As some of my friends and readers will know, I haven't used or read a physical hard copy Bible in many years. Instead, I use a free Macintosh Bible program called "Online Bible" which utilizes add-on modules. For those of you who may not be familiar with them, modules serve to extend the functionality of a computer program. Two of the modules which I use with the Online Bible program are Hebrew and Greek lexicons.
Exactly what are lexicons? As you may possibly know, many study Bibles -- including electronic Bibles such as Online Bible -- include what are called Strong's Numbers. These numbers link each word or phrase in the English text to the original word(s) in the Hebrew or Greek text. Quite often, an entire English phrase may be translated from a single Hebrew or Greek word. The pronunciation, definitions and different usages of these Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic -- or Syrian -- words are found in the Hebrew and Greek lexicons, along with other information.
Quite frankly, as I have mentioned before, these Hebrew and Greek lexicons have been a tremendous blessing to me over the years. Not only have they greatly enhanced my personal understanding of God's Word, but they have also enabled me to write much better and more informative articles for my readers.
However, as some of you may have likewise discovered, whether one uses Hebrew and Greek lexicons, or any other extra-biblical resource in his studies and research, there is one drawback which we all need to watch out for. That is the fact that many of these study tools are influenced by the doctrinal positions of their authors and creators.
In other words, while it is good to use tools such as Hebrew and Greek lexicons, at the same time, we need to be careful that we don't allow these authors and creators to interpret God's Word for us. Rather, while we can and should use tools such as lexicons to understand the original Hebrew and Greek words and their meanings which are behind the English text, in the end, we should rely solely upon God's Spirit to enlighten our understanding regarding exactly what He means in His Word.
Sadly, in our modern day, it is rather difficult to not read the pre-digested, spit-back-out, interpreted Word of God, which is what most modern versions of the Bible are. In fact, if we are truthful with ourselves, we must be willing to admit that even our beloved KJV Bible is the interpreted Word of God. It is not based on the original autographs -- or manuscripts -- which disappeared many centuries ago. As I explain in these two articles . . .
. . . the KJV Bible -- as well as all other modern versions of the Bible -- are derived from copies of copies of copies, which have later been translated into English by different authors at different times, each of whom embraced his own doctrinal perspectives, which have leaked into the translation.
Thus, to the consternation of KJV extremists -- some of whom have already gnashed out at me -- it has long been my view that while we may consider the original Hebrew and Greek manuscripts to be the inspired, inerrant Word of God, the same cannot be said of modern English translations; and this includes our beloved KJV Bible.
While I have personally used the KJV Bible for the past forty-two years -- and would never consider using any other versions -- even I am forced to recognize that, similar to more modern translations, the KJV Bible was likewise manipulated by the political and religious forces of the time, meaning the court of King James I of England and Scotland. According to what I have read, the translators were in fact instructed to translate the Bible in such a way, that it would support the Church of England with its church buildings and religious hierarchy.
That is why to this day, when people hear the word "church", for example, they immediately assume that it is referring to a physical building. However, as I explain in my articles, in the original Greek manuscripts, the word that is used -- "ekklesia" -- has absolutely nothing to do with a building. It was simply a called-out congregation of people, much like the Church in the Wilderness of the Old Testament period.
Let me give you another clear example which demonstrates how the KJV Bible has been manipulated. The fact of the matter is that slavery is mentioned throughout the Scriptures. Yet other than one time in Jeremiah 2:14 where the word "slave" is inserted in italics -- to signify that it was added by the English translators for the sake of clarification -- the words "slave", "slaves" and "slavery" are nowhere to be found anywhere in the entire KJV Bible. Instead, other more politically-correct words are used.
Why is this? Why would slavery be mentioned throughout the Bible, and yet the actual words are never used? The answer is simple in my view: manipulation. In other words, being as England still practiced blatant slavery at the time, perhaps the English translators thought that King James might take offense if the words "slave", "slaves" and "slavery" were used in their translation. Folks, call it what you like, but it is intentional manipulation of the Scriptures. This means that the KJV Bible is not truly the inerrant Word of God. It is the manipulated and interpreted Word of God, similar to other versions. However, the more modern versions are a lot worse, which is why I still prefer the KJV Bible.
For diehard KJV extremists, allow me to offer you one final piece of irrefutable evidence which clearly points to the fact that the KJV Bible is not the inerrant Word of God. Are you aware of the fact that the original KJV Bible included the Books of the Apocrypha? Are you surprised? If you doubt my word, then go ahead and conduct your own online research and see what you discover. If the KJV Bible is truly the inspired and inerrant Word of God, then please explain to me why modern versions of the KJV Bible do not contain the Apocrypha. If someone removed the Apocrypha from the original KJV Bible, does that not equate to intentional manipulation of the Sacred Text? Does that also not mean that the KJV Bible is not an inerrant text?
In conclusion, I stand by my position that while the original Hebrew and Greek manuscripts were the inspired and inerrant Word of God, modern Bibles -- including our beloved KJV Bible -- are no such thing. While God's Word remains eternal and inerrant in the Heavens, and cannot be altered in any way, what we have here on Earth today in the form of physical texts has not been protected from such intentional human manipulation.
As a serious student of God's Word, the more that you refer to the Hebrew and Greek lexicons, the more you will discover this for yourself. You will see that certain words were translated a certain way, in order to more clearly convey a doctrinal position which was embraced by the translators -- and thus the Church of England -- themselves. As a result, there are doctrines which we embrace even today, which are the result of the way in which some of these words were intentionally translated.
To reiterate, to believe that the KJV Bible is the inspired and inerrant Word of God, as it was originally received thousands of years ago, is to purposely deceive ourselves. Personally, I prefer to be honest about it. How about you?
If after reading this commentary, you still doubt what I have shared here, then I urge you to conduct your own personal research. You will not be able to refute anything which I have stated here, because it is documented historical fact. Furthermore, I have barely touched the tip of the ice berg. There are little textual and doctrinal changes made throughout the Scriptures, some of which have been argued and debated by serious-minded theologians for centuries. The manipulation is real. To deny otherwise is your imagination.