Continuing our Review of an Odd Book Part III
And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him, Acts 8:30,31.
And he gave some ... pastors and teachers, Ephesians 4:11.
This is our third look at Dr. Mark Ward's attempt to gently pry our hands and hearts off of the King James Bible in his book Authorized: The Use and Misuse of the King James Bible: KJV. Dr. Ward uses the phrase "false friends" to warn us that what we read and perceive in a King James Bible may not be what the translators meant to say. I will give kudos to Dr. Ward in this respect, at no time does he ever say or insinuate that the King James Translators got it wrong. He merely says that due to 400 years of linguistic changes, the King James Bible is bound to steer unsuspecting readers in the wrong direction.
An example that Dr. Ward uses is the word halt. Since halt as it is used in the Authorized Version is seldom if never used in current conversational English, he assumes that modern readers will be prone to read that word as stop. Perhaps nothing that he writes could more illustrate the gulf that exists between his world and the world of a King James Bible believing church. It may well be that a novice in bible reading will misunderstand that word if he or she only reads it once.
At the Black Creek Baptist Church we teach our people to immerse themselves in the word of God. We don't hand out multi-translation study guides and have people read our stories and then have them read the corresponding verses. It is not long after they begin to attend that they begin to read Proverbs and to do other studies as a family. We teach them that God can unlock the word of God for them as well as he can for any person. We encourage them to trace every word or thought that gives them pause, by looking up that word or thought throughout the entire bible.
When we tell a toddler to give the ball to grandma on the davenport, does he need to run to a dictionary to find out that davenport is a somewhat rarely used word for couch? No, he looks around slightly perplexed, recognizes grandma on the couch, associates this new word with couch and never thinks about it again. There are very few words in a King James Bible that cannot be easily ascertained by cross referencing them. Yes, there are a few that only appear once or twice and they may take more thought as to context.
Would it hurt to teach our people? A person who was encouraged to find the word halt in other settings would not be in the dark for long. Look at this verse; In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water, John 5:3. I think that I could go into a 4th or 5th grade Sunday school class, show that verse to the children and get them to understand that halt is an infirmity and does not mean stop.
Perhaps in no other place is the hypocrisy of those who challenge the archaicness of the King James Bible more evident then when they complain about needing to teach people what words mean. These people bend over backwards to make their versions easier and easier to read, yet what they really do is tell their people that they need to use Greek words to really understand. At this writing, Dr. Ward's most recent blog post on LogosTalk explains to his readers what the Greek word poimen means. Why not explain a tough English word to them?
In his blog post before that, he explains the real rational behind all Neo-evangelical and Fundamentalist tampering with the words of a King James Bible. (There is very little difference between the two camps other than how they dress and their music.) In his next post dated September 18, 2018, he says:
"The last time I asked a teacher, “Why do I have to learn this stuff?,” I was 25 years old. I was in graduate school. My professor was attempting to teach us the extremely complicated rules for putting the proper accents on New Testament Greek words. And I didn’t ask with a third-grade whine in my voice. I asked because learning these rules was difficult, and I wanted to be motivated by the best motivation available. I wanted to set my eyes on the right (subordinate) prize.I expected my teacher to tell me that my newfound knowledge of Greek accents would help me read my Bible more carefully and accurately. I was working to connect my learning to Christian things I was supposed to love. And that was indeed a small part of what he told me. Love for God’s word is one reason to study Greek accents.But the main thing he said was, “This is just something everybody who wants to make a contribution in the field of New Testament studies has to learn.” That was a somewhat disappointing answer for me, but it was the right one."
Herein is a great divider. This man was taught that the only way to make a contribution in the field of New Testament Studies is to learn complicated Greek accents. I abhor such thought. (Go try to tell the mechanic at the local Toyota dealership that he cannot make a contribution to understanding Toyota design and maintenance without learning Japanese.) A King James Bible believer is a person who believes that the King James Bible in its adherence to a highly technical form of English designed to reproduce the exactness of Greek and Hebrew, gives the reader an exact Holy Ghost interpretation of the words of God in English.
He also knows that people taught to think in the patterns of King James English have historically been great thinkers. He desires that for all the people that he truly loves. The Philippine Islands are saturated with King James Bible Churches. These are people who often learn English as a third or fourth language. They are poor and their educational levels are often far below those of the west. They prosper.
There is absolutely nothing that God wants English speakers to know that cannot be discerned from a King James Bible. A novice at bible reading may need help. God gave us pastors and teachers for that very purpose. I am reminded of a young Air Force trainee that I once knew. In his first actual assignment he labored very hard to please those sergeants over him who were tasked with training him. When he read his first performance report, he was outraged. "Sergeant so and so called me an asset, and here I was busting my butt to help him." When we calmed him down, we explained that asset meant a help, he wasn't calling him a little ass.
From time to time, everyone needs a little help getting over a particular word. Dr. Ward would have us set up a hierarchy wherein an elite group master the real words of God in Greek, instruct us from within their hallowed vail all of the little nuances of Greek, and all the time tell us that our King James Bible is too misleading and hard. God never, never, never set up such a system.