Chuck Surrett has recently released a short white paper of sorts, arguing in some detail but in admirable brevity that the Bible teaches perfect preservation of the Hebrew and Greek texts of Scripture. It teaches, he says, “the certainty of the words” (Prov 22:20–21). I have been asked by nearby pastor Jonathan Beazley to evaluate Surrett’s arguments. I beg the reader’s indulgence in starting with a somewhat lengthy introduction; these matters are complicated, and I need a little time and space. Let’s begin.
There are two major issues involved in debates over English Bibles: 1) text and 2) translation.
The debate divides into many smaller issues, but it is at its heart—and, actually, a lot like a heart—irreducibly binary. Defenders of exclusive use of the King James Version (by English speakers) such as Charles “Chuck” Surrett, longtime Academic Dean at Ambassador Baptist College, have to “win” debates on both 1) text and 2) translation if they hope to establish their KJV-Only viewpoint.
If someone like Surrett argues successfully that 1) the KJV is based on the best Hebrew and Greek texts, he must then argue that...