From the Original Texts to the English Bible
A concise Outline of
Scriptural Reasoning for Believing the King James Bible
Timothy S. Morton
|The following outline lists a
reasonable thought process for believing the King James Bible of 1611
is the preserved word of God in the English language. It is our
contention one does not need to read the "scholars" or even be
acquainted with manuscript evidence to know God has preserved and
provided him a Bible. The Scriptures themselves, a believing heart, the
indwelling Holy Spirit, and possibly a brief knowledge of history is
all he needs to well equipped to have confidence in and defend his
This outline begins by establishing a Scriptural basis for reasoning
and ends by stating sensible and reasonable conclusions considering the
hindsight of history.
[This outline is available, here, as a standalone ebook,
including text pop-ups.
God gave His very words to man in the form of “
Scripture” by direct “ inspiration.”
2Tim. 3:16 states clearly that God gave
His word in the form of written Scripture to mankind by inspiration. 2Pet. 1:20-21 says the Holy Ghost “
moved” “ holy men of God” to speak many of
the words that became Scripture. The first purpose for the inspiration
of the Scriptures was they be “ profitable for
doctrine” (2Tim. 3:17) so believers could discern
truth from error.
promised to preserve this word in pure, written form for all
following verses attest to the nature and extent of God’ s
preservation of His word: 2Kings 10:10; Psa. 12:6-7, Psa. 19:7, Psa. 33:11, Psa. 100:5, Psa. 119:89, Psa. 119:140, Psa. 119:152, Psa. 119:160; Pro. 30:5, Isa. 40:8, Isa. 55:11; Matt. 5:18, Matt. 24:35; Luke 16:17; John 10:35; 1Pet. 1:23, 1Pet. 1:25.
s actual “ words” are preserved, not just basic thoughts or
above references and others also attest that God preserved the specific
“ words” He gave man,
not mere generalities, concepts, or ideas (Deut. 8:3; Matt. 4:4).
Bible declares the preservation of Scripture is not exclusive to the
term “ Scripture(s)” in the Bible is
not a term exclusive to the original autographs. In fact, it is
always in reference to copies of texts available to the people: Dan. 10:21; Matt. 21:42, Matt. 22:29; Luke 4:21, Luke 24:32, Luke 24:45; John 5:39, John 20:9; Acts 8:32, Acts 8:35, Acts 17:2, Acts 17:11; Rom. 15:4, 1Cor. 15:3, Gal. 4:30, 2Tim. 3:15-16; 1Pet. 2:6; 2Pet. 3:16.
Bible indicates the preservation of Scripture is not exclusive to the
where does the Bible state that only the original languages can
accurately convey God’ s words in their purity. There is no
indication that His words loose any of their authority or power when
accurately translated into another language. The word of God is “
quick and powerful” and not limited to the original
languages. In fact, the Bible honors translation of God’ s words
and makes no distinction between them and the original words (Gen. 42:23; Ex. 5:2; Acts 22:2, etc.)
preserves His word through His true believers.
s pure word can be found among His true believers. The Jews were
committed the oracles God gave to them (Hebrew OT, Rom. 3:2) and preserved them throughout
the millennia. New Testament believers are the means God uses to
preserve the New Testament Scriptures. They are the “
priesthood” which cherished, copied, and circulated
the pure Scriptures (Col. 4:16).
Scriptures declare there are forces at work that attempt to corrupt and
pervert God’ s word.
Bible warns that there would be those who would “
corrupt the word of God” (2Cor. 2:17) and handle it “
deceitfully” (2Cor. 4:2). There would arise false
gospels with false epistles (2Thes. 2:2), along with false prophets
and teachers who would not only bring in “ damnable
heresies” but would seek to “ make
merchandise” of the true believer through their own “
feigned words” (2Pet. 2:1-3).
Scriptures and history declare there were heretics and false prophets
who produced corrupted texts.
of false prophets, Jesus taught that if a tree is corrupt, the fruit
will be corrupt. Likewise, if a tree is good, the fruit will be good (Matt. 7:17). False prophets and false
teachers corrupt the scriptures (2Pet. 2:1-3). We are told we can
recognize these false prophets and teachers “ by their
fruits.” The fruit of the false prophet is false
prophecies and the fruit of the false teacher is false doctrine. If a
man's doctrine is corrupt, we must conclude that he will corrupt the
scriptures (2Cor. 2:17) to support his doctrine. So,
if a man's teachings are good and sound, we can expect that those sound
teachings came from sound scriptures.
Lord Jesus Christ promised the Holy Spirit would guide believers in all
John 16:13 says, “
Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into
all truth, ” and John 17:17 says that this truth is
God’ s word. Thus true believers have a promise that God
will reveal the truth of His word and the truth about His word.
Thus believers have a means to discern truth from error and His pure
word from counterfeit and corrupt texts.
Holy Spirit providentially guided true believers in discerning the true
books of Scripture and forming the New Testament canon.
the Holy Spirit's guidance of individual believers, silently and
gradually - but nevertheless surely, the Church as a whole was led to a
recognition of the fact that the twenty-seven books of the New
Testament, and only these books, form the canon which God gave to be
placed beside the Old Testament Scriptures as the authoritative and
final revelation of His will” (John 14:25-26). The canon was determined
by believers long before the council of Carthage "offically" recognized
Holy Spirit providentially guided true believers in discerning the true
reading of the Scriptures from those corrupted.
the Holy Spirit guided the early Christians to gather the individual
New Testament books into one New Testament canon and to reject all
non-canonical books, in the same manner also the Holy Spirit guided the
early Christians to preserve the New Testament text by receiving the
true readings and rejecting the false” (John 16:13).
preserved true readings of Scripture became know as the Traditional or
trustworthy copies of the original New Testament manuscripts were
hand-copied by faithful scribes and were then recopied by other
believers down through the centuries. These copies became the
standard, accepted, Traditional Text in the eyes of discerning
the advent of the printing press the compiled Traditional Text became
know as the “ Textus Receptus” or “ Received
first edition of the Textus Receptus, printed in 1516, contained a
number of errors of a minor sort, some of which persisted in later
editions, But in all essentials the New Testament text first printed by
Erasmus and later by Stephanus (1550) and Elzevir (1633) is in full
agreement with the Traditional Text providentially preserved in the
vast majority of the Greek New Testament manuscripts.
of their much use, the existing copies of the Traditional Text are
generally not as ancient as the rejected, corrupt texts, but it has
other ancient witnesses.
over the centuries believers were constantly reading and copying their
Scriptures, the older parent copies simply decayed out of existence
from use. Although its representatives are not as ancient, the
Traditional Text has very ancient witness in writings of early
believers such as Ignatius (d. 107 AD) and Polycarp (d. 155 AD). It
also has witness in early Syrian, Latin, and other translations.
rejected corrupt texts, known as Vaticanus and Siniaticus (the
Alexandrian Text) contain the non-canonical books called “
Apocrypha” within their "Canon."
reason these texts were rejected is they contain non-canonical
books within their Old and New Testaments thus treating them as
Scripture. Because of this addition of false books, the subtraction of
many true words, and the many disagreements of these two texts between
each other and the Traditional texts, these manuscripts were
little esteemed and thus little used and copied by believers.
Though they are generally older, the “ Alexandrian” texts
represent only around 5% of the available Greek manuscripts.
the Protestant Reformation the Lord led believers who loved His word to
translate the Traditional Text/Textus Receptus into other languages.
love for God’ s word and a fervent desire to provide a Bible in
their native language, certain men, often with great sacrifice, labored
tirelessly to translate God’ s word. The resulting Bibles include
Martin Luther's German version in 1522, Tyndale’ s English New
Testament of 1525, the French version of Oliveton (1535), the Spanish
(Valera) and Czech translations (both in 1602), and Diodati's Italian
translation of 1607
corrupt Vaticanus manuscript, was hidden in the Vatican by the
persecutors of the true believers, the Roman Catholic Church.
the Textus Receptus line is the wrong line of manuscripts, why would
God allow born-again Christians to use this line and suffer
persecution, while giving to those who were persecuting the true Church
the correct line? ” If those who were persecuting the Church had
the correct line of manuscripts, why did they prohibit it from being
translated for so many years, even hiding it from their own people? If
the Traditional line of manuscripts is not the correct line, why has
God so greatly blessed this line and the translations of the
Traditional Text throughout the history of the Church? Would not God
bear witness to which is good and which is corrupt? (Matt. 7:15-20)”
Tyndale’ s translation in 1525 to the King James Bible of 1611
the text of the English Bible went through a period of purifying.
Tyndale’ s New Testament was a magnificent work, the English
Bible was not yet pure. Others set out to improve it by revising
Tyndale’ s work. The results include Coverdale‘ s Bible,
1535; Matthew’ s Bible, The Great Bible, 1541; The Geneva Bible,
1560; and The Bishop’ s Bible, 1568. These Bibles were all
valuable translations and God’ s word in their time, but neither
God nor learned men were completely satisfied with them.
James of England was petitioned by a multitude of ministers to
authorize the production of a new, more accurate English Bible. History
also reveals this request was during an optimal period in the
development of the English language.
of the weaknesses of the Bibles then in existence “ nearly a
thousand” English ministers petitioned King James for a new
translation. The king saw the need as well and authorized the
translation in 1604 by a hand-picked group of devout and expert
believers (Eccl. 8:4). Furthermore, “ Not
only was the English language by 1611 in a more opportune condition
than it had ever been before or ever would be again, but the Hebrew and
the Greek likewise had been brought up with the accumulated treasures
of their materials to a splendid working point.”
King James Bible translators were of unparalleled linguistic
achievement and ability, but also tempered by God for their great task
with persecution and suffering.
linguistic scholarship was at its peak. Men of giant minds, supported
by excellent physical health, had possessed in a splendid state of
perfection a knowledge of the languages and literature necessary for
the ripest Biblical scholarship.” “ The translators of the
King James, moreover, had something beyond great scholarship and
unusual skill. They had gone through a period of great suffering. They
had offered their lives that the truths which they loved might
Lord providentially guided the King James translators to produce what
He would latter make the standard English Bible.
the Lord has access to the hearts of men (Pro. 16:1, Pro. 16:9, Pro. 20:24, etc) and can easily
influence and guide their thoughts and choices, His nearly
exclusive use of the King James Bible during the following centuries
indicates He guided its translators to produce the English Bible in the
manner he wants man to have it. He guided them in what readings to
use and the words to translate them. It is clearly the English Bible He
has placed His “ stamp of approval” on; His standard Bible.
This may have been impossible for man to realize in 1611, but during
the following years the Lord led believers to believe and use the King
James Bible as His pure, inerrant word and reject all others.
typographical corrections have been made, the King James Bible has not
gone through any true revision and is textually the same today as in
the 17th century printing was still crude and prone to mistakes and
minor typographical misprints were introduced into the text. Subsequent
printings corrected these mistakes. In 1769 the current edition of the
King James Bible was published which updated the spelling and removed
the last of the “ typos.” Therefore, the text of the King
James Bible today is the same as that submitted by the translators. There
is no difference in the hearing between a 1611 edition and today’
s 1769 edition, except for the very few and usually obvious
rejected Alexandrian Text is the basis for nearly all the new versions
designed to replace the Authorized Version.
the late 19th century enemies of the Textus Receptus/Authorized Version
produced a Bible called the Revised Version based on the Alexandrian
text. It was intended to replace the King James Bible. However, in
spite of its heavy promotion it was rejected by believers and has been
out of print for decades. During the 20th century still more corrupt
versions were produced including the ASV, RSV, etc., and many of these
have been rejected and thus are essentially out of print. Some modern
versions such as the NASV, NIV, and others are in use today mainly because
of heavy use of worldly advertising techniques and deceptive marketing.
However, none of these versions have any “ staying power”
and each will be replaced by the next “ new” version.
publishers of the modern versions compare their versions with the King
James Bible thus confirming that after nearly 400 years it is still the
standard Bible in the English language.
will read the Preface/Introduction of virtually any English translation
since 1611 he will find that that version will always compare itself
with the King James Bible in attempt to show itself superior. So even
the words of its critics indicate that the the Lord has made the
Authorized Version of 1611 the standard English Bible; the Bible He has
placed His stamp of approval on until the end of the age.
The King James Bible of 1611 has to its credit
more redeemed souls, more true revivals, more God-called preachers, and
in general more godly fruits than any other Bible in any other language
The full results God has obtained with the Authorized Version will
never be known this side of heaven, but the results we can see are
utterly amazing. God has used
it to save the souls of untold millions, civilize countless savages,
convict the hardest hearts, change the course of nations, and bring
innumerable workers into the ministry. He has used it much more than any other Bible including the original autographs. It has been translated into hundreds of other
languages by missionaries called by it to other lands; it has been
carried hundreds of thousands of miles on horseback, by ship, and on
foot to the lost in the remotest parts of the earth; and it has had its
words echo in fields, woods, city streets, and churches for nearly four
centuries and they are still ringing true today. Woe unto the person
who would cast it aside! Woe unto the person who would ignore its
precious truths! If God has no
problem with the King James Bible, why should any man.