QUESTION Who Wrote the AV (King
A. The "Great Scholars of 1611."
Dean Burgon commends the King James Bible translators as
follows: "The verb aitein confessedly means `to ask.' And perhaps no
better general English equivalent could be suggested for it. But then, IN A
CERTAIN CONTEXT, "ask" would be an INADEQUATE RENDERING: in another, IT WOULD
BE IMPROPER; in a third, IT WOULD BE SIMPLY INTOLERABLE. Of all this, THE GREAT
SCHOLARS OF 1611 SHOWED THEMSELVES PROFOUNDLY CONSCIOUS. . ." [Burgon, REVISION
REVISED, op. cit., p. 190.]
The King James translators knew well the various nuances and shades of meaning of that Greek word "to ask." It is the same Greek word, but in different contexts it has different shades of meaning. Instead of stiffly saying "ask, ask, ask," in three different places, the context would require sometimes "ask," sometimes "request" and sometimes "demand." Was Dean Burgon in favour of the King James Bible? He certainly was. He referred to the men who gave us that Bible as "the great scholars of 1611."
The King James Bible Is a "Priceless Treasure." Dean Burgon considered the King James Bible as a "priceless treasure." Referring to that Bible, he wrote: ". . . It will teach FAITHFUL HEARTS . . ." This is what our King James Bible will do. Was Dean Burgon in favour of the King James Bible? Yes. Did he want to revise the English text of the King James Bible? No. Was he in favour of using ONLY the King James Bible? Yes. Should he be included in James White's chapter as favouring ONLY the King James Bible as our Dean Burgon Society does? Yes!
James White wrongfully said that Dean Burgon was in favour of "revision in the KJB" as well as the Greek Text that underlies it. Though he thought there might be some slight revision of the Greek Text, Dean Burgon wanted to keep the English text of the King James Bible intact without a single change! Dean Burgon was for ONLY the King James Bible in the pulpit as well as in the pew. He held that view up to the day of his death in 1888. ". . . to CLING THE CLOSER TO THE PRICELESS TREASURE which was bequeathed to them by the PIETY and WISDOM OF THEIR FATHERS. It will dispel for ever the dream of those who have secretly imagined that A MORE EXACT VERSION, undertaken with the boasted helps of this nineteenth century of ours, would bring to light something which has been hitherto unfairly kept concealed or else misrepresented. Not the least service which the Revisionists have rendered has been the proof their work affords, HOW VERY SELDOM OUR AUTHORIZED VERSION is MATERIALLY WRONG; HOW FAITHFUL AND TRUSTWORTHY, on the contrary, IT IS THROUGHOUT." [Burgon, REVISION REVISED, op. cit., p. 232.]
Yes, our King James Bible is indeed a precious, "priceless treasure" that God has given to us. We must cling to it. If we do, we shall be blessed by it.
The King James Bible Has "Habitual Fidelity." Dean Burgon believed that the King James Bible had "habitual fidelity." He wrote: "They held a NOBLE VERSION BEFORE THEM, . ." Dean Burgon was comparing only two English versions: the King James Version of 1611 and the English Revised Version of 1881. When a man fights and battles against this English Revised Version of 1881 and clings to, praises, and uses ONLY the King James Bible of 1611, what do you call that man? He's a King James Bible man! He stands for it and he exalts it. Would James White exalt the King James Bible like Dean Burgon? No! Would any of these New American Standard Version men, or New International Version men, or even the New King James Version men exalt it like Dean Burgon? No! What about the people in Bible believing colleges and universities that USE the King James Bible in their pulpit, but in their Greek classes, tear down the Greek textual base that underlies it (as in Bob Jones University and other places)? Would they exalt the King James Bible with the words used by Dean Burgon? I don't think so. ". . . which they contrived to SPOIL in every part. Its DIGNIFIED SIMPLICITY and ESSENTIAL FAITHFULNESS, its MANLY GRACE and its DELIGHTFUL RHYTHM, they have shown themselves alike unable to imitate and unwilling to retain. . . . are sorry substitutes for THE LIVING FRESHNESS, and ELASTIC FREEDOM, and HABITUAL FIDELITY OF THE GRAND OLD VERSION WHICH WE INHERITED FROM OUR FATHERS, and which has sustained the spiritual life of the Church of England, and of all English-speaking Christians, for 350 years. . . . the AUTHORIZED VERSION, wherever it was possible, SHOULD HAVE BEEN JEALOUSLY RETAINED." [Burgon, REVISION REVISED, op. cit., pp. 225-26.] Dean Burgon certainly favoured the King James Bible in the same measure as he opposed the English Revised Version.
The Spirit of God "Was Mightily Upon" the Translators of the King James Bible. Dean Burgon believed that God's Spirit was upon the translators of the King James Bible. He wrote: ". . . who does not respond gratefully to the EXQUISITE TASTE AND TACT with which "BONDMAID" itself has been exchanged for "BONDWOMAN" by OUR TRANSLATORS OF 1611, in verses 23, 30 and 31? . . . Verily, THOSE MEN UNDERSTOOD THEIR CRAFT! `There were GIANTS IN THOSE DAYS.' As little would they submit to be bound by the new cords of the Philistines as by their green withes. Upon occasion, they could shake themselves free from either. And why? For the selfsame reason: viz. BECAUSE THE SPIRIT OF THEIR GOD WAS MIGHTILY UPON THEM." [Burgon, REVISION REVISED, op. cit., p. 196.] That doesn't mean that Dean Burgon thought that the Holy Spirit of God breathed out (or inspired) the exact English words to put down (including the italics) like Dr. Ruckman and/or his followers teach. He didn't believe that the King James English Bible (including the italics) supersedes and takes precedence over the Hebrew and Greek. He did not believe it was a new REVELATION, but only an accurate, faithful TRANSLATION. Dean Burgon did believe that the Spirit of God was leading and guiding these men that gave us our Bible. "The Spirit of God was mightily upon them." That is a good stand to make.
The KJB translators were not only intellectually superior, but they were spiritually superior to men of the English Revised Version. Spiritual ability is a must for all Scriptural endeavors.
The King James Bible Is a "Sacred Bond" to All English-speaking People. Dean Burgon believed that the King James Bible was a "sacred bond" between all English-speaking people. He wrote: "Whatever may be urged in favour of BIBLICAL REVISION, it is at least undeniable that the undertaking involves a tremendous RISK. . . ." Notice that Dean Burgon believes that it is a "risk" to tamper with the King James Bible. Anytime you touch something that is suitable, excellent, accurate, and "God's Word Kept Intact in English," there is a "risk" involved. I realize that this illustration and analogy perhaps is not exact, but there is an element of truth in it. Uzzah wanted with all his heart to steady the Ark of God that had been placed on the "new cart" contrary to God's express wishes. He had a motivation that he thought was sound, sane, and sensible, but it was unscriptural. He had to lay hands upon that holy Ark of God that was moving. He never should have put the Ark on a new cart to start with. God said that the Ark should be carried on the shoulders of the priests. Uzzah thought he was doing a good and noble work by touching the Ark so it wouldn't fall over. When we touch the Bible that God has given to us as English-speaking people, "God's Word kept intact in English," our King James Bible, I believe, with Dean Burgon, that we take a serious "risk."
Something else is true. These translators (of the ERV and also those of today's perversions) have touched these "precious words" of the King James Bible. They have "blotted them out," and "silently revised" many of these "precious words" so that few people suspect that they are gone. The words are missing in action. Like our missing servicemen (MIA's), we have words that are "missing in action." We have sentences missing in action. We have verses missing in action. We have whole sections missing in actions such as: Mark 16:9-20, John 7:53--8:11. There are twelve verses in each of those two sections. We have a "risk." I would not want to be in their place at the Judgement Seat of Christ if they are believing Christians. Some of these men are undoubtedly believers. If they are believers and are to appear before the Judgement Seat of Christ to give account of that which they have done in their body according to what they have done whether it be good or bad, I would not want to be in their place. I would not want to face the Lord Jesus Christ after I had laid cruel hands on the words of the precious Scripture, destroying them, taking from the believers, and preaching from the housetops out of the false versions of their day. Biblical revision is a tremendous "risk" Dean Burgon said. He was right. ". .Our AUTHORIZED VERSION is the ONE RELIGIOUS LINK which at present. ." He was writing in 1883. ". .binds together NINETY MILLIONS of English-speaking men scattered over the earth's surface. ." There are many more millions of English-speaking people today. The King James Bible still binds us today. Do you think that the NIV is ever going to bind millions and millions of English-speaking people? Do you think it's going to be the New American Standard or the New King James that will bind all these millions together? Versions have come and gone. The English Revised Version of 1881 cannot even be bought, except in a second hand book shop if you can find one that has it. They have stopped publication. The American Standard Version of 1901, which is the American counterpart of the English Revised Version of 1881, is out of print as far as we know. It won't be long until these other versions have disappeared as well. Take a look at all the old ones down through the century. It is hard to buy a good book that is more then four or five years old. When the publishers stop making money on a book, they stop reprinting it. The same is true with the Bibles. They come and go. ". . . Is it reasonable that so UNUTTERABLY PRECIOUS, so SACRED A BOND should be endangered, for the sake of representing certain words more accurately,- here and there translating a tense with greater precision,- getting rid of a few archaisms? . "
Dr. Bob Doom, President of the Global Bible Society, located in North Carolina, needs our prayers. For many years now, he has been working to give us a special edition of the King James Bible. The text will be unaltered, but the few words that may be outmoded, a little different, or hard to understand will be clarified in the margin. This will enable the average reader to unlock all the treasures of the Word of God for himself. Pray for him. He has already spent $10,000 on this project. He said he's got the Greek words done and at least part of it done in English from the New Testament (Matthew to Revelation). He is trying to get out something for the Gospel of John by the end of 1995 if possible. We don't need to get rid of a few archaisms. Just leave the words alone and put the clarifications in the margins. This is not like the new versions that change the words right in the text of the Bible. We should not endanger the unutterable precious "sacred bond" of the King James Bible for any of these new versions. ". It may be CONFIDENTLY ASSUMED THAT NO 'REVISION' OF OUR AUTHORIZED VERSION, HOWEVER JUDICIOUSLY EXECUTED, WILL EVER OCCUPY THE PLACE IN PUBLIC ESTEEM WHICH IS ACTUALLY ENJOYED BY THE WORK OF THE TRANSLATORS OF 1611--THE NOBLEST LITERARY WORK IN THE ANGLO-SAXON LANGUAGE." [Burgon, REVISION REVISED, op. cit., p. 113.]
"Ever" is a long time, isn't it. Do you think that holds for the year of 1995? I believe it does. Do you believe Dean Burgon is for ONLY the King James Bible? Do you believe that is a misstatement in The King James Only Controversy book?
No "Rival Translation" Should Ever Take the Place of the King James Bible. Was Dean Burgon in favor of a revision of the text of the King James Bible? If so, how would he advise that it be done? Dean Burgon did not want to have any "rival translation" in the English language to compete with the King James Bible. He wrote: "To be brief, . . ." Dean Burgon was never brief. The BIBLE FOR TODAY has reprinted five of Dean Burgon's books on textual matters. The Dean Burgon Society has decided to reprint in real book-type form of The Last Twelve Verses of Mark by Dean Burgon. We had a committee meeting at supper time and we decided on that book as a beginning project. Dean Burgon was never brief. He wrote five books: (1) The Revision Revised, (2) The Last Twelve Verses of Mark, (3) The Traditional Text, (4) Causes of Corruption, and (5) Inspiration and Interpretation. These five books make up almost 2,000 pages. Dean Burgon's biography is almost 1,000 pages. This makes a total of about 3,000 pages we have put back into print either by or about Dean Burgon. In referring to any study edition of the King James Bible, he wrote: ". .As a COMPANION IN THE STUDY and FOR PRIVATE EDIFICATION: as a Book OF REFERENCE FOR CRITICAL PURPOSES, especially in respect of DIFFICULT AND CONTROVERTED PASSAGES: . " Notice, this was for a limited purpose. It was to be used "in the study" and for "private edification," and not for church services or general use at all. ". .we hold that a REVISED EDITION OF THE AUTHORIZED VERSION OF OUR ENGLISH BIBLE (IF EXECUTED WITH CONSUMMATE ABILITY AND LEARNING,) That is a big "if." Do you believe that these new versions and perversions have been executed with consummate ability and learning? I do not. ". .would at any time be a WORK OF INESTIMABLE VALUE. . The METHOD of such a performance, whether BY MARGINAL NOTES . . ." As mentioned above, this is what Dr. Bob Doom is trying to do with his special edition of the King James Bible. He will have a marginal notes with the meanings of a few words that have changed their meanings somewhat over the years. There are only five to six hundred such words since 1611. We have almost 800,000 words in our English King James Bible. To have only five to six hundred words that have changed their meaning slightly since 1611 is a minute percentage indeed. ". . . or in SOME OTHER WAY, we forbear to determine. . But certainly ONLY AS A HANDMAID is it to be desired. ." What is a handmaid? We would call her a "maid" today. If the maid or servant starts taking over the house, she turns into something other then a maid. We have had some who have tried this. We must know the difference between a handmaid and the lady of the house. You better treat the lady of the house like the lady of the house and not like a handmaid. When you have your "priceless treasure," our King James Bible, you HAVE the Lady of the house. You better not treat her as a handmaid by using the new versions and perversions.
". . . As something INTENDED TO SUPERSEDE OUR PRESENT ENGLISH BIBLE, we are THOROUGHLY CONVINCED that the project of a RIVAL TRANSLATION IS NOT TO BE ENTERTAINED FOR A MOMENT. For ourselves, WE DEPRECATE IT ENTIRELY." [Burgon, REVISION REVISED, op. cit., pp. 113-14. Dean Burgon did not believe that ANYTHING should "supersede our present English Bible." Which was that? It was the King James Bible. As for have a "rival translation" for the King James Bible, Dean Burgon "deprecated it entirely." Is there any other language that could be introduced to make it any clearer that for Dean John William Burgon, there was ONLY one English Bible, and that was the King James Bible!
CONCLUDING REMARKS We have in the name of our "Dean Burgon Society," the name of Dean John William Burgon, a man who unequivocally not only stood against the false version of his day (the English Revised Version), but also stood in favour of the King James Bible of his day. The King James Bible is now 384 years old. The same arguments used against this grand old Bible in Dean Burgon's day are used today, such as: "Oh, my, isn't the King James Bible too antiquated? We can't understand it. Don't we need something new and fresh?" Dean Burgon stuck firmly to his King James Bible. We ask the question again. Did Dean Burgon have confidence in his King James Bible? He certainly did. We want, as a Dean Burgon Society, to show forth and radiate to those around us, Christians and non-Christians alike, that we do have confidence both in our King James Bible and the Greek and Hebrew texts that underlie it. I always say on every one of our radio broadcasts, whether it is the five minute daily broadcast Monday through Friday or our thirty minute weekly broadcast, "We're building Bible confidence, confidence in the King James Bible, because the King James Bible is the Bible for Today." My friends, the King James Bible is the Bible for today. It was the Bible for yesterday. And it will be the Bible for tomorrow. We praise God that we had a Dean John William Burgon who stood together with us on this issue. We would both agree that the King James Bible is "THE NOBLEST LITERARY WORK IN THE ANGLO-SAXON LANGUAGE"!! We would also join Dean Burgon in his statement concerning our King James Bible (if you would permit me to repeat it once again): "We are THOROUGHLY CONVINCED that the project of a RIVAL TRANSLATION IS NOT TO BE ENTERTAINED FOR A MOMENT. For ourselves, WE DEPRECATE IT ENTIRELY"!!
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