Excerpt taken from "Can You Trust Just One Bible?"
Copyright © 2015 by David W. Daniels & Jack McElroy. Reproduced by permission.
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Where Was the Bible Before 1611?
Jack: I wrote a book called, Which Bible Would Jesus Use? The Bible Version Controversy Explained and Resolved. And in it I tried to answer a number of different objections that we get, one of which is: “Where was the Bible before 1611?”
Now how many times have you heard that one? “Oh, my, where was the Bible?”
I answer that with a question. “Where do you suppose the Bible was, after the invention of printing with movable type?” Because that invention changed the entire world. All of a sudden, you could reproduce copies.
In everything before that, we were dealing with manuscripts, hand-written documents. Not anymore. Now you could set type and reproduce something hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of times, and disseminate it like never before in the history of the earth. So, “Where was the Bible before 1611?” My answer to it is, “Being assembled.”
So we have printing that began in about 1450 with Johannes Gutenberg and his printing press. You probably know that story. The King James Bible was produced in 1611. So you have over 150 years’ worth of preparation. And it was during that time that progressively better editions of the Bible came out. There is a whole history that goes with this, and you probably are familiar with it. But again, my answer is “It was being assembled.”
There were previous editions of the English Bible. They were all part of Bibles in the line. And then finally the Lord comes out with the King James Bible. Now that’s the one that He disseminated all over the earth. There have been billions of copies disseminated.
William Tyndale published his first edition in 1525, and they were all burned. But that was a starter. Then there was the Matthew’s Bible (1537). And the Coverdale was the first complete English Bible (1535). Then there was the Bible under Henry VIII, the Great Bible (1539-41), of monstrous size. There were also the Taverner’s (1539), and the Geneva Bible (1560) —which the Lord certainly used. There’s no question that He used the Geneva Bible. It went through 144 editions. Again, they had circulation, but not the kind of circulation that the King James Bible has had.
David: Nor did they have the result, in the missionary movements that came. As a result of the King James Bible, the gospel got spread. And people got convicted by what God put His hand on. That is one of the things that hit me, as an anti-King James person years ago, doing the research on the history. When I saw that God clearly put His hand on this, I could not explain it in other terms.
For the missionary movement, and when people came back to the Bible, they came back to the King James, because each time they needed to come back to a solid foundation. And even if they went off in a different direction after that, how did they get back to the solid foundation? Where did the revival sprout from? From reading and believing this, the KJV!
Now, just think of the results. Jack is a results man, okay? This is a man who starts companies, and he initiates things and gets them done. He likes results. God also likes results. This is a book that I’ve watched through history obtain results.
You want results in your life? I want results in my life. I don’t want to play around with the morality that surrounds us these days. I don’t want to play around with the ethics that people have these days. Where do they get it from? I don’t know.
There are a lot of Bibles out. But when my ethics and my morals and my thoughts are trained into what I read in this Book, it changes me. It convicts me. It makes me realize what needs to change in my life. In other words, if anybody is serious, prays to God and reads this Book, I know it’ll produce the results.
Jack: You know, Winston Churchill said that the King James Bible had been translated into more than 760 languages So there’s a testimony of the importance of the King James Bible. It’s had 400 years of history.
One of the arguments against the King James Bible (this is just salesmanship):
“Oh, that doesn’t matter!”
“Yeah? What about the 400 years?”
“Oh, that doesn’t matter!”
In sales, when you run into an objection that is monstrous, that you can’t answer, a sales technique is that you “Minimize it and move on.” And that’s what happens when you’ve heard people say, “Oh, that 400 years doesn’t matter.”
“What about all the revivals?”
“Oh, they don’t really matter.”
You’re just being gamed by a salesman, because they are minimizing a major objection that you have. And it’s a legitimate objection. Sometimes objections are not minimal. You can’t just walk away from the results that the King James Bible has achieved, that the Lord has achieved by using it. In other words, God stamped His seal of approval, if you will, on that book. You can’t walk away from those results and say “They don’t count and that’s all meaningless.”
No. It has the earmarks of the real Book.
Think about this. Are you using the Revised Version as your Bible? The Revised Version came out in 1885. Can you go buy a Revised Version at your local Christian bookstore? I guess you could get one on Amazon. But how many stars does it have, for a rating? How many people have done a review on the 1885 Revised Version? The Revised Version is irrelevant. Almost nobody uses it as their Bible.
“Wait a minute.” Someone says. “We’re not using the Revised Version. We’re using the American Standard 1901.”
Oh. I guess I could find that one on Amazon from one of the book dealers, or get an original one, and maybe you can move it on eBay for five bucks. But at the same time, it’s not in great use.
Neither are a bunch of other ones throughout the 20th century. Goodspeed came up with a Bible...
David: J.B. Phillips, Moffatt...
Jack: I have a Moffatt. I don’t know what you do with it. Would anybody like a Moffatt?
Jack: I mean there were all these guys that came up with various versions. And then, “Well, here’s a great idea. Let’s revise the Revised Version!” Okay, so now we have the Revised Standard Version...
David: 1946 and 1952.
Jack: This is why this man has gone to seminary, and knows all these facts and figures.
Okay, who’s using the RSV today? Almost nobody. Then you know what? They had to come out with a New Revised Standard Version.
David: Well, actually, first they came out with the 1971 Revised Standard Version with some updates. When I was at Fuller Seminary, that was the one they used. Then came the New Reviled Slandered —I mean, the New Revised Standard in 1989.
Jack: Okay, so there you go.
And then, “What are we going to do with the ASV, the old American Standard Version 1901?” Great idea: somebody came up with the brainchild, “Let’s revise that!”
Based on some “new” manuscript information, we’re going to come out with a new Bible. That was called the New American Standard Bible. I think that was 1960?
David: 1963, ‘71 and it went on, yes.
Jack: Various editions? You mean, new copyrights?
David: Well --the biggest one, the biggest copyright change was 1995.
Jack: You mean the text changed?
David: Well, yeah.
Jack: My goodness! “God” can’t seem to get his Bible right. It keeps having to be fixed! Isn’t it sad?
David: It’s so sad.
Their god. (I mean, it’s not my God.) My God doesn’t do that.
You see, my God does it one time. And this is one of the questions a friend asked me: “If God did it right once, why does He need to do it again?”
Jesus didn’t stand there in the synagogue and say, “You have heard that it was written, but ...Oh, dear, this is a bad copy. Excuse me.
(Erase, erase, erase.)
This is not what I said to Isaiah.”
No, He didn’t. And Paul said to Timothy “From a child thou hast known the holy scriptures.
Don’t let anybody say, “Oh, that doesn’t matter. That’s only referring to the Originals.” Because it’s not. He said, “From a child THOU hast known THE HOLY SCRIPTURES.” Whatever copy of a copy of a copy of a copy that Timothy had was “holy scriptures.”
There’s a confidence in the transmission. And then God also wants us to have translation. Otherwise, how could we have what we have now?
We have translations, and we have copies that came down that were translated. God had to oversee that. That’s why He promised. “...from this generation for ever” God preserved His word. God says He will take care of His word. He will hasten His word to perform it. He also has to keep it.
We can’t obey it, if we don’t have it.
Jack: Amen. We have to have the very words of God. It’s up to Him to provide them to us, not the scholars.
It may sound silly, but it’s really a God thing. It’s up to Him to provide those words to us. And really, what we’ve been taught is that He didn’t do it.
“He kind of did it. He’s like a quarterback that could lead his team down to the five yard line, but somehow he just couldn’t punch the ball in. He just fell apart.”
No. That’s not the way the Lord is. He brought the ball all the way over the goal line. He didn’t give you “almost all of His words.” And you can read lots of guys that tell you that “We have 98%,” or 99.5%, you’ve seen those.
David: “99 and 2/3% pure!”
Jack: It sounds like soap!
David: It sounds like soap.
Jack: But nonetheless...
David: It is soap.
Jack: It’s a bunch of soap. Big time soap. (Laughs) It’s a soap opera!
David: So, in other words, we’re asking you to believe that God sent His Son, born of a virgin, who came as God in the flesh and became a man. And something He did on a cross paid for your sin and my sin. And all we have to do is put our trust in that Person and what He did in shedding His blood for us, and our sins will be forgiven.
And oh, it didn’t stop there. He died, was buried, and three days later He rose from the grave. And then He ascended 40 days later into heaven... And THAT same God is unable to preserve a Book? Seriously?
Jack: Does that make any sense?
And secondly, if all the things that we believe are true, then we’d better have a Book that we can rely on.
For example, I was looking at a Muslim website, saying “This is why you shouldn’t believe what a Christian tells you, what the missionaries tell you.” It’s an anti-missionary site. And a lot of the things they were saying about “Bibles” were true. They just used Textual Criticism, textual critics and their comments about the Bible to show why it’s unreliable. Then they just said, “Well, look. These fellows all tell you why the Bible’s no good.”
Well, they’re not talking about the King James Bible believer; because King James Bible believers actually believe the “crazy idea” that God preserved His words between the covers of a Book.
How simple is that? Doesn’t that sound like something God might do, preserve His words between the covers of a Book?
David: And not only that, that He kept His own promise to preserve His own words.
And on the Muslim thing, I’m saying “Yes, Amen, Amen!” Because, see, I’ve got a friend from Suriname on my Facebook who just sent me a text telling me about how there’s a gentleman who was crying, who literally had been brought to Christ and then brought his family to church.
Then some Muslims told him: “Here, they say God is not the author of confusion; but look at all these different Bibles, how confusing they are,” and he went into Islam.
When my friend went and gave him tracts and talked to him about God preserving His words... he came back to Christ! He was crying! He was so happy to see that he could say, “No, God has kept His word.”
But I’ve got more than that. My oldest son goes out on the streets and witnesses to people. He talks to Muslims of all ages. And they all say the same thing: “Well, you all believe in all these different Bibles that change and are different.”
And he says, “No. Many people do, But I don’t.”
“Well, what Bible do you have? The King James?”
He says, “As a matter of fact, yes.”
And that’s the end of the subject. It literally shuts them up. And my son could witness to them, because he said, “No, God did keep His promise. He did preserve His words. And this is IT.”