Recently, the most popular articles on my blog have been about two men. Strangely, they both work for the same company. Mark Ward and Michael Heiser both work for “Faithlife Corporation”. Both men are absolutely certain that the King James Bible is not a Bible you should trust 100%. They are sowers of doubt. When you read their material always keep in mind that they are paid to do what they do. They are paid by a company that exists in order to make money.
1Ti 6:10 (AV) “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” (Notice how the verse is changed in the Modern Versions in a great illustration of “covering their own tracks” also known as the Fig Leaf syndrome.)
In this article, we will examine Ward’s claim that “the KJV is no longer a vernacular translation.” I’m sure has nothing to do with trying to sell more translations for Faithlife Corporation… According to Ward and the apostate CS Lewis, the Bible should be updated periodically. Hmmm. I wonder if Faithlife would stand to benefit if they could convince a bunch of Christians that this were so??? I wonder… As the Romans would say, Cui bono?
Ward spends about a third of his book trying to say that the King James Bible isn’t vernacular and therefore shouldn’t be used for our primary Bible. He even quotes a friend (this is called “plausible deniability” because technically he didn’t say it himself) as saying that “The KJV is not in our language.” Ward uses the quote as if he agrees with the statement. So is he right? Who benefits from this is beyond question. Ward’s bosses will benefit. Quid pro quo, Ward will benefit in the end. But, let’s not leave the conversation there. We must ask, is Ward correct? What does Ward mean by “vernacular”? Is the King James Bible either vernacular or understandable? Is it even “our language”?
I will show beyond any reasonable doubt, that Ward is misled by a “false friend”. (I write with quotation marks because I am using his own definition of the term as I explained earlier.) He does this, after accusing King James readers of falling for “false friends” in the KJB. Ward says about “false friends” that “each one of them will mislead you.” But it is Ward who has been misled. What a perfect example of Ecclesiastes 10:8 (AV) “He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it; and whoso breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him.”
We should first look at how Ward applies different words to the issue at hand and define the words involved. In so doing, Ward’s error will become very clear.
Chapter 5 of his book is called, “The Value of the Vernacular.” So how does Ward define “vernacular”? He says it is a language, “spoken as one’s mother tongue; not learned or imposed as a second language.” And “one’s mother tongue, what one is taught to speak as a child and to write in school.” He calls it “the heart language of a people.” He goes on to say that the “KJV is no longer a vernacular translation.”
It is fair to say that Ward would define the word as common everyday speech as opposed to words that are not used very much now. Both “everyday speech” and the “dead words and false friends” that Ward complains about are ENGLISH WORDS. None of Ward’s examples in his entire books are foreign words. They are all English. But they are not words that we use everyday (dead words) or they are words we use differently today (his supposed “false friends”).
That is how Ward would define the word “vernacular”. And, in that sense, he is not wrong in claiming that the King James isn’t vernacular for Americans in the 21st century. We do not talk like that today. But there is much, much more to the story.
Ward’s “Biblical Proofs”
Ward claims that because of I Cor 14, the Great Commission in Matt 28, and because of the supposed BC Septuagint that the Bible tells us to translate the Bible into “the language as people actually use it.”
Folks, none of those passages actually SAY that. Of course, this is a great example of how “scholars” like Ward can try to make the Bible TEACH something that it doesn’t say. Ward knows that I Cor 14 has to do with OTHER LANGUAGES and not different versions of the same language. He even says so. But that doesn’t stop him from using the passage as “proof” of his claims.
Ward knows that there is nothing about Bible versions and translation in Matt 28. Beyond that, there is nothing about “vernacular” translations in the chapter. But that doesn’t stop him from using the passage as “proof” of his claims.
Also, this article isn’t about the lie that there was a Septuagint written before and used by Christ. The facts are that the earliest LXX is from 200+ years after the Lord’s ascension. But that doesn’t stop him from using this as “proof” of his claims. He also claims that the Jews lost the ability to speak in Hebrew, except for the priests. Many great scholars have argued for centuries about the roles played by the languages of Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic in Israel during the time of Christ and the Apostles. Ward avoids these facts in order to push his agenda. To claim that Hebrew was only a liturgical language is easily falsified by a quick reading of the New Testament when we see Paul addressing people “in the Hebrew tongue” in Acts 21:40. He is addressing more that just priests. As usual, Ward is making claims that are FAR from proven. He just wants us to believe him because he says so. We won’t.
Ward’s use of the LXX necessitates a few additional remarks. If the LXX is 200+ years old at the time of Christ (which it isn’t, we’re just playing along), then that should have required at least 6 updates before Christ used it. That figure comes from Ward’s equation that the Bible should be updated every 30 years. WARD IGNORES THIS. As usual, he only wants us to use his equation on the King James Bible. His standard is hypocritical and one sided. Ward couldn’t care less about applying his doctrine to the “originals”. Probably because there is no $$$ in it for his publishers…
Finally, Ward found one dumbbell commentator with no sense who believed (contrary to common sense) that “gave the sense” in Neh 8:8 could mean “to translate”. What a terrific example of wresting the scriptures to his own destruction. Folks, “gave the sense” does NOT mean “to translate” any more than it means “to turn into a chicken pita”. Someone needs to “give the sense” to those that think it means “to translate”.
Ward thinks he makes a slam dunk argument against KJV-only when he says “Stop looking for the “best” English Bible. It doesn’t exist. God never said it would.” But he never stopped to think that God never said that we should update the Bible every 30 years. God never said that we should trust “scholars” the way that Ward would have us do. In fact, none of his causes or theses (plural of “thesis”) are found in the Scriptures. So we must ask, which attitude fits the attitude of the people in the Bible? Ward’s sloppy handling of scriptures has been demonstrated clearly for anyone to see in this series of articles. KJV-only is the attitude toward the book that I have in my hand that matches Christ and Paul when they held their Hebrew Old Testaments. It was their final authority. We have a final authority in the King James Bible. Ward has NO FINAL AUTHORITY. Which is more scriptural? The answer is plain.
Ward Falls For A “False Friend”
Ward also uses quotes from the Reformers to prove the value of vernacular translations. At least his references here actually SAY what he is claiming. But this is where our dear brother falls into his own pit and his stone rolls over him. When the Reformers talk about the “vernacular” THEY ARE USING A DIFFERENT DEFINITION. This is where he falls for a “false friend”.
When the Reformers and the King James Bible translators spoke of using vernacular translations of the Bible, they use the word, vernacular, to mean NOT LATIN. When he says that the KJB puts “found with child” in Matt 1:18 into the vernacular, he is right. They didn’t put the verse in Latin. They put the verse in English. Nothing could be simpler. But he takes it to mean that he put the verse into the common English of 1611. But that isn’t what “vernacular” meant in 1611. It meant “not Latin”.
We can be absolutely sure of this because we know that “thee” and “thou” and “thine” and “ye” were mostly gone from standard usage in 1611. In the ensuing decades after the translation of the King James, people were making fun of the use of “thou” and “thine” in everyday speech (see the case of George Fox). Ward even admits that these words are older forms in his book (he even goes so far as to say they technically never were “vernacular” in their KJB usage). Yet the translators saw fit to put them into the “vernacular” translation of the KJB. This fits with their definition of “vernacular” to mean “not Latin” and not Ward’s definition of “common everyday speech”.
But Ward falls for the “false friends”. One could make the argument that we should not read Ward’s book because of “false friends”. He is the person who wrote that false friends will mislead you…
Everyday Speech Or Understandable?
No one speaks normally like they do in the King James Bible today. You can find people in northern England who use “Thee” and “Thine”. You can find various groups where archaic words are more common than in other groups. But no group of people uses the language of the King James Bible on an everyday basis. Ward is correct when he claims this.
But he is incorrect to claim that the the King James Bible is not understandable. We understand a lot more words than we use everyday. Most of the King James Bible is understandable. At worst, it’s much more understandable than any Greek or Hebrew text (but that is distracting from the argument, I suppose).
Ward makes a huge mistake of logic to assume that since:
“vernacular” = understandable
not “vernacular = not understandable
These words and ideas are not completely the same. There is overlap, but they don’t completely overlap. Look at a few of his examples. He is right to say that “I pray thee” is not in the “vernacular” (by his definition) but there does not make the phrase not understandable. In fact, Ward makes another terrific blunder by assuming that the phrase should just be updated to “please”. It shouldn’t. Look at the first occurrence of the phrase in Gen 12:13 and see that it means “I ASK thee” not “please”. The King James Bible then gives us a deeper truth about the nature of prayer. Basically, praying is asking. Ward messes up all this truth by simply changing the phrase to “please”. This happens so much that it almost isn’t noteworthy anymore.
The Reformers (and Christ and the Apostles for that matter) believed that the words of the Bible should be understandable. The King James Bible fits the bill. Although many words are not used on a day by day basis, the vast majority of the KJB is understandable. There is no reason to change to the Modern perversions.
The Infamous “Plough Boy”
People who are against the KJB because of its older language ironically provide us with a perfect counterexample to show demonstrate the truth that the KJB is still understandable.
Bible “updaters” like Ward and one of his disciples named Josh Teis love to use a quote from William Tyndale.
“I defy the pope and all his laws;” and added, that if God spared him life, ere many years, he would cause a boy that driveth the plough to know more of the Scripture than he did.”
They say that they want a “Bible for the Plow Boy”. Teis even wrote an article with this title trying to get pastors to dump the King James Bible. Ward gives this quote exactly and then does something very enlightening in the following paragraph.
HE TELLS US WHO THE PLOUGH BOY IS.
Why would he feel the need to do that? We don’t talk about “plough boys” in our language today. I have never met a “plough boy”. I know nothing about the person. Ward knows this, so he tells us that the “plough boy” is the “man on the street”. According to Ward’s theories, he should have just changed and updated what Tyndale said. Why didn’t he?
They are so concerned about the KJB using words and terms we are unfamiliar with, but then they use terms and even write articles about ideas we don’t know about. They then explain what they mean. This is a common practice. It is how preachers and teachers of the King James Bible have operated for 400 years. “Updaters” like Ward and Teis do the same thing. They just think it’s OK for them, but not for KJB only people. Again, we find these men to be hypocritical.
So this quote is understandable although it is not “vernacular”. Ward quickly explains what it means. This is how we deal with every so called problem in the KJB given by Ward or any other critic of the KJB.
On a personal note, I would like to thank Mark Ward for proving my point. Muchas gracias.
To conclude this already lengthy article, I would like to point out a few issues with Ward’s theories. I am very critical of Josh Teis for wholeheartedly endorsing Ward’s book. In just 4 articles, I have demonstrated beyond any reasonable doubt that Ward has not given us the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about the King James Bible. Somehow Teis couldn’t find any of these problems. He should get a refund from every school he ever attended. They ripped him off.
At the end of the day, Ward still has no written, final authority. This was thoroughly discussed in the first article in this series, but it bears repeating. There is no English Bible on the face of this planet that Ward believes 100%. Updating every 30 years will not change this. In the course of a 90 year lifespan, Ward will just have 3 different updated “bibles” that never were the perfect and complete word of God. Same with Teis.
Which vernacular of English should we translate into? Ward lives in Washington state. He has lived in South Carolina (theoretically) while he attended Bob Jones. He surely knows the great gap between the vernacular of those two places. I do. I’ve lived in both areas myself. He pretends that the Ebonics Bible isn’t necessary, but by his theories, it most certainly is. People in the Pacific Northwest don’t use “y’all”, “ain’t” and “fixing to”. But these words are certainly part of the vernacular of Georgia and Alabama.
This whole can of worms remains closed if we keep to the timeless, universal standard of the King James Bible.
Ward’s buddy claims that the King James Bible isn’t our language. If not, then what language is it? Is it Thai? Is is Mongolian? Of course not. It is English and Ward even admits it in his book. Yet, he is OK with agreeing with his friend that the King James Bible isn’t “our language”. This type of double speak is unbecoming of a Christian and Ward should know better.
Finally, I have already mentioned that by Ward’s idea that the Bible should be updated every 30 years, there should have been over 6 updates to the (supposed) Septuagint by the time of Christ. Yet we find no evidence of this. Even if there really was a BC Septuagint (there wasn’t, I’m just playing along) is there any hint of even one update of the books of Moses in the 1000+ years between their writing and the time that it was supposedly updated and translated in the LXX? Of course not. David used a 400 year old Hebrew text of Moses. He didn’t need over 13 updates. Ward’s ideas don’t fit the Biblical record.
What’s the motivation to all this? BOOK SALES.
As I have said numerous times in this series of articles, if you reject the King James Bible, that is fine. But don’t use Ward’s ridiculous theories as your reason. And whatever you decide, keep in mind, Mark Ward (and Michael Heiser) are paid money to write books to get you to get rid of the King James Bible and go out and buy a new modern perversion.
As the old poem says: