The following is from a message recorded on audio cassette in the 1970s.
In every message of this nature we should begin with Scripture. I am now
going to quote one passage from the Old Testament and one passage from the
Isaiah 8:19-20--"And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that
have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should
not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead? to the law and
to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because
there is no light in them."
Revelation 22:18-19--"For I testify unto every man that heareth the
words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things,
God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any
man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall
take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and
from the things which are written in this book."
In this message I will seek to give as clear account of this whole
complex question as I can, so that the ordinary layman who is not familiar
with this particular area of knowledge can get it without too much trouble.
Victor Hugo, the great French novelist, wrote upon one occasion: "Greater
than the threat of mighty armies, or the barriers of isolation, is the
irresistible force of an idea whose hour has come." You know what Thomas
Edison did, don't you? Of course you do. He had an idea that electricity
could be put to good use in light, and heat, and power, and look what we
have today. That idea really was irresistible once it started on its course.
And then there were the Wright brothers, at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, who
had an idea that they could fly a heavier than air machine, and they did,
and look what we have today. We have a measure of good from that, but an
awful measure of bad, too, when we think of the bombs that were dropped from
planes, and what's happening today across the world.
Now, let's go back to 1859 when Charles Darwin produced his Origin of
the Species. The intellectual world of that day grasped at it and swallowed
it whole. Why? Because the carnal mind, or the mind that is at enmity
against God, just does not want to retain God in his or her knowledge, but
is willing to go to any length to try and banish Him from their minds, and
indeed from this world, if it were possible. We know there is not one single
shred of evidence to support organic evolution.
THE REVISED VERSION OF 1881
Then in 1881, the Revised Version of the Scriptures was published. Brook
Foss Westcott, late Bishop of Durham, and Fenton John Anthony Hort, were
both professors at Cambridge University, and without question were two of
the most brilliant and erudite scholars of their day, and to this day,
nearly a century later. They command the attention and admiration of textual
critics, both liberal and conservative. The two together had been working
for twenty years on a Greek text of the New Testament. Around 1870 there was
a demand made for another version of the Scriptures. Westcott and Hort
spearheaded this demand and influenced many scholars and theologians to form
a committee for a revised version which appeared in 1881.
The Westcott and Hort text was based upon two of the oldest manuscripts
extant, Codex Aleph and Codex Vaticanus. One was found in the wastepaper
basket by the great scholar Tischendorf on Mt. Sinai. The other was found in
an out of the way place in the Vatican museum with dust over it. The former
was discovered around 1859; the later some centuries before that; I believe
in the thirteenth century or thereabouts.
These manuscripts are two of the worse in existence. They are filled
with contradictions and errors, and they contradict each other. In the
Vatican manuscript all of Revelation is missing, as well as all the Pastoral
Epistles of Paul, and from the ninth to the thirteenth chapter of Hebrews.
They just aren't there. So it was quite a mutilated manuscript. But because
they were the oldest, going back to the fourth century, there were those
scholars that almost revered them and made much of the fact of these two
manuscripts. The theory was that the oldest manuscript was nearest to the
original autographs written by the Apostles and others.
But it so happens that this is not the case. The oldest manuscripts have
proven to be the worst, because in the early days of Christianity a war was
raging between Athanasius and Arius concerning the deity of the Lord Jesus
Christ. We cannot thank God enough that Athanasius won, even though he was
banished five times by the emperor, because he was so tenacious and would
not let this matter go. And when some of his friends came to him and said,
"Athanasius, the world is against you," he drew himself up and uttered those
famous words, "Athanasius is against the world." Arius and his followers
were Unitarian, and it is clear that many manuscripts in those days were
corrupted doctrinally. [Further, the true manuscripts were used and reused
to such an extent that they wore out. The very fact that the Vaticanus and
Sinaiticus exist in excellent condition is evidence that they were rejected
and not used.]
Both ideas, evolution and that of the Westcott and Hort theory, have no
foundation whatever. They are made up of cobwebs, yet the Westcott and Hort
Greek text was founded squarely upon these two manuscripts, with a few
others, but in the main Codex Aleph and Codex Vaticanus were the ones that
they relied upon the most.
Now this statement will make some of you who listen upset, but I'm going
to make it anyway. You and I at the present time are witnessing the most
vicious and malicious attack ever made upon the Word of God since the Garden
of Eden. And this modern attack began in 1881 with the publication of the
In the ten years that it took the committee in the Jerusalem Chamber in
England to produce this Revised Version, Westcott and Hort domineered,
engineered, and dominated the whole committee from beginning to end. They
issued their Greek text, which had not yet been released for publication, to
all of the members and swore them to secrecy that they would not tell anyone
what they had done until after the Revised Version was published. And if it
had not been for Prebendary Scrivener, who was a scholar as great as
Westcott and Hort and who fought tooth and nail against many of the things
Westcott and Hort were constantly seeking to insert into the Revised Version
from their two oldest texts, we would have had a far worse version of the
Bible in the RV than we do now.
The vast majority of the people are confused, and you can't blame them,
with a hundred versions of the Scriptures now extant [in English]. Some of
them are good versions, but for the most part they are perversions, vagrant
versions, and in some cases, plain bastard Bibles. If you, my friend, think
that such a term is too harsh, then will you please let me turn to the read
the King James Version in Psalm 22:16--"...they pierced my Lord and Savior,
is it not? But what does the NEB say? It says, "... they hacked off my hands
and my feet." That is blasphemy and comes straight from the pit of hell, and
I don't care who knows it.
Satan has from the very beginning hated two objects more than anything
else in this world and universe. One is the Bible, the holy, infallible,
inerrant, inspired Word of God, and the second is Jesus Christ, the eternal
Son of God. God has spoken once and for all in His Word, and He says in
Proverbs 30:5, "Every word of God is pure." In Psalm 138:2, "Thou hast
magnified thy word above all thy name." And in Exodus 34:14 we read these
words concerning God Himself: "For thou shalt worship no other god: for the
Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God."
When our Lord Jesus Christ was on earth, the Father's voice was heard
from heaven, and it said in the plainest of terms, "This is my beloved Son,
in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him." And what He has said about His Son,
He also can and does say about His holy Word. When our Lord Jesus was in the
wilderness, being attacked for forty days by Satan, our Lord used the Old
Testament, God's holy Word, exclusively when meeting the attacks of Satan.
That is exactly what we should do today. If we have a Bible riddled with
errors, how in the world can we use it as our final authority? If all
versions today have errors in them, including the KJV, then where is the
doctrine of inerrancy gone?
INERRANCY WITHOUT PRESERVATION IS SENSELESS
But someone replies, We believe in the inerrancy of the original
manuscripts. All right, I agree with you there. But then we ask the
question, and it's a good one, too: Was God careless? Or didn't He realize
that these errors were creeping in? Or was He impotent that He could not
keep His Word even if He wanted to? Look out yonder into space, will you
please? Listen to some of the Christian astronomers and scientists who study
the stars and all the planets and constellations there in outer space, and
they will tell you that God has so created them in such a meticulous fashion
that they obey all the laws that He has laid down for His whole vast
creation. If God is that careful to keep His universe, do you think He is
going to be careless about His sacred, holy Word upon which hangs the
destiny of the souls of men, whether for heaven or hell? You know good and
well He could not possibly be careless about such a wonderful Book. But if
you want to go ahead and believe in a God who has just let his book go and
become filled with errors through the mistakes of men, you go ahead, but
please count me out as of now.
I gave an illustration of how men are tampering with the Word of God in
the New English Bible over against the KJV. Now let me give you another one.
In the New American Standard Version, which has been heralded and advertised
as the nearest to the originals, we find that in sixteen different places
the name of Christ is left out of His title, and in twelve different places
the name of the Lord is left out.
We are facing a gigantic, titanic battle that is raging all around us,
and my prayer is that the sleeping, snoring, satisfied Christians will
become aroused to the need of taking their stand for God's holy Word.
There are two books we have had the privilege of publishing, together
over 600 pages, giving definite, positive proof, documented fully, that the
King James Version is the nearest to the original autographs. They are
entitled Which Bible and True Or False, and can be secured for [$9.00 each
postpaid from Way of Life Literature]. We are not making any money out of
the royalties. I have ordered the publisher to make out the last two royalty
checks to the Wealthy Street Baptist Church, and we are using the funds for
the purpose of giving them to missionaries and ministers who cannot afford
them, so they may have something solid to sink their teeth in and to stand
upon when these so-called intellectual critics begin to expound from their
ivory towers and look down their long noses at those who refuse to go along
with them in their pernicious errors.
I just received recently a letter from a good friend of mine I have
known for years. He's one of the best Bible teachers in this country, and if
I mentioned his name I know that many of you would know who he was
immediately. This is what he says:
"If I knew how to repent in sackcloth and ashes, I would begin
immediately for the unpardonable delay in acknowledging receipt of two of
the most helpful and timely volumes I have ever owned. [He is referring to
Which Bible and True Or False.] I have carried these titles with me all
summer and immersed myself in them. I have never underscored books so much
as I have done in these. They enhanced my appreciation of the King James
Version as the true revelation of God as no other writings. I appreciate so
much your sending them to me. As a member of the editorial committee in the
production of the Amplified New Testament, we honestly and conscientiously
felt it was a mark of intelligence to follow Westcott and Hort. Now, what
you have in these books strikes terror to my heart. It proves alarmingly
that being conscientiously wrong is a most dangerous state of being. God
help us to be more cautious lest we fall into the snare of the archdeceiver."
WHAT IS RIGHT WITH THE KJV?
Now let's ask another question. What is right with the King James
Version? I believe with all my heart that there was a time in the early
church when God blessed certain men to choose the twenty-seven books which
comprise our New Testament, and in this order we have them now. The proof
for that is in the Bible. There they are. Twenty-seven books in that
particular order. Just so, I believe God was very definitely in the choosing
of the forty- seven scholars who came together at the command of King James
I around 1605 to produce a new version of the Bible. We are bold enough to
say that we don't believe there was ever such a collection of great, I mean
truly great, scholars as these who were so chosen.
For instance, there was John Boys. What a scholar he was! At the age of
five years old, he could read the Bible in Hebrew, and at the age of
fourteen he was a proficient Greek scholar. And for years he spent from four
o'clock in the morning until eight o'clock at night at the Cambridge library
studying languages. You see, friend, listen, he was nor cursed with
television, or telephone, or radio. He had time to think, and to meditate,
and to study. He wasn't flitting from this Bible conference to another one,
and being "oh'd" and "ah'd" at by an adoring crowd.
Another was Lancelot Andrewes, who was the overall chairman of the
committee. He was the greatest linguist of his day. He knew, was familiar
with, and spoke nearly twenty languages, including Arabic, Hebrew, and many
others. He spent five hours a day in prayer.
Not only Lancelot Andrewes and John Boys, but practically all the other
men chosen for this monumental work of the King James Version were men of
note throughout, not only in their own country, but in other countries as
You see, God knows what he is doing. He always does, and He chose that
particular time and age when the English language was at its zenith, to use
these men for that purpose.
Something else of note should be mentioned here, too. I am sure some of
you who hear this message know of William Tyndale. He was one of the
greatest of scholars. He was the one who said the time will come when every
plow boy in England will be able to read the Bible. William Tyndale was at
home in eight languages. He translated all of the New Testament and some
parts of the Old Testament. He did such a tremendous job that the King James
translators kept well over sixty percent of his translation intact, just as
it was, to be used in the King James translation. William Tyndale was
hounded like a wild animal by those who hated him and wanted him burned at
the stake. Finally King Henry VII, through one of his stooges, caused
Tyndale to be betrayed. He was thrown in prison, and finally at Vilvord,
just outside of Brussels, Belgium, he was strangled to death by order of the
king, and then his body was burned. Now, the last thing he said before he
died, was this: "Oh, God, open the eyes of the king of England!" And do you
know what? God answered that prayer in less than a year, when all of England
had the Bible in the English language. It has been my privilege to stand
there at that small monument that was erected some years after in Tyndale's
Another thing we need to note also is that practically every one of the
committee of the revisers of the King James Version had been through
suffering of one kind or another. Either they themselves had been
apprehended and put in jail, or loved ones of theirs had the same thing done
to them. Now such men had deep convictions and also a holy reverence for the
Word of God which you don't find in modern-day scholars. Many scholars of
many versions this day, such as the Revised Standard Version, or the New
English Bible, or the Good News for Modern Man, and many others, do not
believe that the Bible should be approached in any different way from any
other book. They refuse to accept it as the infallible, inerrant, inspired
Word of God, and Westcott and Hort believed this same thing. Nowhere can you
find in their writings a statement that they believed in the verbally,
inspired Word of God.
Now let me say here before I go any further, I have never claimed to be
a scholar. I do not claim to be one now, and I never expect to claim to be
one. But there are two very definite claims that I make without hesitation,
or trepidation, or reservation. One is I claim to have studied under some of
the greatest scholars this country has ever produced, if not the world. It
was my privilege to be a student at Princeton Seminary and to graduate from
that institution just before the flood. I mean by that before the flood of
modernism. Today Princeton is modernistic in every sense of the world, but
not then. There were giants in the earth in those days. Consider Robert Dick
Wilson. He was one of the greatest linguists this country has ever seen. He
was at home in, and knew, and spoke forty-five languages and dialects. He
was a contemporary of the great scholar of Oxford, England, Dr. Driver, who
claimed that the book of Daniel was wrong because of certain statements or
phrases in it. Dr. Wilson spent years going through some 50,000 manuscripts
to prove that Driver was wrong and that Daniel was right.
A second claim is that I can tell a true Christian scholar when I hear
him, or read his works, or talk with him. By Christian I mean one who holds
to and reverences the Word of God as being THE Word of God, and as being
different from any other book that has ever been published because it is the
only book that God ever wrote.
And the men of Princeton in my day believed just that. When we went out
of their classes, we were strengthened in our faith concerning the Word of
God to be just what it is. Today they tear it down, criticize it, emasculate
it, make fun of it. May God help such men when they stand before a holy God.
Some of you have heard the name Desiderius Erasmus. He was born in 1466
and died in 1536. He was known as a Renaissance humanist, born in Rotterdam,
Holland, educated by the Brethren of the Common Life. He entered an
Augustinian monastery; he was ordained a priest in 1492 and became secretary
to the Bishop of Cambrai. Later, after studying four years of theology at
the Sorbonne in Paris, he became disgusted with the decadent scholasticism.
In 1499 he went to England where he became friends with John Colet and
Thomas More. It was Colet that revealed to him his true vocation, the
rejuvenation of theology by basing it on scientific, accurate documents,
especially the Greek originals of the New Testament and the earliest fathers
of the church.
Erasmus could do the work of ten men. He was that brilliant. And such an
indefatigable worker. He was courted by kings. The reigning king of England
offered him anything in his realm if he would become a citizen of that
nation. The king of France did the same thing. Holland made great
preparations to advertise him as their own native son.
He refused to take sides when the Reformation storm broke with Luther's
95 Theses, but I honestly believe that Erasmus was saved. He held in the
deepest reverence the Word of God. We are told that he had access to Codex
Vaticanus and was offered it to be used in his studies. He rejected it
because he had found it untrustworthy. He was offered the cardinal's hat by
the pope of Rome. This he refused. It is also said that he could have become
pope if he had engineered it in the right way and pulled the right strings,
but he refused to do this because in his famous book, In Praise of Folly, in
a very satirical way he exposed the terrible sins of the Roman Catholic
Church of that day.
Erasmus was responsible for the Textus Receptus, or the Received Text,
that Greek text upon which the King James Version is founded. He made five
editions of it, we are told, and in each one he made small changes that
enhanced the meaning of certain phrases, or verses. Then the Elzevir
brothers brought out several editions of it, and so did Stephens, and Beza,
the successor of Calvin, who brought out nine editions. All in all there
were some twenty-one editions of the Textus Receptus from Erasmus through
Beza, but from the first edition to the last there were no major changes,
but merely minor ones, which is another proof of the way in which God kept
His Word all through the ages.
As I have said before so say I now again, there are those people who
tell us today that there is no version of the Scripture that is without
error. Very well, then, where does the doctrine of inerrancy go if there are
errors in the Bible? They come back with that statement, Well, we believe
that the original autographs were inspired, but not those copies of them. We
agree that the originals were inspired, but my question is simply this: If
God wrote this Book in the beginning, wasn't He able to keep it intact and
pure and without error all through the ages? My answer to that is that He
certainly was and He still is so capable. I would remind you again that God
is jealous for His Word, just as much as He is jealous for His blessed Son,
If someone says to you that all manuscripts and all versions today have
errors in them, then ask them in return what kind of a God they worship. A
careless or impotent God in my book is a monstrosity. I believe that the
King James Version does not have any errors.
Please remember this. You and I are facing, as I have said before, the
most vicious and malicious attack upon the Word of God that has ever been
made since the garden of Eden, and the modern attack began with the
publication of the Revised Version of 1881. This is an unpopular cause at
present in Christian circles. I have found this out again and again, and I
am going to find it out in the future. But I can say as far as I am
concerned it doesn't make any difference what happens to me, but it makes a
whale of a difference what happens to the cause of Jesus Christ. And someday
you and I, my friend, will have to stand before a holy God and give an
account to what we did or did not do in seeking to open the eyes of people
to the facts that have been covered up for so long concerning His holy,
indestructible, impregnable Word.
The hour is late; the time is short; hell is filling; Christ is coming;
and what do we had better do in a hurry. I have told my people, and I am
telling you, if you are willing to sweep the television cobwebs out of your
brain and put that boob tube down in the basement two, three, or four weeks,
or even longer, as far as I am concerned, and sit down and study these books
and other material, you will learn firsthand just what the score is. And it
will increase your faith immeasurably, even as it has done mine.
I give all the credit to God Himself for having these books published.
The material that we have collected for these books, I want to be frank with
you, I marvel again and again at how God led me to this source, and to that
source, and helped me to put it together. I don't want to take one bit of
credit for this. I want to give God all of the glory and the honor, and I am
hoping that those who are listening will get the vision of this whole
situation, because if we do not have an infallible, inerrant, inspired Book
to rest our weary souls upon for time and eternity, then your salvation and
mine isn't worth the paper it's printed on.
This is the most important question anybody could ever discuss in
Christian circles, far more than your salvation and mine. The reason for
that is that the battleground is the Bible. Is it true, or is it not true?
Is it without error, or is it filled with error? I maintain that the whole
reason why there are nearly one hundred versions in print is because of one
main reason: MONEY. And you can spell that with capitals, and you can
underscore it, and put it in red, if you want to. May God help us! May God
help you listening now to take your stand for what you know is right, and
not budge or move for one single minute. You may be laughed at, scorned and
scoffed at, and treated with contempt, but so what. If God be for us who can
be against us? Those in the past who have done a tremendous work for God
have had these same things to face. We need men, we need women, we need
young people today with backbone made out of pig iron instead of wet
I want you to keep clearly in mind this, which is a basic essential to
understanding something about this complex question, namely, the King James
Version is founded squarely on the Textus Receptus, which is in 90-95%
agreement with the five thousand extant Greek manuscripts. But the Westcott
and Hort text is in disagreement with them just about as much, and is
founded upon two of the worst of texts, Codex Vaticanus and Codex
Sinaiticus. Thus if you reject or look down upon the KJV, and settle for a
mutilated Bible, you go ahead, but count me out. I do not say that you
cannot profit from reading other versions. You can. But if they are based on
the Westcott and Hort text, they are immediately suspect and you should be
mighty careful that you check that version with the KJV as closely as
Now practically all versions of the Scriptures today, with exception to
the King James, are based upon the Westcott and Hort Greek text. So there
you are; take your choice. When you see that the King James Version is
nearest to the original manuscripts, in spite of what hundreds and thousands
of others say, it's going to be an uphill battle and it's going to be a
rough. But, then, who are we "to be taken to the skies on flowery beds of
ease, while others fought to win the prize and sailed through bloody seas?"
There is so much at stake just now--the authority, the accuracy, the
inerrancy of the holy Word of a holy God. And if ever the Lord needed those
of His followers to take a stand for His Word and refuse to budge, it is
now. Over one hundred years ago, in 1863, a convocation of the bishops and
archbishops of the Church of England was held. They were meeting to protest
and censor the heresy of one of their number, Bishop Colenzo, concerning the
Word of God. They issued the following statement: "All our hopes for
eternity, the very foundation of our faith, our nearest and dearest
consolation, are taken away from us if one line of that sacred book, the
Bible, be declared unfaithful or untrustworthy."
And this man wants the world to know that he stands squarely with these
great scholars of the last century on this all-important subject, the
infallibility and inerrancy of the Holy Scriptures. It is true that God can
use almost anything or anyone to bring souls to Himself. He used Balaam to
utter some of the greatest prophecies, and God also used a dumb animal to
rebuke the madness of the prophet (2 Pet. 2:16). And God uses perversions of
His Word in the salvation of souls, but this fact does not for one moment
warrant us in keeping quiet when the holy Bible is being treated in such a
slipshod, untrustworthy manner.
These are desperate days. They are filling with fear and foreboding. The
end is in sight. Multitudes of Christians are confused, with nearly a
hundred versions, or paraphrases, of God's Holy Word in print. We dare not,
if we truly love Him, play with the living Word of the living God. I urge my
listener to keep before him the KJV as the one safe, sure standard to go by
in measuring other versions.
This report is from O Timothy magazine, Volume 9, Issue 9, 1992. All
rights are reserved by the author. O Timothy is a monthly magazine. Annual
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