The King James Bible - Purified Seven Times
By Duane Bryant | Purified 7 Times
This study gives the foundational basis for this website. Namely, that we have every one of the words of God available to us today in the English language. They can be found in one book and only one book - the old King James Bible, completed in 1611.
The word of God is pure, perfect, and preserved throughout all ages.
Psalm 12, verses 6 and 7 tell us "The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation forever." Let's break these verses down part by part.
1. The words of the LORD are pure words
Notice how the verse says that the words of the LORD are pure. Every one of His words are pure (Pro 30:5). The word pure can take on different meanings but in this sense it means free from defects; perfect; faultless. There is not a single word in scripture which is in error or that God did not intend to be there.
2. As silver tried in a furnace of earth
In ancient times, silver was purified by a process called cupellation. The metal alloy containing the silver was placed in an earthen vessel such as clay and heated in a very hot furnace until it melted. In this process, the impurities - called dross - floated to the top and were skimmed off the surface of the liquid. The process was repeated until the silver was completely purified. The refiner knew the silver was pure when it shined and he was able to see his reflection in it.
God's words are compared to silver that has been refined through this process. What stands out here is the phrase "tried in a furnace of earth." Indeed, since the beginning of creation, the word of God has continually been "tried" here on earth and has come under intense fire. As far back as Genesis 3:1 the serpent was already beginning to question God's very words. He put doubt in Eve's mind about what God said. As we shall see, he tirelessly persists in that effort today. Also, the scriptures have literally been burned by those who wished to suppress them. Jeremiah 36 gives the account of King Jehoiakim cutting inspired scripture with a penknife and throwing it into the fire (Jeremiah 36:23) because he didn't like what it said. But it wasn't lost because God simply had Jeremiah take another roll and speak like words for Baruch to transcribe (Jeremiah 36:27-28, 32). In the late Middle Ages, Roman Catholicism prohibited common folks' access to the scriptures and often burned copies of translations into the vernacular languages in order to keep the people under the heel of the pope. A notable example of this is that William Tyndale was burned at the stake in 1536 by King Henry VIII. Henry was still holding to Catholic tenets despite his excommunication. Tyndale's crime? Translating the scriptures into English. Many copies of his New Testament translation were also burned publicly in England. However, Tyndale's dying prayer to open the king's eyes was answered. It eventually culminated in the King James Bible 75 years later.
The old King James Bible (KJB) has been in existence for a little over 400 years and continues to be the standard bearer for the English scriptures. In that time, it has undergone many trials. Over 100 modern English translations, most of them since 1885, have flooded the market in an effort to supplant the KJB as the authority. The majority are based on underlying texts which are considerably different than those upon which the KJB is based. This can be seen by simply comparing them with the KJB. Space does not permit a detailed discussion of the problems with the modern versions. It is, however, worthy of note that these post-KJB translations come and go and rarely stay popular for long. The KJB endures.
One other typical way the KJB comes under fire is through the very ones that are supposed to be teaching or preaching the Bible. These Bible college/institute/university/seminary trained "teachers" almost exclusively point out "errors" in the KJB! Have you ever heard a preacher say something like "a better rendering would be..." or "this is an unfortunate translation of this passage" or "the Greek conveys the meaning of the word better"? They are almost always referring to the KJB. Aren't they really saying, "Yea, hath God said"? But that's what they have been trained to do. See Genesis 3:1 again to see who is really teaching them. How about the statements of faith from so many churches, ministries, and Bible societies regarding the scriptures? Most say something along the lines of God's inspired words being found only "in the original autographs" or "as originally written". What they are inferring is that God's pure, perfect and inspired words are not to be found in copies or translations and are not available today! This will be discussed in more detail shortly but, for now, it will suffice to note again that the KJB endures. It is the standard to which everything is compared.
3. Purified seven times
To be clear, God's words have not gone through a process of purification. They have always been pure. Rather, His words are likened to the purity of silver after it has gone through the purification process described above multiple times. But why is the number seven given? Numbers have significance in the Bible and this is no exception. As we shall see, there is a clear link between the number seven and the KJB.
In the Bible, the number seven is the number of completeness. A few examples are:
- God rested on the seventh day after completing creation (Gen 2:1-3)
- Solomon's temple was completed in seven years (1 Kings 6:37-38)
- Naaman washed seven times in the River Jordan and his cleansing was complete (2 Kings 5:10, 14)
- When the seventh angel pours out his vial of the wrath of God in the Tribulation, it will be done (complete) (Revelation 16:17)
As referenced above, Tyndale's work began a series of English Bible translations that led up to the KJB. Listed below are the individual major translations in the order of their appearance. There were others besides these but they either had minor impact or were based on Catholic-type texts. They are:
King James Bible
Note that the KJB was the seventh major early English translation. King James I of England authorized its translation in 1604 and it was completed in 1611 - a total of seven years. To repeat, the KJB is the seventh major English translation and it was completed in seven years. It bears the number of completeness! That is why it has endured for four centuries and stood against all the attacks upon it. It shines as pure silver and neither the seminary-educated Bible critic has been able to eradicate it nor has any of the several latest and greatest "updated" versions been ever able to replace it as the standard.
4. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation forever
God promises to keep every one of His words throughout all time (Psalms 119:160; Matt 24:35; 1 Peter 1:25). Furthermore, His inspired words cannot be limited to "the originals". If this was the case, it would be impossible for us to refer to anything as "scripture" today since none of the originals exist. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 would be meaningless since it states that all scripture is given by inspiration of God. Indeed, there would be a number of problems within the pages of the Bible itself. For example, which of the first (Exodus 31:18) or second (Exodus 34:1) tables of stone that Moses received from God were the inspired originals? In Jeremiah 36, was the first roll the inspired original or the second? Could they both be inspired even though God added some things in the second (Jeremiah 36:32)? When Jesus stood up to read out of Isaiah in the synagogue at Nazareth (Luke 4:16-20), was He reading out of the actual original written by the hand of Isaiah over 700 years earlier? Was the Ethiopian eunuch reading out of that same original (Acts 8:27-30) in Gaza a few years later? The only tenable answer is that both Jesus and the eunuch had to be reading from copies. Jesus, described as the Word of God (John 1:1, 14; Revelation 19:11-13), made no attempt to correct or point out "errors" in the copy He had. Instead, He referred to it as scripture (Luke 4:21). All of God's pure, inspired words must have come down through copies in order for the word "scripture" to make sense.
Is it possible for all of God's words to be kept through translations into the various languages? Again, let us look at the Bible itself. The New Testament quotes the Old Testament in several places. The OT was written in Hebrew and some Aramaic while the NT was written in Greek. Quotations, of course, would have involved translation. If the NT writers were translating from OT copies they had read or heard, are those quoted portions not inspired and, thus, not scripture? After all, they did not have the "original autographs" and they were not writing in the "original" language. Hopefully, the fallacy in this line of reasoning is plain to see. Another example is Jesus speaking to Paul in the Hebrew tongue (the original - Acts 26:14-15) but Paul writing the revelations in Greek (the translation). As Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles, he had the gift to speak many languages (1 Corinthians 14:18) so that he could fulfill his calling to teach and preach the word of God to them. Had anything ever gotten "lost in the translation" through Paul, the Gentiles could have never had any hope of having God's words in their native language. The only other alternative would have been for each Gentile to learn Hebrew and to hear directly from Jesus Himself. Obviously, in order for God to fulfill His promise to keep and preserve all His pure inspired words forever, He must work through translations.
Today, we have all of the pure, perfect, preserved and inspired words of God in the English language. They can be found in the only in the old King James Bible. The KJB has been repeatedly "tried in a furnace of earth" in its four centuries of existence. It has stood against competition from a myriad of subsequent inferior English versions and against relentless attacks from its many detractors - primarily seminary-educated "Bible" scholars. Any other book subjected to such challenges and withering criticism would not be able to endure. The KJB, being the seventh major English translation and the product of seven years of translation work, bears the stamp of God's completed work. It has endured, is still the benchmark against which everything is measured, and has not been replaced as the standard.