J. C. Philpot 1857 Against KJV Revision: "Enemies Of Truth" Will Give Us A "Mutilated False Bible"

'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' Psalms 12:6-7*
The Desirability of Keeping the Authorized Version by J. C. Philpot (Written in 1857 when the Revised Version was contemplated)

We take this opportunity to express our opinion upon a question much agitated of late--whether it would be desirable to have a new (or at least a revised) translation of the Scriptures. We fully admit that there are here and there passages of which the translation might be improved, as, for instance, "love" for "charity" all through 1 Corinthians 13;** but we deprecate any alteration as a measure that, for the smallest sprinkling of good, would deluge us with a flood of evil. The following are our reasons:

1. Who are to undertake it? Into whose hands would the revision fall? What an opportunity for the enemies of truth to give us a mutilated false Bible! Of course, they must be learned men, great critics, scholars, and divines, but these are notoriously either Puseyites or Neologians (We should say: Anglo-Catholics and Modernists.)--in other words, deeply tainted with either popery or infidelity. Where are there learned men sound in the truth, not to say alive unto God, who possess the necessary qualifications for so important a work? And can erroneous men, men dead in trespasses and sins, carnal, worldly, ungodly persons, spiritually translate a book written by the blessed Spirit? We have not the slightest ground for hope that they would be godly men, such as we have reason to believe translated the Scriptures into our present version.

2. Again, it would unsettle the minds of thousands as to which was the Word of God, the old translation or the new. What a door it would open for the workings of infidelity, or the temptations of Satan! What a gloom, too, it would cast over the minds of many of God's saints to have those passages which had been applied to their souls translated in a different way, and how it would seem to shake all their experience of the power and preciousness of God's Word!

3. But besides this, there would be two Bibles spread through the land, the old and the new, and what confusion would this create in almost every place! At present, all sects and denominations agree in acknowledging our present version as the standard of appeal. Nothing settles disputes so soon as when the contending parties have confidence in the same umpire and are willing to abide by his decision. But this judge of all disputes, this umpire of all controversy, would cease to be the looser of strife if the present acknowledged authority were put an end to by a rival.

4. Again, if the revision and re-translation were once to begin, where would it end? It is good to let well alone, as it is easier to mar than mend. The Socinianising (Denying the Godhead of Christ) Neologian would blot out "God" in 1 Timothy 3:16, and strike out 1 John 5:7,8, as an interpolation. The Puseyite would mend it to suit Tractarian views (Led by Newman and Keble, the Tractarians were moving towards Romanism). He would read "priest" where we now read "elder," and put "penance" in the place of "repentance."

Once set up a notice, "THE OLD BIBLE TO BE MENDED," and there would be plenty of workmen, who, trying to mend the cover, would pull the pages to pieces. The Arminian would soften down the words "election" and "predestination" into some term less displeasing to Pharisaic ears. "Righteousness" would be turned into "justice," and "reprobate" into "undiscerning." All our good Bible terms would be so mutilated that they would cease to convey the Spirit's meaning, and instead of the noble simplicity, faithfulness and truth of our present version, we should have a Bible that nobody would accept as the Word of God, to which none could safely appeal, and on which none could implicitly rely.

5. Instead of our good old Saxon Bible, simple and solid, with few words really obsolete, and alike majestic and beautiful, we should have a modern English translation in the pert and flippant language of the day. Besides its authority as the Word of God, our present version is the great English classic generally accepted as the standard of the English language. The great classics of a language cannot be modernised. What an outcry there would be against modernising Shakespeare, or making Hooker, Bacon or Milton talk the English of the newspapers or of the House of Commons!

6. The present English Bible has been blessed to thousands of the saints of God; and not only so, it has become part of our national inheritance which we have received unimpaired from our fathers, and are bound to hand down unimpaired to our children. It is, we believe, the grand bulwark of Protestantism; the safeguard of the Gospel, and the treasure of the Church; and we should be traitors in every sense of the word if we consented to give it up to be rifled by the sacrilegious hands of Puseyites, concealed Papists, German Neologians, infidel divines, Arminians, Socinians, and the whole tribe of enemies of God and godliness.

(excerpted from Sin & Salvation, by J. C. Philpot [original source])

Written in 1857 , fully twenty-four years before the actual deed was accomplished via the machinations of the infamous duo Westcott and Hort with their 1881 publication of the very first "mutilated false bible". How true Philpot's words have proven to be. With Westcott and Hort's newly 'crafted' Greek text the floodgates had been opened and the Laodicean landscape has been, as Philpot predicted, "deluged with a flood of evil"....in the form of one Error-Saturated-Version (ESV) after another until this very day.  [**and side note: the word "charity" all through 1 Cor. 13 does not at all need to be changed]  Rev. 18:4

*"Concerning the words being purified "seven times," it is interesting to observe that the King James Version is the seventh major English translation. The six translations before it were: Wyclif's Bible (1382), Coverdale's Bible (1535, using Tyndale's New Testament from 1525), Matthew's Bible (1537), The Great Bible (1539), The Geneva Bible (1560), and The Bishop's Bible (1568). Each of these Bibles was (and still is) a valuable translation, but the King James of 1611 is the purest—the seventh and final purification. It has completely replaced all six of its predecessors." (excerpted from: KJV - T. Morton; see: KJV only?)

See also:

According To The ESV, NASB, NKJV, NIV, Etc. The Gospel Message Is "Foolishness" And "Folly" - Danger Danger

The Holy Ghost The Original King-James-Only -- No King James, No Holy Ghost!


Anonymous said...

Great timing for this commentary. I'm just about finished reading, Which Version Is The Bible? by Floyd Nolen Jones, which I highly recommend. It's an eye opener to say the least. The damage done by Wescott-Hort is staggering. No wonder they were referred to as "two very religious albeit unregenerate men." They truly were enemies of truth.

Unknown said...

How about a good French translation? Do they have the same version issues as the English Bible? My wife is French and can hardly read the KJV. Does the rest of the world also have to learn old English to be able to read the truth and be blessed, or is this debate just for the English speaking world? Does Holy Spirit have any part of this, or us?

tom m. said...


Good question. The answer is that there are in fact many foreign language translations that are based on the KJV. Being based on the KJV they would not be missing entire or partial verses as are all Westcott-Hort 'bible translations'.

Precise accuracy of each specific language-version probably varies - cannot speak to this.

This site looks like a new project for French: http://www.kingjamesfrancaise.net/

Perhaps the way to go would be a KJV French-English parallel bible: http://www.amazon.com/French-English-Parallel-Bilingual-Bible/dp/0982862008

(apparently this bible uses the KJV-based Segond 1910 French which is claimed to be most accurate, but it looks like there is more info about it on the kingjamesfrancaise.net site linked above)

At any rate, certainly the Holy Spirit can bless non-English speakers with KJV-based bibles translated into their own language - Acts 2:4-6

Rev. 18:4

Anonymous said...

While attending an SBC church ,the pastor did away with the KJV Bibles and switched to another version. It wasn't long after that, when he embraced the purpose driven church model. You know change is coming when the KJV's are removed.

Unknown said...

Is this article in print in a book? If so,what is the name of it? I WANT IT!!!

tom m. said...

From old notes: "Taken from pages 103-105, Sin & Salvation, Selections from J. C. Philpot" - looks like the book is on Amazon, other. Have not seen it though so cannot say for certain.

This link has a free ebook/pdf download. Appears to be the original source, from a 1857 monthly journal - 'The Gospel Standard - April 1857' found on pg. 122-123 (Jan-Dec 1857; 786 pp.):