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   In Defense of Traditional Bible Texts

"The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever."
. . . Psalm 12:6-7 . . .

Dean Burgon's Confidence

Dr. D. A. Waite



A. Correction of a Current Book.  The booklet  is entitled "DEAN BURGON'S CONFIDENCE IN THE KING JAMES BIBLE."  This issue was raised in the book, The King James Only Controversy by James White.  Dr. DiVietro has answered this book in his extensive book, Anything But the King James Bible--An Answer to The King James Only Controversy by James R. White.  It is 85 large pages and is available for a GIFT of $12.00 postpaid.  Dr. DiVietro's  book was featured on our "BIBLE FOR TODAY OF THE AIR" weekly broadcasts for about five months.   These radio cassettes are also available.  One thing I want to comment about in Mr. White's book  was found on page 91, the first page of his chapter 5 that he entitles: "THE KING JAMES ONLY CAMP."  In the beginning of this chapter Mr. White mentions Dean John William Burgon.  I think Dean Burgon's views on this subject should be clarified.

B. The Quotation Itself.  Mr. White wrote as follows:  "It is my opinion, many of the great scholars of the past who have defended the Byzantine textual tradition (that includes the Textus Receptus) cannot honestly be included in the KJV camp even though they are often cited as if they were.   Men like Dean Burgon, F.H.A. Scrivener, H.G. Hoskier all of whom were true scholars of the first rank were not KJV only advocates. All saw the need for revision in the KJV and in the TR as well."  [James White, The King James Only Controversy, 1995, p. 91] Although Dean Burgon said that there were a few minor places in  the Textus Receptus that might be changed, he NEVER said that there was any need for changing the text of  the King James Bible.  Until his death Dean Burgon was, in a very real sense, what Mr. White calls "King James Only" in that this is the ONLY English Bible that he used and loved.  In the light of the above misleading statement, I feel we should examine anew Dean Burgon's CONFIDENCE in the KING JAMES BIBLE.

C. My Attempt to Correct This Misstatement.  The publisher of the book The King James Only Controversy by James White, at my request, sent me some of the galley proofs of the book before it was published.  I had asked for the quotations about me and my book, DEFENDING THE KING JAMES BIBLE.

  1. The Publisher's Letter to Me.  Kevin W. Johnson, Senior Editor--Adult Nonfiction of Bethany House Publishers, wrote me as follows on February 14, 1995:   "If you feel your positions have been misrepresented we do need you to provide us with specifics.  We truly appreciate your interests in communicating your concerns with us. . . ."

  2. My Reply to the Publisher.  I wrote back seven pages of "specifics" where my "positions have been misrepresented."  One of the "misrepresentations" was when James White wrote that, for the English version of the Bible, Dean Burgon was not one of the "KJV ONLY ADVOCATES."   In other words, Mr. White implied that Dean Burgon did not use and recommend for others to use ONLY the KING JAMES BIBLE in his preaching and teaching.  I said on page three of my suggested corrections of Mr. White's book:   "Dean John William Burgon on the `KJV only' Camp.  On the first page of chapter 5, `The King James Only Camp,' Mr. White included `Dean Burgon' as NOT being included in the `KJV Only' camp.  If you define the term properly, as I have done in the enclosed article (I enclosed a copy of The Dean Burgon News of June-July, 1994, and the articles, "What is 'KJB Only'" and "Burgon--Only KJB!")   Dean Burgon would have believed in `Position #2' as I have outlined it, just as the Dean Burgon Society and I would be.  Mr. White included `Dean Burgon' in the group that `ALL saw the need for revision of the KJV and the TR as well.'  This is a `factual error' and a `misrepresentation' of his position. . . ." Apparently nothing was done about my protest by the publisher, because the published book contains the same misstatement.  Here is the article I sent to the editor:  What Is "KJB Only"?   "For many years now, opponents of our King James Bible have hurled epithets at those of us who have the firm conviction that our KING JAMES BIBLE (KJB) is the most accurate and only valid translation in the English language available today.  They have been against those of us who believe that the KING JAMES BIBLE is "God's Word, Kept Intact in English."  One of the epithets is the term, "KING JAMES ONLY."  There are two meanings of this term:

  (1) POSITION #1: the position that we must not only use only the King James Bible (KJB) in English for preaching, memorization, and so on, but also that we must not ever consult the Hebrew/Aramaic or Greek texts that underlie the KJB.  That is, we must be "KING JAMES ONLY" with no recourse to the original language texts or any other language texts.  This position is taken by those who falsely believe that the KJB was given by VERBAL INSPIRATION BY THE HOLY SPIRIT including the italics which, in effect, makes it a NEW REVELATION rather than merely an accurate TRANSLATION.   This position the Dean Burgon Society firmly rejects.  We make this clear in our DBS "Articles of Faith."

 (2) POSITION #2: The second position is that, though we can refer to the Hebrew/Aramaic and Greek texts that underlie the KJB for further clarification and study, we use ONLY THE KING JAMES BIBLE in our preaching, memorization, public reading from the pulpit, Bible school literature, Bible school classrooms, Bible Institutes, colleges, universities, seminaries, and in similar areas.  This is the position of our Dean Burgon Society.  It is a defensible position, and one of which we are not ashamed.  We urge friends of the KING JAMES BIBLE not to cringe when hearing the "smear" on the part of KJB enemies, of the term "KING JAMES ONLY"!   When it is used, we would urge you to ask those using it to "define that term, please!"  Since when is it a crime to exalt the KING JAMES BIBLE to its supreme place in the English speaking world?  Since when is it a crime to hold that the KING JAMES BIBLE is the must accurate translation available in the English language today?   What crime is it to suspect as inferior the modern versions of the Bible?  Burgon--Only KJB!  In a recent letter from a Christian leader, it was stated, in effect, that Dean John William Burgon, for whom our DEAN BURGON SOCIETY is named, was NOT a member of the "KING JAMES ONLY" group.  Well, if you mean POSITION #1 as outlined above, Dean Burgon certainly was NOT of that position.  However, he must assuredly was an advocate of POSITION #2!  This Christian leader was wrong in this.   He went on either to state or to imply that Dean Burgon would have used publicly an altered KING JAMES BIBLE.  This simply is not true, and is, in fact completely and totally false!  Burgon first said that there could be no revision of the KJB without first having a slightly altered Greek text which has never been undertaken in Dean Burgon's manner, nor will it ever be thus undertaken.

  1. Burgon's Admiration for the King James Bible.  Dean Burgon wrote:    "It may be confidently assumed that no `revision' of our Authorized Version, however judiciously executed, will ever occupy the place in public esteem which is actually enjoyed by the work of the translators of 1611,--THE NOBLEST LITERARY WORK IN THE ANGLO-SAXON LANGUAGE." [Dean John W. Burgon, Revision Revised, p. 113]

  2. Burgon's Admiration for the King James Bible Translators.   Dean Burgon also wrote:    "Verily, those men understood their craft!  `There were GIANTS in those days.' . . . the Spirit of their God was mightily upon them." [Burgon, Revision Revised, p. 196]
  3. Burgon's Adherence to the King James Bible, Even If There Were a Revision of It.  He wrote:    "The method of such a performance [that is, any revision of the KJB], whether by marginal notes or in some other way, we forbear to determine.   But certainly ONLY AS A HANDMAID is it to be desired.  AS SOMETHING INTENDED TO SUPERSEDE OUR PRESENT ENGLISH BIBLE, WE ARE THOROUGHLY CONVINCED THAT THE PROJECT OF A RIVAL TRANSLATION IS NOT TO BE ENTERTAINED FOR A MOMENT.  FOR OURSELVES, WE DEPRECATE IT ENTIRELY."  [Burgon, Revision Revised,  p. 114]  This certainly sounds like Dean John William Burgon would continue to use and support "ONLY THE KING JAMES BIBLE" no matter what other revisions of that Bible might come along during his lifetime!!  For other comments by Dean Burgon on the superiority of the King James Bible, the reader is referred to B.F.T. #804.   It is available for a GIFT of $5.50.  It is entitled, "Dean John Burgon's Prerequisites for Major Revision of the New Testament Greek Textus Receptus and the English King James Version New Testament," by this writer.  This study gives a series of quotations on this theme taken from Burgon's excellent book, Revision Revised, which is also available as B.F.T. #611 for a GIFT of $25.00."


Let's take a look at a few of Dean Burgon's own words and discover for ourselves his CONFIDENCE IN THE KING JAMES BIBLE.

A. The Inferiority of the English Revised Version (E.R.V.) of 1881 Compared to the King James Bible.  Dean Burgon wrote  how the English Revised Version (E.R.V.) of 1881, was INFERIOR to the King James Bible:   "The ENGLISH (as well as the Greek) of the NEWLY `REVISED VERSION' IS HOPELESSLY AT FAULT.  It is to me simply unintelligible how a company of Scholars can have spent TEN YEARS in elaborating such a VERY UNSATISFACTORY PRODUCT.   Their UNCOUTH PHRASEOLOGY and their JERKY SENTENCES, their PEDANTIC OBSCURITY and their UNIDIOMATIC ENGLISH, contrast painfully with `the happy turns of expression, the music of the cadences, the felicities of the rhythm' of our AUTHORIZED VERSION. . . ." You can see from this very clearly Dean Burgon's contempt for the English Revised Version of 1881, and--at the same time--his love for the King James Bible!   He continued as follows:   "The transition from one to the other, as the Bishop of Lincoln remarks, is like exchanging a well-built carriage for a VEHICLE WITHOUT SPRINGS, in which you GET JOLTED TO DEATH on a NEWLY-MENDED and rarely-traversed road.  But the "REVISED VERSION" is INACCURATE as well; exhibits DEFECTIVE SCHOLARSHIP, I mean, IN COUNTLESS PLACES."  [Burgon, REVISION REVISED, op. cit., p. vi.]   If Dean Burgon were living today, would he be critical of this new versions of our day like the Dean Burgon Society that bears his name?  I believe he would.  The English Revised Version is but one example of how he would take his stand against the versions of our day and for the same reasons.

B. The English Revised Version Silently Revised the King James Bible.  Dean Burgon wrote:  "With some slight modifications, OUR AUTHORISED ENGLISH VERSION has been SILENTLY REVISED." That has also been done by our modern versions.  They have "silently revised" our King James Bible..   "SILENTLY, I say, for in the margin of the English no record is preserved of the UNDERLYING TEXTUAL CHANGES which have been introduced by the REVISIONISTS.  On the contrary.  Use has been made of that margin to insinuate suspicion and distrust in countless particulars as to the authenticity of the Text which has been suffered to remain unaltered."  [Burgon, REVISION REVISED, op. cit., p. xxx.] Notice Dean Burgon's comment on the insinuation of "suspicion and distrust."  Isn't that what we have in the "margins" of our versions today, "suspicion and distrust"?  We have the same thing in the New American Standard Version with its footnotes, revisions, and changes,  We have it in the New King James Version, the New International Version, the Revised Standard Version, the New Revised Standard Version, and all the others.  Yes, our Authorized, King James Bible has been "SILENTLY REVISED."  That is deceptive.  The readers of these new versions don't know that in 5,604 places the Greek text that underlies our King James Bible (the Textus Receptus) has been altered and "SILENTLY REVISED" by Westcott and Hort and their followers!  The readers don't know that the 5,604 places include a total of 9,970 Greek words (30 words short of 10,000) which have either been added to the Greek text, subtracted from the Greek text, or changed in some other way.  If those people pick up one of the new versions and are not aware of these facts, then this is certainly "SILENT REVISION" is it not?  Dean Burgon would be against the versions of today for the same reasons he was against the competing version of his own day, the English Revised Version of 1881.  He would have just as much CONFIDENCE in the King James Bible today as he had during his lifetime!

C. The Expectation of the English Revised Version to Supersede the King James Bible.  Dean Burgon wrote:   "Not unreasonable therefore is the expectation entertained by its Authors that the `NEW ENGLISH VERSION founded on this `NEW GREEK TEXT' IS DESTINED TO SUPERSEDE THE `AUTHORIZED VERSION' of 1611."  [Burgon, REVISION REVISED, op. cit., p. 2 That was their expectation, and that is the expectation, we dare say, of every version and perversion that has been produced in English since the King James Bible.   May the expectation of those authors and publishers be thwarted by our God!   The new versions all want to be "king."  The New International wants to be king.

D. The English Revised Version Blotted Out "Many Precious Words" From the King James Bible.  Notice what Dean Burgon wrote about the E.R.V.'s "blotting out precious words" of the Bible:   "We shall therefore pass on, when we have asked the REVISIONISTS in turn--HOW THEY HAVE DARED so effectually to BLOT OUT THESE MANY PRECIOUS WORDS from the BOOK OF LIFE, that no MERE ENGLISH READER, depending on the REVISED VERSION for his knowledge of the Gospels, can by possibility SUSPECT THEIR EXISTENCE?" [Burgon, REVISION REVISED, op. cit., p. 118.] Some of the "precious words" that have been "blotted out" from the "BOOK OF LIFE" are seen in John 6:47 where the Lord Jesus said,   "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life." (John 6:47 KJB) If you look at John 6:47 in these new versions, such as the New American Standard, New International, New King James (in the footnotes at least), New Berkeley, Revised Standard, The New Revised, you will notice that they "blot out the precious words," "ON ME."  They all say, words to this effect: "he that believes . . . has everlasting life."  They blot out the precious words ON ME, in many cases without even a footnote to inform you that they are gone.  The poor sinner who reads John 6:47 in these perversions will go to Hell because he thinks just by "believing" he can have everlasting life, without the necessity of "believing in the Lord Jesus Christ."  He might "believe" in Buddhism, in Shintoism, in Muhammadanism,  in Atheism, in Communism, in the Tooth Fairy, or several other things.  This is what Dean Burgon calls "blotting out precious words."  If Dean Burgon were living today, would he not expose and criticize these new versions just as he did the English Revised Version of 1881, and for the same or similar reasons?  Yes, he would!  Would he stand up for the King James Bible as over against all these other English versions just as he did against the English Revised Version of 1881?  Yes, he would!  So far as the English Versions, would he use and be in favor of ONLY the King James Bible?  Yes, he would--ONLY the King James Bible.

E. Comparing the King James Bible with the English Revised Version, the "Old Is Better."  Dean Burgon was referring to the King James Bible when he said: "the OLD is better."  "Thus it happens that we never spend half-an-hour over the UNFORTUNATE PRODUCTION BEFORE US [i.e. the E.R.V. of 1881] without exclaiming (with one in the Gospel), `THE OLD IS BETTER.'" We can say today that in regard to every one of these new versions that continue to appear on the market, "THE OLD IS BETTER"!  And the "OLD" we're referring to is the King James Bible!  "Changes of ANY SORT are unwelcome in such a book as the Bible; but the discovery that CHANGES HAVE BEEN MADE FOR THE WORSE OFFENDS GREATLY."   [Burgon, REVISION REVISED, op. cit., p. 144.]

F. The King James Bible Translators Were Like "Giants" in Their Abilities.  What did Dean Burgon think of the translators of the King James Bible?  He called them "giants."  He wrote:  "But what SUPREMELY ANNOYS US in the work just now under review is, that the SCHOOLBOY METHOD OF TRANSLATION already noticed is therein exhibited in CONSTANT OPERATION throughout.  It becomes OPPRESSIVE.  We are never permitted to believe that we are in the company of SCHOLARS WHO ARE ALTOGETHER MASTERS OF THEIR OWN LANGUAGE.  Their solicitude ever seems to be twofold: --(1) To exhibit a SINGULAR INDIFFERENCE to the proprieties of English speech, while they maintain a SERVILE ADHERENCE (etymological or idiomatic, as the case may be) to the Greek:-- (2) Right or wrong, to PART COMPANY from WILLIAM TYNDALE and the GIANTS who gave us our `AUTHORIZED VERSION.'" [Burgon, REVISION REVISED, op. cit., p. 155.] Does that sound like Dean Burgon wants to part company from his King James Bible?  He would take his stand with the "giants" who gave us our Authorized Version.  There was no question in Dean Burgon's mind.  The English Revised Version translators of 1881 could not hold a candle to the "giants" who gave us the King James Bible.  I believe he would say similar things about the translators of today's versions as well.  This sounds like Dean Burgon thought his King James Bible was "exclusive" among the English Versions, does it not?

G. The King James Bible, a "Work of Real Genius."   Notice how Dean Burgon refers to the King James Bible as a "work of real genius":  ". . . the plain fact being that the men of 1611--above all, that WILLIAM TYNDALE 77 years before them--PRODUCED A WORK OF REAL GENIUS; seizing with generous WARMTH the MEANING and INTENTION of the sacred Writers, and PERPETUALLY VARYING THE PHRASE, as they felt or fancied that Evangelists and Apostles would have varied it, had they had to express themselves in English:  whereas THE MEN OF 1881 have fulfilled their task in what can only be described as a SPIRIT OF SERVILE PEDANTRY.   The GRAMMARIAN (pure and simple) crops up everywhere.  We seem never to rise above the atmosphere of the LECTURE-ROOM, . . ."  [Burgon, REVISION REVISED, op. cit., p. 167.] Praise God for the "real genius" of the King James Bible!   Dean Burgon agreed with us of the DEAN BURGON SOCIETY on this point.

H. The King James Bible's "Grace" and "Delightful Rhythm."  Notice what Dean Burgon thought about "the grace and delightful rhythm" of the King James Bible:  "Even this, however, is not nearly all.  As TRANSLATORS, full TWO-THIRDS of the REVISIONISTS have shown themselves SINGULARLY DEFICIENT,--alike in their CRITICAL ACQUAINTANCE WITH THE LANGUAGE OUT OF WHICH THEY HAD TO TRANSLATE, and in their FAMILIARITY WITH THE IDIOMATIC REQUIREMENTS OF THEIR OWN TONGUE." This is the same charge that can be made against the New International, the New American Standard, the New King James, and all the other English versions of modern times.   "They had a NOBLE VERSION BEFORE THEM, . . ." Does this sound like Dean Burgon was against the King James Bible?   Not at all!   ". . . which they have contrived to SPOIL IN EVERY PART.   Its dignified simplicity and ESSENTIAL FAITHFULNESS, its MANLY GRACE and its DELIGHTFUL RHYTHM, they have shown themselves alike UNABLE TO IMITATE and UNWILLING TO RETAIN.  Their QUEER UNCOUTH PHRASEOLOGY and their JERKY SENTENCES:--their PEDANTIC OBSCURITY and their STIFF, CONSTRAINED MANNER:--their FIDGETY AFFECTATION OF ACCURACY,--and their HABITUAL ACHIEVEMENT OF ENGLISH WHICH FAILS TO EXHIBIT THE SPIRIT OF THE ORIGINAL GREEK;--are SORRY SUBSTITUTES for the LIVING FRESHNESS, and ELASTIC FREEDOM, and HABITUAL FIDELITY of the GRAND OLD VERSION . . ." Praise God for the "Grand Old Version," the King James Bible!   So far as the English Versions are concerned, Dean Burgon could have been classified by James White as "King James Only" I suppose.  In English, he used and favored ONLY the King James Bible, and never wanted to revise its printed text!   This assumption is an error in James White's book among the scores of other errors which are mentioned in Dr. DiVietro's book mentioned above (B.F.T. #2562).   ". . . which we inherited from our Fathers, and which as sustained the spiritual life of the Church of England, and of all English-speaking Christians, for 350 years. . . .--the AUTHORIZED VERSION, wherever it was possible, SHOULD HAVE BEEN JEALOUSLY RETAINED.  But on the contrary.  EVERY FAMILIAR CADENCE has been DISLOCATED: the CONGENIAL FLOW of almost every verse of Scripture has been HOPELESSLY MARRED: so many of those little CONNECTING WORDS, which give life and continuity to a narrative, have been VEXATIOUSLY DISPLACED, that a perpetual sense of ANNOYANCE is created.  The countless MINUTE ALTERATIONS which have been NEEDLESSLY INTRODUCED into every familiar page . . ."  Some scholars have counted over 36,000 changes in the English Revised Version of 1881 when compared to the King James Bible of 1611.  These are needless "minute alterations."   ". . . prove at last as tormenting as a SWARM OF FLIES to the weary traveller on a summer's day. . . ." I like that analogy.  Don't you?  Flies are pesky and tormenting.  By whatever name, flying insects are extremely bothersome to us.   ". . . To speak plainly, THE BOOK HAS BEEN MADE UNREADABLE. . . . We lay the REVISERS' volume. 'down CONVINCED THAT THE CASE OF THEIR WORK IS SIMPLY HOPELESS."  [Burgon, REVISION REVISED, op. cit., pp. 225-26].  I would say amen to that.  So far as the English Revised Version of 1881 is concerned, Dean Burgon pronounced it "hopeless."  Dean Burgon would say the same for the various versions and perversions of our day.

I. The English Revised Version Disfigures the King James Bible.   Notice what Dean Burgon says about how the English Revised Version of 1881 "disfigures" the King James Bible:  "Had the blemishes been capable of being reckoned up, it might have been worth while to try to remedy some of them. . . ." Just like these new versions of today.   ". . . But when, instead of being disfigured by a FEW WEEDS scattered here and there, THE WHOLE FIELD PROVES TO BE SOWN OVER IN EVERY DIRECTION WITH THORNS AND BRIARS; above all when, DEEP BENEATH THE SURFACE, ROOTS OF BITTERNESS TO BE COUNTED BY THOUSANDS, ARE FOUND TO HAVE BEEN SILENTLY PLANTED IN, which are sure to produce POISONOUS FRUIT AFTER MANY DAYS:--under such circumstances only ONE COURSE CAN BE PRESCRIBED.  LET THE ENTIRE AREA BE PLOUGHED UP,--PLOUGHED DEEP; . . ." He took a stand against the versions and perversions of his day.   Dean Burgon, for whom our Dean Burgon Society is named, would have been a champion of our cause were he living today.  He would be standing where we are standing for the King James Bible.  He would plow under all these other English versions that are like weeds, thorns, and thistles.  He would plough deep and be a fighter just like the rest of us.  He would stand firm and tall for our King James Bible.   ". . .and let the ground be LEFT FOR A DECENT SPACE OF TIME WITHOUT CULTIVATION.  It is IDLE--worse than idle--to dream of revising, WITH A VIEW TO RETAINING, this Revision."  [Burgon, REVISION REVISED, op. cit., p. 227.] The English Revised Version was absolutely totally unsalvageable.  So are the modern perversions.

J. The Time for Revision of the King James Bible Had not Come.   Dean Burgon said that it was not the time for the revising of the King James Bible.   Notice what he wrote:   "Enough has been offered by this time to prove that AN AUTHORITATIVE REVISION OF THE GREEK TEXT will HAVE TO PRECEDE ANY FUTURE REVISION OF THE ENGLISH OF THE NEW TESTAMENT."   [Burgon, REVISION REVISED, op. cit., p. 124.] As mentioned above, I wrote a booklet entitled, Dean Burgon's Pre- requisites for Major Revision of the New Testament Greek Textus Receptus and the English King James Version New Testament. In this booklet, I analyzed, from The Revision Revised, all of Dean Burgon's arguments, prerequisites, and requirements necessary before any major revision of the Textus Receptus.  By the time a person had finished following every one of his prerequisites, nobody in his day (and certainly not in our own day) would have qualified for the task of revision.  Our position as a Dean Burgon Society is to leave the Textus Receptus as it is.  Either do it as Dean Burgon suggested (which no editor of any Greek text or English Version has done) or leave it alone.  Therefore we are going to stand firm on the Textus Receptus that underlies our King James Bible for the rest of our lives.  Dean Burgon says you can't change the English until you see if there are a few places in the Greek text that need re-arranging.  Again, it should be done as Dean Burgon has suggested, or not at all!   "Equally CERTAIN is it that FOR SUCH AN UNDER- TAKING [i.e. a `FUTURE REVISION' of the English N.T.], THE TIME HAS NOT YET COME.  `It is my honest conviction,'-- (remarks Bp. Ellicott, the Chairman of the Revisionists,)--`that for any AUTHORITATIVE REVISION, WE ARE NOT YET MATURE; either in BIBLICAL LEARNING or HELLENISTIC SCHOLARSHIP.'"  [Burgon, REVISION REVISED, op. cit., p. 124.] Since Bishop Ellicott didn't believe the time had "yet come" for a revision of the King James Bible, why did he chair the revision committee of the English Revised Version of 1881?  This ERV revision committee was told not to revise the English very much and not to change the Greek Text.  They violated both of these rules in many places.  The committee changed the English of the King James Bible in about 36,000 places.  They changed the Textus Receptus Greek Text that underlies the King James Bible in 5,604 places by my actual count, including 9,970 Greek words..

K. The English Revised Version Was an Example of What Translators Should NOT Do.  Dean Burgon gave his suggestions about what NOT to do in a translation, in the light of what was done in the English Revised Version of 1881.   This is an interesting negative example.  In I Corinthians 10, God gave to New Testament believers some negative examples from the experiences of the children of Israel.   He said:   "Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come."   (1 Corinthians 10:11)  God said that all these evil things that happened upon His people of old are written for us today so that we not do evil things as they did.  Sometimes we can learn as much from a bad example as from a good one.  I believe that this is a similar example of what NOT to do in a translation of the Bible.  Dean Burgon wrote:   "Their well-meant endeavours have provided an admirable TEXT-BOOK for Teachers of Divinity,--who will henceforth instruct their pupils to BEWARE OF THE TEXTUAL ERRORS OF THE REVISIONISTS OF 1881, as well as their TASTELESS, INJUDICIOUS, AND UNSATISFACTORY ESSAYS IN TRANSLATION. . . ." Those who have revised the King James Bible in modern times should also "beware of the textual errors of the Revisionists of 1881" as well as their "translation."  This includes the revisers who worked on the New Kings James, the New International, the New American Standard, and all the others.  This English Revised Version should be like a textbook on what errors to "beware of."   Were these modern editors aware of the English Revised Version's errors in the Greek Text? They may have been, but they did not consider them to have been "errors."  Instead they swallowed the "textual errors" hook, line and sinker.  Did the English Revised Version editors rely heavily upon manuscripts "B" (Vatican) and Aleph (Sinai)?  Yes, they did.  These two false Greek manuscripts were copied around the 4th century A.D., maybe in 350 or 375 A.D. and were used extensively in the ERV.  If we're going to "beware of the textual errors," would Dean Burgon advise us to use the same corrupt copies of "B" and Aleph?   today?  No, he would not.  Dean Burgon would warn against using them.  What have the translators done in the New International Version?  They have relied heavily upon the same two corrupt copies.   What have the translators done in the New American Standard Version?  They have relied heavily upon the same two corrupt copies.  What have the translators done in the Revised Standard Version and all the others?  They have relied heavily upon the same two corrupt copies.  Dean Burgon was opposed to both of these manuscripts ("B" and Aleph).. His book, The Revision Revised, proves his case very clearly and carefully.  The editors of the modern Bible versions have not been on guard against "textual errors" which were made by the Revisionists of 1881.  If you have ever seen or read one of these new translations I think you can agree that there are some "tasteless, injudicious, and unsatisfactory essays in translation" just as Dean Burgon found in the English Revised Version of 1881. Many of these new versions do not even sound like the "Bible" to those of us who love the King James Bible. My daughter, who lives in Florida, told me about a woman who came into a bookstore where she was shopping.   This woman asked for a "Bible."  After the saleslady showed this woman several different new  versions, the woman said, "You don't understand, I want a Bible."  My daughter said, "Excuse me, ma'am, this woman means she wants a King James Bible.  Do you have one?"  The saleslady said, "Well, I think we have a few of those in the back."  When the woman saw the King James Authorized Bible, she held it in her hand and said, "This is the Bible."   ". . . This work of theirs will discharge the office of a WARNING BEACON to as many as shall hereafter embark on the same PERILOUS ENTERPRISE with themselves." This has not been used by the new version editors as a "warning beacon."  It is likely that these editors have not even read the English Revised Version of 1881.  It is difficult to find anywhere now.  Maybe  they don't even know it exists. When I was a student at the Dallas Theological Seminary (1948-1953), the professors didn't tell us students there was such a man as Dean John William Burgon.   They didn't tell us there was a Textus Receptus that was different from the Westcott and Hort Greek Text.  They didn't say there was anybody who fought against this terrible text of Westcott and Hort.  The very Greek text of Westcott and Hort was put in our hands as a textbook.  We were told to read it, study it, and learn our Greek from that text.  It was their exact text.  It wasn't a Nestle-Aland Text.   It wasn't a Souter's text.  It wasn't a United Bible Society Text.  It was a Westcott and Hort text exactly.  All the omissions, all the changes, and all the additions were there.   ". . .It will convince men of the DANGER of pursuing the SAME ILL-OMENED COURSE: trusting to the SAME UNSKILLFUL GUIDANCE: venturing too near the same WRECK-STREWN SHORE."  [Burgon, REVISION REVISED, op. cit., pp. 231-32.] Alas!  The new versions and perversions have followed the "same unskillful guidance."  I'm convinced that many have forsaken the words of God for the words of man.  That's a "wreck-strewn shore" indeed.


The abundant evidence that Dean Burgon found the King James Bible superior to the English Revised Version of 1881 (and, by implication, superior to the various versions of today) is found in his writings.

A. The "Great Scholars of 1611."  Dean Burgon commends the King James Bible translators as follows:  "The verb aitein confessedly means `to ask.' And perhaps no better general English equivalent could be suggested for it.  But then, IN A CERTAIN CONTEXT, "ask" would be an INADEQUATE RENDERING: in another, IT WOULD BE IMPROPER;  in a third, IT WOULD BE SIMPLY INTOLERABLE.  Of all this, THE GREAT SCHOLARS OF 1611 SHOWED THEMSELVES PROFOUNDLY CONSCIOUS. .  ." [Burgon, REVISION REVISED, op. cit., p. 190.] The King James translators knew well the various nuances and shades of meaning of that Greek word "to ask."  It is the same Greek word, but in different contexts it has different shades of meaning.  Instead of stiffly saying "ask, ask, ask," in three different places, the context would require sometimes "ask," sometimes  "request" and sometimes "demand."   Was Dean Burgon in favor of the King James Bible?  He certainly was.  He referred to the men who gave us that Bible as "the great scholars of 1611."

B. The King James Bible Is a "Priceless Treasure."   Dean Burgon considered the King James Bible as a "priceless treasure."   Referring to that Bible, he wrote:  ". . . It will teach FAITHFUL HEARTS . . ." This is what our King James Bible will do.  Was Dean Burgon in favor of the King James Bible?  Yes.  Did he want to revise the English text of the King James Bible?  No.  Was he in favor of using ONLY the King James Bible?   Yes.  Should he be included in James White's chapter as favoring ONLY the King James Bible as our Dean Burgon Society does?  Yes!  James White wrongfully said that Dean Burgon was in favor of "revision in the KJB" as well as the Greek Text that underlies it.  Though he thought there might be some slight revision of the Greek Text, Dean Burgon wanted to keep the English text of the King James Bible intact without a single change!  Dean Burgon was for ONLY the King James Bible in the pulpit as well as in the pew.  He held that view up to the day of his death in 1888. ". . . to CLING THE CLOSER TO THE PRICELESS TREASURE which was bequeathed to them by the PIETY and WISDOM OF THEIR FATHERS.  It will dispel for ever the dream of those who have secretly imagined that A MORE EXACT VERSION, undertaken with the boasted helps of this nineteenth century of ours, would bring to light something which has been hitherto unfairly kept concealed or else misrepresented.  Not the least service which the Revisionists have rendered has been the proof their work affords, HOW VERY SELDOM OUR AUTHORIZED VERSION is MATERIALLY WRONG; HOW FAITHFUL AND TRUSTWORTHY, on the contrary, IT IS THROUGHOUT."  [Burgon, REVISION REVISED, op. cit., p. 232.]
Yes, our King James Bible is indeed a precious, "priceless treasure" that God has given to us.  We must cling to it.  If we do, we shall be blessed by it.

C. The King James Bible Has "Habitual Fidelity."   Dean Burgon believed that the King James Bible had "habitual fidelity."   He wrote:   "They held a NOBLE VERSION BEFORE THEM, . ." Dean Burgon was comparing only two English versions:  the King James Version of 1611 and the English Revised Version of 1881.  When a man fights and battles against this English Revised Version of 1881 and clings to, praises, and uses ONLY the King James Bible of 1611, what do you call that man?  He's a King James Bible man!   He stands for it and he exalts it.  Would James White exalt the King James Bible like Dean Burgon?  No!  Would any of these New American Standard Version men, or New International Version men, or even the New King James Version men   exalt it like Dean Burgon?  No!  What about the people in Bible believing colleges and universities that USE the King James Bible in their pulpit, but in their Greek classes, tear down the Greek textual base that underlies it (as in Bob Jones University and other places)?  Would they exalt the King James Bible with the words used by Dean Burgon?  I don't think so. ". . . which they contrived to SPOIL in every part.  Its DIGNIFIED SIMPLICITY and ESSENTIAL FAITHFULNESS, its MANLY GRACE and its DELIGHTFUL RHYTHM, they have shown themselves alike unable to imitate and unwilling to retain. . . . are sorry substitutes for THE LIVING FRESHNESS, and ELASTIC FREEDOM, and HABITUAL FIDELITY OF THE GRAND OLD VERSION WHICH WE INHERITED FROM OUR FATHERS, and which has sustained the spiritual life of the Church of England, and of all English-speaking Christians, for 350 years. . . . the AUTHORIZED VERSION, wherever it was possible, SHOULD HAVE BEEN JEALOUSLY RETAINED."  [Burgon, REVISION REVISED, op. cit., pp. 225-26.] Dean Burgon certainly favored the King James Bible in the same measure as he opposed the English Revised Version.

D. The Spirit of God "Was Mightily Upon" the Translators of the King James Bible.  Dean Burgon believed that God's Spirit was upon the translators of the King James Bible.  He wrote:  ". . . who does not respond gratefully to the EXQUISITE TASTE AND TACT with which "BONDMAID" itself has been exchanged for "BONDWOMAN" by OUR TRANSLATORS OF 1611, in verses 23, 30 and 31? . . . Verily, THOSE MEN UNDERSTOOD THEIR CRAFT!  `There were GIANTS IN THOSE DAYS.' As little would they submit to be bound by the new cords of the Philistines as by their green withes.   Upon occasion, they could shake themselves free from either.  And why?   For the selfsame reason: viz. BECAUSE THE SPIRIT OF THEIR GOD WAS MIGHTILY UPON THEM."  [Burgon, REVISION REVISED, op. cit., p. 196.] That doesn't mean that Dean Burgon thought that the Holy Spirit of God breathed out (or inspired) the exact English words to put down (including the italics) like Dr. Ruckman and/or his followers teach.  He didn't believe that the King James English Bible (including the italics) supersedes and takes precedence over the Hebrew and Greek.  He did not believe it was a new REVELATION, but only an accurate, faithful TRANSLATION.  Dean Burgon did believe that the Spirit of God was leading and guiding these men that gave us our Bible.  "The Spirit of God was mightily upon them."  That is a good stand to make.  The KJB translators were not only intellectually superior, but they were spiritually superior to men of the English Revised Version.  Spiritual ability is a must for all Scriptural endeavors.

E. The King James Bible Is a "Sacred Bond" to All English-speaking People.  Dean Burgon believed that the King James Bible was a "sacred bond" between all English-speaking people.  He wrote:  "Whatever may be urged in favour of BIBLICAL REVISION, it is at least undeniable that the undertaking involves a tremendous RISK. . . ." Notice that Dean Burgon believes that it is a "risk" to tamper with the King James Bible.  Anytime you touch something that is suitable, excellent, accurate, and "God's Word Kept Intact in English," there is a "risk" involved.  I realize that this illustration and analogy perhaps is not exact, but there is an element of truth in it.  Uzzah wanted with all his heart to steady the Ark of God that had been placed on the "new cart" contrary to God's express wishes.  He had a motivation  that he thought was sound, sane, and sensible, but it was unscriptural.  He had to lay hands upon that holy Ark of God that was moving.   He never should have put the Ark on a new cart to start with.  God said that the Ark should be carried on the shoulders of the priests.  Uzzah thought he was doing a good and noble work by touching the Ark so it wouldn't fall over.  When we touch the Bible that God has given to us as English-speaking people, "God's Word kept intact in English," our King James Bible, I believe, with Dean Burgon, that  we take a serious "risk." Something else is true.  These translators (of the ERV and also those of today's perversions) have touched these "precious words" of the King James Bible.  They have "blotted them out," and "silently revised" many of these "precious words" so that few people suspect that they are gone.  The words are missing in action.  Like our missing servicemen (MIA's), we have words that are "missing in action."  We have sentences missing in action.  We have verses missing in action.  We have whole sections missing in actions such as:  Mark 16:9-20, John 7:53--8:11.  There are twelve verses in each of those two sections.  We have a "risk."  I would not want to be in their place at the Judgement Seat of Christ if they are believing Christians.  Some of these men are undoubtedly believers.  If they are believers and are to appear before the Judgement Seat of Christ to give account of that which they have done in their body according to what they have done whether it be good or bad, I would not want to be in their place.  I would not want to face the Lord Jesus Christ after I had laid cruel hands on the words of the precious Scripture, destroying them, taking from the believers, and preaching from the housetops out of the false versions of their day.  Biblical revision is a tremendous "risk" Dean Burgon said.  He was right. ". . . Our AUTHORIZED VERSION is the ONE RELIGIOUS LINK which at present. . ." He was writing in 1883. ". . . binds together NINETY MILLIONS of English-speaking men scattered over the earth's surface. . . ." There are many more millions of English-speaking people today.  The King James Bible still binds us today.  Do you think that the NIV is ever going to bind millions and millions of English-speaking people?  Do you think it's going to be the New American Standard or the New King James that will bind all these millions together?  Versions have come and gone.  The English Revised Version of 1881 cannot even be bought, except in a second hand book shop if you can find one that has it.   They have stopped publication.  The American Standard Version of 1901, which is the American counterpart of the English Revised Version of 1881, is out of print as far as we know.  It won't be long until these other versions have disappeared as well.   Take a look at all the old ones down through the century.  It is hard to buy a good book that is more then four or five years old.  When the publishers stop making money on a book, they stop reprinting it.  The same is true with the Bibles.   They come and go.   ". . . Is it reasonable that so UNUTTERABLY PRECIOUS, so SACRED A BOND should be endangered, for the sake of representing certain words more accurately,--here and there translating a tense with greater precision,--getting rid of a few archaisms? . . ." Dr. Bob Doom, President of the Global Bible Society, located in North Carolina,  needs our prayers.  For many years now, he has been working to give us a special edition of the King James Bible.  The text will be unaltered, but the few words that may be outmoded, a little different, or hard to understand will be clarified in the margin.  This will enable the average reader to unlock all the treasures of the Word of God for himself.  Pray for him.  He has already spent $10,000 on this project.  He said he's got the Greek words done and at least part of it done in English from the New Testament (Matthew to Revelation).  He is trying to get out something for the Gospel of John by the end of 1995 if possible.  We don't need to get rid of a few archaisms.  Just leave the words alone and put the clarifications in the margins.  This is not like the new versions that change the words right in the text of the Bible.  We should not endanger the unutterable precious "sacred bond" of the King James Bible for any of these new versions. ". . . It may be CONFIDENTLY ASSUMED THAT NO 'REVISION' OF OUR AUTHORIZED VERSION, HOWEVER JUDICIOUSLY EXECUTED, WILL EVER OCCUPY THE PLACE IN PUBLIC ESTEEM WHICH IS ACTUALLY ENJOYED BY THE WORK OF THE TRANSLATORS OF 1611--THE NOBLEST LITERARY WORK IN THE ANGLO-SAXON LANGUAGE."  [Burgon, REVISION REVISED, op. cit., p. 113.] "Ever" is a long time, isn't it.  Do you think that holds for the year of  1995?  I believe it does.  Do you believe Dean Burgon is for ONLY the King James Bible?  Do you believe that is a misstatement in The King James Only Controversy book?

F. No "Rival Translation" Should Ever Take the Place of the King James Bible.  Was Dean Burgon in favor of a revision of the text of the King James Bible?  If so, how would he advise that it be done?  Dean Burgon did not want to have any "rival translation" in the English language to compete with the King James Bible.  He wrote:   "To be brief, . . ." Dean Burgon was never brief.  The BIBLE FOR TODAY has reprinted five of Dean Burgon's books on textual matters.  The Dean Burgon Society has decided to reprint in real book-type form of The Last Twelve Verses of Mark by Dean Burgon.  We had a committee meeting at supper time and we decided on that book as a beginning project.   Dean Burgon was never brief.  He wrote five books: (1) The Revision Revised, (2) The Last Twelve Verses of Mark, (3) The Traditional Text, (4) Causes of Corruption, and (5) Inspiration and Interpretation.  These five books make up almost 2,000 pages.   Dean Burgon's biography is almost 1,000 pages.  This makes a total of about 3,000 pages we have put back into print either by or about Dean Burgon.  In referring to any study edition of the King James Bible, he wrote:  ". . . --As a COMPANION IN THE STUDY and FOR PRIVATE EDIFICATION: as a Book OF REFERENCE FOR CRITICAL PURPOSES, especially in respect of DIFFICULT AND CONTROVERTED PASSAGES: . . ." Notice, this was for a limited purpose.  It was to be used "in the study" and for "private edification," and not for church services or general use at all. ". . . --we hold that a REVISED EDITION OF THE AUTHORIZED VERSION OF OUR ENGLISH BIBLE (IF EXECUTED WITH CONSUMMATE ABILITY AND LEARNING,) That is a big "if."  Do you believe that these new versions and perversions have been executed with consummate ability and learning?  I do not. ". . . would at any time be a WORK OF INESTIMABLE VALUE. . . . The METHOD of such a performance, whether BY MARGINAL NOTES . . ." As mentioned above, this is what Dr. Bob Doom is trying to do with his special edition of the King James Bible.  He will have a marginal notes with the meanings of a few words that have changed their meanings somewhat over the years.   There are only five to six hundred such words since 1611.  We have almost 800,000 words in our English King James Bible.  To have only five to six hundred words that have changed their meaning slightly since 1611 is a minute percentage indeed.   ". . . or in SOME OTHER WAY, we forbear to determine. . . . But certainly ONLY AS A HANDMAID is it to be desired. . . ." What is a handmaid?  We would call her a "maid" today.   If the maid or servant starts taking over the house, she turns into something other then a maid.  We have had some who have tried this.  We must know the difference between a handmaid and the lady of the house.  You better treat the lady of the house like the lady of the house and not like a handmaid.  When you have your "priceless treasure," our King James Bible, you HAVE the Lady of the house.   You better not treat her as a handmaid by using the new versions and perversions.   ". . . As something INTENDED TO SUPERSEDE OUR PRESENT ENGLISH BIBLE, we are THOROUGHLY CONVINCED that the project of a RIVAL TRANSLATION IS NOT TO BE ENTERTAINED FOR A MOMENT.  For ourselves, WE DEPRECATE IT ENTIRELY."   [Burgon, REVISION REVISED, op. cit., pp. 113-14. Dean Burgon did not believe that ANYTHING should "supersede our present English Bible."  Which was that?  It was the King James Bible.   As for have a "rival translation" for the King James Bible, Dean Burgon "deprecated it entirely."  Is there any other language that could be introduced to make it any clearer that for Dean John William Burgon, there was ONLY one English Bible, and that was the King James Bible!


We have in the  name of our "Dean Burgon Society," the name of Dean John William Burgon, a man who unequivocally not only stood against the false version of his day (the English Revised Version), but also stood in favor of the King James Bible of his day.  The King James Bible is now 384 years old.  The same arguments  used against this grand old Bible in Dean Burgon's day are used today, such as:  "Oh, my,  isn't the King James Bible too antiquated?   We can't understand it.  Don't we need something new and fresh?"   Dean Burgon stuck firmly to his King James Bible.  We ask the question again.  Did Dean Burgon have confidence in his King James Bible?  He certainly did.  We want, as a Dean Burgon Society, to show forth and radiate to those around us, Christians and non-Christians alike, that we do have confidence both in our King James Bible and the Greek and Hebrew texts that underlie it.
I always say on every one of our radio broadcasts, whether it is the five minute daily broadcast Monday through Friday or our thirty minute weekly broadcast, "We're building Bible confidence, confidence in the King James Bible, because the King James Bible is the Bible for Today."  My friends, the King James Bible is the Bible for today.  It was the Bible for yesterday.  And it will be the Bible for tomorrow.  We praise God that we had a Dean John William Burgon who stood together with us on this issue.   We would both agree that the King James Bible is "THE NOBLEST LITERARY WORK IN THE ANGLO-SAXON LANGUAGE"!!  We would also join Dean Burgon in his statement concerning our King James Bible (if you would permit me to repeat it once again):


About the Author:

The author of this booklet, Dr. D. A. Waite, received a B.A. (Bachelor of Arts) in classical Greek and Latin from the University of Michigan in 1948, a Th.M. (Master of Theology), with high honors, in New Testament Greek Literature and Exegesis from Dallas Theological Seminary in 1952, an M.A. (Master of Arts) in Speech from Southern Methodist University in 1953, a Th.D. (Doctor of Theology),  with honors, in Bible Exposition from Dallas Theological Seminary in 1955, and a Ph.D. in Speech from Purdue University in 1961.  He holds both New Jersey and Pennsylvania teacher certificates in Greek and Language Arts.

He has been a teacher in the areas of Greek, Hebrew, Bible, Speech, and English for over thirty-five years in nine schools, including one junior high, one senior high, three Bible institutes, two colleges, two universities, and one seminary.   He served his country as a Navy Chaplain for five years on active duty; pastored two churches; was Chairman and Director of the Radio and Audio-Film Commission of the American Council of Christian Churches; since 1971, has been Founder, President, and Director of THE BIBLE FOR TODAY; since 1978, has been President of the DEAN BURGON SOCIETY; has produced over 700 other studies, booklets, cassettes, or VCR's on   various topics; and is heard on both a five-minute daily and thirty-minute weekly radio program IN DEFENSE OF TRADITIONAL BIBLE TEXTS, presently on 25 stations.  Dr. and Mrs. Waite have been married since 1948; they have four sons, one daughter, and, at present, eight grandchildren.

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