Let's take a look at a few of Dean Burgon's own words and discover for ourselves his
A. The Inferiority of the English Revised Version (E.R.V.) of 1881
Compared to the King James Bible. Dean Burgon wrote how the English Revised Version (E.R.V.) of 1881, was inferior to the King James Bible: "The English (as well as the Greek) of the newly revised version is hopelessly at fault. It is to me simply unintelligible how a company of Scholars can have spent ten years in elaborating such a very unsatisfactory product. Their uncouth phraseology and their jerky sentences, their pedantic obscurity and their unidiomatic English, contrast painfully with `the happy turns of expression, the music of the cadences, the felicities of the rhythm' of our AUTHORIZED VERSION. . . ." You can see from this very clearly Dean Burgon's contempt for the English Revised Version of 1881, and-at the same time-his love for the King James Bible! He continued as follows: "The transition from one to the other, as the Bishop of Lincoln remarks, is like exchanging a well-built carriage for a vehicle without springs, in which you get jolted to death on a newly-mended and rarely-traversed road. But the "REVISED VERSION" is inaccurate as well; exhibits defective scholarship, I mean, in countless places."
If Dean Burgon were living today, would he be critical of this new versions of our day like the Dean Burgon Society that bears his name? I believe he would. The English Revised Version is but one example of how he would take his stand against the versions of our day and for the same reasons.
B. The English Revised Version Silently Revised the King James Bible.
Dean Burgon wrote: "With some slight modifications, our authorised English version has been silently revised." That has also been done by our modern versions. They have "silently revised" our King James Bible.. "silently, I say, for in the margin of the English no record is preserved of the underlying textual changes which have been introduced by the revisionists. On the contrary. Use has been made of that margin to insinuate suspicion and distrust in countless particulars as to the authenticity of the Text which has been suffered to remain unaltered." Notice Dean Burgon's comment on the insinuation of "suspicion and distrust." Isn't that what we have in the "margins" of our versions today, "suspicion and distrust"? We have the same thing in the New American Standard Version with its footnotes, revisions, and changes, We have it in the New King James Version, the New International Version, the Revised Standard Version, the New Revised Standard Version, and all the others.
Yes, our Authorized, King James Bible has been "silently revised." That is deceptive. The readers of these new versions don't know that in 5,604 places the Greek text that underlies our King James Bible (the Textus Receptus) has been altered and "silently revised" by Westcott and Hort and their followers! The readers don't know that the 5,604 places include a total of 9,970 Greek words (30 words short of 10,000) which have either been added to the Greek text, subtracted from the Greek text, or changed in some other way. If those people pick up one of the new versions and are not aware of these facts, then this is certainly "silently revision" is it not? Dean Burgon would be against the versions of today for the same reasons he was against the competing version of his own day, the English Revised Version of 1881. He would have just as much confidence in the King James Bible today as he had during his lifetime!
C. The Expectation of the English Revised Version to Supersede the King James Bible
Dean Burgon wrote: "Not unreasonable therefore is the expectation entertained by its Authors that the `New English version founded on this New Greek Text is destined to supercede the AV of 1611" That was their expectation, and that is the expectation, we dare say, of every version and perversion that has been produced in English since the King James Bible. May the expectation of those authors and publishers be thwarted by our God! The new versions all want to be "king." The New International wants to be king.
D. The English Revised Version blotted Out "Many Precious Words" from the King James Bible.
Notice what Dean Burgon wrote about the E.R.V.'s "blotting out precious words" of the Bible: "We shall therefore pass on, when we have asked the revisionists in turn-how they have dared so effectually to blot out these many precious words from the book of life, that no mere English Reader, depending on the revised version for his knowledge of the Gospels, can by possibility suspect their existance?"
Some of the "precious words" that have been "blotted out" from the "Book of Life" are seen in John 6:47 where the Lord Jesus said, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life." (John 6:47 KJB) If you look at John 6:47 in these new versions, such as the New American Standard, New International, New King James (in the footnotes at least), New Berkeley, Revised Standard, The New Revised, you will notice that they "blot out the precious words," "ON ME." They all say, words to this effect: "he that believes . . . has everlasting life." They blot out the precious words ON ME, in many cases without even a footnote to inform you that they are gone. The poor sinner who reads John 6:47 in these perversions will go to Hell because he thinks just by "believing" he can have everlasting life, without the necessity of "believing in the Lord Jesus Christ." He might "believe" in Buddhism, in Shintoism, in Muhammadanism, in Atheism, in Communism, in the Tooth Fairy, or several other things.
This is what Dean Burgon calls "blotting out precious words." If Dean Burgon were living today, would he not expose and criticize these new versions just as he did the English Revised Version of 1881, and for the same or similar reasons? Yes, he would! Would he stand up for the King James Bible as over against all these other English versions just as he did against the English Revised Version of 1881? Yes, he would! So far as the English Versions, would he use and be in favor of ONLY the King James Bible? Yes, he would--ONLY the King James Bible
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