by Manny Rodriguez (3-27-08)
Some have asked, “Bro. Manny, do you believe in Double Inspiration?” The tricky part of answering a question like this is that some preachers have different ideas of what Double Inspiration really is.A very good friend of mine told me one time that I needed to be careful with some Preachers because they do not believe in Double Inspiration. He was surprised when I informed him that I did not believe in it either. But once I explained to him what Double Inspiration is and what I believed, he answered something to the effect, “Oh. Actually I don’t believe in that either. I believe like you believe.”
Some people think that anyone who believes that inspiration extends beyond the original autographs is a supporter of Double Inspiration. Yet that is not true. Others have been duped into accepting the insistence that what they believe in is Double Inspiration. Many are actually more confused on this issue than they want to admit. Its kind of like one preacher friend of mine said when I asked him what he believed about subjects like Double Inspiration, Mechanical Dictation, Verbal and Plenary Inspiration, etc. He jokingly responded “I know what I believe, but I just don’t know how to spell it.”
In this article, I will speak for myself understanding that others may not agree with me on every aspect of a highly technical issue. I am offering my perspective on the matter in a way that makes the most sense to me. Here is the question.
“Bro. Manny, do you believe in Double Inspiration?”
Short answer: No, but I believe that the words that God preserved for us in the Received Texts and the KJV are inspired words, not uninspired words.
The Issue of Perfection
I believe the King James Bible is perfect. I say this with no hesitation or apology. What I mean by perfect is that it contains no error whatsoever. Some argue that it is impossible for a translation to be perfect because God used man to translate the Bible. And because men are humans they are fallible. Therefore, it is impossible for a perfect translation to be produced through imperfect men. Simple logic based upon the word of God disproves this presupposition.
Those who espouse this presupposition are forgetting that it is God who is behind Inspiration and Preservation. Men are simply the instruments of God. Whenever God is involved, anything is possible despite whatever human element may be present. (Mat. 19:26, Luke 18:27) For example, if the presence of a human element prohibits God from providing his perfect words, then we must conclude that even the original autographs were not perfect since the original writers were human. Someone told me one time that only the originals were perfect and that the KJV could not be perfect because it was not God but men who translated the KJV. Yet God did not write the originals either. Men did.
Some espouse the view of Mechanical Dictation. This is the view that God rendered the original writers as passive instruments in that he overrode their human will so that God can control what they wrote. Thus, men became God’s human pen. This view makes a lot of sense, but in all fairness we must ask the following question. If God could override the human element to produce his perfect words in the originals, why couldn’t he overcome the human element in the translation of his original words? Some might be afraid to deal with this question because they feel that such reasoning flirts too much with the idea of Double Inspiration. But I disagree and I think it is a legitimate question that must be dealt with.
Was not Mary a human? Though a virgin, was she not a sinner? Yet did not God use that imperfect, fallible human being to produce the sinless and perfect Son of God? If it is not hard for the believer to have faith in the fact that God used a sinful, imperfect, fallible human being to produce the perfect Son of God, it should not be difficult to fathom that God can likewise use such humans to produce his perfect words. He is God. He can do whatever he wants to do. We should not limit the Holy One of Israel!
I believe the KJV in its finalized form is the perfect word of God, but I do not believe that this perfection is the result of Double Inspiration.
Inspiration of Words or Men?
Bible-believers who stand for the KJV are often accused of believing in Double Inspiration. Double Inspiration is the idea that God inspired the KJV translators in the exact same manner that he inspired the original writers that penned down the original autographs. I personally do not know of anyone who teaches this. Yet I am told that there are those who do. I have yet to find a dissertation on Double Inspiration by any KJV defender. If any reader knows where I can find material by a KJV defender teaching Double Inspiration, I would be glad to check it out. I have searched for such and so far have found none.
At any rate, I would have to disagree with the view of Double Inspiration because first of all II Tim. 3:16 did not say that he inspired men. It says he inspired words. II Tim. 3:16 states that “all scripture was given by inspiration of God”. Scriptures are words that are written. II Tim. 3:16 does not state that all writers of scripture are given by inspiration. That is an important point to distinguish.
Some may want to point to Job 32:8 to prove that men can be inspired of God. But I fail to see how this verse proves an idea that the KJV translators were inspired in the same manner as the original writers, especially when considering that the whole premise of II Tim. 3:16 being a reference to inspired men instead of inspired words is wrong to begin with. Again, the emphasis of II Tim. 3:16 is not the inspiration of men but of words.
As for the original writers, it is true that God revealed to those men what to write. There is no question that the original writers received divine revelation. Indeed, holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost (II Pet. 1:21). But it must be emphasized that it was the scriptures, the written words, that were God breathed.
Secondly, it is impossible to equate the work of the KJV translators to the work of the original writers. We are dealing with two different tasks here. The finished work of the original writers was the result of direct revelation from God. The KJV translators were not recording new revelation from God as the original penmen did. They were translating scripture. The KJV translators relied on manuscripts to know what to translate. If the KJV translators were receiving direct revelation from God just as the original writers, they would not have needed any manuscripts to collate and translate from.
I am not saying that God was not involved with the work of the KJV translators. Some who oppose the error of Double Inspiration act as if the Holy Spirit of God took a vacation when the KJV translators embarked upon their work. Nay, I firmly believe that God guided those Spirit-filled men as they sifted through manuscripts and decided what to translate and how to translate it. I believe it was God that led these men to reject the corrupt readings from the Alexandrian type of manuscripts. Some may want to refer to the providential guidance of God in the work of the KJV translators as an Inspiration of sorts. Thus, this becomes a matter of semantics. But whatever you wish to call it, this is not the same process that the original writers went through.
Reconciling Preservation and Inspiration
I do not believe in Double Inspiration. I believe in Single Inspiration. In other words, I believe that when God inspired the original scriptures he did it right the first time. God did not introduce to the KJV translators some new revelation. I believe that the idea of Double Inspiration is unnecessary because the promises of preservation already ensure for us the existence of God’s perfect word today.
On the other hand, because of the doctrine of preservation as taught in Ps. 12:6-7, Mat. 5:18, Mat. 24:35 and many other passages, I must also disagree with the idea that only the original autographs can be recognized as the inspired word of God. First off, the original manuscripts are gone. Secondly, when God guided the church throughout history to copy scriptures, I do not believe they were copying uninspired scripture. I refuse to believe that what God preserved for us in the Received Texts and its faithful translations were uninspired scriptures.
Some understand this, but many do not. Many do not realize that to say that only the Autographa can be referred to as the inspired word of God is to say that what we have today in the KJV is not scripture. In fact, you would also have to conclude that what we have today in the Received Texts is not scripture. So the question is, “Do we have the scriptures today or not?” Now immediately we’ll run to the verses on preservation to answer “yes” to this question. But stop and think about it for a minute. To claim the verses on preservation as your proof text for the existence of the scriptures today becomes a contradiction when you also declare that only the autographs is to be the recognized as the inspired word of God. Only God’s inspired words can be scripture according to II Tim. 3:16. If those inspired words are only contained in the first manuscripts, then we do not have the scriptures today because those first manuscripts are gone.
Furthermore, we must conclude one of two things. Either God failed us when he promised to preserve the scriptures. Or we must believe that what God preserved for us were uninspired words. Both make no sense. Why would God inspire scriptures that He did not intend for us to have? Perish the thought! 2Co 1:20 “For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us”.
Take a close look at II Tim. 3:15-16:
2 Timothy 3:15 (KJV) And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 3:16 (KJV) All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
It would be a wild stretch of the imagination to believe that the Holy Scriptures that Timothy possessed from his childhood were the actual original Hebrew autographs themselves, some of which would have been over 2000 years old at that time. Obviously, the Holy Scriptures that Timothy possessed were copies of the originals preserved by Jewish scribes. These are also known by scholars today as the Apographs.
It is clear to me that according to II Tim. 3:15 preserved copies can also be called Holy Scriptures. A good question is, “Can accurate translations of those copies be referred to as Holy Scriptures?” In other words, can an accurate translation of the scriptures also be referred to as the inspired words of God? If a translation like the KJV is to be recognized as the preserved word of God, then the answer must be in the affirmative. Again you must ask yourself the question, “Did God preserve for us uninspired words or inspired ones?”
I am not saying that God breathed out his words in English. He breathed out his words in Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic. But if every one of those God-breathed words are preserved for us not only in the Received Texts but also in the King James Bible, than it is only logical to conclude that the words preserved in the KJV are inspired words. Thus qualifying the KJV as the very word of God in English.
But I would also have to be careful to emphasize that in order for a translation to be considered God’s word, it must be perfect because “every word of God is pure” (Pro. 30:5). In other words, every word of the original manuscripts, preserved in the numerous copies extant today (in the Received Texts), must be accurately translated. Accuracy demands that nothing can be omitted, added, or altered. This is why we as Bible-believers reject the modern English versions such as the NIV, ASV, NASV, RSV, ESV, TEV, etc. Because of their basis upon corrupt Alexandrian texts, all other English versions outside of the KJV alter, add, and omit key words, phrases, whole verses, and sometimes even entire series of verses such as the last 12 verses of Mark. If anything is omitted, added, or altered, it ceases from representing the verbally inspired and most importantly the plenarily inspired word of God. Verbal and Plenary Inspiration speaks of a Bible that contains every word that God inspired and is therefore the word of God in its entirety. For it is written in Mat. 4:4 that “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”
I understand that there are some difficulties for a translator when trying to render an exact word for word equivalent for every Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic word into another language. But that does not mean that it is impossible to arrive at an accurate representation of those original language words. Once the most accurate representation of those original language words are rendered in the receptor language, I believe that receptor language equivalent is just as much the word of God as its basis. The perfect example of this is every time the New Testament renders an Old Testament quotation. These renderings are not always word for word exact, but they are still accurate renderings. If we have no problem understanding that accurate renderings from Hebrew to Greek in the NT can still be the inspired words of God, we should have no problem understanding the same when dealing with accurate renderings from the original languages into English or any other receptor language.
I believe that the KJV has every single word accurately translated into the English language. In this sense, it is perfect. It is without error. Therefore, it is the providentially preserved, verbally & plenarily inspired word of God in English.
Living Words or Dead Words?
There is something else we must understand about inspiration. The Greek word for ‘inspiration’, which is ‘theopneustos’, means ‘God breathed’. Ge 2:7 says “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Whatever God breathes into or upon receives life. To further illustrate this truth, consider the story of Ezekiel in the valley of dry bones (Eze. 37:1-10):
Ezekiel 37:1 (KJV) ¶ The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which [was] full of bones,
Ezekiel 37:2 (KJV) And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, [there were] very many in the open valley; and, lo, [they were] very dry.
Ezekiel 37:3 (KJV) And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest.
Ezekiel 37:4 (KJV) Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD.
Ezekiel 37:5 (KJV) Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live:
Ezekiel 37:6 (KJV) And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I [am] the LORD.
Ezekiel 37:7 (KJV) So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone.
Ezekiel 37:8 (KJV) And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but [there was] no breath in them.
Ezekiel 37:9 (KJV) Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.
Ezekiel 37:10 (KJV) So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.
It is clearly illustrated in Eze. 37 that whatever He breathes into and upon receives life. The words that the original writers penned down were God-breathed words. Thus, God’s words are living words! They are quick (alive) and powerful. They are spirit and they are life. (Heb. 4:12, Jn. 6:63) This is why we as Bible-believers are so militant about the importance of EVERY word of God. We want a Bible that has EVERY word of God, not one that has words that are missing. If God was careful to promise the preservation of even the jots and tittles in Mat. 5:18, than every word of God is vital. When we hold the King James Bible in our hands, we are “holding forth the word of life” (Phil. 2:16). We need every word of God even more than our necessary food (Job 23:12, Mat. 4:4, I Pet. 2:2). How can we survive spiritually otherwise?
To say that what we have in the preserved words of God today is not the inspired words of God is to say that we have a dead and powerless book! Fundamentalists that advocate the KJV seem to have no problem saying that the KJV is the product of preservation. And to that I say Amen! But to say that the KJV is the preserved word of God is to admit that the KJV is more than just a mere translation. It is the very word of God in English.
Unfortunately, I must conclude this article with a complaint. There is something that grieves me about fundamentalism today. I am greatly grieved to know that there are those who stand for the King James Bible who break fellowship with one another over the technicalities of Inspiration. I don’t think this is right. I can understand withdrawing fellowship from those who support the apostate Westcott and Hort philosophies and the Alexandrian texts. But I think it’s a shame that there are schisms amongst Bible-believers over technicalities. If at the end of the day we are standing for the same Book, I believe we are on the same team. I sincerely pray that within my lifetime we can see more unity amongst Bible-believers who stand for the same Book. The more unified we are, the more we can accomplish for the glory of God in a lost and dying world.
I believe in separating from heretics and apostates. Tit 3:10 says “A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject”. But I feel that oftentimes we are rejecting fellow brethren in the Lord before even giving them an admonition at all. I think some sincere proponents of the KJV, even ordained Ministers, are somewhat confused on the issue of Inspiration whether they want to admit it or not. I believe we should show a little more grace when dealing with those who might be truly confused on this issue while also realizing that pride is a horrible problem that hinders some from admitting when they are wrong. Understanding these things, we should be patient with one another and pray that God can open people’s eyes to the truth on such issues. My desire is to try to help those who may be confused in their views on an issue such as this. I sense that some are secretly seeking for answers to legitimate questions but are afraid to be ostracized by fellow ministers if they were ever to openly express their concerns. This ought not to be so. Legitimate questions deserve legitimate answers.
Nevertheless, let me once again state firmly with a heart of gratitude that the King James Bible is the preserved word of God. It is perfect. It is without error. Because these things are so, the words preserved in the KJV are inspired words, not uninspired words. Thus, the doctrine of Preservation renders the idea of Double Inspiration as unnecessary.
Ecclesiastes 3:14 (KJV) I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth [it], that [men] should fear before him.
Acts 22:2 (KJV) (And when they heard that he spake in the Hebrew tongue to them, they kept the more silence: and he saith,)
NOTE: Paul’s testimony was given in the Hebrew tongue but recorded in the GREEK tongue New Testament. Yet, nothing was lost in translation in Greek N.T. (or English). Accurate translation IS possible! Praise God for it!