You can now listen to this video teaching about John MacArthur's unbelief in an infallible Bible here on Youtube if you prefer -
John MacArthur - Pastor and Teacher with No Infallible Bible and self-confessed Bible agnostic -"We don’t know whether He said it or not."
John MacArthur has a lot to say about the inspiration and infallibility of “The Bible”. He likes to sound as if he really believes in the existence of a complete, inspired and 100% true Holy Bible, but the poor man doesn’t have one, and he couldn’t tell you where to get one if his life depended on it.
Now I am not saying at all that John MacArthur is not a brother in the Lord, or that he’s the spawn of Satan and on his way to hell. No, I believe he is a born again Christian, redeemed by the blood of the Lamb and I will be spending eternity with him in the presence of our wonderful Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
However when it comes to the fundamental doctrine of whether or not the Scriptures - the complete written words of God in a real and tangible Book that exists now somewhere on this earth - are the inspired, infallible, inerrant and 100 % true words of God, then I have to totally disagree with brother John MacArthur. He does not have nor believe in such a Book and he has written several articles blindly and ignorantly criticizing the only true Holy Bible in existence and the Standard by which all others are to be measured - the Authorized King James Holy Bible.
Mr. MacArthur has written several articles criticizing the idea that the King James Bible is the pure words of God. In his own writings he often quotes and uses several textually different and contradictory versions like the NKJV, NASB, NIV or he just makes up his own translation as he goes along. He disagrees with parts of all Bible versions out there and in a very real way has made his own mind and understanding his “Final Authority”.
In this article I would like to look primarily at one of Mr. MacArthur’s articles found on his church home site, and address the issues he brings up. Here is Mr. MacArthur’s main article criticizing the King James Bible.
In his articles Mr. MacArthur recommends several modern versions including the NKJV (he has his own study bible using the NKJV), the NASB or the NIV, but he actually believes none of them are the complete and infallible words of God.
If you listen to some of the things Mr. MacArthur SAYS, he sounds like he actually believes “the Bible” is the inspired and inerrant words of God, but when he is pushed against the wall to actually identify for us where we can get such a Book, he has none to give us. Instead he blithely recommends several conflicting versions that disagree among themselves by literally THOUSANDS of words, numerous whole verses, and hundreds of different meanings when compared one with another.
Mr. MacArthur SAYS - “Let me just add as a footnote to that that God has also marvelously preserved the Scripture with VERY FEW ERRORS ...the existing Bibles that we have today HAVE NOT CHANGED AT ALL since then. So God has truly superintended His Word.”
Mr. MacArthur also SAYS “In John 10:35 Jesus says the Scripture can't be broken. THE BIBLE SAYS IT IS INFALLIBLE THAT IS WHAT IT CLAIMS. Secondly, it claims to be inerrant. And if infallible speaks of the totality, inerrant speaks of the parts. It is infallible as the old reformers used to say as a rule of faith and practice. It is also inerrant in every several part so that it is not only, watch now, infallible in the truth it conveys, but IS INERRANT IN EVERY WORD. And that means IT IS WITHOUT ERROR.”
Now, let’s look a bit more closely at John’s logic and consistency of reasoning, shall we? On the one hand he tells us that the Scripture has been preserved WITH VERY FEW ERRORS, and in the next breath he tells us IT IS WITHOUT ERROR. So, which is it John? “very few errors” or “without error”? Are you referring to a specific and real Bible when you talk about “the Scripture that cannot be broken”? Of course not. You have no such Book.
Here is just one of many examples of John MacArthur's Biblical Agnosticism. In one of his sermons about Matthew 6:13 he has this to say: "The doxology is simply this; “For Thine is the kingdom, the power, the glory forever, Amen.” That’s a doxology. You just say it, you just think it, you just offer it to God, you don’t dissect it. AND BY THE WAY, THERE'S MANUSCRIPT EVIDENCE THAT JESUS DIDN'T EVEN SAY THIS, THAT'S WHY IT'S NOT INCLUDED IN SOME OF YOUR VERSIONS OF THE BIBLE. WE DON'T KNOW WHETHER HE SAID IT OR NOT. Some manuscripts have it, some don’t."
Agnostic = One who does not know for sure.
Additional Note: Since posting this article about John MacArthur a couple of people have challenged me on this saying that surely John MacArthur never said this; that I was making it up, or that I must have him confused with some other John MacArthur. Well, here is the Grace to You site where you can read it for yourself. MacArthur's quote about "We don't know whether He said it or not" is at the bottom of his sermon. You can see it here -
(Regarding the Doxology, there is massive evidence that the Lord Jesus Christ did say these words and they are to be included in the true Bible. - See the first part of this study of the so called "science" of textual criticism)
See also the article on why modern versions like the ESV, NIV, NASBs that omit whole sections and many words from what is commonly called The Lord's Prayer in Matthew 6:13 and Luke 11:2-4 are in fact the "new" Catholic bible versions
Going back to Mr. MacArthur's contradictory statements about "WITHOUT ERROR" and "WITH VERY FEW ERRORS" maybe Mr. MacArthur would like to tell us which of these few examples of hundreds I know about he considers to be among those “very few errors”, and where his Bible “without error” is found among them.
The following short list is just a sampling of the divergent and confusing readings found among the contradictory modern bible versions. There are numerous other examples. Among these “details” are whether Jeremiah 27:1 reads Jehoiakim (Hebrew texts, RV, ASV, NKJV, KJB) or Zedekiah (RSV, NIV, NASB, ESV, NET, Holman)
Or whether 2 Samuel 21:8 reads Michal (Hebrew texts, KJB, NKJV, RV, ASV) or Merab (RSV, NIV, NASB, ESV, NET, Holman)
or 70 (NASB, NKJV, RV, ASV, RSV, NRSV, Holman, KJB) being sent out by the Lord Jesus in Luke 10:1 or 72 (NIV, ESV, NET)
or in Matthew 18:22 does the Lord say to forgive your brother not “until 7 times, but unto 70 times 7 times” (= 490 times - RV, ASV, NASB, NKJV, RSV, ESV, ALL Greek texts) or 77 times (NRSV, NIV)
or the 7th day in Judges 14:15 (KJB, NKJV, RV, ASV) or the 4th day (RSV, ESV, NASB, NIV, NET)
or God smiting 50,070 men in 1 Samuel 6:19 (KJB, RV, ASV, NASB, NET) or 70 men slain (RSV, NIV, NRSV, ESV), or “70 men- 50 chief men” (Young’s), or “70 MEN OUT OF 50,000 Holman Standard
or there being 30,000 chariots in 1 Samuel 13:5 (KJB, NKJV, RV, ASV, NASB, RSV, NRSV, ESV) or only 3000 (NIV, NET, Holman)
1 Samuel 13:1 Here we read: “Saul reigned ONE year; and when he had reigned TWO years over Israel, Saul chose him three thousand men of Israel.” reading - ONE/TWO years (NKJV, KJB, Geneva, Judaica Press Tanach, Orthodox Jewish Bible), or 40/32 (NASB 1972-77) or 30/42 (NASB 1995, NIV), OR 30 years/ 40 years (NET) or _____years and______and two years (RSV, NRSV, ESV 2001 edition, St. Joseph New American Bible 1970, Catholic New Jerusalem 1985), or "was 40 years old...and when he had reigned 2 years" (ASV 1901, Amplified bible 1987) or "____years old and reigned 2 years" (Complete Jewish bible, Knox bible, , Jehovah Witness New World Translation) or "was 30 years old...ruled for 42 years" (ISV, Common English Bible) or “32 years old...reigned for 22 years” in the 1989 Revised English Bible, or as the Jehovah Witness New World Translation has it - I Samuel 13:1 - “Saul was . . .* years old when he became king, and for two years he reigned over Israel. “ Footnote: The number is missing in the Hebrew text." or even "was 50 years old and reigned 22 years." in the New English Bible of 1970!
But wait. There's even more. The ESV 2001 edition had "Saul was________years old when he began to reign, and he reigned____and two years over Israel." But now the 2011 edition of the ESV has come out (I have a hard copy right here in front of me) and it now has the perhaps even more ridiculous reading of "Saul LIVED FOR ONE YEAR AND THEN BECAME KING, and when he had reigned FOR TWO YEARS over Israel, Saul chose 3000 men of Israel...". Think about it. "Saul lived for one year and then became king". They just get loopier and loopier, don't they?
Can you guess which other version reads this way? You got it; the Catholic Douay-Rheims 1610 and the Douay Version 1950 which read: "Saul was A CHILD OF ONE YEAR WHEN HE BEGAN TO REIGN, and he reigned two years over Israel."
Or 2 Samuel 15:7 “forty years” (Hebrew, Geneva, NKJV, NASB, RV) OR “four years” (NIV,RSV, ESV, NET)
or whether both 2 Samuel 23:18 and 1 Chronicles 11:20 read “chief of the THREE” (Hebrew texts, RV, ASV, NKJV, NRSV, Holman, NIV, NET, Holman, NET) or THIRTY from the Syriac (NASB, RSV, ESV)
or 2 Samuel 24:13 reading SEVEN years (Hebrew, ASV, NASB, NKJV, NET) or THREE years (LXX, NIV, RSV, NRSV, ESV, Holman)
or whether 1 Kings 5:11 reads 20 measures of pure oil (Hebrew texts, Geneva, KJB, ASV, RV, NASB, NRSV) or 20,000 (RSV, NIV, ESV, NET, LXX and Syriac)
or in 2 Chronicles 31:16 we read THREE years old (Hebrew texts, Geneva Bible, Wycliffe, LXX, Syriac, RV, ASV, RSV, NRSV, ESV, NIV, NKJV, Holman, NET) or THIRTY years old (NASB - ft. Hebrew “three”)
or where 2 Chronicles 36:9 reads that Jehoiachin was 8 years old when he began to reign (Hebrew texts, NASB, NKJV, RV, ASV, KJB, RSV, NRSV ESV 2001 edition) or he was 18 years old (NIV, Holman, NET, ESV 2007 edition)
or that when God raised the Lord Jesus from the dead it is stated in Acts 13:33 “this day have I begotten thee” (KJB, NASB, NKJV, RV, RSV, NRSV, ESV) or “today I have become your Father” (NIV, Holman, NET).
MacArthur’s Criticism of the King James Bible
Mr. MacArthur goes on in his main article to point out what he believes are errors in the King James Bible. Let’s see what he says and then find out if there is any truth or merit to what he states.
He titles this section - “The Biblical Position on The KJV Controversy”
Mr. MacArthur says: “Let me share with you my own conclusions after studying these issues. Bible versions, such as the New International Version and the New American Standard Bible, have been translated by godly men of demonstrated academic repute from the very best manuscript evidence that is available today. May I add, the manuscript evidence that is now available is far superior to that which was available to the King James Version's translators in 1611. I would have no reservation in recommending these versions, yet I myself choose to continue using the Scofield Reference Bible because it is the text with which I am most familiar.”
NOTE - It should be obvious to everyone that brother John does not believe that any of these conflicting bibles are the infallible words of God. He tells us on the one hand that the NASB and NIV are from what he calls “the very best manuscript evidence”, and yet he himself prefers the NKJV, which, if he were to follow his own logic, would then necessarily have to be based on the poorest manuscript evidence.
Versions like the NASB, NIV omit some 3000 words found in his NKJV in just the New Testament alone, plus reject scores if not hundreds of Hebrew readings, and change the very meanings of hundreds of other verses by the way they have translated them. How can they all be the infallible words of God? In fact, it is an undeniable fact that versions like the ESV, NIV, NASBs are the "new" Catholic bible versions. See the following articles:
Undeniable Proof the ESV, NIV, NASBs are the “new Catholic bibles - Part One
Removing all doubt about the ESV, NIV, NASB being the new Catholic bibles - Part TWO
As for his “very best manuscript evidence” maybe Mr. MacArthur is unaware of just what these so called “oldest and best manuscripts” actually say. Here is where you can see how “the very best” really read. If these are indeed “the very best” then we are in a world of hurt and are hopelessly adrift concerning what God really said or inspired in His precious words.
Mr. MacArthur then goes into his arguments against the King James Bible as being the only true Bible. He tells us the following:
1. “The Old and New Testaments were not originally written in the English language. They were first written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek.”
NOTE - Golly, we didn’t know that ;-)
2. “We do not have the originals of any of the books of the Bible.”
NOTE - This is about the only true statement I found in Mr. MacArthur’s article.
3. “God never promised the perfect preservation of the originals, but He did promise to preserve their content. They are preserved within the body of currently existing manuscripts.”
NOTE - Here Mr. MacArthur reveals the true nature of where he thinks God’s words have been preserved. Not in any single Bible in any language, including the never identified “the Hebrew” or “the Greek”. No, not in any of them. They supposedly are “out there somewhere” among 5000 to 6000 remaining scraps, portions and partial books of the remaining manuscripts which contain literally thousands of textual variants that nobody can agree on which ones are correct and which are not. THAT’S where Mr. MacArthur’s real “bible” is.
By the way, God’s true Bible does say that He will preserve His WORDS till heaven and earth pass away; not just the general ideas. See Psalms 12:6-7, Matthew 24:35 and John 10:35. The question is, Do we have them in a real Book called the Bible or are they scattered hither and yon out there somewhere “within the body of currently existing manuscripts” as John MacArthur affirms?
Mr. MacArthur continues: “4. There are differences among the original language manuscripts that have come down to us in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. This is the chief cause of the problem.
5. These textual variations are almost always incidental and do not significantly affect the sense of what Scripture is saying. As a matter of fact, once the easily solved variants are removed, 99.9 percent of what is in our Bible can be confirmed without question.
6. It is usually easy to identify the cause behind a textual variant because the Greek New Testament has been preserved in far more existing manuscripts than any other piece of ancient literature. We are faced with, "an embarrassment of riches."
NOTE - Mr. MacArthur repeats the oft spoken modern version mantra about how our bibles are 99.9% the same, and there is really no substantial differences among them. This is an outright Falsehood (a.k.a. A Lie) and easily seen to be so by anybody who would just take the time to compare the various bible versions out there in present day Bible Babelonia.
Here is a partial list of how versions like the NIV, NASB differ from John MacArthurs own NKJV as well and the King James Bible.
Are the Bible Versions 99.9% the Same?
John MacArthur NOW states that he does not believe that 12 verses as found in Mark 16:9-20 are inspired Scripture and should be in our Bible. He USED to preach that they were Scripture.
To see a very well done refutation of John MacArthur's arguments for their omission, see these Youtube videos done by James Snapp Jr. He completely demolishes MacArthur's position on these verses.
Here is Part One - about 15 minutes
And here is Part Two - about 15 minutes
And here is Part Three, the Summary - about 15 minutes
James Snapp also writes concerning John MacArthur's ever revolving door of his personal convictions concerning what is and what is not inspired Scripture:
“Following up regarding John MacArthur: I’ve been doing some research on John 7:53-8:11, and happened to stumble across an October 25, 1970 sermon that John MacArthur preached no the subject. It’s at this site with a transcript. http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/1519/jesus-confronts-hypocrisy
He called John 7:53-8:11 a "portion of Scripture," and specifically said, "And I want you to understand this, and there is no conclusive evidence either way since some manuscripts have it and some don't." Following a series of rhetorical Q-&-A, he states, "I think too that the beauty and the obvious Christ- likeness of this record leads me personally to believe that it is genuine."
Has anyone seen any evidence that Dr. MacArthur has changed his mind about this? The note in the MacArthur ESV Study Bible says that the section "most likely was not a part of the original contents of John," and that "The earliest and best manuscripts exclude it," but also says, "It is good to consider the meaning of this passage and leave it in the text, just as with Mark 16:9-20," but clearly, sometime after that note was written, he changed his mind about Mark 16:9-20." [End of comments by James Snapp]
Let’s look at the remaining points John MacArthur brings up against the King James Bible.
I John 5:7-8
Mr. MacArthur says: “Perhaps the biggest error of fact concerns 1 John 5:7-8. You claim that it was a part of the original manuscript and should, therefore, be included in any Bible. Have you really read the textual history of that particular manuscript? Let me give you a summary. The passage is absent from every known Greek manuscript except four, and these four contain the passage of what appears to be a translation from a late translation of the Latin Vulgate. These four manuscripts are dated very, very late. The passage is quoted by none of the Greek fathers, who, if they had known it, would certainly have used it in the trinitarian controversies of the early centuries. The passage is absent from the manuscripts of all ancient versions. It is quoted first in time not in a Bible text but in a Latin treatise about the Bible in the 4th Century A.D.
Its inclusion in the TR seems to have come through the pen of Erasmus. When charged by Stunica, Erasmus replied that he had not found any Greek manuscript containing these words, but that if a single Greek manuscript could be found that contained it, he would include it in a future edition.
The one manuscript that was later presented to Erasmus in substantiation of the inclusion of that verse has now been identified as a Greek manuscript written in Oxford about 1520 by a Franciscan friar who took the words from the Latin Vulgate. Erasmus then inserted the passage in his third edition of 1522 but indicated in a lengthy footnote his own personal suspicions that the manuscript had been prepared in order to refute him. These are the facts.”
NOTE - Uh...Mr. MacArthur. Those are NOT the FACTS at all, and even Bruce Metzger stopped repeating that lie you just told us about the Erasmus thingy.
I John 5:7-8 “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.” reads the same in ALL English bibles from Wycliffe 1380, Tyndale 1325, Coverdale 1535, the Great Bible 1540, Matthew's Bible 1549, the Bishops’ Bible 1568 and the Geneva Bible 1560, 1587, 1599, 1602 to the King James Bible of 1611 and it was even in the 1582 Catholic Rheims New Testament and the previous Catholic Douay-Rheims bible, and is still found today in the NKJV Mr. MacAruthur himself "prefers" but apparently does not believe!
Much more can be seen here in defense of the inspiration and legitimacy of this verse:
Among these FACTS are the following which directly contradict many of Mr. MacArthurs statements.
Here is just a partial list of those who contended for the authenticity of this verse. Cyprian - 250 AD, Priscillian -385 AD, Jerome 420 AD, Fulgentius, Cassiodorus, Isidore of Seville, Jaqub of Edessa, Thomas Aquinas, John Wycliffe, Desiderus Erasmus, Lopez de Zuniga, John Calvin, Theodore Beza, Cipriano de Valera, John Owen, Francis Turretin, John Wesley, John Gill, Matthew Henry, Andrew Fuller, Thomas F. Middleton, Luis Gaussen, Frederick Nolan, Robert L. Dabney, Thomas Strouse, Floyd Jones, Peter Ruckman, George Ricker Berry, Edward F. Hills, David Otis Fuller, Thomas Holland, Michael Maynard and Donald A. Waite.
"For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one" is found in 10 remaining Greek manuscripts, at least 4 Old Latin manuscripts, is quoted or referred to by at least 8 church fathers, is in some ancient versions like the Syriac, Armenian and Slavic versions, in the Waldensian Bibles from 157 AD till the time of the Reformation, is in thousands of Vulgate Latin manuscripts, is in the Spanish Reina Valera used throughout the entire Spanish speaking world today, the Italian Diodati, the Russian, Portuguese, pre and post Lutheran German bibles, and all English versions till 1881.
It is important to note that the Greek Orthodox Church's New Testament contains 1 John 5:7 both in the ancient and in the Modern Greek versions. Either God has been faithful to preserve His pure words with nothing added or He has failed and the scholars of today who do not believe any Bible on this earth is the perfect word of God are right. You choose which view is more honoring to the living God Who promised that heaven and earth would pass away, but His words would not pass away.” Matthew 24:35.
More Specific Examples from the Pen of John MacArthur Pastor-Teacher
Mr. MacArthur continues his article saying: “What Is The TR? One great problem with this whole issue is that the term, "textus receptus" is often misunderstood and misused.”
“The Trinitarian Bible Society exists for the purpose of circulating uncorrupted versions of the Word of God (namely KJV). Terrence H. Brown, the TBS secretary, makes this honest admission, "One problem is that many people use the term 'textus receptus' without defining it, and give the impression that this received text is available somewhere in a single manuscript or printed copy, but this is not the case. No copy, written or printed, was called the 'textus receptus' until the Elzevirs used this description in the preface to their edition in 1633. It should therefore be understood that the King James Version translators, who published their work in 1611, did not use an edition of the Greek text actually known by this name."
NOTE: - strictly speaking, this is true. However it should be pointed out that what the Elzevir brothers referred to as the Received Text (the TR or Textus Receptus) was the underlying Greek text found in the King James Bible. For Mr. MacArthur to continue his article here talking about what “the TR” has instead of what is found in the King James Bible is a fabrication of his own mind. Nothing was called “the TR” before the text of the King James Bible came on the scene.
John MacArthur then continues: “It is very interesting to note that there are about 290 differences between the "textus receptus" and the King James Version. Let me illustrate.”
NOTE - Not true, Mr. MacArthur. Nothing was called “the textus receptus” before the King James Bible. What John MacArthur is referring to may be a particular Greek text by Stephanus in 1550 or perhaps Erasmus, but those were NOT THE TR.
Here are John MacArthur's first five examples. He states:
“1. Note in Romans 12:11 where the TR has "serving in season" but KJV, along with all modern versions, has "serving the Lord."
2. In I Thessalonians 2:15, the TR has the pronoun "you" while the KJV, along with all other modern versions, has the pronoun "us."
3. The King James Version in Revelation 11:1 has the reading, "And the angels stood." The TR, along with all modern versions, does not include this phrase.
4. If you read 1 John 2:23 in the KJV, you note that the translators included in italics the phrase, "But he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also." It is omitted in the TR but included as a part of the text in most modern versions.
5. Luke 17:36, "Two men shall be in the field; and one shall be taken, the other left" is included in the King James Version but it is omitted in the TR and all other modern versions.”
NOTE - John MacArthur is completely wrong on all 5 examples. The Trinitarian Bible Society’s printed copy of the Textus Receptus contains EVERY ONE OF THESE KJB READINGS in their text. So does the online Modern Greek Bible used by the Greek Orthodox churches all over the world today. You can see the Modern Greek version here:
http://unbound.biola.edu/ Mr. MacArthurs’ information is completely false.
In addition to this, these early foreign language versions translated around and before the time the King James Bible came out in 1611 contain all the same readings as found in the KJB and the TBS Greek Textus Receptus. Agreeing with the King James Bible in all five of these examples are the Italian Diodati of 1603 and the Spanish Sagradas Escrituras of 1569! Also agreeing in all 5 examples is the Bishops' Bible of 1568, a full 43 years before the first copy of the King James Bible was printed. John MacArthur is simply wrong on all counts and does not know what he is talking about.
Mr. MacArthur then continues his ignorant criticism of the King James Bible with Objection #6. Here he erroneously states: “Matthew 23:24 is a humorous example of a printing error, not a translation error. The King James Version reads, "Ye blind guides, which strain AT a gnat and swallow a camel." It's obvious to everyone that the word "at" should be "out."
Again, Mr. MacArthurs’ criticism is totally baseless. The only thing “obvious to everyone” here who has actually bothered to look into this commonly raised objection is that Mr. MacArthur has not done his homework but merely copied some anti-King James Bible nonsense pasted from some other Bible Agnostic who didn’t know what he was talking about either.
Matthew 23:24’s “strain AT a gnat” is perfectly accurate and is not a printing error at all. Want proof? Here it is:
Mr. MacArthur then closes out his arguments with points # 7 and # 8. He says: “7. The problem of 1 John 5:7-8 was discussed in the lengthy letter earlier so we won't discuss it here.”
(NOTE - Again, John MacArthur is himself guilty of false information and is shown to be a hypocrite for criticizing a verse that is found even in his own MacArthur NKJV Study Bible. - See
“8. In Revelation 22:19, both the TR and the King James Version have the phrase, "Book of Life." That phrase is not found in any Greek manuscript, rather "tree of life" is the only text. Erasmus translated the last six verses from the Latin Vulgate because his Greek manuscript lacked these verses. Just a final note. Even the KJV translators did not claim for their work what modern promoters insist. The original translators at times were uncertain of the correct variant and made marginal notes to indicate other possibilities. In the preface to the original KJV, the editors acknowledged the profit from other versions. Here is what they wrote:
"Therefore as S. Augustine saith, that varietie of Translations is profitable for the finding out of the sense of the Scriptures: so diversitie of signification and sense in the margine, where the text is not so cleare, must needes doe good, yea, is necessary, as we are perswaded." (End of quotes by Pastor and Teacher John MacAruthur)
FINAL NOTES - Twice more Mr. Bible Agnostic John MacArthur is misinformed and found to be criticizing a Bible reading that is found even in the same Bible version he himself prefers and frequently uses.
He is wrong about Revelation 22:19’s “book of life”
And then Mr. MacArthur closes out his criticism of the King James Bible much like fellow Bible Agnostic James White does with a quotation by the King James Bible translators taken completely out of context and misapplied to the entire Bible version issue.
The quote taken from St. Augustine and employed by the KJB translators does not refer at all to the entire Bible or even individual verses found in the Bible, but rather to the names of specific animals and plants and how to translate them into English.
Variety of translations
One line from the Preface to the King James Bible is often cited by supporters of modern versions. It has to do with the goal of the KJB translators in making a good translation better. In his tract entitled, Pick a Bible, Any Bible, Mr. Terry Alverson cites Dr. Miles Smith of the KJV translation committee and states, "Obviously Smith and his co-workers did not undertake the task of translating the KJV with the intent that it was to be the only Bible. Quite the contrary. It appears the 1611 KJV translators would be the first to applaud a modern day effort to 'make a good translation better.' "(p.2).
One wonders if the claim that the KJB translators would be the first to applaud a modern day effort is correct in light of their full statement. The context of Dr. Smith's citation is given below:
Truly, good Christian reader, we never thought from the beginning that we should need to make a new translation, nor yet to make a bad one a good one, (for then the imputation of Sixtus had been true in some sort, that our people had been fed with gall of dragons instead of wine, with whey instead of milk:) but to make a good one better, or out of many good ones, one principle good one, not justly to be excepted against; that hath been our endeavour, that our mark.
The history of all the "good ones" which predated the KJB shows that they were all based upon the same Greek line of manuscripts; the Traditional Text. Further, it should be noted that the translators said their goal was NOT to make a bad one good, else the accusation from the Pope that the translators were feeding their people with "gall of dragons" might have some basis. Their goal was to make "one principle one" from the good ones which predated the KJB. Clearly, this is not an affirmation to alter the text based on either the Alexandrian or Western line of manuscripts.
Likewise, the KJB translators spoke of the need for many translations. Some have used this to justify the use of modern versions based on a differing line of manuscripts. Jame R. White writes, "When the very preface to the KJV says, ‘Variety of Translations is profitable for the finding out of the sense of the Scriptures,' it is obvious that the KJV Only position is proven utterly ahistorical thereby. The position requires the translator to be something its own authors never intended it to be." (The King James Only Controversy, pp. 76-77).
The context of this statement was the use of marginal notes to explain the meaning of some Hebrew and Greek words which either carry several meanings or for rare animals. Please note the full context of the phrase in question:
“There be many words in the Scriptures which be never found there but once, (having neither brother nor neighbour, as the Hebrews speak) so that we cannot be holpen by conference of places. Again, there be many rare names of certain birds, beasts, and precious stones etc. concerning which the Hebrews themselves are so divided among themselves for judgement . . .Now in such a case, doth not a margin do well to admonish the reader to seek further, and not to conclude or dogmatize upon this or that peremptorily? For as it is a fault of incredulity, to doubt of those things that are evident, so to determine of such things as the Spirit of God hath left (even in the judgement of the judicious) questionable, can be no less than presumption. Therefore as S. Augustine saith, that variety of translations is profitable for the finding out of the sense of the Scriptures: so diversity of signification and sense in the margin where the text is not so clear, must needs do good, yea, is necessary, as we are persuaded."
Obviously the KJB translators were referring to the variety of translations regarding specific names of certain birds, beasts and stones, NOT to the wholesale omission or addition of thousands of phrases, verses and words to the God inspired texts.
The modern version proponents like James White and John MacArthur rip this quote out of context and apply it in an attempt to justify their rejection of the Traditional Greek Text of the Reformation Bibles, and their rejection of many Hebrew texts as well.
Mr. John MacArthur pretends he is a Bible believer, but in fact he recommends several contradictory bible versions that differ from each other in thousands of words, contain silly or ludicrous statements, and teach false doctrine in many ways, thus proving themselves to be false witnesses to the Truth of God.
Here are some examples of the false doctrines found in these bogus modern bible versions embraced and promoted by men like James White, James Price, Doug Kutilek and John MacArthur - not one of whom believes there exists now or ever existed in any language the complete, inspired, infallible and 100% true words of God in The Bible.
John MacArthur may have some good things to say when it comes to other aspects of the Christian faith (though I completely disagree with him about his "Lordship salvation" teaching) but when it comes to the vitally important Doctrine of the Infallibility of Scripture he “is blind, and cannot see afar off.” 2 Peter 1:9
“Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge.” Proverbs 14:7
“For ye have perverted the words of the living God, of the LORD of hosts our God.” Jeremiah 23:36
“Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.” Jeremiah 6:16
“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” Matthew 11:15