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Plain Reasons for the AV

Since 1831, The Trinitarian Bible Society (TBS) has “acknowledged the whole Bible as the inspired, inerrant Word of God, the sole, supreme, and infallible rule of faith and practice, providentially preserved by God. In contrast to the growing liberalism and Unitarianism in Christian thought, this Society has worked for the publication of faithful and reliable copies of the Holy Scriptures without the Apocrypha.” The following five articles are published by TBS in one pamphlet entitled, “Plain Reasons for Keeping to the Authorised Version”.

Why should we keep to the Authorised Version of the Bible in preference to the many modern versions now available? The question is often asked, and here are some of the answers –

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By “text” is meant the Hebrew and Greek wording of the Bible, from which translations are made into English and other languages. A good text is one that can be trusted as a faithful copy of the words which God originally inspired. The text of the Hebrew Old Testament and the Greek New Testament is available in printed editions, which are in turn based on handwritten copies known as “manuscripts”.

The Hebrew and Greek editions which were used by the Authorised Version translators were based on only a few manuscripts. In the centuries which have passed since 1611, when the Authorised Version was published, several thousands of manuscripts have been discovered which were not used by the early translators. The majority of such manuscripts have been proved to be substantially in agreement with the Authorised Version, and the general reliability of the text used for this version has been confirmed.

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Because of their reverent regard for the Bible as the inspired Word of God, the translators felt that they should very carefully set down in English all that was written by the inspired writers. They were conscious of the strict commands in Deuteronomy 4.2, that God’s people should not add to His Word or take anything away from it. Modern versions quite often commit both of these errors, and the reader loses as a result.

For instance, in John 1.17 John wrote, “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ”. The Authorised Version puts this in simple English, with nothing added and nothing taken away.

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The Holy Bible is the Word of a Holy God, and a translation should be in language appropriate to the Divine Author. The Bible was written by holy men of God who “spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 1.21), so a translation should use language and style appropriate to the inspired writers. The Bible speaks of many important and solemn matters such as eternal life, everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, sin and salvation, lost sinners and their Divine Saviour, the Eternal Son of the Eternal God. A translation should therefore be in language and style appropriate to the subject matter.

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Some of the old manuscripts favoured by modern scholars leave out or alter some of the most important passages which declare that our Redeemer is equal and co-eternal with God, and that He is Himself “God manifest in the flesh”. This great testimony in 1 Timothy 3.16 is weakened or lost in nearly every modern version. In many also the testimony of Mark 1.1 is lost, where in the Authorised Version we read “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God”. The modern versions tend to omit or question the statement that He is “the Son of God” (see also John 6.69 and 9.35). In Hebrews 1.8, God the Father addresses the Son as God: “Unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever”. In many modern versions this testimony is weakened or lost.

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No other version has taken its place in this respect. The greatest evangelists and expositors of the last 350 years have used this version for their ministries, and by means of it God has blessed millions of people with the light and truth of the Gospel of Christ.

There are hundreds of thousands of Christian people in Africa, India, the Far East and the West Indies, who use this version and want no other. During recent years, the Trinitarian Bible Society has sent hundreds of thousands of copies of the Authorised Version into Africa, where it is read by Africans whose language is English. It is the Bible they know and love, and from which the Gospel is preached to them.

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