Deification of our King James Bible Is Idolatry
Pastor D. A. Waite, Th.D., Ph.D.
You might wonder why I have chosen this title for my editorial for this issue of the Dean Burgon News. I used it because I believe there are many who use and defend our King James Bible to the extent of making it into DEITY or GOD. They DEIFY the King James Bible (KJB). This is called DEIFICATION. All such action is plain and simple IDOLATRY. Does this sound shocking? Yes, but hear me out.
First of all, what does "DEIFY" mean?
Are you, or is someone you know, making of our King James Bible into a Deity or God? Some people charge some followers of our King James Bible of being a "paper Pope." Are you DEIFYING this great Book? Are you guilty of DEIFICATION of the King James Bible? This charge is often made against those of us who hold the King James Bible to be the only accurate translation of the verbally preserved Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek Words which underlie it. They accuse some of "worshiping" their Bible more than the God of the Bible. This is a false charge so far as I am concerned, but it might be true for some. Is it true for you? Read on, and then answer the question for yourself.
This is one of the most controversial matters among those who use and defend the King James Bible. We must define our terms when speaking about "inspiration."
III. The Bible's Inspiration
A. The source of this DEIFICA- TION. There is only one place in the entire New Testament where the English word, "inspiration," is used. This place is 2 Timo- thy 3:16 where we read:
B. The Interpretations of This Verse.
1. The Wrong Interpretation. Those who DEIFY the King James Bible believe that this verse includes and refers to the King James Bible. If indeed it refers to the KJB, these people are absolutely correct. "Given by inspiration of God" would mean that every Word in the AV 1611 was "given by inspiration of God." They would then be right in their DEIFICATION of that book.
2. The Right Interpretation. The proper interpretation of this verse is that it refers solely and uniquely to the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek Words that God gave originally in the Old and New Testaments. Since God has promised and has fulfilled His promise to preserve accurately these Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek Words, those words that underlie the King James Bible are the very ones that were "given by inspiration of God."
If there is any DEIFICATION of the Words, then those Words which God gave should be DEIFIED and exalted as being directly from God Himself..
3. The Greek Word Used. The five English words in the KJB, "given by inspiration of God," are a proper translation of one Greek word. That Greek word is qeovpneusto" (theopneustos). This is a compound word made up of two other Greek words. "Theo" is short for "Theos" which means "God." "Pneustos" is an adjective from the verb, "pneo" which means "to breathe." The literal meaning of this Greek word, qeovpneusto", is "God-breathed." "Given by inspiration (or breath) of God" is a good translation of this Greek word.
IV. The Results of Interpretations
A. The Results of False Interpreta- tion. Those who believe that the words, "given by inspiration of God" (2 Timothy 3:16) refer to the King James Bible are really saying that every word of that Bible was "God-breathed" or "breathed out by God" rather than translated by men from the God-preserved Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek Words underlying it. This false position has a number of serious results.
1. Which King James Bible Contains Those Alleged "God-Breathed" Words? From my book, Defending the King James Bible (pp. 198-99), here are a few of the 1611 Authorized Version revisions:
"17. 1611, Authorized Version, The Holy Bible.
Special Editions Of The Authorized Version came out as follows: 1613, 1616, 1617, 1618, 1629, 1630, 1633, 1634, 1637, 1638, 1640, 1642, 1653, 1659, 1675, 1679, 1833, 1896, 1904.
Curious Editions Of The Authorized Version came out as follows:
I believe this shows plainly that our King James Bible was translated and then printed by fallible human beings. Which of the many King James Bibles was the one, if any, that was "God-breathed"?
2. It Is Impossible For our Righteous God to "Breathe Out" the Apocrypha of 1611. The God of the Bible is absolutely "righteous" (Psalm 7:9; 11:7; 116:5; 119:137; 129:4; 145:17; John 17:25; 2 Timothy 4:8; 1 John 2:1; Revelation 16:5).
Yet, in the Apocrypha of the AV 1611 (the original AV), there are contained the following things three of the seven things listed by Alexander McClure against it:
"5. They contain fabulous statements, and statements which contradict not only the canonical Scripture, but themselves; as when, in the two Books of Macabees, Antiochus Epiphanes is made to die three different deaths in as many different places. 6. It inculcates doctrines at variance with the Bible, such as prayers for the dead and sinless perfection. 7. It teaches immoral practices, such as lying, suicide, assassinations and magical incantation." (Alexander McClure, Trans- lators Revived, pp. 185-86).
Our "righteous" God could not by any means be a party to "breathing out" this Apocrypha which the King James Translators included in their AV 1611 Bible. This was a serious error, but it was not God's error, it was the error of these men.
V. A Proper Assessment
I personally believe that our King James Bible is the only accurate
translation in the English language of God's inspired, preserved Hebrew,
Aramaic and Greek Words that underlie it. Because of this, I can hold up
my King James Bible and say "In this Bible, we have the Words of God in