Friday, April 27, 2018

A Book Evaluation: Authorized: The Use and Misuse of the King James Bible


Authorized: The Use and Misuse of the King James Bible. By Mark Ward. Lexham Press: WA, 2018. Kindle Edition.

The sole case against the regular use of the King James Version is its vernacular. Dr. Ward correctly identifies the AV’s English to be “early modern English.” What is not mentioned however is that the KJV as an accurate translation of the original languages, is not merely standardized English but also Biblical English. The KJV reader is exposed to a meticulous reflection of the Hebrew/Aramaic and the Greek. The KJV Hebraisms and syntax scrupulously exhibit the originals. Idiomatic expressions and certain terminologies are at times mistaken for archaisms. Indeed, there are words that are archaic, but none are unintelligible. The KJV pushes the English toward the original languages. A good solution is one that is unfortunately discounted by Dr. Ward in his introductory diagnostic question: “So do we…teach people to read it? No.”

If much of English-speaking Christianity has sent the King James Version to that part of the forest where trees fall with no one there to hear them, it is owing to both ignorance (for many) and sedition (on the part of unbelieving textual criticism and religious liberalism). Thankfully, the KJV is not the treasure of commercialism, but rather the Lord’s churches. Yes, generally speaking, no one misses the 1537 Matthew’s Bible, nor the Geneva Bible, but this is because the current iteration of a faithful English Bible points exclusively to the King James Version. Dr. Ward highlights five points that readers will lose if they stop using the KJV. “Intergenerational ties to the Body of Christ” reflects an ecclesiology not shared by this reviewer however to contextualize his first point a KJV-link is appreciated. To view the KJV as part of a rich heritage to hand down is commendable. Part of the beauty of the King James Version is that it is a faithful translation which ought to be handed down to subsequent generations until such a time as another faithful English translation would iterate differently. This occasion is perhaps possible, but most likely not probable. Dr. Ward correctly fears allowing traditions to set aside the Word of God. While this is a valid concern, there is nothing by way of tradition about the King James Version that stands to set aside the Word of God. Simply put, the traditions which surround the AV are good ones. Dr. Ward puts forward another healthy, diagnostic question: “What do we do with the KJV in the twenty-first century?” A healthy response: study it.

Dr. Ward identifies the reader’s understanding as the weighty reason for giving up on the KJV. His solution though is gratuitous. If the problem is the reader’s understanding, then the task is to elevate the reader’s understanding. In Acts 8 where the Ethiopian lacked understanding, Philip did not offer to change the text but rather explained it. A citizen’s lack of understanding the U.S. Constitution is no reason to call for its amendment. To change the KJV because of the reader’s lack of understanding is to introduce a flood of evil. Furthermore, to amend a classic eliminates it from being one (regardless of whatever classic piece it may be).

In Chapters 2-3, Dr. Ward presents a very good point and concern. “It is not impossible that Bible readers are running their eyes past words that simply don’t register.” In other words, how would a reader know to look up a word or words if he assumes he understands it or if he is unaware, perhaps even operating on a false assumption (Mark calls these words “false friends”). Whatever else the solution may be, replacing the text is certainly not the answer. The need is for guidance not gerrymandering the text. Part of the problem was exacerbated by using a modern dictionary when studying an older text. This is something that Dr. Ward points out. An alternative to the peerless OED is the free online tool “Online Etymology Dictionary” (www.etymonline.com) – Unicorn, halt, commendeth, convenient, wait, & remove (including more false friends) are adequately explained relatively free. This reviewer would like to add “meet” (as in Gen. 2:18) in the “false friends” category. Hebrew poetry and the choice of the KJV translators to render it into prose versus an English poetic equivalent is not without its reasons. Take for instance, Bible Presbyterian Church, Senior Pastor Christian Spencer's lecture on the KJV poetry at a Dean Burgon Society meeting accessible on sermonaudio.com. Readability has always been a concern, but solutions are never beyond reach.

In Chapter 4, Dr. Ward properly qualifies some distinctions within the “KJV-only” camp and more could easily be said but this is not the essence of his book. Modern translations also contain their share of difficult words. One solution is Dr. Waite’s Defined KJB. TBS’ KJV Westminster Reference edition seems beautiful and helpful. Norton’s KJB (the New Cambridge Paragraph Bible, 2005) returns the current KJV to the less than accurate 1611 edition and for that reason it is not helpful (besides removing the italicized words, and the retention of the Apocrypha). Mr. Dave Olson, faculty member at Fairhaven Baptist College, wrote a 78-page booklet that helps: “Understanding the King James Bible.” Hopefully, a future influx of good KJV study Bibles, editions, and books will help solve much of Dr. Ward’s legitimate concerns.

In Chapter 5, Dr. Ward weaponizes the KJV’s vernacular against itself. His syllogism is doubtful (even after reading 5 chapters of good points and observations) in point number 2 “the KJV is not in our language.” If the KJV is not written in English, what language is it written in? Dr. Ward calls for an update of the KJV. It would be better to call for a study of it. The “fear” of revising the KJV is not unfounded. How many attempts have been made only to leave Christendom with a “finished” product that is less accurate to the originals and less enduring. Take the word charity, for instance. Charity could be rendered love in 1 Corinthians 13 but in doing that, one loses the exact definition of a love that is heightened (or sacrificial) to say nothing of its etymological link to a Christian context. The world can legitimately say that Christianity has no settled text. Certainly, “make a good one better” but since the 1885 Revised Version and onward, this remains to be seen.

In Chapter 6, Dr. Ward responds to ten objections to reading vernacular Bible translations. In #2, Beeke’s “Sounds Like the Word of God” point, Dr. Ward sees a conflict between understanding and reverence where there is none. The KJV is sonorous. In #3, the fact that the KJV uses the thees and thous evinces the fact the translators opted for an older English for precision’s sake. Modern English is simply inadequate to reflect the precision of pronouns and adjectives in the original languages. Dr. Ward’s T-V distinction is a fascinating read but Tyndale’s decision was grammatical not historical, per se. That languages change is a fact, but a written text when understood in its own context provides the meanings necessary to help the reader’s understanding. It is in this sense that the KJV is “timeless.” In #4, quotation marks are purposefully avoided for good reasons: the original languages do not utilize them, these are editorial guesses, and it would appear disingenuous to place a quote where a phrase is not actually quoted anywhere, (e.g. Matthew 2:23). In #6, the italics are purposefully utilized to supply the ellipses of the originals. This is a simple matter of accuracy. In #8, Dr. Ward is neutral in the formal/dynamic equivalence issue. This reviewer appreciates the recent upper hand that formal equivalence has received as of late. In #9, The TR rules, period. For the record: the NKJV and the MEV ambitiously claim to use the TR but undermine it both in the text and in the footnotes and/or margins. Text Criticism is certainly complex, but thankfully not beyond men like the late John Burgon and the late Edward Hills; everyone has their favorite text critics. In #10, Dr. Ward summarizes his arguments. To minimize his thesis is to do him a disservice and to bury one’s head in the sand. Dr. Ward’s knowledge is expert and serves his readers well including antagonistic ones.

In Chapter 7, Dr. Ward walks the readers through his thought process for advocating a multiplicity of English translations. A belief that this reviewer does not share for textual, linguistic, and theological reasons.

Epilogue, Dr. Ward offers a call to action for those who are interested in venturing into modern translations. This reviewer’s call to action is not merely to retain the KJV but to defend the it.

Positives: (Good)
1. Understanding the Bible is paramount.
2. Language is changing. Dr. Ward brings a keen awareness to this fact. Assumptions on the KJV reader’s part must be challenged.

Negatives: (Bad)
1. Dr. Ward maintains a “studied neutrality” on the textual criticism, and translation methodology.
2. Relevance is prioritized over accuracy.

Mega-Negatives: (Ugly)
1.  Dr. Ward calls for replacing the KJV. Anathema! 😇
2.  Dr. Ward has no doctrine of Providential (or Perfect) Preservation of the Scriptures.

Mark Ward earned a PhD in New Testament Interpretation from BJU. He is a prolific writer and serves as a Logos Pro at Faithlife, the premier private Christian software company, imo.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Flowers from a Puritan's Garden


Image result for flowers from a puritan's garden
"Flowers from a Puritan's Garden" by C.H. Spurgeon is a storehouse of both spiritual and practical instructions cloaked in word-pictures or illustrations. Spurgeon would read Thomas Manton's sermons and other writings and be constantly struck with his "solid, sensible instruction forcibly delivered." And beside Manton's highlighted excerpts, the Prince of Preachers would add his own thoughts, making this Puritan Paperback a double-masterpiece. It is illustrations, meditations, prayers, admonitions, exhortations that provide so much reflection as multifarious as a well-kept garden. This is an excellent tool for meditation and devotion. 305 pages of gold, silver, and precious stones.


Publisher: Banner of Truth (BoT) (first published by Passmore & Alabaster, London, 1883; today is published by BoT, 2017).

Series: Puritan Paperbacks.

Pages: 320, including a helpful index of subjects starting on pg. 307.

No Table of Contents - just dive into the book, and relish the wisdom of these gifted men.

There is a Kindle version of this book on Amazon's website, fyi, but it isn't as attractively done as BoT's paperback edition.

Independent Baptist bookstores to consider

Here are some online Independent Baptist bookstores that are worth looking into. Happy book hunting!

Bible Baptist Church Publications, Cromwell, CT

Bible Baptist Church Publications, Oak Harbor, WA

Bible For Today

Challenge Press-Book Haven

Church Bible Publishers

Evangelist Ted Alexander Bookstore

Fairhaven Baptist Church Bookstore

Hope Biblical Counseling Bookstore

Independent Baptist Books/ibadirect.com

Local Church Bible Publishers

Mercy & Truth Ministries

Pillar and Ground Publishing

Starr Publications

Tabernacle Bookshop

Way of Life Bookstore

Also if your church (assuming that it is a New Testament, Bible-based, Baptist church) has a book table, or a bookstore, or a smaller type of a bookstore (i.e., a book table) that would be a great place to find some worth while reading materials, no doubt. If you know of any good online Baptist bookstores for me to consider, please feel free to recommend them in the comments sections (heads up: any ones I disagree with won't be posted though, just saying). Be well.






Friday, January 29, 2016

A Blast from the Not so Distant Past: eBook Recommendations after reading Vol. 1 of the Sword and the Trowel Magazine

     Spurgeon edited a magazine called “The Sword and the Trowel” (S&T). It’s publication began in 1865, and in it contains biographical insights into the life of Spurgeon, the happenings and activities which were done in the church (Metropolitan Tabernacle), the orphanage, and the college. There were regular reports about various ministries such as missions, prayer meetings, colportage work, etc. Of course, each month highlighted a sermon, and one or two Gospel tracts or presentation, a scathing reply to sarcastic publicity from ignorant, perhaps even, devilish papers and rumors. But the one aspect of the magazine that I really enjoyed was the review section. The S&T highlighted useful books, and also took time to expose books and tracts that did not meet their standards or gained their approval. The reviews are short but insightful. The S&T edition that I was able to read through is Volume 1 (Years 1865, 1866, and 1867). I would highly recommend any Sprugeon enthusiast to take the time and read the S&T magazine. It has so many interesting stories, prose, poetry, articles, reports, and reviews that is sure to captivate your heart.

     I said all that to say this: After reading vol. 1, I have selected some titles that I thought were interesting books or articles that the S&T magazine recommended for their readers in their review section. I looked up the titles on Google Books, and lo and behold, they are, in fact, available as free downloads via Google Books (thank you, Google, and huge, huge, score for Google Books, here). What a pleasant surprise! What a blessing! This is amazing. Well, onto my small, and obscure, but delightful, and helpful selections. This listing is made in simple alphabetical format. This is just a random listing. If you haven’t already, you should, download Google Books, and check out these titles:

1. Daemonologia Sacra, or A Treatise of Satan’s Temptation by Richard Gilpin. [1867] – essentially a study on the character and power of Satan.

2. Eight Acrostics on the Bible by George T. Congreve. [1866] – good materials to help teach children in a Sunday school setting concerning the Bible. Many good and simple, yet thought provoking illustrations. Good source for children’s ministry.

3. The Proper Names of the Bible; Their Orthography, Pronunciation, and Signification by Joseph Farrar. [1855] – Highly interesting. I wish at certain points Mr. Farrar would have explained certain conclusions, but unfortunately, he just gave us the product without concerning us with the process by which he came to his definition and findings.

4. Sure of Heaven, A Book for the Doubting and Anxious by Thomas Mills. [1868] – A book that deals with matters of eternal security of the believer, and the assurance of salvation.

5. The Teacher’s Model and the Model Teacher; or Thoughts on the Educational Aspects of our Lord’s Teaching by William H. Groser. [1867] – The book title is axiomatic. But I don't believe the word axiomatic is axiomatic, so, as my dad would say, look it up.

     I have personally downloaded these titles to my Google reader, and I’ll need to whittle away at these books when I get a chance. Well, I’ll make sure to find the time to whittle away at it. Happy book hunting.

Friday, October 02, 2015

The Bible Text Issue

"The Bible Text Issue" by Dr. Don Jasmin (Director of Fundamental Baptist Ministries and Editor to The Fundamentalist Digest) is a treasury of sound and solid defense of the King James Bible, and sermon outlines (with an insistent alliteration style) which are highly useful for any preacher (pastor, missionary, or Bible teacher). Dr. Jasmin brings 64 years of faithful preaching and teaching experience to this book defending the magnificent and faithful translation of God's Holy Word in the English via the King James Bible. Nearly every line is substantiated with Bible verses. The strength of this book is not the author's opinion but rather the Scriptures that validate what the author has observed. The book contains more than 341 pages of fascinating reading materials that is sure to edify the traditional Bible-believer and correct false teaching and opinions of modern version advocates.

The Bible text issue is divided into five sections:

Section One: Major Sermons on the Bible Text Issue
Section Two: Exposal of Modern Translators and Modern Versions from 1881 to Current Age
Section Three: Bob Jones University's Adoption and Promotion of Unreliable Modern Bible Versions
Section Four: A Collection of Articles by Deceased and Living Preachers and Scholars Defending Biblical Preservation and the King James Bible
Section Five: Ecumenism and Bible Translations

"The Bible Text Issue" is spiral bound.

Dr. Jasmin avoids the pitfalls of "double inspiration" theory and that only the "message" is preserved by God as opposed to the actual words. The author champions the Biblical and historical position of the Providential (or Perfect) Preservation view of God's Holy Word. Any student of the Bible will benefit from a careful study derived from this book. Thank you, Dr. Jasmin for your steadfast conviction that God has indeed given us an authoritative Word that is forever settled in Heaven. Thank you for your hard work in putting such a book like this in writing. May we value His Word as our finest treasure on earth.

P.S. Dr. Jasmin has also authored several other titles including "Great Doctrines of the Faith," "Quotes and More Quotes," "Manual in the School of Prayer," and many more, not to mention forthcoming titles.

You may contact Dr. Jasmin at 989-873-4778 or click on their website at http://www.fundamentalbaptistministries.com.