Part 6 - Inspiration and Inerrancy

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In chapter eight of his book, The Unbound Scriptures, Rick Norris takes up the topic of inspiration and inerrancy. Rick asks: "Does not God's Word IN THE ORIGINAL languages have divine authority to correct any translation including the KJV? Would they claim that God's Word IN THE ORIGINAL languages has passed away or was unacceptable as THE STANDARD OF AUTHORITY?...a few (KJV-only advocates) go to the extreme by denying the authority of the Word of God in Hebrew and Greek."

It is as clear to me as the noonday sun that Mr. Norris is sitting in judgment on the of the King James Bible by upholding a "standard of authority" (that is, "the originals") when no such thing as the originals in Hebrew or Greek exist - and he knows they don't exist even while he continues to say it!

Mr. Norris asks: "Would they claim that God's Word in the original languages has passed away as the standard of authority?" Yes, Rick, we would claim this. If you can show us the originals, then we will be glad to change our minds and admit that your standard of authority has merit.

Mr. Norris' entire premise has no factual basis, yet he continually refers to "the originals" as though he were looking at them while he writes his book and compares them to the King James Bible. Then he accuses the KJV advocates of holding to a man-made doctrine that God has preserved His inerrant words, and done so in the King James Bible, while at the same time he himself clings to a mystical bible he has never seen in his entire life. The irony is overwhelming.

Nowhere in the Bible does it ever mention "the originals", nor that "ONLY the originals can be inspired". Neither does the Bible ever teach the commonly accepted idea Mr. Norris promotes that "No Translation can be the Inspired Words of God". Where did he get this idea? Certainly not from any Bible I have read. The Bible itself clearly teaches by many examples that a translation CAN BE the inspired words of God. See my article on this called Can a Translation be Inspired?

Mr. Norris believes and quotes others who have stated "ONLY THE ORIGINAL is God-breathed." Where does this idea come from? The Lord Jesus Christ Himself tells us "the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life" - John 6:63. The Scriptures teach us that "the word of God LIVETH and ABIDETH for ever" - 1 Peter 1:23. The true and inspired words of God can be likened to water that sustains life. If the same water is removed from one vessel and placed into another, without addition or subtraction, it is the same water.

We are not claiming "double inspiration" for the King James Bible or that the KJB translators were inspired. It is God's words that are inspired. It is not a case of "once upon a time, long, long ago and far away the Scriptures WERE inspired ONLY in the originals". God did inspire certain men to speak and write His words of truth, but the words continue to be the inspired words of God. The inspiration of God's words did not cease when copies were made and the apostles and prophets died off.

Mr. Norris also says: "Because of the differences in languages, a translation cannot possibly reproduce all the exact meanings of the words in the other language. Therefore, all translations must at some points be inferior to the original although they may come very close to its meaning."

Again, Mr. Norris has no "the original" to compare anything to, but this has not stopped him from reaching his conclusions. His philosophy about translations is totally humanistic. God has no problem translating His words into another language. The Scriptures themselves show us that He has done this very thing many times. (Again, see my article, Can a Translation be Inspired?)

I and many other King James Bible believers hold the view that God Providentially guided the translators to give us His inerrant and perfect words in the English language. The translators themselves were imperfect and sinful men as we all are. They just happended to be the tools or vessels God chose to use in fulfilling His promises to preserve His inspired words.

Mr. Norris recognizes this is our view and tries to refute it. He says we King James Bible defenders "end up making an assumption that the KJV translators received infallible divine guidance in their translating which kept them from possibly making any errors in translation." Yes, Rick, I agree with you here. This is our assumption, though I prefer to call it faith in the promises of God based on substantial evidence. But you have nicely summed up what most of us believe.

Mr. Norris reveals his flawed premise when he concludes: "Making a translation the final authority makes it an authority above which there is no other, which means that God's Word in the original Hebrew and Greek would be of lesser authority than the KJV."

Does Mr. Norris need to be reminded again that he can not tell us where to find one single verse from "the original Hebrew and Greek"? He tells us his Final Authority is something that he has never seen and which no longer exists, and then accuses us of following a man-made doctrine. Rick, you are following a "made-up doctrine". THERE ARE NO ORIGINALS. Rick, will you please tell us all where we can get a copy of this original Greek and Hebrew you keep telling us about?

Mr. Norris further states: "To claim the action of the KJV translators was free from all the effects of sin and any possibility of error without any act of divine inspiration would be in effect to contradict the Scriptural doctrine of the depravity of man."

I don't know of any KJB defender who claims what Mr. Norris just said. We claim the Providential guidance of God Almighty, not an "act of divine inspiration". As for the depravity of man, no one denies this. God has always used depraved, fallen men to give us His words, even in the originals. Don't the modern version translators assume they can receive divine guidance and providential direction when they pray to God and ask Him for wisdom in their translational work? Cannot God work in this way? Why deny the possibility that God providentially guided the KJB translators and then assume it can happen for others?

In this chapter, Mr. Norris mentions one specific example of what he thinks is a typographical error still found in the KJB. He says the King James reading in Matthew 23:24 is a misprint. He says "strain AT a gnat" should be "strain OUT a gnat."

Let's take a moment to look at and discuss Matthew 23:24

"Ye blind guides, which strain AT a gnat, and swallow a camel."

There are many who criticize the King James reading of "strain at a gnat". Some tell us this is a printing error, yet I would ask how do they know this? It is a mere assumption on their part.

The word "to strain" (diulizo) is found only once in the New Testament. How to translate this word is a matter of perspective. There are at least two different ways I know of to look at the verse as it stands in the King James Bible, and both make sense.

  1. 1. The rendering of "strain at" a gnat, implies only the effort to try to strain out the gnats that might ceremoniously defile their drink and food; it does not necessarily mean they succeeded in always getting them out. The modern versions like the NKJV, NASB, NIV, and even the older English versions of Tyndale and Geneva say "strain OUT a gnat", as though they accomplished what they intended.

In 1729 Daniel Mace made a translation of the New Testament, and in Matthew 23:24 he translated as: "strain..FOR a gnat", which carries the same meaning as that found in the Authorized Version.

There is nothing wrong with the KJB reading of "strain at a gnat." Other commentators in the past have had no problem with the way the phrase stands in the King James Bible.

John Gill - "To this practice Christ alluded here; and so very strict and careful were they in this matter, that to strain AT (caps mine) a gnat, and swallow a camel, became at length a proverb, to signify much solicitude about little things, and none about greater."

Matthew Henry - "they strained AT a gnat, and swallowed a camel. In their doctrine they strained AT gnats, warned people against every the least violation of the tradition of the elders. In their practice they strained AT gnats, heaved AT them, with a seeming dread, as if they had a great abhorrence of sin, and were afraid of it in the least instance"

These two commentators do not try to change the King James reading here, though they both do so in other parts of the Scriptures. They affirm that the Pharisees had a great outward revulsion for minor sins, yet they swallowed a camel.

How many gnats do you suppose were on that camel they swallowed?

  1. 2 Another way to look at this verse was suggested at a Bible club I belong to. It makes a lot of sense. This brother said that since the word gnat is in the singular and not the plural, the idea is that the Pharisees would strain AT a gnat, which is among the smallest of creatures, in the sense of "at discovering a gnat" or "at finding a gnat in their drink", they would begin the process of straining.

He pointed out the following: "The KJV is speaking of the Pharisitical practice of straining wine after a gnat is found in it - hence, straining at the discovered presence of a gnat. When a gnat was found in wine, of course it was removed by hand. Insects aren't kosher, though some locusts are. What, according to Jewish law, allowed the remaining wine to be kosher was straining it, just in case any more impurities might be found in it. If you couldn't strain it, all the wine was to be thrown away. So - they strained AT the discovery of a gnat, which may or may not strain additional gnats.

I understand many KJV opponents love this "error", but in my opinion, the only error here is with their understanding of English and Jewish law.

This construction in English is very clear to me and to the editors of what is arguably the utmost authority on the English language, the Oxford English Dictionary. Jews strained when an insect was found - that is, at (the discovery of) a gnat.

Again, far from being an error in the KJV, the KJV has the best translation which fits all the facts. The King James Bible has the better translation."

External Link

Other Artilces by Will Kinney

Other Artilces by Will Kinney in the Textus Receptus database ~

Old Testament

Genesis Genesis 1:28 Replenish or Fill? - Genesis 6:6 Can God repent? - Genesis 22:1 Did God "Tempt" Abraham? Exodus Exodus 20:13 Thou Shalt Not KILL - Exodus - the Israelites "borrowed" of the Egyptians Numbers Numbers 22 Why was God Angry with Balaam? Job Bible Babel in Job - a comparative study 1 Samuel 1 Samuel 13:21 "a file" a "pim" or "two-thirds of a shekel"? 2 Samuel 2 Samuel 21:8 Michal or Merab? - 2 Samuel 21:19 Who Killed Goliath? 1 Kings 1 Kings 20:38 ashes upon his face - 1 Kings 22:38 "washed his armour" or "while the harlots bathed" NKJV Nonsense Psalms Psalm 8:5 Lower than the Angels, or a little lower than God? - Answering Doug Kutilek's anti-Preservation in Psalm 12 - Psalm 74:8 the synagogues of God; Psalm 77:2 my sore ran in the night - Psalms 1 How Different the Versions! - Psalms 2 How Different the Versions! - Psalms 3 How Different the Versions! - Psalms 4 How Different the Versions! - Psalms 5 How Different the Versions! Proverbs NKJV Bible Babel in Proverbs - Bible Babel in Proverbs Isaiah Isaiah - a Comparative Study - Does God Create Evil? Isaiah 45:7 Jeremiah Jeremiah 8:8 the pen of the scribes is in vain - Jeremiah 27:1 Jehoiakim or Zedekiah? - Ezekiel Ezekiel 29:7 Hebrew, Greek or Syriac? Hosea Hosea - a Comparative Study

New Testament

Did Jesus Tell Them to Take a Staff or Not? Matthew Is Matthew 23:14 Scripture or not? - Matthew 27:44 cast in teeth Mark Gospel of Mark - a Modern Version Mix-up Luke Is "cousin" wrong in Luke 1:36 - Luke 17:36 Is it inspired Scripture or not? John John 1:18 the only begotten Son Acts Act 3:19 times of refreshing; 7:20 Moses was exceeding fair - Acts 9:5-7 hear the voice; 7:20 exceeding fair - Acts 5:30 slew and hanged; 19:20 word of GOD - Acts 13:33 this day have I begotten thee - Acts 19:9 DIVERS were hardened, and believed not - Acts 19:35 Diana or Artemis? Jupiter, Zeus or Heaven? - The So-called "Science" of Textual Criticism. Science or Hocus-Pocus? Gospels through Acts Romans James White discussing Romans 6:17 Philippians Textual Studies in Philippians 2 Timothy 2 Timothy 3:16 Inspiration of God or God Breathed? Hebrews The Book of Hebrews - a Comparative Study 1 Peter 1 Peter - Shifting Sands of Scholarship 1 John And These Three Are One Article defending the inclusion of 1 John 5:7. - 1 John 5:7 These three are one Jude The Book of Jude - James White's "inferior" texts Revelations Revelation 13 Confusion - Vials or Bowls in the book of Revelation - Rev.16:5 and SHALT BE; 5:8-10 redeemed US - Revelation 17:8 "the beast that was, and is not, and YET IS" - Acts 28:13 We Fetched a Compass; 1 Tim5:4 Nephews - Matthew 24:3; Hebrews 9:26 End of World or Age?

Modern Versions

Bible Babel 1 - Bible Babel 2 - Bible Babel 3 - Bible Babel 4 - The Oldest and Best Manuscripts? - Every Man for Himself Bible Versions - the HCSB, NET, ESV, TNIV, NKJV - The Inerrancy of Scripture - are you a Bible believer or a Bible agnostic? - True Bible? - Modern Versions Teach Racism - Modern Versions Teach Pride as a Virtue - Do Ghosts Exist? Modern Versions say Yes ESV The English Standard Version 2001 NASB The Ever Changing NASB's NKJV NKJV Word Changes - When the NKJV departs from the TR - The New KJV is a Hack Job Translation - NKJV vs KJB Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah - Is the NKJV the same as the KJB? - Don't go on Safari with a New KJV Translator - The NKJV is a Poor Substitute for the True Bible - NKJV vs KJB Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah - NKJV Bible Babel in Proverbs

King James Word Definitions

Lucifer - Jehovah - Unicorns - Is the word "Easter" an error in the King James Bible? - Are the words "CHURCH" and 'BISHOP' wrong? - Hell and Damnation in the King James Bible - "By and by" versus "the-by-and-by" - Servants or Slaves? - Is "charity" an error in the KJB? - The Grace of God Destroyed - "Would to God" - Another alleged 'error' bites the dustIs "bottles" an inaccurate word in the King James Bible?

King James Bible

Is King James onlyism Scriptural? - Does the KJB only position "blow up"? - What About Those Printing Errors in 1611? - Does the King James Bible depart from the Hebrew Texts? - Why do you King James Bible onlyies Attack the word of God? - The Historic Confessions support the KJB position - Can a Translation be Inspired? - The Old Latin versions and the KJB


NO LXX Part 1 - NO LXX - the Fictitious Use of Septuagint

Dead Sea Scrolls

The Dead Sea Scrolls Fiasco

Hebrew Text

The NIV, NASB reject the Hebrew Texts - NIV, NASB reject Hebrew texts Part 2 - How to Destroy Messianic Prophecies

Greek Text

"The Greek" and Hebrew Games

Gender Inclusive Versions

Gender Inclusive Versions Dealing with the TNIV

Answering Critics

E mail exchange with Bible Agnostic Doug Kutilek - John MacArthur - Pastor with NO Infallible Bible - A Bible Believer's Response to James Price's book King James Onlyism - a New Sect - A King James Bible Believer's Response to Rick Norris' book 'The Unbound Scriptures' - 17 Parts

Part 1 - The "logical" Premise of Mr. Norris

Part 2 - Those Dreadful Archaic Words

Part 3 - Imperfect men, Perfect Bible

Part 4 - Revision

Part 5 - Printing Errors and Spelling

Part 6 - Inspiration and Inerrancy

Part 7 - Alleged Errors in the King James Bible

Part 8 - Let Me Count The Ways

Part 9 - Beasts or Living Creatures?

Part 10 - Mules or Hot Springs?

Part 11 - "Digged down a wall" or "hamstrung an ox"?

Part 12 - Steel, brass, copper, bronze - Paper or Plastic?

Part 13 - The Usual Suspects

Part 14 - The Preservation of the words of God

Part 15 - KJB Only versus Latin Vulgate Only Argument

Part 16 - Where Was the Word of God Before 1611?

Part 17 - Final Thoughts

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