Dr. W. Noble King
All Rights Reserved
The Revised Standard Version
1. Whatever I say tonight
must be understood strictly as my own responsibility. I officially
represent no group or institution. I am, however, fully aware that my opinions,
my judgments, and my conclusions are shared to the full by many. I would
not be here by invitation if such were not the case.
2. When this self-styled
Revised Standard Version first left the press and was presented to the
gullible public, in a half million dollar publicity campaign, those who
were for it either took the floor, or were given the privilege of the floor,
and then did most of the talking. In fact they did so much talking, in
tones of such ultimate finality, that the rest of us became somewhat suspicious.
3. Those slightly
skeptical with regard to its spiritual atmosphere and with regard to its
doctrinal implications remained somewhat silent at first. But as time moved
on and certain doctrinal implications became more apparent, their voiced
opposition and objections began to be heard.
4. Tonight in the limited
time of one lecture, I shall make a few observations in its favor, for
I want it understood at the onset that I was not jaundiced against it.
Then I shall observe certain aspects that I consider at variance with the
historical and evangelical understanding of Godís written revelation to
mankind. Further it should be understood, at the very beginning of this
discussion, that whatever controversy may exist with regard to the Revised
Standard Version, does not exist between the Revised Standard Version,
and the King James Version alone. It is misleading to think so. Rather,
the controversy lies between the Revised Standard Version and mankindís
evangelical understanding of Godís inspired revelation to the human race.
Of course the three Versions that stand out championing mankindís understanding
of Godís written and inspired revelation are the King James Version, The
English Revised Version, and The American Standard Version. Chief of the
three is the King James Version.
First then let us notice a few things, with regard to the Revised Standard
Version, that could be listed either in part or totally in its favor.
1. It is written in clear,
simple and modern English that should be understood by all. Such words
as thou, thee, thine, ye, and verb endings such as est, edst, eth, and
Th and are given their present forms of you, your, and yours, etc. Then
when such words as Thou, Thine, Thee, and, Thy, etc., refer to God they
remain unchanged. This, I think is a good thing. Then the tetragram, YHWH,
which is translated Jehovah, or Yahweh, in some versions, is left as capitalized
LORD, as it is in the King James Version. This, I also think is a good
thing. We know neither the original pronunciation nor the original spelling
of the NAME (YHWH). Itís nearest known spelling, and possibly its most
accurate pronunciation is the third person Ehyeh (I AM).
2. Obsolete words,
phrases, clauses, and idioms, which have lost their original meanings,
are changed to words, and expressions with present day-meanings, and in
present-day use. The word let as it appears in I Thessalonians 2:7, is
changed to, hinder or prevent or restrain. Ghost is changed to Spirit;
"take no thought" is changed to "be not anxious"; anon to "by and by" or
"presently". There are thus new expressions in it that give it the appeal
of the new. In places it rises to great literary heights, especially when
it quotes from the King James Version.
3. Sections of the King
James Version are written in poetic-prose lines that may be put to music
and sung. The twenty-third psalm, the Lordís prayer, sections of Isaiah,
and other areas are good examples. Corresponding sections of the Revised
Standard Version are placed in poetic lines. Let me quote from Isaiah 53:
6, first from the King James Version, and then from the Revised Standard
All we like sheep have gone astray: we have turned every one to his own
way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
All we like sheep have gone astray: we have turned every one to his own
way; And the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
There is a slight visual
difference between the two ways of stating the verse, as one looks at them.
One is in prose-lines, and the other is in poetic-lines. However, when
they are read the only audible difference is in the verb hath." The Lord
hath laid on him" and "the Lord has laid on himí.
Secondly, let us notice
a few faulty inferences and conclusions that spring from the backgrounds
and present beliefs of the thirty-two men who have served on the revising
committee. In dealing with their backgrounds and beliefs we shall be as
brief and as courteous as possible.
1. The sponsoring
organization behind those men, The National Council of Churches of Christ
in the USA, is liberal throughout. It is highly questionable if any one
of the thirty-two men could be classified as fundamental in the evangelical
sense. Most of them are radical liberals. This is no secret, as it
is revealed in their writings. Thus they would not believe that the Bible
was given to man, by special divine revelation, as no other book has ever
been or will ever be given. They would not believe in the Genesis account
of creation, nor in the fall of man. They would not believe in Old Testament
prophecy regarding the coming of the Christ, nor in the blood atonement.
They would not believe in crisis experience as a necessity for all, nor
in the possibility in falling therefrom. They would not believe in a personal
devil, nor in eternal punishment for the finally impenitent. Their social
gospel tendencies have at times led them into questionable company. This
is alleged in particular of two of them. We shall now quote without comment:
"DR Weigle has been affiliated with the coordinating committee to lift
the (Spanish) embargo, cited by the Congressional Committee on Un-American
Activities as one of a number front organizations set up by the Communist
Party during the Spanish Civil War. He was also affiliated with the North
American Committee to aid Spanish Democracy, cited as a Communist front
organization by the Congressional Committee on Un-American Activities:
and affiliated with the National Religion and Labor Foundation set up by
radicals in 1932 to propagandize "the new social order"
"DR. Walter Russell Bowie¼ is well known as a radical; and has been
a member of a number of Communist front organizations. He was related
to the American Committee for Protection of the Foreign Born, cited as
subversive and communist by Attorney General Tom Clark¼ He was related
to the American Committee to Save Refugees, cited as a communist front
organization by the Congressional Committee on Un-American Activities,
and also to the Church League for Industrial Democracy, cited in the Massachusetts
Committee on Un-American Activities¼ He was a member of the Civil
Rights Congress, listed as subversive and communist by Attorney General
Tom Clark. All together he has been named on fifteen communist or communist
front organizations"(Herald of the Coming, Dec. 1952, p.1).
2. Evangelical Christianity has historically held to verbal, mechanical,
dynamic, or plenary Inspiration. Our position, with regard to the inspiration
of the Scriptures is stated in our 1948 Manual as follows:" We therefore
believe in the plenary inspiration of the Old and New Testament scriptures,
and that they contain all the truth necessary to faith and Christian living."
To this position I personally subscribe without equivocation or reservation.
However, Liberalism holds to an inspiration common to all Christian, or
to natural inspiration, or to the inspiration of the genius. Other great
literary works, they claim, are as much inspired, as is the Bible. óFor
instance the works of Shakespeare. Thus there is no differentiation between
the words of man, and the words of God. You notice that in the King James
Version certain words, and phrases, and clauses are in Italics, and other
areas of the Bible are not. The areas in Italics were added by the translators
when they believed that the English language called for further explanation
for the sake of clarity. Thus, words and thoughts added by man, and words
and thoughts given by God are distinguished from each other. In the King
James Version, we thus know what was given by God, and what was added by
man. However in the Revised Standard Version no such differentiation is
made, or deemed necessary, as all areas alike are inspired by genius.
(1) We now quote from the Revised Standard Version, Preface, page five,
as follows: " Sometimes it is evident that the text has suffered in transmission.
Here we can only follow the best judgment of competent scholars as to the
best possible reconstruction of the original text" Here we have a voluntary,
unsolicited, declaration that they have chosen a mutilated, and thus un-authoritative
text to further their own viewpoints. The members of the revising committee,
have thus, added or subtracted from the Bible as they saw fit. The determining
criterion, in so doing was their own best judgment. Their own best judgment
is thus held superior to divine revelation.
(2). Hence they have
dropped Mark 16:9-20 from the original text, and they have placed the area
in footnotes as of inferior value. They have also dropped the closing section
of the Lordís Prayer from Matt.6: 9b-13, and have mutilated it beyond recognition,
by omissions, as is stated in Luke 11:2-4
(3). It is further
stated in the Revised Standard Version, preface, page vii, That "The King
James Version of the New Testament was based upon a Greek text that was
marred by mistakes, containing the accumulated errors of fourteen centuries
of Manuscript copying. Of course the same charges stand against the Old
Testament scripts. The sober truth of the matter is quite different, as
we shall show:
When the Northern Kingdom
of Israel was carried away into Assyrian captivity, and the Assyrians were
settled in Samaria, and in the surrounding areas, a copy of the Hebrew
Pentateuch was made by them. That copy was made after 722 BC and before
606 BC. Both the Samaritan Pentateuch and the Hebrew Pentateuch were later
recopied many times independent of each other, and did not come in vital
contact with each other again for centuries. When they did again contact
each other there were no vital doctrinal difference between them.
(1.) Then the Septuagint,
or Septuaginta Version, was made about 277 B.C., in Lower Egypt, by seventy
of the Worldís greatest scholars. This was the Version used by Christ,
and later by his Apostles. It contains the Old Testament, written in Koine
Greek, and has come down to us today.
(2) Further, Aguilla,
a learned Jewish proselyte, made a word for word translation of the Hebrew
text into Greek about the end of the second century A.D. Symmachus also
made a translation from the Hebrew into the Greek about the second century
A.D. A version of both the Old and the New Testaments was made into
the Syriac tongue, known as the Peshitta (plain or understandable) about
the second century A.D. Christianity entered Ethiopia in force about 330
A.D. And a Version in the Ethiopic tongue was made about a century later.
The greater part of the Old Testament is also found in the Coptic dialects
of Egypt. Those writings probably belong to the third or fourth centuries
A.D. The Georgian Version was made in the sixth century A.D., largely from
the Armenian or Syriac versions. The Slavonic Version was made in the ninth
century A.D, by two brothers, Cyril and Methodius of Thessalonica,
who were missionaries to Bulgaria and Monrovia. Then the Arabic Versions
were made between the ninth and the twelfth centuries A.D. Some of those
scripts were out of vital contact with the scripts foundational to our
Bible for a thousand years or more, and others for hundreds of years. During
that time many recopyings were made, and yet, when they again re-contacted
each other, and were compared, there was a startling doctrinal similarity
(1) Furthermore, the great
leaders of the early Christian Church of the third, fourth, and fifth centuries
were erudite scholars, and voluminous writers. St. Augustine of North Africa
belonged to that brilliant group of men. Then the Latin Vulgate Version
is thought to have been begun about 200 A.D. in North Africa, and finished
later by St. Jerome. In any case St. Jeromeís home was in North Africa,
but he spent most of his active years in Palestine, but a few miles away
from the place where the scrolls of Isaiah and Habakkuk have just been
found. In fact it is highly probable that St. Jerome was working on the
Vulgate at Bethlehem when those scrolls were placed in that cave.
(2) Then the books and scripts,
that ultimately became our Bible, were tested in the school of Christian
experience and daily living by laymen and clergymen alike. The whole Church
thus selected the scripts that it held to be inspired. Then the Synod of
Carthage, about 400 A.D., recognized the selection of the Church as a whole,
and canonized that selection. It is thus incredible to think that the laymen
of the early Church, and the great and early leaders of the early Church
were not familiar with the scripts now being found, that date back to the
third, fourth, and fifth centuries A.D. Indeed Erasmus and Beza, whose
works were foundational to our King James Version, had access to and were
familiar with the greatest scripts of the fifth and sixth centuries. It
is highly possible, indeed more than probable, that those scrolls, now
being foisted upon the unwilling attention of all evangelicals, were discarded
by those great men, of the early Christian centuries, as worthless.
Thirdly, let us notice that
prophetic statements in the Old Testament, with regard to the Christ, and
great redemptive and doctrinal words, cherished through the ages, are,
in many places, either dropped or else given their weakest possible meanings.
1. The Virgin Birth
of the Christ is attacked more than realized at first glance. Liberalism
holds that there are no direct prophecies, in the Old Testament, of the
coming Messiah. New Testament enthusiastic writers, in an effort to magnify
their Idol to the level of worshipful Deity, made certain great statements,
referring to others, slant to the Christ. We shall observe two such great
(1) In Deuteronomy 18:15,18
we read as follows: "The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet
from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me: unto him ye shall
hearken. . . . I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren,
like unto thee, and I will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak
unto them as I shall command him."
Liberalism says that
those words refer to Joshua, but are made to slant from Joshua to Christ
by the New Testament writers. As a matter of recorded fact Joshua had been
a supreme commander of the victorious armies of Israel for a period of
forty years, and had subdued kingdoms and dethroned kings. He had also
been selected by God as the successor to Moses, and had publicly been installed
in that office several months before Moses wrote this.
How then could Joshua have
been referred to by Moses? For Moses is writing of one yet to be
(2). In Isaiah 7: 14 we
read: "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold a virgin
shall conceive, and bare a son, and shall call his name Immanuel."
Liberalism says that those words refer to a young woman in the court of
Judah during the time of Isaiah, who was presently to bring forth a child.
Now, the facts in the case are that no such young woman existed at the
court at that time. Had such a child been born as is prophesied of,
it would have been known far and wide, as he was to be God with us.
If the word
Almah, in this case with its royal court setting, being told by the appointed
court historiographer, is to be translated young woman, it must be inferred
that that young woman was a married young woman. Now, in major qualities
the one typified must resemble the type. If the type were a young
married woman that would in itself strongly suggest that Mary was also
a young married woman. This in fact has already been declared in certain
2. A basic law, in
Biblical hermeneutics, is that no doctrine, or basic belief, can rest,
foundationally, on a parable, a type, or a symbol, etc. The purpose of
parables, types, and symbols, etc., are to shed light upon the doctrinal
facts already given or about to be given. For instance, the great fact
of the entrance of death into the race by sin is taught in the basic statement:
" In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt die." The fact that sin brings
death to the soul as well as the body is taught in the basic statement:
" The soul that sinneth, it shall die." The doctrine of the initial work
of grace rests on foundational statements, such as; "Believe on the Lord
Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved." Full salvation (entire sanctification,
or Heart Purity) rests on such rock-bottom concrete statements as: " The
blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin"; and, "Without
holiness no man shall see the Lord", and " Blessed are the pure in heart."These
basic doctrines and beliefs and experiences are illustrated by parables,
and types, and symbols, etc.; but they themselves rest on direct statements
that refer to nothing else.
(1). Now as a matter of
fact Moses directly referred to the Christ, who is greater than he, and
yet to come. Jesus so interpreted the statement on his way to Emmaus with
his two disciples (Luke 24:44). The King James Versionists rightly interpreted
the statement when they capitalized, on both occasions, the word Prophet.
The Revised Standard versionists do not, and thus deny the fact of the
(2). Thus the Revised Standard
Version wrongly interprets the word Almah as a young woman, and the King
James Version interprets it correctly as a virgin. Hence both Deuteronomy
18:15, 18 and Isaiah 7:14 are great rock-bottom, unmovable factual statements
that find their direct and only fulfillment in Luke 1:31-35: "And the angel
answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the
power of the highest shall overshadow thee: therefore that holy thing which
shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God."
(3). As long as the Old
Testament prophecy of the coming of the Greater than Moses, by virgin birth,
stands in crystal clear, un-impeached and unimpeachable, the New Testament
declaration of the fact will remain unchallenged. Remove the prophecy of
the virgin birth, and the New Testament account of the matter will at once
be brought into question.
3. Liberalism with
regard to the Word of God has ever been interested in subtraction. Hence
we find that certain words are dropped, and others are deleted without
(1). In Colossians 1:4,
the statement "Through his blood" is removed. The Revised Standard Version
reads: "In whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. "The King
James Version reads: "In whom we have redemption through his blood, even
the forgiveness of sins". The Standard Greek text of Westcott and Hort
has the clause and reads as follows: "di_ to_ a_matoV a_to_ "([dia tou
haimatos autou): that is. "through the blood of him." or "through his blood."
(2). The word Calvary has
become a very meaningful word in the English speaking world. It is a Latin
combined translation of both the Hebrew and the Greek for "The place called
the skull," and is taken from the early Latin translations. It is totally
dropped from the Revised Standard Version, and the words ĎThe Skull" are
substituted. There is no justifiable reason for doing so (Scott).
(3) The word backslide,
or its cognates (meshûwbâh), is mutilated in many places, and
milder and meaningless words are often substituted for it. In Jeremiah
3:14, The King James Version reads "Turn O backsliding children. "In the
Revised Standard Version, we read: "Return, O faithless children." One
suggests having been saved, but the other expression does not so suggest.
We hold to a definite crisis experience of salvation necessary for all:"Ye
must be born again." Then the one who endures to the end shall finally
be saved in heaven at last. The Bible clearly states and human experience
teaches that one may backslide, and remain rebellious in heart, and finally
perish as a result of that heart rebellion. However, Liberalism has no
such crisis experience, as a necessity for all, and consequently no definite
place from which to backslide. Thus a great warning word is weakened.
(4). The King James
Version on Matthew 27:54b, reads as follows: "Truly the Son of God" with
a capital S to the word Son. The Revised Standard Version reads: "Truly
this was a son of God", with no capital s for the word Son. The Standard
Greek Text of Westcott and Hort reads: "_Alhq¢V Qeo_ u__V _n o_toV"
(Al_th_s Theou hui_s _n _utos): Truly Godís Son was this." This same refusal
to recognize the Deity of the Christ, by refusing to capitalize words referring
to him, appears in Hebrews 1:5, and in Psalms 2:7. The Deity of the Christ
is again undermined, and the weakest possible interpretation is placed
on one of revelations greatest statements.
4. Then when we come to
the word sanctification, and its cognates, we find the same principle at
work. In certain places the word is dropped, and in other places the very
weakest possible interpretation is given to it. The Greek word hagi_s (_gioV
) means, with regard to man make pure or holy. We sometime say that the
word sanctification has four meanings: separation, dedication, consecration,
and purity; but purity is its basic meaning. The others are stepping-stones
to that one central fact
(1) The word is dropped
from Jude 1. The King James Version reads: "Jude, the servant of Jesus
Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father,
and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called." In the Greek text of Westcott
and Hort, the clause on sanctification reads "to_V _n Qe_ Patr_ _gapm_noiV"
[tois en the_ patri _gap_menois]: "lit.," to the by God the Father sanctified."
The Revised Standard Version leaves the clause out., and has the verse
read as follows: " Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James,
to those who are called, beloved of God the Father and kept by Jesus Christ."
(2). In Isaiah 6:7 we have
an unscholarly vitiation of a great statement. The King James Version reads
as follows: "And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched
thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and now thy sin is purged."
The Hebrew in thought carried the past up to the present. Thus in our thinking
it would be: "Thine iniquity has already been taken away, and now thy sin
is purged." The Revised Standard Version reads:" And he touched my mouth
and said, "Behold this has touched thy lips: Your guilt is taken away,
and your sin is forgiven. "Heart purity is thus removed from Isaiahís great
(3). The word perfect
(tam) means purity when it is used with regard to the Old Testament saints.
Thus Noah (Gen. 6:9), Abraham (Gen.17: 1), and Job (Job 1:1; 1:8; 2:8)
are all said to be perfect. In each case the word perfect is removed and
the word blameless is substituted for it. A man could be a drunkard and
yet be blameless as far as murder is concerned; but he could not be perfect
in heart and at the same time deliberately guilty of anything definitely
wrong. Thus the great book of Job, an historic classic on heart purity,
could no longer be used as holiness people have always used it, and as
it was intended to be used. Many other passages in the Old Testament, examined
by me, have also been weakened with regard to heart purity.
(4). In John 17:19, the
King James Version, we read: And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that
they also might be sanctified through the truth." Then in Acts 15:8, 9
we have the answer to the prophetic prayer of Jesus with regard to Pentecost,
from which John17:19 is taken. We there read," And God which knoweth
the hearts bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did
unto us; and put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts
by faith. "Jesus had prayed that their hearts be purified, and Peter then
pointed out that this prayer of Jesus was answeredótheir hearts were purified.
Sanctification comes from two Latin words meaning to make pure or holy:
sanctus-ópure or holy; facareóto make; thus we have sanctification meaning
to make pure or holy. Consecration could be used with regard to Jesus
who was eternally holy, but it can not be used with regard to the disciples.
However the Revised Standard Version substitutes the word consecration
for the word sanctification in Jesus prayer for his disciples regarding
Pentecost. Thus the same thing is done with regard to Pentecost as is done
with regard to the virgin birth of Christóthe foundation is removed, and
consecration for service could be substituted for heart purity.
1. Thus the spiritual
atmosphere of the Bible is impaired by the backgrounds and beliefs of those
men. Faith in inspiration, in any special sense is removed. The best scripts
were supposed lost for 1400 years, and the scripts we did have were very
poor to began with, and then rendered further inaccurate by the accumulated
errors of the translators and copyist during the 1400 years. Now if God
did not see fit to conserve the Bible, how do we know he supernaturally
gave it in the first place? Further, if we have not had the correct Bible
for 1400 years, how do we know we have it now? Other scripts may yet be
found that would prove everything we have had or now have as incorrect.
Thus real vital faith in the Bible is gone.
2. Prophecy, the virgin
birth, Pentecost, and a great many other central and redemptive words,
and doctrines are impaired by the omission, or the weakening of words connected
thereto. I have personally checked a score or so of passages in the
Old Testament referring to the coming of the Christ or to his saviorhood
in which references to the Christ or to his Deity are either removed are
weakened. By way of example I refer to Daniel 9:25 in which the capitalized
personal pronoun Messiah is used with regard to the Christ. In the Revised
Standard Version the word Messiah does not appear. It is translated into
English as anointed one, but the words anointed one are not capitalized;
hence Christ is not definitely referred to, and his Deity is not even implied.
Some may point out that there are places where it is correctly stated.
That is true; but we are primarily interested here in what they have removed
without authority. If another version of this nature is made in the future
with an equal number of omissions, and a further weakening of words already
weakened, and a weakening of an equal number of words of equally vital
importance, we shall have very little left. The fact remains that scholarship
alone is not sufficient to properly interpret the Bible, and minister in
3. From the first attack
on the Bible on February 24, 303 A.D., by Diocletian when he issued an
order commanding all churches and all Bibles to be burned, to this last
"Nuisance raid" on Christian thinking, the inspired revelation from God
has been preserved by the ONE who originally gave it. It has been, and
will remain the Lode-Star for the souls of men to guide them to a better
4. We are reminded
of David, when he stood before that armed soap-bubble and said, "Let no
manís heart faint because of him." And the next moment down came the soap
bubble, punctured in a vital spot. Godís word is forever settled in heaven,
and one jot or one tittle shall not pass till all is fufilled.