Bible Versions Questions and discussion about the Bible version issue.

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Old 08-07-2008, 10:30 AM
Mighty Angel
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Very interesting and informative thread. Thank you.

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Old 08-07-2008, 03:30 PM
Mighty Angel
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Default Original 1611 King James Bible

I was just looking at Matthew 23:24 in the original 1611 King James version and it reads "straine at a gnat" . Here is the link to see it:

Old 08-08-2008, 07:04 AM
Steven Avery Steven Avery is offline
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Posts: 462
Default printer's conference to fix the 'mistake'

Hi Folks,

Thanks Chette and Mighty Angel. I have learned a lot seeing how the myth against the King James Bible developed and is sustained by cornfuseniks. We saw the basic canard and then the 1611 edition add-on. Maybe now I will switch gears a bit for a few light and easy tidbits. As you can see the thread develops its own dynamic ! . My thanks for Brandon for hosting a forum with the type of moderation and sense that allows a type of ongoing study that is rare on the internet. And where edifying responses are the norm.

Here is another example like the 1611 blunder (that the first edition actually had "strain out". In that vein, an 'embellishment' to the misprint myth.
Hesed: Mercy or Loyalty? By Jim Myers - The Power of Tradition

Matthew 23:24 has a very interesting history in the history of English translations of the Bible, especially the King James Translation:

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

The word "at" was a printer's typo that was made in the early copies of the KJV. By the time came for the printers to correct their mistake the verse had become so well known that officials decided to leave it alone - tradition prevailed over fact. The correct translation is:

You blind guides, that strain out the gnat, and swallow the camel!

Now we have an official conference of officials and printers !. Totally fabricated of course, however when the goal is to disparage the King James Bible, why let truth and facts get in the way of a good story ?

Note: this is actually a fairly popular 'Biblical Heritage Center' and web site.

Old 08-08-2008, 07:50 AM
Steven Avery Steven Avery is offline
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Hi Folks,

Previously I have noted Oxford English Dictionary, Constantin Hopf, Jeffrey Nachimson and 'Jerome' on the BibleBaptistBoard as especially helpful in the history of rebutting the misprint myth-accusation. There are number of other heroes in this battle.

A few years back Jack Moorman put together a nice rebuttal that you can see at:
Strain "At", or "Out" a Gnat

Now Jack Moorman did not mention a lot of the information that we have available today. We did discuss one grammatical point also given by Thomas Strouse earlier. Jack Moorman does adds two other points that I have not given full emphasis.

Early commentators such as Poole and Henry do not mention any problem with the passage.

Poole was top commentary, about 1670, Matthew Henry was in the same lineage of early commentaries coming from the Reformation, about 1705. And you can add John Gill similarly a bit later, his commentary is on post #33.

Matthew Henry gives a nice commentary, since it was earlier .
Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible

They avoided lesser sins, but committed greater (v. 24); Ye blind guides; so he had called them before (v. 16), for their corrupt teaching; here he calls them so for their corrupt living, for their example was leading as well as their doctrine; and in this also they were blind and partial; they strained at a gnat, and swallowed a camel. In their doctrine they strained at gnats, warned people against even 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; but they made no difficulty of those sins which, in comparison with them, were as a camel to a gnat; when they devoured widows' houses, they did indeed swallow a camel; when they gave Judas the price of innocent blood, and yet scrupled to put the returned money into the treasury (ch. xxvii. 6); when they would not go into the judgment-hall, for fear of being defiled, and yet would stand at the door, and cry out against the holy Jesus (John xviii. 28); when they quarrelled with the disciples for eating with unwashen hands, and yet, for the filling of the Corban, taught people to break the fifth commandment, they strained at gnats, or lesser things, and yet swallowed camels. It is not the scrupling of a little sin that Christ here reproves; if it be a sin, though but a gnat, it must be strained at, but the doing of that, and then swallowing a camel. In the smaller matters of the law to be superstitious, and to be profane in the greater, is the hypocrisy here condemned.

Not only does Matthew Henry not mention any problem, four times he gives specific note of how Pharisees strained at gnats ! The English to him was powerful and clear and purposeful. The later Keystone Kops of grammar were not around and his comprehension and commentary was excellent.

Matthew Poole and Matthew Henry specifically show us that in the critical period 1611 to 1750 not only was every edition of the King James Bible consistent, the commentators were skilled and aware of the text.

The second point from Jack Moorman has to do with those in the 1800s that did maintain some sense, who, even if preferring "strain out" and even if not knowing the powerful and multi-usages from 1540-1610 (ie. the OED and Hopf refutations were future) understood that the accusation was essentially without merit. Shortly I plan to give a bit of backdrop on the men who did wear a thinking cap in the 1800s. Or at least considered the history and text sensibly.


Last edited by Steven Avery; 08-08-2008 at 08:18 AM.
Old 08-08-2008, 09:36 PM
Steven Avery Steven Avery is offline
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Hi Folks

And it was not just Matthew Poole and Matthew Henry in that first century that had no difficulties with 'strain at a gnat'. (Noting that we see that Matthew Henry perceptively uses 'strain at'.) The same is true for all the other commentaries in that period.

David Dickson (1640) explains the proverb as meaning:
"The preciseness of hypocrites is no less ridiculous than if a man should make nice to swallow a midge or a smaller matter, and not stand to swallow down a greater matter, as it were an horse or a camel. ..."

Henry Hammond (1653)
John Trapp (c.1660)
Daniel Whitby (1703)
Edward Wells (c. 1720)

All simply accept and comment on the Bible phrase. Some of these may be available through the efforts of folks on the Sharper Iron forum.

Now of course the misprint canard should never have come to play with 150 years of solid KJB editions. And the evidences of usages before 1610 (now varied and wide-ranging) busted this canard long ago.

This is yet another additional confirmation. Seven major commentators over the next century accepted 'strain at a gnat' without scruple or concern. Matthew Henry actively used the phrase as part of his exposition. Not one single objection known in that period.

(Dates above are generally approximate. Morison in the 1800s reviewed the literature.)

Old 08-08-2008, 09:55 PM
Steven Avery Steven Avery is offline
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Default 1599 Geneva Study Bible

Hi Folks,

The 'strongest' non-argument or pseudo-argument given for the misprint canard was 'other early versions had 'strain out a gnat'. Well..duhh..the King James Bible translators updated the (arguably archaic and ill-fitting) 'strain out' usage to what was the common and more active and precise translation of their day. As they updated and modified and changed and improved words throughout the Bible, leading to the pure and majestic and revered and accepted Bible.

(An interesting point is that the people who aggressively mention the other 1500s versions here generally will not give these Received Text NT's the time of day. They only get dug out and referenced if they can be in some way put into a comparison with the King James Bible that they think they can use in anti-KJB agiprop !.)

The history of this phrase 'strain at a gnat' was clearly shown by the 15+ references of pre-1611 usage. (Even if you do not agree with the King James Bible translators decision, even if you personally would prefer one of the alternatives, 'strain at a gnat' clearly was their usage-understanding translation.)

Yet even in the other versions there is one very significant evidence to turn the corner. This one slipped through our earlier lists, mainly because it is not technically 'strain at'.

The 1599 Geneva Study Bible, while having the 1560 text of 'strain out a gnat' had a significant margin note. And this note seems to go back to the early 1560 Geneva.
Ye stay at that which is nothing, and let pass that which is of greater importance.

Hmmm.. sounds familiar, with a similar sense .
Well, maybe it was another of the gang of misprints !


Last edited by Steven Avery; 08-08-2008 at 10:09 PM.
Old 08-09-2008, 12:22 AM
bibleprotector's Avatar
bibleprotector bibleprotector is offline
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We have seen two important things from the investigation presented above:

1. That the use "strain at" is elsewhere before and around 1611, and

2. That the accusation of "at" being a printer's error came about long after 1611.

I would like to point out that if we concede that even one printer's error from 1611 persists unidentified or uncorrected to the present, then this opens up the door for doubt upon any word of the Scripture today. But God has had editors care for his Word, and has raised up a large tradition of acceptance of the Bible as it is. Either we maintain what we have as a gift of God, or else follow the whims of those who doubt that we have the Scripture perfectly today.
Old 08-09-2008, 04:00 PM
Steven Avery Steven Avery is offline
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Default Hebrews 10:23 - profession of faith

Hi Folks,

Once you learn the techniques of deceptive opponents of the pure King James Bible it becomes much easier to understand their game. One example, well understood, has a carry-over effect to help your spiritual antennae.

Originally Posted by bibleprotector
I would like to point out that if we concede that even one printer's error from 1611 persists unidentified or uncorrected to the present, then this opens up the door for doubt upon any word of the Scripture today. But God has had editors care for his Word, and has raised up a large tradition of acceptance of the Bible as it is. Either we maintain what we have as a gift of God, or else follow the whims of those who doubt that we have the Scripture perfectly today.
Those with whims will use the same 'technique' of false accusation (and anachronistic accusation) again and again. As an example, today I just noted that :

Hebrews 10:23
Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering;
(for he is faithful that promised)

is subject to the same type of nonsense as 'strain at a gnat'. Many know there is a big translational discussion about 'faith' or 'hope' in this verse. Thomas Holland wrote about this quite nicely, so we can simply reference his page:
Hebrews 10:23 - "profession of our faith" - Thomas Holland

Yet here comes the cornfusenisks. They don't just question the accuracy of the (excellent) translation, they add their whim and tinge.

Scrivener - 'mere oversight of our [KJV] translators'
David Norton - 'this could be a printer's error'

And thus from this a modern anti-KJB, in his leading-question style of deception, asks if the translators -

'overlooked a questionable rendering?' - Rick Norris.

Rick Norris even pulls out a Lancelot Andrewes section supporting the connection with hope. However he omits the following by Lancelot Andrewes:
The heart by Lancelot Andrewes

Heb. x.23.
GRANT me always to hold fast
the profession of my faith
without wavering;
For thou art faithful who hast promised.
To this hope set before me

Which of course closes the 'issue' (which never made any sense anyway). While Scrivener and Norton could try the excuse of lack of knowledge, I tend to doubt that is the case with Norris, since the Andrewes reference was easy to find and Norris was specifically looking for such references.

Thus we see another truly insipid idea from Scrivener and Norton and Norris, quite similar to the 'strain at a gnat' misprint canard of many. And we see Norris trying to use it for the same purpose of Bible doubt as with the misprint myth-accusation.

Old 08-09-2008, 04:19 PM
Steven Avery Steven Avery is offline
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Default anachronistic accusation

Hi Folks,

Please understand that the 'strain at a gnat' accusation is anachronistic. We are in an age of information that fully refuted the accusation and the accusers have to feign ignorance. (Or be deliberately ignorant.)

In the 1600s there was no accusation at all.

In the 1700s folks did not appreciate the Bible God had given, and many went ahead to translate, Some of those translated 'strain out' or 'strain away' or 'strain off'. And Lowth grumbled grammatically. Still no accusation.

In the 1800s more new translations and the clamor came for 'revision' and as part of that clamor the misprint accusation developed, sans evidence. However they did not know the early writings before 1611, only Shakespeare. The accusation was stupid, banal, yet there was a level of ignorance.

The incredible labors on the English Oxford Dictionary changed that, bringing forth two refutation references, Mamillia and John King. So there was no more excuse, yet many ignored. At this time the accusation was already anachronistic, being superseded by scholarship.

More so with Constantin Hopf (1944) the party was over. Two additional references, top Bible translation, before 1611. End of story.

Then the Internet age, and all of a sudden we have 15 dynamic references available, every single one a refutation of the misprint accusation.

Thus we can say that the accusations of Wallace and Kutilek and Norris and Combs and Mann and Minton and Glenny and Bowman and Price and Bruce and so many more is anachronistic and obsolete and long-refuted. They belong to a different age and they were tawdry, weak, dubious anti-scholarship in that earlier age.


Last edited by Steven Avery; 08-09-2008 at 04:45 PM.
Old 08-09-2008, 04:40 PM
Steven Avery Steven Avery is offline
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Default One Bible Only ? - article is by W. Edward G

Hi Folks,

Authorship correction.

On post #49 I mentioned Roy Beacham as one of the gnat misprint accusers and on post #82 the book by Beacham & Bauder - One Bible Only ? However Roy Beacham and Kevin Bauder are the editors of the book. They have been notified of the twin errors.

The article at issue (which includes the 1611 first edition extra-blunder as well as the myth-accusation of a misprint) is written by W. Edward Glenny. Glenny has a Dallas Theological Seminary background so it is quite possible Glenny picked up misinformation from Daniel Wallace, who teaches at DTS.

The chapter was entitled.

"The New Testament Text and the Version Debate" - W. Edward Glenny


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