Imaginary Errors in the King James Bible of 1611
Occasionally I've heard Seventh-day Adventist ministers allege errors in the King James Bible of 1611. The supposed errors are sometimes used to justify using a new translation. This page will be devoted to said "errors" as voiced by Seventh-day Adventist ministers. If I collect more, there will be additions to this page. Funny thing; though the King James Bible allegedly has "problems" according to some, they many times don't say what the "problems" are. For this reason, additions to this page may be a long time in coming.
There have been errors in some editions of the King James Bible but they were not deliberate corruptions such as are in the new bibles but rather obvious printers' errors. There was what is called "the wicked bible" in which the seventh commandment says, "thou shalt commit adultery." The printer that made that error was fined and according to one source was imprisoned for a time. The 1795 "child killers bible" in Mark 7:27 says, "But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be killed: for it is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it unto the dogs."
The Story of the Centurion
In October of 2018 I attended a series of presentations by a very knowledgeable and capable Seventh-day Adventist minister who in discussing the visit of the centurion with Jesus said the two accounts were "blatantly contradictory" to the "casual observer." I gave him a copy of my book, My Bible Says Satan is Dead!, accompanied by a copy of the passage in The Ministry of Healing that demonstrated he had been misled by something. The next two of his sermons were prefaced by the statement that he didn't want to debate bible version questions. So, where did he go wrong?
The story in Matthew 8:5-10 goes, "And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, come and he cometh; and to my servant do this and he doeth it. When Jesus heart it, he marveled and said to them that followed, Verity I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel."
Even the "casual observer," if he went on the assumption that the King James Bible is the Holy Word of God, would see that there is NO contradiction. The person who assumed the New International Version (NIV) is a substitute for the real Bible, could be misled as could one who neglected to read what the Spirit of Prophecy books said on the subject. The sequence of events was that elders of the Jews were sent and servants of the centurion were sent requesting healing but Jesus continued on his way to the centurion's house. The centurion finally came in person and told Jesus just to "speak the word." According to the minister, the centurion never came in person so there was a "contradiction." You can read in The Ministry of Healing on page 63-64 that, "But on the way to the centurion's home, Jesus receives a message from the officer himself, 'Lord, trouble not Thyself: for I am not worthy that Thou shouldest enter under my roof.' Still the Saviour keeps on His way, and the centurion comes in person to complete the mesage, saying, 'neither thought I myself worthy to come unto Thee,' 'but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.'"
In the allegedly contradictory story in Luke 7:1-9 it says, "Now when he had ended all his sayings in the audience of the people, he entered into Capernaum. And a certain centurion's servant, who was dear unto him was sick, and ready to die. And when he heard of Jesus, he sent unto him the elders of the Jews, beseeching him that he would come and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they besought him instantly saying, That he was worthy for whom he should do this: For he loveth our nation, and he hath build us a synagogue. Then Jesus went with them. And when he was now not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to him, saying unto him, Lord, trouble not thyself: for I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my roof: Wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee: but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed. For I also am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers, and I say unto one, Go, and he goeth, and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. When Jesus heard these things, he marveled at him, and turned him about, and said unto the people that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.
Since I never had a private discussion with the minister after his series, I can't say with certainty what made him think there was a "contradiction." I do know he mostly used the New King James Version in his preaching but in that series and in some other of his messages on YouTube he occasionally referred to the NIV. There is a subtle difference in Luke 7:7 in the 2011 edition of the NIV.
"That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word only and my servant will be healed." The King James Bible in that verse says "neither thought I myself worthy." The "I" before the "myself" changes the meaning and indicates that the centurion was there in person. There is NO contradiction between the stories found in Matthew 8 and Luke 7.
The Thief on the Cross
There is another text allegedly containing an error even Seventh-day Adventist bible study amateurs know about. For years in explaining the state of the dead, Seventh-day Adventists have had to explain the position of a comma in Luke 23:43 in the King James Bible and in the new bibles which reads about the same. The text has been used by some to "prove" the immediate relegation to heaven or hell upon death.
"And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise."
The ancient Greek manuscripts from which the King James Bible translators gave us the New Testament were written in majuscule (capital) and minuscule (lower case) letters but not both in the same manuscript. There was no spacing between words and no punctuation. At the time the King James Bible was translated in 1611 punctuation had not been standardized and commas, semicolons and colons were used interchangeably. It wasn't until Blaney's edition of 1769 that spelling and punctuation were somewhat standardized. A comma did not mean the same thing in 1611 as it does now as the comma was used to divide a sentence into a place for a pause for a breath. A comma was NOT used to change sentence meaning. There is enough redundancy in the King James Bible that even if the comma was placed incorrectly (and it wasn't for the time) no one should be confused into thinking that Jesus went directly to Paradise upon his death. Here are some other versions of Luke 23:43 from The English Hexapla of 1843.
Wiclif - 1380: "and ihesus seide to hym, truli I seie to thee : to day thou schalt be with me in paradiis,"
Are there any other places in the King James Bible where the use of a comma or a lack thereof would give an incorrect reading judged by modern usage? Yes indeed. In Judges 4:21 it says:
Tyndale - 1534: "And Iesus sayde vnto him : Verely I saye vnto the, to daye shalt thou be with me in Paradyse."
Cranmer 1539: "And Iesus sayde vnto hym : Uerely I saye vnto the : to daye shalt thou be with me in Paradyse."
Geneva -1557: And Iesus sayd vnto him, Verely I say vnto thee, to day shalt thou be with me in Paradise."
Rheims - 1582: And Iesvs said to him, Amen I say to the : this day thou shalt be vvith me in paradise."
"Then Jael Heber's wife took a nail of the tent, and took an hammer in her hand, and went softly unto him, and smote the nail into his temples, and fastened it into the ground: for he was fast asleep and weary. So he died."
Was it "Jael Heber's wife" or "Jael, Heber's wife?" Fortunately this was cleared up in verse 17 where it says, "Jael the wife of Heber." The lack of the comma is not an error but merely a difference in 1611 punctuation. Rather than studying skepticism, Greek and Hebrew, perhaps certain Seventh-day Adventist ministers should become better acquainted with English. The position of the comma in Luke 23:43 in the King James Bible is not an error. The position of the comma in the new bibles in modern English is an error that would have been corrected if the translators hadn't been promoting false doctrine whilst allegedly improving the bible.
Isaiah 5:2, 4 mentions "wild grapes." To summarize, God planted a vineyard and was expecting "grapes" but instead of that, the vineyard produced "wild grapes." The pastor opined that "rotten grapes" would be a better wording.
On the surface that appears to be a reasonable wording change to set forth the idea that the children of Israel had apostatized and were bringing forth bad fruit. The problem is, if one can change one word in one place in the infallible Word of God why can't one do the same elsewhere? Is there really anything inferior in the meaning portrayed by "wild grapes" as opposed to the minister's preference "rotten grapes?" Definitely not.
On my property I have both grapes and wild grapes. The grapes are large enough to bother with and, if of a sufficient quantity one could even sell them for juice making, etc. The wild grapes are very small; the largest maybe attaining less than a quarter of the size of pencil eraser. Having eaten both grapes and wild grapes, I can testify that while being a little more tart than many domestic grapes, wild grapes don't taste bad but would not be marketable. In like manner, Israel was not fulfilling God's expectations but was still being used as a channel of truth. Israel was bearing some fruit but wasn't meeting God's justifiable expectations for His vineyard. There is NO reason to try to improve on what the real Word of God says.
A way Seventh-day Adventist ministers criticize God's Word is to edit the King James Bible saying they think it should say something different than what it says. To support their view, they say the "original language" said something different (not that they're proficient in the original language) and give an alternate meaning from some Greek or Hebrew dictionary they've consulted or they present the verse from a different bible version they think says it better. There is only one Seventh-day minister I've heard that has been willing to criticize the New King James Version and that version is very worthy of criticism.
An example of this is a sermon I listened to in which the minister wished to show that the tables of stone on which God wrote with his own finger His law were made out of the sapphire stone under his throne. I've heard a similar sermon from a couple of ministers so it must be a current fad. I have no objection to thinking God wrote His law on sapphire stones from under His throne but don't say the Bible says He did if the Bible doesn't say that. The verses discussed were from Exodus.
"And the LORD said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written: that thou mayest teach them. And Moses went up into the mount of God." Exodus 24:12-13.
Instead of saying "and I will give thee tables of stone" he said according to the "original language" the definite article, "the," should be in the verse. He wanted it to say, "And I will give the tables of (the) stone." By saying "the stone" he could support his theory that it was "the stone" under Gods throne.
I looked up those verses in over twenty bibles and none had Exodus 24:12 worded exactly the way the minister wanted it worded. That means that probably at least one hundred different scholars didn't think the definite article needed to be in that verse positioned like the minister wanted it positioned. I have several purportedly Jewish bibles that amateurs imagine are going to teach them Hebrew and let them harvest some golden nuggets of knowledge. Here is that verse from the Complete Jewish Bible (CJB):
"ADONAI said to Moshe, 'Come up to me on the mountain, and stay there. I will give you the stone tablets and the Torah and the mitzvot I have written on them, so you can teach them.'"
Because of the position of "the" (the definite article) in that sentence you can say God prepared tables of stone for "Moshe" but you cannot say it was from "the stone" under his throne.
Since there is some quibbling about God's Word not having the definite article where he wanted it, it's only right to continue the discussion of God's Law of Ten Commandments. Here is what the CJB Bible says in Exodus 20:8-10:
"Remember the day, Shabbat, to set it apart for God. You have six days to labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Shabbat for ADONAI your God..."
And here it is from the King James Bible:
"Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six day shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God..."
Notice it says "the sabbath day" and "the sabbath" in the King James Bible; both with the definite article, "the." The CJB has the definite article "the" before the first Shabbat and the indefinite article "a" before the second Shabbat. Using the indefinite article before the second Shabbat supports the view that the seventh day of the week was just another of the various ceremonial Sabbaths meant only for the Jews that were abolished after Christ's crucifixion. The Tanakh has similar wording to the CJB in both Exodus 24:12 and in Exodus 20:8-10. The Leeser bible has similar wording to the CJB in Exodus 24:12. The Leeser bible (a parallel English/Hebrew bible in which one starts reading from what we would call the rear of the book) does have the definite article before both the first and second Sabbaths of Exodus 20:8-10 but it says in Ezekiel 28:18 that Satan has already been turned to ashes (i.e., past tense instead of future tense) so it's a counterfeit bible.
You don't need to know any Hebrew to know whether the definite or indefinite article should go before both Sabbaths in Exodus. The seventh day Sabbath was the ONLY rest day for God and, as the commandment says, it was made sacred for all to keep holy for that reason starting at creation. The other sabbaths were rest days for the children of Israel; there is nothing in the Bible that says God rested on those days. The admonition to keep those other sabbaths wasn't written on stone either. The fourth commandment should have a "the" before both Sabbaths because that Sabbath is unique and one of a kind.
So, maybe God did and maybe God didn't write the Ten Commandments on sapphire stone taken from under his throne. There are MUCH bigger issues in the bibles that have the definite article somewhere before "stone" in Exodus 24:12 (even though still not exactly like the minister wanted it). There is NO issue at all in any of the King James Bible verses mentioned above.
A few decades ago I was in a Sabbath School class where the teacher said, "when they take our Bibles away." I said, "they're not going to take our Bibles away." If he were still alive, he could have the last laugh. Our Bibles HAVE been taken away but in a different way than I had imagined. When one thinks there is no one Bible that's the infallible guide to Christian doctrine and practice, it's the same as having the Bible taken away. The word "infallible" means the same today as it did hundreds of years ago; it means with no error.
How many today, including ministers, believe there is a Bible anywhere in the World they can hold in their hand and take to church that's infallible? I think not many.
Bible Self Editing
On September 20, 2019 I watched a video that had been posted on YouTube that day by one with the nom de guerre of Aaron. The video was on the 4th Quarter 2013 Sabbath School lesson at a "Central" S.D.A. Church. I presume it was the Sacramento Central S.D.A. Church since Doug Batchelor was presiding. The title of the presentation was "The Cosmic Conflict Over God's Character."
From what I've seen, brother Batchelor almost exclusively uses the New King James Version (NKJV). When he started discussing Ezekiel 28:14-18 about 15 minutes and 39 seconds into the presentation, I was interested to see what he would do with verses 16 to 18 where what happened to the "anointed cherub" (Satan) is all in past tense. If you were to believe the NKJV, Satan is dead; he has already been turned to ashes. Brother Batchelor continued reading from his NKJV bible but must have finally seen a problem in verse 18 because he changed it on the fly. Instead of reading it as the NKJV says; "And I turned you to ashes," he said, "And I will turn you to ashes." This would have been the perfect time for him to discuss why he had to change the verse to future tense and to tell his congregation about one of the boatload of problems the NKJV has that the King James Bible doesn't have.
Brother Batchelor appeared to have a large, well dressed and attentive audience that day. How many of the sheep noticed his NKJV verse modification? I doubt many. Does ANYONE have the right to change the Word of God? Well, the NKJV translators did it and numerous Seventh-day Adventist ministers promote that corrupt bible.
"Whatever the world may do, whatever any denomination may do, no man or no company of men can change the Word of the Lord. It means just what it reads." Manuscript 146, 1906 paragraph 25, which is a sermon of Ellen G. White as found on the web site of the Ellen G. White Estate.
Have men changed the Word of the Lord? The evidence is incontrovertible that they have.
The New Steps to Christ
What I Learned in Church
The Clear Word Bible
Ellen White and Bible Versions
Andrews Study Bibles
© Martin J. Lohne 2018. Revised 10/2/2019.