Thursday, October 4, 2012

Providence and Preservation, Pt. 2


You can study the history of the scholars who translated the 1611 KJB.  They were believers who had one desire and that was to translate God’s word (the text found in Antioch, aka the Received Text, aka the Textus Receptus) into the English language so that all English-speaking people could have it in our own language.  Is that pleasing to God?  You bet!

Did the providence of God make sure that it would happen through the dynamic of prayer and the hearts’ desire of the translators to get the word of God into the hands of others?  You bet!

God has promised to preserve his word and these believing men were involved in the process.  It was already preserved in the manuscript copies.  They are both part of the process of getting the word of God out to others.  It is interesting that when you look at the words ‘translate’ and ‘translated’ in the bible, both are references to God.

2 Samuel 3:10
To translate the kingdom from the house of Saul, and to set up the throne of David over Israel and over Judah, from Dan even to Beersheba.

Colossians 1:13
Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:

Hebrews 11:5
By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.

This is God’s providence.  Providence means God provides.  If God in his providence desires that all men have the truth, and it is only in Greek and Hebrew, wouldn’t God provide some believing men and work diligently through them to get it out to others?  You bet!  He did in the King James Bible.

I know of a brother who recently translated the KJB into his own country’s language, his native tongue, and he will use it in his ministry.  Was that God or was it him?  It was both.  God works through man, through believers.  It was the providence of God.  He provided the ways and means to accomplish it.

Were the KJB translators influenced by their own understanding of scripture?  They translated ‘word for word’ with a heart of faith knowing that it is God’s will that all men have the truth (1 Tim. 2:4).

They knew they needed to get the truth into the hands of all English-speaking people and they did it by faith.  That was God at work.  What did Paul say?

Philippians 2:12b-13
…work out your own salvation [believers] with fear and trembling [of God’s word].  For it is God which worketh in you [as a member of church, the body of Christ] both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

There it is right there.  Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling of God’s word (as a believer); when you do that God begins to work in you to have the willingness and the ability to do his good pleasure.

Was God providentially guiding the translators?  Yes.  Translating from one language to another happens throughout scripture.  God spoke to Moses; Moses spoke to Aaron; Aaron spoke to Pharaoh.  Hebrew was translated into Egyptian.

In the book of Daniel some things are written in Aramaic, but God spoke to Daniel in Hebrew.

The KJB translators translated word for word.  They did not make a dynamic equivalent translation (general thoughts, requiring interpretation).   They did not try to interpret the passage like the translators of the new versions have done; they just gave the English word for the Hebrew word; the English word for the Greek word; the English word for the Aramaic word.

They left understanding the word up to God and the believers who read it [2Timothy 2:7; 1Corinthians 2:13]  They were not trying to make us understand what God’s word was saying; they were only trying to give us the very words of Almighty God.  Their job was not to interpret God’s word for us or to comment on it.  They just translated it word for word.  What you do with it is between you and God.

Here is the principle. 

Acts 21:40 – 22:2
And when he had given him licence [to speak to the Jews], Paul stood on the stairs, and beckoned with the hand unto the people. And when there was made a great silence, he [Paul] spake unto them in the Hebrew tongue [keep that in mind], saying, Men, brethren, and fathers, hear ye my defence which I make now unto you.  (And when they heard that he spake in the Hebrew tongue to them, they kept the more silence: and he saith,)

So according to Luke who writes the book of Acts, in what language was Paul speaking to the Jews?  Hebrew.  But in what language did Luke record Paul’s words that he spoke in Hebrew?  Koine Greek.  Paul spoke in Hebrew; Luke recorded it in Greek.  Paul’s words went from Hebrew to Greek and Luke translated exactly what Paul said, word for word.  God providentially guided Luke to write in Greek what Paul spoke in Hebrew.

The issue of translating into another language is not a big issue at all.  It is no problem for God’s word to be translated from one language to another.  God did providentially guide the KJB translators through his word that warns not to change his words.  These men ‘in fear and trembling’ gave the English equivalent for each Greek, Hebrew or Aramaic word.

Revelation 22:18-19
For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:  And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

By faith, they did what God told them to do by recording every word into English as it was written and not changing any of them.  So God did guide them in what to translate (every word), and how to translate it (‘just like I said it but in another language’).

It takes faith to believe that we can have the word of God.  Most Christians and professing Christians in Christendom will fight you on the KJB and say that all bibles are the same.  In fact, most professing Christians fight for the’ errancy’ of scripture.  They don’t have a final authority.  They want to fight you on that when you tell them that you do have a final authority – the inerrant, perfect word of God in the King James Bible.

Professing believers who believe that the bible is the word of God think that it has to have errors.  They believe that we can’t have the very words of God.  That’s wacky.  Think about that.  A professing Christian who claims to live with the word of God as his final authority believes that it has errors in it.  That’s ridiculous.  Then who decides what is error and what is not error?  You?  The scholars?  Which scholar?

As a believer who understands right division you can rest in the fact you have the word of God because God in his providence provided it through those saints who knew that the will of God was that all men be saved and come unto the knowledge of the truth by having God’s word in their own language.  It was God working in them to will and to do his good pleasure.  That is what was going on with King James and his translators. 

To be continued…
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