The King James Only Debate (conclusion)

(Read part 1part 2part 3part 4part 5part 6, part 7) I must bring this review to a close. In the other parts of this review, I have covered the introductory material and chapters 1-4, 14, & 15. Hollner laments that some critics have not read his entire book through and “still leave it bad reviews” (p. 324). I can understand why. Anyone with any sense who read just one of the chapters that I have reviewed thus far would be justified in leaving a bad review. To be fair to the author, I have read the entire book through. And it is for that reason that I must say that The King James Only Debate is the worst book I have ever read when it comes to errors of fact, grammatical errors, layout, and formatting errors. Chapters 5-13 are not as bad as the rest of the book, so I will not comment on each of these chapters individually. They are, however, still written in the usual Hollner bombastic style that makes them painful to read. Anything of value in these chapters could be condensed by about 80 percent. I can’t resist, though, in pointing out this ridiculous statement from chapter 9: “If we received a love offering of twenty dollars for every so-called contradiction in the King James Bible that we cleared up, we could have a room full of twenty-dollar bills” (p. 276). I couldn’t help but think, who would write this guy about anything? The King James Only Debate is a disgrace and embarrassment to our cause. It is a horrible book that can only drive curious people away from the King James Bible. The author should immediately apologize for writing such a piece of garbage, take it off the market, destroy his inventory of the book, and go into hiding. The book is that bad. There is nothing in it that is “good” that cannot be found in other books in defense of the King James Bible.

The King James Only Debate (part 7)

(Read part 1part 2part 3part 4part 5, part 6). Part 7 will cover chapter 4, “Answering the Critics.” This is the last of just three chapters that have the same title as that listed in the table of contents. As Hollner states at the very beginning: “This chapter is specifically devoted to questions that were asked of us by a ministry called CAnswersTV” (p. 135). There are seventeen questions, each of which is followed by a “preacher response” and a “scholar response,” both written by Hollner. The preacher responses are usually much shorter than the scholar responses. I am not sure about Hollner’s preaching abilities, but he is certainly no scholar.  At the end of question and answers 6 and 11, there is a “golden nugget” by Hollner that can, of course, be ignored. After the seventeen questions and answers, Hollner answers eleven additional questions by an unidentified “scholar follower.” The way the questions are worded, I would not be surprised if Hollner wrote them himself.

Hollner is hopelessly confused about the meaning of the words “reprints” and “revisions” (pgs. 137, 139). He is likewise confused about manuscripts and texts and editions (p. 142). Twice in this chapter, Hollner gives the wrong number of words in the Bible (pgs. 140, 169). He implies, wrongly, that the Apocrypha was removed from King James Bibles published after 1611 (p. 141). The King James translators did not have available “thousands of other resources” (p. 142). The word “nonsense” is misspelled “nonsence” (p. 143). It is bad enough that Hollner underlines so many words, but it is inexcusable that his underlines continue past the words that are underlined (p. 144). Modern versions don’t “change every few years by order of the Vatican” (p. 147). What Hollner says about the King James Version and copyright should be corrected by what I say in my book King James, His Bible, and Its Translators (pgs. 160-161). Throughout this chapter, Hollner can’t decide on the format to use to refer to numbered centuries, even on the same page (p. 155): “10th Century” and “7th century.” The NAS should be the NASB (p. 152). Hollner’s needless capitalization of so many words in this chapter is very annoying, as is his mixed use of straight and curly quotation marks. Stay tuned for the eighth installment.

Cannabis and the Christian

My review of Cannabis and the Christian: What the Bible Says about Marijuana (B&H Publishing, 2021), by Todd Miles, was recently published at I have reviewed a few other books on the subject of marijuana, but not one from a Christian perspective.

The King James Only Debate (part 6)

(Read part 1part 2part 3part 4, part 5). Part 6 will cover chapter 3, “Attacks on Doctrine.” This is one of only three chapters that has the same title as that listed in the table of contents. Like chapter 2, this chapters deals with omissions in modern versions. The difference here is that chapter 3 covers the major omissions that involve doctrine. Covered are Mark 16:9-20 (the resurrection and ascension), Acts 8:37 (salvation by faith alone), 1 John 5:7 (the Trinity), Colossians 1:14 (the blood of Christ), and 1 Timothy 3:16 (the deity of Christ). Hollner is certainly correct in bringing up the serious nature of these omissions. However, they are treated in his usual bombastic and error-ridden style.

The list of allusions to Mark 16:9-20 from ancient Christian writers (pgs. 89-90) is taken without attribution from the website of the Trinitarian Bible Society (TBS). The quote attributed to Burgon (p. 91) not only has words omitted, it is not even from Burgon. It is from F. H. A. Scrivener’s A Full Collation of the Codex Sinaiticus with the Received Text of the New Testament (p. xv). Hollner here repeats the error of the TBS, but at least the TBS gave a book title and page number, even if they were wrong. Hollner questions the antiquity of Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus, but then says that Codex A and Codex C are “fifty years later” (p. 91). Although it is true of Sinaiticus that the leaf containing the end of Mark and the beginning of Luke is a cancel sheet, it has never been established that it was rewritten to exclude the ending of Mark (p. 92). Clearly, Hollner has never read Milne and Skeat’s Scribes and Correctors of the Codex Sinaiticus (British Museum, 1938). But perhaps Hollner can be forgiven for this statement, since he just copied it and many other sentences in this chapter from the TBS, again, without attribution. Hollner is quite the plagiarist.

On Acts 8:37, the fact that the verse “is found in the Greek texts of Stephanus 1550, Beza, and Elzevir” should not be included as “evidence in favor of including this verse” (p. 97). Hollner refers to the work of David Daniels on Sinaiticus, but never mentions the title, and adds an apostrophe to the end of Daniels last name (p. 100). The statement that Codex Vaticanus “is missing many complete books of the Bible” (p. 100) is misleading. The books are not missing because scribes thought they were spurious. They are simply missing. Hollner’s attempt at humor (p. 100) falls flat, like the book itself. It is incorrect that “many modern versions are even now fraudulently including the Apocryphal writings within their texts” (p. 100). No wonder Hollner never mentioned any. And he never explains how he knows that the King James translators only “reluctantly” included the Apocrypha (p. 101).

On 1 John 5:7, Hollner chastises Bruce Metzger for omitting mention of Codex 629 in his textual commentary (p. 105-106). True, it is not mentioned in his second edition (1994), but it is mentioned in the first edition (1971) and in his book The Text of the New Testament. Hollner actually gives the source of a quotation (p. 105), although he omits the author’s name (Roland Bainton) and botches the publisher’s name (Charles Scribner’s Sons, not “& Son”). But it turns out that the quotation from Erasmus is not a quotation at all, just Hollner’s rough approximation of what Erasmus said. His reference to Rummel (p. 110) contains no book title or page number. In the course of two sentences, Hollner refers to Stephanus as Robert Estienne, Stephanus, and Stephens, without an explanation as to the difference in names (p. 110). I seriously doubt that Hollner could “author a 1000-page book on I John 5:7 alone” (p. 111). Hollner’s reasoning is flawed when he states that there are only “13 Greek witnesses prior to the 10th Century that leave the verse out” (p. 113) but never tells his readers that there are none that contain it. There are not “hundreds of Church father witnesses” to 1 John 5:7 (p. 116). Hollner’s remarks on Erasmus and 1 John 5:7 should be corrected by the information I have in my forthcoming chapter 5 of The Text of the King James Bible. It would be nice if Hollner knew how to capitalize book titles (pgs. 117, 123). And speaking of titles, the “N.A.S.” (p. 119) should be the “NASB.” Hollner’s classification of seven languages to match Psalm 12:6-7 is artificial (p. 120). Charles Forster’s “A new plea for the three heavenly witnesses” (p. 123) is actually titled A New Plea for the Authenticity of the Text of the Three Heavenly Witnesses. Hollner’s quote from this work contains an addition that he mentions, but also one that he does not (p. 123). And regarding the quote, he misspells “Wordsworth” as “Wordsworts.”

There is not much to say about Hollner’s treatment of Colossians 1:14 and 1 Timothy 3:16. All his images of Greek manuscripts will mean nothing to the average reader, of which I hope there are few. In closing, I would like to say one more thing that applies to the whole chapter: I wish Hollner knew how to use a comma. Stay tuned for the seventh installment.

What the Bible Doesn’t Say about Infant Baptism

My review of Scot McKnight’s book It Takes a Church to Baptize: What the Bible Says about Infant Baptism (Brazos Press, 2018) was recently published in the Ancient Baptist Journal. The title of the book ought to be What the Bible Doesn’t Say about Infant Baptism. This is definitely McKnight’s worst book.

The King James Only Debate (part 5)

(Read part 1part 2part 3, part 4). Part 5 will cover chapter 2, “The Deleted and Missing Words of God.” In the table of contents this is called “Missing Verses and Words.” Bible-believers have been pointing out the missing verses, clauses, phrases, and words from the New Testament of modern versions since the Revised Version came out in 1881. In my book King James, His Bible, and Its Translators (2nd ed.), in chapter 26, “The King James Version and Modern Versions,” there is an extensive list of the verses, clauses, phrases, and words omitted in the New Testament of modern versions. Hollner has nothing new to add here. And if he is going to discuss omissions in the Bible, then he should at least get the total number of words in the King James Bible correct. His figure of 783,820 words is not even close to the true number of 789,630 (p. 69).

I am glad to know that the author “will participate in exploring the Greek a few times in this book to let the audience know that we do have the necessary skills to be able to alert the Church” (p. 55). One would think, then, that Hollner would refer throughout to the latest edition (the 28th) of the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament, published in 2012, instead of the 27th edition, published in 1993. It is not correct to say that “with every new Nestle’s Greek edition that comes out, changes are being made” (p. 70). The text in the 26th and 27th editions is the same.

Hollner has a very simplistic view of textual criticism: if a Greek word or phrase appears in the majority of manuscripts, then it is the correct word or phrase. He changes his tune, however, when he discusses 1 John 5:7 in chapter 3.

The picture of the author next to the picture of Dean Burgon under the heading of “The Bible Believers Team of Divine Inspiration and Holy Preservation” is laughable (p. 54). Not only would Dean Burgon never join the Dean Burgon Society, he would never make the statements about the King James Bible that Hollner does.

Mistakes abound. I note the following. The combination “very-best” (p. 52) is not a word, and neither is it necessary to add “very” to “best,” for if something is the best, then adding “very” to it adds nothing. Not sure why Hollner refers to the New King James Version as “so-called” (pgs. 66 & 76) since that is its actual name. But at least he gets the name right. It is incorrect to refer to the NASB as the NAS (pgs. 70 & 82). And to refer to “the N.I.V. and the N.A.S. versions” (p. 51) is incorrect, and not just because the periods are unnecessary (Hollner uses NIV on pgs. 68 & 70). He should have said “The NIV and the NASB” or “The New International and the New American Standard versions.” Similarly, he can’t decide whether to use “T.R.” (pgs. 63 & 72) or “TR” (pgs. 55 & 56). Like he does in the rest of the book, Hollner capitalizes words that do not need to be capitalized. But then he carelessly fails to capitalize the word “latin” (p. 65). It is worse than careless to omit spaces between words (pgs. 55 & 65). The percent symbol (pgs. 56, 57, & 84) should be spelled out. He refers to his first chapter, one of the few that actually has the same title as that listed in the table of contents, as “Advantage KJV” instead of “The King James Advantage” (p. 55). It is inexcusable to cite a source as “Ruckman; Riplinger” (p. 69) with no book titles or page numbers. Stay tuned for the sixth installment.

The King James Only Debate (part 4)

(Read part 1part 2, part 3). Part 4 will cover chapter 1, “The King James Advantage.” This is one of only three chapters that has the same title as that listed in the table of contents. If “the KJV debate has already been won” and “we have already won the war” (p. 30), then why do new modern versions keep getting published and why are more and more Independent Baptists downplaying or ditching the KJV? Hollner guarantees us in this chapter that “nothing else but the truth is going to be presented in this book!” (p. 31). If this is the case, then everyone who bought a copy of the book should request a refund.

Regarding the King James translators, Hollner remarks: “many of them godly men” (p. 38). Just many of them? This implies that most of them were not godly men. He refers to the 27th edition of the Nestle-Aland text as if it were the last edition (p. 37), even though the 28th edition was published in 2012. He begins a sentence in the third person and then wrongly changes to the second person (p. 38). In his quote from Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar, Hollner not only doesn’t give the page number (440), but fails to italicize two words and omits what Gesenius has in parentheses (p. 40). He completely butchers his quote from Dean John Burgon (p. 49), and doesn’t bother to cite the source (The Revision Revised, p. 16). His statement without explanation that “the King James Bible is a Holy Ghost inspired translation!” (p. 44) is troubling. The verse quoted at the bottom of page 34 that begins a new section should be at the top of the next page.

In addition to the misuse of quotation marks, capitalization, and apostrophes; the inconsistency in the use of Lord/LORD; the insertion of extraneous words: “KJV” (p. 33), “quote” (p. 34); and the annoying excessive use of underlining and all caps, I note the following: “mis-lead” for “mislead” (p. 30), “jesus” for “Jesus” (p. 32), “re-taught” for “retaught” (p. 32), “dis-respect” for “disrespect” (p. 33), “differs” for “differ” (p. 39), and “NAS” for “NASB” (pp. 39, 45). Stay tuned for the fifth installment, if I am able to make it through chapter 2 without having a brain aneurysm.

The King James Only Debate (part 3)

(Read part 1, part 2). Part 3 will cover chapter 15, “The Oxford vs. Cambridge Fallacy.” In the table of contents this is just called “Oxford/Cambridge Fallacy.” Hollner throughout confounds the Cambridge/Oxford differences issue with the King James editions issue. He also continually misuses the word “reprint.” He wrongly applies it to King James Bibles published from 1611-1769. He wrongly claims (in a poorly written sentence) that the Oxford/Cambridge issue “is basically only involving 12 verses of Scripture” (p. 434). Likewise, if the word “spirit” has a lower case s in a King James Bible and then an upper case S in another King James Bible, the second Bible cannot be called a “reprint” of the first (p. 434). He wrongly says that “there has been a few reprints due to printing press errors in spelling, archaic word updates, individual letters, or even one word within a verse” (p. 439). Every other use of the word “reprint” in this chapter is wrong.

The Collins King James Bible that the author bought in 1984 is not “a Cambridge edition according to the several insignificant differences” (p. 434). It was and will always be a Collins edition. Hollner misuses and truncates a quote from an 1851 (not 1852) report to the Board of Managers of the American Bible Society (see p. 163 in my book King James, His Bible, and Its Translators). He terms the difference in reading of ye/he in Jeremiah 34:16 in some King James Bibles as an “insignificant textual variation” that is “too small or unimportant to be worth consideration” and “meaningless and not worthy of further discussion” (p. 436). Really? I thought “every word of God is pure” (Pro. 30:5). The list that is supposed to be on page 184 is on page 183 (pgs. 439, 440). It is not true that modern revisions of the Bible “all follow the 1881 corrupted Greek text of Westcott/Hort” (p. 440). And, no surprise, commas and quotation marks are misused in several places. Stay tuned for the fourth installment.

The King James Only Debate (part 2)

(Read part 1). Part 2 will cover chapter 14, “The Septuagint Fallacy.” This is the title in the table of contents. As I pointed out in part 1, only three chapters have the same title as that listed in the table of contents. The title of chapter 14 is “The Real History of the Septuagint LXX: Do You Really Know What the LXX Septuagint Is?” Most recognized scholars believe that the Septuagint or LXX is the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament that was quoted by Christ and the Apostles. The evidence for this is scant. There are some Greek fragments of the Pentateuch that have been dated, supposedly, to the first and second centuries B.C. And there are also some Greek fragments of the Minor Prophets that have been dated, supposedly, to the first century B.C. Relatively complete manuscripts of the LXX are Codex Vaticanus and Codex Alexandrinus. Incomplete manuscripts of the LXX are Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus and Codex Sinaiticus.

Hollner’s overall thesis of this chapter that the LXX is a fraud is sound. However, much of what is found in the chapter is not. The word “Apocrypha” is only capitalized once. Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus is not mentioned. Wikipedia is cited as a source.The Apocrypha is referred to as “it” and “them” in the same sentence, and is elsewhere called a “reading.” The Apocrypha was not “later removed in all KJV reprints.” That some modern scholars accept the Apocrypha as Scripture does not make it true that it “is nowhere accepted as Scripture except by modern scholarship and the Roman Catholic Church.” And these are just the errors in the first paragraph on page 418.

The errors in the rest of the chapter are legion. Words are capitalized that should not be, and words that should be capitalized are not. Book titles are not put in italics. Words are unnecessarily put in italics. Parentheses are not used where they should be. En dashes are used for Em dashes. Apostrophes are used incorrectly. The quote by the unidentified Scott Jones on page 425 has no close quote mark so there is no way to determine where it ends. Hollner misinterprets his quote from Josephus (p. 433).

The term “Masoretes” and “Masoretic Text” should never be applied to anything before the time of Christ. No one claims that “the 7th-10th century Masoretes somehow created a new ‘Masoretic’ text” (p. 419). The first Hebrew Bible (OT) to be printed was in 1488 at Soncino, Italy, not in 1477. It is an overstatement to say that “there is more evidence for a ‘Tooth Fairy’ than there is for a B.C. Greek Septuagint” (p. 420). Hollner assumes his readers will know that “Brenton” is a reference to the edition of the LXX by Sir Lancelot C. L. Brenton. This is called both “Vaticanus/Sinaiticus” and “Vaticanus” (p. 424). Gerhard Kittel (1888-1948), the German Lutheran theologian and lexicographer at the University of Tübingen and editor of the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament did not produce “a corrupted Hebrew text” (p. 421). It was his father, Rudolf Kittel (1853-1929), an Old Testament scholar and professor at Breslau and Leipzig, who edited a critical edition of the the Hebrew Bible titled Biblia Hebraica. Hollner says that the Biblia Hebraica 1937 edition had 30,000 changes from “the true Masoretic text,” but then goes on to say that its footnotes “suggest from 20,000 to 30,000 changes throughout the whole Old Testament” (p. 421). The Leningrad Codex is not “corrupt,” and is an edition of the Masoretic Text (p. 421). Although Hollner claims that “many words are missing” (p. 421), he doesn’t give any examples. The Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (Hollner’s “Stuttgart edition” of 1966-1967) was issued in fascicles from 1968 to 1976, and published in one volume in 1977. Stay tuned for the third installment.

The King James Only Debate (part 1)

As I have said from the beginning of The Preacher’s Library, this is not a book review blog. I have written scores of book reviews, and hope to eventually have them all posted at The Preacher’s Library here. Some of them can be found at my Vance Publications website. I am currently reading a review copy of The King James Only Debate: Can You Trust the Modern Scholars? that the author, Michael Hollner, kindly sent me upon my request. Because of the subject matter, and because of my expertise in the area, I think it would be a good idea to review this book at The Preacher’s Library. But because I am reading so many other things right now, I have decided to publish my review in parts instead of waiting until I finish the book, since I have no idea when that will be.

In this first installment, I want to describe the book and give my overall first impressions. I appreciate those who write in defense of the Authorized Version, and especially those, like Michael Hollner, who are not Independent Baptists. However, I don’t always appreciate everything they write. I’m afraid that such is the case with The King James Only Debate. The title of the book is based on that of two other books: The King James Only Controversy: Can You Trust the Modern Translations? (1995; updated and expanded, 2009), by James R. White; and The Scholarship Only Controversy: Can You Trust the Professional Liars? (1996), by Peter S. Ruckman. Throughout the book, Hollner denigrates Dr. White and praises Dr. Ruckman (but he calls him “Pete” on p. 26).

The King James Only Debate is the most poorly put together book I have ever seen. There is no title page. When you open the book, the title of the book (without the subtitle) appears at the top of the first page followed by a 2×5 inch image of a crown over the text “The King James Version 400th Anniversary” (even though the anniversary was in 2011) over an open Bible followed by what seems like a preface on pages 1-11. But it is not actually a preface because the book’s preface actually runs from pages 13 to 28 (but it is referred to as an “introduction” on p. 22). On page 12 appears the copyright information that would normally be on the verso of the title page. The copyright date is 2018, but there are several places in the book which say that the book includes updates made in October of 2020. However, on page 438, “the 2021 update” is mentioned; on page 439, the value of money in 2019 dollars is given; on pages 440 and 451, the year 2021 is mentioned; and on page 441, the year 2018 is mentioned. The table of contents doesn’t show up until page 29. Not only is there no title page, there are also no footnotes, endnotes, bibliography, index, or page headers. This means that you never know which chapter you are in. At least there are page numbers at the bottom of each page. The most annoying thing about the book is that there is barely a quarter of an inch of space at the top of the pages above the first line of text. There are numerous typos in the book as well as formatting issues like the excessive use of words in all caps and the use of both straight and curly quotation marks, even on the same page. Although the book contains 451 pages, instead of the paragraphs being indented, there is a line space after each paragraph. This makes the book appear larger than it is. Many of the quotes in the book are not documented, or are taken from secondary sources.

The King James Only Debate contains sixteen chapters: 1. The King James Advantage. 2. Missing Verses and Words. 3. Attacks on Doctrine. 4. Answering the Critics. 5. Inspiration/Preservation. 6. The “Originals Only” Heresy. 7. New Versions & Prophecy. 8. New Versions & Poetry. 9. Words/Evidences/Questions. 10. The Two Big Lies. 11. The Manuscript Vault. 12. Foreign Translations. 13. The Dog and Pony Shows. 14. The Septuagint Fallacy. 15. Oxford/Cambridge Fallacy. 16. A Fair Warning. However, only three of these chapters (1, 3, 4) actually have the same title as that listed in the table of contents.

The publisher of the book is the author and his ministry, Write the Vision Ministry, in Winter Springs, Florida. The author claims to be “an independent thinker and not a follower of any man or of any denomination” (p. 6). He is “not a Baptist, church of God, Assembly of God, or of any other denomination” (p. 6). He is “not a follower of Ruckman, Gipp, Riddle, Waite, Riplinger, or of any organization” (p. 6). He calls himself “a non-denominational Christian” who has “come out of several Pentecostal denominations” (p. 6). He wrongly states that the “KJV debate” “all started with Gail Riplinger’s book in 1993 entitled the ‘New Age Bible Versions'” (p. 25). His incorrect use of the word “entitled” instead of “titled” and his putting a book title in quotes instead of italics are just two examples of just how sloppy this book is. Hollner admits that he is “not a professional writer” (p. 9). However, he thinks very highly of his book: “This book is unique due to modern technology, and in showing photographic evidence of the ancient manuscripts” (p. 25). “The photo evidence gives our book the unique advantage above all others, for as of today in October 2020 (and the original print in 2018), we have not found a more researched and exhaustive product on the market in showing so many ancient manuscripts” (p. 28). The author hopes that his book “will also receive proper reviews from honest hearted Bible believers” (p. 26). This is my intention. Stay tuned for the second installment.