Article: Luke 14:10 have worship; Lk 2:1-3 Taxing or Census? by Will Kinney

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Luke 14:10 "then shalt thou have worship"

One of the verses frequently criticized by the Bible Correctors is Luke 14:10. The King James Bible has the Lord Jesus saying: "But when thou art bidden (to a wedding), go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have WORSHIP in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee."

The Bible correctors then ask: "Did Jesus teach a way for men to be worshipped according to Luke 14:10, contradicting the first commandment and what He said in Luke 4:8? (remember: you may not go to the Greek for "light" if you are a Ruckmanite)."

Well, I am not a Ruckmanite, but I am a King James Bible believer, and I don't need to "go to the Greek" to explain the obvious meaning of the passage.

In Luke 4:8 we read: "And Jesus answered and said unto him, GET THEE BEHIND ME, SATAN: FOR it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve."

I capitalized the words "get thee behind me, Satan, for" because these words do not appear in the NASB, RSV, NIV or other Catholic versions. The words are found in the vast majority of all remaining Greek texts as well as Alexandrinus and at least 23 other uncial (capital letter) copies, as well as the Syriac Harclean, Old Latin (b, e, l, q), Ethiopic and Coptic Boharic ancient versions. They are also found in English Bibles before the KJB, like Tyndale and the Geneva Bible, and in the NKJV, the Spanish Reina Valera, Italian Diodati, and German Luther Bibles. However Vaticanus and Sinaiticus, upon which most modern versions are based, omit these words and so do the versions which follow the Westcott-Hort text.

Whether the Lord Jesus actually said these words to Peter in Luke 4:8 or not seems to be of little importance to the Bible correctors. They focus instead on the word "worship" in Luke 14:10 and raise a big stink about it. I have never run into any one of these guys who actually believes there is an inspired Bible anywhere on this earth that is the complete, unadulterated, infallible, inspired word of God. Each of them "corrects" ALL Bible versions and sets up his own mind as the Final Authority.

Rather than railing against the alleged and phony "errors" in the King James Bible, they would do better to learn a bit more about the Bible itself and their own English language.

Not only does the King James Bible read " then shalt thou have worship" but so also do Wycliffe 1395, Tyndale 1525, Miles Coverdale 1535, the Great Bible, the Bishop's Bible 1568, and the Geneva Bible 1599.

The word "worship" comes from the Old English weortscipe, and literally means "condition of worth" from weorth or worth. Webster's 1828 dictionary defines worship as:

1. Excellence of character; dignity; worth; worthiness. --Elfin born of noble state, and muckle worship in his native land.

2. A title of honor, used in addresses to certain magistrates and other of respectable character. My father desires your worships company.

4. Chiefly and eminently, the act of paying divine honors to the Supreme Being; or the reverence and homage paid to him in religious exercises, consisting in adoration, confession, prayer, thanksgiving and the like.

6. Honor; respect; civil deference. Then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee. Luke 14:10 (Notice his use of this very verse in his dictionary)

WORSHIP, v.t. 2. To respect; to honor; to treat with civil reverence. Nor worshipd with a waxen epitaph.

Random House Webster's Dictionary 1999 Worship # 3 adoring reverence or regard.

Funk and Wagnalls Standard College Dictionary 1963 gives the archaic definition of worship as "Dignity; worthiness"

Let's take a look now at how the Old Testament uses this word "worship"; it may surprise you. The same Hebrew word for to worship is used both in reference to God and man. The word is # 7812 shah-ghah, and is variously translated as "to worship, to do reverence, to do obeisance, and to bow down to."

We see it used in reference to men as well as to God. In Genesis 23:7 and 12 Abraham "bowed himself" to the people, and in 37:10 the brethren of Joseph "bow down to him". In 2 Samuel 9:6-8 Mephibosheth came to king David and "fell on his face and DID REVERENCE...and BOWED HIMSELF" See also 2 Samuel 1:2; 14:4, 22, 33 where Joab does the same thing to king David.

A verse that shows worship being given to both God and a man is found in 1 Chronicles 29:20. There we read: "And David said to all the congregation, Now bless the LORD your God. And all the congregation blessed the LORD God of their fathers, and bowed down their heads, and WORSHIPPED the LORD, and the king."

Not only does the King James Bible say they "worshipped the LORD, and the king." but so also do the Revised Version 1881, the American Standard Version 1901, Coverdale 1535, the Bishop's Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible 1587, Webster's 1833 translation, Douay 1950, the KJV 21, the Third Millenium Bible, the Jewish translation of 1936, the Bible in Basic English 1961, the World English Bible, and the Hebrew Names Version.

The NKJV says "they prostrated themselves before the LORD and the king."

NASB, ESV "they did homage to the LORD and to the king."

NIV "They fell prostrate before the LORD and the king."

Young's "do obeisance to Jehovah and to the king."

Notice how several commentators have no problem understanding the passage as it stands in the KJB and how the word worship is used here.

Jamieson, Fausset and Brown "all the congregation...worshipped the Lord, and the king-- Though the external attitude might be the same, the sentiments of which it was expressive were very different in the two cases--of divine worship in the one, of civil homage in the other.

John Gill's commentary "and bowed down their heads, and worshipped the Lord and the king; the one with religious worship, the other with civil"

John Wesley "Worshipped - The Lord with religious, and the king with civil worship."

Adam Clarke's Commentary "They did reverence to God as the supreme Ruler, and to the king as his deputy."

Even in the New Testament we have an example of this same "worship" or reverence paid to another human being. In Matthew 18:26 the Lord Jesus relates a parable where a servant who is in debt comes to another man and "fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all."

The word used here is proskuneo, the exact same word rendered as "worhip the Lord". Bible versions that read as does the KJB showing that this servant "worshipped" his human master by way of respect and reverence (not because he was divine) are Coverdale, Bishop's Bible, the Geneva Bible, the Revised Version, American Standard Version, Webster's, Bible in Basic English, World English Bible, KJV21, and the Third Millenium Bible.

It should also be pointed out to these sticklers for details, that Luke 4:8 says: "thou shalt worship the Lord thy God and him ONLY SHALT THOU SERVE." Now, if they want to be consistent and apply their own standards where a word cannot have more than one meaning or application, they would have to say that all bible versions are in error. The Bible says on one hand that we are to serve God only, yet other Scriptures have God telling His people to "serve the Chaldeans", to serve the king, to serve their masters, to serve one another and even Jesus Himself will come forth and serve those who have been faithful to Him (Luke 12:37). Are we then to conclude that the Bible is full of contradictions, or would it be better to exercise a little common sense and realize that words have different shades of meaning depending on the context in which they are found?

Without exception I have found that anyone who tries to criticize or correct the Authorized King James Holy Bible, does not believe any translation is totally accurate or contains all of the infallible words of the living God. They have no "originals" to work with and believe in a mystical bible that exists only in their own individual minds. They want to become your Final Authority in all matters of faith and practice, rather than believing God has kept His promises to preserve His inspired words in a Book we can actually buy, read, memorize, put into practice and believe is the infallible words of God.

Will Kinney

Luke 2:1-3 Taxing or a Census?

"And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world shoud BE TAXED. (And THIS TAXING was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went TO BE TAXED, every one into his own city." Luke 2:1-3 King James Bible

Another example of the typical attacks made by the King James Bible critics is taken from Luke chapter two.

At one of the Christian clubs I belong to a member writes: "that all the world should be REGISTERED, This CENSUS first took place...Luke 2:1-3 (NKJV) versus, "that all the world should BE TAXED. And this TAXING was first made when Cyrenius was governor..." (KJV).

He then comments: "Both versions come from the same text, the Textus Receptus. Why the apparent discrepancy? Here it is not the Greek that is in question. It is the translation. There was no taxation at the time of Christ's birth. That is what the KJV says. But that is not what the Greek actually conveys. It wasn't a tax at all. It was a census that was being taken. But then how would you know that if you never went to the Greek? There is an obvious loss of meaning in translation, if not here an obvious error in translation. How important is it, to check the original source and not to confine oneself to a translation that is not inspired, and cannot be infallible?"

So how do we King James Bible believers answer this criticism? First, we should point out what the Greek word in question actually refers to. Secondly, we will show that not all Bible translators are in agreement with this man's OPINION, and Thirdly, we will show that not all Bible commentators agree with him either.

Many Greek Lexicons point out that the word apographee and the verb form, apographo, can refer to a taxation. Liddell and Scott's Greek-English Lexicon, Oxford Press 1968 says on page 194 (All caps are mine): 1. A register; 2. A register of persons LIABLE TO TAXATION. 3. A written list.

Moulton and Milligan's Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament says on page 60 that "the new laographic POLL -TAX was closely connected with the census." Then they give an example of the Greek verb apographo being translated as: "I have REGISTERED AS SUBJECT TO TAX...."

The Baer, Arndt, and Gingrich Greek Lexicon 1957 says on page 88 regarding the word apographee: "An inventory of the statistical reports and declarations of citizens FOR THE PURPOSE OF COMPLETING THE TAX LISTS and family registers."

Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon, Zondervan, 19th printing 1978 page 60 says: "An enrolment of the public record of persons together with their property and income that it might appear HOW MUCH TAX SHOULD BE LEVIED upon each one."

Easton's Bible Dictionary - Luke 2:1-3 taxing. (Luke 2:2; RSV, "enrolment"), "when Cyrenius was governor of Syria," is simply a census of the people, or an enrolment of them WITH A VIEW TO THEIR TAXATION. The decree for the enrolment was the occasion of Joseph and Mary's going up to Bethlehem. It has been argued by some that Cyrenius was governor of Cilicia and Syria both at the time of our Lord's birth and some years afterwards. This decree FOR THE TAXING referred to the whole Roman world, and not to Judea alone."

The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia says: "Quirinius was sent to Judea to take a census (apographe) FOR THE PURPOSE OF THE POLL-TAX."

Smith's Bible Dictionary notes: "The registration of the people for the PURPOSE OF A POLL-TAX. Two distinct registrations, OR TAXINGS, are mentioned in the New Testament, both of them by St. Luke. The first is said to have been the result of an edict of the emperor Augustus, that "all the world (i.e. the Roman empire) should be taxed," (Luke 2:1) and is connected by the evangelist with the name of Cyrenius."

Other Bible Versions

Not only does the King James Bible correctly read "should BE TAXED, and THIS TAXING was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria" but so do the following English Bible translations: Tyndale 1525, Coverdale 1535, Bishops' Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible 1599, Webster's 1833 translation, Green's Modern KJV 1998, the KJV 21st Century version 1994, and the Third Millenium Bible 1998.

Scholars, as usual, are spread all over the map in their interpretations of this passage, but there are many scholarly articles written about these events recorded in Luke 2 in which the authors clearly tell us that this census or registry was for the explicit purpose, NOT of merely counting the people, but for the purpose of TAXATION.

"The “census” was a registration or enrollment of the people. The TAXATION would follow based on the census or registration. IT WAS REALLY A REGISTRATION FOR TAXING PURPOSES. The census is for the registration of all citizens in the Roman Empire so the government could collect taxes in the near future. This was the first of regular censuses to follow every 14 years."

The King James Version of the Bible says, "that all the world should be taxed." Most other translations say something like "that all the world should be registered" (NRS) or "that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world" (NIV). The Greek verb is apographo, that literally means to "enroll" or "register" as in an official listing of citizens. What was it then, a census or A TAXING? BOTH. It would have been a census taken in part FOR THE PURPOSE OF ASSESSING TAXES."

John MacArthur (certainly no KJB onlyist) writes about Luke 2 saying: "The Roman Empire was vast and he used census BASICALLY FOR TAXATION. That's the same reason we have census today in our own country, to identify all the citizens SO THEY CAN BE TAXED. And that's exactly what was happening in that day. He wanted TO TAX the full extent of the Roman Empire because he was providing services for all of these nations which had become vassals to the great power of Rome... Herod didn't know anything about the purposes and plan of God. But God was working all the details on a world setting. From Caesar's standpoint HE WAS TAXING."

David Guzik's Commentaries on the Bible says: "The registration and census described WASN'T FOR SIMPLE RECORD-KEEPING or statistics. IT WAS TO efficiently and effectively TAX everyone in the Roman Empire."

John Lightfoot says in his commentary on the gospel of Luke: "Aethicus tells us, this had been done before; whose words, since they concern so great and noble a monument of antiquity, may not prove tedious to the reader to be transcribed in this place: "He took upon him the government both of their manners and laws, and both perpetual: by which right, though without the title of censor, he laid A TAX upon the people three times; the first and third with his colleague, the second alone." The first with his colleague, M. Agrippa; the third, with his colleague Tiberius; the second, by himself alone; and this was THE TAX our evangelist makes mention of in this place."

The People's New Testament Commentary says: "That all the world. The Roman empire which embraced all the world then known to civilization; all southern and western Europe, western Asia and northern Africa. Should be enrolled. A census was to be taken as a preliminary to A POLL TAX in the provinces. Augustus Cæsar, incensed at Herod, ordered an enrolment FOR TAXATION of the Jews the year of the birth of Jesus. It was carried out in all probability by Cyrenius. The intercession of Herod's minister, Nicolas, averted the displeasure of Augustus and THE TAXATION did not take place until Cyrenius was governor of Syria, after Archelaus, son of Herod, was deposed...Women had to be enrolled also and were subject to THE POLL TAX. Mary was of the line of David, and hence would also have to go to Bethlehem."

Even Robertson's Word Pictures, (very much against the KJB) says: "It was a census, not a taxing, though taxing generally followed and was based on the census."

Jamieson, Fausset and Brown comment: "THAT THERE WAS A TAXING, however, of the whole Roman Empire under Augustus,IS NOW ADMITTED BY ALL; and candid critics, even of skeptical tendency, are ready to allow that there is not likely to be any real inaccuracy in the statement of our Evangelist. But it is perhaps better to suppose, with others, that the registration may have been ordered WITH A VIEW TO THE TAXATION, about the time of our Lord's birth, though THE TAXING itself--an obnoxious measure in Palestine--was not carried out till the time of Quirinus."

Finally John Calvin notes in his Commentaries Volume XVI: "Agustus orders a registration to take place in Judea, and each person to give his name, that they may afterwards PAY AN ANNUAL TAX...Nor did Herod's peculiar authority as king make it inconsistent that the Jews should pay to the Roman Empire a stipulated sum for each man UNDER THE NAME OF A TAX."

There is no error at all in the King James Bible reading of "all the world should be taxed". This registry or enrollment was NOT just a head count of the people. To translate in such a way as do the NKJV, NASB, NIV, ESV, and Holman versions, that this was merely a census of the population is to miss the point. The registry was made for the specific purpose of TAXATION and the King James Bible and several others correctly bring out this meaning.

Will Kinney

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