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The Holy Spirit’s Amazing Work of Art

As a result of that encounter on the English border, the King called a meeting, later known as the “Hampton Court Conference”, which convened for three days, January 14-16, 1604. At that Conference Dr. John Rainolds, President of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, and leader of the Puritan party, requested the King to authorize a new English translation of the Bible. This angered many Anglican clergymen, the majority opposed the request, and the measure would have immediately failed, except for one thing: The King approved. Seven years later, in 1611, as a result of the session at Hampton Court, and the work of fifty-four of England`s best Biblical scholars the King James Bible was presented to the world. That Book has since lighted millions of English-speaking homes in every nation, helped push back the darkness in remote parts of the earth, and advanced the movement of civilization. But – it had little personal effect on the King.

In 1620, after abandoning all hope for renewal in the Church of England, the first band of Pilgrims came to America. They had been “harried out of the land” but, bringing the King James Bible as their guide, they established North America’s first Christian Colony. Their escape was well-timed. A mere 35 years later, 1655, Parliament slammed the door on the Puritan movement in England, expelling more than 2,000 pastors from their pulpits and University professors from their posts. Thankfully, this did not happen before Puritan insistence had safely given Christianity the blessing of the “King James Bible”. This Bible has had critics as well as admirers but probably no one spoke with more authority than did the Catholic scholar, Alexander Geddes, in 1786, when he said,

“If accuracy and strictest attention to the letter of the text be supposed to constitute an excellent version, this is of all versions the most excellent.”

Today, many defenders of the King James version mistakenly assume their current Bible is exactly like the 1611 original. That is not so. Today’s public would have great difficulty – if not impossibility – in comprehending that antique English text. Since its’ first edition, the King James Version has undergone several necessary revisions as the English language has changed. Today’s edition which retains the original message without cumbersome Anglo-Saxon dialect was revised in 1769. In July, 1981, the “New King James” was presented to the world. Interestingly, the final drafting of this edition was completed at St. Andrews University in northeast Scotland, a short distance from King James’ ancestral home of Stirling Castle. This is the version I now use and enjoy. Christians today who insist that the old King James is the only valid translation need to know that the 54 translators did not make that claim for it. Their aim was to use the previous ones and make them better. They had no intention of making an exclusive or final one.

But there is another factor of immeasurable importance to Bible students.. It is this: Unlike Plato, Aristotle, Herodotus, etc., whose understanding requires nothing more than an astute mind, no one can grasp the true message of Scripture apart from the revelation of the Holy Spirit. And that is true regardless of which translation we use. Academic knowledge can never replace Divine revelation. Paul expressed this clearly in II Corinthians 3:6: God has “made us able ministers of the New Testament; not of the letter, but of the Spirit, for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” Even the New Testament produces killing doctrines if it is preached apart from the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Whatever translation we use, we must realize that our understanding the spiritual message of the gospel is not achieved by human wisdom. Spiritual truth comes by God’s revelation.

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Category: Biblical Studies, Pneuma Review, Spring 2008

About the Author: Charles Carrin, D.D., has served the body of Christ for over 65 years. Educated at University of Georgia and Columbia Theological Seminary, he denied, in belief and practice, the contemporary ministry of the Holy Spirit until a personal crisis opened his eyes to what he had been missing. He is the author of Spirit-Empowered Theology (Chosen, 2017), The Edge Of Glory: Receiving the Power of the Holy Spirit (Creation House, 2002), Sunrise of David Sunset of Saul: A Message to the Church in the End-time (1985, 2014), On Whose Authority?: The Removal of Unwanted Scriptures (Burkhart Books, 2014), a revival novel with Dorothy Easley: Island in the Sun (Xulon, 2010), and a contributor to Word Spirit Power: What Happens When You Seek All God Has to Offer (Chosen, 2012) with R.T. Kendall and Jack Taylor. Today his ministry centers upon the visible demonstration of the Spirit and imparting of His gifts. Read his biography at www.charlescarrinministries.com/about-charles.php.

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