Church History

The Earliest Baptist Critics of the KJV: Leonard Busher (1614) and Henry Jessey (Part 1)

Reprinted with permission from As I See It, which is available free by writing to the editor at

(An earlier form of this study was published in Baptist Biblical Heritage, volume 2, no. 1, Spring 1991, pp. 5-8. It appears here in revised and updated form)

Aesop had his fables, the brothers Grimm had their fairy tales, and certain self-styled “defenders of the faith” have their doctrine of an infallible English Bible translation.

To hear some fellows tell it, you might suppose that Baptists historically and almost universally have rejected the final authority of the Old Testament in Hebrew and the New Testament in Greek, and have instead clung to the belief in an infallible, inspired, and perfectly preserved English translation of the Bible as the final and absolute standard of their beliefs. The truth be told, this substitution of the King James Version for the Bible in the original languages as the standard of our doctrine and beliefs is a modern-day phenomenon, contrary to Baptist history, and one never embraced by leading theologians, pastors or missionaries in the forefront of Baptist orthodox at any time.

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Giovanni Diodati, Italian Bible Translator

Reprinted with permission from As I See It, which is available free by writing to the editor at

Giovanni Diodati was born in 1576 in Geneva, Switzerland (though some authorities trace his birth to Italy) and died there in 1649. His family were Protestant refugees from papal persecutions in Italy. Giovanni grew up speaking both Italian and French, and was trained in Latin, Greek and Hebrew. It is reported that he was so adept at Hebrew that Theodore de Beza hired him to teach Hebrew in the Academy in Geneva when Diodati was only 21 years old. He was both a noted preacher and an active academic for his entire life, and labored long and hard for the souls of men. His most notable achievement was the single-handed translation of the whole Bible into Italian, the first edition appearing in 1607 (and consulted by the KJV translators), the second, heavily annotated edition appearing in 1641. Diodati did for Italian speakers what Luther did for the Germans in the 16th century and Jerome did for Latin speakers a millennium and more earlier—he gave them the whole Bible in their own language. His translation remained unrivaled as the Bible of Protestant Italians for centuries, and is still in print in up-dated editions. Later, Diodati produced a complete revised French version (1644) which met with considerably less success, due to opposition from the pastors of Geneva, who favored the Geneva French Bible of 1588.

860 reads

How the Church Has Been Good for Women... and Other Ways It Is “Essential”

"...the feminist paradigm has quite successfully framed Christianity and the Church as misogynist, patriarchal, and harmful for women.... reframes pagan religions and cultures as being pro-woman, at least until Christianity gained prominence. This narrative, however, doesn’t match the historical realities."  - Breakpoint

407 reads

How Harry Emerson Fosdick’s ‘Open Membership’ Overtook the Northern Baptist Convention

"In the Northern Baptist Convention, battlelines were drawn and fought over three issues: the spread of higher criticism in seminaries, the growing hierarchy and bureaucracy of the Convention, and the relaxing of Baptist polity—particularly through the growing practice of 'open membership.'" - 9 Marks

270 reads

What Is “Fundamentalism?” A Personal and Professional Perspective

"A problem was that these 1920s through 1950s American fundamentalists could not get together under one umbrella. And they became increasingly narrow, dogmatic, anti-intellectual, separatistic and suspicious even of each other—as to degrees of influence by liberal thought." - Roger Olson

749 reads