Article: "By and by" versus "the-by-and-by" by Will Kinney

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"By and By" versus "the by-and-by"

"Great men are not always wise" Job 32:9

There is a site titled Defects in the King James Version http://www.bible-researcher.com/kjvdefects.html

This noted scholar, Professor Isaac H. Hall Ph.D. lists a bunch of bogus "errors" according to his lofty opinion, and among them lists the usage of the expression "by and by". The example he gives is found in Mark 6:25 and he writes:

'Ask what thou wilt and I will give it thee, even to the half of my kingdom.' (St. Mark vi., 22.) The damsel, after consulting with her mother, returns to the banqueting room, points, no doubt, to the dishes on the banqueting table, and says, 'Give me forthwith, on a dish, the head of John the Baptist.' In the English Bible the speech runs, 'Give me by and by, in a charger.' 'By and by' means, in our century, a time somewhat distant from the present; the phrase has ceased to mean 'forthwith.' ' A charger, in modern English, signifies a war horse; the word has ceased to signify a dish or platter from which plates are charged or supplied."

The Scriptures at issue are:

Luke 21:9 "But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by."

(Paralell passages Matthew 24:6 and Mark 13:7 have "not yet" and "not be yet" with a different Greek adverb "oupo")

Matthew 13:21 "Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended."

Mark 6:25 "And she came in straightway with haste unto the king, and asked, saying, I will that thou give me by and by in a charger the head of John the Baptist."

Luke 17:7 "But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat?

At one of the Bible clubs, another KJB critic posted this accusation. Please note all the mockery and scoffing.

"KJB IDIOTIC ERROR, I guess it's time to demonstrate how idiotic the KJV inerrancy idea is. Not much can be worse than reporting the OPPOSITE of what the text says, but in Matt 13:21 and Luke 21:9, the TR reads "immediately" and the KJV says "by and by". http://www.dictionary.com/search?q=byandby defines "by-and-by" as "an indefinite time in the future", which is certainly not "immediately". There's just no way to label this as anything but an error. But don't expect too many KJV-Only folks to admit that there's an error in the KJV just because...the plain black and white of the text makes it undeniable. No...if their ideas where based on reality, they wouldn't believe the KJV is error free. You have to throw facts, logic and reason out the window to buy into the KJV Only philosophy and accept as a principle of faith, that no matter how much someone shows you an error, you still must look at it and claim it's not an error for no reason other than the fact that the King James cannot be wrong. KJV Onlyism isn't an act of faith, but an act of ridiculousness. No one can be taken seriously as a scholar who believes such an easy to disprove idea. After all the evidence we've presented, can't you just simply admit that there are errors in the KJV? It's so obvious to everyone else on this forum. No thinking person could read all the stuff I've posted and still conclude that it's impossible to come up with a better translation of the scriptures than the KJV."

Why do this KJB critic and the good professor Hall Ph. D. allege the use of "by and by" as an error and a defect in the King James Bible? Simply because they never properly checked the ENGLISH !

The Greek is fine, the King James Bible is fine, the English is fine, the dictionaries are fine, the commentaries are fine, the only error is found in these Bible critics' lack of understanding of the English language and their rush to falsely accuse the KJB of error.

These poor guys haven't done their homework at all. First notice the difference between "by and by", which according to Webster's 1967 Collegiate Dictionary 7th edition, and the Random House Webster Dictionary 1999 (not too outdated I hope) is an ADVERB and is not even listed as "archaic", the meaning of which is "before long, soon, presently".

In distinction to this is "by-and-by" (please notice the hyphens) is a noun, not an adverb, and means " in the future".

www.dictionary.com American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition by and by adv. After a while; soon. by-and-by (bn-b) n. Some future time or occasion. Miriam-Webster - http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary by and by adverb : before long : Soon by-and-by noun : a future time or occasion

So, there is a difference between the adverb "by and by" (soon, presently) and " the by-and-by" the noun (the future), as in "we shall meet in THE by-and-by", which is used with a definite article showing it to be a noun. Thus two distinguishing features are employed to show that one is a noun: a. the hyphens, and b. the definite article "the". In contrast, the adverb is used without the definite article "the" and has no hyphens.

In the King James Version, the expression "by and by" is found only four times - Matthew 13:21; Mark 6:25; Luke 17:7, and Luke 21:9, and in every case it means immediately, soon, or shortly. Not only does the King James Bible use this expression "by and by" but so also do Tyndale's New Testament in Matthew 13:21, Mark 6:25, and Luke 21:9; the Geneva Bible in Matthew 13:21, Luke 17:7, and even the very modern versions of the King James Version 21st Century, and the Third Millenium Bible in Matthew 13:21, and Luke 17:7!!!

Now a few words about the seminary professor's comments about the word "charger". Remember he said: "' A charger, in modern English, signifies a war horse; the word has ceased to signify a dish or platter from which plates are charged or supplied."

Again, Professor Hall really should get himself a good dictionary of the English language. The Random House Webster's Dictionary 1999 edition I have right here on my desk does not even list this word as being "archaic", but defines it as: "noun. a large, flat dish or platter."

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000. SYLLABICATION: charg·er PRONUNCIATION: chärjr NOUN: A large shallow dish; a platter.

Not only does the King James Bible use the word "charger" here but so also do Tyndale, the Geneva Bible, the Revised Version, the 21st Century King James Version, and the Third Millenium Bible. In fact, the word "charger" meaning a platter, is found a total of 19 times in the 21st Century KJV and the Third Millenium Bible. The Revised Version, Webster's translation, and Darby also use this word in Ezra 1:9 "a thousand chargers of silver", and it is frequently found in Numbers 7:13, 19, 25, 31, 37 "his offering was one silver charger" etc.

These Bible critics need to learn a little more about the English language before they take their next jab at the King James Bible.

Will Kinney

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