Reverend Malcolm Watts was the other speaker hosted at the Keach Conference this past weekend. He spoke on the Providential Preservation of the Scriptures. My notes from his lectures are quite jumbled, so I won’t be sharing them. For much of his lectures I sat in the pew quietly stunned by what I was hearing. Certainly, he was saying things I was quite unaware of.
As some of you may know, this year was the 400th anniversary of the Authorized Version (The 1611 King James Version) of the Bible. Because of this fact, in celebration of this, Rev. Watts spoke about the KJV and other translations from the majority texts (please note neither I nor Rev. Watts are advocating a KJV only stance here) over and against our modern translations from the critical texts. His lectures were uncomfortable for me. I had always been a good ESV carrying Calvinist. I mean, that is the translation of choice among young Calvinists, is it not? Why did I have this translation? Why had I chose it? These questions went through my mind as I heard what Rev. Watts said about the surfacing of the Critical Texts translations in 1880(I don’t have the exact date on hand). 1880?! That is so young in the scope of church history! That alone puts a red flag up for me.
So why was I carrying around an ESV anyway? I realized it was simply because the teachers and pastors I admire tend to use it. You know, those celebrity type pastors. I had never considered how it was translated or what from. Shouldn’t I take the Word of God more seriously?
Needless to say, hearing the two lectures from Rev. Watts sent me on a search to find out more about Bible Translations, what the church had always used since receiving the Scriptures, and what the difference between the critical and majority texts was. Those two lectures, sparked hours of reading and research and late night discussions between me and my husband. We are still wrestling with this. It’s never easy to admit you were wrong.
As you may guess, all my research and learning seems to have me shifting camps. I went from critical text beliefs because they were popular to leaning toward majority texts (and maybe the TR camp specifically … still learning). The one thing we have solidly agreed on from our learning thus far is that the ESV is not a good translation (no, we aren’t throwing out our ESVs or saying they aren’t Bibles. No worries – we aren’t fanatical! It’s just no longer our translation of choice).
I’m very thankful that God allowed me to sit and listen to Rev. Watts. That God stretched me outside of where I was comfortable. If it weren’t for Rev.Watts lectures at the Keach Conference I would still be blissfully ignorant to this issue. I praise God for allowing me to learn more about Him and His church!
One day, I hope to write a more detailed post of the differences between the two. Until then, here are two lectures I have found very helpful on the subject. When Rev. Watts’ lectures are available on sermonaduio.com I will share them as well.