In this part of my response to John Wolf’s “article” on “KJV Onlyism” I will address his complaints that our Authorized Version is hard to read and that it has “mistranslated verses and archaic language”.
Mr. Wolf produces a chart that declares that our AV was
written on a 12th grade reading level. This same chart indicates
that the NASV is written on an 11th grade reading level; while the
NIV is written on an 8th (7.8) grade reading level. I did not search
ChristianBook.com to see exactly where Mr. Wolf got this chart but I’ve seen
this similar chart reproduced many times before. Most that reproduce it do so
hoping to convince others that our AV is “hard to read”. As I understand, the
study was conducted at
The one thing I have always found ironic about the claim that our AV is ‘hard to read’ is that this complaint almost always comes from an individual with some form of a college education. Such is the case before us today. I have seen Mr. Wolf boast about his education several times in the Which Version Yahoo group. I know that when I attended college most of my books were written on a level much higher than our AV. Likewise, I’m positive Mr. Wolf read and studied from college textbooks that were written on a much higher grade level (12th grade) than our Authorized Version. Yet I highly doubt he argued with any of his professors that the textbooks were too ‘hard to read’ and/or were written on too high of a grade level for him to ‘understand’. No, I’m sure Mr. Wolf simply applied himself and used whatever means necessary to read and comprehend his college textbooks. Is it asking too much that an individual be willing to approach his Bible study in like manner? Isn’t it a shame that individuals like Mr. Wolf have little trouble applying themselves to understand college textbooks but won’t so much as lift a finger when they come across, what they believe, is a difficult word in their Bible? Sad it is that many will apply themselves more vigorously to secular sciences than to the word of God.
We must also ask the fundamental question; is it really asking too much of individuals to be able to read a Bible written on a 12th grade level? Every university and every seminary that I know of requires that a student must have completed high school with adequate grades for admission. Further, most every university has a minimum requirement on the SAT; the more prestigious the university the higher the requirement. Would it be thought unreasonable to ask these same universities to drop their requirements to 8th grade completion? Of course! Likewise, it is no more unreasonable to expect a high school level student to be able to read the Bible. We do not extend this same criticism to any other branch of literature. It has been proven that the average newspaper is written on a higher level than our Authorized Version. Similarly, it has been proven that nearly every current magazine is written on a higher grade level than our Authorized Version. I find the claim that our AV is too ‘hard to understand’ because it is written at a 12th grade level simply hypocritical.
When I was in high school we were required to read one of William Shakespeare’s works. Most have read Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet or one of Shakespeare’s other masterpieces. In their book, The Story of English, Drs. McCrum, Cran and MacNeil wrote concerning Shakespeare’s last play, The Tempest, and our AV:
“Both the play and the Bible are masterpieces of English, but there is one crucial difference between them. Whereas Shakespeare ransacked the lexicon, the King James Bible employs a bare 8,000 words—God’s teaching is homely English for everyman. (p. 113)”
What a remarkable statement regarding our Authorized Bible!
In this next section
I would like to address several examples found in Mr. Wolf’s chart of
“mistranslated verses”. Before I begin I would like to point out once again
that Mr. Wolf has no idea what he is talking about. In his zeal to attack our
AV he has blindly repeated the errors of the
The first example I would like to address is that of Acts 19:37 and the phrase “robbers of churches”. With the absurdities that can be found in such translations as the NIV and NASV one has to chuckle when you see Acts 19:37 listed as an ‘error’ in our Authorized Version. If this is the best these Bible correctors can do they must be desperate. Or, as one writer put it, “this seems to me and many others as a case of "straining at gnats" in a vain effort to find just one little "error" in the KJB.” I couldn’t agree more with these words!
Mr. Wolf’s chart states that this Greek word must be translated as “robbers of temples”. But is this information correct? The Greek word used here is hierosulous and is derived from two different Greek words – hieron (meaning ‘a sacred place’) and sulao (meaning ‘to plunder or rob’). So, literally speaking hierosulos can mean ‘a robber/plunderer of a sacred place’. Thayer’s Greek Lexicon gives the singular definition of “guilty of sacrilege”. Adam Clarke gives the definition of “spoilers of sacred places”. Therefore, to say that the word MUST be translated as “robbers of temples” is to misrepresent the facts. For example, the ESV neither translates this as “robbers of temples” nor “robbers of churches” but instead renders it as “sacrilegious”. Additionally, the New Life Version reads, “do not rob houses of worship” and the Bible in Basic English reads, “not doing damage to the holy place”. Clearly we see that “robbers of temples” is not the ONLY way to translate this word. Not only does our AV translate this as “robbers of churches” but so also does Tyndale, Coverdale, the Great Bible and the Bishop’s Bible. To label this reading as a “mistranslation” or “error” is to demonstrate that you have no knowledge of the Greek language at all.
My next example will be that of “baptism”. John’s chart complains that the word must be rendered as “immersion” and that “they (the translators of 1611) jelly-fished out and transliterated the Greek ‘baptizo’ but refused to translate it”. Here we read and marvel! I wonder if John bothered to stop and think about this for one moment. John, would you mind telling us all how your NIV and NASV read at Acts 2:38 and 22:16?? Do either of these translations read “immersion” as you insist our AV must read??
Just to demonstrate the utter hypocrisy of such individuals as John Wolf allow me to point out that John’s “personnel (sic) favorite” translation (i.e. NIV) NEVER renders this word as “immersion”. In fact, the word “immersion” does not appear one single time in the NT of the NIV. In addition to this the translation that John claims is “closest to the original Greek” (i.e. NASV) NEVER renders this word as “immersion” either. Does John believe that these translators also “jelly-fished out”?? Why does John blast our AV for this but finds no problem with the NIV and NASV for doing the exact same thing?? Can this ridiculous criticism of John’s even be taken seriously?? Certainly not!
Next I will discuss John’s complaint regarding Gal. 3:24 and the translation “schoolmaster”. John’s little chart declares that it must be rendered “attendant” and citing as their reason they comment, “the law was the one who brought us to Christ, not taught us about Christ”. The Greek word here is paidagogos and Thayer’s Greek Dictionary defines it as “a tutor, i.e. a guardian and guide of boys. Among the Greeks and the Romans the name was applied to trustworthy slaves who were charged with the duty of supervising the life and morals of boys belonging to the better class. The boys were not allowed so much as to step out of the house without them before arriving at the age of manhood.” Paidagogos is made up of two distinct Greek words – 1) pais, which is a child (male or female); this word may also be used to indicate a servant. And 2) ago, which carries the idea of leading or bringing. Thus, we get the picture of one whose job it was to ‘lead’ young boys in what was proper. These “paidagogos” were essentially personal teachers, instructing these young boys in daily life.
Now, John complains that the word must be translated “attendant”. Obviously, John didn’t bother looking at his NASV because it renders the word much like our AV does, viz. “tutor”. Neither did he bother checking his “personnel (sic) favorite” translation as it reads, “put in charge”. Other versions variously translate it as “guardian”, “disciplinarian”, “child-conductor”, “guardian and teacher” (NLT), etc. etc. John, can you explain to us why none of these translations agree with your “article”?? Not one of these versions translated this word as you insist it must be translated. As a matter of fact, I didn’t find one single translation that rendered this word as “attendant”. John, can you list for us the versions that read “attendant” in Gal. 3:24??
Our Authorized Version is certainly not in error by reading
“schoolmaster” in Gal. 3:24. This is a perfectly acceptable translation of the
word “paidagogos” and accurately demonstrates what the job of the “paidagogos”
was and what job the law served.
“The law so designated by Paul (Gal. 3:24, 25). As so used, the word does not mean teacher, but pedagogue (shortened into the modern page), i.e., one who was entrusted with the supervision of a family, taking them to and from the school, being responsible for their safety and manners. Hence the pedagogue was stern and severe in his discipline. Thus the law was a pedagogue to the Jews, with a view to Christ, i.e., to prepare for faith in Christ by producing convictions of guilt and helplessness. The office of the pedagogue ceased when “faith came”, i.e., the object of that faith, the seed, which is Christ.” (see SCHOOLMASTER)
And, thus, we see another one of John’s errors and mistranslations in our AV vanish like smoke on a windy day.
The last of Mr. Wolf’s examples that I will deal with is his complaint surrounding the phrase “me genoito”. This example has been dealt with many times so I shall only briefly comment on it. Many articles have been written on this phrase proving that “God forbid!” is a perfectly acceptable translation of the phrase “me genoito”. It has also become very much engrained in our English language and carries the exact same meaning as the Greek idiom. How many times have you heard someone say something like, “God forbid that something dreadful should happen to him.”? Compare that with the amount of times you have heard someone say, “May it never be (cf. NASV) that something dreadful should happen to him.” Frankly, I’ve never heard anyone use such terminology. I have on hundreds of occasions heard (and said) the phrase “God forbid!” used.
John’s little ‘chart’ claims that the phrase should be translated “may it not be” or “let it not be” and that our “KJV adds the word God where it is absent in the TR”. This is nice but John and his little ‘chart’ fail to produce ANY evidence to prove what he is asserting. I could just as easily produce a chart that says that the phrase must be translated “God forbid!” and that the “NASV adds the words ‘May’, ‘it’, and ‘never’ where these words are absent in the TR”; “NIV adds the word ‘all’ where it is absent in the TR”; “NKJV adds the word ‘Certainly’ where it is absent in the TR”. The truth of the matter is that John doesn’t know the first word in Greek and has no idea what he is talking about here.
I wonder what our dear friend John would say if he knew that the NKJV he oft promotes reads, “God forbid” in Gal. 6:14???? That’s right, John, the NKJV renders the Greek phrase “me genoito” as “God forbid” in Gal. 6:14. Will you now write an “article” condemning the NKJV too??? Has the NKJV ‘added’ the word “God” in this verse John?? Did you even know that the NKJV read this way?? Of course not, because you haven’t bothered studying this subject one day in your life!
I also wonder what our dear friend John would say if he knew that the NASV that he claims is “closest to the original Greek and Hebrew” reads, “God forbid” in Matt. 16:22??? A different Greek construction but perhaps our friend John, with all his Greek expertise, will tell us if the words “God” and/or “forbid” can be found in his “original Greek”?? Please tell us, John, are these words in “the TR”??
John protests that our AV has ‘added’ the word “God” but in reality what John has demonstrated to us all is that he doesn’t know one syllable of Greek and is pretending to be an expert about something that he has never studied. John, since you pretend to know Greek please tell me if the word “God” is found anywhere in Rom. 11:4. The NIV reads, “And what was God’s answer to him?” Is the word “God’s” found in this phrase? No it isn’t! So, tell us, John, why did the NIV ‘add’ this word when it is “absent in the TR”??? Do you even know at all???
Let’s try another one John. Matthew 2:22 reads, “Then after being warned by God in a dream” (NASV) and “And being warned by God in a dream,” (NKJV). John, is the word “God” found anywhere in this verse??? It isn’t? Then please explain to us why the “literal”, “closest to the original Greek and Hebrew” NASV has “added” the word “God” when it is clearly “absent in the TR”??? You don’t know do you John?? That is because you don’t have a clue about what you are pretending to be an expert on. You are a fraud!
Here’s your last chance John! Please tell us if the words “God’s” and/or “people” are found anywhere in Eph. 3:8??? Your “personnel (sic) favorite” translation reads, “Although I am less than the least of all God’s people”. Has the NIV ‘added’ the words “God’s” and/or “people”??? Are these words found in “the original Greek”???
‘Me genoito’ is one of the strongest exclamations in the Greek language and certainly means “God forbid!”. No other translation (cf. “may it never be!”, “certainly not!”, “Not at all!) carries the same impossibility as does “God forbid!”. It will no doubt interest John to know that Constantine Tsirpanlis, former Instructor in Modern Greek Language and Literature at New York University, Former Consultant for the Program in Modern Greek Studies at Hunter College, Professor of Church History and Greek Studies at Unification Theological Seminary, gives the definition of “me genoito” on page 72 of his book, “Modern Greek Idiom And Phrase Book,” Barron's Educational Services, Inc., 1978, ISBN 0-8120-0476-0. The ONLY definition Tsirpanlis (a native Greek) gives for “me genoito” is “God forbid!” There is no “may it never be”, “certainly not” or “not at all”.
I did not directly answer every one of Mr. Wolf’s complaints because many of them have already been answered in this club and on many websites. I will be glad to address any of Mr. Wolf’s examples if he or someone else would like to see a particular example addressed. I tried to pick examples that had not been answered hundreds of times already. As my readers can see, all of Mr. Wolf’s supposed ‘errors’ are nothing more than a figment of his own imagination. Additionally, they are a product of his own laziness. Had he put forth any effort at all he would’ve easily seen that his examples are NOT ‘errors’ at all. But, alas, this is the whole point of my rebuttal; viz. that Mr. Wolf, like many others, has no real knowledge of what he is writing about. His “knowledge” is superficial at best and the reason responsible for why he had to “copy” his information from other (erroneous) websites. Sadly, Mr. Wolf didn’t have enough “knowledge” of his own to know that he was in fact copying bogus information. I will address more of Mr. Wolf’s fallacious arguments in my next rebuttal.