Article: Vials or Bowls in the book of Revelation by Will Kinney

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Vials or Bowls in the book of Revelation?

It is always a wonder to me to see how some men who seem to pride themselves on their “deep scholarship” make fools of themselves when they try to criticize or find fault with God’s amazing Book - the Authorized King James Bible.

Not one of these men believes that there exists a single book called the Holy Bible in ANY language under the sun that they consider to be the complete, inerrant, inspired and infallible words of God. Instead, each of them places his own mind and understanding as his final authority, and of course whatever he happens to think is not universally shared by others of equal or greater understanding.

“In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” Judges 21:25.

Such a case presents itself in the translation of a single word in the book of Revelation - the word VIALS, as in “the VIALS of the wrath of God”.

Here are a couple examples of men who do not believe that any Bible in any language is now the inspired and inerrant words of God.

David Guzik quotes: “The King James Version says that the angels had seven golden vials full of the wrath of God. THE WORD VIALS IS A REALLY POOR TRANSLATION. They are really “Shallow, pan-like, golden bowls, or censers, such as were used in the temple to hold the fire when incense was burned.”

Another site comments: And golden vials -”The word "vial" with us, denoting a small slender bottle with a narrow neck, evidently DOES NOT EXPRESS THE IDEA HERE. The article here referred to was used for offering incense, and MUST HAVE BEEN a vessel with a large open mouth. The word "bowl" or "goblet" would better express the idea, and it is so explained by Prof. Robinson, Lexicon, and by Prof. Stuart. The Greek word - phiale - occurs in the New Testament only in Revelation 5:8, Revelation 15:7; Revelation 16:1-4, Revelation 16:8, Revelation 16:10, Revelation 16:12, Revelation 16:17, Revelation 17:1, Revelation 21:9, and is uniformly rendered "vial" and "vials," THOUGH THE IDEA IS ALWAYS THAT OF A “BOWL” OR “GOBLET.”

When we look at the Greek word translated as VIAL in the King James Bible and many other translations as well, we find that the English word “vial” comes directly from this Greek word. Webster’s New Word dictionary, college edition, tells us that a vial is a small vessel or bottle, usually made of glass, and that it comes from the Latin word phiala and the Greek word phiale - which just happens to be the exact Greek word used all 12 times in the book of Revelation.

Why do many modern versions translate this word as BOWL instead of VIAL? Is it because long after God’s Book (the King James Bible) came on the scene in the English language, that some guy wrote a lexicon that says the word should be translated as “bowl, or saucer or platter”? How much of God’s concentrated wrath do they think is needed to bring judgment upon a wicked world? One drop could destroy the universe, let alone 7 entire vials of it. Do they think that by changing “vials” to “bowls” this will somehow add to the terror? I don’t get it.

Versions that actually mistranslate the Greek word phialas as “bowls” instead of the more accurate “vials” are the NKJV, NASB, NIV, RSV, ASV, RV, NRSV, ESV, ISV, the Holman Standard and the latest Catholic versions of the Douay, New American Bible and the New Jerusalem bible. Some like the New Life Version have JARS, while the 1960 Bible in Basic English has VESSELS.

However the word is correctly translated as VIALS in the following Bible translations: the ancient Latin versions of 425 A.D, Jerome in 382 A.D. and the Latin Clementine- “fialas irae Dei”. In the English language we have the translations of Wycliffe 1395, Tyndale 1525, Coverdale 1535, the Bishops’ Bible of 1568, the Geneva Bible 1599, Mace’s N.T. of 1729, John Wesley’s translation of 1755 reads “phials”, the early Douay-Rheims (though later Catholic versions now have “bowls”), Webster’s 1833 translation, Young’s ‘literal’ translation, Lamsa’s 1936 translation of the Syriac, the 21st Century KJV 1994 and the Thrid Millenium Bible of 1998.

Look up the early Bible commentators like John Gill, Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, John Wesley, Matthew Henry, B.W. Johnson of the People’s New Testament, John Darby, Adam Clarke, or Albert Barnes in his New Testament Notes, and you will see that every one of these Bible commentators expounded upon the VIALS of the wrath of God, and not the alleged “BOWLS”. Not one of them tried to “correct the really poor translation” of the King James Bible’s “vials” because they all knew it was the correct word.

It isn’t until Westcott and Hort got their apostate hands on God’s pure words and the perversions started with the Revised Version that we begin to read about the “really poor translation” found in the King James Bible, and that it should actually read “bowls” instead of “vials”.

Have you ever noticed that it is ONLY the King James Bible these "Every man for himself multiple versionists" always pick on? Why is it that people like David Guzik, James White, Doug Kutilek, Rick Norris, John MacArthur or Daniel Wallace and company don't say things like: "Well, this is a really poor translation in Wycliffe, Tyndale, Bishops' bible, Geneva, Wesley, Young's Lamsa's and the KJV 21"? Why is it that they always claim error, wrong texts or poor translation with just one Book - the King James Holy Bible? May I suggest it's simply because the only Book hated by Satan and despised by fallen man who would set up his own mind as his final authority is the only one that is the true words of God.

Admittedly, languages change over the years, but even today in modern Greek the word phialee means a bottle and not a bowl. As pointed out earlier, the English word itself comes directly from the Greek and Latin word for VIALS!

The King James Bible is always right. Don’t fall for the constantly changing opinions, pontifications, and personal preferences of those who do not believe that ANY Bible in any language is now the complete, pure and inerrant words of God. If you do, you will end up just like them.

Will Kinney

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