by Bob L. Ross
A brother, Rick Norris, sent me a copy of pages 46, 47 out of the book, Enemies of Soul Winning, by Jack Hyles. This chapter is called "False Bibles, An Enemy of Soul Winning," and Hyles attempts to discredit all Bibles except the KJV as being "enemies."
As part of his attempt, Hyles completely perverts I Peter 1:23 which reads:
"Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever."
Ignoring both the context and the English grammar of this text, Hyles jumps to the confusion of identifying the "seed" of I Peter 1:23 as being a reference to the "Word of God." It is NOT. Rather, the "seed" refers to the "incorruptible" God who is the source of the new birth in contrast to the "corruptible seed" which is the "flesh" (3:24). Of course, "seed" often does refer to the Word of God, as in Luke 8:11; but that is not the case in I Peter 1:23. Neither the King James Version in English nor the Textus Receptus in Greek will support the Hyles' distortion.
The Prepositions Examined
The preposition "of" (ek) is indicative of source, not "means" or instrumentality. We are born "of God" as the source (compare John 1:13; I John 4:7; 5:1, 4, 18). The preposition "by" (dia) is indicative of means, or the instrumentality. We are born "by the Word of God," or "through the Gospel" (I Cor. 4:15; "with," James 1:18).
Thus, we are born OF ("ek," out of) God, and it is BY ("dia," by means of), WITH, or THROUGH the Word, the Gospel). In I Peter 1:23, source (God) and means (Word) are both in the text: "born again . . . of incorruptible," that is, God in contrast to the corruptible flesh.
"Some wrongly regard 'the Word of God' as the incorruptible seed. But they were begotten of God, 'of' indicating the source of their new life; but were begotten by (by means of) the Word of God (James 1:18), the truths of the Bible, the Gospel (I Cor. 4:15)." (An American Commentary on the New Testament; First Peter, N. Williams, Vol. VI, page 22 in First Peter section).
Stephen Charnock (Works, Vol. III, page 309) and John Gill (Commentary, Vol. VI, page 815) expound I Peter 1:23 similarly. Here is Charnock's comment:
"The Scripture doth distinguish the efficient and instrumental cause by the prepositions ek, or ex, and dia. When we are said to be 'born of the Spirit,' it is John 3:5, ek pneumatos; I John 3:9, v. 1, ek theu; never dia pneumatos, or dia theu; but we are nowhere said to be born of the word, or begotten of the word, but dia loguou, by or with the word, I Peter 1:23; and dia uangelion, I Cor. 4:15, I have begotten you 'through the gospel.' The preposition ek or ex, usually notes the efficient or material cause; dia, the instrumental or means by which a thing is wrought." (Works, Vol. III, page 309, A Discourse of the Word, the Instrument of Regeneration).
Notice the following passages in which this distinction is seen:
". . . that which is born OF the Spirit" - John 3:6.
". . . Which were born . . . OF God" - John 1:12.
". . . is born OF him" - I John 2:29.
". . . is born OF God" - I John 3:9.
". . . is born OF God" - I John 4:7.
". . . is born OF God" - I John 4:7.
". . . is born OF God" - I John 5:1.
". . . is begotten OF Him"- I John 5:1
" . . . is born OF God" - I John 5:4.
". . . whosoever is born OF God" - I John 4:18.
". . . but he that is begotten OF God" - I John 4:18.
". . . renewing OF the Holy Ghost" - Titus 3:5.
Notice, it is not referring to being born "by" God, but "of" God. Being born "of" God means that He is the efficient cause or author of the birth; to be born "by" the Word or Gospel means that it is through these means of revelation that God performs the work of bringing men to Himself.
Notice the Scriptures which refer to this latter sense:
". . . born again . . . BY the word of God" - I Peter 1:23.
". . . begat he us WITH the word of truth" - James 1:18.
". . . begotten you THROUGH the gospel" - I Cor. 4:15.
". . . He called you BY our gospel" - II Thess. 2:13.
". . . ye are clean THROUGH the word" - John 15:3.
" . . Sanctify them THROUGH thy truth: thy word is truth" -Jn. 17:17
"Corruptible flesh" is the source of the flesh; "Incorruptible Spirit" is the source of the spiritual man; the means of his birth is the Word of God. Hyles completely misses the passage due to his "hobby" of "King James Exclusivism." He wants the "incorruptible" to refer to the KJV and the "corruptible" to refer to other translations. But this could not be the case, for Peter wrote of the "corruptible" which was BEFORE the existence of other English translations, and he wrote of the "incorruptible" which was BEFORE the existence of the King James translation of 1611.
Peter is not writing about "translations" of the Bible, but about being born of God, by the Word of God. Before the translations even existed, men were born of God by the Word of God. Did Hyles never read in the Bible that the apostles "preached" the Word and men were "born of God"?
Hyles falsely thinks that men cannot be born again apart from the King James translation, as he contends that it is exclusively the "incorruptible seed." His error is simple: he fails to take into account that the Word of God existed in other translations and in the Greek manuscripts before the KJV of 1611. Therefore, the KJV is not the exclusive bearer of the Word of God. It is merely one translation in one particular language (English).
The "seed" of I Peter 1:23 refers to God, not to the Word of God.