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The KJV is Perfect?

The debate rages on about the KJV bible. The KJV only camp believe it’s the perfect word of God with absolutely no errors. Let’s just focus on Acts:12:4 in this study:

Acts 12:4 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.

Easter should have been called “Passover” there.  The Bible is self-defining and Ezekiel 45:21 is the nail in the coffin.  Though we don’t rule out that Herod might have celebrated Easter too, the context and all of Scripture give evidence Passover should have been used in Acts 12:4 instead of Easter. The Bible is still perfect in the Greek manuscripts, the language in which God chose to write it; and the KJV is still the best English translation.  We should consult the Greek since on a few occasions (like this one) the translators of the KJV could have done better.  Since we basically still have the same manuscripts they had access to, God’s preservation of His Word has in no way diminished.  Praise the Lord!

Albert Barnes Comments:

Intending after Easter” – There never was a more absurd or unhappy translation than this. The original is simply after the Passover (μετὰ τὸ πάσχα meta to pascha. The word “Easter” now denotes the festival observed by many Christian churches in honor of the resurrection of the Saviour. But the original has no reference to that, nor is there the slightest evidence that any such festival was observed at the time when this book was written. The translation is not only unhappy, as it does not convey at all the meaning of the original, but because it may contribute to foster an opinion that such a festival was observed in the time of the apostles. The word “Easter” is of Saxon origin, and is supposed to be derived from “Eostre,” the goddess of Love, or the Venus of the North, in honor of whom a festival was celebrated by our pagan ancestors in the month of April (Webster). Since this festival coincided with the Passover of the Jews, and with the feast observed by Christians in honor of the resurrection of Christ, the name came to be used to denote the latter. In the old Anglo-Saxon service-books the term “Easter” is used frequently to translate the word “Passover.” In the translation by Wycliffe, the word “paske,” that is, “Passover,” is used. But Tyndale and Coverdale used the word “Easter,” and hence, it has very improperly crept into our King James Version.

Adam Clarke Comments:

Intending after Easter to bring him forth” – Μετα το πασχα, After the passover. Perhaps there never was a more unhappy, not to say absurd, translation than that in our text. But, before I come to explain the word, it is necessary to observe that our term called Easter is not exactly the same with the Jewish passover. This festival is always held on the fourteenth day of the first vernal full moon; but the Easter of the Christians, never till the next Sabbath after said full moon; and, to avoid all conformity with the Jews in this matter, if the fourteenth day of the first vernal full moon happen on a Sabbath, then the festival of Easter is deferred till the Sabbath following. The first vernal moon is that whose fourteenth day is either on the day of the vernal equinox, or the next fourteenth day after it. The vernal equinox, according to a decree of the council of Nice, is fixed to the 21st day of March; and therefore the first vernal moon is that whose fourteenth day falls upon the 21st of March, or the first fourteenth day after. Hence it appears that the next Sabbath after the fourteenth day of the vernal moon, which is called the Paschal term, is always Easter day. And, therefore, the earliest Paschal term being the 21st of March, the 22d of March is the earliest Easter possible; and the 18th of April being the latest Paschal term, the seventh day after, that is the 25th of April, is the latest Easter possible.

The term Easter, inserted here by our translators, they borrowed from the ancient Anglo-Saxon service-books, or from the version of the Gospels, which always translates the το πασχα of the Greek by this term; e.g. Mat_26:2 : Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover. Wite ye that aefter twam dagum beoth Eastro. Mat_16:19 : And they made ready the passover. And hig gegearwodon hym Easter thenunga (i.e. the paschal supper.) Prefixed to Mat_28:1, are these words: This part to be read on Easter even. And, before Mat_28:8, these words: Mar_14:12 : And the first day of unleavened bread when they killed the passover. And tham forman daegeazimorum, tha hi Eastron offrodon. Other examples occur in this version. Wiclif used the word paske, i.e. passover; but Tindal, Coverdale, Becke, and Cardmarden, following the old Saxon mode of translation, insert Easter: the Geneva Bible very properly renders it the passover. The Saxon Earten, Eartne, Eartno, Eartna, and Eartnon are different modes of spelling the name of the goddess Easter, whose festival was celebrated by our pagan forefathers on the month of April; hence that month, in the Saxon calendar, is called Easter month. Every view we can take of this subject shows the gross impropriety of retaining a name every way exceptionable, and palpably absurd.

And finally, this commentary from a former, staunch KJV’onliest:

“Easter” in the KJV: Argument Settled?

How much difference does one word make? It isn’t often that a word stirs up as much controversy among otherwise rational Christians than does the word “Easter” as placed in Acts 12:4 in the King James Version of the Bible. Let’s see what that verse says according to the translators of the KJV:

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.

In the context, Herod had already killed James the brother of John, pleasing the crowd before him. Seeing this, he decides to capture Peter as well, and he throws him in jail, intending after Easter to bring him before the people. These events took place during the “days of unleavened bread” (Acts 12:4).

This “Easter” of course is a translation of a Greek word, pascha, which occurs 29 times in the New Testament, and in all but one instance (above), it is translated “Passover.” Only once did the King James translators choose to render the word as “Easter.”

King James Onlyists, such as Terry Watkins of Dial-the-Truth Ministries, may insist that because the KJV is the only translation to rightly translate Acts 12:4, the use of Easter “ends the argument once and for all.”:”(Terry Watkins, according to his homepage as of June 29, 2006.)”:

But is Acts 12:4 the ultimate proof of the KJV‘s perfection, or does it contain a mistranslation? It is very possible that the King James Only tradition stands or falls upon this verse. If it is a mistranslation, nothing else the Onlyists say concerning their position matters.

I have looked at the claims of two King James Onlyist defenders, a Mr. Jack A. Moorman and a Dr. Samuel C. Gipp, Th.D. Both men insist that “Easter” is the proper translation of pascha in Acts 12:4, and they both do so for the same reason.

Moorman says,

It is precisely in this one passage that “Easter” must be used, and the translation “Passover” would have conflicted with the immediate context. In their rush to accuse the Authorized Version of error many have not taken the time to consider what the passage actually says: “(Then were the days of unleavened bread.)…intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.”

And Dr. Gipp likewise states (emphasis his),

It must also be noted that whenever the passover is mentioned in the New Testament, the reference is always to the meal, to be eaten on the night of April 14th not the entire week. The days of unleavened bread are NEVER referred to as the Passover. (It must be remembered that the angel of the Lord passed over Egypt on one night, not seven nights in a row.

These arguments make sense. If Passover represented the beginning of the Feast (or days) of Unleavened Bread, then it wouldn’t make sense for Herod to be waiting until after the Passover in Acts 12:4 for it had already passed and the Feast of Unleavened Bread was underway.

Dr. Gipp provides numerous scriptures in his attempt to show that the Passover always precedes the Feast of Unleavened Bread, but it can be summed up as he stated above, “The days of unleavened bread are NEVER referred to as the Passover.”

That is an absolute statement. It comes from one with a doctorate in theology. And though many may be inclined to believe it, it is an error, and may be a blatant (may I be so bold?) lie used solely to vindicate the King James Onlyist position.

Forgetting the claims of Moorman and Gipp for a moment, let us turn to the word of God. We’ll use the King James Version so we cannot be accused of using a “faulty version” for this. Watch what God says:

In the first month, in the fourteenth day of the month, ye shall have the passover, a feast of seven days; unleavened bread shall be eaten.:”(It is very interesting that in all the pro King James Only material I have read concerning the “Easter” issue, I have never seen Ezekiel 45:21 mentioned. Numerous verses are listed showing a distinction between Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, but this verse which combines them is conveniently ignored. I used to be a King James Onlyist, and I was honestly shocked when I stumbled upon Ezekiel 45:21. Should King James Onlyists separate what God has joined together in order to defend their position? NAY!)”:Ezekiel 45:21, emphasis mine

What was that? Did you catch that? How can that be, if the Passover is strictly a one night affair? How can that be if the weeklong feast is separate from the Passover?

God Himself defines the Passover for us as “a feast of seven days,” shattering the claims of Moorman, Gipp, and other KJV Only defenders that the Passover was a single night followed by the days of unleavened bread.

Let the word of God stand on its own:

And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after pascha to bring him forth to the people.Acts 12:4

The previous verse tells us that the Feast of Unleavened Bread was going on. Ezekiel tells us that the Feast of Unleavened Bread is known as Passover. Knowing these things, what do you think Luke was inspired to write in Acts 12:4?

Logic and consistency demands that the Passover is meant in Acts 12:4; there is no contextual reason to assume that Luke meant something different in using pascha than it meant in the other 28 times it is used in the New Testament.

This is an error in the translation of the King James Version, one which has failed to be corrected in the versions numerous revisions. I am not saying that you should not use a King James Bible or even that you should not believe it is a wonderful and mostly accurate version. It is those things. However, it is not perfect, and you are deceiving yourself (and perhaps others) in thinking so.