The Accuracy of the Authorized Version After 400 Years -- By: Malcom H. Watts

Journal: Puritan Reformed Journal
Volume: PRJ 03:2 (Jul 2011)
Article: The Accuracy of the Authorized Version After 400 Years
Author: Malcom H. Watts


The Accuracy of the Authorized
Version After 400 Years

Malcom H. Watts

We are grateful that the Authorized Version is receiving so much attention in terms of books, articles, and conferences on its 400th anniversary this year. We do not believe the Authorized Version to be an inspired or perfect translation, only that it is the best available translation in the English language. There is therefore no need for us to answer every criticism of this version. However, some criticisms are totally ill-founded and unjustified, and we believe such do require a detailed response. In this article, my aim is modest as I simply wish to address a sampling of fifteen ill-founded criticisms.

1. Romans 5:11—Critics maintain that “atonement” is a mistranslation. The Greek word is katallagen. While it could have been rendered “reconciliation,” the Authorized Version rendering is not summarily to be rejected. W. G. T. Shedd comments: “This important word is rendered ‘atonement,’ in the English version. At the time when the version was made, atonement=at-one-ment, or reconciliation.”1 Furthermore, Shedd argues with reference to Athenaeus that the true meaning of the Greek word is “satisfaction,” and he concludes: “Through Christ, the believer ‘receives the atonement’: namely, that expiation for sin which settles the difference between God and man. The result is reconciliation and harmony between the two parties.”2

Moses Stuart of Andover confirms Shedd’s first point, writing, “The word means reconciliation; and such is the sense in

which our English translators here used the word atonement (quasi at-one-ment).”3

2. 2 Thessalonians 3:5—It is maintained that “patient waiting for Christ” is a misrendering of the original. The Greek literally means “the patience of Christ,” and could mean “the patience which Christ exercised” or, as in the Authorized Version, “the patient waiting for Christ.” C. F. Hogg and W. E. Vine acknowledge that the latter is a possible interpretation.4 Calvin endorses that interpretation, although he does concede the expression might be otherwise understood. He says, “I prefer to understand it as referring to the hope of ultimate redemption. For this is the only thing that sustains us in the warfare of the present life, that we wait for the Redeemer; and farther, this waiting requires fai...

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