“The NIV resolution overwhelmingly approved by messengers ‘expressed profound disappointment’ with publication of the new translation and ‘respectfully request[ed ] that LifeWay’ not sell the version in its stores.”
The other day I heard a pastor reading from the latter part of Ephesians 3 in the King James Version, and I was struck with the quaintness of a phrase found at the end of verse 21: “Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus, throughout all ages, world without end” (emphasis added). Quaint and, frankly, obscure in meaning. Certainly not contemporary English. I decided to trace the origin of this peculiar English phrasing to satisfy my own curiosity.
I could not with Strong’s concordance locate this phrase anywhere else in the KJV, though I did discover through other sources that this is the translation found at Ephesians 3:21 in three English versions preceding the KJV, namely the Great Bible (1540 edition; also known as “Cranmer’s Bible,” though Miles Coverdale was the chief laborer in this revision of Matthew’s Bible), the Bishops’ Bible of 1568 (1602 edition) and the Roman Catholic Rheims NT of 1582, so the KJV’s rendering is neither unprecedented nor unparalleled.
Other early English versions read as follows (wording in question in italics):
Phoenix Seminary professor Paul Wegner identified nearly 100 English versions by 1950. He estimates there are twice as many now, although only a handful controls a dominant share of the market.
“Things that are different are not the same.” So says the title of Mickey Carter’s book advocating the exclusive use of the King James Bible. This sentiment is a fair summary of the mindset of most King James only (KJO) advocates. The differences between Bible versions demand a judgment. Which Bible is right?
Troubled by differing Bible versions, many sincere Christians seek for answers. One side affirms that no doctrine is affected by the relatively minor differences between Bible versions. The message is the same, but finer points and particular details may be slightly different. A typical KJO position jumps in and says this can’t be right. Verbal inspiration is useless without the preservation of those very words of God. In fact, we need to know each and every word, in order to live (Matt. 4:4). All differences, even word order and spelling differences, matter (Matt. 5:18). Differing versions cannot both claim to be translations of the perfect, inspired Word of God.
On the face of it, the KJO argument makes sense. When we’re speaking about the Bible, shouldn’t every little difference matter? Some respond with manuscript evidence that calls into question the choice of the King James Bible as a perfect standard. Others have shown that the various proof texts for word perfect preservation don’t actually promise a single, identifiable, word-perfect copy of the Bible. And prior to 1611, where was such a copy to be found, anyway?