abroad that there is error here. Whoso setteth thee against us-whoso saith we offend all-speaketh leasing. We be not affrighted, but withal, we are straightened in our bowels. We knoweth well that what thou wilst hear straightway wilt fast close up thy thoughts. With som we be abjects, some have defied us; but there has been no daysman betwixt us. They subvert the simple!" (References where these words are found: Ez 35:6, Jer 10:22, 1Sam 19:4, Prov 1:21, Esther 8:8, Mk 1:45, Prov 25:14, Jas 3:2, Ps 4:2, Lk 24:37, Acts 25:27, 1Tim 5:13, 2Cor 6:12, Mt 4:20, Ge 20:18, Ps 35:15, Num 23:8, Job 9:33, Ge 31:37, Lam 3:36, Prov 14:15 [Questions You've Asked About Bible Translations, by Dr. Jack Lewis])

Below are 484 examples of how the KJV uses outdated language. This is the primary reason why there is a need for modern translations. One should not need to use a dictionary to understand the Bible. Rather, it should convey the message of God as understandable as a city newspaper!

419 Archaic terms!

Why must one use an Early Modern English dictionary just to understand God's message to man?

1. Abject: Psalm 35:15.

2. Adamant: Ezek. 3:9; Zech. 7:12.

3. Agone: 1 Sam. 30:13.

4. Alamoth: 1 Chron. 15:20.

5. Almug: 1 Kings 10:11-12.

6. Aloes: Prov. 7:17; John 19:39.

7. Ambassage: Luke 14:32.

8. Ambushment: 1 Chron. 13:13

9. Amerce: Deut. 22:19.

10. Angle: Isa. 19:8; Hab. 1:15.

11. Anon: Matt. 13:20; Mark 1:30.

12. Apothecary: Exo. 30:25, 35; 37:29

13. Ariel: Isa. 29:1,2,7.

14. Armhole: Jer. 38:12.

15. Artificer: 1 Chron. 29:5.

16. Assay: Job 4:2; Acts 9:26.

17. Assupim: 1 Chron. 26:15,16.

18. Asswage: Job 16:5.

19. Astonied: Ezra 9:4.

20. Attent: 2 Chron. 6:40; 7:15.

21. Aul: Exo. 21:6.

22. Balances: Lev. 19:36; Jer. 32:10.

23. Bald Locust: Lev. 11:22.

24. Bason: 2 Chron. 4:8; Exo. 24:6.

25. Beeves: Lev. 22:19; Num. 31:28

26. Behemoth: Job 40:15.

27. Bekah: Exo. 38:26.

28. Besom: Isa. 14:23.

29. Bestead: Isa. ;8:21.

30. Betimes: Gen. 26:31; Job 8:5.

31. Bewray: Isa. 16:3; Prov. 29:24.

32. Bittern: Isa. 34:11; Zeph. 2:14.

33. Blain: Exo. 9:9,10.

34. Bloody Flux: Acts 28:8.

35. Bolled: Exo. 9:31.

36. Bondman: Gen. 44:33

37. Botch: Deut. 28:27,35.

38. Bray: Job 6:5; Prov. 27:22.

39. Breeches: Exo. 38:42; Lev. 16:4.

40. Brigandine: Jer. 46:4.

41. Broidered: Ezek. 16:10; Exo. 28:4.

42. Bruit: Jer. 10:22; Nahum 3:19

43. Buckler: 2 Sam. 22:31; Song 4:4.

44. Burning Ague: Lev. 26:16.

45. Byword: 2 Chron. 7:20; Psalm 44:14.

46. Cab: 2 Kings 6:25.

47. Calamus: Ezek. 27:19; Exo. 30:23.

48. Calves of our lips: Hos. 14:2.

49. Camphire: Song of Sol. 1:14; 4:13.

50. Canker: 2 Tim. 2:17.

51. Cankerworm: Joel 1:4; Nahum 3:15.

52. Carbuncle: Exo. 28:17; Ezek. 28:13.

53. Cassia: Exo. 30:24; Psalm 45:8.

54. Cast in the teeth: Matt. 27:44.

55. Castor and Polux: Acts 28:11.

56. Caul: Isa. 3:18; Lev. 3:4

57. Censer: 2 Chron. 26:19; Luke 1:9.

58. Chalcedony: Rev. 21:19.

59. Chalkstone: Isa. 27:9.

60. Chamberlain: Acts 12:20.

61. Chamois: Deut. 14:5.

62. Champaign: Deut. 11:30.

63. Chancellor: Ezra 4:8,9,17.

64. Chapiter: 1 Kings 7:16-18.

65. Chapmen: 2 Chron. 9:14.

66. Chapt: Jer. 14:4.

67. Checker Work: 1 Kings 7:17.

68. Cheek Teeth: Joel 1:6.

69. Chemosh: 1 Kings 11:7; 2 Kings 3:27.

70. Cherub: Ezek. 1:5-11; Psalm 18:10.

71. Choler: Dan. 8:7; 11:11.

72. Churl: Isa. 32:5,7.

73. Ciel: Jer. 22:14.

74. Clave: Ruth 1:14.

75. Clift: Exo. 33:32.

76. Close Place: 2 Sam. 22:46; Psalm 18:45.

77. Coat of Mail: 1 Sam. 17:5.

78. Cockatrice: Jer. 8:17.

79. Cocle: Job 31:40.

80. College: 2 Kings 22:14; 2 Chr. 34:22.

81. Collop: Job 15:27.

82. Concision: Phil. 3:2.

83. Concourse: Acts 19:40.

84. Concupiscence: Rom. 7:8; Col. 3:5.

85. Coney: Lev. 11:5.

86. Confection: Exo. 30:35.

87. Confectionary: 1 Sam. 8:13.

88. Contemn: Psalm 10:13.

89. Convocation: Exo. 12:16; Lev. 23:7.

90. Coping: 1 Kings 7:9.

91. Cor: Ezek. 45:14.

92. Corban: Mark 7:11.

93. Coriander: Exo. 16:31; Num. 11:7

94. Cormorant: Lev. 11:17; Isa. 34:11.

95. Couch: Gen. 49:9; Deut. 33:13.

96. Coulter: 1 Sam. 13:20,21.

97. Countervail: Esth. 7:4.

98. Covert: 2 Kings 16:18; Job 38:40.

99. Creeping Thing: Gen. 1:26.

100. Crisping Pin: Isa. 3:22.

101. Crookbackt: Lev. 21:20.

102. Cruse: 1 Sam. 26:11; 1 Kings 14:3.

103. Cubit: Deut. 3:11; Matt. 6:27.

104. Cumi: Mark 5:41.

105. Cummin: Isa. 28:25,27.

106. Curious Arts: Acts 19:19.

107. Cuttings: Lev. 19:28; 21:5.

108. Discomfit: Judg. 4:15; Psalm 18:14

109. Dragon: Psalm 74:13;; Isa. 27:1

110. Dulcimer: Dan. 3:5, 10, 15

111. Earnest: 2 Cor. 1:22; Eph. 1:14

112. Emerods: Deut. 28:27.

113. Endamage: Ezra 4:13

114. Endue: Gen. 30:20; 2 Chron. 2:12.

115. Engine: Ezek. 26:9; 2 Chron. 20:15.

116. Ensample: Phil. 3:17; 2 Pet. 2:6.

117. Ensign: Isa. 11:12; Zech. 9:16.

118. Ephah: Lev. 5:11; Ezek. 45:11.

119. Ephod: Exo. 28:6-12.

120. Ephphata: Mark 7:34.

121. Espouse: 2 Sam. 3:14; Matt. 1:18.

122. Euroclydon: Acts 27:14.

123. Exactor: Isa. 60:17.

124. Exorcist: Acts 19:13.

125. Extreme Burning: Deut. 28:22.

126. Eyeservice: Col. 3:22; Eph. 6:6.

127. Fain: Job 27:22; Luke 15:16.

128. Fairs: Ezek. 27:12, 14, 16.

129. Fallow Ground: Jer. 4:3; Hos. 10:12.

130. Familiar Friend: Job 19:14; Psalm 41:9.

131. Familiar Spirit: 2 Kings 23:24.

132. Farthing: Matt. 5:26.

133. Fast: 1 Sam. 31:13; Esth. 4:16.

134. Fat: Joel 2:24; Lev. 3:16.

135. Fatling: 1 Sam. 15:9; Isa. 11:6.

136. Fen: Job 40:21.

137. Fetched a compass: Acts 28:13

138. Fillet: Exo. 27:10,11.

139. Fining Pot: Prov. 17:3; 27:21.

140. Firepan: 2 Kings 25:15.

141. Firkin: John 2:6.

142. Fitch: Isa. 28:25, 27.

143. Flagon: Isa. 22:24.

144. Fleshhook: Exo. 27:3.

145. Fleshpot: Exo. 16:3.

146. Flote (Floats): 2 Chron. 2:16.

147. Footman: 1 Sam. 22:17; Jer. 12:5.

148. Footstool: 2 Chron. 9:18.

149. Foreship: Acts 27:30.

150. Foul Spirit: Mark 9:25; Rev. 18:2.

151. Foursquare: Exo. 27:1; Rev. 21:16.

152. Fowler: Psalm 91:3; Hos. 9:8.

153. Fray: Deut. 28:26; Jer. 7:33.

154. Freckled Spot: Lev. 13:39.

155. Fretting: Lev. 13:51,52.

156. Frontlet: Exo. 13:16; Deut. 6:8.

157. Fuller: 2 Kings 18:17; Mark 9:3.

158. Gabbatha: John 19:13.

159. Galbanum: Exo. 30:34.

160. Gall: Job 15:13; 20:25; Matt. 27:34.

161. Gallant Ship: Isa. 33:21.

162. Galley: Isa. 33:21.

163. Gat: 1 Kings 1:1; Eccl. 2:8.

164. Gerah: Lev. 27:25.

165. Ghost: Gen. 49:33.

166. Gin: Amos 3:5; Psalm 141:9.

167. Girt: 2 Kings 1:8; John 21:7.

168. Glean: Lev. 19:10.

169. Glede: Deut. 14:13.

170. Glister: 1 Chron. 39:2; Luke 9:29.

171. Graff: Rom. 11:17, 19, 23, 24.

172. Greaves: 1 Sam. 17:6.

173. Greyhound: Prov. 30:31.

174. Grisled: Gen. 31:10; Zech. 6:3.

175. Habergeon: Exo. 28:32; 2 Chron. 26:14.

176. Haft: Judg. 3:22.

177. Hale: Luke 12:58; Acts 8:3.

178. Halt: Mark 9:45; Luke 14:21; John 5:3.

179. Handbreadth: Exo. 37:12; 1 Kings 7:26.

180. Handstaves: Ezek. 39:9.

181. Hap: Ruth 2:3.

182. Haply: Mark 11:13; Acts 5:39.

183. Hart: Deut. 12:15; Isa. 35:6.

184. Hasty Fruit: Isa. 28:4.

185. Havock: Acts 8:3.

186. Heath: Jer. 17:6.

187. Heave Offering: Num. 18:8.

188. Heave Shoulder: Lev. 10:14.

189. Helve: Deut. 19:5.

190. Higgaion: Psalm 9:16.

191. Hindmost: Num. 2:31.

192. Hiss: Jer. 19:8.

193. Hoar Frost: Exo. 16:14; Psalm 147:16.

194. Hoar: Isa. 46:4.

195. Hoary: Job 41:32.

196. Hoise: Acts 27:40.

197. Holpen: Dan. 11:34; Luke 1:54.

198. Horseleach: Prov. 30:15.

199. Hosen: Dan. 3:21.

200. Hough: Josh. 11:6, 9; 2 Sam. 8:4.

201. Hungerbitten: Job 18:12.

202. Husbandry: 1 Cor. 3:9.

203. Ill Savour: Joel 2:20.

204. Implead: Acts 19:38.

205. Inclosing: Exo. 28:20.

206. Infolding: Ezek. 1:4.

207. Issue: Ezek. 47:12; Rev. 9:17.

208. Jachin and Boaz: 1 Kings 7:15-22.

209. Jacinth: Rev. 21:20.

210. Jah: Psalm 68:4.

211. Jeopard: Judg. 5:18.

212. Jod: 1 Chron. 22:3.

213. Jot: Matt. 5:18.

214. Jubile: Lev. 25:8-17.

215. Kerchief: Ezek. 13:18,21.

216. Kindred: Gen. 24:4.

217. Kine: 1 Sam. 6:10,12,14; Amos 4:1.

218. Kite: Lev. 11:14; Deut. 14:13.

219. Kneadingtrough: Exo. 8:3: 12:34.

220. Knop: Exo. 25:31, 34, 36.; 1 Kings 6:18.

221. Lade: Gen. 47:17; 1 Kings 12:11.

222. Lancet: 1 Kings 18:28.

223. Lapwing: Lev. 11:19; Deut. 14:18.

224. Latchet: Isa. 5:278; Mark 1:7.

225. Latter Rain: Deut. 11:14; Zech. 10:1.

226. Laver: Exo. 31:9; 1 Kings 7:40, 43.

227. Leasing: Psalm 4:2; 5:6.

228. Legion: Mark 5:9, 15; Luke 8:30.

229. Leviathan: Psalm 74:14; Isa. 27:1; Job 41:1.

230. Libertines: Acts 6:9.

231. Lien: Gen. 26:10; Psalm 68:13.

232. Lign Aloes: Num. 24:6.

233. Lily Work: 1 Kings 7:19, 22.

234. Lintel: Exo. 12:22,23; Amos 9:1.

235. Log: Lev. 14:10, 21.

236. Lowring: Matt. 16:3.

237. Lucre: 1 Sam. 8:2; 1 Tim. 3:3,8.

238. Lunatick: Matt. 4:24; 17:15.

239. Magnifical: 1 Chron. 22:5.

240. Mail: 1 Sam. 17:38.

241. Malefactor: Luke 23:32,33; John 18:30.

242. Mallow: Job 30:4.

243. Mammon: Matt. 6:24; Luke 16:11,13.

244. Manch: Ezek. 45:12.

245. Mandrake: Gen. 30:14-16.

246. Maranatha: 1 Cor. 16:22.

247. Maschil: Psalm 32 (Title).

248. Matrix: Exo. 13:12,15;34:19; Num. 18:15.

249. Maul: Prov. 25:18.

250. Maw: Deut. 18:3.

251. Meat Offering: 1 Chron. 21:23.

252. Mete: Exo. 16:18; Isa. 40:12.

253. Meteyard: Lev. 19:35.

254. Michtam: Psalm 16,56-60 (in title).

255. Milcom: 1 Kings 11:5, 33; 2 Kings 23:13.

256. Mincing: Isa. 3:16.

257. Mingled People: Jer. 25:20, 24; Ezek. 30:5.

258. Minish: Psalm 107:39; Exo. 5:19.

259. Mite: Mark 12:42; Luke 12:59.

260. Mitre: Zech. 3:5.

261. Mortar: Num. 11:8; Prov. 27:22.

262. Morter: Exo. 1:14; Nahum 3:14;

263. Mote: Matt. 7:4; Luke 6:41,42.

264. Moving Things: Gen. 1:20.

265. Muffler: Isa. 3:19.

266. Munition: Isa. 29:7; 33:16.

267. Murrian: Exo. 9:3.

268. Musick: 1 Sam. 18:6; Luke 15:25.

269. Myrrh: Gen. 37:25; Matt. 2:11.

270. Naught: Prov. 20:14; 2 Kings 2:19.

271. Necromancer: Deut. 18:11.

272. Neesing: Job 41:18.

273. Nehushtan: 2 Kings 18:4.

274. Nergal: 2 Kings 17:30.

275. Nether: Deut. 24:6; Job 41:24.

276. Nethermost: 1 Kings 6:6.

277. Nethinim: 1 Chron. 9:2; Ezra 7:7.

278. Nettle: Isa. 34:13.

279. Nigh: Deut. 22:2; Luke 21:28.

280. Nitre: Prov. 25:20; Jer. 2:22.

281. Noisome: Psalm 91:3; Ezek. 14:21.

282. Oblation: Lev. 2:4,12; Ezek. 45:1.

283. Occurrent: 1 Kings 5:4.

284. Offscouring: Lamen. 3:45; I Cor. 4:13.

285. Oil Tree: Isa. 41:19.

286. Omega: Rev. 1:8, 11.

287. Omer: Exo. 16:16, 18, 22.

288. Onycha: Exo. 30:34.

289. Onyx: Exo. 28:20; 39:13; Ezek. 28:13.

290. Oracle: 1 Pet. 4:11.

291. Orion: Job 9:9; 38:31; Amos 5:8.

292. Osprey: Lev. 11:13.

293. Ossifrage: Lev. 11:13; Deut. 14:12.

294. Outwent: Mark 6:33.

295. Overcharge: 2 Cor. 2:5; Luke 21:34.

296. Overlive: Josh. 24:31.

297. Overpast: Psalm 57:1; Isa. 26:20.

298. Overrun: 2 Sam. 18:23; Nahum 1:8.

299. Paddle: Deut. 23:13.

300. Palmerworm: Joel 1:4; 2:25; Amos 4:9.

301. Pannag: Ezek. 27:17.

302. Parbar: 1 Chron. 26:18.

303. Pavement: Esth. 1:6.

304. Peculiar: Exo. 19:5; Titus 2:14.

305. Pence: Mark 14:5; Matt. 18:28.

306. Penury: Prov. 14:23; Luke 21:4.

307. Peradventure: Gen. 24:39; Rom. 5:7.

308. Pestle: Prov. 27:22.

309. Phylacteries: Deut. 11:13-22.

310. Pill: Gen. 30:37,38.

311. Plaister: Dan. 5:5; Lev. 13:43,48.

312. Plaiting: 1 Pet. 3:3.

313. Plat: 2 Kings 9:26.

314. Pleasant Plants: Isa. 17:10.

315. Pleiades: Job 9:9; 38:31.

316. Plummet: 2 Kings 21:13; Isa. 28:17.

317. Pommegranate: Num. 20:5; Deut. 8:8.

318. Pommel: 2 Chron. 4:12.

319. Porter: 1 Chron. 23:5; Neh. 7:73.

320. Potsherd: Prov. 26:23; Isa. 45:9.

321. Pottage: Gen. 25:29,30,34; 2 Kings 4:38.

322. Pourtray: Ezek. 4:1; 8:10.

323. Pransing: Judg. 5:22; Nahum 3:2.

324. Pressfat: Hag. 2:16.

325. Prick: Num. 33:55; Acts 9:5; 26:14.

326. Privily: 1 Sam. 24:4; Gal. 2:4.

327. Profane: Lev. 21:7; Heb. 12:16.

328. Propitiation: Rom. 3:25; 1 John 2:2; 4:10.

329. Proselyte: Matt. 23:15; Acts 2:10.

330. Provender: Gen. 42:27; Isa. 30:24.

331. Pruninghook: Isa. 2:4; Joel 3:10; Micah 4:3

332. Psaltery: 1 Sam. 10:5; Psalm 144;9

333. Publican: Matt. 9:11; Luke 18:10; 19:2.

334. Pur: Esth. 3:7; 9:24.

335. Purifying Sores: Isa. 1:6.

336. Purrim: Esth. 9:21-32.

337. Purtenance: Exo. 12:9

338. Pygarg: Deut. 14:5.

339. Quarternion: Acts 12:4.

340. Quick: Num. 16:30; Acts 10:42.

341. Quit: 1 Sam. 4:9; 1 Cor. 16:13.

342. Rainment: Gen. 45:22.

343. Rampart: Lamen. 2:8; Nahum 3:8.

344. Ravening: Psalm 22:13; Matt. 7:15.

345. Ravin: Gen. 49:27; Nahum 2:12.

346. Recorder: 2 Sam. 8:16; 2 Chron. 34:8.

347. Redound: 2 Cor. 4:15.

348. Reins: Psalm 16:7; Isa. 11:5.

349. Remphan: Acts 7:43.

350. Rereward: Num. 10:25; 1 Sam. 29:2.

351. Ribband: Num. 15:38.

352. Rie: Exo. 9:32; Isa. 28:25.

353. Ringstraked: Gen. 30:35,39,40.

354. Roe: Isa. 13:14.

355. Ruddy: 1 Sam. 16:12.

356. Rude: 2 Cor. 11:6.

357. Sackbut: Dan. 3:5.

358. Sackcloth: Gen. 37:34; 2 Kings 19:1.

359. Saffron: Song of Sol. 4:14.

360. Satyr: Isa. 13:21; 34:14.

361. Savour: Lev. 26:31; Matt. 16:23.

362. Scabbard: Jer. 47:6.

363. Scall: Lev. 13:30-37; 14:54.

364. Scrabble: 1 Sam. 21:13.

365. Screech Owl: Isa. 34:14.

366. Scum: Ezek. 24:6,11,12.

367. Seethe: 2 Kings 4:38; Job 41:20.

368. Selvedge: Exo. 26:4; 36:11.

369. Servitor: 2 Kings 4:43.

370. Shambles: 1 Cor. 10:25.

371. Sheaf: Gen. 37:7; Deut. 24:19.

372. Sheepcote: 2 Sam. 7:8; 1 Chron. 17:7.

373. Sheminith: 1 Chron. 15:21; Psa 6 (title).

374. Sherd: Isa. 30:14; Ezek. 23:34.

375. Shewbread: 1 Sam. 21:6; 1 Chron. 9:32.

376. Shibboleth: Judg. 12:6.

377. Shigionoth: Habbakkuk 3:1.

378. Shiloh: Gen. 49:10.

379. Shittah Tree: Isa. 41:19.

380. Silverling: Isa. 7:23.

381. Sith: Ezek. 35:6.

382. Snuff: Jer. 2:24; 14:6.

383. Snuffdish: Exo. 25:38; 37:23; Num. 4:9.

384. Snuffers: 1 Kings 7:50; 2 Chron. 4:22.

385. Sod: 2 Chron. 35:13.

386. Sodden: Exo. 12:9; 1 Sam. 2:15.

387. Sodpdoiler: Judg. 2:14; 1 Sam. 13:17.

388. Sojourn: Judg. 19:16; Isa. 52:4.

389. Sottish: Jer. 4:22.

390. Spikenard: Mark 14:3; John 12:3.

391. Stacte: Exo. 30:34.

392. Stomacher: Isa. 3:24.

393. Strait: Isa. 49:20; Acts 26:5.

394. Strake: Gen. 30:37; Lev. 14:37

395. Supple: Ezek. 16:4

396. Sycamine: Luke 17:6

397. Sycomore: Amos 7:14

398. Taber: Nah. 2:7

399. Tache: Exo. 26,11; 36:13,18

400. Target: 1 Kings 10:16; 2 Chron 9:15; 14:8.

401. Tender eyed: Gen. 29:17

402. Thence: Acts 28:13

403. Trow: Luke 17:9

404. Unction: 1 John 2:20

405. Unicorn: Num. 23:22; Deut 33:17; Job 39:9

406. Victual: Exo. 12:39

407. Visage: Dan. 3:19

408. Void place: 1 Kings 22:10

409. Wax: 2 Sam. 3:1; Rev. 18:3

410. Wen: Lev. 22:22

411. Wheaten: Exo. 29:2

412. Whelp: 2 Sam. 17:8; Ezek. 19:3

413. Wimple: Isa. 3:22

414. Winefat: Isa. 63:2; Mark 12:1

415. Wist: Josh. 8:14; Mark 9:6

416. Wit: Gen. 24:21; Ex. 2:4; 2 Kings 10:29

417. Wizard: Lev. 19:31; 20:27; 1 Sam. 28:3

418. Wot: Gen. 39:8; Rom. 11:2

419. Wreathen: Exo. 28:14; 39:15; 2 Kings 25:27




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Preface to the King James Version 1611



Preface to the King James Version 1611


Zeal to promote the common good, whether it be by devising anything ourselves, or revising that which hath been laboured by others, deserveth certainly much respect and esteem, but yet findeth but cold entertainment in the world. It is welcomed with suspicion instead of love, and with emulation instead of thanks: and if there be any hole left for cavil to enter, (and cavil, if it do not find a hole, will make one) it is sure to be misconstrued, and in danger to be condemned. This will easily be granted by as many as know story, or have any experience. For, was there ever any-projected, that savoured any way of newness or renewing, but the same endured many a storm of gainsaying, or opposition? A man would think that Civility, wholesome Laws, learning and eloquence, Synods, and Church-maintenance, (that we speak of no more things of this kind) should be as safe as a Sanctuary, and out of shot, as they say, that no man would lift up the heel, no, nor dog move his tongue against the motioners of them. For by the first, we are distinguished from brute beasts lead with sensuality; By the second, we are bridled and restrained from outrageous behaviour, and from doing of injuries, whether by fraud or by violence; By the third, we are enabled to inform and reform others, by the light and feeling that we have attained unto ourselves; Briefly, by the fourth being brought together to a parley face to face, we sooner compose our differences than by writings which are endless; And lastly, that the Church be sufficiently provided for, is so agreeable to good reason and conscience, that those mothers are holden to be less cruel, that kill their children as soon as they are born, than those nursing fathers and mothers (wheresoever they be) that withdraw from them who hang upon their breasts (and upon whose breasts again themselves do hang to receive the Spiritual and sincere milk of the word) livelihood and support fit for their estates. Thus it is apparent, that these things which we speak of, are of most necessary use, and therefore, that none, either without absurdity can speak against them, or without note of wickedness can spurn against them.

Yet for all that, the learned know that certain worthy men [Anacharsis with others] have been brought to untimely death for none other fault, but for seeking to reduce their Countrymen to god order and discipline; and that in some Commonwealths [e.g. Locri] it was made a capital crime, once to motion the making of a new Law for the abrogating of an old, though the same were most pernicious; And that certain [Cato the elder], which would be counted pillars of the State, and patterns of Virtue and Prudence, could not be brought for a long time to give way to good Letters and refined speech, but bare themselves as averse from them, as from rocks or boxes of poison; And fourthly, that he was no babe, but a great clerk [Gregory the Divine], that gave forth (and in writing to remain to posterity) in passion peradventure, but yet he gave forth, that he had not seen any profit to come by any Synod, or meeting of the Clergy, but rather the contrary; And lastly, against Church-maintenance and allowance, in such sort, as the Ambassadors and messengers of the great King of Kings should be furnished, it is not unknown what a fiction or fable (so it is esteemed, and for no better by the reporter himself [Nauclerus], though superstitious) was devised; Namely, that at such a time as the professors and teachers of Christianity in the Church of Rome, then a true Church, were liberally endowed, a voice forsooth was heard from heaven, saying: Now is poison poured down into the Church, etc. Thus not only as oft as we speak, as one saith, but also as oft as we do anything of note or consequence, we subject ourselves to everyone's censure, and happy is he that is least tossed upon tongues; for utterly to escape the snatch of them it is impossible. If any man conceit, that this is the lot and portion of the meaner sort only, and that Princes are privileged by their high estate, he is deceived. "As the sword devoureth as well one as the other," as it is in Samuel [2 Sam 11:25], nay as the great Commander charged his soldiers in a certain battle, to strike at no part of the enemy, but at the face; And as the King of Syria commanded his chief Captains to "fight neither with small nor great, save only against the King of Israel:" [1 Kings 22:31] so it is too true, that Envy striketh most spitefully at the fairest, and at the chiefest. David was a worthy Prince, and no man to be compared to him for his first deeds, and yet for as worthy as act as ever he did (even for bringing back the Ark of God in solemnity) he was scorned and scoffed at by his own wife [2 Sam 6:16]. Solomon was greater than David, though not in virtue, yet in power: and by his power and wisdom he built a Temple to the Lord, such a one as was the glory of the land of Israel, and the wonder of the whole world. But was that his magnificence liked of by all? We doubt it. Otherwise, why do they lay it in his son's dish, and call unto him for easing the burden, "Make", say they, "the grievous servitude of thy father, and his sore yoke, lighter?" [1 Kings 12:4] Belike he had charged them with some levies, and troubled them with some carriages; Hereupon they raise up a tragedy, and wish in their heart the Temple had never been built. So hard a thing it is to please all, even when we please God best, and do seek to approve ourselves to every ones conscience.

If we will descend to later times, we shall find many the like examples of such kind, or rather unkind acceptance. The first Roman Emperor [C. Caesar. Plutarch] did never do a more pleasing deed to the learned, nor more profitable to posterity, for conserving the record of times in true supputation; than when he corrected the Calendar, and ordered the year according to the course of the Sun; and yet this was imputed to him for novelty, and arrogance, and procured to him great obloguy. So the first Christened Emperor [Constantine] (at the leastwise that openly professed the faith himself, and allowed others to do the like) for strengthening the Empire at his great charges, and providing for the Church, as he did, got for his labour the name Pupillus, as who would say, a wasteful Prince, that had need of a Guardian or overseer [Aurel. Victor]. So the best Christened Emperor [Theodosius], for the love that he bare unto peace, thereby to enrich both himself and his subjects, and because he did not see war but find it, was judged to be no man at arms [Zosimus], (though indeed he excelled in feats of chivalry, and showed so much when he was provoked) and condemned for giving himself to his ease, and to his pleasure. To be short, the most learned Emperor of former times [Justinian], (at the least, the greatest politician) what thanks had he for cutting off the superfluities of the laws, and digesting them into some order and method? This, that he had been blotted by some to be an Epitomist, that is, one that extinguishes worthy whole volumes, to bring his abridgments into request. This is the measure that hath been rendered to excellent Princes in former times, even, Cum bene facerent, male audire, For their good deeds to be evil spoken of. Neither is there any likelihood, that envy and malignity died, and were buried with the ancient. No, no, the reproof of Moses taketh hold of most ages; "You are risen up in your fathers' stead, and increase of sinful men." [Num 32:14] "What is that that hath been done? that which shall be done; and there is no new thing under the Sun," saith the wiseman: [Ecc 1:9] and S. Stephen, "As your fathers did, so do you." [Acts 7:51]


This, and more to this purpose, His Majesty that now reigneth (and long, and long may he reign, and his offspring forever, "Himself and children, and children's always) knew full well, according to the singular wisdom given unto him by God, and the rare learning and experience that he hath attained unto; namely that whosoever attempteth anything for the public (especially if it pertain to Religion, and to the opening and clearing of the word of God) the same setteth himself upon a stage to be gloated upon by every evil eye, yea, he casteth himself headlong upon pikes, to be gored by every sharp tongue. For he that medleth with men's Religion in any part, medleth with their custom, nay, with their freehold; and though they find no content in that which they have, yet they cannot abide to hear of altering. Notwithstanding his Royal heart was not daunted or discouraged for this that colour, but stood resolute, "as a statue immovable, and an anvil not easy to be beaten into plates," as one [Suidas] saith; he knew who had chosen him to be a Soldier, or rather a Captain, and being assured that the course which he intended made for the glory of God, and the building up of his Church, he would not suffer it to be broken off for whatsoever speeches or practices. It doth certainly belong unto Kings, yea, it doth specially belong unto them, to have care of Religion, yea, it doth specially belong unto them, to have care of Religion, yea, to know it aright, yea, to profess it zealously, yea to promote it to the uttermost of their power. This is their glory before all nations which mean well, and this will bring unto them a far most excellent weight of glory in the day of the Lord Jesus. For the Scripture saith not in vain, "Them that honor me, I will honor," [1 Sam 2:30] neither was it a vain word that Eusebius delivered long ago, that piety towards God was the weapon and the only weapon, that both preserved Constantine's person, and avenged him of his enemies [Eusebius lib 10 cap 8].


But now what piety without truth? what truth (what saving truth) without the word of God? What word of God (whereof we may be sure) without the Scripture? The Scriptures we are commanded to search. John 5:39. Isa 8:20. They are commended that searched and studied them. Acts 17:11 and 8:28,29. They are reproved that were unskilful in them, or slow to believe them. Matt 22:29. Luke 24:25. They can make us wise unto salvation. 2 Tim 3:15. If we be ignorant, they will instruct us; if out of the way, they will bring us home; if out of order, they will reform us; if in heaviness, comfort us; if dull, quicken us; if cold, inflame us. Tolle, lege; Tolle, lege, Take up and read, take up and read the Scriptures [S. August. confess. lib 8 cap 12], (for unto them was the direction) it was said unto S. Augustine by a supernatural voice. "Whatsoever is in the Scriptures, believe me," saith the same S. Augustine, "is high and divine; there is verily truth, and a doctrine most fit for the refreshing of men's minds, and truly so tempered, that everyone may draw from thence that which is sufficient for him, if he come to draw with a devout and pious mind, as true Religion requireth." [S. August. de utilit. credendi cap. 6] Thus S. Augustine. and S. Jerome: "Ama scripturas, et amabit te sapientia etc." [S. Jerome. ad Demetriad] Love the Scriptures, and wisdom will love thee. And S. Cyril against Julian; "Even boys that are bred up in the Scriptures, become most religious, etc." [S. Cyril. 7 contra Iulianum] But what mention we three or four uses of the Scripture, whereas whatsoever is to be believed or practiced, or hoped for, is contained in them? or three or four sentences of the Fathers, since whosoever is worthy the name of a Father, from Christ's time downward, hath likewise written not only of the riches, but also of the perfection of the Scripture? "I adore the fulness of the Scripture," saith Tertullian against Hermogenes. [Tertul. advers. Hermo.] And again, to Apelles an heretic of the like stamp, he saith; "I do not admit that which thou bringest in (or concludest) of thine own (head or store, de tuo) without Scripture." [Tertul. de carne Christi.] So Saint Justin Martyr before him; "We must know by all means," saith he, "that it is not lawful (or possible) to learn (anything) of God or of right piety, save only out of the Prophets, who teach us by divine inspiration." So Saint Basil after Tertullian, "It is a manifest falling way from the Faith, and a fault of presumption, either to reject any of those things that are written, or to bring in (upon the head of them) any of those things that are not written. We omit to cite to the same effect, S. Cyril B. of Jerusalem in his 4::Cataches., Saint Jerome against Helvidius, Saint Augustine in his 3::book against the letters of Petilian, and in very many other places of his works. Also we forebear to descend to later Fathers, because we will not weary the reader. The Scriptures then being acknowledged to be so full and so perfect, how can we excuse ourselves of negligence, if we do not study them, of curiosity, if we be not content with them? Men talk much of [an olive bow wrapped about with wood, whereupon did hang figs, and bread, honey in a pot, and oil], how many sweet and goodly things it had hanging on it; of the Philosopher's stone, that it turned copper into gold; of Cornu-copia, that it had all things necessary for food in it, of Panaces the herb, that it was good for diseases, of Catholicon the drug, that it is instead of all purges; of Vulcan's armor, that it was an armor of proof against all thrusts, and all blows, etc. Well, that which they falsely or vainly attributed to these things for bodily god, we may justly and with full measure ascribe unto the Scripture, for spiritual. It is not only an armor, but also a whole armory of weapons, both offensive and defensive; whereby we may save ourselves and put the enemy to flight. It is not an herb, but a tree, or rather a whole paradise of trees of life, which bring forth fruit every month, and the fruit thereof is for meat, and the leaves for medicine. It is not a pot of Manna, or a cruse of oil, which were for memory only, or for a meal's meat or two, but as it were a shower of heavenly bread sufficient for a whole host, be it never so great; and as it were a whole cellar full of oil vessels; whereby all our necessities may be provided for, and our debts discharged. In a word, it is a Panary of wholesome food, against fenowed traditions; a Physician's shop (Saint Basil called it) [S. Basil in Psal. primum.] of preservatives against poisoned heresies; a Pandect of profitable laws, against rebellious spirits; a treasury of most costly jewels, against beggarly rudiments; finally a fountain of most pure water springing up unto everlasting life. And what marvel? The original thereof being from heaven, not from earth; the author being God, not man; the inditer, the holy spirit, not the wit of the Apostles or Prophets; the Penmen such as were sanctified from the womb, and endued with a principal portion of God's spirit; the matter, verity, piety, purity, uprightness; the form, God's word, God's testimony, God's oracles, the word of truth, the word of salvation, etc.; the effects, light of understanding, stableness of persuasion, repentance from dead works, newness of life, holiness, peace, joy in the holy Ghost; lastly, the end and reward of the study thereof, fellowship with the Saints, participation of the heavenly nature, fruition of an inheritance immortal, undefiled, and that never shall fade away: Happy is the man that delighted in the Scripture, and thrice happy that meditateth in it day and night.


But how shall men meditate in that, which they cannot understand? How shall they understand that which is kept close in an unknown tongue? as it is written, "Except I know the power of the voice, I shall be to him that speaketh, a Barbarian, and he that speaketh, shall be a Barbarian to me." [1 Cor 14] The Apostle excepteth no tongue; not Hebrew the ancientest, not Greek the most copious, not Latin the finest. Nature taught a natural man to confess, that all of us in those tongues which we do not understand, are plainly deaf; we may turn the deaf ear unto them. The Scythian counted the Athenian, whom he did not understand, barbarous; [Clem. Alex. 1 Strom.] so the Roman did the Syrian, and the Jew (even S. Jerome himself called the Hebrew tongue barbarous, belike because it was strange to so many) [S. Jerome. Damaso.] so the Emperor of Constantinople [Michael, Theophili fil.] calleth the Latin tongue, barbarous, though Pope Nicolas do storm at it: [2::Tom. Concil. ex edit. Petri Crab] so the Jews long before Christ called all other nations, Lognazim, which is little better than barbarous. Therefore as one complaineth, that always in the Senate of Rome, there was one or other that called for an interpreter: [Cicero 5::de finibus.] so lest the Church be driven to the like exigent, it is necessary to have translations in a readiness. Translation it is that openeth the window, to let in the light; that breaketh the shell, that we may eat the kernel; that putteth aside the curtain, that we may look into the most Holy place; that removeth the cover of the well, that we may come by the water, even as Jacob rolled away the stone from the mouth of the well, by which means the flocks of Laban were watered [Gen 29:10]. Indeed without translation into the vulgar tongue, the unlearned are but like children at Jacob's well (which is deep) [John 4:11] without a bucket or something to draw with; or as that person mentioned by Isaiah, to whom when a sealed book was delivered, with this motion, "Read this, I pray thee," he was fain to make this answer, "I cannot, for it is sealed." [Isa 29:11]


While God would be known only in Jacob, and have his Name great in Israel, and in none other place, while the dew lay on Gideon's fleece only, and all the earth besides was dry; then for one and the same people, which spake all of them the language of Canaan, that is, Hebrew, one and the same original in Hebrew was sufficient. [S. August. lib 12 contra Faust c32] But, when the fulness of time drew near, that the Sun of righteousness, the Son of God should come into the world, whom God ordained to be a reconciliation through faith in his blood, not of the Jew only, but also of the Greek, yea, of all them that were scattered abroad; then lo, it pleased the Lord to stir up the spirit of a Greek Prince (Greek for descent and language) even of Ptolemy Philadelph King of Egypt, to procure the translating of the Book of God out of Hebrew into Greek. This is the translation of the Seventy Interpreters, commonly so called, which prepared the way for our Saviour among the Gentiles by written preaching, as Saint John Baptist did among the Jews by vocal. For the Grecians being desirous of learning, were not wont to suffer books of worth to lie moulding in Kings' libraries, but had many of their servants, ready scribes, to copy them out, and so they were dispersed and made common. Again, the Greek tongue was well known and made familiar to most inhabitants in Asia, by reason of the conquest that there the Grecians had made, as also by the Colonies, which thither they had sent. For the same causes also it was well understood in many places of Europe, yea, and of Africa too. Therefore the word of God being set forth in Greek, becometh hereby like a candle set upon a candlestick, which giveth light to all that are in the house, or like a proclamation sounded forth in the market place, which most men presently take knowledge of; and therefore that language was fittest to contain the Scriptures, both for the first Preachers of the Gospel to appeal unto for witness, and for the learners also of those times to make search and trial by. It is certain, that that Translation was not so sound and so perfect, but it needed in many places correction; and who had been so sufficient for this work as the Apostles or Apostolic men? Yet it seemed good to the holy Ghost and to them, to take that which they found, (the same being for the greatest part true and sufficient) rather than making a new, in that new world and green age of the Church, to expose themselves to many exceptions and cavillations, as though they made a Translations to serve their own turn, and therefore bearing a witness to themselves, their witness not to be regarded. This may be supposed to be some cause, why the Translation of the Seventy was allowed to pass for current. Notwithstanding, though it was commended generally, yet it did not fully content the learned, no not of the Jews. For not long after Christ, Aquila fell in hand with a new Translation, and after him Theodotion, and after him Symmachus; yea, there was a fifth and a sixth edition, the Authors whereof were not known. [Epiphan. de mensur. et ponderibus.] These with the Seventy made up the Hexapla and were worthily and to great purpose compiled together by Origen. Howbeit the Edition of the Seventy went away with the credit, and therefore not only was placed in the midst by Origen (for the worth and excellency thereof above the rest, as Epiphanius gathered) but also was used by the Greek fathers for the ground and foundation of their Commentaries. Yea, Epiphanius above named doeth attribute so much unto it, that he holdeth the Authors thereof not only for Interpreters, but also for Prophets in some respect [S. August. 2::de dectrin. Christian c. 15]; and Justinian the Emperor enjoining the Jews his subjects to use especially the Translation of the Seventy, rendreth this reason thereof, because they were as it were enlightened with prophetical grace. Yet for all that, as the Egyptians are said of the Prophet to be men and not God, and their horses flesh and not spirit [Isa 31:3]; so it is evident, (and Saint Jerome affirmeth as much) [S. Jerome. de optimo genere interpret.] that the Seventy were Interpreters, they were not Prophets; they did many things well, as learned men; but yet as men they stumbled and fell, one while through oversight, another while through ignorance, yea, sometimes they may be noted to add to the Original, and sometimes to take from it; which made the Apostles to leave them many times, when they left the Hebrew, and to deliver the sense thereof according to the truth of the word, as the spirit gave them utterance. This may suffice touching the Greek Translations of the Old Testament.


There were also within a few hundred years after CHRIST, translations many into the Latin tongue: for this tongue also was very fit to convey the Law and the Gospel by, because in those times very many Countries of the West, yea of the South, East and North, spake or understood Latin, being made Provinces to the Romans. But now the Latin Translations were too many to be all good, for they were infinite (Latini Interprets nullo modo numerari possunt, saith S. Augustine.) [S. Augustin. de doctr. Christ. lib 2 cap II]. Again they were not out of the Hebrew fountain (we speak of the Latin Translations of the Old Testament) but out of the Greek stream, therefore the Greek being not altogether clear, the Latin derived from it must needs be muddy. This moved S. Jerome a most learned father, and the best linguist without controversy, of his age, or of any that went before him, to undertake the translating of the Old Testament, out of the very fountain with that evidence of great learning, judgment, industry, and faithfulness, that he had forever bound the Church unto him, in a debt of special remembrance and thankfulness.


Now through the Church were thus furnished with Greek and Latin Translations, even before the faith of CHRIST was generally embraced in the Empire; (for the learned know that even in S. Jerome's time, the Consul of Rome and his wife were both Ethnics, and about the same time the greatest part of the Senate also) [S. Jerome. Marcell.Zosim] yet for all that the godly-learned were not content to have the Scriptures in the Language which they themselves understood, Greek and Latin, (as the good Lepers were not content to fare well themselves, but acquainted their neighbors with the store that God had sent, that they also might provide for themselves) [2 Kings 7:9] but also for the behoof and edifying of the unlearned which hungered and thirsted after righteousness, and had souls to be saved as well as they, they provided Translations into the vulgar for their Countrymen, insomuch that most nations under heaven did shortly after their conversion, hear CHRIST speaking unto them in their mother tongue, not by the voice of their Minister only, but also by the written word translated. If any doubt hereof, he may be satisfied by examples enough, if enough will serve the turn. First S. Jerome saith, Multarum gentium linguis Scriptura ante translata, docet falsa esse quae addita sunt, etc. i.e. "The Scripture being translated before in the languages of many Nations, doth show that those things that were added (by Lucian and Hesychius) are false." [S. Jerome. praef. in 4::Evangel.] So S. Jerome in that place. The same Jerome elsewhere affirmeth that he, the time was, had set forth the translation of the Seventy suae linguae hominibus, i.e., for his countrymen of Dalmatia [S. Jerome. Sophronio.] Which words not only Erasmus doth understand to purport, that S. Jerome translated the Scripture into the Dalmatian tongue, but also Sixtus Senensis [Six. Sen. lib 4], and Alphonsus a` Castro [Alphon. lb 1 ca 23] (that we speak of no more) men not to be excepted against by them of Rome, do ingenuously confess as much. So, S. Chrysostom that lived in S. Jerome's time, giveth evidence with him: "The doctrine of S. John [saith he] did not in such sort [as the Philosophers' did] vanish away: but the Syrians, Egyptians, Indians, Persians, Ethiopians, and infinite other nations being barbarous people translated it into their [mother] tongue, and have learned to be [true] Philosophers," he meaneth Christians. [S. Chrysost. in Johan. cap.I. hom.I.] To this may be added Theodoret, as next unto him, both for antiquity, and for learning. His words be these, "Every Country that is under the Sun, is full of these words (of the Apostles and Prophets) and the Hebrew tongue [he meaneth the Scriptures in the Hebrew tongue] is turned not only into the Language of the Grecians, but also of the Romans, and Egyptians, and Persians, and Indians, and Armenians, and Scythians, and Sauromatians, and briefly into all the Languages that any Nation useth. [Theodor. 5. Therapeut.] So he. In like manner, Ulfilas is reported by Paulus Diaconus and Isidor (and before them by Sozomen) to have translated the Scriptures into the Gothic tongue: [P. Diacon. li. 12.] John Bishop of Sevil by Vasseus, to have turned them into Arabic, about the year of our Lord 717; [Vaseus in Chron. Hispan.] Bede by Cistertiensis, to have turned a great part of them into Saxon: Efnard by Trithemius, to have abridged the French Psalter, as Beded had done the Hebrew, about the year 800: King Alfred by the said Cistertiensis, to have turned the Psalter into Saxon: [Polydor. Virg. 5 histor.] Methodius by Aventinus (printed at Ingolstadt) to have turned the Scriptures into Slavonian: [Aventin. lib. 4.] Valdo, Bishop of Frising by Beatus Rhenanus, to have caused about that time, the Gospels to be translated into Dutch rhythm, yet extant in the Library of Corbinian: [Circa annum 900. B. Rhenan. rerum German. lib 2.] Valdus, by divers to have turned them himself into French, about the year 1160: Charles the Fifth of that name, surnamed the Wise, to have caused them to be turned into French, about 200 years after Valdus his time, of which translation there be many copies yet extant, as witnesseth Beroaldus. Much about that time, even in our King Richard the second's days, John Trevisa translated them into English, and many English Bibles in written hand are yet to be seen with divers, translated as it is very probable, in that age. So the Syrian translation of the New Testament is in most learned men's Libraries, of Widminstadius his setting forth, and the Psalter in Arabic is with many, of Augustinus Nebiensis' setting forth. So Postel affirmeth, that in his travel he saw the Gospels in the Ethiopian tongue; And Ambrose Thesius allegeth the Pslater of the Indians, which he testifieth to have been set forth by Potken in Syrian characters. So that, to have the Scriptures in the mother tongue is not a quaint conceit lately taken up, either by the Lord Cromwell in England, [Thuan.] or by the Lord Radevile in Polony, or by the Lord Ungnadius in the Emperor's dominion, but hath been thought upon, and put in practice of old, even from the first times of the conversion of any Nation; no doubt, because it was esteemed most profitable, to cause faith to grow in men's hearts the sooner, and to make them to be able to say with the words of the Psalms, "As we have heard, so we have seen." [Ps 48:8]


Now the Church of Rome would seem at the length to bear a motherly affection towards her children, and to allow them the Scriptures in their mother tongue: but indeed it is a gift, not deserving to be called a gift, an unprofitable gift: [Sophecles] they must first get a licence in writing before they may use them, and to get that, they must approve themselves to their Confessor, that is, to be such as are, if not frozen in the dregs, yet soured with the leaven of their superstition. Howbeit, it seemed too much to Clement the Eighth that there should be any Licence granted to have them in the vulgar tongue, and therefore he overruleth and frustrateth the grant of Pius the Fourth. [See the observation (set forth by Clemen. his authority) upon the 4. rule of Pius the 4. his making in the index, lib. prohib. pag. 15. ver. 5.] So much are they afraid of the light of the Scripture, (Lucifugae Scripturarum, as Tertulian speaketh) that they will not trust the people with it, no not as it is set forth by their own sworn men, no not with the Licence of their own Bishops and Inquisitors. Yea, so unwilling they are to communicate the Scriptures to the people's understanding in any sort, that they are not ashamed to confess, that we forced them to translate it into English against their wills. This seemeth to argue a bad cause, or a bad conscience, or both. Sure we are, that it is not he that hath good gold, that is afraid to bring it to the touchstone, but he that hath the counterfeit; [Tertul. de resur. carnis.] neither is it the true man that shunneth the light, but the malefactor, lest his deeds should be reproved [John 3:20]: neither is it the plaindealing Merchant that is unwilling to have the weights, or the meteyard brought in place, but he that useth deceit. But we will let them alone for this fault, and return to translation.


Many men's mouths have been open a good while (and yet are not stopped) with speeches about the Translation so long in hand, or rather perusals of Translations made before: and ask what may be the reason, what the necessity of the employment: Hath the Church been deceived, say they, all this while? Hath her sweet bread been mingled with leaven, here silver with dross, her wine with water, her milk with lime? (Lacte gypsum male miscetur, saith S. Ireney,) [S. Iren. 3. lib. cap. 19.] We hoped that we had been in the right way, that we had the Oracles of God delivered unto us, and that though all the world had cause to be offended and to complain, yet that we had none. Hath the nurse holden out the breast, and nothing but wind in it? Hath the bread been delivered by the fathers of the Church, and the same proved to be lapidosus, as Seneca speaketh? What is it to handle the word of God deceitfully, if this be not? Thus certain brethren. Also the adversaries of Judah and Jerusalem, like Sanballat in Nehemiah, mock, as we hear, both the work and the workmen, saying; "What do these weak Jews, etc. will they make the stones whole again out of the heaps of dust which are burnt? although they build, yet if a fox go up, he shall even break down their stony wall." [Neh 4:3] Was their Translation good before? Why do they now mend it? Was it not good? Why then was it obtruded to the people? Yea, why did the Catholics (meaning Popish Romanists) always go in jeopardy, for refusing to go to hear it? Nay, if it must be translated into English, Catholics are fittest to do it. They have learning, and they know when a thing is well, they can manum de tabula. We will answer them both briefly: and the former, being brethren, thus, with S. Jerome, "Damnamus veteres? Mineme, sed post priorum studia in domo Domini quod possums laboramus." [S. Jerome. Apolog. advers. Ruffin.] That is, "Do we condemn the ancient? In no case: but after the endeavors of them that were before us, we take the best pains we can in the house of God." As if he said, Being provoked by the example of the learned men that lived before my time, I have thought it my duty, to assay whether my talent in the knowledge of the tongues, may be profitable in any measure to God's Church, lest I should seem to laboured in them in vain, and lest I should be thought to glory in men, (although ancient,) above that which was in them. Thus S. Jerome may be thought to speak.


And to the same effect say we, that we are so far off from condemning any of their labors that travailed before us in this kind, either in this land or beyond sea, either in King Henry's time, or King Edward's (if there were any translation, or correction of a translation in his time) or Queen Elizabeth's of ever renowned memory, that we acknowledge them to have been raised up of God, for the building and furnishing of his Church, and that they deserve to be had of us and of posterity in everlasting remembrance. The judgment of Aristotle is worthy and well known: "If Timotheus had not been, we had not had much sweet music; but if Phrynis [Timotheus his master] had not been, we had not had Timotheus." Therefore blessed be they, and most honoured be their name, that break the ice, and giveth onset upon that which helpeth forward to the saving of souls. Now what can be more available thereto, than to deliver God's book unto God's people in a tongue which they understand? Since of a hidden treasure, and of a fountain that is sealed, there is no profit, as Ptolemy Philadelph wrote to the Rabbins or masters of the Jews, as witnesseth Epiphanius: [S. Epiphan. loco ante citato.] and as S. Augustine saith; "A man had rather be with his dog than with a stranger (whose tongue is strange unto him)." [S. Augustin. lib. 19. de civil. Dei. c. 7.] Yet for all that, as nothing is begun and perfected at the same time, and the later thoughts are thought to be the wiser: so, if we building upon their foundation that went before us, and being holpen by their labours, do endeavor to make that better which they left so good; no man, we are sure, hath cause to mislike us; they, we persuade ourselves, if they were alive, would thank us. The vintage of Abienzer, that strake the stroke: yet the gleaning of grapes of Ephraim was not to be despised. See Judges 8:2. Joash the king of Israel did not satisfy himself, till he had smitten the ground three times; and yet he offended the Prophet, for giving over then. [2 Kings 13:18-19] Aquila, of whom we spake before, translated the Bible as carefully, and as skilfully as he could; and yet he thought good to go over it again, and then it got the credit with the Jews, to be called accurately done, as Saint Jerome witnesseth. [S. Jerome. in Ezech. cap. 3.] How many books of profane learning have been gone over again and again, by the same translators, by others? Of one and the same book of Aristotle's Ethics, there are extant not so few as six or seven several translations. Now if this cost may be bestowed upon the gourd, which affordeth us a little shade, and which today flourisheth, but tomorrow is cut down; what may we bestow, nay what ought we not to bestow upon the Vine, the fruit whereof maketh glad the conscience of man, and the stem whereof abideth forever? And this is the word of God, which we translate. "What is the chaff to the wheat, saith the Lord?" [Jer 23:28] Tanti vitreum, quanti verum margaritum (saith Tertullian,) [Tertul. ad Martyr.] if a toy of glass be of that reckoning with us, how ought we to value the true pearl? [Jerome. ad Salvin.] Therefore let no man's eye be evil, because his Majesty's is good; neither let any be grieved, that we have a Prince that seeketh the increase of the spiritual wealth of Israel (let Sanballats and Tobiahs do so, which therefore do bear their just reproof) but let us rather bless God from the ground of our heart, for working this religious care in him, to have the translations of the Bible maturely considered of and examined. For by this means it cometh to pass, that whatsoever is sound already (and all is sound for substance, in one or other of our editions, and the worst of ours far better than their authentic vulgar) the same will shine as gold more brightly, being rubbed and polished; also, if anything be halting, or superfluous, or not so agreeable to the original, the same may be corrected, and the truth set in place. And what can the King command to be done, that will bring him more true honour than this? and wherein could they that have been set a work, approve their duty to the King, yea their obedience to God, and love to his Saints more, than by yielding their service, and all that is within them, for the furnishing of the work? But besides all this, they were the principal motives of it, and therefore ought least to quarrel it: for the very Historical truth is, that upon the importunate petitions of the Puritans, at his Majesty's coming to this Crown, the Conference at Hampton Court having been appointed for hearing their complaints: when by force of reason they were put from other grounds, they had recourse at the last, to this shift, that they could not with good conscience subscribe to the Communion book, since it maintained the Bible as it was there translated, which was as they said, a most corrupted translation. And although this was judged to be but a very poor and empty shift; yet even hereupon did his Majesty begin to bethink himself of the good that might ensue by a new translation, and presently after gave order for this Translation which is now presented unto thee. Thus much to satisfy our scrupulous Brethren.


Now to the latter we answer; that 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, (for we have seen none of theirs of the whole Bible as yet) containeth the word of God, nay, is the word of God. As the King's speech, which he uttereth in Parliament, being translated into French, Dutch, Italian, and Latin, is still the King's speech, though it be not interpreted by every Translator with the like grace, nor peradventure so fitly for phrase, nor so expressly for sense, everywhere. For it is confessed, that things are to take their denomination of the greater part; and a natural man could say, Verum ubi multa nitent in carmine, non ego paucis offendor maculis, etc. [Horace.] A man may be counted a virtuous man, though he have made many slips in his life, (else, there were none virtuous, for in many things we offend all) [James 3:2] also a comely man and lovely, though he have some warts upon his hand, yea, not only freckles upon his face, but also scars. 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. For whatever was perfect under the Sun, where Apostles or Apostolic men, that is, men endued with an extraordinary measure of God's spirit, and privileged with the privilege of infallibility, had not their hand? The Romanists therefore in refusing to hear, and daring to burn the Word translated, did no less than despite the spirit of grace, from whom originally it proceeded, and whose sense and meaning, as well as man's weakness would enable, it did express. Judge by an example or two. Plutarch writeth, that after that Rome had been burnt by the Gauls, they fell soon to build it again: but doing it in haste, they did not cast the streets, nor proportion the houses in such comely fashion, as had been most slightly and convenient; [Plutarch in Camillo.] was Catiline therefore an honest man, or a good patriot, that sought to bring it to a combustion? or Nero a good Prince, that did indeed set it on fire? So, by the story of Ezra, and the prophecy of Haggai it may be gathered, that the Temple built by Zerubbabel after the return from Babylon, was by no means to be compared to the former built by Solomon (for they that remembered the former, wept when they considered the latter) [Ezra 3:12] notwithstanding, might this latter either have been abhorred and forsaken by the Jews, or profaned by the Greeks? The like we are to think of Translations. The translation of the Seventy dissenteth from the Original in many places, neither doth it come near it, for perspicuity, gravity, majesty; yet which of the Apostles did condemn it? Condemn it? Nay, they used it, (as it is apparent, and as Saint Jerome and most learned men do confess) which they would not have done, nor by their example of using it, so grace and commend it to the Church, if it had been unworthy of the appellation and name of the word of God. And whereas they urge for their second defence of their vilifying and abusing of the English Bibles, or some pieces thereof, which they meet with, for that heretics (forsooth) were the Authors of the translations, (heretics they call us by the same right that they call themselves Catholics, both being wrong) we marvel what divinity taught them so. We are sure Tertullian was of another mind: Ex personis probamus fidem, an ex fide personas? [Tertul. de praescript. contra haereses.] Do we try men's faith by their persons? we should try their persons by their faith. Also S. Augustine was of another mind: for he lighting upon certain rules made by Tychonius a Donatist, for the better understanding of the word, was not ashamed to make use of them, yea, to insert them into his own book, with giving commendation to them so far forth as they were worthy to be commended, as is to be seen in S. Augustine's third book De doctrina Christiana. [S. August. 3. de doct. Christ. cap. 30.] To be short, Origen, and the whole Church of God for certain hundred years, were of another mind: for they were so far from treading under foot, (much more from burning) the Translation of Aquila a Proselyte, that is, one that had turned Jew; of Symmachus, and Theodotion, both Ebionites, that is, most vile heretics, that they joined together with the Hebrew Original, and the Translation of the Seventy (as hath been before signified out of Epiphanius) and set them forth openly to be considered of and perused by all. But we weary the unlearned, who need not know so much, and trouble the learned, who know it already.

Yet before we end, we must answer a third cavil and objection of theirs against us, for altering and amending our Translations so oft; wherein truly they deal hardly, and strangely with us. For to whomever was it imputed for a fault (by such as were wise) to go over that which he had done, and to amend it where he saw cause? Saint Augustine was not afraid to exhort S. Jerome to a Palinodia or recantation; [S. Aug. Epist. 9.] and doth even glory that he seeth his infirmities. [S. Aug. Epist. 8.] If we be sons of the Truth, we must consider what it speaketh, and trample upon our own credit, yea, and upon other men's too, if either be any way an hindrance to it. This to the cause: then to the persons we say, that of all men they ought to be most silent in this case. For what varieties have they, and what alterations have they made, not only of their Service books, Portesses and Breviaries, but also of their Latin Translation? The Service book supposed to be made by S. Ambrose (Officium Ambrosianum) was a great while in special use and request; but Pope Hadrian calling a Council with the aid of Charles the Emperor, abolished it, yea, burnt it, and commanded the Service book of Saint Gregory universally to be used. [Durand. lib. 5. cap. 2.] Well, Officium Gregorianum gets by this means to be in credit, but doth it continue without change or altering? No, the very Roman Service was of two fashions, the New fashion, and the Old, (the one used in one Church, the other in another) as is to be seen in Pamelius a Romanist, his Preface, before Micrologus. the same Pamelius reporteth out Radulphus de Rivo, that about the year of our Lord, 1277, Pope Nicolas the Third removed out of the Churches of Rome, the more ancient books (of Service) and brought into use the Missals of the Friers Minorites, and commanded them to be observed there; insomuch that about an hundred years after, when the above name Radulphus happened to be at Rome, he found all the books to be new, (of the new stamp). Neither were there this chopping and changing in the more ancient times only, but also of late: Pius Quintus himself confesseth, that every Bishopric almost had a peculiar kind of service, most unlike to that which others had: which moved him to abolish all other Breviaries, though never so ancient, and privileged and published by Bishops in their Dioceses, and to establish and ratify that only which was of his own setting forth, in the year 1568. Now when the father of their Church, who gladly would heal the sore of the daughter of his people softly and slightly, and make the best of it, findeth so great fault with them for their odds and jarring; we hope the children have no great cause to vaunt of their uniformity. But the difference that appeareth between our Translations, and our often correcting of them, is the thing that we are specially charged with; let us see therefore whether they themselves be without fault this way, (if it be to be counted a fault, to correct) and whether they be fit men to throw stones at us: O tandem maior parcas insane minori: they that are less sound themselves, out not to object infirmities to others. [Horat.] If we should tell them that Valla, Stapulensis, Erasmus, and Vives found fault with their vulgar Translation, and consequently wished the same to be mended, or a new one to be made, they would answer peradventure, that we produced their enemies for witnesses against them; albeit, they were in no other sort enemies, than as S. Paul was to the Galatians, for telling them the truth [Gal 4:16]: and it were to be wished, that they had dared to tell it them plainlier and oftener. But what will they say to this, that Pope Leo the Tenth allowed Erasmus' Translation of the New Testament, so much different from the vulgar, by his Apostolic Letter and Bull; that the same Leo exhorted Pagnine to translate the whole Bible, and bare whatsoever charges was necessary for the work? [Sixtus Senens.] Surely, as the Apostle reasoneth to the Hebrews, that if the former Law and Testament had been sufficient, there had been no need of the latter: [Heb 7:11 and 8:7] so we may say, that if the old vulgar had been at all points allowable, to small purpose had labour and charges been undergone, about framing of a new. If they say, it was one Pope's private opinion, and that he consulted only himself; then we are able to go further with them, and to aver, that more of their chief men of all sorts, even their own Trent champions Paiva and Vega, and their own Inquisitors, Hieronymus ab Oleastro, and their own Bishop Isidorus Clarius, and their own Cardinal Thomas a Vio Caietan, do either make new Translations themselves, or follow new ones of other men's making, or note the vulgar Interpreter for halting; none of them fear to dissent from him, nor yet to except against him. And call they this an uniform tenor of text and judgment about the text, so many of their Worthies disclaiming the now received conceit? Nay, we will yet come nearer the quick: doth not their Paris edition differ from the Lovaine, and Hentenius his from them both, and yet all of them allowed by authority? Nay, doth not Sixtus Quintus confess, that certain Catholics (he meaneth certain of his own side) were in such an humor of translating the Scriptures into Latin, that Satan taking occasion by them, though they thought of no such matter, did strive what he could, out of so uncertain and manifold a variety of Translations, so to mingle all things, that nothing might seem to be left certain and firm in them, etc.? [Sixtus 5. praefat. fixa Bibliis.] Nay, further, did not the same Sixtus ordain by an inviolable decree, and that with the counsel and consent of his Cardinals, that the Latin edition of the old and new Testament, which the Council of Trent would have to be authentic, is the same without controversy which he then set forth, being diligently corrected and printed in the Printing-house of Vatican? Thus Sixtus in his Preface before his Bible. And yet Clement the Eighth his immediate successor, published another edition of the Bible, containing in it infinite differences from that of Sixtus, (and many of them weighty and material) and yet this must be authentic by all means. What is to have the faith of our glorious Lord JESUS CHRIST with Yea or Nay, if this be not? Again, what is sweet harmony and consent, if this be? Therefore, as Demaratus of Corinth advised a great King, before he talked of the dissensions of the Grecians, to compose his domestic broils (for at that time his Queen and his son and heir were at deadly feud with him) so all the while that our adversaries do make so many and so various editions themselves, and do jar so much about the worth and authority of them, they can with no show of equity challenge us for changing and correcting.


But it is high time to leave them, and to show in brief what we proposed to ourselves, and what course we held in this our perusal and survey of the Bible. Truly (good Christian Reader) we never thought from the beginning, that we should need to make a new Translation, nor yet to make of a bad one a good one, (for then the imputation of Sixtus had been true in some sort, that our people had been fed with gall of Dragons instead of wine, with whey instead of milk:) but to make a good one better, or out of many good ones, one principal good one, not justly to be excepted against; that hath been our endeavor, that our mark. To that purpose there were many chosen, that were greater in other men's eyes than in their own, and that sought the truth rather than their own praise. Again, they came or were thought to come to the work, not exercendi causa (as one saith) but exercitati, that is, learned, not to learn: For the chief overseer and [NOTE: Greek letters omitted] under his Majesty, to whom not only we, but also our whole Church was much bound, knew by his wisdom, which thing also Nazianzen taught so long ago, that it is a preposterous order to teach first and to learn after, yea that [NOTE: Greek letters omitted] to learn and practice together, is neither commendable for the workman, nor safe for the work. [Idem in Apologet.] Therefore such were thought upon, as could say modestly with Saint Jerome, Et Hebreaeum Sermonem ex parte didicimus, et in Latino pene ab ipsis incunabulis etc. detriti sumus. "Both we have learned the Hebrew tongue in part, and in the Latin we have been exercised almost from our very cradle." S. Jerome maketh no mention of the Greek tongue, wherein yet he did excel, because he translated not the old Testament out of Greek, but out of Hebrew. And in what sort did these assemble? In the trust of their own knowledge, or of their sharpness of wit, or deepness of judgment, as it were in an arm of flesh? At no hand. They trusted in him that hath the key of David, opening and no man shutting; they prayed to the Lord the Father of our Lord, to the effect that S. Augustine did; "O let thy Scriptures be my pure delight, let me not be deceived in them, neither let me deceive by them." [S. Aug. lib. II. Confess. cap. 2.] In this confidence, and with this devotion did they assemble together; not too many, lest one should trouble another; and yet many, lest many things haply might escape them. If you ask what they had before them, truly it was the Hebrew text of the Old Testament, the Greek of the New. These are the two golden pipes, or rather conduits, where-through the olive branches empty themselves into the gold. Saint Augustine calleth them precedent, or original tongues; [S. August. 3. de doctr. c. 3. etc.] Saint Jerome, fountains. [S. Jerome. ad Suniam et Fretel.] The same Saint Jerome affirmeth, [S. Jerome. ad Lucinium, Dist. 9 ut veterum.] and Gratian hath not spared to put it into his Decree, That "as the credit of the old Books" (he meaneth of the Old Testament) "is to be tried by the Hebrew Volumes, so of the New by the Greek tongue," he meaneth by the original Greek. If truth be tried by these tongues, then whence should a Translation be made, but out of them? These tongues therefore, the Scriptures we say in those tongues, we set before us to translate, being the tongues wherein God was pleased to speak to his Church by the Prophets and Apostles. Neither did we run over the work with that posting haste that the Septuagint did, if that be true which is reported of them, that they finished it in 72 days; [Joseph. Antiq. lib. 12.] neither were we barred or hindered from going over it again, having once done it, like S. Jerome, if that be true which himself reporteth, that he could no sooner write anything, but presently it was caught from him, and published, and he could not have leave to mend it: [S. Jerome. ad Pammac. pro libr. advers. Iovinian.] neither, to be short, were we the first that fell in hand with translating the Scripture into English, and consequently destitute of former helps, as it is written of Origen, that he was the first in a manner, that put his hand to write Commentaries upon the Scriptures, [Sophoc. in Elect.] and therefore no marvel, if he overshot himself many times. None of these things: the work hath not been huddled up in 72 days, but hath cost the workmen, as light as it seemeth, the pains of twice seven times seventy two days and more: matters of such weight and consequence are to be speeded with maturity: for in a business of movement a man feareth not the blame of convenient slackness. [S. Chrysost. in II. Thess. cap. 2.] Neither did we think much to consult the Translators or Commentators, Chaldee, Hebrew, Syrian, Greek or Latin, no nor the Spanish, French, Italian, or Dutch; neither did we disdain to revise that which we had done, and to bring back to the anvil that which we had hammered: but having and using as great helps as were needful, and fearing no reproach for slowness, nor coveting praise for expedition, we have at length, through the good hand of the Lord upon us, brought the work to that pass that you see.


Some peradventure would have no variety of senses to be set in the margin, lest the authority of the Scriptures for deciding of controversies by that show of uncertainty, should somewhat be shaken. But we hold their judgment not to be sound in this point. For though, "whatsoever things are necessary are manifest," as S. Chrysostom saith, [S. Chrysost. in II. Thess. cap. 2.] and as S. Augustine, "In those things that are plainly set down in the Scriptures, all such matters are found that concern Faith, Hope, and Charity." [S. Aug. 2. de doctr. Christ. cap. 9.] Yet for all that it cannot be dissembled, that partly to exercise and whet our wits, partly to wean the curious from the loathing of them for their every-where plainness, partly also to stir up our devotion to crave the assistance of God's spirit by prayer, and lastly, that we might be forward to seek aid of our brethren by conference, and never scorn those that be not in all respects so complete as they should be, being to seek in many things ourselves, it hath pleased God in his divine providence, here and there to scatter words and sentences of that difficulty and doubtfulness, not in doctrinal points that concern salvation, (for in such it hath been vouched that the Scriptures are plain) but in matters of less moment, that fearfulness would better beseem us than confidence, and if we will resolve upon modesty with S. Augustine, (though not in this same case altogether, yet upon the same ground) Melius est debitare de occultis, quam litigare de incertis, [S. Aug li. S. de Genes. ad liter. cap. 5.] "it is better to make doubt of those things which are secret, than to strive about those things that are uncertain." There be many words in the Scriptures, which be never found there but once, (having neither brother or neighbor, as the Hebrews speak) so that we cannot be holpen by conference of places. Again, there be many rare names of certain birds, beasts and precious stones, etc. concerning the Hebrews themselves are so divided among themselves for judgment, that they may seem to have defined this or that, rather because they would say something, than because they were sure of that which they said, as S. Jerome somewhere saith of the Septuagint. Now in such a case, doth not a margin do well to admonish the Reader to seek further, and not to conclude or dogmatize upon this or that peremptorily? For as it is a fault of incredulity, to doubt of those things that are evident: so to determine of such things as the Spirit of God hath left (even in the judgment of the judicious) questionable, can be no less than presumption. Therefore as S. Augustine saith, that variety of Translations is profitable for the finding out of the sense of the Scriptures: [S. Aug. 2. de doctr. Christian. cap. 14.] so diversity of signification and sense in the margin, where the text is no so clear, must needs do good, yea, is necessary, as we are persuaded. We know that Sixtus Quintus expressly forbiddeth, that any variety of readings of their vulgar edition, should be put in the margin, [Sixtus 5. praef. Bibliae.] (which though it be not altogether the same thing to that we have in hand, yet it looketh that way) but we think he hath not all of his own side his favorers, for this conceit. They that are wise, had rather have their judgments at liberty in differences of readings, than to be captivated to one, when it may be the other. If they were sure that their high Priest had all laws shut up in his breast, as Paul the Second bragged, [Plat. in Paulo secundo.] and that he were as free from error by special privilege, as the Dictators of Rome were made by law inviolable, it were another matter; then his word were an Oracle, his opinion a decision. But the eyes of the world are now open, God be thanked, and have been a great while, they find that he is subject to the same affections and infirmities that others be, that his skin is penetrable, and therefore so much as he proveth, not as much as he claimeth, they grant and embrace.


Another things we think good to admonish thee of (gentle Reader) that we have not tied ourselves to an uniformity of phrasing, or to an identity of words, as some peradventure would wish that we had done, because they observe, that some learned men somewhere, have been as exact as they could that way. Truly, that we might not vary from the sense of that which we had translated before, if the word signified that same in both places (for there be some words that be not the same sense everywhere) we were especially careful, and made a conscience, according to our duty. But, that we should express the same notion in the same particular word; as for example, if we translate the Hebrew or Greek word once by PURPOSE, never to call it INTENT; if one where JOURNEYING, never TRAVELING; if one where THINK, never SUPPOSE; if one where PAIN, never ACHE; if one where JOY, never GLADNESS, etc. Thus to mince the matter, we thought to savour more of curiosity than wisdom, and that rather it would breed scorn in the Atheist, than bring profit to the godly Reader. For is the kingdom of God to become words or syllables? why should we be in bondage to them if we may be free, use one precisely when we may use another no less fit, as commodiously? A godly Father in the Primitive time showed himself greatly moved, that one of newfangledness called [NOTE: Greek omitted but was a dispute over the word for "a bed"] [Niceph. Calist. lib.8. cap.42.] though the difference be little or none; and another reporteth that he was much abused for turning "Cucurbita" (to which reading the people had been used) into "Hedera". [S. Jerome in 4. Ionae. See S. Aug: epist. 10.] Now if this happens in better times, and upon so small occasions, we might justly fear hard censure, if generally we should make verbal and unnecessary changings. We might also be charged (by scoffers) with some unequal dealing towards a great number of good English words. For as it is written of a certain great Philosopher, that he should say , that those logs were happy that were made images to be worshipped; for their fellows, as good as they, lay for blocks behind the fire: so if we should say, as it were, unto certain words, Stand up higher, have a place in the Bible always, and to others of like quality, Get ye hence, be banished forever, we might be taxed peradventure with S. James his words, namely, "To be partial in ourselves and judges of evil thoughts." Add hereunto, that niceness in words was always counted the next step to trifling, and so was to be curious about names too: also that we cannot follow a better pattern for elocution than God himself; therefore he using divers words, in his holy writ, and indifferently for one thing in nature: [see Euseb. li. 12. ex Platon.] we, if we will not be superstitious, may use the same liberty in our English versions out of Hebrew and Greek, for that copy or store that he hath given us. Lastly, we have on the one side avoided the scrupulosity of the Puritans, who leave the old Ecclesiastical words, and betake them to other, as when they put WASHING for BAPTISM, and CONGREGATION instead of CHURCH: as also on the other side we have shunned the obscurity of the Papists, in their AZIMES, TUNIKE, RATIONAL, HOLOCAUSTS, PRAEPUCE, PASCHE, and a number of such like, whereof their late Translation is full, and that of purpose to darken the sense, that since they must needs translate the Bible, yet by the language thereof, it may be kept from being understood. But we desire that the Scripture may speak like itself, as in the language of Canaan, that it may be understood even of the very vulgar.

Many other things we might give thee warning of (gentle Reader) if we had not exceeded the measure of a Preface already. It remaineth, that we commend thee to God, and to the Spirit of his grace, which is able to build further than we can ask or think. He removeth the scales from our eyes, the vail from our hearts, opening our wits that we may understand his word, enlarging our hearts, yea correcting our affections, that we may love it to the end. Ye are brought unto fountains of living water which ye digged not; do not cast earth into them with the Philistines, neither prefer broken pits before them with the wicked Jews. [Gen 26:15. Jer 2:13.] Others have laboured, and you may enter into their labours; O receive not so great things in vain, O despise not so great salvation! Be not like swine to tread under foot so precious things, neither yet like dogs to tear and abuse holy things. Say not to our Saviour with the Gergesites, Depart out of our coast [Matt 8:34]; neither yet with Esau sell your birthright for a mess of pottage [Heb 12:16]. If light be come into the world, love not darkness more than light; if food, if clothing be offered, go not naked, starve not yourselves. Remember the advice of Nazianzene, "It is a grievous thing" (or dangerous) "to neglect a great fair, and to seek to make markets afterwards:" also the encouragement of S. Chrysostom, "It is altogether impossible, that he that is sober" (and watchful) "should at any time be neglected:" [S. Chrysost. in epist. ad Rom. cap. 14. oral. 26.] Lastly, the admonition and menacing of S. Augustine, "They that despise God's will inviting them, shall feel God's will taking vengeance of them." [S. August. ad artic. sibi falso object. Artic. 16.] It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God; [Heb 10:31] but a blessed thing it is, and will bring us to everlasting blessedness in the end, when God speaketh unto us, to hearken; when he setteth his word before us, to read it; when he stretcheth out his hand and calleth, to answer, Here am I, here we are to do thy will, O God. The Lord work a care and conscience in us to know him and serve him, that we may be acknowledged of him at the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom with the holy Ghost, be all praise and thanksgiving. Amen.






This concludes the Preface of the 1611 Authorized Version
which was from the Translators and set to hand by:

Myles Smith of Brasenose College in Oxford
(who later became the Bishop of Gloucester.)

This version of the 1611 Preface with the spelling somewhat modernized was printed as an appendix in 1935, the 400th anniversary of the first printed English Bible, that by Myles Coverdale, of which the King James Bible is the most illustrious descendant.

The Preface can also be found in the editions since 1821 of the English royal quarto, published by the Oxford University Press, an expensive pulpit Bible. It can also be found in full in A.W. Pollard's RECORDS OF THE ENGLISH BIBLE and as an appendix in J.R. Dore's OLD BIBLES, 2nd edition.

It is a shame that neither the British and Foreign Bible Society or the American Bible Society has never seem willing to include the Preface (or an abbreviated form thereof) in their Bibles for the last one hundred (plus) years.

It is also available from the Oxford and Cambridge presses and the original can be found in the Huntington Library as the Bridgewater collection of the first printing of the 1611.






Preface to the King James Version 1611

Thesis by


No book means so much to religion as the Bible. In all its forms it has greatly served religion, and in its modern forms its meaning comes out more clearly and more tellingly than ever. It has more to teach the modern world about religion than even its strongest advocates have realized. Few of them have fully explored the wealth and depth of its contribution to modern religious attitudes.

Of all the forms of the English Bible, the most distinguished and widely cherished is the King James Version. Its value for religion is very great, and it is on that account all the more important that its origin and place in the history of the Bible be understood, so that false ideas about it may not prevail, for in so far as they do prevail they are likely to impair and to distort its religious usefulness.

There can be no doubt, however, that widespread and serious misapprehensions as to its origin do very generally prevail, and that these seriously condition its religious value. The literary interest and the liturgical value of that version are of course universally recognized. It is a classic of 16th and 17th century English, and it is a treasure of Christian liturgy, deeply freighted with religious associations. These are values every man of culture will at once acknowledge and approve.

It is, moreover, deeply imbedded in the affection and devotion of great groups of people, not all of them religious. They find in it the final embodiment of moral, social, and literary values which they greatly prize. This is in itself a fact of great importance. Even if the version were itself less eminent as an English classic or a liturgical masterpiece the extraordinary prestige it enjoys would give it a consequence all its own.

The tremendous significance thus generally attached to it by the public makes it imperative that the facts as to its origin and ancestry be well known, or the most fantastic misconceptions about these matters will arise and prevail. But these facts are not well known, and misconceptions consequently do prevail to an amazing extent.

The King James Version is predominantly the Bible of the layman, and it will undoubtedly continue to be so for a long time to come. This fact makes it doubly important that it be presented to him as intelligently and as intelligibly as possible. This well-recognized fact has led its publishers through the generations to have it tacitly revised from time to time, so that the obsolete words and spellings might not confuse the ordinary reader. This commendable activity began immediately upon the first publication of the version in 1611 and continued intermittently until 1769 when, under the hands of Dr. Blayney of Oxford, it reached its present form. It has cleared the text of the version of innumerable antique spellings, such as Hierusalem, Marie, assoone, foorth, shalbe, fet, creeple, fift, sixt, ioy, middes, charet and the like. Comparatively few verses in the version have escaped such improvements and modernizations, and most verses contain several such changes.

It has also corrected the numerous misprints of the version, so that it is now of the most accurately printed books in the world. The one original misprint to survive is the famous "strain (straine) at the gnat" in Matthew 23:24 (for "strain out a gnat"), which has so endeared itself to users of the King James that no modern publisher has the temerity to set it right.

The omission of the Apocrypha from most modern printings of King James and the insertion of Archbishop Ussher's chronology, which first appeared in its margins in 1701, were more serious changes from the original King James; the chronology in particular has certainly outlived its usefulness and, as at best a late accretion upon the version, out not to continue.

But it is the omission of the great Preface, "The Translators to the Reader," that is most to be regretted. The makers of the version in their day felt that the work called for some explanation and defense, and entrusted the writing of a suitable preface to Myles Smith, of Brasenose College, Oxford, afterward Bishop of Gloucester. His Preface for many years stood at the beginning of the version. But for various reasons -- its length, its obscurity, its controversial and academic character -- it has gradually come to be omitted by modern publishers of the King James, which is thus made to present itself to the reader abruptly and without explanation or introduction of any kind.

The result of this upon the hosts of ignorant and untrained people who use the version is disastrous in the extreme. My own correspondence abounds in letters from well-meaning people who have been led into the strangest misconceptions by its absence. It is indeed long, controversial, and pedantic, but this very fact is significant. And with all its faults, it says some things about the version and its makers and their aims that still greatly need to be said, indeed, that must be said, if the readers of the version are to be given the protection and guidance that they deserve and that its makers provided for them.

For they will accept this guidance and protection from no one else. It is idle for any modern to attempt to correct these misapprehensions; his efforts will only be resented or ignored. But if the King James Bible itself can be shown to say to its adherents the very things they most need to know about their version, it will be possible for them to benefit by them without embarrassment or inconsistency. All the more necessary, it would seem, for restoring the great Preface, or at least the essential parts of it, to its rightful place in the "Authorized Bible."

What are some of the views held by the habitual readers of the King James Bible about it? Let me answer out of my own recent correspondence and experience, being careful not to exaggerate or distort, but to set down only what self-constituted champions of King James have actually written over or under their own signatures.

First of all must come the widespread belief that the King James Bible is "the original." This is probably the prevailing impression of those who use it, but it has been most definitely and repeatedly expressed by a distinguished journalist in his paper, the North China Daily News. In an article published in the News in 1926 the editor steadily refers to the King James Version as "the original." We cannot doubt that this cultivated Englishmen actually believes the King James Version to be the original English Bible. For him the illustrious services of Bible translators and revisers from William Tyndale to Matthew Parker simply do not exist. That these men produced 19/20ths of what now stands in the King James Version has no force for him. Indeed, he definitely denies them and all their words when he steadily and publicly, in print, in an editorial article in his own newspaper, describes the King James Version over and over again as the "original."

It is no matter that you and I know that this is far from true. For these people will not give up so cherished a view for any say-so of ours. On the contrary, it would only serve to set them more rigidly in it. To whom then would they look with some willingness to learn? To the King James Bible itself. If its original Preface were once more offered to them, as it was offered to the first readers of that version, and as its makers intended it to be offered to all its readers, they could hardly refuse to listen.

And, indeed, the people who hold these fantastic ideas are not so much to blame for them as the publishers and printers who have so steadily deprived them of the protection from such egregious mistakes which the King James Preface so amply and ably provided. They could not have gone so absurdly wrong if they had found in the Preface of their King James these words which the makers of that version meant to have them find there:

"Truly (good Christian Reader) we never thought from the beginning, that we should need to make a new Translation, nor yet to make of a bad one a good one, ... but to make a good one better, or out of many good ones, one principal good one, not justly to be excepted against."

Not only do most readers of the King James Version suppose it to be the original English Bible; they are actually unconscious that there is any more ultimate form of the Bible to translate or consult. A leading layman, in one of our most intellectual communions, has told me that he always supposed the modern translations of the Bible were made from the King James Version, and not long ago a newspaper paragraph, with the commanding endorsement of the Associated Press, explicitly made that assertion. The same idea appeared in the New Republic as recently as April of last year. What can save these untrained, well-meaning people from the idea that the King James Bible is the "original"? Nothing but the statements of its own Preface.

"If you ask what they [the Translators] had before them," says the Preface, "truly it was the Hebrew text of the Old Testament, the Greek of the New ... If truth be to be tried by these tongues, then whence should a Translation be made but out of them? These tongues therefore, the Scriptures we say in those tongues, we set before us to translate, being the tongues wherein God was pleased to speak to his Church by his Prophets and Apostles ... Neither, to be short, were we the first that fell in hand with translating the Scripture into English, and consequently destitute of former helps, ..."

These are just the things that the modern reader of King James needs to know, and that the Translators intended him to know. Why should they be kept from him? A few months ago the New York Times and the Literary Digest united in offering the strange intelligence that "the King James Version was compiled from the only six original papyri extant in 1611." What more can possibly be said?

Another widespread impression as to the King James is that it is the "Authorized" Bible. The dean of a well-known New England divinity school recently insisted upon that designation for it, and strongly resented the application of it of any other name. We need not go into the old vexed question of whether or not it was ever actually authorized. For practically it certainly was so, and so regarded, being in fact the third Authorized Bible of the English Church. The first was the Great Bible of 1539, which was intended for church use. The second was the Bishops' Bible of 1568, and the third was the King James of 1611. "Authorized" meant, of course, officially recognized for us in public worship, as the phrase "Appointed to be read in Churches" shows.

But when the Convocation of Canterbury in 1870 inaugurated the revision of the English Bible, it was definitely with a view to providing a more suitable Bible for purposes of public worship, and as a matter of fact the English Revised Bible of 1881-85 has, we are told, actually displaced the King James in the use of Canterbury Cathedral and Westminster Abbey.

In the Protestant Episcopal Church in America, Canon 45 provides that the lessons at the morning and evening shall be read in the King James Bible ("which is the standard Bible of this church"), or in the Revised Version, or in the American Standard Version.

The Roman Catholic Church in this country uses in public worship the Douay Bible. It will be seen that the King James is far from being the Authorized Bible today.

But the tragic part of it all is that the people who still call it the "Authorized Bible" understand by that term something very different from this. They understand it to mean DIVINELY AUTHORIZED. I have today received a letter from a very zealous young minister in Atlantic City, definitely declaring his belief in the verbal inspiration of the King James Version. This extraordinary view is very widely held.

Of course the Translators made no such claim; indeed, their account of their method of work fits very poorly with such an idea:

"Neither did we think much to consult the Translators or Commentators, Chaldee, Hebrew, Syrian, Greek, or Latin, no nor the Spanish, French, Italian, or Dutch; neither did we disdain to revise that which we had done, and to bring back to the anvil that which we had hammered; but having and using as great helps as were needful, and fearing no reproach for slowness, nor coveting praise for expedition, we have at length, through the good hand of the Lord upon us, brought the work to that pass that you see."
"Some peradventure would have no variety of senses to be set in the margin, lest the authority of the Scriptures for deciding controversies by that show of uncertainty, should somewhat be shaken. But we hold their judgment not to be so sound in this point. ... Yet for all that it cannot be dissembled, that partly to exercise and whet our wits, ... and lastly, that we might be forward to seek aid of our brethren by conference, and never scorn those that be not in all respects so complete as they should be, being to seek in many things ourselves, it hath pleased God in his divine providence, here and there to scatter words and sentences of that difficulty and doubtfulness, ... that fearfulness would better beseem us than confidence, and if we will resolve upon modesty with S. Augustine, .... There be many words in the Scriptures, which be never found there but once, ... so that we cannot be helped by conference of places. Again, there be many rare names of certain birds, beasts and precious stones, etc. ... Now in such a case, doth not a margin do well to admonish the Reader to seek further, and not to conclude or dogmatize upon this or that peremptorily? ... Therefore as S. Augustine saith, that variety of Translations is profitable for the finding out of the sense of the Scriptures: so diversity of signification and sense in the margin, where the text is not so clear, must need do good, yea, is necessary, as we are persuaded."

These candid, scholarly words of the Translators are not the words of inspired men, oracularly confident of every word they use; they are the unmistakable words of careful, sincere scholars, well aware of the inevitable limitations of their knowledge. The doctrine of the inspiration of the Translators was not held by them, and it is difficult to see how it can be held by anyone who will read even this much of their Preface.

Another prevalent notion about the King James Bible is that it is poetry. On this point Thomas Hardy wrote in his journal, in 1918:

"By the will of God some men are born poetical. Of these some make themselves practical poets, others are made poets by lapse of time who were hardly recognized as such. Particularly has this been the case with the translators of the Bible. They translated into the language of their age; then the years began to corrupt that language as spoken, and to add gray lichen to the translation; until the moderns who use the corrupted tongue marvel at the poetry of the old words. When new they were not more than half so poetical. So that Coverdale, Tyndale and the rest of them are as ghosts what they never were in the flesh."

It must be clear that the men who, by making innumerable small changes in the text of the Bishops' Bible, produced the King James Version were poets, if at all, only in the most attenuated sense of the word. It is not thus that poems are made.

But if anyone had any doubt remaining as to the justice of Thomas Hardy's judgment, it must unquestionably evaporate in the presence of the Preface. The Translators who there emerge are much closer to pedants than to poets. "They came or were thought to come to the work, not exercendi causa (as one saith) but exercitati, that is, learned, not to learn; ... Therefore such were thought upon as could say modestly with Saint Jerome, .... Both we have learned the Hebrew tongue in part, and in the Latin we have been exercised almost from our very cradle."

Their aim was not poetry but clearness: "But we desire that the Scripture may speak like itself, ... that it may be understood even by the very vulgar."

But of course the greatest illusion about the King James Bible is that it is the sole, unique, divine Bible, untouched by human hands. This doctrine, grotesque as it is, is actually held as a matter of course by the vast majority of people. The publication of any preface from the Translators to the Reader would, by its very presence, whatever its contents, do much to remedy this. The superstitious veneration with which some very pious people regard it would be corrected by the reprinting of the Preface.

But not the pious alone. Many editors, novelists, and professors cherish views about the version that are simply slightly rationalized forms of the same notion. Sentimental statements about it in current books and papers that its translators "went about their work in the spirit of little children," or that "it is a finer and nobler literature than the Scriptures in their original tongues," are but survivals of the old dogma of uniqueness, so explicitly disclaimed in the Preface:

"... we are so far off from condemning any of their labors that travelled before us in this kind, either in this land or beyond sea, ... that we acknowledge them to have been raised up by God, ... and that they deserve to be had of us and of posterity, in everlasting remembrance. ... Yet for all that, as nothing is begun and perfected at the same time, and the later thoughts are thought to be the wiser; so, if we building upon their foundation that went before us, and being helped by their labors, do endeavor to make that better which they left so good; no man, we are sure, hath cause to mislike us; they, we persuade ourselves, if they were alive, would thank us."

These great sentences, are well worth reproducing today. I have ventured to lay before the leading publishers of the King James Bible the duty of restoring the great Preface to its rightful place, at the beginning of it. They have courteously replied, giving various reasons for continuing to omit it. Let us examine these one by one.

The first reason is that it is too academic. But this does not justify them in omitting it. If they will let their readers know even this about the origin of the version, it will save them from grievous error. The King James revisers were university professors and scholars. They were an academic group. Why withhold this fact from their readers, especially if silence on this point is leading to such dire consequences?

One of the most unfortunate things about the adherents of the King James Version is their antipathy to scholars. They regard them with grave suspicion. Yet their own version is the masterpiece of biblical scholarship in Jacobean England. If the Preface reveals no more to them than this, it would be worth printing, for it is precisely this rift between piety and learning that is most dangerous to the church. As a matter of fact, we owe the English Bible to university men, from the sixteenth century to the twentieth. It could hardly be otherwise. But today, not one reader of King James in ten thousand even dreams that any biblical scholar had anything to do with his English Bible.

The argument of the publishers that the Preface is controversial is also nugatory. The version sprang out of controversy; the Preface reflects the fact; why conceal it? The hushing of the controversy in the history of Christianity does not make for intelligence. The New Testament itself sprang, much of it, out of controversy; I and II Corinthians, for instance. It is precisely this muting that has produced the impression that the version originated in some other, better world than ours. If the Preface shows its human background, let us have it, since it is a part of the truth.

The Translators were well aware that their work would have to encounter strong opposition:

"Zeal to promote the common good, whether it be by devising any thing ourselves, or revising that which hath been labored by others, deserves certainly much respect and esteem, but yet finding but cold entertainment in the world. ... For he that meddles with men's Religion in any part, meddles with their customs, nay, with their freehold, and though they find no content in that which they have, yet they cannot abide to hear of altering [it]. ... Many men's mouths have been open a good while (and yet are not stopped) with speeches about the Translation so long in hand, or rather perusals of Translations made before: and ask what may be the reason, what the necessity of the employment: Hath the Church been deceived, say they, all this while? ... Was their Translation good before? Why do they now mend it? Was it not good? Why then was it obtruded to the people? ..."

Without these trenchant sentences, people are left with the impression that the King James translation descended like the gentle dew from heaven, amidst universal acclaim. The silencing of the controversial note of the Preface puts a false face upon the version, for which its original makers are not to blame.

A third objection raised by the publishers to restoring the Preface is its obscurity, and the confusion it would create, in the mind of the ordinary reader. If this confusion means that the reader would be made aware that there had been and might be other versions of the Bible, it might better be called clarification. Confusion is the ordinary reader's present condition of mind, as I have tried to show. Left without the translator's guidance, he now believes the King James to be the "original" divinely inspired, unique, not made with hands, final, and definitive. To break in upon this false assurance with the clear statements of the Preface may produce a temporary confusion, but the confusion will be due to the disastrous practice of omitting the Preface, not to the healthful one of including it.

As for obscurity, is the Preface any more obscure than the version it introduced? This is the strangest of all reasons for the King James printers to adduce, yet I have it before me in writing from one of the greatest of them.

"The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd."
- Ecclesiastes 12:11

So reads the King James Version. Is there anything in the Preface that approaches this in obscurity? Yet publishers justify the omission of the Preface on the ground that it is "obscure." There is not a sentence in it as obscure as this one, or as hosts of others in the King James Version. No, if obscurity is the criterion, the publishers might have omitted the version and printed the Preface, but hardly the other way. It must be that the publishers are quite unaware of the marked obscurity of great areas of their own version.

A recent advocate of the King James Version says of the English Bible: "Much of the writing is inferior. .... Whole sections of the historical narratives are written in an immature and inferior manner. ... Some of the prophets have only a single verse that arrests attention. Only occasionally did Paul reveal his tremendous capacity to express thought in a memorable manner?" What does this mean, but that the writer does not understand his version? The simple truth is, the obscurity of the King James Version is its outstanding trait. When a man says things like this about Paul and the prophets, he is indicating, not the Bible at all, but his version of it. He reveals the fact that he is using a version he cannot understand.

It may require some patience for the modern reader to peruse the King James Preface. But think of the patience he is called upon to exhibit in reading long obscure areas of Paul and the prophets! He is by no means unaccustomed to reading his Bible in the midst of obscurity. And it is an admirable idea to have a genuine piece of first class Jacobean prose before him, side by side with the Jacobean revision, to show him how these revisers actually wrote when not translating but expressing their own thoughts. Here their real literary standards appear, in an authentic sample. If to their modern publishers their style appears obscure, it may in part explain the greater obscurity of their version. And at all events, it shows how they thought one should write. This affords their readers an example of what they considered clear and forceful English, and the value of this to any serious reader of King James, as a measuring rod, a standard of style, is unmistakable. Anyone who can understand the Preface can understand the version.

Especially for students, the Preface, with its wealth of contemporary materials and attitudes, is indispensable. In a humanities survey course for college Freshmen, a western university recently purchased 43 copies of the King James Bible without the Preface. In no other field of study would such a course have been dreamed of. To approach that version historically, and as any student should, without the Preface, is simply impossible. What has been said of the importance of the Preface to the general reader is even more true of the student, and it is high time our teachers of the English Bible in colleges awoke to the fact. But how can they be expected to awaken to it, when very few of them have ever seen a Bible containing the Preface? For the past hundred years, from the point of view of everyone -- ministers, professors, students, general readers, pious readers -- the Preface has been virtually suppressed.

The chief edition of the Bible containing it since 1821 is the English royal quarto, published by the Oxford University Press. This is an expensive pulpit Bible, seldom seen in America, which we cannot expect colleges to place in quantities in their reading rooms. On the other hand, the British and Foreign Bible Society and the American Bible Society seem never to have included the Preface in their Bibles at all. It has been included in only two other printings of the Bible, so far as I can learn, in the past hundred years.

It is true, it has more than once been published in books about the Bible. J.R. Dore, at the special request of Christopher Wordsworth, Bishop of Lincoln, introduced the Preface as an appendix into the second edition of his OLD BIBLES; and A.W. Pollard, in his RECORDS OF THE ENGLISH BIBLE, reprinted it in full. "This preface," said Richard Lovett (The Printed English Bible), "most unhappily long ago ceased to form a part of the ordinary editions." "It is to be regretted," wrote John Stoughton (Our English Bible), "that while the dedication appears in all the editions, the address to the readers is inserted in very few. It would be good alteration to cancel the former and universally introduce the latter."

This is no idle demand of a few savants and specialists, in the interests of mere erudition, but a crying need of present-day religion, of which the King James Bible is undeniably still the chief stay. That that edition should continue to sink into greater and greater misconception and misrepresentation, when much of it might be prevented by the simple and obvious device of restoring the Preface, is intolerable. That version is too deeply freighted with religious values to be left at the mercy of every charlatan to exploit. Its Preface is a great monument of sound biblical learning and method. Its readers need it as they have never needed it before. It lies ready to our hands, enfolding in itself the very correctives modern vagaries about the King James Bible so sadly need.

It is not enough that it is somewhere available in public libraries, in books about the Bible. Who knows about these books? I have had letters and inquiries from intelligent, educated ministers, asking where the Preface can be found. They had never heard of it. What chance, then, has the ordinary reader to know of it or find his way to it? The King James Version is a tremendous force in the modern world, very potent for good if it be intelligently used, but for evil if it be left unexplained. What most of its readers chiefly need is education about it, and that is precisely what its Preface provides.

For my part, I know of no greater service that can be done to biblical study today than to put back the King James Preface into its rightful place, in every copy of that great version, to the understanding of which it is so indispensable.

The English university presses, which have been since the days of Charles I among the great printers of the King James Version, used to carry a separate printing of the Preface for free distribution to those who asked for it. But this supply is now exhausted. The Preface is practically out of print. The great version, in its day a monument of enlightened learning, is left defenseless, to the inevitable confusion of all its readers.

Sound learning and common sense alike demand the reprinting of the Preface. It is essential to any real understanding of the King James Version. This has at length been made possible through the liberality of Charles Forrest Cutter, Esq., a generous friend of the Bible in all its forms. The Oxford and Cambridge presses have given their consent to the reprinting, and the Huntington Library has permitted us to publish the text in facsimile from the Bridgewater copy of the first printing of 1611 in its collection. We are particularly happy to do this (with the spellings somewhat modernized) in 1935, the 400th anniversary of the first printed English Bible (by Myles Coverdale) of which the King James Bible is the most illustrious descendant.

To me, of course, the religious values of the Bible far outweigh any mere literary considerations. It has great messages which the modern world greatly needs. To obscure these messages in phraseology which may once have conveyed them but is now so quaint and antique as to belong to the museums of literature, seems to me a very shocking and tragic business. It is like denying a very sick man the medical aid of today and giving him instead the treatment of the 16th century, because it is so picturesque! It is like insisting upon cupping him and bleeding him, at the risk of his health and even his life.

But even to those who take the Bible less seriously -- to the dogmatist and the dilettante -- it must be clear that the King James Preface belongs at the beginning of the King James Bible, where its makers put it and meant it to remain; and that the reasons advanced by its publishers for omitting it are really very cogent reasons for restoring it to its rightful place.

Edgar J. Goodspeed


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