This is part three of an Ask Pastor George blog on the authenticity of Scripture. We have looked at how the Old and New Testament books were chosen. We also looked at the historical document evidence that what we have today is what was written. Today we will finish by looking at the archeological and scientific proofs of the accuracy of Scripture. We will also look at what part, if any, King James had in what was included in the King James Version of Scripture.
Those that have been following this blog know that these questions came as part of a larger email I received. It was sent by someone we are calling “Struggling,” who is going through a crisis of faith right now. Again I want to include the relevant part of the email.
“I know I don’t buy into some things, and it’s hard for me to say ‘yes I believe this God thing and the Son thing and the Holy Spirit thing’ when I know that King James messed with the bible by omitting things that displeased him. It makes me doubt the entire book because I don’t know what is left out, if anything was changed, the fact that you can translate some of the words to several words in English. I’m struggling to have faith. Sometimes I want to believe and then other times I don’t.”
Not only do we have the historical document proof that the books of Bible today are accurate as we have them today, we also have proof from the field of archeology of the accuracy of Scripture. What I find the most interesting is that no other historical book has been doubted as much as the Bible. We saw that with the historical documentation and we see it with archeology as well. All the places that someone has set out to prove didn’t exist, or prove to that the Bible was inaccurate by using archeology, have ended up proving the Bible to be the most accurate history book ever written. Here are a few examples.
Until the 1960s there was a dispute about whether Moses could have written the first 5 books of the Bible because there was no know written language when he was supposed to have lived. There was thought to have been no legal proceedings then and so no book of laws. Then the Elba Tablets were found. These were a written language and legal documents from before the time of Moses.
Genesis 11 talks about one common language for all people. Recently archeologists discovered that all languages come from a common root language. Another win for the accuracy of Scripture contrary to what skeptics thought.
The most famous example of archeology proving the Bible to be accurate is the case of Sir Walter Ramsey. Sir Walter is known as the Father of Modern Archeology. It is his techniques that are still used to secure and process dig sites. In the late 1800s Ramsey, who was an atheist, set out to prove that the books of Luke and Acts were full of inaccuracies.
He spent 25 years searching for 32 countries, 54 cities, and 9 islands mentioned in those books (and nowhere else) as well as several people mentioned only in those books. In the end he could not find a single mistake and found everything he looked for. He concluded, “Luke was one of the most accurate historians who ever wrote.” Influenced by the evidence he found, he became a Christian.
Now we will turn from archeology to Science. Though you will never hear this in a Science class, Science has again and again proven the Bible to be true and accurate. Look at the following “scientific discoveries” that were already in Scripture, sometimes thousands of years before scientists “discovered” them:
Isaiah 40:22 says the Earth is round. Isaiah was written around 700 B.C. This fact was discovered byColumbusin 1492.
Job 38:14 says the earth turns on an axis, while Isaiah 40:12 and Psalm 104:5 say that it is perfectly balanced. Job was written around 2000 B.C. and Psalms around 1440 B.C. In 1959 scientists discovered that the earth does indeed rotate on an axis and is perfectly balanced.
Galileo discovered that the wind has currents and weight in 1616 just as the Bible states in Ecclesiastes 1:6 and Job 28:25. Ecclesiastes was written in 935 B.C. — 2551 years before the “discovery.”
In 1953 doctors discovered that a person’s emotional health influenced his or her physical health just as Solomon had said in Proverbs 16:24 and 17:22. Proverbs was written around 970 B.C. — again, over 2500 years earlier.
In the 1700s scientists thought that there were only 1056 stars. With the invention of the telescope we discovered they are countless, just as Jeremiah 33:22 says. Jeremiah was written in 627 B.C.
These are but a few of the 1800 scientific discoveries the Bible mentions long before man discovered them. So, contrary to what we often hear, Science proves the accuracy of Scripture.
Now we will focus on King James and the KJV. How much influence did the king actually have on the translation that bears his name. This is important to know because recently there has been this school of thought that the king had things that he didn’t like changed or left out of Scripture.
Much has been made of this supposed change that King James imposed on his translation. So let’s look at what those changes were. The following two paragraphs are directly from Wikipedia.
“Instructions were given to the translators that were intended to limit the Puritan influence on this new translation. The Bishop of London added a qualification that the translators would add no marginal notes (which had been an issue in the Geneva Bible). King James cited two passages in the Geneva translation where he found the marginal notes offensive: Exodus 1:19, where the Geneva Bible had commended the example of civil disobedience showed by the Hebrew midwives, and also II Chronicles 15:16, where the Geneva Bible had criticized King Asa for not having executed his idolatrous grandmother, Queen Maachah. Further, the King gave the translators instructions designed to guarantee that the new version would conform to the ecclesiology of the Church of England. Certain Greek and Hebrew words were to be translated in a manner that reflected the traditional usage of the church. For example, old ecclesiastical words such as the word “church” were to be retained and not to be translated as “congregation”. The new translation would reflect the episcopal structure of the Church of England and traditional beliefs about ordained clergy.”
“James’ instructions included several requirements that kept the new translation familiar to its listeners and readers. The text of the Bishops’ Bible would serve as the primary guide for the translators, and the familiar proper names of the biblical characters would all be retained. If the Bishops’ Bible was deemed problematic in any situation, the translators were permitted to consult other translations from a pre-approved list: the Tyndale Bible, the Coverdale Bible, Matthew’s Bible, the Great Bible, and the Geneva Bible. In addition, later scholars have detected an influence on the Authorized Version from the translations of Taverner’s Bible and the New Testament of the Douay-Rheims Bible. It is for this reason that the flyleaf of most printings of the Authorized Version observes that the text had been “translated out of the original tongues, and with the former translations diligently compared and revised, by His Majesty’s special command.”
Notice that the only changes were ones of consistency, such as using the translation “church” instead of “congregation.” Also a couple of footnotes were left out, but not actual Scripture.
The final evidence that King James did not change anything significant is the fact that history declares that James preferred the sexual company of men. In other words King James was a homosexual. Yet the KJV has several Scriptures that indicate homosexuality is a sin. If King James was going to change things, the sin of homosexuality would have been one of the first things changed.
Having looked at how accurate the Bible we have today is, based on the historical documents it was translated from, as well as archeological proof and scientific discovery, I think we can accurately conclude that what we have today is what was written.
I hope that this three part blog has helped to assure you of the accuracy of the Bible you have in your house today. Next we will look at the other pressing issue “Struggling” mentioned. How can a loving and just God say there is only one way to heaven?