Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Divine Preservation of Scripture

I enjoyed the Dan Wallace interview, but confess to be suspicious of the ideas that the bible doesn’t speak of its own preservation, and that the doctrine first emerged in the Westminster Confession. Isaiah 55.10-11 and (in one sense) Daniel 12 seem to me to imply preservation, and the idea is I think present in, for example, the Habakkuk pesher and Josephus’ Contra Apionem (book 2). Does anyone have any thoughts on biblical evidence for the doctrine beyond Isaiah 55, and of possible discussions of the theme by the doctores ecclesiae both before and after Westminster?


  1. Gathers, welcome.

    In his essay on the Majority Text Theory in The Text of the NT in Contemporary Research Wallace also refers to Ps 119.89; Is 40.8; Matt 5.17f; John 10.35 & 1 Peter 1.23-25 commenting that 'neither the written text nor the NT per so is in view in these passages' (p. 309).

    For more he refers to an essay he wrote 'Inspiration, Preservation, and NT TC' in Grace Theological Journal 12 (1992), 21-50 (which I haven't seen).

  2. I've just had a look at 'Inspiration, Preservation, and NT TC' in Grace Theological Journal 12 (1992), 21-50. It is quite interesting (esp. the info in the notes relating to various MT advocates and quotes from Ehrman's Masters thesis). But it doesn't do much exegetically with any of these passages. Basically it is mostly about showing the problems with the MT/TR advocates who linked inspiration and preservation very closely. He does remark that 'the doctrine of preservation was not a doctrine of the ancient church' (p41) and suggests more research on what it meant for the WCF.

  3. Rather than say that the doctrine of preservation is either true or false, it may be better to investigate what the Bible does indicate about preservation and carefully to develop the doctrine up to that level but not beyond. I tend to agree that the passages mentioned do not really teach a doctrine that the entire written Word of God will necessarily be physically preserved. Daniel 12 may indicate that, but not as a promise pertaining to the entire Bible. Most of the passages (including Isa 55:10-11) seem to be talking about the content of God's Word, not the physical media on which it is recorded. But I don't think this admission ends the discussion. First, we have the facts that much of what God has revealed in Scripture has been preserved de facto. Second, we can probably say that there have been other occasional, inspired, written words from God that have not been preserved.

    But we can also look to the attitude toward Scripture that we find in Scripture, and discover that saints throughout the OT and in the NT bowed to the authority not just of lost autographa, but of the texts they had, which they believed were from God. For example, it may be granted that Mat 5:17-19 speaks of the enduring validity of the content of the Law and the Prophets, not so much the preservation of its letters on physical mss. But it is also true that when Jesus spoke about the enduring validity of the content of the Law and the Prophets, He was certainly speaking of something that was known to Him and His hearers, not a long lost autograph. So there may be an implicit doctrine of preservation there, if not an implicit one. Likewise, when Paul encouraged Timothy concerning God-breathed Scripture (2 Tim 3:16), he was not talking about a historic event in the original composition of Scripture, but about a quality possessed by the hiera grammata that Timothy had studied personally since his childhood.

    One theologically important observation is that the relevant NT passages seem to uphold the Greek and the Hebrew versions of the OT without distinction of authority. To me this observation might be important in helping evangelicals understand how we should approach the problem of textual variants and lost autographa--of course this only applies to those of us who are willing to lay our theological biases on the table for full view when doing TC.

  4. IMHO to advocate the idea that scripture teaches it's own Divine preservation (which I don't think it does) can lead one precisely into the logical trap many King Jame Only advocates are caught in, one in which they are forever asking "which version is the inspired, inerrant, preserved words of God?"

  5. To Anonymous:
    Resolution of the question whether and to what degree the Bible addresses the matter of its own preservation can only be gained by scrutiny of the relevant passages, not by avoiding the issue on account of logical fallacies made by others.

  6. Preservation can be approached in a circular fashion, as:

    1. The King James Bible Cambridge Red-Letter Edition with Handy Concordance and Index of Weights and Measures states in Matthew 5:18 that not "one jot or one tittle shall . . . pass from the law, till all be fulfilled" (the 1611 KJV apparently had 'title,' but we won't go into the implications of that here).

    2. Therefore, God must have preserved His word.

    3. We have the KJB CRLE w/ HC & IWM, so it must be the preserved Word of which it speaks.

    However, preservation can also be undermined in a circular fashion as well; witness "Misquoting Jesus:"

    1. As preserved in all the Greek mss we have of Matt 5:18, Jesus promised that not one iota of His Word would pass away.

    2. There is tremendous variation elsewhere in the mss corpus.

    3. Therefore, some of the original words must have been lost.

    4. Jesus was thus wrong about preservation, as well as about any number of other things he said.

  7. If preservation is not an essential doctrine to textual criticism, then whatever could have motivated textual critics to (reading LXX over MT) expunge Psalm 12:7 from the list of proof texts for preservation? It certainly wasn't the internal considerations of grammar; textual critics have no problem favoring the variant that shuffles from second to first person in Galatians 4:6.

  8. One has to completely isolate Ps. 12:7 from its context to arrive at any sort of promise for scripture preservation. Simply reading the Psalm in its entirety and following the flow of thought makes it plainly evident that what is in view is the preservation of God's people, not His words. We may be as confident in God' promise to preserve his people as we are in the trustworthiness of his word, over against words uttered by the flattering lips of evil men.

  9. If Ps 12:7 is talking about the preservation of the words of the Lord, it still doesn't get specific enough to make a firm basis for the doctrine that the written words will be physically preserved via mss or other media. Passages such as this could be speaking of the preservation of the words in the sense that their truthfulness will always be kept in tact by God, without respect to any physical record of them. Compare this to what you and I usually mean when we say that we will keep our word.

  10. Eric, to your earlier comment:

    "Resolution of the question whether and to what degree the Bible addresses the matter of its own preservation can only be gained by scrutiny of the relevant passages, not by avoiding the issue on account of logical fallacies made by others."

    I couldn't agree more. I realize that all passages that might seem to potentially be referring to a promised, preserved written text of scripture (and there aren't really that many) should be scrutinized. Because of the countless hours I have spent arguing with KJV onlyists on this topic, I've invested a great deal of time scrutinizing those texts, with particular note of their contexts. I've stopped arguing with KJV onlies, however, as it's evident that our presuppositions will Always lead us to different conclusions on what these texts teach. I'm now learning to live with the fact that, by their understanding, I'm amongst the "apostate textual critic bible denyers whose god is an impotent wimp since he can't keep his own promise to preserve his words...etc. ad nausium..." That quote could be taken verbatim from many a KJV only discussion board.

    Below is the usual list of verses used by KJV onlyists and others to defend the idea that scripture teaches its own preservation:

    Isaiah 40:8
    Psalm 12:6-7
    Psalm 138:2
    Psalm 100:5
    Psalm 33:11
    Psalm 119:152, 160
    Isaiah 59:21
    Matthew 5:17-18
    Matthew 24:35
    John 10:35
    Peter 1:23-25

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  12. The question of preservation is an important discussion that should be held in the context of this blog.

    Obviously, in recent history, the language of preservation has become particularly associated with KJV or TR or Majority Text advocates, but we should not react to that or in any way let that colour our discussions.

    One of the interesting aspects of modern claims that God preserved, for instance, the TR or some late Byzantine witnesses tends to be the implication that God did not thus preserve the early papyri or uncials. It is thus a claim both about special preservation and about the absence thereof. What if, like Tregelles, we were not to allow greater doses of providence to one witness over another?

    In one sense (Hebrews 1:3) everything exists by divine preservation. Discussion could therefore begin from the premise that God has preserved all the Greek manuscripts—the bad ones as well as the good ones (maybe this is my Calvinism coming out). The question would then move to how he wants his people to respond to the array of things that have been preserved.

    For everyone's interest I include a passage from John Owen (1616-1683) from (Pneumatologia, ch. 9, 233-34). It appeals pretty clearly to preservation, even if some details of his appeal are misguided. I believe that Owen was not a member of the Westminster Assembly.

    'There have of late been some opinions concerning the integrity and purity of the Scriptures invented and maintained, that, I conceive, take off from the reverence of that relation which the Scripture hath, in its integrity and purity, unto the care and glory of God. Hence it is by some maintained that some books written by divine inspiration, and given out unto the church as part of its canon, or rule of faith and obedience, are utterly lost and perished; that the law and Scripture of the Old Testament before the captivity were written, though in the Hebrew tongue (which, they say, was not originally the language of Abraham, derived from Eber, but of the posterity of Ham in Canaan), yet not in the letters or characters which are now in use, but in those which a few wicked idolaters called Samaritans did use and possess, being left unto them by Ezra, and new characters invented by him, or borrowed from the Chaldeans for the use of the church; that the vowels and accents, whereby alone the true reading and sense of it is preserved, are a late invention of some Masoretical rabbins; and that the original text is in many places corrupted, so as that it may and ought to be corrected by translations, especially that of the LXX.; with sundry other such imaginations, which they countenance with uncertain conjectures and fabulous stories. And I cannot but wonder how some seem to take shelter unto their opinions, especially that of preferring the translation of the LXX. unto the original Hebrew text, or, as they fondly speak, “the present copy of it,” in the church of England, whose publicly authorized and excellent translation takes no more notice of, nor hath any more regard unto that translation, when it differs from the Hebrew, as it doth in a thousand places, than if it had never been in the world. And as no translations are in common use in the whole world but what were immediately traduced out of the Hebrew original, excepting only some part of the vulgar Latin, so I verily believe that those very Christians who contend for a preference to be given unto that of the LXX., now they have got their ends, or at least attempted them, in procuring a reputation of learning, skill, and cunning, by their writings about it, would not dare to advise a translation out of that to be made and composed for the use of that church which they adhere unto, be it what it will, to the rejection and exclusion of that taken out of the original: and to have two recommended unto common use, so discrepant as they would be found to be, would certainly be of more disadvantage to the church than by all their endeavours otherwise they can compensate. Yea, I am apt to think that they will not be very urgent for an alteration to be made in the church’s translation in those particular instances wherein they hope they have won themselves much reputation in proving the mistakes of the Hebrew, and manifesting how it may be rectified by the translation of the LXX.; for whatever thoughts may be in their minds concerning their learned disputes, I doubt not but they have more reverence of God and his word than to break in upon it with such a kind of violence, on any pretence whatsoever. As, therefore, the integrity and purity of the Scripture in the original languages may be proved and defended against all opposition, with whatever belongs thereunto, so we must ascribe their preservation to the watchful care and powerful operation of the Spirit of God absolutely securing them throughout all generations.'

  13. William Combs has a related article on the subject, which touches on Wallace's article in the Grace Journal (a bit of critiquing of Wallace and Tim Ralston, as well as MT advocates). It's “The Preservation of Scripture.” Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal 5 (2000): 3-44.

    It would be great to hear others about this article. Thanks

  14. I appreciate the explanations for why Ps. 12:7 shouldn't be considered a proof-text for preservation of a text in manuscripts. But the point is that Ps. 12:7, as it has lately emerged from beneath the penknife of the scribe, doesn't even say on it's face that God will preserve His Words. My question is, why?

  15. Owen was wrong about the KJV never following the LXX over the Hebrew. The KJV is the end result of a long stream of translation and revision stretching all the way back to the LXX. So even if they never actually consulted the LXX themselves, certain influences of the LXX made their way into the KJV, whether through earlier English translations or through the Vulgate directly.
    In Wycliffe's Vulgate translation, Genesis 37:3 reads:

    "Forsothe Israel louyde Joseph ouer alle hise sones, for he hadde gendrid hym in eelde; and he made to Joseph a cote of many colours."

    Jerome must have had a copy of the LXX handy when he translated the Hebrew (or he never got around to converting that passage from the Italic), because the aspect of many colours is an LXX speculation; the Hebrew simply reads, 'pieces'.

    Here, as usual, the KJV italicized the LXX reading to show that it wasn't supported by the Hebrew, but in so doing they supplanted an existing Hebrew reading, rather than expounding it.

  16. Combs' article is on-line, and definitely worth reading at

    He argues against Wallace that there is a biblical doctrine of the preservation of Scripture (though not like KJV/TR advocates propose). [I'm not quite sure that Wallace should be categorised as a preservation-denier.]

    He also interacts with an article by Warfield on the Westminster Confession and the original autographs which also addresses the biblical doctrine of presrvation (see note 26 for details). That would be worth reading. How much of Warfield is on-line?

  17. Peter,

    "I'm not quite sure that Wallace should be categorised as a preservation-denier."

    Just to clarify--I was arguing that Dan, in his own article on the subject, denied a doctrine of preservation. I understand Dan to deny that Scripture anywhere promises, either directly or indirectly (theological argument), its own preservation—a doctrine of preservation. Dan would speak, if I understand correctly, of the preservation of Scripture because it is a historical reality, but it is not a theological necessity.

    Interestingly, Dan recently said, "the words of the original text are evident—in either the text or the variants of, say, the Nestle-Aland27"

    I wonder if others would agree with that?

    By the way, I would like to thank you, Peter, and the rest of your colleagues for your excellent blog. I just discovered it about a month ago and have been reading it religiously. It has been of great benefit to me.

  18. Thanks Bill for the response. And for your comments on the blog. We'd love to get your contributions too. I should say that I liked your article on Erasmus as well.

  19. I found Bill Combs' article very instructive. It obviously spends a lot of time engaging with TR advocates, who appear to be a major phenomenon in the USA, but are not found in such numbers on the other side of the pond.

    The article usefully distinguishes a doctrine of preservation, wherein preservation is viewed as a theological necessity, and a belief in preservation, wherein preservation is viewed as a reality.

    Providential preservation is rightly generally taken to refer to preservation by secondary (normal) causation rather than by miracles.

    The article also usefully stresses the oral rather than written nature of much that is called the 'word of the Lord/God' within scripture.

    Furthermore, it deals with the issue of whether it is necessary for all of God's word to be publicly available—the assumption that it does is something that is clearly found in Ehrman's Misquoting Jesus and so the subject is found to link to another one dealt with at length on this blog.

    I'd probably agree with Dan Wallace that the words of the original text are either in NA27 or its apparatus—exceptions to this would only be occasional, but being interested in the exact spelling of the NT I'd have to say that we'd need more than the spellings given in NA27 :-).

  20. Wallace: "the words of the original text are evident—in either the text or the variants of, say, the Nestle-Aland27".

    Bill: 'I wonder if others would agree with that?'

    Pete: B.B. Warfield's position seems to be somewhat akin to Wallace here: 'the Presbyteran doctrine of the Bible, therefore, embraces these three points: (1) the plenary inspiration of the Bible as God gave it ...; (2) the safe preservation of the Bible as God gave it, so as to be accessible to men, in the use of the ordinary means of securing a trustworthy text; and (3) the adequate transmission of the saving truth in every and any honest translation ...' ('Westminster Confession and the Original Autographs', SSWBBW II.594).
    He had earlier commented that the providence of God 'produced the safe transmission of that Word, but not without signs of human fallibility here and there in the several copies'.

  21. Wallace: "the words of the original text are evident—in either the text or the variants of, say, the Nestle-Aland27".

    Bill: 'I wonder if others would agree with that?'

    Whether or not NT TC is reliable to the degree indicated by the words attributed above to Wallace (correctly I hope), is one thing. But to hold the same degree of confidence in our text of the OT is another matter. We can probably agree that there are at least some (albeit possibly few) places of corruption in the text where we cannot say with confidence that any extant witnesses preserve the original reading (Eg. 1 Sam 13:1). In the case of the paragraph found in 4QSama between 1 Sam 10 and 11, we have an example of an original paragraph (and if you have any doubt about it see Cross's compelling article on the subject) that had only been secretly preserved in a cave until a generation ago.

    We could posit hypothetically that there are other secretly preserved mss still hidden somewhere and that they cumulatively do preserve every original word of the canonical writings, which would be one way of extending the confidence some have about NT preservation to the OT. But, since such an idea can never be more than a hypothesis, it really does us no good.

    We could alternatively just define the goal of OT TC as recovery of the proto-masoretic, as does Tov. Waltke is an example of an evangelical who has advocated this approach in writing (see his article in the introductory volume of the EBC as well as in NIDOTTE and his Syntax with O'Connor). In this case we would positively avoid even primary readings if they were not in whichever edition of a book is contained in our received text. This idea would surely require further refinement of the notion of an autograph. And even this approach still allows for the possibility that the received MT is corrupted at points against its proto-masoretic parent without the original reading being preserved.

    Finally, and most simply, we could just accept that not every single originally inspired word of the OT has been preserved in some extant witness. We could still believe in Divine preservation of the text to the degree that it has been preserved, and accept that God has given to us, His children, precisely the revelation He wants us to have. This option allows us to revere the Bible with the same reverence we witness in the approach of its authors to their own Bibles, as well as to continue with the important work of TC to the degree that God allows in His providential preservation of the evidence He wants us to use.

  22. Eric, MT in 1 Sam 10-11 is much more defensible that you suggest. Ted Herbert left Eugene Ulrich with nothing to reply when he presented the following paper at IOSOT in Cambridge in 1995 (you should have been there). The paper is:

    E.D. Herbert, '4QSama and its relationship to the LXX: An exploration in stemmatological analysis', in Bernard Taylor, ed., IX congress of IOSCS, Scholars Press, 1997, pp. 37-55.

    Basically Ted argues that for anyone to support the reading with the addition that blundered its way into the NRSV they have to suppose that 3 independent omissions occurred in both the MT and LXX traditions.

    I've just been on the phone to Ted about this variant and he tells me that Philip Alexander in an oral communication thought that the Nahash plus was a classic case of midrash.

    On the subject of 1 Sam 13:1 I would maintain (again) that there is no reason to think that we lack anything that we were meant to have.

  23. I'll have to check out Ted's article. But I'm pretty skeptical. This example might be a great topic for a future post on this blog where we could rehash some of the details. Maybe you could even get Ted to synthesize his argument down to something short enough for a blog post, thus getting another OT expert into the EvTC blog and nailing another BOEvTC post in the process.

  24. Also, Pete, my understanding of what you had said about 1 Sam 13:1 was that it should not be ammended because there are no known variants that can claim likelihood of originality. This is different than claiming that you believe the MT is not corrupt here. But for the purpose of this discussion, that is what you would have to say in order to affirm that preservation of every word does exist as a reality in the extant witnesses. Are you really saying that you believe the MT of 1 Sam 13:1 is not corrupt?

  25. Wallace: "the words of the original text are evident—in either the text or the variants of, say, the Nestle-Aland27".

    Bill: 'I wonder if others would agree with that?'

    Not me, for one. Spelling differences aside, had the NA27 text plus apparatus in fact included all the existing differences between the various texttypes, or even all those that were significant in view of being translatable, such might be the case.

    However, the limited selection of variants within the NA27 apparatus -- particularly in relation to various readings that appear within the Byzantine Textform -- leave me out of concurrence with such a statement. Such might not be the case were the text-plus-apparatus of Tischendorf or von Soden cited as the base.

    E.g., in Paul's speech to the Ephesian elders (Ac 20:17-36), NA27 differs from Byz 21 times. Of these, the Byz variant is not cited in the NA27 apparatus 11 of these times -- even though some of these variants are translatable.

  26. Eric, I chose my words carefully when I said of 1 Sam. 13:1 that we have all that we were meant to have. What I meant is that, as a Calvinist, I take it that the preservation of what we have is not accidental. This is not quite the same as saying that MT preserves the earliest form of the text or saying that nothing has dropped out. However, if something has dropped out that's God's business not mine. I believe that the MT of 1 Sam. 13:1 represents the earliest recoverable form of the text and the basis from which translations should be made. I thus believe in the total preservation of everything God intended to preserve.

  27. I applaud the bringing in of OTTC to the discussion of preservation. After all, the verses that mention preservation are all referring to OT rather than NT scriptures. But it is true that at present we can't get nearly as close to the autographs either in time or text with the OT as with the New. This is not to say that hundreds years from now a cave will be discovered in Judea containing the entire OT canon in multiple copies; perhaps these are even being preserved for those who "flee to the mountains" as Jesus prophesied in Matt 24:16. Meanwhile, we need to be careful that any doctrine of preservation applies equally to both Testaments.

    Here's an intersting thought: According to multiple eyewitness testimony, the Ark still exists atop Mt. Ararat, where it sits even during the warmest of summers encased in a permanent sheet of ice. Yet unlike ancient Swiss hunters and WWII pilots, it has never made its way down the mountain in a glacier. Why is it still there, and why is it so hard for anyone to find it, or to reach it if they do find it, or to ever get back to it again if they do reach it? If something as ancient as the Ark has resisted discovery & exploration for this long, who is to say that all 10th century BC or 1st century AD mss are forever lost? Perhaps God is saving them all for some dramatic release at the end of the age.

  28. OTOH just maybe it ain't really up there.

  29. PJW:
    "the MT of 1 Sam. 13:1 represents the earliest recoverable form of the text and the basis from which translations should be made."

    It's a funny thing about translations: they don't always follow the base text; witness Genesis 37:3 and Ps. 12:7 above. Others that come to mind are Acts 19:20, Romans 3:28, Galatians 4:14, Hebrews 10:38, and Revelation 5:9 (giving approximately equal treatment to the TR- and WH- based tranlations). Theological and other considerations (such as a firm belief for or against the physical preservation of the text) will actually cause a translator to deliberately twist the translation--often (usually) without any attribution. Such is the case in all translations I have seen of 1 Samuel 13:1. The only consistent way to translate the text (disregarding all presuppositions about its inerrancy, preservation, or textual purity) is:

    Saul was a year old when he became king, and he reigned two years over Israel.

    The Rabbins didn't have the luxury of twisting the text itself, since they published in Hebrew, but they didn't have any problem coming up with many of the same creative ways of re-interpreting that text as those of us who publish in English.

  30. PJW:
    "OTOH just maybe it ain't really up there."

    True. After all, the Bible nowhere says that God will preserve the Ark.
    But if He has, what does that say to the possibility of Him having preserved the autographs or at least the archetypes?

    Tradition enters in here. Jews, Armenians, Kurds, and Arabs all have ark traditions. Among these are that Noah disinterred Adam & bore his remains on the ark, and that the ark is being kept off limits until the Day of Judgment.

    So perhaps Adam's autograph of Genesis 1:1-5 is secreted behind a tarred bulkhead somewhere, awaiting the next apocalypse?

    And why did God tell Noah to tarr the INSIDE of the ark, if not to preserve it to that day?

  31. Ok, the ark stuff is getting kind of wierd. But, PJ, as for 1 Sam 13:1, I can entirely agree with how it exemplifies your view of preservation. I think my earlier comment was expressing something pretty similar. I was just observing that this view of preservation (we have what God wants us to have) is different than the idea that every original reading is preserved in extant witnesses, which was the idea being claimed for the NT (to be precise I don't think anyone here claimed it, but somebody indirectly put it forth as Wallace's view). I was simply making the observation that we can't make such a strong assertion of de facto preservation for the OT, and I think you seem to be in agreement with me on that.

  32. Eric, Ted's on sabbatical in a week's time, but he should be working on his very exciting stemma of witnesses to the Pentateuch and I'd prefer not to distract him with that.

    The arguments for the longer reading in 1 Sam. 11 that I found on seemed onconvincing to me. Ted's argument is basically that 4QSam-a and the LXX are on a different branch of the stemma from MT and that because of particular data he gives showing that mixing is implausible one would have to suppose that the omission occurred on each branch independently. It was certainly convincing when I heard it over a decade ago, but I'll have to look at it again. Ted has of course produced the definitive edition of 4QSam-a.

    We may well agree relatively closely on 1 Sam. 13:1. I would support a literal rendering and would refuse to adopt the position that something has definitely dropped out. Translators should render the text as literally as possible. This allows the readers themselves to decide whether something is missing or whether to take the verse in connection with the fact that Saul became someone else in 1 Sam. 10:6 (note that chs 10 and 13 have common chronological interests via 10:8 and 13:8).

    Canon I take to be the 'measure' that the church uses, but not to be coextensive with all that has ever been inspired. I would argue that at present the MT of 1 Sam. 13:1 should be the church's measure or canon. This does not preclude the possibility that future discovery would give the church grounds to reassess its measure. However, this is what God has given the church now—all that we were meant to have (and I don't really expect anything more).

  33. In the book of Revelations it is written that if anyone adds to or takes away from its words that their name will be taken from the Book of Life. Personally, I would not change any Scripture. Modern translators do not seem to have a fear of God or a reverance for the Word of God. Their modern translations are inclusive, meaning that they have been made to be politically correct, and are made to fit their own beliefs. Often even avowed homosexuals, etc. are included on the board of translators.
    I was a a church service where a modern translation was used and was projected onto a large screen. I could not believe what a I read. It was from "The Message Bible" I went something like this. ...on this understanding I will build my church and the attacks of hell will not succeed againt it... What a perversion!! the actual Word says.. I will build my church ; and the gates off hell shall not prevail agianst it. In this modern translation the scenario was totally reversed. The church was being attacked instead of the gates of hell. If youvalue your everlasting soul of the everlasting souls of your loved ones then please use the King James version. And do what Peter said to do in Acts 2: 38. "Repent and be baptised every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." I would imagine that many of the modern translations have of will change that verse, too. God Bless... Brad Heilman, Toledo OH

  34. Hi Friends,

    Often facts are fudged or shaded to try to show a KJB reliance on Latin or Greek over the Hebrew in the OT. Genesis 37:3, the coat of many colors, supplies us with an excellent example.

    First, responsible Jewish translations from the Masoretic Text often have colors. Including Soncino.

    Overall, the claim that Genesis 37:3 is pieces rather than colors is theory only. b-hebrew visited this in 2005 with very inconclusive results.

    And Jerome translated his Penteteuch directly from the Hebrew so his translation gives us an excellent window into the early understanding, which is consistent in five Tanach verses (below). The idea that Jerome was translating the Penteteuch from Greek (or Italic) is simply false. A simple way to check is to look at the major Hebrew-Greek Penteteuch variances, such as chronology numbers. You will see Jerome aligning with the Hebrew. Also simply study the history of the Hebrew-->Latin translation. In fact Jerome took flak from Augustine and others for his excellent decision to junk the Greek OT and work with Hebrew with Jewish teachers and the library at Caesarea, while living in Bethlehem, for this translation.

    Also the KJB definitely did NOT italicize the word colors (the 1611 is online) it did place a margin note "or, pieces" showing that they were very aware of the Hebraics (Kimchi, Rashi, Mikra'ot Gedelot) being divided on the translation. And the KJB used colors in five distinct places as the only translation of pasym. Oh, also colors is a far better contextual fit.

    Genesis 37:3
    Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours.

    Genesis 37:23
    ..they stript Joseph out of his coat, his coat of many colours

    Genesis 37:32
    And they sent the coat of many colours, and they brought it to their father; and said, This have we found: know now whether it be thy son's coat or no.

    2Samuel 13:18
    And she had a garment of divers colours upon her: for with such robes were the king's daughters that were virgins apparelled. Then his servant brought her out, and bolted the door after her.

    2Samuel 13:19
    And Tamar put ashes on her head, and rent her garment of divers colours that was on her, and laid her hand on her head, and went on crying.

    Thanks. Be careful when folks claim that a KJB Tanach reading is from the Latin or Greek.