Bob, the owner of KJVOnlydebate.com had some additional interaction with Dr. DiVietro concerning his TR-Only position. With Dr. DiVietro’s permission, we are reprinting his responses here.
KJV Only Debate:
Do you follow the Scrivener Greek Text or the Cambridge KJV in the few places where they differ? (Or is some other Greek Text available that you would hold to more closely than Scrivener’s?)
We know that the actual texts translated by the KJV 1611 translators were lost with their notes in the 1660 fire of London. We also know that Scrivener started with the Bezae 1598 and inserted the readings followed by the 1611 translators wherever they differed from the Bezae text. He stated that he thought he had listed them all but there was the possibility of inadvertent omissions. Therefore the Scrivener text is not inerrant.
I do believe that the 1611 translators did their homework and translated the historic text as they received it in manuscripts, versions, lectionaries and the church fathers. They did not follow any given TR or MT printed text. They had multiple sources at the table. Where an absolute difference occurs between the KJV and the Scrivener text I assume that Scrivener inadvertently missed it.
KJV Only Debate:
If you side with Scrivener, would you have a problem saying the KJV has a few errors in places where it doesn’t follow the TR?
No, I would not say that. The TR is not a single printed text. That idea is a straw man constantly erected to avoid the genuine issues. The TR is not any particular edition of Erasmus or Stephanus or Elzivir or Scrivener or anyone else. It is the text you will read if you simply pick up and read the vast majority of NT manuscripts.
There is no such thing as a pure Alexandrian, pure Western, pure Byzantine manuscript. Yes there is variation between the TR manuscripts but the main stream of the text is clear. The problem is that people want to lock down the TR to a given manuscript or printed form. It is the RECEIVED text. It is how the text looked when someone received a manuscript.
When I differentiate between the TR and the modern eclectic text it is because there is absolutely NO manuscript that supports the eclectic text. Not even B, Aleph, L or f44 f46 or any of their other allies is followed consistently. And yes, I have either facsimiles or photographs, as well as the printed text of most of these.
The modern text is created by choosing the most aberrant reading in any given opportunity with the assumption that that it is most original. The result is a patchwork of readings resulting in an incomplete, often errant theologically, biblically, etc. text. Read the intrinsic and external sieves for discovering the ‘true’ reading of a manuscript or a text type (Alexandrian, byzantine, etc). These sieves are completely biased against any reading in the Textus Receptus. Behind the sieves you will find that textual criticism, conservative or liberal, is based on the thesis that the biblical text evolved from the primitive form to the TR (or MT). The evolutionary theory states that the text at the beginning was rough, incomplete, and inaccurate. Through the years the scribes smoothed it and it evolved into the form known as the received text. This is contrary to the Bible doctrine of the origin and preservation of the scriptures.
KJV Only Debate:
E.F. Hills was transparent about a few errors in both the TR and the KJV, yet he remained TR-only. Would the admission of a few small errors in the TR materially damage your textual position?
Errors or variants? I have not found a single mistranslation of the Greek (I am not as accomplished in the Hebrew) in 35+ years of studying the King James Bible when I compare it to the Greek texts that I possess. I rarely preach on a text without checking the underlying Greek or Hebrew. Hardly a day goes by that I do not read some passage in its original language. This has been my practices since Bible college. People always make this kind of abstract question but never refer me to a specific passage accompanied by the supposed error and the basis of declaring it an error. If you have a specific example in mind I’d be glad to consider it.
Do I think that the KJV might have a translational inaccuracy? No, I think they accurately translated whatever they translated.
Do I think it is possible that they might have made a wrong choice of Greek or Hebrew reading? Without any specific in mind I take the same position Dean John Burgon took. If an analysis of ALL the manuscript evidence demonstrates an irrefutable error of judgment then I would consider correction. Until that occurs, and it has not yet been shown to me that it does, I continue to trust the work of almost 100 years of textual and translational attention paid by Tyndale through the 1611 translators.
I would no more trust today’s textual scholars and translators to correct the King James Bible than I would trust the present politicians to rewrite the US Constitution. In my opinion, the scholarship, the knowledge, the dedication and the corporate effort do not exist in today’s academic community.
KJV Only Debate:
Are TR advocates generally willing to admit errors in the TR or do they prefer to speak of either the KJV or the TR as a final authority that is error free?
We both realize that we are speaking in the abstract. (And I know that the Riplinger/Ruckman/Coneyite advocates will accusing me of seeking a revision of the KJV.) I take the same position as Dean Burgon.
I am not willing to admit ERRORS in the Textus Receptus body of preservation. There are variants within the Textus Receptus. The KJV translators dealt with those variants and made definitive judgments. Since I do not have the qualifications nor the body of evidence they used by which to challenge their accuracy I do not. And as stated above until and unless someone does a comprehensive examination of all the evidence, not just a select group of mss, or a recount of the same reasoning of the modern critics, I see no reason nor safe process by which to correct the KJV.
KJV Only Debate:
What are your thoughts on the NKJV?
I attended a pre-publication meeting of the NKJV hosted by a local bible book store. Representative of Bible colleges and many pastors attended the meeting. I sat next to John Kohlenberger’s brother. At this meeting, the Thomas Nelson vice-president showed a film strip of the history of the King James Bible. He then made a statement which etched indelibly into my mind. Although I may not have it letter perfect I am attempting to recount not paraphrase. He said something to the effect of:
We are all educated people here. We would never say this to our congregations but we all know that the King James Bible is an inferior translation based on inferior manuscripts. But every time we have tried to give your people a better more accurate bible they have rejected it. So we have taken the King James Bible and the texts from which it came and modernized it. We have introduced some minor changes to provide you a bridge to get your people away from the King James Bible and eventually to a more accurate Bible.
As a result I have never even given the New King James a comprehensive look. From time to time I have compared passages. I have noticed a few grievous errors of translation, (i.e. saying that Jesus drank wine when no place in the KJV or the TR does it say that he did) and find that the original footnotes restored at least 2,000 of the Westcott-Hort alternative readings. It changes things like everlasting to eternal and vice versa for no other apparent reason than to secure a copyright. No one has shown me a significant correction or clarification that justifies my moving to it. In general I find it neither scholarly nor significant.