Early KJV Users Did Not Believe It Was an Inspired Translation.


III. Let it be observed, that not the matter of the Scriptures only, but the very words in which they are written, are of God. … says David, one of the writers of the Old Testament, The Spirit of the Lord spake by me, and his word was in my tongue, 2 Sam. xxiii. 2. And the apostle Paul speaks of himself, and other inspired apostles of the New Testament, Which things, says he, we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth, 1 Cor. ii. 13; and it is the writing, or the word of God as written, that is, by inspiration of God, 2 Tim. iii. 16. But then,

John Gill

IV. This is to be understood of the Scriptures, as in the original languages in which they were written, and not of translations, unless it could be thought, that the translators of the Bible into the several languages of the nations into which it has been translated, were under the divine inspiration also in translating, and were directed of God to the use of words they have rendered the original by; but this is not reasonable to suppose. The books of the Old Testament were written chiefly in the Hebrew language, unless in some few passages of Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezra, and Esther, in the Chaldee language, and the New Testament in Greek; in which languages they can only be reckoned canonical and authentic; for this is like the charters and diplomas of princes, the wills or testaments of men, or any deeds made by them; only the original exemplar is authentic, and not translations, and transcriptions, and copies of them, though ever so perfect; and to the Bible, in its original languages, is every translation to be brought, and by it to be examined, tried and judged, and to be corrected and amended, and if this was not the case, we should have no certain and infallible rule to go by…

[John Gill (1697-1771), A Complete Body of Doctrinal and Practical Divinity: or A System of Evangelical Truths Deduced from the Sacred Scriptures, Vol. 1, (London: Thomas Tegg, 1849), 17-18.]


Hebrew Vowels


For purposes of memorization, it is highly recommended that students commit the information about each vowel (symbol, vowel name, vowel class, pronunciation, and transliteration) to handwritten flash cards.

Changeable Long Vowels

(with letter)






Pathach a as in father




Tsere e as in they




Holem o as in role


Continue reading

Present Active Indicative

MONDAYThe verbs of Koine  Greek (New Testament Greek) express the following grammatical features:

• tense (e.g., past, present, future),
• voice (e.g., active, passive),
• mood (e.g., indicative, imperative),
• person (e.g., 1st person [“I/we”], 2nd person [“you”]), and
• number (singular or plural),

When one lists these features one is said to be “parsing” the verb. For example, when parsing the verb λύω, one would say, “present, active, indicative, 1st person, singular.” Continue reading

Why the KJV-Only Position is a Form of Idolatry


John Owen (1616-1683)

John Owen

Translations contain the word of God, and are the word of God, perfectly or imperfectly, according as they express the words, sense, and meaning of those originals. To advance any, all translations concurring, into an equality with the originals, so to set them by it, as to set them up with it, on even terms, much more to propose and use them as means of castigating, amending, altering anything in them, gathering various lections by them, is to set up an altar of our own, by the altar of God, and to make equal the wisdom, care, skill, and diligence of men, with the wisdom, care, and providence of God himself.

[John Owen (1616-1683), The Works of John Owen, Thomas Russell, ed., Vol. 4 (London: Richard Baynes, 1826), 461.]

Manners for Renaissance Men


So there be some kind of men that in coughing and sneezing make such noise that they make a man deaf to hear them; some others use in like things so little discretion that they spit in men’s faces that stand about them. Besides these there be some that in yawning bray and cry like asses. And yet such, with open mouth, will ever say and do what they list, and make such noise, or rather such roaring, as the dumb man does, when he strives with himself to speak. All these ill-favored fashions, a man must leave, as loathsome to the ear and the eye….


And when you have blown your nose, use not to open your handkerchief, to glare upon your snot, as if you had pearls and rubies fallen from your brains, for these be slovenly parts, enough to cause men, not so much not to love us, as if they did love us, to unlove us again….

When a man talks with one, it is no good manner to come near, that he must needs breathe in his face; for there be many that cannot abide to feel the air of another man’s breath, albeit there come no ill savour from him. These and like fashions be very unseemly, and would be eschewed, because their senses with whom we acquaint ourselves, cannot brook nor bear them.

[Giovanni della Casa (1503-1556), “The Perfect Gentleman” (from Il Galateo [The Etiquette]a treatise on manners, c. 1555; Robert Peterson, trans., 1576), in James Bruce Ross and Mary Martin McLaughlin, eds., The Portable Renaissance Reader,rev. ed., (New York, NY, USA: Penguin Books, 1977), 342.]

Historians & the Word-Concept Fallacy


History-And-Fallacies-Trueman.jpgThere is another version of this fallacy, however, which denies that somebody can have a particular concept if they lack a particular word or phrase. A good example can be found in relation to the fourth century discussions of Trinitarian doctrine. Popular author Dan Brown, in his inexplicably popular The Da Vinci Code, makes it sound as if the deity of Christ was an invention of the church in the fourth century and that the vote at Nicea was a close call. In fact, we know that the vote was overwhelmingly in favor of Christ’s divinity (one might debate as to how representative the gathering was, or to what extent the emperor’s menacing presence may have influenced the delegates, but one cannot debate the margin of victory). Thus, Brown is guilty of basic factual error; but he is also guilty of confusing the existence and acceptance of a specific creedal statement with the existence and acceptance of a concept. For instance, much work has been done by scholars such as Richard Bauckham on the evidence for the fact that the New Testament writers themselves believed that God was one, that Jesus was God, and that there was a distinction between Father and Son. That this concept was not formulated using the technical Greek vocabulary which was developed and refined during the fourth century in order to give it clear expression is undeniable; but that does not allow one to conclude that the basic concepts which the Nicene Creed was to articulate were not present prior to the coming of the creedal terminology.

[Carl R.Trueman, Histories and Fallacies: Problems Faced in the Writing of History, (Wheaton, IL, USA: Crossway, 2010), 156.]

Just Because You Don’t Make Sense, That Doesn’t Mean that Nothing Makes Sense.


Western Philosophy

Derrida’s philosophical methodology is innovative. Rather than attempting to defend his views using clear analytic arguments, he tries to “deconstruct” language. He uses words in novel ways, makes puns, breaks up words in unusual places, exploits ambiguities and traces inventive etymologies that reveal connections between words that were not obvious before. This method is known as deconstruction because it is designed to undermine presuppositions about meaning and disrupt attempts to achieve clarity through language. Some readers find his deliberate obscurity and language play frustrating. His style is closer, at times, to avant-garde poetry than to traditional philosophy. But Derrida’s work poses a challenge to widespread assumptions that is hard to ignore.

[Jesse Prinz, “Language deconstruction: Jacques Derrida,” in David Papineau, ed., Western Philosophy, (New York, NY, USA: Metro Books, 2012), 56.]

And yet, something tells me that one day people will be ignoring Derrida’s work in droves.


Jacques Derrida,
as in “Dare I Duh”

Blaming Beza


For much of the 20th century—especially its second half—it has been fashionable in theological circles to assume that the school of thought commonly known as Calvinism has represented, to one extent or another, in one way or another, a departure from the thinking of its namesake, John Calvin (1509-1564), rather than a faithful transmission of it. The basic argument has assumed many forms, but they all essentially amount to attempts to disassociate the great Reformer from one or more undesired theological conclusions.

For the most part, this has been a topic for specialists: historical theologians, for the most part. But over the decades this novel assumption has trickled down through the drainpipes of academia and into the fertile imaginations of a wide variety of untrained theological ax grinders who have used it as a perennial chopping block. Take for example the gleeful comment of Luis Palau featured on the back of the 1997 Paternoster reprint of R.T. Kendall’s Calvin and English Calvinism to 1649: “It opened my eyes to who Calvin really was. I learnt Calvin was not a Calvinist!” Continue reading

No Ordinary People

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963)The date of November 22, 1963—50 years ago tomorrow—is forever etched on the American consciousness as the date of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. I imagine that most Americans remained in a state of shock beginning shortly after 12:30 p.m. (CT) that Friday, when Walter Cronkite broke the story, and into the long weekend which culminated in the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald by Jack Ruby on live television Sunday morning. I myself was only four years old at the time, and have no direct recollection of those days, but I felt their reverberations throughout the rest of the ’60s. It was such a momentous event, coming as it did at the height of Cold War and arousing suspicions that still persist, that I wouldn’t be surprised if it was some time before most Americans realized that President Kennedy was not the only important 20th century figure to die on the 22nd of that month.

Continue reading

The Curse of Info-Pedantry

I have sat in many-a-pew down through the years listening to an untold number of preachers, and on more than one occasion I have heard bold declarations that made me wonder what possible value they had for my Christian life, not to mention what possible connection they had to the rest of the message. Sometimes these homiletical gaffes can be chalked up to inexperience; other times…well, not so much. Continue reading

Crossing the Elenctic

WEDNESDAYFor quite some time now I have desired to read my way through two multi-volume Reformed systematic theologies: The Institutes of Elenctic Theology, by Francis Turretin (James T. Dennison, Jr., editor, George Musgrave Giger, translator, 3 volumes, [Phillipsburg, NJ, USA: P&R Publishing, 1992-1997]), and Reformed Dogmatics, by Herman Bavinck (John Bolt, editor, John Vriend, translator, [Grand Rapids, MI, USA: Baker Academic, 2003-2008]). Both are widely-acknowledged theological masterpieces. Continue reading

George Eliot


Mary Ann Evans (1819-1880), a.k.a. George Eliot, at 30, by Swiss artist Alexandre Louis François d’Albert Durade

SATURDAYFor this series of posts I will use the word “literature” in the most general possible sense, as opposed to the limited category of fiction and poetry. Essentially this means that what I write about on Saturdays will be anything I read that does not fall under one of my other six standard categories (Bible, Greek, Hebrew, Theology, Philosophy, and History). My “Miscellany” category is reserved for random things I write about on an irregular basis.  Continue reading

American Gospel, by Jon Meacham


American Gospel, by Jon Meacham

This is far from the first book to explore the history and mythology behind the relationship of Christianity to American culture and government. To apply a meteorological metaphor: the topic acts like a stationary front hovering just off our coast, but occasionally coming ashore visiting political gusts, cultural storms, and rare incidents of violent behavior upon our land. So much has been written that one hardly knows where to begin.  Continue reading

Πολιτεία του Πλάτωνα [Plato’s Republic]

THURSDAYΠολιτείαWith this post I am plunging into Plato’s (c. 424-c. 347 B.C.) classic, The Republic (c. 380 B.C.), the Greek name of which is Πολιτεία (Politeia), a word which generally refers to those things pertaining to citizenship or government, but in Plato focuses more on “civil polity, the condition or constitution of a state,” or “a form of government” (from the Liddel-Scott-Jones [LSJ] intermediate lexicon, H.G. Liddell, R. Scott, H.S. Jones and R. McKenzie, eds., An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon, [Oxford, England, UK: At The Clarendon Press, 2001], 654). In Greek, Plato’s title is understood simply as “The State.” Continue reading