My Reply to James D Price's Review of "A Plea for a Perfect Bible"
Dr. Jeffrey Khoo
Received October 7, 2005
Dr James D Price of Temple Baptist Seminary has written a review my paper "A Plea for a Perfect Bible" as published in The Burning Bush (January 2003, www.febc.edu.sg/burningbush.htm). His paper has been disseminated via email by anti-preservationist advocates in Singapore who hail him as one of their champions. Knowing the anti-KJV-only and pro-Westcott-Hort inclination of Price, it is only expected of him to be biased against my paper in defense of the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures underlying the KJV.
Price is Not for the KJV-Alone Stance of ___ Church
I am quite sure that Price would criticize the ___ Church Statement of Reconciliation of January 5, 2003-that the KJV is "the very word of God, and fully reliable, ... And thus we should continue to exclusively use the KJV for all ministries of the church and for our members' use, and refrain from all Modern English versions, like the RSV, NASV and NIV. One of the many deficiencies of these Modern English versions is that they are based on the corrupted Westcott and Hort Greek and Hebrew Text; whilst the KJV is based on the uncorrupted family of the Greek Received Text and the Masoretic Hebrew Text."
Price does not believe that the KJV is as reliable as we think. This can only be expected of him because he is one of the translators of the NKJV-a version that seeks to discourage the use of the old KJV. Neither does Price consider the Textus Receptus to be a superior text. He is sympathetic to Westcott and Hort and their method of textual criticism.
Price Undermines the KJV as the Very Word of God
Price is quite adept at confusing and undermining people's confidence on the KJV. He has a list of grammatical, spelling, capitalization, and printing "mistakes" in the KJV. Price is conceited enough to think his command of the English language is superior to that of the King James translators. He wants to correct the King's English of the KJV. It is like a kindergarten pupil trying to correct the university professor. David Marshall who had for his English textbook the King James Bible would have dismissed Price's puerile criticism of the English of the KJV. The KJV was written in an age when the English language was at its zenith. Since then, the standard of English has deteriorated, and Price's English is no better.
Price, like most anti-KJVists, is quick to criticise the KJV for its "mistakes." A favorite example is Matt 23:24, "Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel." Some call "strain at a gnat" a translation or a grammatical mistake, saying that it should be "strain out a gnat" and not "strain at a gnat." Price calls it a misprint or typographical error. I believe it is neither a translational error nor a typographical error. Even the New Oxford English dictionary does not see "strain at" to be a mistake, but an archaic usage. Thus, to "strain out a gnat" is correct; to "strain at a gnat" is also correct.
If "strain at" is indeed a legitimate translation, how then ought we to understand it? Well, it depends on where the emphasis lies. Is the emphasis on the verb ("strain") or on the noun ("gnat")? The King James translators were astute to translate the Greek word "diulizo" ("to strain," "to filter," "to percolate") as "to strain at." This is because the context has to do with sight. Jesus ridiculed and rebuked the Pharisees calling them "blind guides." How blind were they? They were so sharp to spot a tiny little gnat and quick to filter it out of their drink, but could not see a huge camel on their plate and were prepared even to swallow it whole. Thus "to strain at" could be taken to mean "to strain at [the sight of] a gnat." Now, the Chambers Dictionary confirms this: "strain at in Matt. xxiii. 24, to remove by straining, strain in the event of finding. Many today like Price would have to "strain at a gnat" to fault the KJV, but when it comes to the modern perversions, they would "swallow
The other "mistakes" Price pointed out like archaic spellings and capitalizations etc, are not "mistakes." The King James translators capitalize certain nouns and adjectives when these nouns and adjectives refer to God. In certain places they do not because it could be due to their uncertainty on how the noun/adjective is to be interpreted, or simply because it was an oversight on their part (they were not infallible as proofreaders and translators). At times there is a need to return to the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures for certainty and clarity. Dr E F Hills has this wise advice, "We must be very cautious therefore about finding errors in the text of the King James Version, and the same holds true also in the realm of translation. Whenever the renderings of the King James Version are called in question, it is usually the accuser that finds himself in the wrong."
Price Misrepresents My Paper and Confuses the Issue
Now, let me rebut a couple of misleading statements by Price. Price wrote, "Historically, fundamentalists have understood that God preserved the text (words) of Scripture through the hand-written copies of the Hebrew and Greek Bibles that have survived through history-that is, the preserved ancient Bibles (manuscripts)." Price misleads. No fundamentalist, neo-evangelical or modernist would object to such a general statement of Scripture preservation as offered by Price. Price's statement is too broad and ambiguous for it to be definitive.
What distinguishes historic and reformed fundamentalists from neo-evangelicals and neo-fundamentalists is this: historic and reformed fundamentalists believe that the Scriptures are preserved in the Byzantine/Majority/Received Text which is the source text of the KJV and all the Reformation Bibles, while neo-evangelicals and neo-fundamentalists believe they are preserved in the Alexandrian/Minority/
Westcott-Hort Text, the root of all the modern perversions of the Bible.
Price says I misrepresent historic fundamentalism because it never held to the KJV as the best and only English Bible fundamentalists should use. But the following fundamentalists would disagree with Price: (1) Regular Baptist, Dr Robert Gromacki of Cedarville College, in his New Testament Survey textbook, affirmed the KJV "as the text of fundamentalism" (New Testament Survey, xii). Dr Ian Paisley, a Free Presbyterian and prominent leader of the World Congress of Fundamentalism, upholds the KJV alone. Without mincing his words, he wrote, "I believe this Authorized Version is unsurpassably pre-eminent over and above all other English translations, ... I cry out There is none like that, give it me,' and in so doing I nail the Satanic lie that the Authorized Version is outdated, outmoded, mistranslated, a relic of the past and only defended by stupid, unlearned, untaught obscurantists. ... I believe this Book will always be the unsurpassable pre-eminent English version of the Holy Bible and no other can ever take its place. To seek to dislodge this Book from its rightful pre-eminent place is the act of the enemy, and what is attempted to put in its place is an intruder-an imposter-a pretender-a usurper" (My Plea for the Old Sword, 10-11). In similar fashion, Dr Carl McIntire and the International Council of Christian Churches (ICCC) in two recent World Congresses, in Amsterdam 1998 and in Jerusalem 2000, affirmed the exclusive KJV and TR stance of historic fundamentalism.
When Price fails to understand or answer my arguments, he conveniently distorts my position on divine inspiration and preservation and my view on the KJV/TR. He wrote, "The bottom line ... is a blind commitment to the theory that the English words of the King James Version are the divinely inspired, divinely preserved Word of God, regardless of any Hebrew and Greek evidence to the contrary. It is neither the Traditional Text, nor the Byzantine Text, nor the Majority Text, nor any of the various editions of the Textus Receptus that is the final authority, so why mention them? To Khoo, Cloud, and Hills, the final authority in all matters of text and translation is the English King James Version of 1769 in one of its various differing editions. The Textus Receptus that underlies the English words of the KJV is a phantom text that had no tangible existence prior to its being created after the fact in the mid-nineteenth century, so why mention the others at all?"
Why mention them? Why mention the Traditional Text? Why the Byzantine Text? Why the Majority Text? Why the Textus Receptus? It is precisely because "I believe that the purity of God's words has been faithfully maintained in the Traditional/Byzantine/Majority/ Received Text, and fully represented in the Textus Receptus that underlies the KJV" ("A Plea for a Perfect Bible," 13). Right at the very outset of my Burning Bush paper, I had made it clear that I was talking about an infallible and inerrant Hebrew and Greek Scriptures on which the KJV is based, and not the KJV per se. There is no "double inspiration" and the KJV is definitely not more inspired than the original language text.
Also, the text underlying the KJV is not a "phantom text." If it is indeed a "phantom" or "intangible" text, then what did the King James translators use to translate their Bible? Perhaps, Price meant it is a "phantom text" today. But how is it a "phantom" or "intangible" text when it is in print, and used in our Greek classes? The Textus Receptus underlying the KJV is essentially Beza's 1598 TR and the last 2 editions of Stephen's TR, and corresponds with Scrivener's TR that is today published by the Trinitarian Bible Society and the Dean Burgon Society. Price disappoints with his careless and illogical analysis of my paper and serious distortion and misrepresentation of my views.
Now, what is really a "phantom text" is Price's "autographic text." Where is this "autographic text?" Is it tangible? Who is the publisher? Can Price produce it? I submit to you that Price's "autographic text" is the "intangible text."
Price's Fallacious Method in Solving Bible Difficulties
As regards my attempt at reconciling an apparent discrepancy in the OT, viz, 2 Kgs 8:26 and 2 Chron 22:2, Price was correct to point out the difficulties of my suggested solution if we take Ahaziah to be the actual son of Jehoram. Now, I must clarify that I am not saying that the "co-regency" solution is the answer for this case; it is simply one way of reconciling such apparent discrepancies. One possible reply to Price is that Ahaziah might not have been the actual blood relative of Jehoram, but a step-son, a son-in-law, or an adopted son, thus allowing Ahaziah to be about the same age as Jehoram. Another possible solution is to look at 2 Kgs 8:26 as the actual age of Ahaziah when he became king, and 2 Chron 22:2 as the age of his dynasty when he became king.
My approach to biblical discrepancies is simple: "Let God be true, but every man a liar" (Rom 3:4). In other words, the Bible must always be right, and I am wrong. We offer possible solutions, but we do not say "This is exactly what happened." We do not have all knowledge, and we do not know enough of history and the background of the times to offer a definite solution. There are certain things we may not be able to solve or understand this side of eternity. But one thing is for sure, such discrepancies are only apparent; they are not mistakes or errors in the Bible.
Now, Price offers a solution to the above discrepancy which I find rather troubling. He says that 2 Chron 22:2 should read 22 instead of 42 even though every existing Hebrew manuscript reads 42 (note that Price acknowledges that I was correct to observe this). Price solves the discrepancy by using a non-inspired version/translation, namely, the Septuagint (ie, a Greek version of the Hebrew OT) to correct the inspired Hebrew Scriptures. Price says this is the "scholarly" way to solve a Bible difficulty. This is no different from using the NIV or any of the modern versions, or for that matter the KJV to correct the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures. By so doing, Price is in effect saying that the versions (whether ancient or modern) are more inspired than the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures. This is Ruckmanism, is it not?
Price Agrees with Me on VPP
Despite the many inaccurate and misleading arguments, and misrepresentations of my views on the TR and KJV by Price, I am glad to note that he at least agrees with me that the Holy Scriptures are verbally-plenarily inspired (VPI) and verbally-plenarily preserved (VPP). Price also agrees with me that "God did give us a perfect Bible, and has preserved its text." He says that his perfect Bible is in "the autographic text"-"the autographic text is the exact,' perfectly pure,' absolutely certain' divinely inspired, infallible, inerrant Word of God, with no room for doubt." Now this is a fine statement of faith on the perfection of the Bible. But I would like to know this: What and where is the "autographic text?" What does he mean by the "autographic text"? Is this autographic text the same as the Autographs? Or are they copies of the Autographs? If they are the Autographs, then where are the Autographs? Is it not true that the Autographs are no longer in existence? Are not the Autographs therefore the "phantom" or "intangible" text? If by "autographic text" is meant the "copies" of the Autographs, then are they not in fact "apographs"? And if they are indeed "apographs", why am I faulted when I say that all the inspired words are fully represented in the Hebrew and Greek apographs underlying the
KJV? Perhaps the difference between Price and me is that Price sees the "autographic text" as not just the Hebrew and Greek apographs underlying the KJV but also NIV, NASB, RSV, etc, and that the corrupt apographs underlying the modern versions (ie, the Westcott and Hort Text) could be superior to the preserved apographs of the KJV.
James Price, and ___ who copied him are certainly
entitled to such a view, but I for one would not want to hold to such a
troublesome view. I have many things to say about Price's paper, but it is
getting tedious, not only for me but I believe also for you. I will stop