Reply to Chris Pinto on Tares Amongst the Wheat

By Cris Putnam
TaresIn reply to Chris Pinto:

I would like to thank Chris Pinto for his civility in engaging my questions and concerns. My difficulty with the alleged conspiracy is the lack of a discernible pay off for the conspirator. Pinto clarified that the purpose of the conspiracy was simply to undermine Sola Scriptura, the reformation doctrine that “scripture alone” as the standard for Christian faith and practice by way of calling biblical inerrancy into question and, as a result, to promote the ecumenical movement toward a one world religion. First he clarified that the film is centered on German scholar, Constantine von Tischendorf and his discovery of Codex Sinaiticus and then he connects this to Rome’s agenda to undermine inerrancy. Pinto writes:

Second, the purpose of Rome (as we understand it) was not to promote Catholic theology, but rather to destabilize the foundation of the Biblical record by shattering the concept of Biblical inerrancy.  Her reason for doing this was to open the door to ecumenical compromise and the promotion of a one world religious movement.  This is why the film ends showing the Parliament of World Religions in 1893.  This was the beginning of the modern day ecumenical movement, the promotion of the idea that there are many paths to finding God, and that Christianity should be seen as just one religion among many.

I do not understand how a manuscript copy can possibly shatter the concept of biblical inerrancy. Accordingly, I am concerned that Pinto’s definition of inerrancy is too fragile. Protestant theologians widely agree that inerrancy applies exclusively to the original autographs by the first century writers like Paul and John. The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy was formulated in October 1978 by more than two hundred evangelical leaders at a conference sponsored by the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy (ICBI), held in Chicago. Article X states:

     We affirm that inspiration, strictly speaking, applies only to the autographic text of Scripture, which in the providence of God can be ascertained from available manuscripts with great accuracy. We further affirm that copies and translations of Scripture are the Word of God to the extent that they faithfully represent the original.
We deny that any essential element of the Christian faith is affected by the absence of the autographs. We further deny that this absence renders the assertion of Biblical inerrancy invalid or irrelevant.[1]

Thus, a later copy like Codex Sinaiticus could not really affect the doctrine of inerrancy as it reflects mistakes by later copyists rather than the original inspired authors. In the nineteenth century when Tares claims this conspiracy was being perpetrated there is evidence to the contrary.

In his encyclical Providentissimus Deus (On the Study of Holy Scripture), Pope Leo XIII emphasized that the Bible in all its parts was inspired:

Because the Holy Ghost employed men as His instruments, we cannot therefore say that it was these inspired instruments who, perchance, have fallen into error, and not the primary author. For, by supernatural power, He so moved and impelled them to write-He was so present to them-that the things which He ordered, and those only, they, first, rightly understood, then willed faithfully to write down, and finally expressed in apt words and with infallible truth. [2]

Why would the Pope write this if there was a long term plan to undermine the Bible?  This encyclical, dated November 18, 1893, was written to specifically refute what Pinto claims Rome was promoting.  Seeing the threat of Darwinism, Pope Leo XIII wrote that true science cannot contradict scripture when it is properly explained and that what seems to be proved by science can turn out to be wrong. The idea that Rome had an organized agenda to discredit the Bible and promote Darwinism at this point in history is not supported by the evidence albeit that developed later in twentieth century as documented in Exo-Vaticana.  Of course Rome has now fully embraced the Darwinian ideas that Leo XIII was standing against, an inconsistency that counts against the notion of an infallible papacy and teaching magisterium.

On the Text-type Argument

It seems inconsistent for him to quote scholars like Bruce Metzger to dispute the text type argument because textual scholars agree that Codex Sinaiticus is authentic. The only experts in Tares are KJVonlyists. So if he is willing to use the authority of Metzger to dispute the existence of text types, why not accept it for Sinaiticus? Metzger wrote that Sinaitics is an ancient, handwritten unical copy of the Greek Bible.[2a] Furthermore, Metzger expressed technical arguments over text types, which he thought to be an oversimplification, it doesn’t dismiss my previous point. Sinaiticus matches so many known ancient sources it renders the forgery claim implausible. Even so, it is widely accepted in general terms that there are three basic manuscript families. I am concerned that neither of us is qualified to accurately discuss the issues involved in textual criticism. Here is in excerpt from Dr. David Allen Black and Thomas D. Lea’s seminary level textbook The New Testament: it’s background and Message:

The Practice of Textual Criticism

Textual scholars have developed rules for carrying out their studies to arrive at the best reading. Of course, these principles cannot be applied unthinkingly, nor do all apply in each instance of textual variation. These principles are based either upon the external evidence or the internal evidence.

External evidence seeks to determine which reading is supported by the most reliable witnesses (i.e., the Greek manuscripts, versions, and Church Fathers). These witnesses have been divided into three basic families or “texttypes”: the Alexandrian, the Western, and the Byzantine. Most modern scholars believe the Alexandrian text most closely approximates the original text of the New Testament. Other scholars prefer the Byzantine text.

The basic principles of external evidence include the following: (1) prefer the reading attested by the oldest manuscripts; (2) prefer the reading that is the most widespread geographically; and (3) prefer the reading supported by the most number of texttypes.

The basic principle of internal evidence is that the reading from which the other readings could most easily have arisen is probably original. This principle has several corollaries: (1) prefer the shorter reading; (2) prefer the more difficult reading; (3) prefer the reading that best fits the author’s style and diction; and (4) prefer the reading that best fits the context.

As we have said, the application of these principles is not a merely mechanical process. Skill and judgment are demanded in assessing the evidence and in determining the most probable reading.

We can be grateful that the materials for the practice of New Testament textual criticism are quite numerous. By contrast, the materials for determining the text of the writings of Plato or the Roman poet Virgil are few in number and are separated from the originals by as much as fourteen hundred years. New Testament textual criticism has assisted us by providing access to substantially the same text which the first-century writers produced.[3]

The goal of text criticism is to get back to the original autographs and because archeologists have discovered thousands more ancient sources since the reformation period, today’s scholars are in a much better position to make these determinations than a Roman Catholic monk like Erasmus working with only six late copies and the Latin Vulgate. I want to put the best defense forward in arguing for the veracity of scripture and modern conservative scholarship is our strongest ally. Pinto’s movie calls it all into question.

Playing Into the Hands of Bible Skeptics

As someone with training in apologetics, I have familiarized myself with the basics in order to address the claims popularized by Dr. Bart Ehrman, author of books like: Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (And Why We Don’t Know About Them); Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why; Forged: Writing in the Name of God–Why the Bible’s Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are. As one can readily see from the titles, Ehrman has made a career out of attacking the veracity of scripture.  Scholars like David Allen Black and Daniel Wallace are evangelical champions of Biblical inerrancy and are uniquely qualified to address the likes of Ehrman.  I highly recommend the following video:

Unfortunately, it seems that often skeptics have a better grasp on text-critical issues than the average believer. Often Ehrman’s arguments are used to destroy the uninformed believer’s faith.  I am concerned that Pinto’s film Tares Amongst the Wheat plays right into the hands of these skeptics by promoting widely discredited scholarship from Textus Receptus advocates. Without going into specifics here, a modicum of open-minded research should dispel the notion that Textus Receptus is superior.[4] Textus Receptus was compiled by Erasmus, a Roman Catholic scholar, using only six very late manuscripts and even back translation from the Latin Vulgate when he was missing a Greek source.[5] Doesn’t it seem inconsistent that Protestant scholars like Daniel Wallace and James White are disputed in order to exalt the work of the Catholic monk Erasmus?

Putnam asked: Where’s the payoff for Rome?

The answer to his question is the ecumenical movement.  The answer could be seen in the ecumenical activities of Billy Graham in the 20th century, joining with Catholic priests and nuns in his crusades, or in the 1994 document Evangelicals and Catholics Together.  With this, it could also be seen in Assisi, Italy in 1986 when Pope John Paul II met with religious leaders from all over the world, with Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, American Indian Shamans, etc.  As he joined hands with them in prayer he told them, “We are all praying to the same God.”  An inerrant Bible that is taken too literally would be destructive of unity between the various “Christian” groups, and the differing religions of the world.  Destroying the concept of Biblical inerrancy opens the door to compromise and apostasy through ecumenism

Pinto argues that modern biblical scholarship undermined inerrancy and this led to the ecumenical movement. However, he failed to show any evidence for this connection. It seems to me that the rise of Darwinian evolution did the damage rather than biblical scholarship. It also seems like the Roman Catholic Church is in decline. If they are really going to lead a global religion then a non-linear event of transcendent proportion will need to occur (this is the reasoning behind Exo-Vaticana). Although I do not agree with Evangelicals and Catholics Together (along with John MacArthur and R.C. Sproul who I quoted in Petrus Romanus ), correlation does not equate to causation. Even so, most of those who did sign it like Billy Graham and Charles Colson also affirm biblical inerrancy. So the argument is a non sequitur—it just doesn’t follow. My original criticism stands, Tares Amongst the Wheat is a conspiracy theory without an actual conspiracy and, unfortunately, I am more concerned that it undermines conservative evangelical biblical scholarship which is our best line of defense in an increasingly anti-Christian culture.


[1] The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy: (accessed September 18, 2013).

[2]  Pope Leo XIII “On the Study of Holy Scripture”, (accessed September 18, 2013).

[2a]  Bruce Metzger & Bart D. Ehrman  The Text of the New Testament: An Introduction to the Critical Editions and to the Theory and Practice of Modern Textual Criticism, (New York – Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005)  62.

[3]Thomas D. Lea and David Alan Black, The New Testament: Its Background and Message, 2nd ed. (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2003), 77–78.

[4] Douglas S. Chinn and  Robert C. Newman, “Demystifying the Controversy Over the Textus Receptus and The King James Version of the Bible”, (accessed September 18, 2013).

[5] Metzger, The Text of the New Testament, pp. 99–100; Kurt Aland – Barbara Aland, The Text of the New Testament. An Introduction to the Critical Editions and to the Theory and Practice of Modern Textual Criticism,Translated by Erroll F. Rhodes. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1989, 4.

Tares Amongst the Wheat A Conspiracy Without a Goal

by Cris Putnam
TaresThis is my review of Chris Pinto’s film, Tares Amongst the Wheat. Personally, I like Chris Pinto having met him and spent some time talking in the hospitality suite at the first Future Congress. I’ve also enjoyed his past films and even quoted him in my own published work. I also share his zeal in opposing Rome. In Petrus Romanus I discussed a lot of same issues regarding papal authority and the undermining of scripture that are presented in Tares. I wrote an entire chapter centered on “The Donation of Constantine” a Vatican forgery used to undergird papal authority for hundreds of years.

Thus, I am well aware that Rome has a record of altering history and forging documents. I am not predisposed to doubt Pinto’s thesis but I do.

The film is centered on the idea that Codex Sinaticus or “Sinai Bible” was actually created as part of a Vatican conspiracy to undermine biblical inerrancy. I agree with Pinto and others that the Vatican has a vested interest in undermining Sola Scriptura and have argued vigorously that the Bible contradicts Rome’s theological traditions. So the idea is that Rome conspired to forge a Bible that differs significantly from the reformation efforts is plausible. However, Pinto’s conspiracy has huge gaping hole that seems fatal.

After watching the film and hearing Greek New Testament scholar Dan Wallace’s response, I am unconvinced that Codex Sinaticus is a forgery because the conspiracy is fundamentally incoherent. There’s no discernible pay off for the conspirators. The movie did not present any evidence that modern Bibles help Catholic theology in any meaningful way or undermine inerrancy. In fact, I think the opposite is true.  The problem for the Tares Amongst the Wheat thesis is that Codex Sinaticus is just as caustic to Rome’s traditions as the King James Version.  You would think that if Rome were going to concoct a forgery they might include something about Mary or purgatory but this is not the case. Where’s the payoff for Rome?

Why does Dr. James White, who argues vigorously against Catholic apologists in defense of reformation theology, find the conspiracy to be ridiculous?  He comments here.  It is because he is aware of the textual critical issues that Pinto is not… the conspiracy is not even possible once you realize what it would necessarily entail. If one bothers to look into textual criticism, you will quickly see that Sinaticus undergirds an entire text type.

Sinaticus is in general agreement with Codex Vaticanus and Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus, following the Alexandrian text-type. The Alexandrian text-type is the form of the Greek New Testament that is seen in the earliest surviving documents, as well as the text-type used in Egyptian Coptic manuscripts. It seems to reflect the oldest tradition and hence the original documents. In later manuscripts (from the 9th century on), the Byzantine text-type became far more common and remains as the standard text in the Greek Orthodox church and also underlies most Protestant translations of the Reformation era. There are more of them but most scholars put quality over quantity. The KJV and its reverse engineered Greek parallel Textus Receptus are of the Byzantine type. But even so, not a very ancient strain.

The problem with Textus Receptus is it is based on Erasmus’ edition which is based on only six very late Greek manuscripts (10th century) and the Latin Vulgate. Erasmus was a Roman Catholic humanist, so its rather odd that he gets a pass from Pinto. Even worse, the last few verses of Revelation are actually transcribed directly from the Latin Vulgate back into Greek because Erasmus did not have the Greek for the last section. In fact, in over twenty passages, Erasmus’ Greek text are not supported by any known Greek manuscript.[1] This disturbing fact makes TR much more of Roman Catholic origin than Pinto seems to realize.

The problem is that the Alexandrian text type has a huge number of papyri fragments that support it.  This is taken from Wikipedia and is based on David Allen Black’s New Testament Textual Criticism:

Uncials: Codex Coislinianus, Porphyrianus (except Acts, Rev), Dublinensis, Sangallensis (only in Mark), Zacynthius, Athous Lavrensis (in Mark and Cath. epistles), Vaticanus 2061, 059, 068, 071, 073, 076, 077, 081, 083, 085, 087, 088, 089, 091, 093 (except Acts), 094, 096, 098, 0101, 0102, 0108, 0111, 0114, 0129, 0142, 0155, 0156, 0162, 0167, 0172, 0173, 0175, 0181, 0183, 0184, 0185, 0189, 0201, 0204, 0205, 0207, 0223, 0225, 0232, 0234, 0240, 0243, 0244, 0245, 0247, 0254, 0270, 0271, 0274.

Minuscules: 20, 94, 104 (Epistles), 157, 164, 215, 241, 254, 322, 323, 326, 376, 383, 442, 579 (except Matthew), 614, 718, 850, 1006, 1175, 1241 (except Acts), 1243, 1292 (Cath.), 1342 (Mark), 1506 (Paul), 1611, 1739, 1841, 1852, 1908, 2040, 2053, 2062, 2298, 2344 (CE, Rev), 2351, 2427, 2464.  [2]

That’s not all of them either. So for Pinto’s conspiracy to work not only is Codex Sinaiticus a forgery, it means that all of these papyri which share the same text type were similarly forged and planted in archeological sites around Egypt and middle east. It starts to get prohibitively absurd when you consider the amount of effort and the number of conspirators that would be required. Even for the Jesuits…

However even if we allow for the sake of argument that all of this is a huge Vatican conspiracy, it just doesn’t compel because you can debunk Peter as pope, the mass as a sacrifice, indulgences, and prayers to Mary and the Saints with an NIV.  As far as undermining inerrancy, I find the long ending of Mark from Textus Receptus to be much more problematic.  “They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” (Mk 16:18. KJV)  In contrast, the oldest manuscripts of the Alexandrian text type do not have this passage and modern scholars believe it to be a late edition. Unless you are willing to drink a glass of poison to prove your point, it seems to me that the modern scholars have done inerrancy a huge favor.

[1] Doug Kutilek, “Erasmus, His Greek Text And His Theology,” accessed September 10, 2013


[2] David Alan Black, New Testament Textual Criticism, Baker Books, 2006, p. 64.

Slaughtering a Sacred Cow: the KJVonly Argument From Psalm 12

By Cris Putnam
KJV sacred cowA “sacred cow” is an idiom taken from Hindu bovine worship, a practice that Christians consider idolatry. We also call something a sacred cow if its devotees consider it immune from question or criticism. For many fundamentalist Christians the King James Translation has become a sacred cow. Unfortunately, a great many people have been indoctrinated from childhood with scare tactics and fallacious arguments and never meaningfully question what has come to be known as “King James Onlyism” or KJVonlyism.

For an example of the fear based argumentation I am referring to, examine the webpage at Chick Productions here.  I am not intending to simply make fun of these people and I have a lot in common with them. I went to a KJV only Christian school for one year of high school so I really do care about the people. That eleventh grade year at Friendship Christian School led me to believe that most Christians were mind controlled and incapable of critical thinking. I’ve grown to see I was wrong about a great deal but, sadly, some of my adolescent analysis was accurate.

Fear based false beliefs are called “strong holds” in the Bible and part of my call to ministry is the destruction of strongholds (2 Cor. 10:4). This is not an attack on the Bible or even the King James Version. Rather, it is an attack on a false idea about the Bible—a stronghold—I am slaughtering a sacred cow. Here is the primary argument you will see repeatedly used by the KJVonlyist:

Psalm 12:6-7 says, “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 for ever.” Then we read in Psalm 100:5 that “. . . . his truth endureth to all generations,” and Jesus said in John 17:17 that God’s WORD is truth.’

These words state very clearly that God’s preserved word MUST be available to us today, because God PROMISED to preserve it for us. There MUST be an infallible Book somewhere.[1]

Similarly, in a discussion on Facebook a fellow asked me, “If God can’t keep His word pure (as he promised in Psalm 12), how can I trust Him to keep ME?” You can see the dangerous nature of such indoctrination in that his faith is hinged precariously on something as fragile as the absolute perfection of a seventeenth century translation. The same fellow later commented, “No. I’m thinking if I can’t trust any of the versions to be accurate, PERFECTLY, then why bother. Either God is able or He isn’t.”  (Use of all caps reflects that I copied this directly from a real conversation).

How do you respond to this without destroying someone’s faith? Well first of all it is unfortunate that his faith is in the wrong thing. I believe this is idolatry or perhaps bibliolatry. These folks have made an idol out of the King James Bible. Next, notice the selfish demands placed on God. “If God will not meet my requirements, then why bother?” That is quite a presumption. It reminds me of the atheists who say, “If God wants me to believe in Him, then he should appear to me.”

Is it wise to make demands of God …or else?

You might get an answer like, “Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?” (Job 38:2)

I realize many of you might be thinking, “Hold on a minute! God promised he would do this in Psalm 12, so this is not an unreasonable expectation.” Indeed, that is the crux of the KJVonlyist argument.However, it is riddled with errors and assumptions.

First, even if the Lord promised to preserve his words, (I do believe he has preserved them) the words the Psalmist was referring to were Hebrew words not 17th century English words. It also begs the question of where God’s preserved words were before 1611? What about non-English speaking countries? But the argument’s worst flaw is actually more egregious than that erroneous assumption. It’s truly self-refuting.

Unfortunately, in this case the King James translation leads one to misunderstand the Psalm in a fundamental way. This is why serious Bible students put in the effort to gain at least some minimal competence in Hebrew and Greek exegesis. I am far from an expert but I have completed one year of biblical Hebrew at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary as well as working through Dr. Michael Heiser’s training videos for Logos Bible software on my own (available here).

Using Logos’ interlinear Hebrew Bible, it took me less than five minutes to see that they misinterpret Psalm 12. To understand why a brief explanation of basic grammar is helpful. In Hebrew, all nouns have what is called grammatical gender. Many languages like French and Spanish do as well. It serves as a grammatical function more than a commentary on sexual gender. Part of that function is to clarify what or who a pronoun is signifying. Accordingly, a pronoun should match its antecedent in gender and number.

For example,  if I say in English “My wife went to the store.” I would choose a feminine pronoun to continue, “She bought milk.” The antecedent “wife” is female, so “she” is correct and “he” is not.  Number is similar; in this case, both are singular. However, if I wrote “The women went to the store.”  The pronoun would be “They bought milk.” Now let’s analyze the passage in light of Hebrew grammar.

The words of the LORD are pure words (noun, common, feminine, plural):

as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.

Thou shalt keep them (pronoun, 3rd person, masculine, plural),

O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation forever.

(Ps 12:6–7, KJV)

The genders are parsed from the Hebrew text. Here is the passage from the Hebrew Bible:


            אִֽמֲר֣וֹת יְהוָה֮ אֲמָר֪וֹת טְהֹ֫ר֥וֹת כֶּ֣סֶף צָ֭רוּף בַּעֲלִ֣יל לָאָ֑רֶץ מְ֝זֻקָּ֗ק שִׁבְעָתָֽיִם׃

            אַתָּֽה־יְהוָ֥ה תִּשְׁמְרֵ֑ם תִּצְּרֶ֓נּוּ׀ מִן־הַדּ֖וֹר ז֣וּ לְעוֹלָֽם׃


Here are the parsings:

Noun, Common, Feminine, Plural  “words”   —-   אֲמָר֪וֹת

Pronoun, Suffixed, 3rd person, Masculine, Plural —-   הֵם   is suffixed on תִּשְׁמְרֵ֑ם

For their argument to work, “them” must match “words.” However, in verse 6 “words” is grammatically feminine and the pronoun “them” in verse 7 is grammatically masculine. So the pronoun “them” is not referring to “words” but rather the poor and needy (masculine, plural) that are mentioned above in verse 5 (Ps 12:5). In fact, this is one passage where the NIV (cue foreboding music) has a vastly superior rendering to the KJV.

Psalm 12:6–7 (NIV):

And the words of the Lord are flawless,

like silver purified in a crucible,

like gold refined seven times.

You, Lord, will keep the needy safe

and will protect us forever from the wicked,


Don’t place your faith in sacred cows.


[1] “How I Know That The King James Bible Is The Word Of God,” accessed 8/17/2013.

[2] Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia: With Werkgroep Informatica, Vrije Universiteit Morphology; Bible. O.T. Hebrew. Werkgroep Informatica, Vrije Universiteit. (Logos Bible Software, 2006), Ps 12:7–8.

Why the King James is Not a Perfect Inspired Translation

KJVThe King James Bible translation was great piece of work for its day but is it really the perfect infallible word of God for all time? I do not think so. Due to archeology and scholarship, we have gained a lot of knowledge about the ancient world since 1611 and modern Bibles reflect this much more accurate and informed scholarship. For example, the Masoretic text of the Old Testament dates to AD 1000 but today we have access to the Dead Sea Scrolls (with Old Testament fragments back to 200 BC) and thousands of Ugaritic and other texts that inform us about the context of the Old Testament. In 1611, this stuff was buried under ground. Translations like the ESV are far superior to the KJV because they reflect this new knowledge.

As far as the discussion concerning NT manuscripts, Dr. Dan Wallace has penned a fine essay here. What you will find is that the KJVonlyist arguments are very misleading and trade on fear. Studying church history reveals that scribes added things over time rather than taking them out. The verses KJVonly people claim have been removed are additions, usually by Catholic scribes.  We want to study the inspired word not a medieval Catholic’s additions (as in the case of 1 John 5:7 KJV).

If you like the King James Bible and prefer to use it then I have no problem with that. This post is directed toward those KJV-only people who argue that God inspired the KJV translators to preserve a perfect inerrant translation of his word in 1611. This idea is easily disproved but persists with a cultist tenacity.

I joined a Facebook group called “King James Bible Debate” but I quickly discovered the members did not really want to debate. After the numerous pleasantries concerning me being a Jesuit plant were offered, I presented an argument that went unanswered… silence…  and I mean crickets were chirping… a few red herrings and non sequiturs were proffered and, then I was hurriedly banned from the group ( I suppose for being Jesuit). It’s very revealing when a group must silence dissent in order to preserve the paradigm – it is how cults always operate. The argument that got me banned is as follows:


  1. The God of the Hebrews hates false gods (Judges 2:17; Jer. 14:22; 18:15).
  2. The Greek term pascha means ‘passover’ and the KJV translators rendered it as passover 28 times. “Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the Passover.” (Lk 22:1, AV)
  3. However, they rendered the same exact same term as “Easter” in Acts 12. “And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.”(Ac 12:4, AV)
  4. The English word “Easter” is derived from the name of an Anglo-Saxon goddess, Ēostre, a form of the widely attested Indo-European dawn goddess. Saint Bede the Venerable, an Anglo-Saxon theologian, historian, and chronologist, best known today for his Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum recorded in the 8th century that it was it derived from Eostre, or Eostrae, the Anglo-Saxon goddess of Spring and fertility.
  5. The God of the Bible would never inspire a translator to name His holy feast day after a pagan goddess (Isaiah 42:8). This violates His character and holiness.

Therefore, the King James Bible is not a perfect inspired translation. This seems decisive enough to dismiss the central claim of the KJVonly cult but in light of a dispute over etymology I’ll offer one more argument that is similarly devastating to the “perfect translation” idea.

  1. When Luke wrote the book of Acts, he had an actual date and time in mind. There was no “Easter” celebration in Jerusalem in the AD 60s when Acts was composed. Luke meant the Jewish passover feast and it is well established that the early church celebrated Jesus resurrection during passover.

The paschal feast thus took place in the primitive Church at the same time as the Jewish Passover, that is, on the night of the 15th Nisan, and by the date rather than the day. The feast had, however, a very different character from the Jewish Passover, though without denying its derivation from this. [1]

  1. Due to replacement theology and anti-Semitism, the Council of Nicea defined Easter specifically so it was not on the date of the Jewish Passover. Constantine wrote:
  2. And in the first place, it seemed very unworthy for us to keep this most sacred feast following the custom of the Jews, a people who have soiled their hands in a most terrible outrage, and have thus polluted their souls, and are now deservedly blind. Since we have cast aside their way of calculating the date of the festival, we can ensure that future generations can celebrate this observance at the more accurate time which we have kept from the first day of the passion until the present time….  — Emperor Constantine, following the Council of Nicaea [2]

  3. Thus, by definition Easter does not denote the date that the inspired author Luke intended.

Therefore, the KJV is not a perfect inspired translation.

When your belief system is hinged on something as precarious as absolute perfection from a group of fallible men, one counterexample implodes the house of cards.

The doctrine of biblical inerrancy applies to the original autographs written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Koine Greek. Although we do not have those originals, the science of textual criticism, as employed by Holy Spirit led scholars, gives a Greek New Testament text that we can confidently assess to be around 99% true to the originals in modern editions like the NA28. Translations are another matter. Some concepts in Hebrew and Greek do not translate to English directly, so no English translation is infallibly perfect, it is not even possible,  because they all must compromise at points. But thanks to hard working scholars and archeologists, we have a very accurate rendering of the ancient text that we can trust for all maters of faith and doctrine.


[1] Gerhard Kittel, Geoffrey W. Bromiley, and Gerhard Friedrich, eds., Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1964–), 902.

[2] “Emperor Constantine to all churches concerning the date of Easter”