"AS I SEE IT" 

Volume 12, Number 1, January 2009

 

“I too will have my say; I too will tell what I know.

For I am full of words, and the spirit within me compels me;

Inside I am like bottled-up wine, like new wineskins ready to burst.

I must speak and find relief; I must open my lips and reply.

I will show partiality to no one.  Nor will I flatter any man.”

                                                                 Job 32:17-21

 

“That which ordinary men are fit for I am qualified in, and the best of me is diligence.”

Earl of Kent

Shakespeare’s King Lear

Act I, scene iv, ll. 32-34

 

[“As I See It” is a monthly electronic magazine compiled and edited by Doug Kutilek.  Its purpose is to address important issues of the day and to draw attention to worthwhile Christian and other literature in order to aid believers in Jesus Christ, especially pastors, missionaries and Bible college and seminary students to more effectively study and teach the Word of God.  The editor’s perspective is that of an independent Baptist of fundamentalist theological persuasion.

 

AISI is sent free to all who request it by writing to the editor at: DKUTILEK@juno.com.  You can be removed from the mailing list at the same address.  Back issues sent on request.  All back issues may be accessed at http://www.KJVOnly.org]

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Remarkable Alternative Energy Source Discovery!

 

While reflecting deeply recently on the coldness of the weather outside, the stinging sharpness of the winter winds, and the constant chorus of media voices singing the praises of alternative energy sources, I had a near-epiphanic experience in which I saw with almost perfect clarity the solution to this continuing “crisis,” especially as it applied to my own circumstances.

 

In mere moments, I discovered--or rediscovered, as it were--a remarkable solution that is simple, practical, non-taxable, renewable, individual (having no dependence on energy-producing corporations or hampered by government regulations) and all but infinitely expandable.  And while the technology is both old and quite simple, it is in these very features that it has its most obvious appeal.

 

Though having no training as an engineer or chemist, I quickly devised a means for producing an intense and self-sustaining exothermic reaction in an enclosed metal vessel, through the rapid but controlled oxidation of various naturally-occurring, abundant and fully renewable hydrocarbons, thereby producing heat in sufficient quantities to quickly make our middle class American home comfortable in the midst of winter’s chill.  And the beauty of the whole thing is that this process of energy extraction is not owned or controlled by any government foreign or domestic, or any corporation, is not patent-able, but is free to all, and at potentially no cash expenditure whatsoever! 

 

But wait, there’s more!

 

The waste by-products (if we dare speak of these uniformly valuable by-products as “waste”) of this most remarkable of cutting edge energy-extraction processes are three--1. water vapor, which is returned in gaseous form into the earth’s massive hydrologic cycle; 2. a moderate quantity of a solid mineral residue that is rich in trace elements, and is suitable as a stimulant to plant growth when applied to the soil, but which can be effectively employed in some circumstances for its insecticidal properties (non-toxic to man or pets, and not harmful to the environment), and can even be utilized in the manufacture of certain kinds of personal hygiene products; and 3. carbon dioxide--the very stuff we exhale as we respire, and which constitutes an absolutely essential component for all plant growth on earth, whether grass in lawns, flowers in beds, vegetables in gardens, trees in forests, crops on farms or seaweed in the oceans; all are utterly dependent on a ready and abundant supply of carbon dioxide--as much dependent, indeed, even more dependent as they are on the presence of nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, sulfur, calcium and dozens of other elements--to survive and grow.  Without this carbon dioxide, life on earth as we know it would necessarily cease.  And my heat-generating process produces a good quantity of this essential raw material of all plant growth, and ultimately, of our own existence!  What a happy circumstance and consequence!

 

Add to all this the highly touted benefits of a closely- but necessarily-connected companion in-home exercise program--requiring no membership costs or fees, and no special outfit, shoes or equipment (okay, maybe a little bit of special equipment)--that may take inches from your waste and add days and years to your life span, as the promotional infomercials would say.

 

“Surely,” you exclaim, “you are making all this up.  Nothing could achieve all of these direct and indirect benefits, with no detrimental consequences.  This is simply too good to be true.”  But I solemnly affirm that every word is true. 

 

In short, in my near epiphanic experience, I decided to kindle a wood fire in our Buck stove.

 

The wood, mixed hardwoods, with just a touch of conifer, had been previously cut to length by my own two hands (employing suitable hand saws--rarely a powered one), split to the proper diameter (as needed) by those same two hands and arms, neatly stacked, naturally air-dried to perfection with no additional effort, toted to the wood rack on the back patio in a wheelbarrow, carried into the house a boxful at a time, and fed into the firebox as needed to continue the rapid exothermic oxidation of complex hydrocarbons (“stoking the fire” is, I believe, the technical term).  The wood, the thinnings and prunings from my own modest stand of trees, supplemented with waste wood gleaned from a variety of sources through the year (totaling annually in all about seven “ricks” of wood, each occupying, by standard definition, 51.2 cubic feet), cost me nothing but time and energy, and enabled me to productively consume excess nutritional calories and engage in that much-commended “aerobic” exercise, performed amidst fresh air and sunshine (rather than in some dank and malodorous exercise facility).  To say nothing of the side-benefit of time alone for thought and reflection.

 

The water vapor and carbon dioxide--heated far beyond the ambient external air temperature--naturally rise up and out through the flue, leaving behind a growing quantity of wood ashes, an excellent soil fertilizer, reportedly also an effective deterrent of peach-borers and ants, and in a pinch useable as a source (via leaching) for caustic lye, a necessary component in the manufacture of lye soap.

 

Through natural regeneration of existing trees, supplemented by my own planting of hundreds of additional trees, this wisely- and properly-maintained “wood yard,” in the capable hands of a well-informed and far-seeing woodsman--that would be me, thank you--can and will yield a never-ending supply of complex hydrocarbons--firewood--to exercise the body, warm the house, and with its by-products, promote healthy plant growth.. 

 

So, to resolve my own energy “crisis”--just a bit of a chill in my study--, I initiated the controlled oxidation of natively-grown and harvested hydrocarbons, and was soon basking in the warmth, with a smile of serene satisfaction on my face that I can stay cozy warm endlessly, without monetary expenditure or dependence on reportedly scarce outside energy sources under the control of others.  I have built me a fire.

---Doug Kutilek

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The Troubled Sleep of the Sermon Thief

 

Never appropriate without acknowledgement the complete outline of a discourse.  Many persons in our country appear to think this perfectly lawful.  Ludicrous stories are often told of sermons pursuing the same train of thought with one shortly before preached at the same place; and sometimes the real author incurs the blame.  But one rebukes himself for being amused at such stories, for they have a grave side, which is humiliating.  Does the evil of stealing depend on whether one is caught at it, as the Spartans taught boys?  Shall a Christian minister, in the very performance of his solemn duties, deliberately do what he would be ashamed to confess?  Let anyone try the experiment, if he likes, of acknowledging that the plan of his sermon is derived from so and so, and see to what an extent, save in very peculiar cases, it will diminish the interest.  The people do not merely come to hear a discourse, --they come to hear a living man, communicating to them his earnest thought and feeling; and if the principal ideas of the sermon are from another preacher, they regard themselves as only hearing an absent or dead man.  If, then, it would be bad policy to proclaim the borrowing, how can it be honesty to conceal it?  The power of custom, including the known practice of some good men, the seductions of sloth, and the overwork to which ministers are often subjected, have wrought in many minds a confusion of ideas on this subject, which can alone account for the frequent cases of unacknowledged appropriation.”

 

“The books of ‘Sketches and Skeletons,’ which are so often published and so widely bought are, unless honestly and wisely used, an unmitigated evil, and a disgrace to the ministry of the gospel.  And it is a fair question whether such books can be honestly and wisely used.  For they are likely to prove a snare even to those who wish to be honest, and are sure to be a temptation to all who use them to depend too much on the suggestions of others rather than on their own thinking.  If it be said that they may be profitably studied as specimens of sermonizing, there is the obvious answer that it would be much more profitable to analyze for ourselves the full sermons of really great men.  There is no excuse for such books, and no minister should suffer one of them to remain in his library.

But they are deplorably common in this country, and still more so in Germany.”

 

“Nor is the practice of recent origin.  As early as 1517, there appeared in Paris a Latin volume of this character, entitled, ‘The Preacher’s Gem,’ and styling itself ‘a most excellent and divine work.’  And at Amsterdam, in 1642, appeared, Dormi Secure: vel Cynosura Professorum ac Studiosorum Eloquentiae, etc. (Sleep Without Anxiety: or, The Cynosure of Professors and Students of Eloquence, etc.).  The idea appears to be that one who possesses this book need not have his sleep disturbed by anxiety about next Sunday’s sermon.  Coquerel, who mentions these two works, remarks that it may be doubted whether persons        would awake from this sleep to be eloquent; and we may add that one who has determined to borrow a plan from such a book should be too much ashamed of himself to sleep at all.”

John A. Broadus

A Treatise on the Preparation and Delivery of Sermons, pp.140-142

23rd edition, edited by Edwin Charles Dargan, 1899

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Spanish Bible Versions: a Great Heritage, part III

“The First Catholic Versions”

Copyrighted by author, 2009

 

[Note: this study is appearing in multiple parts.  A complete bibliography of sources will appear with the final installment]

 

Catholic authorities in Spain, as in other countries of Western Europe in the 16th and following centuries, were faced with a torrent of vernacular Bible versions.  Almost immediately, the Catholic hierarchy there, as elsewhere, prohibited the manufacture and distribution of common speech Spanish Scriptures, and vigorously seized and destroyed such copies (invariably foreign imports) as it could locate, punishing, even with death, those who dared to affront the authority of the Church by trusting the Bible into the hands of the common man, in his own language!  (Luther is famously reported to have said that the Papists burned the Bible because it was not on their side; see A. H. Strong, Systematic Theology, 1907 edition, p. 308)

 

In England, the Catholic Church ultimately was compelled to produce its own version of the New Testament (Rheims, 1582) as well as the Old (Douay, 1610).  But this was not done out of zeal for placing the Bible within reach of the masses.  In fact, the Catholic Church in England lagged far behind the Protestants in producing vernacular English versions: the first Protestant NT in English (1526) preceded the first Catholic one by 56 years; the first Protestant OT version in English (1535) came 75 years before any Catholic-produced OT translation appeared in English.  Rather, the Catholic versions in English were produced out of “self-defense”--the people, even good Catholics, were being widely exposed to English Bibles, and as far as the Catholic Church was concerned, better that they read Catholic versions (rather than Protestant ones), where the translation could be controlled and, to use a modern term, “spun.”

 

In Germany, the Catholic response to Protestant German versions (Luther’s NT-1522; whole German Bible, 1534) came much more quickly.  In 1527, Hierome Esmer issued a slighted revised edition of Luther’s NT, but with strongly polemical pro-Catholic notes.  And in 1534, the same year that Luther’s whole German Bible first appeared, Johann Dietenberger, a Dominican, issued a complete Catholic Bible (cobbled together with little alteration, from preceding works).  And by 1537, John Eck, Luther’s nemesis, had published a revised edition of a 15th century German version made from the Vulgate.

 

But in Spain, the situation was far different.  With nearly absolute suppression of any in-country would-be Bible translators and publishers, and vigorous anti-smuggling measures, there were no Protestant versions to spark the interest or whet the appetite of the people to read the Bible in Spanish for themselves, and so there was no need to provide Catholic versions as alternatives to the Enzinas, de Pineda or Reina-Valera Spanish versions.  And consequently, the first Catholic Bible version in Spanish appeared after a substantially longer delay than in Germany or in England.  The Spanish Inquisition’s prohibition of reading the Bible in a vernacular version was finally lifted in 1782, but the ban continued to be enforced irregularly nevertheless.  Roman Catholic versions (based on the Vulgate exclusively, at the beginning) began to appear thereafter.  Only as late as 1793--almost 2 centuries after the Reina-Valera was published in 1602, and precisely 250 years after the first Spanish NT was printed (Enzinas’ version, 1543), was a Catholic Spanish Bible translation issued, and it was obviously not designed to reach the masses.  

 

Father Felipe Scio de San Miguel is credited as the translator of the edition completed in 1793.  This Spanish version, the first ever published in Spain, was made from the Vulgate Latin version (characteristic of Catholic Bible translations generally until the last 100 years or so) rather than the Greek and Hebrew originals, and was accompanied in a parallel column by the Latin text itself.  The translation occupied 10 volumes quarto, and so must have been quite expensive, far beyond the means of any but the wealthiest of Spaniards, and was no doubt more of a show piece for the bookshelf than a set intended for actual reading.  Two revised editions in 19 volumes were published 1794-1797 (one with and one without the parallel Vulgate text), and a third in 15 volumes in 1807-1816.

 

An edition of the Spanish Gospels translated by Anselmo Petite and heavily annotated with patristic comments was published in 1804.  A separate edition of the Epistles by Francisco Ximenes is reported for the same year.

 

Although the Reina-Valera NT had been reprinted four times between 1806 and 1817 (by the British and Foreign Bible Society), in 1819, Protestants began publishing, almost exclusively for a time, Scio’s Spanish translation of the Vulgate, supposing, I must suppose, that a Catholic version was more likely to be accepted by Catholic individuals than a Protestant version, and better that they have some less-than-ideal version of the Bible than none at all.  The American Bible Society published Scio’s Spanish NT in 1819, and very often thereafter (an 11th edition came out in 1835).  In 1820, two different English Bible publishers (one being the British and Foreign Bible Society, whose edition was printed in Barcelona, Spain) printed 15,000 total copies of this version for distribution in the Spanish-speaking world.  Reprints and editions, including whole Bibles (often without the Apocrypha), were common thereafter in the 19th century, issued by a variety of publishers.  And so it ironically turned out that by far the greatest portion of the distribution of the first Spanish Catholic Bible translation was carried out by missions-minded Protestants. 

 

A second Catholic Spanish Bible translation was undertaken by Felix Torres Amat, whose version appeared in 1823-1825 in 10 volumes, again too large and expensive for popular distribution.  He based his version on the Vulgate, but reportedly in consultation with the Hebrew and Greek.  A separate NT edition was issued in 1825.  The NT portion especially was reprinted several times in subsequent decades, chiefly by the Bible societies.

 

The first Bible printed in Mexico appeared in 1833 in 25 volumes.  It was based on an 18th century French Bible and was accompanied by Calmet’s famous commentary.

 

The extensive reprinting of the Scio and Amat versions dominated Spanish Bible publishing until in the mid-19th century, revisions of the Reina-Valera version of 1602 began to be made, and to supercede the use of Catholic versions by the Bible societies (though an edition of Scio’s NT as late as 1901 is reported).  A remarkably large Catholic-sanctioned edition of some 140,000 copies of Scio’s NT, intended for distribution in South America, appeared in 1874 and was reprinted around 1896.

 

One Bible society, the American Bible Union, founded in 1850 and largely dominated by Baptists, was apparently unhappy with the ad hoc employment of Roman Catholic versions by the other Bible societies, so they sponsored their own revised translation, reported to have been the work of Don Juan de Cauldron, a former Franciscan priest, and others (he died in 1854, the work having reached the beginning of Luke); he had earlier revised Amat’s version for the S.P.C.K. (1854).  Begun in 1851, the ABU Spanish NT appeared: Gospels, 1855; complete NT, 1858; new edition 1870; reprinted at Barcelona in 10,000 copies, 1871.

---Doug Kutilek

[Next: Revisions of the Reina-Valera, and Twentieth Century Versions]

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Book Review

 

The Influence of Gesenius on Hebrew Lexicography by Edward Frederick Miller.  New York: AMS Press Inc., 1966 reprint of 1927 Columbia University Press edition.  105 pp., hardback.

 

“Gesenius” (pronounced with a hard “G” and accented on the second syllable) is to Hebrew lexicography what “Webster” is to American English dictionaries.  Heinrich Friedrich Wilhelm Gesenius (1786-1842), a German Hebraist and highly popular professor at Halle, was not the first (nor the last) to produce a lexicon of Biblical Hebrew, but he was certainly the first to do so on a sound linguistic basis.  (“Lexicon” is a synonym of “dictionary” but is commonly restricted in usage to dictionaries of the ancient learned languages of Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic/ Syriac and Latin, and which usually cite specific passages from the literature in question as illustrations of the various usages of the words of that language).

 

There are several bases on which the meaning of Hebrew words are determined in the preparation of lexicons of the OT.  First, naturally, there is the context in which the word is used.  This is adequate for words that occur frequently and in a variety of contexts, but is of small help in the case of rare words or those used in ambiguous passages, with which, unfortunately, the Hebrew OT abounds.

 

Second, there is the understanding and translation of the Hebrew as found in the several ancient translations of the OT--into Greek, Latin, Aramaic, and Syriac.  The Greek version was made by Jews while Hebrew was still a living language (3rd-2nd centuries B. C.); the Latin was made by the best Christian Hebrew scholar of the age, Jerome, in consultation with learned Rabbis (late 4th century A.D.); the Aramaic Targums were made by Jewish scholars, depending on both tradition understanding of the Hebrew text and traditional rabbinic “spin” on its theological interpretation.  The Syriac version was made by men who knew Hebrew to some extent, but also with notable dependence on the Greek version and in some cases the Jewish Targums.  Naturally, all of these commend themselves to the lexicographer’s attention.

 

But we must also recognize that all these versions were made centuries, even as much as a millennium, after the various OT books were written, and some OT Hebrew words no doubt changed meaning, or simply dropped out of usage in the time between inspiration and translation and were no longer understood at all (for a parallel case, consider that there is probably not one in a thousand of even seminary-trained preachers who can give an accurate explanation of the meaning of all the English words in the KJV, and the language of that version is just 4 centuries old).  In cases where the words were no longer intelligible, nevertheless, the translators usually attempted to make some sense out of the text, even if it was only a guess; too often it was not even a well-informed guess.

 

And even when several of these ancient versions agree on the meaning of a word or phrase, it may be simply a case of those who came later (the Latin and Syriac, especially) accepting the best (but wrong) guess of the Greek translators before them (actual examples of this are numerous).  So, the lexicographer must proceed with caution.

 

Third, there is post-biblical Hebrew, a very extensive literature, with a vocabulary, syntax, and grammatical forms some times quite similar to the OT, and sometimes remarkably different.  In this literature we frequently find the traditional Jewish explanation of rare or unusual terms and words, as recorded in ancient commentaries and homilies on the OT text, as well as in the Babylonian and Palestinian Talmuds, and especially in the medieval rabbinic grammarians and commentators (such men as Rashi, Kimchi, Ibn Ezra and others).  While these occasionally are very helpful, the explanations given are often fanciful, more clever than convincing.

 

Then, fourth, there is the etymology and derivation of the word in question.  Of course, the first problem with this line of evidence is that the etymology / derivation of a word, in Hebrew as in every other language, is never determinative of meaning; only usage (“usus loquendi”) is.  Sometimes, the derivation of a word and its meaning may precisely coincide; sometimes the derivation may help explain the current usage of a word; sometimes it is a completely false friend, misleading the lexicographer, especially when the presumed etymology is simply incorrect.  And in regard to OT Hebrew, etymologizing has long been and still is a plague to the lexicographers--there are numerous obscure and rare words whose precise etymology has never been established with any certainty, one scholar expressing one view, another another, and a third still another, each with a perfectly plausible (but false) explanation.  (A fuller knowledge of previously known languages related to Hebrew--Phoenician, Aramaic, Arabic and Ethiopic--, the discovery in the 19th and 20th centuries of several previously unknown related Semitic languages--Akkadian, Ugaritic, Eblaite--, and the decipherment of numerous languages that contributed loanwords to OT vocabulary--Sumerian, Hurrian, Hittite, and Egyptian among them--, has frequently placed OT Hebrew word etymologies on a much more certain basis).

 

Finally, fifth, we have ancient texts in Hebrew (and the closely related Moabite) from the Biblical period which, though very limited in extent (the longest individual

text is a bit longer than Obadiah), are nevertheless linguistically important for vocabulary, accidence and syntax, besides the study of the evolution of the Hebrew script.

 

The various forms of Gesenius’ lexicon during and after his lifetime document the shifting infatuations with the favored “source de jour” for light on the Hebrew.  Early on, Arabic, with its extensive texts and large vocabulary was the “guiding light” (though it is of all the Semitic languages nearly the most remote in time and place from the language of the OT).  Then, with the decipherment of Akkadian/ Assyrian/ Babylonian in the mid-19th century, that became the source to end all sources for Hebrew etymologies and meaning (until of course Ugaritic was discovered in 1929).  Today, Old Aramaic and Ugaritic, along with the limited corpus of Phoenician texts are recognized as the closest and most important Semitic languages for casting clear light on the meaning of the Hebrew of the OT.

 

Gesenius and his successors were perpetually faced with decisions concerning what format their ever-morphing lexicons should take.  Should the entries be organized by root, or presented alphabetically?  Should the Aramaic words of the OT be included with the Hebrew, or placed in a separate section?  Should the etymological and comparative Semitic information be presented for each word?  How extensive should the citations of OT passages be?  How much attention should be given to variant readings and conjectural emendations of the Hebrew text?  The answers given to these questions by the several editors were by no means uniform.

 

Gesenius himself was qualified academically by broad exposure to various Semitic languages--Maltese (a dialect of Arabic), Phoenician and Punic, the Samaritan dialect of Hebrew, Arabic, Aramaic and of course Hebrew.  Theologically, he was a thorough-going rationalist (Hengstenberg sought unsuccessfully to have him removed from his professorship in 1830), and reportedly also anti-Semitic.  He issued his lexicon in several forms, both full and abbreviated, with continuing revisions and improvements in content.  He also produced a Hebrew thesaurus, and a technical Hebrew grammar (both of these latter had a continued life after Gesenius, revised and up-dated by later scholars, and translated into other languages).  The best known English form of Gesenius’ lexicon of the Hebrew OT is the revision of Edward Robinson’s translation of Gesenius, undertaken by Francis Brown, S. R. Driver, and C. A.  Briggs (known widely simply as “BDB”).  Twenty years in production, its publication was completed in 1907, and except for minor corrections, has been unrevised for over a century, meaning that it is now hopelessly out-of-date (as indeed it already was in the 1970s, when I acquired my copy), lacking a full century’s worth of intensive study of the Semitic languages individually and collectively (including a couple languages wholly unknown in 1907, besides multiplied thousands of newly-discovered or freshly-studied texts in all of the languages), and significant advances in the knowledge of the Hebrew of the OT.  Further, BDB is nightmarishly organized by presumed roots of words, rather than alphabetically, a source of immense frustration to beginning and intermediate students of Hebrew (several indices to BDB enable the student to overcome the “according to root” format).  It is further marred by rationalistic higher critical assumptions, especially with regard to the composition of the Pentateuch, and abounds in conjectural emendations of the Masoretic text, most of which have long since been abandoned by scholars as unfounded.  With all it flaws, the classification of usages presented in BDB is often very well done, and it does give an abundance of information.

 

Miller’s book traces the development of Hebrew lexicons from Gesenius into the early 20th century, both in German and in English translation.  It no doubt was his doctoral dissertation, and is an adequate treatment, though it is now of course 80 years out-of-date, but it is instructive in its field.  (Much of the information in this review is my own supplementation and expansion on the content of Miller’s book; I have of necessity ignored more recent OT Hebrew lexicons outside the Gesenius lineage).

---Doug Kutilek

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Broadus’ Commentary Available

 

In response to our review in the previous issue of John Broadus’ commentary on the Gospel of Mark, and our acknowledged ignorance of where it might be obtainable, several readers provided information.  One reader found multiple actual printed copies available for sale (but not cheap!) at

            www.addall.com/SuperRare/submitRare.cgi

More than one located electronic copies, among other places, at      http://books.google.com/books

A downloadable .pdf copy can be found at        http://www.archive.org/details/MN41463ucmf_2 

---Doug Kutilek

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A Balanced Approach to Bible Versions

Answers to Recent Letters

 

Letter #1


”Dear Doug,
 
Your articles on Bible translations are extremely important to ALL Christians.  We need to convey to ALL of our fellow brothers and sisters in Joshua (not Jesus as it is a mere translation into English of a Greek translation of an Aramaic name translated from Hebrew -- or something to that effect!!???  who knows!!???) that translations like the KJV are misleading and NOT the Word of God.  If one jot or tittle has been changed in ANY way, shape or form, then the entire book must be
discounted as false or at best, a very poor paraphrase.  One scripture you failed to mention in your writings however is a very big error in translation by the King James scribes, Romans 8:1.  They added half of the fourth verse in Romans 8 to the first verse.  This not only changed the sentence structure to read as a conditional statement instead of a statement, it actually changed the Holy Word of God.  Satan and his legions have been having a good laugh on God ever since the very first King James book (not Bible) was published.
 
Sincerely,
R-- A-----“

---

Mr. A-----:

 

Since the inspired original Greek text of the NT gives "Iesous" as the proper name of the Savior, and as the Greek equivalent of the presumed Hebrew form "Yeshua," I can find no objection to using this name, or those forms based on it ("Jesus" in English and Spanish, for example)!

 

And while there is much to criticize in the KJV--obscurity in the English, imprecision in translating the Hebrew and Greek, sometimes even inaccuracy and error in translation, besides places where non-original readings are followed (as Romans 8:1), nevertheless, the KJV certainly deserves the name "the Word of God."  Technically speaking, it is a translation of the Word of God, but in popular speech, it is "the Word of God in English," as is the New King James, the NIV, and other English versions.  If we have to wait until we have a perfect translation before we can call it "the Word of God," we will pass into eternity waiting, since there never was nor will be a perfect translation.  But such a perfect translation isn't necessary.  Jesus and the Apostles commonly used the Greek version of the OT called the Septuagint.  On the whole, it is far less precisely accurate than the KJV, but Jesus and the Apostles didn't hesitate to quote it frequently and call it the word of God/ Holy Scriptures/ etc.

 

In its heyday and even to the present time, the KJV was greatly used by God.  My own conversion was through reading Matthew in the KJV.  I doubt that Satan rejoiced over that.  Do we have better translations today in English?  Yes, I am sure that we do.  But that they are better does not thereby make the KJV bad.  (You should read "The Translators to the Reader" found in the original edition of the KJV, which gives some wise counsel of the relative merits of Bible versions in English).

 

Don't over-react to the KJV-only extremists who claim too much for the KJV by going to the opposite extreme and claiming for it too little.

 

Doug Kutilek

---

Letter #2

 

[Reproduced precisely as received]:

 

“I thank you for those articles you have written, I was a bit concerned about the "vaticanus" - because I know the King James uses some recycled catholic stuff, but many of my worries are subdued thanks to you.
 
However, I believe the King James is prefectly easy to read, it's the MISTRANSLATIONS that make it difficult, and the areas (like in isaiah which are IMPOSSIBLE to translate over. Hebrews 11:1 for example has seven syllables (God plays with numbers) in the Greek, how are you going to translate that over to english? you can't! That verse isn't even translated correctly anyhow, "hupostasis" is suppose to refer to Christ and the trial between him and Satan (correlating to satan's false church - the catholic church, hence rev 17). "Hupostasis" in heb 1:3 refers to christ via the word "person" so, King James translators either were tricked by satan, or deliberately edited it as such, I assume the latter.
 
If you CAN'T read the King James, then there are three problems, A - the verse is mistranslated, B - you're not saved or using 1 john 1:9, and C - you're not under a pastor that God has given you who ALSO uses 1 john 1:9.
 
I don't necessarily agree with EVERYTHING on your articles (there may be other points) one of them was wescott and hort, I cannot stand them, mainly because I used to be a strict KJV-Only, although, I did agree that there was the original scriptures (I didn't realize people like peter ruckman think we don't possess any preserved manuscripts, which goes against God's promises).
 
As long as everyone knows you are saved by believing Christ paid for your sins, you're fine - once saved always saved. If not, then, they can trifle with God on their own! Divine "punishment" is the last thing I want [2 peter 3:9]
 
God Bless,”

---

Dear D---- R---:

 

If I may say so, your letter is very garbled and practically incoherent in places.  I think you need to stop, take a deep breath, and begin all over again studying the issue of how the Bible came from God to us.  You seem to have various and contradictory strands of ideas and thoughts floating about in your mind, all jumbled together.  A fresh look, starting from square one would likely do much good in clarifying these matters for you.  I recommend that you get and read closely the following books--

 

--Geisler, Norman L., and Nix, William E., A General Introduction to the Bible (Chicago: Moody Press, 1986.  Revised and expanded edition).  I consider this the FIRST book to get on the subject.

 

 --Bruce, F. F., The English Bible: A History of Translations.  London: Lutterworth Press, 1961.  Third edition, retitled History of the Bible in English, New York: Oxford University Press, 1978.  This is readily accessible and generally reliable.

 

--Carson, D. A., The King James Version Debate.  Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1979.

 

Doug Kutilek

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