What is the history of the King James Version and why
is is it considered the pure Word of God.

Victory Everlasting Gospel Free Seventh-day Adventist Church
“Why the King James Version?”
The Pure Line – Part 1

There are an excess of Bible versions that have been derived from three major translations, namely Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic. The version of choice here at Victory is the King James Version. This is the version that Satan would most like, to just disappear, because as we find out today it is the pure and preserved Word of God, while many of the other versions are counterfeits. It is becoming increasingly difficult to find the KJV on store shelves. To understand why, we need to realize that there are only two categories of Bible versions.

The corrupted, coming from a counterfeit line, and the uncorrupted, coming from a pure line. Today’s sermon is in 2 parts. This morning we will go into the history of the pure, uncorrupted line and this afternoon, we will examine the corrupted line and what makes many of the new versions corrupted and therefore trustworthy, vindicating the King James Version.

“The people of God are directed to the Scriptures as their safeguard against the influence of false teachers and the delusive power of spirits of darkness. Satan employs every possible device to prevent men from obtaining a knowledge of the Bible; for its plain utterances reveal his deceptions. At every revival of God's work the prince of evil is aroused to more intense activity; he is now putting forth his utmost efforts for a final struggle against Christ and His followers. The last great delusion is soon to open before us. Antichrist is to perform his marvelous works in our sight. So closely will the counterfeit resemble the true that it will be impossible to distinguish between them except by the Holy Scriptures. By their testimony every statement and every miracle must be tested.” {GC 593.1}

“Satan can present a counterfeit so closely resembling the truth that it deceives those who are willing to be deceived, who desire to shun the self-denial and sacrifice demanded by the truth; but it is impossible for him to hold under his power one soul who honestly desires, at whatever cost, to know the truth. Christ is the truth and the "Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world." John 1:9. The Spirit of truth has been sent to guide men into all truth. And upon the authority of the Son of God it is declared: "Seek, and ye shall find." "If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine." Matthew 7:7; John 7:17. {GC 528.2}

Our only safety is the Bible. Can Satan deceive us if we base everything on the pure Word of God? NO!

John 17:17 “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” Jesus is praying to the Father to set His people apart from the counterfeit by the truth found only in the pure word of God.

Here is a very important principle you need to understand. For every truth God gives us, Satan will have one or more Counterfeits closely resembling the truth!

More than ever we must adhere to the counsel given, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” 1 Peter 5:8

Now we will discuss the history of the true pure line as it relates to God’s Word, the Bible.

Acts 15:23 “And they wrote [letters] by them after this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren [send] greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia:”

They had the pure word of God and they shared it with the brethren by writing God inspired letters which many became organized by God to become the New Testament of the Bible.

The Greek manuscripts, the letters we just read about in Acts 15:23 that they wrote back and forth were translated into the Syrian language in 150 AD. But they were also translated into the Latin in 157 AD which became the Old Latin Vulgate. Vulgate in Latin means common.

The Old Latin Vulgate had many names. It was referred to as the Universal Text, the Italic Text, the Traditional Text, the Byzantine Text, the Majority Text, the Antiochian Text, the Reformation Text, and the Imperial Text. They were all referring to the Old Latin Vulgate from 157 AD.

It was the basis for what became the common Bible used in the dark ages by the Gauls in Western Europe, which included France, Luxemburg, Belgium, Switzerland and Northern Italy. There was another group, the Vaudois in Northern Italy in the Piedmont Valley, also called the Waldensians in the 12th and 13th centuries. Then there were the Albigenses in Southern France, the Celts which were located in Ireland, Scotland and Northern France and still there were others that were persecuted for faithfulness to God during the period of the Papal supremacy. The Roman Church only wanted the people to hear what they were willing to tell them. Truth is always persecuted. So all these people had the pure Word of God.

“Century after century the blood of the saints had been shed. While the Waldenses laid down their lives upon the mountains of Piedmont "for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ," similar witness to the truth had been borne by their brethren, the Albigenses of France.” {GC 271.2}

Jude 3 “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort [you] that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” What does that word contend mean in this context? You fight for it; you struggle and do whatever it takes to keep it.

GC 64, 65, “The faith which for centuries was held and taught by the Waldensian Christians was in marked contrast to the false doctrines put forth from Rome. Their religious belief was founded upon the written word of God, the true system of Christianity. … They contended for the faith of the apostolic church,--"the faith which was once delivered unto the saints." Jude 3.

"The church in the wilderness," and not the proud hierarchy enthroned in the world's great capital, was the true church of Christ, the guardian of the treasures of truth which God has committed to His people to be given to the world.”

Continuing with this quote, “Hundreds of years before the Reformation they possessed the Bible in manuscript in their native tongue. They had the truth unadulterated, and this rendered them the special objects of hatred and persecution.”

Years later we get to Erasmus in the 1500’s. Now using the old Latin Vulgate, comparing the Greek manuscripts that Erasmus had collected, Erasmus translates the Latin back into the Greek.

The original letters that we read about in Acts chapter 15 were written in Greek, and then they were translated into the various languages we mentioned above, and in 157 AD into the Latin Vulgate. So Erasmus translated it back to the Greek language. Erasmus first edition was in 1516 AD.

He had rushed it and came out with his second edition in 1519 and that was the edition Martin Luther used for his Bible. Then Erasmus came out with a third edition in 1522, and that was the edition that William Tyndale used in his 1526 Bible. In 1535 Coverdale brought his Bible out and in 1537 John Roger’s Bible came out, and in 1539, Travener’s Bible. All of these were based on the old Latin Vulgate that Erasmus updated to the Greek.

This is from “Gipp's Understandable History of the Bible” page 113, Erasmus text was so accepted that it was used by the Elzevir Brothers in their two editions of the Greek New Testament published in 1624 and 1633. In the preface of the 1633 edition, they wrote, “You have therefore the text now received by all, in which we give nothing changed.”

Continuing in the same book it reads, “From 1633 on, this text became known as the ‘Received Text,’ or ‘Textus Receptus.’” So that name has stuck ever since.

Same book page 113, “Erasmus text was revised by men like Robert Stefanus, he did 4 editions, and Theordore Beza, he did ten editions, and it was from Beza’s fifth edition, that was the basis for the King James Bible.”

This was the chronology, or the pathway that God used in preserving His pure Word through the many generations down to us today. This is the history of it.

Then we have the Bible known as the “Great Bible,” also known as Cramner’s Bible. The reason why is that Cramner was the archbishop of Canterbury at the time, and this Bible was the first authorized Bible, and it was commissioned by England’s King Henry VIII. Slide 37 Do you know who King Henry VIII is? When he wanted to get a divorce from his first wife, he went back and forth with Rome, writing many letters and putting the king’s red seal on them. Rome took a NO position and he always got letters from the Pope with his red seal on them. This was the origin of the expression ‘lots of red tape.’ Since they would not give him the divorce he wanted. He declared himself no longer Catholic and started his own religion, we know today as “The Church of England.” From that point on, whoever was the Monarch, was the head of the Church of England.

This “Great Bible” was called that because of its size and became the official Bible of the Church of England. It was prepared by Myles Coverdale, working under commission of Sir Thomas Cromwell, Secretary to Henry VIII and Vicar General. It was the first authorized Bible and was authorized to be in every church in England.

When Henry the 8th died in 1547, his young 9 year old Protestant son Edward became King Edward VI and served 28 January 1547 – 6 July 1553. Edward’s half-sister Mary, who was a devoted Roman Catholic, became Queen Mary I upon Edward’s death in 1553 at the age of 15. Mary is remembered for her restoration of Roman Catholicism after the short-lived Protestant reign of her brother. During her five year reign, she had over 280 religious dissenters burned at the stake in the Marian Persecutions, for no other crime than being a Protestant. Her Protestant opponents gave her the name "Bloody Mary." The devil was using her to try to destroy God’s pure word. Many fled England and went to Geneva.

The reformers who fled to Geneva, wrote what was called the Geneva Bible from 1557 – 1560. They included Coverdale, John Foxe who wrote Foxe's First Book of Martyrs, Thomas Sampson and William Whittenham. It had many commentaries from the reformers themselves clearly revealing the Papacy as the Anti-Christ. God used the scattering to produce a more pure Bible than the Great Bible and the Geneva Bible became known as the “Bible of the Reformation.”

The Geneva Bible is one of the most historically significant translations of the Bible into the English language, preceding the King James translation by 51 years. It was the primary Bible of the 16th century Protestant movement and was the Bible used by William Shakespeare, Oliver Cromwell, John Milton, John Knox, John Donne, and John Bunyan, author of Pilgrim's Progress.

This is an interesting quote of John Bunyan, “Sin is the dare of God’s justice, the rape of His mercy, the jeer of His patience, the slight of His power, and the contempt of His love.”

The Geneva Bible was one of the Bibles taken to America on the Mayflower.

Another Bible came out about this time in England and was called the Bishop’s Bible. In putting the Great Bible in comparison with the Geneva Bible, many glaring errors stood out in the Great Bible. They wanted to fix the problem and in 1561, three years after the death of Queen Mary, her half sister Queen Elizabeth I ascended the throne, and Archbishop of Canterbury, Matthew Parker submitted a proposal for a new translation. But the new Bible could not have the commentaries that spoke against the Catholic Church as found in the Geneva Bible. The result was that in 1563 Parker became editor-in-chief and the Bishop’s Bible was first printed in 1568.

Although Bloody Mary was Roman Catholic, Elizabeth was leaning towards Protestantism while England was about 75% Catholic. Queen Elizabeth I did not want to use the Great Bible, and she did not want to use the Geneva Bible which was too harsh against the Papacy, so not to offend Catholics, she came out with the Bishop’s Bible.

James Charles Stewart was born in Edinburgh Castle June 19, 1566, he became King James VI of Scotland at the age of thirteen months, succeeding his mother Mary, Queen of Scots, who had been compelled to abdicate in his favour. He mastered Latin, French and Greek at the age of 8. He was baptized into the Roman Catholic Church.

When Queen Elizabeth I died, King James VI of Scotland ascended the throne. He became King James I of England on March 24, 1603 at the age of 36. He strongly believed that the king should have faith in the heavenly King. He believed that civil laws should be based on the Ten Commandments. He taught his sons when you ascend to the throne, you have a double responsibility to the people. He lived up to all the light he had and wanted his heirs to rule likewise.

He succeeded the last Tudor monarch of England and Ireland, Elizabeth I, who died without issue. He continued to reign in all three kingdoms for 22 years, often using the title King of Great Britain and Ireland, until his death in 1625 at the age of 58. He had commissioned that a colony be established in the new world, thus Jamestown, VA was founded.

2 Timothy 3:12, 13, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.”

King James suffered persecution. Although baptized a Catholic as a baby, he was raised a Presbyterian. Rome wanted to win England back anyway she could. The gunpowder plot of November 5 1605, using 36 barrels of gunpowder was designed to blow up the House of Lords and the king, was one such example, whereby killing James she thought she could restore Roman Catholic rule in England. The Papacy hated James with an evangelical fervor.

This was a concern of the men who were in process of translating the new Bible, the King James Version. They were concerned as they reasoned if Rome was going to silence James, what would happen to them who were preparing this new Bible? John Overall (1559–1619) was the 38th bishop of the See of Norwich from 1618 until his death one year later. He served on the Court of High Commission and as a Translator (in the First Westminster Company) of the King James Version of the Bible.

Proverbs 29:27 “An unjust man [is] an abomination to the just: and [he that is] upright in the way [is] abomination to the wicked.” When you stand for God’s Word no matter what, you can be sure that those who want to do away with God’s Word, to them you will be an abomination. King James became an abomination and so they had three vicious men sow false charges against James, in an effort to assassinate James’ character and the King James Bible. Has God’s character been attacked by the devil? How about Jesus? Have God’s people throughout the Bible had attacks on their character? Most certainly. And the devil continues his attack on the King James Bible today. It was reported that James was an open homosexual and encyclopedias still carry that report today. God used James to keep and preserve his pure word, and in spite of the attacks to slander James reputation, the facts reveal he was a victim of the Jesuits attack.

Jesus warned us of these things in Matthew 5:11, “Blessed are ye, when [men] shall revile you, and persecute [you], and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.”

Ecclesiastes 8:4 “Where the word of a king [is, there is] power: and who may say unto him, What doest thou?”

In 1604 King James authorized a new version of the Bible, as the Bible that was being used was the Bishop’s Bible. The 13 page preface to the KJV is filled with commentary on who the Papacy really is.

He had 54 of the brightest intellects in the kingdom to be the translators, and they were to take the Received Text and other pure versions and translate into the English language. In 1607 the group was decreased to 47 scholars, all of whom were members of the Church of England, and were divided into six companies and were assigned to three principle locations. They diligently searched and compared each text as they translated it. Each company had a set number of books of the Bible to work on, including the Apocrypha. The Apocrypha was included in the first few editions of the King James Bible. Were the 6 books of the Apocrypha inspired by God? No they weren’t. Some people argue against the KJV because they say the Apocrypha was in the king James. What did the translators recognize about the Apocrypha? When a company finished their work, then they would review it. Then their completed work was sent to each of the other 5 companies to be reviewed again and altered if necessary by the input of the entire body of translators. Then learned men from all over the empire were sent letters inviting them to review the work also. The final work was reviewed once more by six of the original 47, before it was sent to the printers.

From the book, “Final Authority” by Dr. William P. Grady, page 166, 167 says, “The first editions of the King James Bible contained the Apocrypha. The translators were careful to set the spurious books apart from the inspired text, by inserting them between the Testaments.’ In other Catholic Bibles they are in the midst of other books where they thought they should be. The quote continues, “And to be sure there is no misunderstanding, they, the translators of the King James, listed seven reasons why the Apocrypha books were to be categorically rejected as part of the inspired canon. The only reason for their inclusion at all was due to their accepted historical value. Despite this historical contribution, the king’s revisers were not about to endorse such nonsense as the two books of the Maccabees, recounting the death of Antiochus Epiphanies on three different occasions, in three different places, in three different ways. That’s not inspired.

The first version of the King James Bible came out in 1611 in the ornate, but difficult to read Gothic font. They changed the font to New Times Roman in 1612, calling it the 2nd edition because of the font change. The third edition came out in 1629 and the fourth edition in 1638. These editions were fixing typographical errors. In 1762 was the 5th edition and 1769 was the 6th edition; these editions fixing the standardization of the spelling. The Bible we hold today is the 6th edition of the King James Version. From 1611 to 1769, there were approximately 400 changes total, that being font changes and spelling corrections.

Do you see how God protected and preserved his pure word from the letters in Acts 15 from God’s men, Apostles and Prophets were writing back and forth in the Greek manuscript, and those manuscripts were translated into the old Latin Vulgate in 157 AD. Those that were persecuted during the dark ages, the Waldenses, the Albigenses, the Gauls and the Celts; they had their Bibles based on the old Latin Vulgate. Then in the 1500’s Erasmus translated the Latin back into the Greek and that’s known today as the Textus Receptus or the Received text. Then we saw the history of the Bible from that point on, Martin Luther, William Tyndale, Myles Coverdale, the Great Bible, the Bishop’s Bible and then the King James Bible. And God had men do an exhaustive work to make the King James Bible the pure word of truth, that God’s people of the last days could stand on and trust.

In Part 2 we will look at the history of how Satan influenced the corrupted counterfeits that are responsible for most of the Bible versions in use today.