Have you ever made the mistake of thinking that if you just ignore a problem, it will just go away? Sometimes this is successful, but not always. Sometimes, after you have made this decision, you realize that the problem still exists and it forces you to deal with it. You then feel bad that you didn’t just deal with the problem when you first encountered it. We’ve all done this before.
I made this mistake concerning a small book that I bought and read on my Kindle last fall. The book is called Authorized: The Use and Misuse of the King James Bible by a man named Mark Ward. Criticisms and books against the King James Bible are a dime a dozen. Most fade off into oblivion and rarely have much of an impact. Unfortunately, without having a bunch of numbers and statistics to prove it, it seems that Ward’s book has made a great impact. His material pops up all over the internet and almost anyone who has dropped the King James Bible in the last year has been influenced by his material. Ward is very active on the interNET and has even gone so far as to comment on almost all of the negative reviews of his book on Amazon. A number of people including Josh Teis (who called it “a wonderful book”) have pushed Ward’s theories and increased his readership. These strategies have shown to be effective advertising and many are agreeing with his conclusions.
So we enter the phase where we make a stand, so to say, and deal with the problem. Let me be clear, Mark Ward is wrong. He is wrong about just about every conclusion that he makes in the book. The errors contained in his book need to be publicly repudiated. The material needs to be made available for anyone considering dropping the King James Bible because of Ward’s book.
But I will say this, even though he INCORRECTLY defines the King James Bible issue, he very clearly illustrates the flaws of others who also incorrectly define the issue and yet continue to use the King James. My apologies for my long sentence, but I will illustrate what I am trying to say later under “Ward’s Book Exposes TR Onlyism”. See below.
The issue that matters in the debate about Bible versions is Final Authority. You have to deal with the question, “What is the Final Authority”? Textual traditions, readability, Translational issues, and whatever else are secondary issues. Do you have a Final Authority in writing? Yes or No. One of the main problems with atheists is that they have no authority to govern their lives and choices above their own thoughts and feelings. They have no basis for judging good and evil, right or wrong. Get mad all you want, the fact of the matter is that Mark Ward does NOT have a Final Authority in writing. There isn’t one book in Greek, Hebrew, or English that Ward thinks is the final judge and arbiter of truth in this world. NEITHER DOES AN ATHEIST. If you are honest, you have to admit that they have that in common. Ward has many multiple authorities and he (Mark Ward himself) chooses which one is right and which one is wrong. He might use other sources to back up his choice, but ultimately HE makes the decision. He is just like an atheist. A King James Bible Believer has a Final Authority in writing.
What We Should Do With The Facts Given in Ward’s Book
We will not be so naive as to pretend that there is nothing true in Ward’s book. Because of things like “False Friends” (that is, words that don’t mean today what they meant in 1611) and and also the so-called “archaic” words, Ward thinks that we should drop the King James and use other translations as our primary version. False Friends exist. There are words in the King James that are uncommon in American speech in 2020. What do we do about them? Ward recommends using other versions. Is there another option besides what Ward suggests?
Of course there is. And this option doesn’t turn a Christian into a practical atheist or a man without a Final Authority in print.
Doctor Ruckman addressed this topic decades ago. Of course, even 50 years ago there were issues about the definitions of a handful of words being old or different in standard American English. So Doctor Ruckman used common sense to find an easy alternative.
Doctor Ruckman always said, “WRITE THE DEFINITIONS IN THE MARGIN.”
If you prove that there is a better word that would help an American in 2020 to understand better, then write the definition in the margin. Doctor Ruckman’s Reference Bible has dozens of these. For the reference to f in Romans 1:13, he wrote, “”Let” archaic English meaning “to prevent” (see Isa. 43:13)”. He also gave a reference to o in Romans 13:13 of “Chambering” meaning lewd, immoral sexual behavior (see Heb 13:4)”. This is SOP throughout, although I would have personally asked for more.
A few quick fixes, either by the printer or your Bible pen, and the problem of archaic words and False Friends is completely gone. And we never had to go to the Greek and Hebrew Lexicons one time. And we never had to reference the corrupt versions like the NKJV, NIV, or the ESV or any other of the 300+ perversions of the word of God.
But that is assuming the we PROVED that the word was archaic or a true False Friend. We will examine many of Ward’s examples and show beyond any reasonable doubt that the issue is not as clear as Ward would have you believe. Ward didn’t tell the whole truth on the matter. Anti-KJV literature never does. There is much to say on the subject. Stay tuned.
Ward’s Book Exposes TR Onlyism
We have noted over the years how a huge number of Independent Baptists have a huge problem. They USE the King James Bible, but they teach that there are errors in it and that their Final Authority is the Textus Receptus. They claim that the main issue in the debate is “textual tradition” or something also those lines. Many of the large, conservative Bible schools teach this, such as West Coast Baptist College and Pensacola Christian College. But we have addressed the issues involved with the TR only position before here. But to sum it all up in one sentence: THEY HAVE NO WRITTEN FINAL AUTHORITY.
Bible Believers are against the TR Only position. The impact of Mark Ward’s book is a good illustration of the problems with the TR Only position. According to Ward, and his buddy Josh Teis, if the TR is the best Greek text, then dump the King James Bible and get a New King Jimmy or a Modern English Version. There is no reason to keep the exact words of the King James. Within that line of thought, Ward and Teis are CORRECT.
And so it seems that many TR pastors have done exactly this over the last year.
But there is a great irony to this partnership between Ward and men like Josh Teis. Ward is not TR Only. He uses and even praises many versions whose translators rejected the TR in favor of the Critical Text. Ward writes, “I am happy to recommend any available edition of the Greek New Testament.” Strange how TR Onlyists have partnered with a TR rejector. What kind of spirit is behind that…??? I guess you could say that KJV rejectors make “strange bedfellows”.
As I’ve said, the issue isn’t “textual traditions” it is Final Authority. If you start from the wrong place, you’re bound to end up at the wrong place as Ward and Josh Teis do.
So, I would like to conclude this introductory article by pointing out a funny sentence tucked away in the middle of his book. When discussing how some people enjoy the wording of the King James Bible, Ward writes, “We can’t make our decision about the KJV based on a statistical survey of how people respond emotionally to Elizabethan verbiage.” Of course this is true. But we would respond by asking, “Isn’t this whole book an somewhat statistical survey of how people respond to Elizabethan verbiage?” He makes other points, but Ward’s main theme is that people today can’t understand the King James when they first hear it. I suppose we shouldn’t look at those statistics if they favor the King James Bible. If they supposedly go against keeping our King James Bible, then we should write books about them!
As I wrote in my review on Amazon. I pray that God would reward Mark according to his works.
Stay tuned for more articles about Ward’s “Authorized” Lies.
PS – We need to look at a few Bible truths before we end this article.
Old Testament Jews weren’t allowed to have different standards of measurements in their houses.
Deu 25:13-16 (AV) Thou shalt not have in thy bag divers weights, a great and a small. Thou shalt not have in thine house divers measures, a great and a small. But thou shalt have a perfect and just weight, a perfect and just measure shalt thou have: that thy days may be lengthened in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. For all that do such things, and all that do unrighteously, are an abomination unto the LORD thy God.
God hated people who would use different standards to try and con other people and justify themselves. The practical application clearly points do the problem with having different bible versions. That is the whole point of having the King James Bible. The Bible is our weight and our measure and it should be “perfect and just“. That is how standards work.
In 1604, as King James of Scotland ascended to the throne of England, there was a Bible called the Bishop’s Bible that the Anglicans used to justify Anglican doctrine. There was also the Geneva Bible which the Calvinists and Presbyterians used to justify their doctrine. They had private set of weights that they could use much like in Deuteronomy 25. So King James ordered a New translation that would be able to settle the disputes. The whole point of the King James was to have “a perfect and just weight, a perfect and just measure shalt thou have.” It was created to be a Final Authority.
Men like Ward are, whether he knows it or not, putting us back in a system of Biblical anarchy and we have observed the fruits of Ward’s mentality on the Christian churches over the last 150 years. Again, there is a Bible verse that, when applied spiritually, describes the situation perfectly. Judges 21:25 (AV) “In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” This comes in the seventh book of the Bible: Judges. Which surprisingly fits the seventh letter written by John in Revelation to the church of the Laodiceans (Rev 3:14-22). These books are pictures of the church that exists right before the Rapture and have connections to the book of Colossians and the letters to Timothy. They describe the absolute apostasy of the professing Christian churches which we see today.
I’d give 100 to 1 odds that Ward has no idea about these truths. He can’t find them. He spends too much time trying to find errors, false friends, and archaic words that he cannot find the true riches in the AV text. Oh sure, he wants people to understand the Bible, but does Ward know much Bible??? None of these King James Bible rejectors do. Dear Reader, don’t make the same mistake.