DR. EDWARD FREER HILL'S POSITION ON THE KJB
The Dean Burgon Society's 1991 Annual Meeting
Dr. Robert Barnett, Vice President of the Dean Burgon Society
Copyright 1999 by the author, reproduction and distribution rights assigned to the Dean
I. HIS BACKGROUND AND EDUCATION
II. HIS CONFLICTS
III. HIS TRADITIONAL APPROACH TO BIBLE DEFENSE
IV. HOW TO STUDY DR. HILLS' BOOKS
V. HILL'S DEVELOPED DEFENSE OF THE OLD KJV
CONCLUSION: WHY BELIEVING BIBLE
STUDENTS MUST USE THE KJV
Why look today at the position of the late Dr. Edward F. Hills on the King James Bible?
This paper was originally suggested by Dr. Waite as a method to encourage deeper study
into the scholarship which defends our Bible among those in the Dean Burgon Society.
Second, many of us who defend the 1611 KJB are often told that there are no reputable
scholars who hold to our position. Dr. Hills was first a traditional critical scholar in
the field of textual criticism before re-examining the evidence, and calling for a return
to the traditional Bible texts. Dr. Hills' faith in the authorized King James Version
cannot be easily characterized as based upon ignorance, blind faith, or unscholarly
This paper is a brief condensation of my understanding of the position of the late Dr.
Edward F. Hills on the divine providential preservation of the Bible. Our primary goal
will be to emphasize Hill's strong stand on the KJB. Having discovered many years ago that
Dr. Hills had already been gifted of God to accurately articulate an excellent defense of
our faith in the same l7th century approved scriptures we endorse, it seemed proper to
some of us to express our God given faith in His Holy Scriptures through the same
traditional system already in use by our l7th century forefathers. This same historical
position was defended in the l9th century by John William Burgon, and revived in the 20th
century by men like the late Dr. Edward F. Hills.
We acknowledge our reliance upon the writings of Theodore P. Letis for the early life
of Hills. The late Edward Freer Hills, Th.D.(l912-81) spent many years in preparation
before launching his defense of both the original language texts and the l6ll KJB in
English. He graduated summa cum laude from Yale. Reared in a strong orthodox
Presbyterian home and grounded in the Bible, Hills sided with Machen in the dispute over
the drift at Princeton and the establishing of Westminster. Hills enrolled at Westminster
and graduated with a Th.B. Then he applied to Columbia Theological Seminary to get his
Th.M. He wanted to do his thesis on the inspiration of the Scriptures, but was turned
down. He finally gained approval to write on slavery and how it related to the scriptures,
the church, and present social problems.
From there Dr. Hills returned home to Chicago and tried to enter the doctoral program
of the University of Chicago and study textual criticism under Ernest Cadman Colwell, a
leading textual critic. Hills had planned to earn a doctorate from one of the leading
liberal schools, being trained under their best professors, and earn his doctorate in
textual criticism. After two years of study, they sent him a letter telling him they did
not find him qualified to become a textual critic, and denied him the opportunity to write
From there Hills went on to prove Chicago wrong by earning a Ph.D. in textual criticism
from Harvard Divinity School. We gave some details of Dr. Hills' educational background as
described by Theodore P. Letis, so you could see not only his qualifications, but also the
challenges he overcame in preparation to oppose the naturalistic system of textual
criticism enshrined in most institutions of higher learning.
Dr. Hills labored to gain acceptance as an accomplished textual critic, yet was
deprived of his reputation and acceptance as such because he believed by faith in the
divine providential preservation of the original language texts of the Bible, and the
resultant accuracy and authority of the l6ll KJB in English. This approach was repugnant
to those who embraced Warfieldianism. Warfield, in an attempt to defend orthodoxy Bible
authority from the threat of textual variants had devised a plan using German rationalism
to isolate the inspired, inerrant, infallible Bible and identify it only as the perfect
original autographs. Warfield then endorsed the use of the naturalistic Bible of Westcott
and Hort as still accurate, but void of inspiration, inerrancy and infallibility. Hills
rejected both this artificial Bible division by Warfield, and the l9th century
enlightenment scholarship of the Westcott and Hort persuasion which discredited the
traditional texts of the churches for centuries.
Dr. Hills represented an important 20th century link in the contingency which unites us
with Burgon, Owen, Beza and other giants in each generation of an unbroken line, going
back to the original infallible autographs. - Believing Bible Study, pp. 194-205. Dr.
Hills defended the old KJB not as just another good translation, but as representative of
an established standard or canon of Holy Scriptures which we in the 20th century have no
divine right or authority to replace.
Hills was rejected by his peers in textual criticism because he abandoned the
"neutral" approach of the l9th century Enlightenment, for the historical l7th
century "theological" approach to Bible defense. Hills believed our relationship
to the divine author of the Bible, must take preeminence over scientific theories and
presuppositions of human scholars who have attempted to undermine the credibility and
authority of the Bible. Instead of following his peers and their scholarship, he followed
His Lord and exposed scholarly unbelief to Bible believers.
While trained in the 50's to defend Westcott and Hort, Hills saw through the hypocrisy,
and was supporting the labors of l9th century John William Burgon before the 60's. -King
James Version Defended, pp. 139. The theories of Griesbach yielded variants which had
given skeptics fuel to deny any and all Bible authority. Hills saw through the Warfieldian
approach which adopted Enlightenment methods to secure a Bible authority which could not
be challenged, the infallibly inspired originals. -KJVD, pp. 110. Hills discovered early
that the only real defensible Bible possessed by the church goes back to our l7th century
A. His Theological approach based upon faith in God and
Dr. Hills's apologetic system begins with God and His revelation to man as our source
for knowing God and His Holy Scriptures. -BBS, pp. l, 56; KJVD, pp. 4,87. As all
traditional Calvinists, he believed knowing God through His revelation to be man's highest
duty and delight. Your author received the same basic approach in apologetics through Dr.
Victor Matthews at the Grand Rapids Baptist Seminary.
If it can be said that Dr. Hills had one foundational presupposition upon which his
views of textual criticism rest, it would be his acceptance of God and His revelation as
the source, support, and end of all true Christian thinking. In The King James Version
Defended, Dr. Hills entitled chapter one, "God's Three-Fold Revelation Of
Himself". He listed this Three-Fold Revelation as subtitled: "1. In Nature God
Reveals Himself As The Almighty Creator God." "2. In The Scriptures God Reveals
Himself As The Faithful Covenant God." and "3. In The Gospel God Reveals Himself
As The Triune Savior God." Dr. Hills based his apologetic system upon this three-fold
revelation of God in theology.
Dr. Hills restated this faith position on page 61: "He that cometh to God must
believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him (). If I truly believe in God, then God is more real to me than anything else I know,
more real even than my faith in Him. For if anything else is more real to me than God
Himself, then I am not believing but doubting. I am real, my experiences are real, my
faith is real, but God is more real. Otherwise I am not believing but doubting. I cast
myself therefore on that which is most real, namely God Himself. I take God and Jesus
Christ His Son as the starting point of all my thinking."
How then did Dr. Hills apply this faith to his stand upon an infallible Bible? Let Dr.
Hills tell us in his own words: "How do we take our stand upon divine revelation?
Only in one way, namely through the logic of faith. 'For God so loved the world, that He
gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have
everlasting life.' (). Since this Gospel is true, these conclusions logically
follow: First, the Bible is God's infallible inspired Word. This must be so, because if
our salvation depends on our believing in Christ, then surely God must have left us an
infallible record telling us who Jesus Christ is and how we may believe in Him truly and
savingly. Second, the Bible has been preserved down through the ages by God's special
providence. This also must be so, because if God has inspired the Holy Scriptures
infallibly, then surely He has not left their survival to chance but has preserved them
providentially down through the centuries. Third, the text found in the majority of the
biblical manuscripts is the providentially preserved text. This too must be true, because
if God has preserved the Scriptures down through the ages for the salvation of men and the
edification and comfort of His church, then He must have preserved them not secretly in
holes and caves but in a public way in the usage of His Church. Hence the text found in
the majority of the biblical manuscripts is the true, providentially preserved text.
Fourth the providential preservation of the Scriptures did not cease with the invention of
printing. For why would God's special, providential care be operative at one time and not
at another time, before the invention of printing but not after it? Hence the first
printed texts of the Old and New Testament Scriptures were published under the guidance of
God's special providence."
"Thus when we believe in Christ, the logic of our faith leads us to the true text
of holy Scripture, namely, the Masoretic Hebrew text, the Textus Receptus, and the King
James Version and other faithful translations. It is on this text, therefore, that we take
our stand and endeavor to build a consistently Christian apologetic system." -
pp. 86. So Dr. Hills did not base his faith upon blind assumptions, "circular
reasoning", or "unproven assertions" as some have charged, but upon God and
His divine revelation. Dr. Hills' use of presuppositions was his philosophical method of
defending his apologetic system from attacks by naturalistic critics. Again Dr. Hills was
following a faith position used by Bible-believers over many generations to defend their
faith from attacks from the philosophical false logic and reasoning of unbelief.
Furthermore, Dr. Hills believed all principles about Bible Preservation must come from
God and the Bible. "In New Testament textual criticism, therefore, we must start at
the highest point. We must begin with God, the supreme and eternal Truth, and then descend
to the lower, temporal facts which He has established by His works of creation and
providence. We must take all our principles from the Bible itself and borrow none from the
textual criticism of other ancient books. It is only by following this rule that we will
be able to distinguish facts from the fictions of unbelievers." -KJVD pp.115. Notice
how Dr. Hills placed "temporal facts" at the bottom, while modern critical
scholars start with this tangible evidence and search their way through the variant filled
manuscripts up to faith in God.
Dr. Hills believed that if we begin all our thinking with God and His revelation, then
His Son Jesus Christ will become our teacher and model on how we should approach
scripture. "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it
is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast (). If we have
received from God the gift of faith and if we have taken Jesus Christ, God's Son, as the
starting point of all our thinking, then we must adopt the same view of Holy Scripture
that Jesus believed and taught during the days of His earthly ministry. Let us therefore
consider first the doctrine of our Savior concerning the Hebrew Old Testament
Scriptures." Dr. Hills covered this subject in chapter #1 of Believing Bible Study.
In chapter #2 of Believing Bible Study, Dr. Hills applied the promises of Jesus
Christ for the New Testament to the manuscript evidence. Therefore, Dr. Hills based his
approach to textual criticism in both the Old and New Testaments upon the example and
teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Finally, Dr. Hills believed that our Lord Jesus Christ left us with an anointing which
has guided each generation of believers to accept truth and reject error. "But the
anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach
you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie,
and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him." ().
Dr. Hills believed the Holy Spirit led the church to accept the canon of Holy
Scriptures and reject non-canonical books: "Thus through the Holy Spirit's guidance
of individual believers, silently and gradually - but nevertheless surely - the Church as
a whole was led to a recognition of the fact that the twenty-seven books of the New
Testament, and only these books, form the canon which God gave to be placed beside the Old
Testament Scriptures as the authoritative and final revelation of His will."
-Believing Bible Study, pp. 33.
"This guidance of the Holy Spirit was negative as well as positive. It involved
not only the selection of canonical New Testament books but also the rejection of many
non-canonical books which were mistakenly regarded as canonical by some of the early
Christians....Soon all Christians everywhere were led by the Holy Spirit to repudiate
these spurious works and to receive only the canonical books as their New Testament
Scriptures." -Believing Bible Study, Page 33
Finally Dr. Hills reminded us that the Holy Spirit not only led in the forming of the
66 book canon of Holy Scriptures, but also the content of each book in Bible Preservation.
"Thus the Holy Spirit guided the early Christians to gather the individual New
Testament books into one New Testament canon and to reject all non-canonical books. In the
same manner also the Holy Spirit guided the early Christians to preserve the New Testament
text by receiving the true readings and rejecting the false. Certainly, it would be
strange if it had been otherwise. It would have been passing strange if God had guided His
people in regard to the New Testament canon but had withheld from them His divine
assistance in the matter of the New Testament text. This would mean that Bible-believing
Christians today could have no certainty concerning the New Testament text but would be
obligated to rely on the hypotheses of modern, naturalistic critics." Believing Bible
Study, page 33.
This ministry of the Holy Spirit collectively through each believer in each generation
down through the centuries is termed "the common faith" by Dr. Hills. This is
the theological presupposition by which we can assert that each generation had a
providentially preserved Bible upon which they could rest their faith for time and
eternity. Not only has this been true collectively for the past generations of saints in
history, but it is true subjectively for each saint who holds this same theological
position today. Dr. Hills said, "This then is the basic reason why I know the Bible
is true. The Bible is true because it is true for me. The Holy Spirit bears witness with
my spirit that I am a child of God and that therefore all the promises of holy Scripture
are true in my case With Jesus Christ I am join heir, because His death by faith is mine
(), But what more precisely do I mean when I say that the Bible is true? The
Bible itself tells me that I mean four things. First, the Bible is God's revelation of
Himself. Second, the Bible is eternally established. Third, the Bible is infallibly
inspired. Fourth, the Bible is providentially preserved." -Believing Bible Study,
Dr. Hills defended all the verses in the KJB. He reminded us that God used the Old
Testament priesthood, and not the Roman Catholic church to preserve the Old Testament
canon for us. - BBS, pp. 12,62. This is a scriptural fact. "What advantage then hath
the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that
unto them were committed the oracles of God." (). Dr. Hills reminded us
that God used the common faith of the believer priests in the New Testament to validate
the canon both in scope and content. -BBS, pp. 30,50,5l.
B. Hills defended the 17th Century English Canon.
John William Burgon had defended the authorized KJB as an established canon. However,
concerning the Greek Textus Receptus, he advocated a much more accurate future course for
any future textual criticism of the original New Testament text. His methodology, if
implemented, would have extensively and more fairly evaluated all the historical evidence.
It would have provided a much more accurate naturalistic model than the critical text
model of Westcott and Hort. -KJV, pp. 192. Both Burgon and Hills believed any variants
claimed to be in the Textus Receptus and/or the Authorized Version should be placed in the
footnotes or elsewhere, but not in the text of the Authorized Version. While Burgon
supported a naturalistic approach to the TR which honestly evaluated all the evidence, he
did not believe any results which might challenge the TR should be used to alter the text
of the authorized English KJV. However, an often ignored fact is that, Burgon did not
believe the l9th century even possessed the men and resources to carry out such a
revision. Dr. Waite as president of the Dean Burgon Society has publicly stated that the
20th century is no more able to meet Burgon's standards for revision of the TR now, than
was the l9th century. Neither century has had available the quality or quantity of
scholars possessed in the l7th century.
Dr. Hills in the tradition of Burgon defended the authorized KJV from future textual
change, but he also went beyond the high church Anglican position of Burgon and defended
the l7th century creedal statements of faith which declared the infallible authority of
the traditional Hebrew and Greek texts underlying the KJV as canonical standards as well.
It is this difference in Hills which also sets him in conflict with the modern
"critical" New Majority Greek Text of Dallas. (The Greek New Testament
According to The Majority Text by Zane C. Hodges/Arthur L. Farstad).
We have observed the error of Dallas for abandoning the l7th century theological
approach. In place of defending an established l7th century canon of Holy Scriptures,
Dallas moved to defend the original autographs through "statistical
probability." (Statistical Probability is the belief that the original autographs
would have been used to produce the first mass of copies, and then would have existed long
enough to assure us that the continuing majority would perpetuate the text of the
originals). As a result, Dallas could not fully support the l7th century statement of
faith on the Holy Scriptures. While Dallas claims to have followed Burgon's philosophy
toward the underlying Greek text, they did not follow Burgon's recommended methods, and
therefore cannot claim their product would receive his endorsement.
Accepting by faith the l7th century Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek text underlying the
Authorized KJV, as final canon, Hills would not have been open to more naturalistic
approaches which would in the future alter that established canon.
IV. HOW TO STUDY DR.
Because of the depth and diversity of Dr. Hills' writing, the average person may gain
more interest in Dr. Hills by digging into specific areas of his Bible defense. For
example, if you have questions about a particular verse called into question by other
Bible versions, you will find it defended in Dr. Hills' books. But to begin a general
study of Dr. Hills, I would suggest that you start by reading Believing Bible Study,
you may wish to skip chapter #6 on your first reading. As you read, high-light or mark
those sentences and paragraphs which teach you important truth. As you begin study of The
King James Version Defended, I would suggest that you skip the first three chapters,
(unless you understand the history of philosophy well), and start with page 85. Studying
Hills can be like panning for gold, if you are willing to patiently persevere and slowly
learn well his defense of God's Holy Scriptures. Don't become discouraged if Hills at
first seems difficult. Don't become side-tracted and bogged down in details which may not
be important to you at this time in defending your Bible. Study Dr. Hills with the
intention of gleaning some of the basic fundamentals of defending your KJB. You will
gradually assimilate more and more of Dr. Hills' approach as you study.
V. HILL'S DEVELOPED
DEFENSE OF THE OLD KJV.
A. Latin forerunners influencing our KJV.
Under "The Forerunners of the King James Version" Dr. Hills reminded us of
the early portions of the Bible first translated into English from the Latin Vulgate. He
spoke of the work of Caedmon (d.680), Bede (672-735), King Alfred (848-90l), and finally
John Wycliff (d.l384), who translated the entire Latin Bible into the English of his day.
-KJV Defended, pp.2l3; -BBS, pp. 109,196. It was no doubt from these early English
scriptures that the Holy Spirit led our forefathers to glean by faith from the western
line of Bible texts knowledge resulting in a common faith which would cause them to insist
that certain verses be retained in any future English Bibles. -BBS, pp. 111.
Just as Hills believed the Apostles respected the Septuagint as God's
"...providentially approved translation of the Old Testament into Greek", he
also believed we should respect the Latin Valgate in spite of its errors as "the
providentially appointed Bible version for Christians of Western Europe during the
medieval period." -BBS pp.82.
Dr. Hills reminded us that the first English translation of the New Testament from the
original Greek as preserved in the East, was by William Tyndale in l525-26. While
describing the versions between Tyndale and the authorized KJV, Dr. Hills reminded us that
"...five sixths to nine tenths of the latter is derived from the martyred
translator's work." The common faith which guided the final preparation of the canon
for print brought a merger of the two lines of preserved Bibles from the East and West. In
Hills words: "In the days of Erasmus, therefore, it was commonly believed by well
informed Christians that the original New Testament text had been providentially preserved
in the current New Testament text, primarily in the current Greek text and secondarily in
the current Latin text. Erasmus was influenced by this common faith and probably shared
it, and God used it providentially to guide Erasmus in his editorial labors on the Textus
Receptus." -KJV Defended, pp. 107, l97; -BBS, pp. 187.
Dr. Hills reminded us that the reformation Bible reflected the primary authority of the
Greek text of the East, and the secondary authority of the Latin text of the West. He said
the Eastern text was more pure because the Greeks followed corrupt Greek philosophy and
left the Bible text intact, while the West maintained purer doctrine through men like
Tertullian and Augustine, but altered their Bible text more. BBs pp.111. Hills proved over
and over by examples from the reformers like Calvin, Beza, Luther, etc., that the common
faith of the believers determined the final form of the text which merged the best of the
East and West into a common canon of faith. Dr. Hills believed the l7th century Bible
canon resulted from the divine merging of two existing lines of Bible texts, and not
advanced revelation, or double inspiration of the reformation Bibles.
Hills believed there is a holy war going on between Christ and Satan over the Holy
Scriptures. Satan is constantly striving to corrupt them, and Christ has been continually
correcting the corruption and preserving His word. -BBS, pp. 53. -KJVD, pp. 231. The worst
corruption was during the first two centuries. -BBS, pp. 114. The purifying and preserving
of the text reached the highest point in the l7th century canon which merged the purist
forms of both providentially preserved texts from the East and West, and which resulted in
the reformation. Hills believed the battle has intensified since the l7th century with
Satan striving to counter the canon of scripture by flooding the world with modern
Hills believed the common faith of the reformers was given by the ministry of the Holy
Spirit who guided these men bearing witness to the truth in their hearts. -BBS, pp. 59.
"Three principles of believing Bible study are included in this conviction which we
receive from the Holy Spirit that the Bible is truly God's Word. These are as follows:
first, the infallible inspiration of the Scriptures; second, the eternal origin of the
Scriptures; third, the providential preservation of the Scriptures. -KJVD, pp. 88,89. One
cannot logically claim to possess an infallible Bible from God without holding firmly to
all three points.
B. The KJV a God guided translation.
Dr. Hills concluded of the finished work on the KJB: "Surely this is a God-guided
translation on which God, working providentially, has placed the stamp of His
approval." -KJV Defended, pp. 2l6. It was this text behind the KJB which produced the
reformation. BBS 62,63. Dr. Hills believed that even the English words and language style
used in the authorized KJB were not contemporary, but biblical, deriving much of their
form and style from the original Hebrew and Greek texts. -KJV Defended pp.2l3.
Hills reminded us that biblical English was developed providentially for the express
purpose of praising God. For those who don't pray using such English, Dr. Hills asked if
the problem is not lack of reverence for God rather than problems with the language. Such
an argument makes a good point, in light of the fact we still don't seem to mind singing
old hymns of worship in old biblical English. -BBS pp. 85.
While Dr. Hills did not believe in secondary inspiration of the authorized KJB, he did
believe the translators were providentially guided even in the marginal notes in the KJB.
-BBS 65. He pointed out that the many revisions of the KJB between l6ll and l769 dealt
first with mistakes in printing, and later as English spelling and punctuation became
standardized, changes were made in the authorized version to reflect these English
changes. -KJV Defended 2l7. -BBS pp.66. (For those interested in more such details, we
would recommend The King James Version of l611 the Myth of Early Revisions, by Dr.
David F. Reagan. Available from Trinity Baptist Temple Bookstore, 5709 N. Broadway,
Knoxville, Tenn. 37918.)
C. The KJB an independent variety of the Textus Receptus.
Dr. Hills believed the authorized KJB was not merely an accurate translation of the
Textus Receptus, he believed it was an independent variety of the Textus
"The translators that produced the King James Version relied mainly, it seems, on the
later editions of Beza's Greek New Testament, especially his 4th edition (l588-9). But
also they frequently consulted the editions of Erasmus and Stephanus and the Complutensian
Polyglot. According to Scrivener (l884), out of the 252 passages in which these sources
differ sufficiently to affect the English rendering, the King James Version agrees with
Beza against Stephanus ll3 times, with Stephanus against Beza 59 times, and 80 times with
Erasmus, or the Complutensian, or the Latin Vulgate against Beza and Stephanus. Hence the
King James Version ought to be regarded not merely as a translation of the Textus Receptus
but also as an independent variety of the Textus Receptus."
As to questions about differences between the various forms of the Textus
Hills said, "The texts of the several editions of the Textus Receptus were
God-guided. They were set up under the leading of God's special providence. Hence the
differences between them were kept down to a minimum. But these disagreements were not
eliminated altogether, for this would require not merely providential guidance but a
miracle. In short, God chose to preserve the New Testament text providentially rather than
miraculously, and this is why even the several editions of the Textus Receptus vary from
each other slightly." KJV Defended, pp. 222.
D. The KJB God's providentially appointed English Bible.
Not only did Dr. Hills believe the authorized KJB to be an independent form of the
but he believed it to be God's providentially appointed English Bible. -KJV Defended, pp.
229. Hills suggested we hold the same view of the KJB as the apostles maintained toward
the Greek Septuagint. Hills illustrated this saying, "In their Old Testament
quotations the Apostles never made any distinction between the Septuagint and the Hebrew
Scriptures. They never said, 'The Septuagint translates this verse thus and so, but in the
original Hebrew it is this way.' Why not? Why did they pass up all these opportunities to
display their learning? Evidently because of their great respect for the Septuagint and
the position which it occupied in the providence of God." We remind our readers that
the record bears witness that our Lord Jesus Christ never corrected any Bible text with
the originals either. (Some believe the Septuagint was not available at all at that time,
but was probably Origen's fifth column.)
E. The KJB the only Authoritative English Bible.
Not only did Dr. Hills believe the authorized KJB to be God's providentially appointed
English Bible, but consequently, he believed it to be "The Only Authoritative English
Bible." He said, "Of all the English Bibles now in print only the King James
Version is found on the logic of faith. Therefore only the King James Version can be
preached authoritatively and studied believingly...How can you be sure that you have the
true New Testament text? Only by beginning your thinking with Christ and the Gospel and
proceeding according to the logic of faith...Hence the formation of the Textus Receptus
was God-guided. The Textus Receptus, therefore, is a trustworthy reproduction of the
infallibly inspired original New Testament text and is authoritative. And so is the King
James Version and all other faithful translations of the Textus Receptus."
F. Is the King James Version Perfect? - Not Ideally but
"Admittedly the King James Version is not ideally perfect. No translation
ever can be. But it is the product of such God-guided scholarship that it is practically
perfect." -B.B.S. page 83. (While Dr. Hills admitted possibly three small errors,
your author still concurs with the late Dr. David Otis Fuller that it is better to term
such as "problems" rather than "errors".)
G. "How to Defend the King James Version - Make
Assailants Prove Their Point."
Dr. Hills reminded us not to treat the KJB like just another version: "When we
defend the King James Version, we do not place it on a level with other English Bible
versions and then try to find out which version has the fewest mistakes. This would be too
subjective. We must start out rather with the objective fact that the King James Version
is preeminently the English Bible translation on which God, working providentially, has
placed the stamp of His approval. Hence the King James version must be regarded as correct
unless it can be conclusively shown to be otherwise. Those that assail it must be required
to prove their point. By demonstrating that they cannot do so we defend our historical
English Bible." -B.B.S. page 81. Even when people go to great lengths in attempting
to disqualify the old KJB, we should simply remind them that we support it in the same
manner as our l7th century forefathers as our established canonical English standard which
is not subject to change.
BELIEVING BIBLE STUDENTS
MUST USE THE KJV--A RECAPITULATION
"In regard to Bible versions many contemporary Christians are behaving like
spoiled and rebellious children. They want a Bible version that pleases them no matter
whether it pleases God or not. 'We want a Bible version in our own idiom' they clamor. 'We
want a Bible that talks to us in the same way in which we talk to our friends over the
telephone. We want an informal God, no better educated than ourselves, with a limited
vocabulary and a taste for modern slang.' And having thus registered their preference,
they go their several ways. Some of them unite with the modernists in using the
the N.E.B. Others compromise by using the N.A.S.V. or the N.I.V. Most of them, however, go
all out for the T.E.V. or Ken Taylor's Living Bible. And they do not stop there. More and
more in 'evangelical' circles the trend is to do without the Scriptures altogether and to
rely on gospel music, Christian films, tapes, counseling and psychology to do the work
that only the Bible can do."
"But God is bigger than you are, dear friend, and the Bible version which you must
use is not a matter for you to decide according to your whims and prejudices. It has
already been decided for you by the workings of God's special providence. If you ignore
this providence and choose to adopt one of these modern versions, you will be taking the
first step in the logic of unbelief. For the arguments which you must use to justify your
choice are the same arguments which unbelievers use to justify theirs, the same method. If
you adopt one of these modern versions, you must adopt the naturalistic New Testament
textual criticism upon which it rests. This naturalistic textual criticism requires us to
study the New Testament text in the same way in which we study the texts of secular books
which have not been preserved by God's special providence. In other words, naturalistic
textual criticism regards the special, providential preservation of the Scriptures as of
no importance for the study of the New Testament text. But if we concede this, then it
follows that the infallible inspiration of the Scriptures is likewise unimportant. For why
is it important that God should infallibly inspire the Scriptures, if it is not important
that he should preserve them by His special providence? And this leads to the conclusion
that the Gospel is not important. For why is the Gospel important, if it is not important
that the Bible which contains the Gospel should be infallibly inspired and providentially
preserved? Are you not willfully blind, then, dear brother, if you refuse to admit that
the use of these modern Bible versions leads to modernism?"
"How, then, do we find the Bible version that pleases God? By reversing the
process and naturalistic reasoning, by beginning with Christ and the Gospel and proceeding
according to the logic of faith. Since the Gospel is true, the Bible which contains this
Gospel is infallibly inspired. And since the Bible is infallibly inspired, it has been
preserved down through the ages by God's special providence, not secretly in holes and
caves and on forgotten library shelves, but publicly in the usage of God's Church, the Old
Testament through the Old Testament priesthood, and the New Testament through the New
Testament priesthood, namely, the universal priesthood of believers. Moreover, the
providential preservation of the Scriptures did not cease with the invention of printing,
for why would God preserve the sacred text at one time and not at another time? Hence the
formation of the Textus Receptus was God-guided, and this text is therefore a trustworthy
reproduction of the divinely inspired original text. And so is the King James Version and
all other faithful translations of the Textus Receptus. Hence today and for the
foreseeable future the King James Version is the English Bible that truly pleases
"Taking our stand, therefore, on this true Bible text, we make God and His
revelation of Himself in holy Scripture the starting point of all our thinking and all our
actions. In the realms of biblical textual criticism, biblical introduction, apologetics,
theology, philosophy, science, and politics we proclaim our Christian faith to all the
world not as a probability but as a certainty. It is only in this way that we can do our
duty to God and to our country. It is only in this way that we can demonstrate our loyalty
to Jesus Christ, the KINGS OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS (Rev. 19:16)." -BBS, pp.
We pray this brief review of the position of the late Dr. Edward F. Hills defending the
old KJV will encourage your heart, strengthen your faith, and motivate you to a stronger
defense of your English Bible authority.
Hills, Edward F.
The King James Version Defended. Des Moines: The Christian Research Press. 1956,
Believing Bible Study. Des Moines: The Christian Research Press. 1967, 1977
Letis, Theodore P.
Edward Freer Hills' Contribution To The Ecclesiastical Text . Vallecito: Journal Of
Christian Reconstruction, Volume twelve, Number two, 1989, pages 21-172.
(Above material first copied for this paper from "Edward Freer Hills's
Contribution to the Revival of the Ecclesiastical Text." Unpublished thesis of
Theodore P. Letis in partial fulfillment of the degree of Master of Theological Studies.
The Majority Text: Essays and Reviews in the Continuing Debate. Grand Rapids:
Institute For Biblical Textual Studies. 1977