Sorry for the long intro. This might be interesting once I talk about the fellowship.
So I’m an ardent King James Bible supporter. I believe it to be the best.
I deliberately chose not to delve too deep into this rabbit hole. I believe we all have a purpose in life and it’s best not to be distracted. I’m still unsure of what God wants me to do with my life, but at the moment I imagine it has to do with people (relationships), politics, religion and perhaps philosophy. I am unwilling and frankly uninterested in pursuing a vain mission.
I have to problems when it comes to arguing about Bible versions. Firstly, what makes me right? There are hundreds of scholars each with their own opinion on whether or not the King James is best. It is absurd, I think, to believe I will ever approach such a deep knowledge on that topic if it’s not my main focus in life.
Secondly, how do I trust myself? I am a man who makes rational mistakes. How do I know I am not blind?
That being said, I admittedly took info from a few people, especially Dr. Kent Hovind, on the mattter. Then I closed it. I do not want to get involved in the debate. Yet I do believe one should take a position. This might come off as close minded. And perhaps it is. I’m just saying that I can’t know everything and therefore I have to trust the answers of people I trust, such as Kent Hovind.
So the last few weeks I’ve been having doubts on this Christian society/fellowship I’m in. There are some things I find disturbing, theological things. Some say, and they do, that it shouldn’t matter. I disagree. Theology matters. For instance some versions remove (or alternatively the King James add), that to be forgiven of God you must forgive others. Otherwise He won’t forgive you. That matters. A lot. It’s not something I can just ignore.
But anyway I lost passion for this fellowship. For weeks I didn’t see anyone from it. I’m tired of simply being quiet on matters I disagree with.
Yesterday after my last class I happened to walk past two leaders of that fellowship and since I haven’t been to the weekly small group study, they invited me to do it in their office. Why not? Whereas before I wanted to learn, this time I wanted to observe. Observe whether or not I should leave this fellowship.
The part we discussed was Colossians 1:15-23. We took turns reading a verse, they from the Recovery Version and I from the King James. I remarked how I, as a politics student, liked verse 16:
For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: (Colossians 1:16)
I said that dominions and principalities are political structures, political terms. Not mere physical things. God is author of even these things.
I really do like it, but a part of me said this because when one of them read the verse there were obvious differences. So when I told them about why I liked it, the one guy got slightly awkward and said that the verse I read is a lot different from his version. Here is the Recovery Version:
Because in Him all things were created, in the heavens and on the earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or lordships or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and unto Him.
You see for me ruler is a physical thing, contrary to principalities. And if I may be pedantic, there is a difference between a lordship and dominion.
We didn’t argue. After I remarked the differences, the one guy confirmed with me whether or not the King James is based on the Textus Receptus, a different one from the Recovery Version. I said yes. He remarked that the majority of Bibles use the majority text. I simply answered that that does not make it true (for the philosophically minded, that was an argument from majority opinion, an appeal to the majority. The cool Latin phrase which I’ve just googled is argumentum ad populum).
Now keep in mind that throughout the whole discussion everything was calm, although I noticed a slight awkwardness. I don’t think they are used to others’ opinions.
I was afraid he was going to bombard me with tons of evidence against the Textus, especially as I do not want to engage in details – I do not know the details, like I said before. He did not. But he did say that that specific verse (verse 16) of the King James is identical in the Greek to the Recovery version’s text. I thought, it can’t be. The differences are not mere word order or synonyms. There are different nouns. So if that verse was identical in the Greek, then one of us were seriously wrong.
So he took out his phone with an app which compares the Textus Receptus with the other one. I think it is the Majority Text. Now I do not understand Greek, but the words, the symbols, between the two definitely disagrees… there goes the “it’s identical claim”. I said that; unless it is simply word order that is changed, or synonyms used, they are obviously not the same.
Although way different languages, last year I studied German and Spanish and I’ve learned myself a bit of Russian, and besides that I’m fluent in English and Afrikaans, so I got the hang of the basic units of language (if that’s what you call them) like nouns and cases and such (but I profess I’m ignorant in Greek and there may be some unexpected things in it).
Somewhere along the line I mentioned how the King James was translated. I forgot the details, but something like 12 people translated different parts of the Greek and then they cross-checked each other.
After I said this, or after the “identical claim” (I can’t remember which), the one guy said that he knows a bit of Greek. I think he implied that I’m ignorant, that the translators of the King James were ignorant. That he knows more. That he is right. Isn’t that also a type of appeal to authority? I dunno. I just thought by myself, and I’d rather not say it, here are two people who do not specialise in languages. They admit they know very little Greek. They do not attend university classes. No. They learn themselves, or each other. Do they really think that makes them more qualified then those who do know the lingo? Than the translators?
I realise I’m also appearing incoherent here. Perhaps the majority text’s translators were better. I’m just saying that if they discount those who are knowledgeable because of their own super superior (/s) knowledge, then surely they themselves who are less knowledgeable should be even less trusted. They are being incoherent. I’m just using their logic. But I thought it would be unwise to point that out.
Afterwards one of them talked about the similarities between the two. I almost said “To hell with the similarities”, but seeing we were discussing the Bible I thought that rather inappropriate. I answered that it’s not the similarities that matter, but the differences. I then used that example of earlier about having or not having to forgive others.
As one who likes politics, I try to keep the debate civil. So I gave a few compliments and I admitted my ignorance where I could. After deliberately going off topic to calm some irritation, talking about the famous Louie Giglio and how one of the things he said ties in with Colossians, we prayed, talked about our differences, and I left.
I could see from their faces that they did not expect this kind of meeting. They made it awkward. I don’t understand awkwardness. Something is only awkward if someone makes it awkward. It’s so easy not being awkward. I mean just be yourself. But anyway.
Before we left they talked about how such differences between Christians shouldn’t be a distraction about the real message: Living for Christ. I agreed in principle. In principle because some things regarding different versions do matter, like the forgiveness thing.
It was never my goal to argue about the Bible versions, only to test whether or not they will rebuke me for using another version. After all, I was there to see whether or not I still want to stay in the fellowship. I merely defended my positions.
Just note that I am not saying that the other text is wrong or the King James right (although do believe it is right. As a human I might be mistaken). Like I said at the beginning, I closed the whole King James debate a long while ago in my mind. I merely defended what I knew, admitted what I didn’t, and questioned their logic.
However afterwards I realised something. It was they who immediately remarked how the versions differ after I read verse 16. It was they who asked about the Textus Receptus. It was they who wanted to compare the two manuscripts. They were the ones who, initially at least, thought it their mission to convince me of their stance.
They were the ones who got distracted.
I wanted to end the post here, but I thought I’d rather not leave it on a tense tone which might encourage some skeptics. I am a born-again Christian. I try to live righteously. I love truth. The reason I’m doubting these versions is because I do NOT want to be misled. I do not want to be deceived. That’s why I’m always skeptical about other versions and even other Christians.
I know I might sound incoherent because I’m adamant about the King James. That I close myself off. This is true. I only do it because I do not want to follow this rabbit hole, so I need at least one version – in my opinion the best one – to trust. Otherwise I’ll have to learn Greek, and even then I might make mistakes. So my point is I have to trust that God helps me on my search for truth and hope that I am right.
In my opinion, there is nothing, not an atheist or Muslim or Hindu, or institutional secularism, or anything, that is more dangerous than deceived or deceiving Christians. Nothing beats Christianity Twisted, Christianity Light© . It’s dangerous. Those people sometimes have a lot of meat to offer, but they don’t tell you (or they don’t know themselves) about the poison.
And it’s the poison that kills you.