The Anvil-1611-God's WordJames H. Sightler, M.D.
September 1, 2002 ©
Last eve I passed beside a blacksmith's door,
And heard the anvil ring the vesper chime;
Then, looking in, I saw upon the floor
Old hammers, worn with beating years of time.
"How many anvils have you had," said I,
"To wear and batter all these hammers so"
"Just one," said he, and then, with twinkling eye,
"The anvil wears the hammers out you know."
And so, thought I, the anvil of God's Word,
For ages skeptic blows have beat upon;
Yet, though the noise of falling blows was heard,
The anvil is unharmed-the hammers gone.
The King James Bible Is Inspired
May we call the KJB inspired, or merely the best translation of the inspired originals and copies of them? Is it truly scripture as we read in II Timothy 3:16 or not? I believe the KJB did not lose inspiration in translation. Few pastors are unwise enough to stand in the pulpit and say that Bible in the hands of the congregation is a good translation but somehow not equal to the manuscripts. But there are fundamental "academic" defenders of the Textus Receptus who boldly say that very thing.
Elizabethan English of the KJB is more precise than any legal document, more beautiful than any other literature, and more easily memorized than any other translation. H. L. Mencken, the agnostic Baltimore Sun reporter who covered the Scopes trial, said of the KJB: "many learned but misguided men have sought to produce translations that should be…in the plain speech of everyday. But the Authorized Version has never yielded to any of them for it is palpably and overwhelmingly better than they are, just as it is better than the Greek New Testament, or the Vulgate, or the Septuagint. Its English is extraordinarily simple, pure, eloquent, lovely. It is a mine of lordly and incomparable poetry, at once the most stirring and the most touching ever heard of." If unbelievers can say that of the KJB, why is it politically incorrect among us to say the same thing?
The question is whether inspiration belongs only to Hebrew and Greek manuscripts. If so the mass of believers cannot hide God's inspired words in their hearts. Is this position any better than concept inspiration or inspiration of the autographs only? It is not. The KJB translators, taught in prayer as Moses was taught eloquence by God in Exodus 4:12, rendered our Bible into an elevated, Biblical form of English, cast in a mold slowly shaped by the Biblical Greek and Hebrew as they had been carried over into other languages for centuries before English came about from them and took its best form in the 16th century.
Koine Greek of the New Testament was vernacular and also Biblical because of strong Hebrew influence. It was not the language of the streets. It was a world language in its day but is now a dead language. The best Greek scholars do not think in it nor preach or pray from the heart in it. English, now spoken by more people than any other tongue, has replaced it as a world language, and the honour given to God by the KJB is the primary reason. Bible translations in use through history in the true churches outside Catholicism have all been inspired. That our English Bible has surpassed them in beauty and soul stirring pathos is in the hands of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who gave Hebrew to Adam and guided the development of earlier tongues out of the integrity of His heart and with the skilfulness of His hands and by that same power shaped English itself to receive Hebrew and Greek expressions with divine ease and grace. God is in control of this world and did not stand aside and let languages evolve naturalistically without direction.
Some Things We Know
The Bible is eternal, has always existed and
always will. Ezekiel 2:9-10, Psalms 119:89, 152,
Isaiah 40:8, Matthew 24:35
Inspiration of the Bible is by direct dictation from God. Numbers 12:8, Isaiah 51:16, Ezekiel 2:1-2 and 3:1-3, John 17:8
Inspiration and writing, or scripture, are specifically connected in II Timothy 3:16 and I Peter 1:17-21.
The Bible, always vernacular, is alive; it is the lively oracles which Stephen preached as given to the Jews. It lives in the hearts of believers, hidden there by the Holy Ghost who has provided spiritual understanding and tbe means by which we can call it to memory. John 6:63 says that the words of Jesus, the living bread, are spirit and life.
God sent Jesus to spend his youth in Galilee of the nations where he was protected from Herod. God ordained that Jesus' ministry would flourish there. This follows Messianic prophecy of Isaiah 9:1-8, fulfilled in Matthew 4:12-16. All the disciples except Judas were Galileans. Believers were scattered there after Stephen's stoning; churches were established there at an early time. The Lord's ministry in that land of many languages foreshadows the very early translation of the Bible.
The priesthood of the believer, taught in I Peter 2:5, 9 and Revelation 1:6, requires vernacular translation as we see in I Corinthians 14:13-16, I will pray with the understanding, I will sing with the understanding also.
Translation has always been the means of preservation of the scriptures. The Bible has been translated, published in written form, and preached since Acts 2:4-18 (16 languages here), I Corinthians 14:5-22, Colossians 1:5-6 and 22, Romans 10:17, and Romans 16:26. Portions of Daniel are Aramaic. A number of verses in the KJB, I John 5:7, Acts 8:37, Acts 9:5-6, Acts 20:28, and Matthew 27:35 depend primarily on Old Latin manuscripts, although they are in a small minority of Greek manuscripts.
Man did not evolve; language did not evolve. God gave Hebrew to Adam. There is a single New Testament reference which I believe confirms the belief that Hebrew was the original language and is the language of God. In Acts 26:14 Paul told Agrippa "And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?" In the providence of God Hebrew expressions somehow flow naturally into English. Hebrew idioms became English idioms because the KJB translators so faithfully respected and followed Hebrew word order. "It came to pass," "a man after his own heart," "as a lamb to the slaughter," "the salt of the earth," "thorn in the flesh," and "gave up the ghost" are some of many examples that have enriched our language.
England provided a place of refuge for thousands of Spanish Jews and Christians who had to flee from the Inquisition. The English remembered God's promise to Abraham, "I will bless them that bless thee," and gained a world empire as Spain lost one. The vernacular nature of the Bible, the priesthood of the believer, preservation by translation and useage, respectful and exact faithfulness of the KJB translators to Hebrew and Greek, and humble faith on our part, all point toward inspiration of the KJB itself.
James H. Sightler, M.D.
Sightler Publications ©
September 1, 2002
[published on Bible 1611.com by permission from: Sightler Publications ©]
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