Coffee With Sam: What’s the Big Deal about the KJV?

A new website has launched called BigDealKJV.com, in which (according to the video creator) 8-10 video episodes will eventually be published. In this first episode, KJVO advocate Sam Gipp sits down over coffee with a student to explain to his confused mind why the KJV is the final authority.

In this well-produced short video, Gipp offers many of the same arguments and presuppositions posited by KJV advocates. While Gipp has said things that place him in the Ruckmanite category, he comes off here as a humble and wise professor seeking to take the complex issue of biblical transmission and make it fit into a simple construct with contemporary analogies. Here are some arguments given:

1. The Bible(s) we have today have to be exactly the same as that given by inspiration in order to be authoritative. 

Gipp makes this point in the very beginning when he declares the Bible to be the final authority in all matters of faith and practice, and then clarifies that he’s “not talking about an imaginary book” but “a book that I’m holding in my hand right now.”  He proceeds to point to the Bible in his hand as the final authority.

This idea has been propagated in numerous ways across the spectrum of King James Onlyism. What this concept does is it provides a basis to later declare all modern versions as less than authoritative because they do not all equally match each other. The KJVO advocate may deny it, but if he uses this argumentation, he really is looking for a photocopy of the originals, albeit in English.

2. There are only two Bibles, the Egyptian and the Antiochan.

Over coffee, Gipp tells his suspicious catechumen that despite the hundreds of Bible translations in the bookstores, all Bibles come from just one of two lines of manuscripts: those that come from Alexandria, Egypt, and those that come from Antioch in Syria. From this simplistic categorization of text types, Gipp then uses the guilt-by-association tactic to prove the superiority of the KJV because of its affiliation with Antiochian manuscripts.

Never mind that the Bible provides no precedent to use a distinction between Egypt and Antioch for a basis of judging translations, or that the Son of God was called out of Egypt, or that Athanasius, the champion of trinitarian orthodoxy, came from Alexandria. Because the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch and Egypt is generally spoken of negatively in the scriptures, the issue is presented very matter-of-fact by Gipp that the KJV descends from the Antiochian line, and is therefore superior.

3. The Textus Receptus is the Antiochian line of manuscripts

Gipp says the TR “is the Greek that comes out of Antioch.” So, the line of reasoning is as follows: Inspiration in Antioch > copies and publishing in Antioch > Textus Receptus > KJV.

Unfortunately for Gipp’s argumentation, the transmission of the text is not that simple.

4. The Critical Text is bad because it’s called the Critical Text

I chuckled at the statement, “Just the fact that it’s ‘critical’ should tell you there’s a problem.” All the while he’s promoting the TR, which is a Greek text. A text, by its very nature, is critical. Variant readings from manuscripts have to be compared in order to produce a finished product. In this way, Erasmus’ TR editions are critical, although worked from far fewer manuscripts and with less of a science of textual criticism.

5. Modern translations cannot help a Christian grow in the same way the KJV can.

Thankfully, Gipp admits that people can come to the knowledge of the gospel and be saved through reading versions other than the KJV. However, only the KJV is incorruptible, and corrupt modern versions are not appropriate for the Christian’s growth. No evidence is given here, but at this point, the episode is coming to a close, so I suspect we’ll get more details in the future.

32 Responses to “Coffee With Sam: What’s the Big Deal about the KJV?”

  1. Fredd says:

    Something that occurred to me recently is that many KJV onlyists point to the idea that God has given his perfect word in english because it’s the universal language that is spoken throughout the world. However, the english that is spoken and written throughout the world today is NOT the 1611 old english. English today is a very different language. This is why even the 1611 KJV we buy today is very different than as it was originally written. Ironically, this argument from KJV onlyists seems to SUPPORT the modern translations rather than refute them.

    • Sal Varsalone says:

      Hi Fred,

      Old English is dated around 400-1050 A.D.
      Middle English is dated around 1050-1400 A.D.
      Modern English is dated around 1400 – 2012 A.D.

      There are older dialects like the Elizabethean but the Elizabethean dialogue is considered modern English. The King James Bible is a modern English Bible with an older Elizabethean dialect. It was written in the purist of English as was Shakespeare. It is only a 5th grade reading level. All the post 1881 versions are 6-8 grade reading levels. The so called easier to read, easier to understand NIV is an 8th grade reading level. Sal

    • Sal Varsalone says:

      Hi Fred,

      God used 7 Universal Languages of the World in the course of History. Hebrew, Aramaic for the O.T Greek for the N.T. … Syrian, Latin, German and English. There seems to be something about that number 7. If the Bible was purified 7 times like Psalm 12:6-7 says…Then English is the last Universal Language of the World. No wonder Satan is attacking the English Bible so strongly. Sal

  2. Craig Hurst says:

    Notice at 2:30 that he says, “Many of the originals that we have today may have even been penned there.” This is a blatant lie as no one has the originals.

    • Bp. J. David McGuire, DD says:

      Dear Mr. Hurst:
      The key word in his statement is “may”, so not only is the “blatant lie” yours for calling that statement a lie, but also your continuation of “…as no one has the originals.” Please tell us, Craig, where is your proof for that negative?

    • Sal Varsalone says:

      Hi Craig,

      I know Sam Gipp personally. I am a convert from your side who ran a 16 team Bible Quiz League in my city in Canton Ohio. Sam teaches that the originals are lost as does your side. However, manuscripts are either preserved or they are not. I recently finished a book. I no longer have the original manuscript on my computer. The printer now has the only original copy of my book. I have an exact copy of my book in my hand of course. My point is…The first original has been erased from my computer by mistake. The printer perfectly preserved what I intended to write. I believe our manuscripts are either perfectly preserved or unfortunately corrupt. The Bible tells us in Matt. 4 and in Luke 4, that man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. The King James Bible is a word for word translation and not just a dynamic equivalent. The modern scholars need to change that verse to…every thought that proceeds out of the head of God. By the way…in Lukes account of the verse in many modern versions of the Bible, check the NIV, that part of the verse is omitted. Was this an accident? Sal

  3. Craig Hurst says:

    A thought following my comment earlier. I would ask Gipp, “If we have the originals as Gipp claims then what’s the need for the TR or any other Greek text?”

  4. Damien T Garofalo says:

    Thanks for your comments, Craig.

    I don’t think Gipp ever makes that claim, however.

  5. Craig Hurst says:

    Damien, I don’t want to put words into his mouth but isn’t that what he says at 2:30 into the video?

  6. Damien T Garofalo says:

    Oh wow. Good find – I totally missed that. He indeed says, “In fact, many of the originals we have today were probably penned in Antioch.”

    However, I think that’s a slip up. I don’t think Gipp believes we still have the original autographs. I do wonder why he said that, though.

  7. Craig Hurst says:

    I agree, that was probably a slip up but it was a huge mistake. I am surprised they didn’t edit that out or re-shoot that shot.

  8. Fredd says:

    I just watched it again and noticed that during the words “many of the originals” Sam’s face is off screen and then appears for the rest of the sentence. Probably just a coincidence but, if he really did mean that, it could be that he originally said something else like “many of the copies” and they decided to loop him saying “originals” over it after which they took his face off camera to mask the lip-sync problem. I’m probably wrong, though.

  9. Nowhere in the Scripture does it expressly teach that Scripture came specifically from Antioch, or good Scripture from Antioch, etc.

    A proper and sound view would be that Scripture multiplied from Palestine and Asia Minor, and that there was never a limited Scripture in Antioch, nor a good line specifically from there. Rather, in the multiplication of the copies of Scripture, while corruptions did occur, there was always a broadly agreeing “Traditional Text” which might be contrasted with a specific corrupted Egyptian tradition.

    The real way to describe the historical phenomena is not to say that there are fundamentally two Bibles, but to say that there are fundamentally two interpretations. These two interpretations have developed out of the evidence available from the Renaissance.

    The first is to regard the Traditional Text as drawn from the Greek with consolation of other families of versions and translations, which resulted in what we call Textus Receptus editions. The emphasis of this was primarily on the translations made, so that ultimately the King James Bible itself was being viewed as the paragon.

    The second was a more recent movement which put emphasis onto the original languages rather than the translation, and that instead of starting with the “received truth” as a fixed reality, the assumption was that the truth had to dredged up from the morass of manuscript evidence, subject to the whims of scholars who could never decide what finally was right, only that the King James Bible was “out of date” with current, present time reality.

    Finally, arguing a science is one thing, but building a Christian doctrine should be done from Scripture and by Scriptures. That is why I think the best form of King James Bible onlyism would start from the Scripture and use Scripture to build up the knowledge of the doctrine. That’s why starting from “Antioch” is not the right starting place in trying to convince someone the truth of the King James Bible itself.

  10. Damien,

    Thanks for this news. That’s a well-made, tightly focused presentation. Sam Gipp looks entirely lucid, and I can see how viewers new to the subject could watch this and adopt his perspective – not entirely unlike the way in which many readers of Metzger’s books on NTTC have acquired Metzger’s perspective.

    But, as you noted, it does have some problems, mainly in the contents of Gipp’s claims. (Question: is Sam Gipp’s Th.D. real? Until I know I won’t use the title.) Here are some that I noticed:

    (1) His statement that the KJV is “the absolute final authority” for the church in all matters of faith and practice appears to raise the authority of the KJV above the authority of the original text.

    (2) He does not mention the NKJV in his description of Bibles with a TR-base. At about the five-minute mark, he describes modern English versions as if, on one side, there’s the KJV with an Antichan (i.e., Byzantine) NT text-base, and then there’s everything else. The existence of the NKJV renders that untrue.

    (3) As you mentioned, his reconstruction of the transmission of the Greek NT text as Antioch-versus-Egypt is a severe oversimplification.

    (4) Part of his case for the KJV is that it is based on the text-form that is supported by the “vast majority” of manuscripts. But a person who considers majority-support decisive would ultimately advocate the Majority Text, not the TR.

    (5) At around 4:20, Gipp proposes that First John 5:7 was removed from the Alexandrian Text by people in Egypt who did not believe in the Trinity. This is quite difficult to maintain, since, setting aside the question of the origin of the CJ (which, if you ask me, originated as a Latin margin-note that featured Cyprian’s allegorical interpretation of the preceding phrase), this would imply that the folks in Egypt somehow had a huge influence on the contents of the Greek text of First John in its extant copies.

    (6) At around 6:50, Gipp says something like, “There are 16 whole verses taken out of this.” If one uses the KJV’s base-text as the standard for comparison, a lot more than that has been removed. That would be quite an understatement! (Could he have meant “60”?)

    Regarding his statement that “Many of the originals that we have today may have even been penned there,” his wording is indeed misleading, but if the statement is approached generously (i.e., without an agenda to find faults), istm that a little thought makes it fairly clear that by “the originals” he means original-language manuscripts; he is not declaring that we have many of the original NT documents.

    Regarding the statement, “Just the fact that it’s ‘critical’ should tell you there’s a problem,” I, too, chuckled at that. But he built none of his case on that statement.

    For a long time, slick propaganda that promotes the NIV has misled many people about important aspects of New Testament manuscript-evidence and other things. I can’t say that I’m elated to see slick misleading propaganda now promote the KJV instead. But at least, when the production-value of pro-KJV materials is as high as it is in this video, it levels the playing-field, to the benefit of bystanders in the marketplace, so that they may better evaluate the content of competing claims, and not just their packaging.

    Yours in Christ,

    James Snapp, Jr.

  11. Tom says:

    As always when the KJ only group spout their stuff the NKJV is always ignored…

    • Sal Varsalone says:

      Hi Tom,

      I would be catecorized by you as a KJ onlyist. The more fair term to give us is…A preservationist only. We have one Lord, One Faith, One Baptism, One Way, One truth, and One Life. How come we have many bibles that do not say the same thing? Is God a God of “Ones” or is God a God of “Many,?” Sal

    • Sal Varsalone says:

      Hi Tom,

      If you know anything about Sam Gipp you would know that he has also exposed the NKJV as well. Call 1-800-311-1823 and order some tracts on the NKJV. I will give you a couple of excerpts…The NKJV takes out the word repentance 44 times. It also takes out the word hell 22 times. Get the picture? Sal

  12. Damien and Bob,

    It looks like that eight-minute video must have seemed particularly concerning to James White. He’s made a multi-part response to it that is relatively lengthy.

    Yours in Christ,

    James Snapp, jr.

  13. MWicks says:

    Thanks for posting this Damien!

    Yea, it is typical to make people think that they lose the authority of the Bible if they do not hold to the KJV only position, hence the speech at the tail-end of the class.

    Over-simplification abounds here.
    – I agree that the attitude towards Egypt is not good even if one prefers the Byzantine texts over the Alexandrian text(s). What about Egyptian believers today? How would they feel about this attitude?
    – Assumes that the majority of manuscripts support 1 John 5:7. The opposite is true. Even the Trinitarian Bible Society (TBS), who supports this Textus Receptus reading is honest enough to admit that it is not a majority reading (see footnote).
    – If I am not mistaken the “Antiochan mentality” terminology that Mr. Gipp uses is his own invention. Also, he basically uses the terminology to describe anybody who thinks that there may be human error in transmission. If you even think that the TR is the pure word of God, but think that the KJV has a few departures from the TR, then he will say that you have an “Alexandrian mentality”. (I found this information on his website.)
    – People who read much of the history of manuscript transmission and textual criticism on either side of the spectrum should know that Mr. Gipp’s description of how we get the KJV Bible is too simplistic.

    Over-simplifications make easier arguments (for and to the uninformed), but I would say they are not better. Better arguments for the KJV and the TR are found for example at the Trinitarian Bible Society, UK website. I personally think the Majority Text position is better than the TR position and much better than the KJVO position (the two latter positions usually, but not always go together).

    @ James Snapp. I think the NKJV is indeed a good translation of the TR, while being respectful to the MT and the CT. Ultimately, I think it is the respect for other text types through footnotes that KJVO people most dislike about the NKJV. As far as Sam Gipp, you can find his answer on the NKJV here (follow the link for question number 38): http://samgipp.com/answerbook/

    Actually, it was question number 58 (of Mr. Gipp’s Answerbook-previous link) that floored me. The question is “How many mistakes are there in the King James Bible?” Answer: “None.” When I first looked at the question, I expected that he would answer “None” then proceed to give at least a good ten-page answer why he believe this. Every other answer he gives in the book has an explanation. You know what his answer was? “None” to be exact! Like, what kind of answer is that?!

    It’s very funny, probably only coincidence, or shall we say Providence: as Sam Gipp talks about what the Alexandrian text takes out he is not taking away from the coffee–he is adding to it!

    Indeed, the cinema makes Gipp’s position that much more compelling. Thankfully though, he says that you can still be saved even if you use the NIV (etc.)

    Yours truly.

    (footnote) Trinitarian Bible Society (UK) argues that even though 1 John 5:7 is a minority reading, still it is an original reading preserved in the Latin Vulgate and very few other sources. I think TR the argument for the longer reading in 1 John 5:7 sounds the same as the CT argument for the shorter ending of Mark 16.

  14. Fredd says:

    MWick – RE: your comment about Gipp and the TR, Gipp has stated that he recognizes there are differences between the TR and the KJV. His position is that the TR is the best of the manuscripts and that where the TR differs from the KJV, he believes that God moved the KJV translators to place that variant into the text. In other words, where the KJV agrees with the TR, that proves the TR is pure. Where it differs, that proves the KJV is the final authority.

    I’ve noticed that whenever someone tries to nail down Gipp as to exactly how we can know the KJV translation in particular is the final authority, his answers basically boil down to, “because i said so”.

    I’ve read his bible answer book too. It took a few times reading it through for me to realize it wasn’t satire.

    • Sal Varsalone says:

      Hi Fred,

      You were fair in showing Sam Gipps position. You probably have not read his book, “Is our English Bible Inspired.” I have read the book. Why not purchase a copy and read it? Sam explains his position and why he believes it to be true. If we do not have preservation, then inspiration is lost. The last command of Jesus was not to add or subtract from His Word. Rev. 22:18-19. We Christians want to unify on everything except the Word of God. If the King James Onlyist had their way, we would all be unified on one Bible. The Muslims are united on their Bible but the devil doesn’t touch them. He likes them right where they are. But boy does he hate our Bible. Can you imagine a Bible study with everyone using the same Bible like they had before 1881? Sal

    • Fredd says:

      Hi Sal,

      I understand Mr. Gipp’s logic that God would preserve his word in one language and i understand why it makes sense that it would be english nowadays. I don’t agree with it but i understand his thinking. What i haven’t heard him adequately address is how we know that one version is the KJV. Maybe it was the Geneva bible, or the Bishop’s bible, or the NKJV. Why does he single out that particular version as the right one? When he appeared on the Ankerberg show, he was asked that question and his answer was “it’s a matter of faith”. What if i have faith that the Geneva bible is God’s preserved word? How would he argue against that?

      He also makes a big deal of using Psalm 12:6-7 “The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.
      7 Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.” Assuming his interpretation of that passage is correct, the originals were written in Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic. English is not a PRESERVATION of those words, it’s a TRANSLATION of those words into another language. So even if he is exegeting this passage correctly, it doesn’t help his position.

  15. White Man says:

    KJVO’s like Gipp frequently confuse Good News for Modern Man with Today’s English Version. Although there have been several editions, these are no different than the Nestle-Alan text and the UBS text; just different packaging.

    • Sal Varsalone says:

      Hi White Man,

      Different packages and more money. Enough changes to get the copyright. The NIV left out 17 full verses within its 64,000 word changes. 5,778 verses or so have been omitted or deleted or changed doctrinally. The message, has taken that track record down a notch more. Investigate as to how many verses are now omitted from the message. The NIV camp should be furious. The same people who balked at gender neutrality, and who said… The NIV should not be changed…never took responsibility for what they took out and changed from God’s precious preserved Word in English. Don’t you find that hypocritical? Sal

    • Sal Varsalone says:

      Hi White Man,

      All the precursor Bibles, before the KJB came out, had a progression of improvement. Remember, the Catholic Church was fighting tooth and nail to keep the Bible out of the hands of the people. When the final product was finished in English, the PEOPLE FLOCKED TO IT NATURALLY. I emphasised that because that is the truth. The Puritans pretty much kept the Geneva in their hands because they simply did not like King James, even though he had nothing to do with the translation. All of the English speaking people were united naturally on the KJB because they knew naturally that nothing else in English could compare with it. It was doctrinally sound, it Rhymed, it was poetic, it had alliteration in it, it was easier to memorize because it sings. God gave us His preserved Word in English in the purist of the English language.

      Today, after 1881, all of the Egyptian Bibles are getting progressively worse. I can compare countless scriptures on end from these Bibles with the KJB. All a Christian has to do, (I’m talking about those who have received Jesus as their Saviour with their heart and not their head,) is check these verses out in their spirit and ask God for guidance and wisdom. Your spirit will show you the right choice as you compare each Bible as to which one has God’s spirit. Sal

  16. White Man says:

    I should have said, they fail to identify the two when spouting off a list of corrupt versions.

  17. Craig Hurst says:

    @ David, there are two parts to Gipps sentence there. First, assuming he meant to say it as said, he has certainty that we (or someone) have the originals. Second, the contingency is not on whether he believes someone has them but on where some of them might have been penned.

    No one has the originals but some of them very well might have penned in Antioch. So, we have good reason to believe some of them were penned in Antioch but we have no evidence or reason to claim that the originals are extant (existing and known).

    So, if he meant to say it then it is a lie because no one has them.

    Do you think we have the originals David?

  18. White Man says:

    “They stated in Latin “textum ergo babes, nunc ab omnibus receptum…” ei “According to the text now held from the volume received…” Thus the title “Textus Receptus” or “Received Text” was born.” –Gipp
    Is this an accurate translation of the Latin?

  19. White Man says:

    To answer my own question, no–it’s not. Not even close.

  20. russelh says:

    i only have one question to all of you guys, what kind of God do you have? This is a silly argument. Is your God powerful enough to make one authoritative word? for many of you He is not. For that reason I stick to the KJV, translated at the height of English ACCURACY. The Bible does not need a rewrite, but a re-read. Psa 12

    • Damien says:

      Yes, your argument is silly.

      It’s best to interact with actual points in a post, not assume things about the people with whom you disagree.

      If God is powerful enough to make “one authoritative word” (which he is, of course) then why would you need an English translation? Why the KJV and not Tyndale or previous English versions? Those are indeed “re-writes”, or do you believe God breathed out the scriptures in 1611 English?

      Either way, Russel, I assume nothing about your personal faith and you shouldn’t about ours. Don’t treat us as though we were guilty until proven innocent. If you’d like to put in your two cents, please interact with the actual post. I made 5 points in this post. Choose at least one and interact with it.

  21. Q says:

    Guys … Let the Bible say what it say about this subject,(They we’re called Christians first in Antioch) Act:11;26,(Were the words of a king is there is power) Ecclesiastes 8:4, I’m not going to Argue, I think we should let the Bible speak for itself !as far as the rest of it The new versions ALL have a little Leaven in them 1Cor 5:6(Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?)

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