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Old 06-14-2009, 03:06 AM
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Default Rick Norris' new anti-KJBO booklet

Around the time I was completing the “Glistering Truths” monograph (, I came across a booklet by Rick Norris called “KJV-only Myths about Archaic Words in the KJV”. (Norris has made some comments on “Glistering Truths”, or rather, asked some rhetorical questions. Of course, his questions are easy to disarm, but would throw the unwary off balance. I thought I would address some of his ideas and statements, and his accusations disguised as questions.)

Rick Norris’ booklet:

For further reading of my view:

I want to take the opportunity to dissect Norris’ work, as a kind of review, and warning to the unwary.

Here is Norris’ opening line:

Based on their professed love for the Bible and their KJV-only view’s claim that the KJV is the only valid Bible in English, KJV-only advocates seek to answer and refute any evidence that they think would conflict with their reasoning.
First, you will note that Norris writes in the passive voice. This is a wonderful tactic for sounding “fair” and “balanced”.

If he said, “KJV-only advocates seek to answer and refute any evidence that they think would conflict with their reasoning Based on their professed love for the Bible and their KJV-only view’s claim that the KJV is the only valid Bible in English”, (putting the second half of the sentence first), it would be clear that he is not reporting factually, but in fact slurring KJV-only advocates for not being able to answer and refute “any evidence” (which begs the fact that such evidence exists), and that the KJV-only advocate’s final line of defence is merely a “professed love”, that is implying that it is merely a form of tradition, and actually only in words, not practice.

Welcome to the world of Rick Norris, where everything is innuendo, implied, seemed, likely and probable... for example, he goes on to explain concerning KJB-onlyists:

they seem
that may
Some may
Other important factors may be
All these maybes lead him to a conclusion that
Such factors and others may lead them to feel
Now, the main thesis:

For whatever actual reasons or factors, holders of a KJV-only view seem willing to accept and even to advocate several false claims or myths about archaic words in the KJV.
Clearly, to say that someone seems willing cannot be substantiated without facts. Of course, when it comes to facts, Rick Norris goes into quotefest mode. He cites everything he can lay his hands on, filling whole paragraphs with quotations. But quotations are a double-edged thing. Sure, they make you look balanced and scholarly, and garnish paragraphs of a treatise very nicely, but it is possible there are other quotes from the same authors which do not match to your view.

Norris quotes numerous King James Only advocates without ever dividing them into different camps or parties. A TRO is not the same as a Ruckmanite, yet Norris does not see it in his interest to make such distinctions. He quotes a whole raft of authors, who give various numbers on how many archaic words they think might be in the King James Bible. My own opinion is that there are in practice no archaic words, but according to Norris’ definitions, that would be a “myth”, which he enthusiastically gives a whole paragraph of dictionary citations to better define that word for us.

Of course, Norris favours the highest numbers possible for his real amount of archaic words in the KJB, giving citations of non-KJBO sources.

These counts of 618, over 800, or 1000 did not even include the fact that a good number of these words are used more than once in the KJV. While a few of these words may be used only one time, others are used several times. Some may be used as many as one hundred times or more.
Norris goes on to include “thee”, “thou”, “ye”, etc. to reach

possible totals of 6,000 to 20,000.
This fast becomes ludicrous when there might or might not be 14,000 archaic words. Of course, there are actually nought, but if we accept the most conservative claim of 6000, that is still way more than what non-KJBO word experts claim,

Luther Weigle claimed: "There are more than one thousand such English
words which are used in the King James Version in a sense substantially different from that which they now convey"
If Weigle claimed over a thousand, Norris has multiplied to get to 20,000. But it should be obvious that Norris is not interested in those 20,000 words which normal readers cannot comprehend in the Bible. Norris’ agenda must be exposed: He is merely taking the route of the widest as possible departure from the KJB. In other words, there is an agenda, whether unspoken or admitted, to make the King James Bible advocates appear as wrong as possible.

Some KJV-only advocates seem to avoid dealing with objective descriptions of certain words as “archaic” and may oppose using a standard reference work or dictionary to identify which words can be considered “archaic” or used with an archaic meaning.
Dictionaries are not objective. Webster was a Bible reviser. The Oxford English Dictionary is not final authority. Therefore, if a word is said to be “archaic” in the dictionary, and yet that word is used in the King James Bible, which is current, then all such words cannot be really said to be archaic, especially if they have a special use. For example, words like “propitiation” are not normally used, but that does not make this term “archaic”. If it be said that this is a theological term, then we at least can defend that all the words in the Bible are theological, for they are the words of God.

Some may imply that this type words are some kind of more accurate, “higher,” or “Biblical” English.
I plainly state this is the case, and shewed numerous examples in “Glistering Truths” to this effect. All Norris did was question whether or not the forms as printed in 1611 (and since altered) were more accurate, because they might have been the translators’ intended wordings. In reality, we know that the presentation printed in 1611 does not match what the translators intended in final presentation, because we know that they would not approve of typesetting errors as the actual representation of their work. Also, we know that editors have diligently and particularly worked to ensure that the presentation is correct as we now have it. And when we look, we find that each word is accurate.

Norris goes on to rubbish the idea of the “internal dictionary”. He goes on to say

This fact that KJV-only advocates disagree about the meaning of a number of words used in the KJV conflicts with Riplinger’s claim that the KJV defines all its own words.
Let’s consider that not all KJB people are always right all of the time. Let’s hypothesise that the idea of an internal dictionary does not have to apply to every last detail. If I take Norris’ case study of “coney”, I would have to conclude that the “coney”, based on common use, the OED, the writings of learned ministers, and on Scripture context is the rabbit. I suspect that Norris has the agenda of rejecting the King James Bible (and the Geneva and Bishops’), and a commitment to some ethereal “true” meaning in the Hebrew. Pointing out that some KJB people disagree is no different than saying how many different views there are among modernist scholars. Clearly, when there are diverse opinions (as there are on any subject), only particular ones are right. Scripturally and spiritually we should retain the word "coney" for that it doubtless has a particular application, e.g. to a young rabbit.

Some of the KJV’s archaic words and phrases are not listed or defined in many present-day one-volume English dictionaries.
Notice that we have accelerated from “archaic” words to “archaic” phrases also. Doubtless, “archaic” verses of meaningless (or, unmeaning) nonsense or “unfortunate” phrases (according to one “expert”) are to follow. Maybe even a chapter of Scripture, like Isaiah 18?

Norris excels himself by saying,

It does dishonor to God's Word to leave it in the condition where there is a necessity for preachers and teachers to update its archaic words, clarify some renderings, or correct its errors (whether errors of printing or translation).
What printing errors remain?

Many of the archaic words were very good translations in 1611, and the KJV translators cannot be blamed for the fact that our English language has changed so much over the years.
His real issue is with us for retaining something which is now “changed”. Since when did man’s theories necessitate change to the Word of God?

If a hearer or reader does not know the meaning of the words and cannot find them in a regular one-volume English dictionary, the effect may be the same as though the words were said or written in a foreign language
Or, if the Holy Ghost is not present, the effect may be as though some words were as foreign.

Isa 29:11 "And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed"

Words used with quite different meaning from what they once possessed can be like hidden rocks which give no notice of their presence but on which a boat is more likely to be shipwrecked than on rocks that can be seen above the water.
Instead of glistering truths, instead of beacons and lighthouses, suddenly the King James Bible words are treacherous, destructive, and even deceptive.

Norris then launches into dreary lists of comparison to the former Protestant English Bibles. He tries to argue that they have better wording than the King James Bible, an object impossible to prove. Of course, Rick Norris does not have to prove it, if he just asks the questions over and again, like,

Would Vance claim that the Bishops’ rendering “outlandish” at three verses would be more accurate than the rendering “strange“ or “foreign” (Archaic Words, p. 254)?
It is the questioning of the KJB which itself is the doubt. He does not have to say, “The KJB is wrong”, just keep asking in a way to cast aspersions about it.

It goes on for pages and pages.

Does Ruckman’s profession or recommendation of the genuine work of updating in the pre-1611 English Bibles match his practice in his comments about similar updating in later English translations? If some of the helpful updating in the 1833 Webster’s and 1842 revision had been adopted by publishers of KJV editions in the mid-1800‘s, perhaps there would have been less interest in new translations. One purpose of this booklet is to show what the genuine work of updating and revision looked like in the pre-1611 English Bibles and the KJV. As the many pages of examples show, that genuine work often looked a great deal like the updating and revision in later English translations.
We should see that the KJB was a genuine revision of former Bibles, whereas works like Webster’s revised edition, or the American Baptist Revision (reported on in) 1852, were of an entirely different nature. They were not refining things like the KJB did to the Bishops’ etc. Those unauthorised revisions went against the whole line of King James Bible editorial work, changing words, and often needlessly making all kinds of alterations.

While the mark, endeavor, or goal of the KJV translators according to their 1611 preface was to make a good translation better, the overall evidence does not prove that they accomplished this mark for every word of every verse.
Actually, the overall evidence is that they did accomplish this. The slanted and misintepreted “evidence” given by Rick Norris, again in long lists, is that he obviously thinks that numerous Geneva words are better.

In this list, he points out “mart” at Isaiah 23:4. Everyone knows that a “mart” is a department or variety store, therefore another term could not be superior on any grounds. Again, he points out “church” in Acts 7:38, but this seems to be a doctrinal issue, nothing to do with so-called “archaic” language. Again, he points out “tradition” in 2 Thessalonians 3:6, but surely this is one of many examples of objections based on the author’s opinions.

Other KJV-only myths about archaic words include the claim that they should be left in the text and the claim that accuracy will be sacrificed if they are changed.
This is no myth. Any revising of the actual words and language of the King James Bible as it now stands is going to be detrimental.

If it was wrong to update archaic words, by the same reasoning it would have been wrong for the KJV translators to update the earlier English Bibles.
Here Norris does not acknowledge the teaching that being purified seven times is limited to seven times (see Psalm 12). After that, it is final. There were seven main early modern English Protestant Bibles of the Reformation. Once finalised, there was no need to change the version or the translation.

The version and translation have not been changed in the King James Bible since 1611. The editions, with all their corrections or standardising of the spelling, etc., cannot be considered in the same light. Moreover, even such editorial work is now complete.

When some KJV-only advocates in effect condemn the updating of archaic words in the KJV,
Since there are no “archaic” words in the Bible, and since no words can be truly altered to be any more accurate, this is not a logical sequence.

by a consistent application of that same reasoning they would also in effect be condemning the KJV and its updating of many archaic words.
Norris claims that the revising of former versions was an updating of archaic words. In reality, it was actually an improvement of the text and the translation. The KJB translators did not have an agenda or mandate to “update ‘archaic’ words” as such, but obviously cared for communicating the exact sense with the best English word possible at every place.

If KJV-only advocates know how to translate some places more clearly and how to update the archaic words, why don't they do it?
This is untrue, in that KJB-onlyists do NOT know how to translate some places more clearly, and do not see the need to “update” any word, since none is out of date. I am sure that any true KJBO would rejected ANY changes in the translation as it has stood since 1611.

Will these KJV-only advocates ever accept and use any edition or revision of the KJV that uses updated spelling and vocabulary?
Of course, any newly modernised edition should be rejected. However, there was the traditional work of standardising the language, such as bringing in a uniformity of spelling, which is entirely acceptable. This was a finite process, and has come to its conclusion.

Finally, Norris’ convolutes the case,

The letters that make up a word are not more important than the intended meaning of the words. If all the individual letters are considered more important, it would imply that it was wrong for the spelling in the 1611 edition to have been updated. It seems that some KJV-only advocates even oppose the updating of the spelling of some words in the KJV even though they accept a great deal of updated spelling and other changes from the 1762 and 1769 KJV editions and even later editions. Some accepted changes were made as late as the 1880’s in Oxford editions of the KJV and as late as 1900 in Cambridge editions of the KJV.
In reality, words are important, not merely letters. But the Scripture states that even the jots and tittles cannot fail, meaning the letters.

The emphasis on words and letters is not an emphasis on typographical errors in the 1611 Edition. Clearly, there needed to be, and has been, purification of the presentation in various editions. Updated spelling and various editing of words is quite right. But that has been finalised.

Norris admits that “Some accepted changes were made as late as the 1880’s in Oxford editions of the KJV and as late as 1900 in Cambridge editions of the KJV.”

In effect, some KJV-only advocates seem to be promoting current KJV's with many more than one hundred thirty alterations from the original 1611 edition of the KJV as being the same text as the 1611.
There is a vast difference between alterations of typographical errors, spelling and other editorial work when compared to actual changes in the version and translation. There are simply no real changes to the version and translation from 1611 to now. Therefore, Norris’ words on this topic are but empty slurs.

Last edited by bibleprotector; 06-14-2009 at 03:28 AM. Reason: formatting

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