Diversity of Modern Versions, pt 1 – The KJV Tradition

It is a relatively common fallacy to classify all post-1881 translations into English as one type of translation. To put it simply, this is an oversimplification. In reality, translations vary tremendously in many ways:

  • Translational philosophy
  • Individual or committee translation
  • Composition and operation of the translation committee
  • Reason for translation
  • Dependence on a previous translation or a completely new translation
  • Underlying text choice

These situations are oversimplified in many ways in argument, and we’re not going to put together an exhaustive list of ways that they enter the conversation. Instead of arguing for or against this or that position, let us consider what the translators themselves have to say. First, we shall consider the revision translations:

Revisions of the Authorized Version

A revision translation is one which begins with the Authorized Version and attempts to update it. The degree to which they are updated varies widely. They are distinguished from the initial revisions of the Authorized Version which were more updates of spelling, additions and corrections of versification and other typesetting issues. These revisions (conducted several times between 1611 and 1769) are generally considered acceptable by King James Only advocates whereas the latter revisions come under serious criticism.

English Revised Version (1881-1885) & American Standard Version (1901)

These two translations were undertaken more or less simultaneously. Strictly speaking, they were not translations but revisions of the Authorized Version of 1611 (having last been revised in 1769).

The character of the Revision was determined for us from the outset by the first rule, ‘to introduce as few alterations as possible, consistently with faithfulness.’ Our task was revision, not re-translation. (Preface to the English Revised Version)

The American Version was more or less an American edition of the English revision but was published independently with some of the readings the American committee preferred over the English committee’s published choices. In the preface to the ASV, the American committee noted the major differences, which were mostly in the Old Testament:

  1. The transliteration of YHWH as Jehovah instead of LORD or GOD.
  2. The transliteration of sheol instead of translating it variously as “grave” or “pit.”
  3. Updated spelling and prepositional use.
  4. Several returns to the Authorized Version reading because of general usage.
  5. Changes for consistency’s sake.
  6. Limited use of marginal notes, which the RV used rather heavily.

In short, the American committee felt that the RV was too much of a departure from the AV and sought to retain some of its more majestic language while updating it stylistically and in some places textually.

We are not insensible to the justly lauded beauty and vigor of the style of the Authorized Version, nor do we forget that it has been no part of our task to modernize the diction of the Bible. But we are also aware that the rhetorical force and the antique flavor which we desire to retain do not consist in sporadic instances of uncouth, unidiomatic, or obscure phraseology. While we may freely admit that the English of the Scriptures can, as a whole, hardly be improved, yet it would be extravagant to hold that it cannot be bettered in any of its details.

These revisions were not widely accepted, although the RV was used in some versions of the Common Book of Prayer. Because it was based on the works of Westcott and Hort, who were among the translators, it caught considerable criticism who felt that their critical edition of the Greek New Testament was lacking.

Revised Standard Version (1946-1952, 2nd edition 1971)

The RV/ASV was clearly a translation in trouble. It was not as clear or as universally accepted as the Authorized Version had been. The ASV gained popularity in many American seminaries and had some influence in Britain as well. In 1928, the copyright of the ASV was obtained by the International Council of Religious Education and with financing from Thomas Nelson and Sons, they commissioned a panel of 32 translators to begin work. When the New Testament was presented by the translators, the dean of the translation committee said that it was meant to be a supplement to and not a replacement for the AV and the ASV.

The RSV was a very ecumenical translation, commissioned by a group that would become the World Council of Churches. It is generally thought of as a step backward from the ASV. In many places in Isaiah, the translators followed the newly discovered Dead Sea Scrolls simply because they were new and not for any textual reasons. They muddied perfectly clear translations from the AV and ASV.

The RSV did, however, benefit from knowledge that had not been available at the time of the RV/ASV translation.

The revisers in the 1870’s… lacked the resources which discoveries within the past eighty years have afforded for understanding the vocabulary, grammar and idioms of the Greek New Testament…The New Testament was written in the Koine, the common Greek which was spoken and understood practically everywhere throughout the Roman Empire in the early centuries of the Christian era. This development in the study of New Testament Greek has come since the work on the English Revised Version and the American Standard Version was done, and at many points sheds new light upon the meaning of the Greek text. (Preface to the Revised Standard Version)

It is unfortunate that – as F.F. Bruce would put it later – the RSV translators, “blurred some of the finer distinctions in New Testament wording which … have some significance for those who are concerned with the more accurate interpretation of the text.”

New American Standard Bible (1971, 2005)

Despite the weaknesses of the RSV, it still managed to become something of a standard in mainstream denominations. Seminarians were endlessly frustrated with it. The RSV was considered too liberal and too ecumenical. The Lockman Foundation commissioned a separate revision of the ASV, which was published in its entirety in 1971 as the New American Standard Bible.

Unlike the RV and RSV translations, the NASB was the first to be submitted to external review – a practice employed in the translation of the Authorized Version but not since.

Furthermore, in the preparation of this work numerous other translation have been consulted along with the linguistic tools and literature of biblical scholarship. Decisions about English renderings were made by consensus of a team composed of educators and pastors. Subsequently, review and evaluation by other Hebrew and Greek scholars outside the Editorial Board were sought and carefully considered. (Preface to the New American Standard Bible)

The NASB went the opposite direction of the RSV. The translating committee was made up of conservative theologians and language experts who revised the ASV text to be more literal and in keeping with doctrinal purity. Gone where the fadish translations from the Dead Sea Scrolls, replaced by the most up-to-date edition of the Masoretic text, Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia.

For the New Testament, the NASB translators worked primarily from the 26th edition of the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament. This edition was vastly improved from the 17th edition used for the RSV.

New Revised Standard Version (1989)

The NASB gained widespread acceptance, particularly in American seminaries and conservative churches. It was, however, strictly a Protestant Bible. There was no Apocrypha or Catholic edition (something done with the AV, as well as the RV and ASV). It was the first fully American version of the Bible.

The World Council of Churches decided to revise the RSV to meet this ecumenical need. To appeal to more conservative groups, they followed many of the same steps the Lockman Foundation had pioneered with the NASB. The translation reverted to the more archaic terminology (thee and thou) of the formal liturgies, but also developed ‘gender neutral’ language to accomodate the growing number of female clergy in mainstream denominations.

During the almost half a century since the publication of the RSV, many in the churches have become sensitive to the danger of linguistic sexism arising from the inherent bias of the English language towards the masculine gender, a bias that in the case of the Bible has often restricted or obscured the meaning of the original text. The mandates from the Division specified that, in references to men and women, masculine-oriented language should be eliminated as far as this can be done without altering passages that reflect the historical situation of ancient patriarchal culture. (Preface to the NRSV)

The committee states quite directly in the preface that this Bible was translated to be ecumenical, although they later also claim that it is “essentially literal.” The difficulty that arises from the tensions of trying to produce a denominationally/doctrinally neutral text while remaining literal should be obvious.

English Standard Version (2001)

Frustrated by the proliferation of translations that were more dynamic in their translation (look for these in part 2) and the liberal lean of the Revised Standard Version, a group of American conservative scholars under J.I. Packer as editor began a conservative revision of the RSV, which was published in 2001. Remarkably, Packer obtained permission from the very liberal National Council of Churches to produce a revision of the RSV.

Perhaps the highest praise for the English Standard Version comes from its critics:

I have heard a number of Christian leaders claim that the ESV is the “Bible of the future”—ideal for public worship and private reading, appropriate for adults, youth and children. This puzzles me, since the ESV seems to me to be overly literal—full of archaisms, awkward language, obscure idioms, irregular word order, and a great deal of “Biblish” …This is because the ESV too often fails the test of “standard English.” (Mark L. Strauss, 2008, Evangelical Theological Society)

As I have pointed out previously, this type of ‘intentionally archaic’ language was one of the hallmarks of the Authorized Version. Packer and the ESV translators worked very hard to produce a worthy successor of the Authorized Version, something that struck the balance between formal translation, majestic language and readability.

The words and phrases themselves grow out of the Tyndale–King James legacy, and most recently out of the RSV, with the 1971 RSV text providing the starting point for our work. Archaic language has been brought to current usage and significant corrections have been made in the translation of key texts. But throughout, our goal has been to retain the depth of meaning and enduring language that have made their indelible mark on the English-speaking world and have defined the life and doctrine of the church over the last four centuries. (Preface to the ESV)

Unlike the previous revision translations, the ESV made dramatic returns to the underlying philosophy of the Authorized Version. While not perfect (it was quietly, revised in 2007), it was translated to be a readable, theologically conservative, literal translation.

Author’s Note, Added 7/29/10, 10:22am
The question of why I did not include the New King James Version in this post has come up a couple of times, so I am adding this note to clarify. The New King James Version is a unique case which will receive its own treatment in the fourth article in this series. While a revision, it does not follow the same thread as the versions presented here. It is instead a direct revision of the Authorized Version. It will be treated separately, with notes about KJV2000, the Modified King James Version and other various (but minor) attempts.


82 thoughts on “Diversity of Modern Versions, pt 1 – The KJV Tradition

  1. Chris Poe July 28, 2010 / 11:30 pm


    As a brief survey of translations for those who may only be familiar with the KJV, this post has its merits. However, I do believe it may indeed reveals your bias in that the NKJV is not even mentioned in a post surveying the revisions of the AV. Perhaps it was just an oversight?

    Regarding the RSV and NRSV, it was the RSV retained the thee’s and thou’s when God is addressed (most often in the Psalms and in various prayers) a practice that was abandoned with NRSV, a translation in which little or no attempt to appeal to more conservative groups was evident. The NASB followed the RSV in this practice of retaining the archaic pronouns in passages in which God is addressed, and they likewise removed them in the 1995 ed. It appears that the NKJV was the first translation in the Tyndale/KJV lineage that abandoned the use of them altogether.

    This commenter must admit that the NKJV is his version of choice, but I doubt you’d find a blog post of mine on major English Bible translations to be very helpful if it were to omit any mention of the ESV whatsoever.

    Regarding the ESV and a return to the philosophy of the KJV, it is certainly a welcome change to see a recent translation that adopts a more literal philosophy, especially when the trend had been to move in the opposite direction. But the ESV clearly doesn’t return fully to the underlying philosophy of the AV, or the NASB or NKJV for that matter. It’s essentially, as Piper noted, an RSV with the theological problems fixed.

    The ESV is a little more literal than the RSV, but not much overall, and it still retains some idiosyncratic renderings, most often in the OT in my experience, that are unlike what you’ll find in other literal translations. Something like 90% of the text is left unchanged from the RSV. Perhaps this is most glaring in the ESV/RSV rendering (or lack thereof) of 1 Sam 13:1, something that is more in keeping with the RSV committee’s view of scripture.

    Perhaps the biggest difference between the ESV and the more literal translations is that unlike the KJV, ASV, NASB and NKJV, the ESV follows the RSV in not italicizing words not found in the original but provided by the translators for clarity, a practice that I want to say dates back to the Geneva Bible. While that practice perhaps isn’t always followed to the “T,” the abandonment of it in the RSV was something that, along with its antisupernatural bias, met with criticism by conservative scholars like O.T. Allis.

    I don’t think it’s so remarkable that Packer et. al. gained permission to use the RSV from the NCC since evidently they paid that cash strapped organization a considerable sum of money to obtain the rights to the RSV text, a version that the NCC had already moved beyond with the publication of the NRSV a decade earlier.

    Now to nitpick even further 🙂 the revision of the KJV that is commonly in use today is the 1769 (not 1765) Oxford edition by Benjamin Blayney. There was F.H.A. Scrivener’s Cambridge Paragraph Bible in 1873, but it was not successful in supplanting Blayney’s revision. But from what I understand, Zondervan is now using Scrivener’s edition as the text for their KJV Study Bible.

    • Jason S July 29, 2010 / 9:25 am

      “Perhaps this is most glaring in the ESV/RSV rendering (or lack thereof) of 1 Sam 13:1, something that is more in keeping with the RSV committee’s view of scripture.”
      That is what galls me about the ESV. I love it, but that was pitiful. Surely they could have done better than that.

    • Erik July 29, 2010 / 9:43 am

      Jason, the ESV is far from perfect, but it is a step in the right direction, far more of a step than many other translations of the last century. My hope is that the ESV team will expand and continue to work. The 2007 edition is an improvement over the 2001, but there are still places where I ask why they did what they did. That is the challenge of revising rather than translating anew – but translating anew has its own set of challenges.

      The problem with 1 Samuel 13:1 in particular is that the Hebrew actually does not have his age. My copy of the TANACH (Stone Edition) and Stuttgartensia both have:

      בֶּן-שָׁנָה, שָׁאוּל בְּמָלְכוֹ; וּשְׁתֵּי שָׁנִים, מָלַךְ עַל-יִשְׂרָאֵל

      LXX doesn’t even have the verse. The Vulgate has, “filius unius anni Saul cum regnare coepisset duobus autem annis regnavit super Israhel,” which says ‘one year.’

    • Chris Poe July 29, 2010 / 5:49 pm

      Apparently some later copies of the LXX do have the verse.

      It seems to me that there are several ways to deal with this problem:

      1. Put something approximating what the Hebrew says in the text the way the KJV and NKJV do, even though it doesn’t appear to make much sense, and note the difficulty in a footnote.

      2. Put what is commonly thought to be the correct reading in the text and explain it in a footnote. That’s what the HCSB does. The NIV does this as well, and it is one of the very few instances in which they employ brackets. This is also what the NASB does. They italicize the insertions but unlike the NIV, make no mention of the issue in the margin. Considering the pedantic and repetitive nature of some of the marginal notes, this is another example of inconsistency in the NASB.

      On a related note, I’ve likewise also thought it strange that the NASB prints the “shorter ending of Mark” following the traditional ending. That too is more in keeping with the RSV and NRSV approach, IMO.

      3. Punt, which is what the RSV, NRSV and ESV do with the verse. For a version that is supposed to be equally suited to public reading and private study, this is unacceptable, IMO.

    • Chris Poe July 29, 2010 / 7:25 pm

      Interestingly, Michael Marlowe revised his article on the NKJV in Oct. 2009. He is still a CT advocate, but now recommends the NKJV so long as the marginal notes are not ignored. In a similar albeit more technical fashion to what we have alluded to here today, much of the revised article is devoted to comparing the NKJV favorably to the NASB in a number of passages.

      His original article noted some of the virtues of the NKJV but was quite negative on several counts, one being the textual base and the another being the marketing campaign.

      As the NKJV is copyright 1982, it still has a long way to go before it is in the public domain. Marlowe notes that it was slightly revised in 1984, but the vast majority of NKJV’s I’ve seen are copyright 1982. I think I remember Gary Zeolla (http://dtl.org) writing a few years ago that minor changes have been introduced in the NKJV from time to time without notice. I don’t know whether this is a reference to the 1984 revision or if there have been changes since then.

      Although it doesn’t explicitly state that it is revised, Marlowe’s current article on the ESV is dated 2007 and is somewhat more critical than I recall his original article being. Well, I’m glad to see he is coming around to my way of thinking. 🙂

    • Steven Avery July 29, 2010 / 8:06 pm

      Hi Fokls,

      The original NKJV is 1982 .. the official revision was 1990 but often the copyright will show 1982. From discussion on the Marlowe list in 03/2007.

      And I am checking a bit about the minor revisions, I am pretty sure they have done some undocumented. Since they are undocumented, often you only run into them when somebody disputes a quote.

      There are reasons for all this, involving copyright extension and protection (similar to maps putting a small street going the wrong way).

      Also to encourage a new purchase of pew Bibles, “everybody will be able to follow” .. all the same editions. Sometimes the changes are rather jarring, totally different verbs and nouns or phrases.

      This is all pretty standard in the good book business.

      Steven Avery

    • Chris Poe July 29, 2010 / 9:30 pm

      Regarding minor revisions increasing sales, if the changes are done periodically and not announced, as is apparently the case with the NKJV, how is that going to increase sales, especially when only a very small number of us who obsess over such things are even aware of it?

      The pew Bible is slowly becoming extinct as well, as more and more churches are projecting the text on the screen and do not even have pew Bibles. For those who do still use them, I seriously doubt that many churches (if any) will buy new ESV pew Bibles simply because of the minor revision that was made.

      Now you have people comparing translations on their smartphone during the service as well.

    • Erik July 29, 2010 / 9:45 pm

      I agree, Chris. Just thought I’d add though that here in New Hampshire, USA, a lot of my fellow ministers are returning to using ‘pew Bibles’ because we find that projecting the Scriptures has a tendency to allow people be lazy. We want them searching the Scriptures themselves. That’s just us though. Not saying we’re starting the ‘Return to Pew Bibles’ movement.

    • Bill Brown July 30, 2010 / 3:59 am

      Once again we have Steven Avery making reference to 2 fallacious notions: 1) his nonexistent entity that he calls “the Reformation Bible;” and 2) his constant complaint about why we only go to Greek to determine the text of Scripture.

      Let us take the second complaint first. It seems to me that this right here is where the rubber meets the road and the monumental failure of KJV Onlyism. The NT was written in GREEK. Greek. Now – if the plenary verbal preservation theory is TRUE then that should mean that we have those words IN GREEK, should it not? The pained appeal to other langauges – most notably Erasmus’s Latin interpolations with minimal or no Greek support – finds itself not in the acceptance of the original methodology but solely out of the predetermined final result. God HAD to do something a certain way (Hills says ‘must’) and thus the KJV HAS to be right. The appeal to non-Greek as a determinant in the original text begs the question regarding the initial appeal to preservation of every word and letter.

      The first repeated non-entity is every bit as nonexistent at the second. “The Reformation Bible.” Can Mr. Avery show me this “Reformation Bible” that he holds in his hands? He uses this as a catch-call term and equivocates on its meaning at every necesary juncture. But “the Reformation Bible” as referring to a conglomeration of nonsense and nonexistence certainly causes more problems for the one espousing its actual existence than for the rest of us. After all – this “Reformation Bible” both HAS and DOES NOT HAVE I John 5:7 and a host of other verses that are rendered differently. It is not in the Luther Bible nor the first two Erasmian TRs and then it’s here. But the use of such deception does not throw the rest of us.

      Given those twin refutations of utter impossibilities, I do hope in the future he will actually explain HIS METHOD of textual criticism (which in 3 years of asking he has never yet done) and why it changes from verse to verse.

    • Erik July 30, 2010 / 3:11 pm

      In this situation, I understand what Steven means by Reformation Bible, and though I disagree with him on a lot of things, I don’t think it is an indecipherable term. He has explained what he means and it is easy enough to understand and I can see where he gets it from. I’m willing to allow it, as long as the other authors and blog owner are amenable.

    • Bill Brown July 30, 2010 / 4:21 am

      Nor will this type of shot pass unchallenged.

      why would we deride the marginal notes ? Often they show the superb knowledge of Hebrew or Greek, or of textual matters, of the Authorized Version scholars. They are not scripture, but they are fascinating and frequently very helpful.

      Once again, we have the arguing in circles – the assertion of scholarly superiority on behalf of AV men.

      They AV does not have any notes emphasizing one or two oddball corrupt manuscripts, or notes of deception about supposed “most reliable manuscripts” when all they mean are the proof-text corruptus Aleph and B .. or thousands of notes fighting their own text.


      Sir – please get up-to-date with your information. Also, at least be fair in your presentation. Are Aleph and B ‘corrupt?’ Well please tell us what YOU mean by ‘corrupt.’ If you mean ‘varies from the original’ then I’ve got news for you – EVERY mss. is corrupt, meaning I could just as easily say, “The KJV based upon 5-11 CORRUPT manuscripts used by Erasmus…” but I’m not as interested in that kind of a sophomoric debate tactic as the KJVOist is. Furthermore, SURELY you must know by now that other manuscripts have been discovered that set the date of Aleph and B back. Oh – and the KJV emphasizes FOUR oddball manuscripts (in terms of text) that divert from all the others as well as each other at I John 5:7. Funny how you don’t seem to see the things you’re accusing other versions of when it involves your own favorite.

      On the NKJV .. eg. many, or most, of the translators felt they were translating a very inferior text .. why would they get involved in such an endeavor ? As men of integrity why actually translate a Bible text you do not believe is God’s word ?


      Not the subtle sleight-of-hand. Also note the suggested ad hominem. Has Mr. Avery sat down and counted and can tell us who by name – all of them – whether they held to textual inferiority? And again, we could just as easily ask why anyone would want to get involved with any Bible translation endeavor INCLUDING the KJV, but again, we’re not supposed to point this inconsistency out.

      Furthermore, one can still believe something is God’s Word and still hold the text to be inferior to another text also deemed God’s Word. Amazingly enough, none of the other versions – Latin, Syriac, etc. – that had multiplicity of versions/readings ever had this problem. It is only 20th century Americans who are espousing as doctrine a tradition of “one Bible onlyism” that is not only ahistoric but is also against the KJV translators themselves and their own remarks about a VARIETY of versions.

      Their margin note catastrophe is a natural outgrowth of this problem


      You just said you weren’t against marginal notes and now you are. Which is it?

    • Steven Avery July 30, 2010 / 7:24 am

      Hi Folks,

      “They are not scripture, but they are fascinating and frequently very helpful.”

      “we have the arguing in circles – the assertion of scholarly superiority on behalf of AV men.”

      This type of assertion is simply silly. Time and again we take the specific KJB notes (e.g. in Psalm 12 or Isaiah 53:9) and show that they indicate a specific awareness of language grammatical forms. Why this is “circular” is quite a puzzle 🙂

      Steven Avery

    • Steven Avery July 30, 2010 / 9:59 am

      Hi Folks,

      Bill Brown
      “Are Aleph and B ‘corrupt?”

      Definitely. There are two very distinct types of corruption. One is very objective, the other is a mixture of subjective and objective.

      1) Scribal
      2) Textual

      In textual circles (1) is the more common usage.

      Dean Burgon has an excellent section on Codex Bezae where he mentions this distinction .. Traditional Text p. 188 “distinguish between the readings and the scribe”.

      Dean Burgon makes it very clear (as does Scrivener, Hoskier et al) that Sinaiticus is extremely corrupt scribally, Vaticanus also corrupt, albeit less so. Bezae is perhaps the worst, competing with Sinaiticus. This includes the whole gamut of haplography and a wide range of various scribal faux paus.

      Let’s take Bezae, less charged in the debate, will you agree that it is proper to call this a corrupt manuscript.

      Westcott-Hort – NT in the Original Greek (p. 149)
      prodigious amount of error which D contains

      Last 12 Verse – Burgon
      there is a grave omission, or else a gross interpolation, in almost every page (p. 199)

      Traditional Text – Burgon – 1896 p. 179
      “No known manuscript contains so many bold and extensive interpolations ”

      “a great discrepancy between this manuscript and any others however old that I would think that it is better to store it than to publish it”

      So let us go step-by-step .. do you have any objection to referring to Codex Bezae as a corrupt manuscript ?

      Steven Avery

      Textual corruption takes two forms. Obvious errors that nobody contends, like Nazareth in Judea in Sinaiticus. This can be considered objective.

      Then there is textual corruption that is more subjective, like the ultra-minority omission (with space included) of the resurrection account of Jesus in the Gospel of Mark.

      Thus the word corrupt can definitely be easily used for those two manuscripts, accurately.

      Steven Avery

    • Steven Avery July 30, 2010 / 10:05 am

      Bill Brown:
      “1) his nonexistent entity that he calls “the Reformation Bible;”

      Since I specifically referenced the Jaroslav Pelikán book “The Reformation of the Bible and The Bible of the Reformation” and have specifically shown you a list of many “Reformation Bible referrences in standard scholarship ..

      This one you will have to duke it out with the scholars .. or explain expressly here why you object.

      Clearly “TR” is not the right designation for the hundreds of editions in dozens of languages which were translations throughout the world.

      And the fact that there were some textual distinctions (earlier Reformation Bible editions followed the earlier TR so could be different on Luke 2:22 and the heavenly witnesses) barely qualifies as a quibble. Folks refer to the Textus Receptus continually, knowing there are edition distinctions. Should we not refer to the NKJV because there are different editions ? Let’s try to avoid making parse-nip arguments.

      Steven Avery

    • Steven Avery July 30, 2010 / 10:13 am

      Hi Folks,

      “Has Mr. Avery sat down and counted and can tell us who by name – all of them – whether they held to textual inferiority? ”

      Clearly, to make the statement I would check or have a source .. I went through the names once – many were clearly modern version text supporters .. received text supporters were rare or 0. My memory is that I could identify about half. The results were clear enough that I can say that, in general, the translators for the NKJV were not supporters of the text they were translating and a good number were opponents, including James Price, the leading propagandist for the NKJV contra the KJB.

      Steven Avery

    • Steven Avery July 30, 2010 / 1:15 pm

      Hi Folks,

      Bill Brown
      “You just said you weren’t against marginal notes and now you are.”

      Please .. read more carefully. I made no blanket statement about marginal notes.

      In some cases they are generally superb and helpful (KJB) in some cases they are charged and doctrinal (many Geneva Bibles) in some cases they are reflective of textual confusion and indecision(NKJV) and in some cases they are simply errant (e.g. “most reliable manuscripts”). In no cases are they scripture.


    • Steven Avery July 30, 2010 / 9:22 pm

      Hi Folks,

      Thanks, Andrew .. definitely. And be sure to review the editions in the many languages like Portuguese and Dutch and Danish and many more .. all based on the Reformation Scholarship .. all Bibles that would be called TR-based (TR only refers to the Greek text.)

      You can also review these examples of scholarship usage of the descriptive and excellent phrase.

      The reformation of the Bible, the Bible of the Reformation – page 23 – Jaroslav Pelikán,
      “and the effect of the Reformation Bible on art, music and literature of the period”

      The making of the English Bible‎ – Page 14 – Gerald Hammond – 1982
      Chapters 1-3 describe the Reformation Bible, the work of the patriarchs of
      English Bible translation, William Tyndale and Miles Coverdale. …

      The seekers: the story of man’s continuing quest to understand his world‎ – Page 118
      by Daniel Joseph Boorstin – 1998
      Luther .. provided the treasure- house of Christian faith in a new form, which came to be called the Reformation Bible. Simply by translating the Bible into German …

      The Cambridge history of the Bible‎ – Page 139 – S. L. Greenslade – 1975
      The ‘Carl XII Bible’ of 1703 is also a mere revision, with only a few
      alterations and emendations; in this shape the Reformation Bible survived many …

      The Bible as book: the Reformation‎ – Page 65 – Orlaith O’Sullivan, Ellen N. Herron – 2000
      Indeed, if asked to find a synonym for ‘The Reformation Bible’, the immediate
      response might well be ‘The Vernacular Bible’.

      The great high priest: the temple roots of Christian liturgy‎ – Page 359 – Margaret Barker – 2003
      ‘Are there any indications that they [Jerome and the Reformation Bible
      translators] chose the MT in contradistinction to alternate Hebrew texts forms of whose existence they were aware but which they passed over ? …

      Secret leaves: the novels of Walter Scott‎ – Page 215 – Judith Wilt – Literary Criticism – 1985
      99); David Murison, among others, has called the robust Scripture of the
      Reformation Bible “the second language of Scotland” …

      Bible reading in Sweden: studies related to the translation of the New Testament‎ – Page 15
      by Gunnar Hansson – 1990
      But for ecclesiastical use, the Reformation Bible was not replaced until 1917 (the Apocrypha in 1921). The new translation was done by a commission which …

      Nationalism, Positivism and Catholicism: The Politics of Charles Maurras and French Catholics 1890-1914 – Page 230
      by Michael Sutton – 2002
      Rousseau . Old and New Testaments: the culprit was now designated as the Reformation BibleSignificant, especially after …..

      English Reformation Literature: The Tudor Origins of the Protestant Tradition
      FJ Levy – Modern Language Quarterly, 1983 – Duke Univ Press
      … scores truly striking successes in only the last of these categories, in its effort to read Homer and Vergil through the filter of the Reformation Bible and in …

      The Reformation Bible – Jeffrey Khoo -febc.edu.sg/VPP70.htm

  2. Erik July 29, 2010 / 12:45 am

    Fair enough, Chris. I was actually going to give the NKJV its own entry because there is actually quite a bit that goes into the reason I don’t use it but in thinking about it, I forgot to mention it. I’ll cover the NKJV separately.

    The Cambridge Paragraph is not considered as one of the revisions with an ‘official’ sanction as a ‘Standard’ revision, which is why it is not included.

    I tend to get 1765 and 1769 flipped around so I will make that edit.

    • Chris Poe July 29, 2010 / 9:32 am


      I had wondered if there was going to be a separate post on the NKJV, but the wording of this one seemed to suggest not. I so think such a post would be helpful. The antipathy of KJVO’s toward this version perhaps reveals their bias more than anything else, especially the assertion that it uses the CT instead of the TR because of a handful of verses that generally reflect translational differences and not textual differences. They will nitpick the NKJV to death but will explain away every issue with the KJV.

      I can understand why the NKJV would be considered too much of a departure by even those who, like the Trinitarian Bible Society, in theory aren’t KJVO. But those who, unlike the TBS or the late Dr. Letis, consider the KJV to be the pure Word of God and thus the only legit English translation would hardly accept a revision today of the type between 1611 and 1769 either. While the 1769 edition can’t be compared to the degree of revision found in the NKJV and certainly not the W-H/CT versions, Blayney’s revisions at times went beyond simply updating the language and fixing printing errors. Some KJV Only churches will make reference to “AV1611” but how many of them actually use it?

      If you can find a KJV with the marginal notes, they are often quite interesting. Let’s take a look at a handful of them. At Luke 10:22 we have “Many ancient copies add these words, ‘And turning to his disciples, he said'” which the NKJV gives as the Majority Text reading. At Luke 17:36 we have “This 36th verse is wanting in most of the Greek copies.” Both the Critical Text and the Majority Text exclude it. Acts 25:6 has “Some copies read….” The notes on Acts 13:18 and 13:34 refer to the LXX which KJVO’s assert is a fiction.

      The KJV Onlyist is placed in the position of defending the text but deriding the marginal notes provided by the very same translators/revisers!

    • Erik July 29, 2010 / 9:46 am

      Hi Chris,

      I added a note to the post clarifying. I will deal with a lot of the nuances of the NKJV in that later post. It was a good first run at the idea; and I wish they hadn’t stopped with the 1982 edition. It is not a revision in the same strand as the ‘standard’ translations – it took a different, more direct course

      Personally, I find the NKJV awkward to read, but I am the same way with the NASB – which was used by many of my seminary professors.

      My father has a letter from Bruce Metzger about the NKJV and the NIV which I think people will find interesting, if he can find it. It speaks about how the NKJV was done as a bridge translation. I hope he can find it.

    • Steven Avery July 29, 2010 / 11:57 am

      Hi Folks,

      Chris .. why would we deride the marginal notes ? Often they show the superb knowledge of Hebrew or Greek, or of textual matters, of the Authorized Version scholars. They are not scripture, but they are fascinating and frequently very helpful.

      They AV does not have any notes emphasizing one or two oddball corrupt manuscripts, or notes of deception about supposed “most reliable manuscripts” when all they mean are the proof-text corruptus Aleph and B .. or thousands of notes fighting their own text.

      On the NKJV .. eg. many, or most, of the translators felt they were translating a very inferior text .. why would they get involved in such an endeavor ? As men of integrity why actually translate a Bible text you do not believe is God’s word ?

      Their margin note catastrophe is a natural outgrowth of this problem.

      Steven Avery

    • Steven Avery July 29, 2010 / 12:01 pm

      Hi Folks,

      “how the NKJV was done as a bridge translation.”

      This is well-known. The goal was to get people step-by-step to the alexandrian modern versions. I could likely find you the quotes, if interested.

      However in my case it worked the opposite way, the NKJV was a transition Bible towards the pure and perfect word of God, the Authorized Version. The NKJV was my version for a number of years in that interim period when I understood the situation with NIV and NAS and put them aside.

      However, I am glad you have acknowledged that the actual motives of the NKJV translators and publishers was against the very Greek Bible text they were translating ! Translators of the night.


    • Chris Poe July 29, 2010 / 12:40 pm

      Regarding the NKJV, it would be a mistake to assume that there was some kind of unified motive for it. That’s a mistaken assumption when you get any group of people working toward one goal.

      Some of the translators who worked on the NKJV who generally favored the critical text instead of the TR or MT may have done so with the idea of it being a bridge. But as I will note in more detail below, that certainly wasn’t the aim of the General Editor and some other notables. As I noted in a previous comment, I’ve heard from sources in a position to know something about the matter that the MacArthur Study Bible was issued in the NKJV partly to appeal to KJV users to read it instead, even though most if not all of those who worked on it preferred the NASB and the critical text.

      If it was designed by Nelson as a bridge to other translations then it has been a colossal failure since it consistently outsells every other modern translation besides the NIV. Some may assert this, but it holds about as much water with me as the idea that the translations based on the CT introduce heresy. Moreover, why would they want to do that, since it would just lead customers to buy from their competitors?

      I also think it’s no accident that practically every major evangelical publishing house has a Bible version of their own. Those footing the bill for the NKJV likely didn’t want to do any text critical work in the text itself because at that time the version likely had better appeal that way. But since their only other translation of note is the paraphrastic CEV, which fits a far different niche, the idea that they envision it as a bridge translation strikes me as being somewhat spurious.

      The NKJV has been out for almost 30 years. But perhaps they have plans at some point to introduce a revision or some other translation to supplant it in the coming years? If so, my guess is that with the success of the ESV and the already crowded market that they have waited too long.

      It’s well documented that Arthur Farstad, the General Editor of the NKJV, wanted to bring the NT in line with the Majority Text that he and Hodges produced, but the people who were paying the bills didn’t want to do that.

      Interestingly, the HCSB initially began as a project headed up by Farstad that would be the first major translation from the Majority Text. (There are a few others, but they are one man productions.) Around the time of his death, Holman, which had concerns about the gender neutral NIV (which eventually was issued as the TNIV) and being unable to buy the rights to the NASB, acquired the rights to that project, which was originally called something like Logos 21. After Dr. Farstad’s death, they switched to the Critical Text.

    • Erik July 29, 2010 / 5:38 pm

      Chris said:

      Regarding the NKJV, it would be a mistake to assume that there was some kind of unified motive for it. That’s a mistaken assumption when you get any group of people working toward one goal…It’s well documented that Arthur Farstad, the General Editor of the NKJV, wanted to bring the NT in line with the Majority Text that he and Hodges produced, but the people who were paying the bills didn’t want to do that.

      Agreed. The letter in question was from only one translator, although he did have significant clout. Metzger was no doubt speaking of his view of things.

      All the same, it does seem that the publishers have a tremendous say in a translation’s presentation.

      Chris said:

      I’ve heard from sources in a position to know something about the matter that the MacArthur Study Bible was issued in the NKJV partly to appeal to KJV users to read it instead, even though most if not all of those who worked on it preferred the NASB and the critical text…I also think it’s no accident that practically every major evangelical publishing house has a Bible version of their own.

      Erik says:
      Forgive me for piecing these two statements together. I think you’re correct in both. The NKJV has been marketed to a certain conservative niche that was not being served by the NRSV and NASB. The ESV is gaining in a different market share, although also making inroads into the NKJV and NASB markets. Ultimately, publishing houses do whatever makes money. I have to be honest. I was initially put off by the frenzied marketing of the ESV, but I have gotten past it. It is not perfect, and I hope that the committee will wisely choose their successors and the work will continue to refine it.

      I do not think the NKJV will be updated. Nelson has gained their market share and it is a relatively stable (and as you pointed out sizeable) one.

      Chris said:

      Interestingly, the HCSB initially began as a project headed up by Farstad that would be the first major translation from the Majority Text. (There are a few others, but they are one man productions.)

      Erik says:
      I did not know that! A fascinating fact. Of course, we all know vision doesn’t always pay the bills. It is a shame. I was never satisfied with the HCSB, and I wanted badly to like it. I really did.

    • Chris Poe July 29, 2010 / 6:11 pm


      You wrote: “Why would we deride the marginal notes?” That’s a question you need to put to your KJV Only friends since that’s what the vast majority of them do, in my experience. I agree that the KJV marginal notes are fascinating and are frequently quite helpful.

      I’ve seen both Reformed men who favor the KJV because of its Reformation origin as well as fundamentalists who consider it to be the pure unadulterated word of God deride the marginal notes (yes, even the KJV marginal notes) because they tend to raise doubts about the text.

      If the KJV note at Luke 17:36 I quoted above doesn’t tend to raise questions about the legitimacy of that verse, then I don’t know what does. It is not a distinctive Alexandrian reading, but it is an instance in which the Majority Text and the Alexandrian text type disagree with the TR, which for most KJVO’s (and even some who would identify as KJV preferred) might as well amount to a use of the Alexandrian text. No doubt Erik will point out this kind of thing in his article on the NKJV and the KJVO response to it.

      Many KJV Onlyists also deny the existence of the LXX (at least as we know it today) prior to the first few centuries after Christ and consider the one we have today to be a corrupt product of the Alexandrian heretics. I’d be surprised if that issue hasn’t come up on this blog at some point in the past. Yet the KJV footnotes make reference to it.

    • Steven Avery July 29, 2010 / 6:48 pm

      Hi Folks,

      “That’s a question you need to put to your KJV Only friends .. I agree that the KJV marginal notes are fascinating and are frequently quite helpful. ”

      And I frequently make that point in discussions about particular margin notes, especially those that give the technical grammatical Hebrew or Greek form.

      And if you get out of the Greek-only mindset the notes you are talking about (eg. Luke 17:36) are very fine, every KJB defender should know there are many verses based on minority Greek evidence.

      The KJB defenders I know are savvy and are well aware that there are many verses where “the Majority Text and the Alexandrian text type disagree with the TR”. Acts 8:37 and the heavenly witnesses are really not hard to find, nor to understand.

      And I also like to make sure the Greek OT stuff is understood. There likely was some Tanach circulating at the time of Jesus and the apostles, of little use or interest in Israel, it is doubtful whether there were any histories circulating, based on Josephus. The “myth” language I find to be too charged and oversimplified when trying to explain why the Greek OT is a non-issue.

      Steven Avery

    • Steven Avery July 29, 2010 / 6:53 pm

      Hi Folks,

      “I do not think the NKJV will be updated.”

      Basically all the big-name modern versions are “updated” for copyright and/or marketing reasons. Often they do not tell you the updates in any clear way and they do not seem to have any scholarly purpose.

      Michael Marlowe is one of thew folks who understand this and has written on it publicly. KJB defenders do not care too much (Will Kinney often notes the examples) as we do not have a dozen conflicting versions with two dozen editions .. except that it is funny when the same version (NAS, NKJV, ESV etc) is quoted one way and then another on the same verse and there is all this finger-pointing.

      Steven Avery

    • Erik July 29, 2010 / 7:43 pm

      Allow me to rephrase. “I do not think the NKJV will undergo a major revision.”

    • Steven Avery July 29, 2010 / 6:56 pm

      Hi Folks,

      “There likely was some Tanach circulating”

      ie. The Penteteuch, the Five Books of Moses, were probably circulating reasonably widely, much like they can show up in countries like Yemen and Ethiopia when the rest of the Bible is missing.

      Steven Avery

    • Chris Poe July 29, 2010 / 7:38 pm


      Here are some interviews with Ed Blum, the general editor of the HCSB that I think you will find are of interest.

      The first is a wide ranging interview that touches on topics that you’ll rarely see addressed, especially by a general editor of a major translation. There are statements here that some from basically every perspective will take issue with, whether it’s his crude characterization of the Song of Solomon that would seem to rival a certain preacher in Seattle, or his characterization of the TR. But I think all will find it revealing:


      A briefer but still informative interview with Andy Cheung:


      Michael Marlowe makes note of some of the above information with his article on the HCSB, particularly the issue of whether or not it is a “Baptist” translation. In the first linked interview, Blum calls himself a Presbyterian, but as a dispensationalist, he’s a Presbyterian in the way that early Dallas Seminary leaders were Presbyterians, which isn’t Presbyterian at all by confessional standards. Farstad was Brethren. Marlowe says this is a distinction without a difference, and from his confessional Presbyterian perspective, he is correct. But if you ask Southern Baptists who are serious whether those men are Baptists they’ll almost to a man say no because of their ecclesiology.

    • Erik July 29, 2010 / 8:00 pm

      FASCINATING! Seriously. I did not know much about the HCSB. Thanks for the link. I love the intent of the HCSB. I can’t say that I’m in love with it. I still enjoy a Bible “in the King James tradition” as the article states it.

      The thing about the NKJV at first and the ESV more recently that I don’t know if I made clear is that finally after a century of revisions handled mostly by theological liberals, the conservatives are taking back the King James tradition. We are finally realizing that the market was flooded with Bible translated by liberals and extreme ecumenicalists (many of the dynamic translations included) and we decided to fight back by giving the Church conservatively driven translations in the King James tradition. I’ve got nothing against wholly original translations (well, most of them) but for myself (and I think the majority of conservative, English-speaking Christians) we want to be connected to that stream.

    • Chris Poe July 29, 2010 / 7:46 pm

      My last sentence should have read “Southern Baptists who are serious *about their ecclesiology*”

  3. Steven Avery July 29, 2010 / 3:36 am

    Hi Folks,

    “Strictly speaking, they were not translations but revisions of the Authorized Version of 1611 ”

    Nonsense, strictly speaking these were a totally new versions based on a totally new Greek text, never seen before in the history of the world until 1871 and totally different the AV.

    Thus, the whole premise is fatally flawed .. It is simply fallacious to call a version based on a radically different underlying text a Revision of the historic Bible. Keeping some of the beauty of the English of the AV is essentially irrelevant, since the underlying source texts are radically different.

    The fact that this bait-and-switch was done in 1881 was exposed by Dean John Burgon immediately in Revision Revised (1882), well worth reading today, here are a couple of small excerpts, much more is available.

    Revision Revised
    And thus, the men who were appointed to improve the English Translation are exhibited to us remodelling the original Greek. (p. … it proves to have been, from the very first, a definite part of the Programme. (p. 39) [15] Proofs that the Revisers hare outrageously exceeded the Instructions they received from the Convocation of the Southern Province. (p. 399)

    None of the versions in the article are a revision of the Authorized Version. Note even close. Dean Burgon shows decisively that the claim above “‘to introduce as few alterations as possible, consistently with faithfulness.” was simply a deception, untrue, false. With our extra available background material today, this is even far more trivially easy to see and understand.

    All of the Revisions above are far more distant from the Authorized Version than is any Vulgate or Peshitta translation, since the text foisted by Westcott-Hort is radically different than all historic Bibles. Hundreds of phrases and verses are different. Whole sections of the AV are considered non-scripture.

    Daniel Wallace has a paper online where he calls the RV the fifth major revision of the AV. Daniel Wallace wrote me that he misspoke in saying this, yet the paper remains.

    It is best to use language properly .. new text, new translation, new version. Updating a version from the same base text (identical or close to identical) – revision. The NKJV could, with difficulty and arguably, be considered a revision of the KJB. However not in the sense of the “revisions” of 1638 and Blayney, so that distinction must be kept very clear.

    None of the versions above are KJB revisions.

    Steven Avery

    • Erik July 29, 2010 / 5:21 am


      I am well aware of Dean Burgon’s book and have read through it. No one is debating that the RV was a necessarily good revision, and as I made clear in the introduction, “The degree to which they are updated varies widely.” As stated before, Westcott and Hort made changes that made no sense and presented the world with an edited form of the Greek text that had never existed before, which is why the RV was largely rejected and the following revisions followed the ASV.

      Regardless, the RV is still considered a revision and not a new translation, just as the AV is considered a revision of the Great Bible and not a new translation, and so on back to Tyndale/Coverdale, which is really the basis for subsequent translations. All subsequent ‘official’ revisions are also considered revisions in this manner.

      I know you don’t like the way that terminology is used, but I will continue to use it because I believe it accurately represents the purpose and intent of these translations and distinguishes them from the ‘new translations’ which did not use the Tyndale-AV lineage as a jumping off point.

      Each of the translations I have listed made a step forward in translation, something I did not make as clear as I probably should have:

      1. The RV/ASV included the larger corpus of Greek texts, even if they based this inclusion on a faulty edition instead of the texts themselves.
      2. The RSV attempted to include more of the knowledge of the Hebrew Scriptures and included input from Hebrew scholars outside Christianity, something that had not been done since Jerome.
      3. The NASB showed the shift of English from primarily British to American usage but also utilized a much improved Greek textual tool in the NA-26, a critical text that was far less radical than W-H and some of the subsequent NA editions.
      4. The NRSV, if nothing else, highlighted the difficulty of producing some kind of ecumenical translation and the fact that translation will reflect the beliefs of the translators.
      5. The ESV marks, in my opinion, a turning point in translation because it is the beginning (prayerfully) of a reclaiming of the ‘essentially literal’ from theological liberals and a movement toward better English translation. It is not perfect, but as John Piper pointed out, it is far better than everything else available.

      Steven, I understand your bias toward the AV; and I have no problem with you using and defending the AV. I grew up using it, still use it. But it is my position that it is hopelessly outdated. Beautiful? Yes. Amazing? Yes. Infallible and irreplaceable? No. And since I believe that the inspired text of the NT is the entire corpus of Greek texts and not a single edited version, I feel that the necessity for an English version revised at least with some of the corpus in mind is better than using a majestic but out-dated 17th century translation.

      I know you disagree strongly; and that’s ok. But that is my position and the position I will continue to take based on my own study of the topic and my own journey.

    • Steven Avery July 29, 2010 / 5:46 am

      Hi Folks,

      Eric, you are mixing apples and kumquats.

      First, if you want to use defective terminology, calling a version from a totally different text a revision, that is your right. Simply expect it to be exposed as a charade-defintion, much like Dean Burgon exposed this in 1882,

      “Westcott and Hort made changes that made no sense and presented the world with an edited form of the Greek text that had never existed before, which is why the RV was largely rejected and the following revisions followed the ASV.”

      You seem to be under a delusion that the big differences are between the ASV and the RV. These two versions AGREE on all the major W-H textual changes away from the Reformation Bible. e.g.

      1 Timothy 3:16
      Resurrection account of Lord Jesus in Mark
      Pericope Adultera
      Heavenly witnesses
      John 1:18
      Acts 8:37

      The list could go on and on. Your emphasis of the paltry differences in the ASV and RV is simply misdirection. They use virtually identical underlying texts, agreeing on disagreeing with the Reformation Bible in hundreds of major variants.

      As for the AV being “a revision of the Great Bible” you probably mean the Bishop’s Bible, yet any scholar today can tell you that was proforma. At any rate their NT texts were virtually identical, which is the difference with the W-H text being called a revision. This is simply mangling language for politics, or as you say “bias”.

      “a much improved Greek textual tool in the NA-26, a critical text that was far less radical than W-H”

      Where is this “much improved” tool ? As I show above, every major corruption of W-H remains, such as trying to have Mark end with the woman afraid instead of the resurrection accounts of the Lord Jesus Christ.. In fact, NA-26 adds a couple of new corruptions, like John 7:8 and 1 Thessalonians 2:7. This is “improved” ? Check your sources, check your text.

      Steven Avery

    • Erik July 29, 2010 / 6:07 am

      I don’t even like kumquats. Steven, it is what it is. I’m not going to argue with you.

    • Andrew Suttles July 29, 2010 / 2:36 pm

      How does one pronounce Burgon? I’ve always pronounced it Bur-jean (like French), but I recently heard someone pronounce it as Bur-GUN (distinctly American).

    • Erik July 29, 2010 / 5:41 pm

      We Americans seem to pronounce it as ber-GON. I believe the G is hard.

  4. Steven Avery July 29, 2010 / 4:08 am

    Hi Folks,


    “(having last been revised in 1765)”…

    date corrected to Blayney 1769. The KJB was in fact updated in the 1800s and early 1900s. Matthew Verschuur (bibleprotector) has documented hundreds of these language updates. And there is no comparison whatsoever to the work of Blayney and the versions based on new texts.


    “RSV … In many places in Isaiah, the translators followed the newly discovered Dead Sea Scrolls … he fadish (faddish) translations from the Dead Sea Scrolls”

    Would you supply some of these places ? I see this claim on Wikipedia, yet I am quite skeptical for a number of reasons, including the simple fact that the Great Isaiah Scroll is very close to the Masoretic text. Also the date of the original RV gives very little window of time to digest anything from the DSS.

    Note: The taking out of virgin in Isaiah 7 was not based on any textual distinction in the DSS and the above claim may have been a cover story, so I would like to see specific verses and words.


    FF Bruce (… restored)
    “blurred some of the finer distinctions in New Testament wording which, while they are of little importance to the general reader, have some significance for those who are concerned with the more accurate interpretation of the text.”

    As with the Isaiah request above, this really needs a few specific verse examples. Although this area is more subjective than the Isaiah DSS request.


    Luther Weigle’s Preface to the RV is quoted as factual which is a bit of :). You are welcome to attempt support the claim that something today .. “sheds new light upon the meaning of the Greek text” with specific translation examples. ie. KJB translation –> new light –> modern version A,B,C. Surely Weigle’s assertion is of little help, since he had a veseted interest in supporting the new translation.


    “NASB went the opposite direction of the RSV. The translating committee was made up of conservative theologians and language experts who revised the ASV text to be more literal and in keeping with doctrinal purity.”

    Clearly seeking “more literal” and a perceived “doctrinal purity” could be goals at odds with one another. It would definitely help if e.g. five of the non-literal ASV phrases were given with their asserted NAS literal correction.


    “The NASB ..was the first fully American version of the Bible.”

    This looks like a de facto acknowledgment that the pretense of KJB revision – “Revisions of the Authorized Version” has been dropped. (Although a tepid attempt to reinstate occurs with the ESV.) That misdirection is a most unfortunate aspect of the whole article.

    Steven Avery
    Queens, NY

    • Steven Avery July 29, 2010 / 5:20 am

      Hi Folks,

      Okay, I decided to check up the DSS-RSV situation and there is some use.

      The Dead Sea scrolls, Millar Burrows – 1961 – p. 305 talks of 13 spots in the RSV that are affected by the DSS in Isaiah, 5 of which had no additional mss support. The 13 following St Mark’s Isaiah Scroll. A paper on the variants is online from Paul W. Peter in 1973 – Variants of the Isaiah Scroll Adopted by the Revised Standard Version and the Jerusalem Bible.

      Ironically, the NRSV Preface says

      “The Old Testament translation of the RSV was completed before the Dead Sea Scrolls were generally available to scholars. The NRSV was intended to take advantage of this and other manuscript discoveries, and to reflect advances in scholarship since the RSV had been released.”

      In other words, overall the departures from the Masoretic Received Texts have increased since the RSV.

      Modern versions like the NETBible and Holman and ESV will frequently leave the received Masoretic Text, in the manner of the RSV, using the DSS and other sources (check Genesis 49:10 for a messianic verse example).

      Steven Avery

    • Erik July 29, 2010 / 6:05 am

      1. The last revision in 1769.
      The first commenter already noted this and it has been corrected. Please note also that I did say,

      They [the modern revisions] are distinguished from the initial revisions of the Authorized Version which were more updates of spelling, additions and corrections of versification and other typesetting issues.

      Since Bibleprotector believes that a single edition of the AV is actually the inspired Word of God (admittedly a logical procession from being KJVO), I generally don’t cite his work because I find his position to be untenable. I consider it a ‘one-man theory’.

      2. Dead Sea Scroll Usage
      You’ve already checked into that one below, so I don’t think I need to write anything further.

      3. The F.F. Bruce Quote
      Bruce’s observation had to do with the way the RSV changed words that appeared in the ASV and AV, like changing flesh to body when there was a definite distinction from the body being made (2 Cor 7:1-5 is an example). Sometimes definite theologically charged words were completely changed. Consider 2 Cor 10:3, where the RSV has ‘worldly war’ instead of ‘war according to the flesh.’

      These kinds of things were the main issue that J.I. Packer and the ESV committee took in hand to change. The RSV was far too dynamic, but it had to be in order to produce the ecumenical version the translators were striving for. That same thing continued in the NRSV and is, I think, the greatest weakness of the RSV/NRSV’s translation philosophy.

      4. Luther Weigle & koine Greek
      I’m not sure what point you’re trying to make with this part, to be honest, but the truth remains that the RV translators worked as if the Greek NT was either classical Greek, which it wasn’t, or a special Biblical Greek, which it also wasn’t. The research into koine and the beautiful diversity of koine is one of the strengths of the Greek NT corpus and since W-H did not understand that, and it was not considered in editions of Nestle-Aland until about the 24th, I believe (off the top of my head, so I might be wrong), it needed to be taken into consideration.

      Did the RSV get it right? No. The botched it because of their theological bias; but at least they recognized the need to consider koine as distinct from classical Greek and not just a lonely class of Biblical Greek.

      5. NASB being more literal and doctrinally pure than ASV
      Since the ASV was primarily the RV New Testament with an Old Testament heavily revised by the American committee, the differences are mostly New Testament.

      Ephesians 4:13
      till we all attain unto the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a fullgrown man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: (ASV)

      until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fulness of Christ. (NASB)

      The AV has perfect which, in the English of the period meant something more akin to mature than to our current usage of perfect. The ASV’s translation is weak and carries a meaning that does not fit doctrinally with the context. Mature works better. Something similar occurs in 1 Corinthians 14:20.

      2 Timothy 3:16
      Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness. (ASV)

      All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; (NASB)

      This is one of the most blaring errors of the RV/ASV, a rendering that has no precedence and so was corrected in NASB, the RSV/NRSV and the ESV among others.

      I know you asked for five examples, but to be honest, it is early in the morning and I don’t have them readily available to me. So forgive me, but I am sure others can supply similar examples. There are many of them.

      6. The NASB being American
      This statement was made in relation to the ASV, which was really just an Americanized version of the RV. The NASB was done by Americans in American English (although still a ‘translator’s English’ rather than common English).

      I don’t see how noting the nation of origin and audience indicates I have dropped a ‘pretense of KJB revision’ by noting the shift from a primarily British revision to a primarily American one, nor do I understand how this is a ‘most unfortunate aspect of the whole article.’

      The NASB was the first ‘official’ revision in this sequence to be fully American in its English. Am I somehow incorrect in saying so?

      I hope against hope that these statements answer the concerns raised. Please understand that this meant as a high level review and is not meant to be exhaustive. As N.T. Wright once said (paraphrase), “The problem with theology is that you have to say everything or people think you don’t believe the things you don’t say.” I am not trying to say everything there is to know about these revisions. I’m trying to present something of a broad overview so people can see that they are not a monolithic ‘Modern Versions’ but varied and different.

      The fact that the English Bible I use happens to be in the first list might be a bit off-putting, but I felt it better to let everyone know up-front. This article will be followed by one on dynamic translations, another on paraphrases, and a last article that focuses particularly on the NKJV because of its unique place in the spectrum.

    • Erik July 29, 2010 / 6:25 am

      Lawrence Schiffman, a prominent Dead Sea Scholar, points out in his series of lectures on the DSS that the Isaiah scroll, while overwhelmingly the same as the Masoretic text does have some variations. Since I am not a paleographer and I would not consider myself a Hebrew expert, I am inclined to believe him.

      Believe it or not, the Masoretic text does have a few places where word choice seems to be in question – the variants are absolutely miniscule in number and do not affect anything beyond an obscure or seemingly out of place word.

      Again, I am taking Dr. Schiffman’s word for it, but since he is a Hebrew-speaker who specializes in the DSS, I am comfortable with it.

  5. Erik July 29, 2010 / 6:19 am

    Author’s note: I corrected the year 1765 to 1769 as Chris, the first commenter was correct.

    Also, please be aware that I will not be responding to the same issues more than once, so I recommend that if you read the article and disagree, look through the comments and make sure the issue has not been addressed before posting.

    One final thing, please remember that the authors of this blog do their writing in their free time. We are not paid correspondents and while we do our best to get everything straight, we do not have an editor to catch errors – which do sometimes happen, even in the modern age (so you can imagine how common they were in the world of vellum and ink). We appreciate any feedback to correct dates, names, misplaced statements, but please make the feedback in a courteous way by simply stating, “Did you perhaps mean _?” or “I think you might have meant _.”

    Such errors are not intentional (and I think I speak for all the authors in this.) and jumping on typographical errors and attacking in the comments is hardly behavior becoming Christians.

  6. Steven Avery July 29, 2010 / 6:39 am

    Hi Folks,

    “Since Bibleprotector believes … I generaly don’t cite his work.”

    Did you ever hear of the “genetic fallacy”. Matthew has written excellent material about the KJB editions (in many respects the best available) you do not have to agree with his conclusions to benefit from his scholarship. Hopefully you do read and study such scholarship, even if you do not “cite”.

    Steven Avery

    • Erik July 29, 2010 / 7:06 am

      Genetic fallacy is not in play here because I made no conclusion of Bibleprotector’s work. I simply choose not to cite him on the subject. I have read a number of his articles and I think he holds to a one-man theory.

      “One-man theory” is a term I picked up from Lawrence Schiffman (who makes his third appearance in this discussion) which is defined as a single proposition or idea presented with seemingly overwhelming evidence but not accepted as a viable theory by the field at large.

      Another example might be David Rohl’s Pharaohs and Kings and its New Chronology. I might like Rohl’s work and think it makes some sense, but I am not going to argue based on it since it is a one-man theory. It is not subject to peer-review and while it might be valid, it is not tenable as a source.

      And in answer to your question, yes, I do read and study the works of scholars, and as a former member of the Dean Burgon Society, I have had access to the very best KJV scholars – not the least of whom is my own father. Thus far, I haven’t seen a single thing come from you that I haven’t heard before. Just because I disagree, don’t assume I don’t know what’s going on.

    • Steven Avery July 29, 2010 / 7:25 am

      Hi Folks,

      Erik, I did not ask you to cite bibleprotector’s work. I pointed out that your knowledge of the 1769 –> 20th century KJB editions would be improved if you read his work, and you would not have stopped KJB updates at 1769 in the original post.

      Was Hort’s Lucan recension a one-man theory ? Are two-men theories much better than one ? How do you claim to know how many folks today are supportive of the PCE understanding ?

      “Thus far, I haven’t seen a single thing come from you that I haven’t heard before.”

      🙂 .
      Each post, each discussion, stands on its own.

      Whether I bring any value-added to some discussions, each reader can decide.

      Now, I do not know your dad’s writings (other than a bit of some recent stuff that is in the brouhaha).

      As the Lord leads, we can discuss such topics as KJB-defender expertise on another thread.

      Steven Avery

    • Erik July 29, 2010 / 7:31 am

      No one is defending the recension theory, although technically it is not a one-man theory since others have evaluated, expanded or rejected it in the literature. While I disagree with it, it is still considered a valid theory.

    • Steven Avery July 29, 2010 / 8:22 am

      Hi FOlks,

      “valid theory” ??

      Who defines a “valid theory”. I can mention hundreds of PhD scientists who will tell you that Creation is not a “valid theory” .. the “valid theory” is evolution.

      Steven Avery

    • Erik July 29, 2010 / 8:37 am

      And there are hundreds who do – hence, it is a valid theory even if it is not accepted by all. A theory does not have to be accepted by everyone in order to be valid.

  7. Steven Avery July 29, 2010 / 7:15 am

    Hi Folks,

    Yes, Professor Schiffman is the expert on this, and also Fred Miller’s excellent site shows the differences in fine detail. There is easily enough in the Great Isaiah Scroll (another name for the St. Mark’s monastery scroll) for a Masoeretic Text Bible “corrector” to change the text in 8 to 13 spots, as discussed above.

    Now, on the list above.

    Revision stuff is clear enough in my posts above.

    FF Bruce short example is fine.

    Your Weigle-Hort-koine section is borderline incomprehensible, I think because you thought I was focusing on the RSV translation. I simply wondered if you had verses of what you consider “new light” ?

    Example .. some would take the two Granville Sharp verses standing, others would disagree. Where do you see this “new light” in Greek understanding manifest .. in any version, in any verse.

    NASB-ASV section is fine, five is not necessary, often three examples is enough to give flavor.

    Keep in mind that I consider the textual issue the fundamental one, so such a question is scholarship interest only .. I do appreciate the response because I want to see the backdrop.

    Overall, I see virtually no difference between any of the versions above, or twenty other versions. In fact, on occasion the NASV (and NWT) was more literal to the NA-27 text, such as “only begotten God”. In other cases Rotherdam was actually literal “Who was made manifest in flesh”, most all the versions “smoothed”.

    Virtually every probability text modern version is 100% faithful to all the alexandrian corruptions, even if smoothed in translation, so the translation differences are interesting, albeit minor. (An exception .. ASV on John 1:18 with “only begotten Son).

    By the time you get to the NASV, it is clear that trying to talk of revisions of the KJB is more a joke than even a pretense. I am pointing out the disingenuous nature of what you included under the “Revision” heading.

    One last question, which you skipped above. Why do you pretend there is a major difference between NA-27 and W-H ?

    Remember your belief is stated as:

    “the ‘Majority Text’ strains of the textual tradition to be much more in keeping with context and message than many of the W-H readings.”

    These W-H non-minority readings (e.g. who-he was manifest, omission of the ending of Mark, Pericope Adultera) are invariably in all the versions you mention. If you like Majority Greek readings, why so much focus on ultra-minority Greek versions ?

    Steven Avery

    • Erik July 29, 2010 / 7:28 am

      I don’t think it is disingenuous at all, since that implies some kind of intentional obfuscation. The NASB purports to be and is in the line of the ‘standard’ revisions and so belongs here more than it would classed with dynamic or paraphrase translations.

      As to NA-27, it is what it is, Steven. NA-27 includes far more manuscripts than W-H and it trends toward traditional readings more than previous editions did. Do I think NA-27 is perfect? No, but I don’t think Erasmus or Bezae or Scrivener is either. I have all of them and use all of them, as well as a number of others.

      I know that isn’t of significance to you, but it is to me. I wouldn’t want people performing surgery on me the way they did in the 1500’s, and I don’t think I need to be tied to the way they did textual research either.

    • Steven Avery July 29, 2010 / 8:38 am

      Hi Folks,

      “I don’t think it is disingenuous at all, since that implies some kind of intentional obfuscation.”

      In fact there is a history of very intentional misrepresentation and distortion on this very issue.

      When scholarship gets too dubious and shoddy, you have to conclude it is intentional. Examples:

      The NKJV claims to be
      “the fifth major revision of the King James Version” since “Previous major revisions were prepared in 1629, 1638, 1762, and 1769.”

      A claim that makes no sense, surely even the no-pure-KJB folks would agree that the NKJV is not a KJB “revision” in the line of Blayney. In one place this did this with extra-weasel language:

      “the New King James Version is the fifth revision of a historic document translated from specific Greek texts”

      Similarly, Daniel Wallace similarly claims the RV was the “Revised Version … the fifth major revision of the AV.”

      This makes no sense, I wrote to him, he says he “misspoke” and came up with another idea ..

      “the RV is the sixth revision of Tyndale, not the fifth revision of the King James.”

      Which makes even less sense, if possible.

      Why is everybody who rejects the Reformation Bible text trying to pretend they can carry the KJB mantle of excellence ? (ie. Preface after Preface).

      The fact that they try so mightily to associate themselves with the pure historic Bible, even while totally rejecting its text, is itself quite telling.

      Steven Avery

  8. Steven Avery July 29, 2010 / 8:16 am

    Hi Folks,

    The simple fact is that virtually every modern version tries to piggy-back on the authority, majesty and excellence of the Authorized Version. They do this even when they use a text wildly different (far more different than even the Vulgate text). The fact that a dozen versions and individuals repeat the same canard does not make it substantive.

    The NASV .. eg. has no relationship to the KJB textually, and virtually none translationally. It simply is not a revision of the KJB and any claim that it is becomes silly-season.


    On NA .. Erik you keep talking theoretically about being “vastly improved” (NA-26/27) .. thus you should, if this were accurate, be able to demonstrate some of these “vast improvements” in text. I mentioned two very small textual changes, both towards errors (John 7:8 and 1 Thessalonians 2:7).

    If you do not have any of these “vast improvements” to show, then you should acknowledge that your attempt to create some huge chasm between W-H and NA-27 is simply fluff, for presentation. And you actually do affirm the fundamentals of the W-H 1871 text and theories, and your versions match almost completely that text.

    Why not acknowledge that you really do not know what these supposed improvements are .. or if you do, you do want to give them out ?

    If you are not sure where they are, and want to take some time to study it out, simply say so and return to the topic after you come up to full speed.

    Oh .. much of the Bible interpretation and understanding of the Reformation era is far superior to the muddled and confused thinking today.

    Surely you would not want to have the primitive type of faith and understanding of those 1st century Israelites who followed Jesus ! You surely do not want spiritual insight from such ancient days.


    Incidentally, we are not tied to “textual research” tools .. if you look at the variants with the latest tools, a sound mind and common sense, I believe you will strongly affirm the resurrection account in the Gospel of Mark (99.9% of mss), “God was manifest in the flesh”, “only begotten Son” .. not begotten God .. etc. The tools can change, the question is the sharpness and faith and acuity of those working with the tools.

    Steven Avery

    • Erik July 29, 2010 / 8:39 am

      You’re entitled to your opinion. Like I said, I’m not interested in arguing, and you continue to create caricatures of me, but I am determined not to respond to in kind. There is enough argument about this issue. I stated my thoughts. You’re free to not like them, but to constantly twist everything to your convenience and make me out to be some kind of idiot because I don’t hold your position is not only uncharitable but completely unnecessary. I have attempted to be peaceable with you, despite your constant attacks on my character and intellect.

      Ο Θεός δίνει την ειρήνη, ακόμη και όταν δεν μπορούμε να το ακούσω.

    • Erik July 29, 2010 / 8:52 am

      Steven, I feel that your comments in the post of 8:44am were argumentative and I am exercising my power as an author to put your comments into the review queue. Bob can review your responses and evaluate them. All further posts from you will be added to the review queue as soon as I see them appear until I receive further instructions from Bob.

  9. Chris Poe July 29, 2010 / 10:02 am

    Why it keeps getting asserted that the NASB is more literal than the ASV, I’ll never know. I’ve even seen some writers who ought to know better assert that the NAS is the most literal translation ever attempted. Overall the KJV would seem to be clearly more literal than the NASB as well. No translation is a perfect 1:1 correspondence with the originals.

    Perhaps it’s because the ASV is a version that most today are unfamiliar with. Perhaps its also because if something keeps getting repeated over and over, people start to believe it. The ASV (and RV) was likely the most literal translation of its textual base done by any committee, as opposed to translations like the YLT, the Darby and LITV which were largely one man productions. This is why Spurgeon referred to the RV as being good in Greek but poor in English and is one reason why the RV/ASV were popular in seminaries but not with the public.

    The NASB, especially the 1995 revision, but to some degree with the 1977 as well, is quite obviously less literal than the NKJV in many places, especially in the OT, where the NKJV tends to follow the Masoretic Text very closely. I suppose the NASB is credited with being more literal due to the tendency to follow the sentence structure of the original even if it makes for awkward reading in English. But somewhat strangely in my view, it also tends to render Hebrew idioms in more idiomatic English, sometimes in places where the literal translation would not be unclear.

    On a related subject but regarding a different translation, some recent charts that show the ESV being more literal than the NKJV are patently absurd, unless the NKJV is downgraded for using the received text. But since the ESV and NASB include so many MT and TR readings in the text that are omitted as being no part of Scripture by the critical texts that they are based upon, I can hardly see how this would hold water.

    • Erik July 29, 2010 / 10:13 am

      Certainly, the NASB is not the most literal translation ever attempted. There are far more (although not wide known) literal translations that are virtually unreadable in English. Personally, I find the NASB’s adherence to sentence structure to be irritating because if you’re going to do that, do it all the way. I know what they were shooting for, but it just makes it flow so poorly.

      The ESV’s inclusion of MT and TR readings is actually, I think one of its strengths. The NKJV would be more literal, I suppose, but it is not as readable – but that’s my opinion, and not by any stretch of the imagination a universal rule.

      Would you agree that it appearst the revision committees for the ESV and NKJV had similar objectives in mind but accomplished them differently and to differing levels of success?

    • Chris Poe July 29, 2010 / 12:01 pm


      I think your statement that the NASB didn’t “do it all the way” to be well put. It’s what I was thinking with my comment although I may have not used those words exactly. I basically cut my teeth on the NASB, but after reading the NKJV more and more, beginning with my acquisition of the MacArthur Study Bible, I now find it difficult to read the NASB for any length of time, especially when I find “Lit….” in the margin and wonder why they didn’t just put that in the text if it is supposed to be the most literal modern translation. Eventually, I figured, why bother with the NASB anymore, especially I lean toward a Byzantine priority stance. I find certain passages in the NASB to be quite well done and more understandable than the NKJV or even the ESV at times, but as a whole I find it awkward. Ironically, MacArthur has been a CT man for many years (I believe he has continued to use the NASB in the pulpit) but apparently the NKJV was used for the Study Bible for business reasons and/or perhaps as a bridge to appeal to KJV users.

      I could write more regarding Study Bibles and why certain ones have appeared in certain translations, but that’s probably best left for another thread.

    • Chris Poe July 29, 2010 / 12:09 pm

      Insofar as they are both more readable than the NASB and are both much more literal than the NIV, I agree that the committees for the NKJV and ESV had similar aims. This is discussed in some length in Arthur Farstad’s book “The New King James Version: In the Great Tradition.” He is referring to the 1977 NASB there but most of the argument still holds water.

      But insofar as the NKJV is a revision of the NKJV and the ESV is arguably a lighter revision of the RSV than the NKJV is of the KJV, I’d say there is quite a bit of divergence as well.

      What I think is really overblown with the ESV is the idea that it is some kind of revolutionary accomplishment, although I agree it will be revolutionary if most conservative evangelicals in both the pew and the pulpit do end up settling on it over the next few decades. Prior to the ESV, you often had the preachers using the NASB (or NKJV) and the people toting the NIV, if not the NLT. If you wanted to get serious about Bible Study in the 80’s and 90’s, you got a NASB unless you were more tied to the KJV or a MT view. Since the ESV’s publication, the NKJV may well have outsold the ESV and NASB put together, despite the poor quality of most NKJV Bibles, which is my biggest gripe about it and Nelson. In my experience most bookstores other than Lifeway hardly stock the NASB anymore, unless its a study Bible. When you look at the CBA list of bestselling Bibles, the NKJV is usually #3 behind the NIV and KJV. But no doubt the gap is narrowing as more pastors adopt the ESV, which often results in many of the people eventually following suit.

      The idea, especially among younger people, that the ESV is some monumental achievement seems to come from two directions. 1) Former NIV readers who like the more majestic language of the ESV and who found the NASB difficult and the NKJV unacceptable because of its textual base, if they were even very familiar with them at all. 2) Former KJV toting fundamentalists (whether former fundies or not) who like the ESV because they like Piper and other Calvinistic conservative evangelicals and that’s the version almost all of them use. (Dever however apparently continues using the NIV.) I’m being somewhat facetious with #2 but I do think there’s some truth to it. People who hadn’t seriously considered a modern translation before seem to be picking up the ESV, perhaps due to the influence of teachers they admire, and liking it. I’ve found that many in both groups have little or no familiarity with the NKJV, or as you say, choose the ESV because they find it to be more readable and for its textual base. My group #1 especially generally has no familiarity whatsoever with the RSV and is often under the impression that the ESV is a fresh translation. Although the marketing by Crossway doesn’t make it clear, the relation with the RSV is clear on both the title page and the introduction. However, I’ve found even some pastors who aren’t aware of this. I guess I’m just a Bible geek. 🙂

      I do think that whether one translation or another is more readable is somewhat subjective. Someone who has used the KJV for decades may find any other translation unreadable. Some prefer the text to be paragraphed, and this is one reason why those who started with the NIV find the NASB and NKJV hard to read since they are most often in a verse by verse format. Recently I’ve found that I prefer the verified format since I tend to read too quickly if it is paragraphed and because it’s harder to find my place while teaching with a paragraphed version.

      I don’t find the ESV unreadable, but as I read it more and noticed here and there what to me are idiosyncratic readings that aren’t in any of the other conservative translations but are found in my old RSV, I got more and more turned off by it.

      Let me emphasize that I don’t think it’s a bad or dangerous translation, but that it simply isn’t my first choice and probably not even my second or third. I still think the NKJV and NASB are the best translations for close study of the text, followed by the KJV and ESV. If the reader is able to understand the early modern English of the KJV (it isn’t “old English” as is often stated) then it probably moves up on the list for some.

    • Erik July 29, 2010 / 5:48 pm

      No, I’d agree that the ESV is not nearly as ‘revolutionary’ as all the hype. It has certainly received a broad acceptance, but it does seem to be used mostly by the ‘big names’ of the New Reformed guys – Piper, Driscoll, etc. I think they do use it because they were never satisfied with the NIV but were waiting for something more conservative than the RSV/NRSV with readability that the NASB does not have. Viewed through that lens, I can see why they would use the ESV (obviously, I’m biased because that’s more or less my story as well).

      As someone who loves the English language, I hear you about people mislabeling the language of the KJV as ‘Old English.’ I often respond, “Have you ever read Old English?” Technically, the English of the KJV is an intentionally archaic early modern English. I pointed out in a previous post that the KJV was the last time that English was enough in flux that the language could be made to conform to the Scriptures. Neologisms were rife at the time – I think Shakespeare alone invented thousands of words for his plays. Today, the language has far less flexibility even though it is expanding much quicker. It is one of the reasons that you cannot employ the same techniques the KJV committees used today. It does not mean you cannot do effective, accurate translation – but you have to consider the ways English has changed. It has changed in a foundational level, not just in vocabulary or even syntax.

    • Bob Hayton July 29, 2010 / 1:02 pm

      I had also always thought of the ASV as more literal than the NASB. I think Erik’s examples are more translational or doctrinal issues than examples of being more literal.

      On the 2 groups who like the ESV, I found being a KJV user all my life, that the transition to an ESV was much more smooth than it would be for the NASB or NIV. At least I think that is the case. I didn’t choose the NKJV because of the textual base and the problems I had with the TR.

      I do think there is a sycophantic adherence to the ESV like you mention. Also, Mark Strauss and others have pointed out the ESV is closer to the NIV on the literal spectrum than it gives out (with its claims to being essentially literal). I think in many places it is very literal or captures the literal sense in important areas, but in other places it doesn’t. It also is more gender neutral than one would think it would be (whereas the NASB maintains the use of “man” more often than the ESV). That being said, I think a certain amount of DE is helpful. And I like how readable it is. I just hope they keep editing and improving it. I’m use to it now and like it.

  10. Bob Hayton July 29, 2010 / 1:02 pm

    Great beginning to a helpful series, Erik. I think for the average reader this is a helpful overview of translations and how they are similar yet distinct.

  11. Bob Hayton July 29, 2010 / 1:06 pm

    Steven, I deleted the two comments you left this morning (8:44 and one around 9 something). Please understand we can have back and forth, but not in a dismissive tone. You and Erik have gone back and forth a lot here. He’s said his piece and so have you. You don’t need to throw in a last word like you did in those posts dismissing him and such. Please be advised, if you continue in this manner, we will have to moderate you and just cut off further comments from you in a given thread. Say your piece, express your opinion, and if the conversations wilts and doesn’t go anywhere, be respectful and accept that we won’t agree with you. We’ll let you interact but after a certain point we can’t keep having you add further posts continuing to focus on minute points where you differ from us. We GET that you don’t agree. So tell why, give food for thought, and move on. Don’t expect a knock-em-out fight. If you continue to have a mean-spirit and dismissive tone you may be temporarily banned outright.

    Thanks for understanding.


    • Steven Avery July 30, 2010 / 3:29 am


      Bob .. If you want to accuse me of a mean-spirit then you should ban me outright, you should be true to your perceptions. There is no place for a mean-spirit on a well-run board.

      Note though that when I was stridently and repeatedly accused of “slander” you made no objection at all, so you might want to consider your objectivity. That is a very mean-spirited legal word, offered with no specific reference at all.

      Noq I hold a position with conviction, and stay pretty well informed on factual and conceptual backdroup .. sometimes this upsets people.

      You can moderate any way you want (Note: you should send a poster any “deleted” letters because you can delete out substance along with perceived tude) but if you want to accuse me as above as a moderator, then the proper thing to do is to ban me outright, since there is no place for mean-spirited posting.

      Steven Avery

    • Steven Avery July 30, 2010 / 3:41 am

      Hi Folks,

      One other point, Bob. The major aspect of what I was posting was simply trying to get Erik to relate to the fact that he had never offerred any example of the perceived “much improved” and “vastly improved” NA-27 text, over W-H. This is a very fundamental issue, and the words in quotes were direcctly from Erik.

      Since this is fundamental, don’t I have the right in a discussion forum to press that issue ? I even said that if Erik wanted to take time to research, fine, just say so.

      Does not a discussion forum require major assertions (and this was a major part of his position) to be followed up with some examples and clarifications. Erik did do that on some questions I asked, commendably, yet on this one it was very frustrating that the question would be repeatedly ignored and snipped. As a moderator, I would request you to notice something like that, and ask for some sort of response instead of (snipping).

      Moderating is a difficult job, I am well aware. And especially when your beliefs are sympathetic to one side in a charged back-and-forth. So you have to look carefully.

      I have no objection at all to a moderator looking for “dismissive” posts and editing or deleting them (preferably with a note with a deletion, as mentioned above). Such is a reasonable moderator service. However you should also look carefully at what are the root aspects of the discussion, what is responded to, what is ignored, whether there are dismissals and tudes you are missing.


    • Erik July 30, 2010 / 3:07 pm

      It was annoying that someone would repeatedly ignore and snip a question. Where have I heard that before? Oh yes, the questions I’ve asked of you that you give non-answers to and then quibble about minutiae.

      I believe that when I protested such behavior, I was called – oh what was it that you said? – “a whiner.” Your double standards are so obvious to everyone but yourself.

    • Steven Avery July 30, 2010 / 9:14 pm

      Hi Folks,

      Erik .. Why all the politics ?

      The question is simple ..

      “much improved” and “vastly improved” NA-27 text, over W-H.

      Do you have verse examples .. do you need more time ? Simply answer to point.

      Steven Avery

    • Erik July 30, 2010 / 9:44 pm

      No politics. You don’t see your own double standard and I have no interest in interacting with you further.

    • Steven Avery July 31, 2010 / 4:48 am

      Hi Folks,

      Ok, you do not want to answer.

      So I will ask the moderator to take out as inappropriate to the forum your condescending, dismissive and puerile “pity” comment.

      Readers of the forum should not be subject to such stuff.

      Steven Avery

    • Erik July 31, 2010 / 6:07 am

      I have removed the statement, “I pity you. I really do” from my previous comment because you find it so condescending.

      It was not meant as condescending, dismissive or puerile. It was meant as an honest statement. Your arguments are one-sided and tortuous and you seem to be incapable of simply letting a disagreement stand. No matter how often I try to let things lie, no matter how many times or how many different ways I try to explain and illustrate the situation or show the double standard, you just keep pushing. For that, I genuinely do feel pity – not in a condescending way but as someone who has argued as you have in the past and has tried to work with you. From the beginning, I have tried desperately to carry on a cordial conversation with you, but you either can’t or won’t.

    • Steven Avery July 31, 2010 / 9:03 am

      Hi Folks,

      Erik .. you are just repeating the same stuff.

      And I appealed to the moderator to enforce higher standards.


    • Erik July 31, 2010 / 9:27 am

      Steven, you seem to misunderstand my role on the site. I am one of four active moderators/authors. I have moderated the comment and explained the reasoning behind it. There is no further action to be taken.

    • Steven Avery July 31, 2010 / 9:57 am

      Hi Folks,

      Well, I thought the goal was to have a fair, relatively even-handed debate site.. this is called a KJVO-Only DEBATE Site .. implying the same standards for both sides. Or at least close. (Home-court advantage, only a mild leaning to the no-pure-KJB side.)

      Yet posters continually attack me personally, like you above (shmaltzy psycho-babble style) and like the “slander” accusation earlier, which the moderators approve.

      So if you are not interested in real debate, then you should change the name of the site .. something like :

      “KJVO-Attack Blog”

      Now I realize you will likely censor this comment and are looking for an excuse to bounce me off the blog. So, if you really have any pang of understanding, and of the mods, I would be happy to explain to the four moderators privately.

      Now, it looked for awhile that your blog had potential, and I have been able to listen to a wide gamut of non-KJB posters, and put in many substantive points and responses. (Despite your many attempts to pretend otherwise.)

      However it looks like when the kitchen gets hot (e.g. “much improved” and “vastly improved” NA-27) the mask comes off, and the ad hominem approach is the response.


    • Erik July 31, 2010 / 10:17 am

      Steven, at no time have we been anything but honest with you. The accusation that any moderator or author of this site has employed “shmaltzy psycho-babble style” or ad hominem attacks on you is patently false. The ‘accusation of slander’ which was not, if I remember, directed at you personally, was not made by an author but another commenter.

      You have had multiple opportunities to understand the environment we have attempted to create in the discussion of the KJVO position. While dozens of people who hold wildly varying positions continue to have active, lively and courteous discussions about the topic, you seem to be the only one who feels the way you do. You have continually ignored the requests of Bob and the moderators and justified your own attacks, then trying to turn everything back on people. You adamantly refuse to let things lie.

      Despite all of that, Bob has continued to try to work with you. I have self-moderated myself in my dealings with you, both apologizing if I felt I went over the line and even removing statements that you found offensive because you misunderstood them. But that’s not good enough for you. You continue to hurl veiled (and not so veiled) insults at people who do not hold your position. You continue to demand of others a compliance that you do not require of yourself; and then you accuse others of having a double-standard.

      So, as an active moderator, I will now again be throwing my arms up in the air and placing all of your comments in the moderation queue for review.

  12. bibleprotector July 30, 2010 / 1:02 am

    I don’t want to get into a long discussion about this here, as it is not directly on the current topic. However, I wish to address some specific points made about me.

    Erik wrote: “The last revision in 1769.” etc. (an issue which I am by known Erik and others to refute).

    This is not a fanciful idea which I invented.

    There is clear evidence to show that editorial “revision” in the KJB has taken place after 1769. This is also testified to by anti-KJBO writers such as Rick Norris.

    It is able to be examined by anyone that many editions since 1769 bear the signs of editorial work. Thus, we find tiny variations in many editions dating from 1770 to the present year.

    Erik said: “Since Bibleprotector believes that a single edition of the AV is actually the inspired Word of God (admittedly a logical procession from being KJVO), I generally don’t cite his work because I find his position to be untenable. I consider it a ‘one-man theory’.”

    There are some problems here, which I shall address:

    1. I do not believe that one single edition of the KJB is inspired. In fact, I clearly say that the KJB was not made by inspiration. The accusation against me here is mistaken and wrong.

    2. Factual data can be cited. There is nothing wrong with that. I find it strange that some people willingly ignore the factual research because of strange reasons like, that person is KJBO, he is Pentecostal, etc. I think that factual truth itself is greater than particular assumptions about certain people. There is a difference between raw data and interpretation. At least those in opposition should accept the raw data even if they do not agree with the interpretation.

    3. To brand something is a “one man theory” is intellectually dishonest if it is espoused by a portion of people. Admittedly, the view held by the majority at present is not my view, but that makes my view a minority, not “one man”. Saying it is “one man” does not make it so. It appears to be a method of deploring or contemning (yes, that’s the right word) a person’s position by casting it in as bad as possible light.

    Anyway, I hope this particular issue here is laid to rest, as it just clarifies some things to ensure integrity from all sides of the debate.

    On the positive, Erik says that he finds my position untenable. This can be constructive in the debate atmosphere, as no doubt we all should be able to supply spiritual and intellectual reasons for what we believe. If we properly understand each other’s positions, I think that this at least is the right way by which we can judge whether or not someone’s view is untenable.

    I hope this explanation clears some issues to make it better for proper judging of various positions.

    • Erik July 30, 2010 / 3:08 pm

      Your thoughts are duly noted. Though I disagree on a number of points, I also wish this issue to be laid to rest.

  13. Erik July 31, 2010 / 10:21 am

    It is clear at this time that the discussion on this blog entry has degenerated from the topic at hand. As the author, I am closing comments for the time being. Once the series of articles is completed, we will open up a discussion again on a series page.

    The other articles in the series will be open for comments unless the same degeneration occurs.

    Remember that comments are for discussion of the topic at hand.

Comments are closed.