Knowledge Puffeth Up
Be not wise in your own conceits, Romans 12:16.
From time to time, I follow lines of debate on a Facebook site called the King James Bible Debate. I have been delighted with the overall administration of the group and even more delighted by the indepth research and understanding displayed by some of its contributors. Those with opposing views are always given complete liberty to express and defend those views until they get stuck in some kind of a loop in which they no longer answer competent questions, but merely repeat the same things over and over.
Administrator Will Kinney (probably the single most competent defender of the King James Bible alive today) eventually asks them a question paraphrased something like this "Do you have any bible or final authority anywhere on earth wherein you can find the truth?". Very few opposers of the King James Bible dare to answer that question.
In reality the very concept behind the new bibles and negative criticism of the King James Bible boils down to the thought that the original bible was marred by time and that no one really knows what that original really said. When a person who has accepted that premise begins to argue his or her particular point of attack on the King James Bible, eventually Will Kinney will pose that question. Do you or don't you have any final authority that you can access?
Most of his critics just refuse to answer. That in itself becomes an answer. When they won't answer, Will shuts off their access. It is very similar to what Jesus Christ did when he asked the Pharisees where John the Baptist got his authority.
Luke 20:4 The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men?
Luke 20:5 And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say, Why then believed ye him not?
Luke 20:6 But and if we say, Of men; all the people will stone us: for they be persuaded that John was a prophet.
Luk 20:7 And they answered, that they could not tell whence it was.
Luke 20:8 And Jesus said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.
If a bible critic says that there is no text or combination of texts on earth that he can ultimately rely upon as perfect before God and as his final authority, he realizes just how precarious that makes his position. If he says that he has such an authority, he has to reveal it. Bible critics don't have such an authority. Will Kinney knows that and makes them admit it.
What comes back to me as I read these interactions is the Apostle Paul's admonition that Knowledge puffeth up. A more pertinent observation from these interactions is that that is an inverse ratio to the amount of knowledge a person has and the degree to which they are puffed up. It seems that the less a person knows, the more solidly he thinks he knows much.
All too often, someone who heard some tidbit of criticism of the King James Bible becomes swelled in self importance as they cast that tidbit into a debate on the King James Bible. When challenged to back up their tidbit, or when confronted by someone far more knowledgeable on the subject, they dig in. Reason and facts don't impress nor affect them.
This explains Solomon's proverb on the subject; The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit than seven men that can render a reason, Proverbs 26:16. If you ask an engineer why he used a particular steel on a bridge he can answer that. If you ask him what he would have used if that steel had been cost prohibitive, he can answer. You could go on and ask him a series of questions. He is a man who can render a reason.
What he could never do is to outlast a sluggard who has had oceans of time trying to justify his bizarre ideas. As each man is questioned, eventually the engineer will come to a place where his knowledge or memory fails him. Not so the sluggard. In his laziness to really study or to garner facts, he has woven a web of clever rejoinders that in his mind proves what he believes.
If a wise man contendeth with a foolish man, whether he rage or laugh, there is no rest, Proverbs 29:9. Eventually, these men need to be cut off from debate. There are men on the King James Bible debate who have spent decades studying the issues. That does not automatically make them right. What it does do is command a level of respect to actually listen to what they say when they challenge some little tidbit you heard in your freshman Greek class, or from some Sunday school teacher.
The movement against the King James Bible is a devilish movement which is often embraced by born again saints. The 19th century brought Darwinism, Marxism and modern Textual Criticism. Somehow after a century and a half of the failures of any of those systems to adequately explain how to live or to lift man from ignorance, there are still eager adherents to each.
Though I disagree with each of those destructive three, I have friends and family who adhere to at least one of them. There are decent well educated adherents among them. One of the ways that you can tell who has actually studied what they believe, is that they react knowledgeably and thoughtfully when challenged. They can argue without saying the same thing over and over.
As long as God gives me a voice in these matters, I have the hope that some of them can acknowledge the truth of the word of God. That will be a victory for them and for truth itself.