New Podcast from the Confessional Text Position


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Post comments and questions in the video if you'd like to have a topic addressed in future podcasts.

Does Luke Wayne have an account on the forum?


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I'll just leave this here for the non-Reformed or Reformed-ish readers to understand the Confessional Text position.

Westminster Confession of Faith
Chapter I - Of the Holy Scripture

1. Although the light of nature, and the works of creation and providence do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, as to leave men unexcusable; yet are they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God, and of his will, which is necessary unto salvation. Therefore it pleased the Lord, at sundry times, and in divers manners, to reveal himself, and to declare that his will unto his church; and afterwards, for the better preserving and propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the church against the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan and of the world, to commit the same wholly unto writing: which maketh the Holy Scripture to be most necessary; those former ways of God's revealing his will unto his people being now ceased.

2. Under the name of Holy Scripture, or the Word of God written, are now contained all the books of the Old and New Testaments, which are these:

Of the Old Testament:

GenesisII ChroniclesDaniel
I SamuelThe Song of SongsHabakkuk
II SamuelIsaiahZephaniah
I KingsJeremiahHaggai
II KingsLamentationsZechariah
I ChroniclesEzekielMalachi

Of the New Testament:

The Gospels GalatiansThe Epistle
according to Ephesians of James
Matthew PhilippiansThe first and
Mark Colossians second Epistles
Luke Thessalonians I of Peter
John Thessalonians IIThe first, second,
The Acts of the to Timothy I and third Epistles
Apostles to Timothy II of John
Paul's Epistles to TitusThe Epistle
to the Romans to Philemon of Jude
Corinthians IThe Epistle toThe Revelation
Corinthians II the Hebrews of John

All which are given by inspiration of God to be the rule of faith and life.

3. The books commonly called Apocrypha, not being of divine inspiration, are no part of the canon of the Scripture, and therefore are of no authority in the church of God, nor to be any otherwise approved, or made use of, than other human writings.

4. The authority of the Holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed, and obeyed, dependeth not upon the testimony of any man, or church; but wholly upon God (who is truth itself) the author thereof: and therefore it is to be received, because it is the Word of God.

5. We may be moved and induced by the testimony of the church to an high and reverent esteem of the Holy Scripture. And the heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the scope of the whole (which is, to give all glory to God), the full discovery it makes of the only way of man's salvation, the many other incomparable excellencies, and the entire perfection thereof, are arguments whereby it doth abundantly evidence itself to be the Word of God: yet notwithstanding, our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts.

6. The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man's salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men. Nevertheless, we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word: and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and government of the church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature, and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed.

7. All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all: yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed for salvation, are so clearly propounded, and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them.

8. The Old Testament in Hebrew (which was the native language of the people of God of old), and the New Testament in Greek (which, at the time of the writing of it, was most generally known to the nations), being immediately inspired by God, and, by his singular care and providence, kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentical; so as, in all controversies of religion, the church is finally to appeal unto them. But, because these original tongues are not known to all the people of God, who have right unto, and interest in the Scriptures, and are commanded, in the fear of God, to read and search them, therefore they are to be translated into the vulgar language of every nation unto which they come, that, the Word of God dwelling plentifully in all, they may worship him in an acceptable manner; and, through patience and comfort of the Scriptures, may have hope.

9. The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself: and therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture (which is not manifold, but one), it must be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly.

10. The supreme judge by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other but the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scripture.


What was the typical understanding concerning Bible translations and their authority in the 1500’s and in the 1600’s?

In his 1583 book that advocated and defended the Reformation view or Protestant view of Bible translation, Puritan William Fulke (1538-1589) stated: "We say indeed, that by the Greek text of the New Testament all translations of the New Testament must be tried; but we mean not by every corruption that is in any Greek copy of the New Testament" (A Defence of the Sincere and True Translations, p. 44). Neil Rhodes maintained that William Fulke “had become the official voice of English Protestantism” (English Renaissance Translation Theory, p. 22). David Norton stated that William Fulke “became a pillar of the Church of England” (History of the English Bible, p. 50). In the preface of another book, William Fulke noted: "The dissension of interpreters [translators] must be decided by the original Greek" (Confutation, p. 26). William Fulke maintained: “The Greek text of the New Testament needeth no patronage of men, as that which is the very word and truth of God” (p. 32). William Fulke observed:
"We acknowledge the text of the Old Testament in Hebrew and Chaldee, (for in the Chaldee tongue were some parts of it written,) as it is now printed with vowels, to be the only fountain, out of which we must draw the pure truth of the scriptures for the Old Testament, adjoining here with the testimony of the Mazzoreth, where any diversity of points, letters, or words, is noted to have been in sundry ancient copies, to discern that which is proper to the whole context, from that which by errors of the writers or printers hath been brought into any copy, old or new" (A Defence, p. 78).

In another place, William Fulke pointed out: "We acknowledge the Hebrew "as the fountain and spring, from whence we must receive the infallible truth of God's Word of the Old Testament" (Ibid., p. 147). Fulke also wrote: "It becometh us best in translation to follow the original text, and, as near as we can, the true meaning of the Holy Ghost" (Ibid., p. 214). Gail Riplinger acknowledged that many of the KJV translators had in their hands a copy of Fulke’s two books (In Awe, p. 536).

Puritan William Whitaker (1547-1595) wrote: "We make no edition authentic, save the Hebrew in the old, and the Greek in the new, Testament" (Disputation on Holy Scripture, p. 140). William Whitaker asserted that our churches determine “that the Hebrew of the old Testament, and the Greek of the new, is the sincere and authentic scripture of God; and that, consequently, all questions are to determined by these originals, and versions only so far approved as they agree with these originals” (p. 111). William Whitaker maintained that "the authentic originals of the scripture of the old Testament are extant in Hebrew, of the new in Greek" (p. 138). Whitaker observed: "The papists contend that their Latin text is authentic of itself, and ought not to be tried by the text of the originals. Now in this sense no translation ever was, or could be, authentic. For translations of scripture are always to be brought back to the originals of scripture, received if they agree with those originals, and corrected if they do not. That scripture only, which the prophets, apostles, and evangelists wrote by inspiration of God, is in every way credible on its own account and authentic" (p. 138). Whitaker asserted: “That is called authentic, which is sufficient to itself, which commends, sustains, proves itself, and hath credit and authority from itself” (p. 332). Whitaker wrote: “Our adversaries determine that the authentic scripture consists not in the Hebrew and Greek originals, but in the Vulgate Latin version. We, on the contrary side, say that the authentic and divinely-inspired scripture is not this Latin, but the Hebrew edition of the Old Testament, and the Greek of the New” (p. 135). Whitaker noted: “The church hath not power of approving any man’s translation, however accurate, in such a manner as to pronounce it alone to be authentic scripture, and preferable to the sacred originals themselves. For authentic scripture must proceed immediately from the Holy Ghost himself; and therefore Paul says that all scripture is divinely inspired” (p. 148). Whitaker asserted: “We ought to understand the words which the Holy Spirit hath used in the Scriptures; and therefore, we ought to know the original languages. We should consult the Hebrew text in the Old Testament, the Greek in the new: we should approach the very fountain-heads of the scriptures, and not stay beside the derived streams of versions” (p. 468). Whitaker observed: “Translators, indeed, we often see go wrong; on which account it is not always safe to acquiesce in them” (p. 479).

William Fulke is said to have held frequent meetings for the study of the Bible with William Whitaker, KJV translator Laurence Chaderton (1536 or 7-1640), and other Puritans at Cambridge. Walter Hook noted that Whitaker “held many meetings in the University with Fulke, Chaderton, Dod, and others, but the purpose of these was only to expound the Scriptures” (Ecclesiastical, VIII, p. 722). William Whitaker and Laurence Chaderton were married to sisters. E. S. Shuckburgh noted that for a period of time Chaderton had “a dwelling house in common with ‘the famous and learned Whitaker,‘ who was related to him by marriage and friendship” (Laurence Chaderton, p. 9). The Dictionary of National Biography asserted that "no English divine of the sixteenth century surpassed William Whitaker in the estimation of his contemporaries" (Vol. XXI, p. 22).

Fulke's and Whitaker's view concerning Bible translation was in harmony or agreement with the view of the early English translators including the KJV translators.


Benjamin Brook indicated that Thomas Cartwright (1535-1603) referred to “the authority of the authentic copies [of the Scriptures] in Hebrew, Chaldee, and Greek” as the “high court of appeal” (Memoir, p. 275). In the preface to the reader of his book A Confutation of the Rhemists’ Translation, Thomas Cartwright noted: “If the authority of the authentical copies in Hebrew, Chaldee, and Greek fall: there is no high court of appeal, where controversy (rising upon the diversity of translations, or otherwise) may be ended.” Hugh Broughton (1549-1612) maintained “that the book which we call the Bible is the Hebrew for the Old, the Greek for the New, and translations are but so far as they are true and exact from the original; and without hindrance may and must be examined by the other” (Epistle, p. 9).

According to its own title page and its preface, the 1611 KJV professed to be translated from the original languages. According to its title page for the New Testament, the 1611 KJV's New Testament was "newly translated out of the original Greek." The first rule for the translating referred to “the truth of the original.” The sixth rule and fifteen rule referred to “Hebrew” and to “Greek.” Lancelot Andrewes (1555-1626), a KJV translator, wrote: "Look to the original, as, for the New Testament, the Greek text; for the Old, the Hebrew" (Pattern of Catechistical Doctrine, p. 59). Gustavus Paine pointed out that another KJV translator John Rainolds (1549-1607) "urged study of the word of God in the Hebrew and Greek, 'not out of the books of translation'" (Men Behind the KJV, p. 84). In a sermon on Roman 1:16, Miles Smith (?-1624) referred to “the fountain of the prophets and apostles, which are the only authentic pen-men, and registers of the Holy Ghost” (Sermons, p. 75). In the preface to the 1611 KJV entitled "The Translators to the Reader," Miles Smith favorably quoted Jerome as writing “that as the credit of the old books (he meaneth the Old Testament) is to be tried by the Hebrew volumes, so of the New by the Greek tongue, he meaneth the original Greek. Then Miles Smith presented the view of the KJV translators as follows: "If truth be to be tried by these tongues [Hebrew and Greek], then whence should a translation be made, but out of them? These tongues therefore, we should say the Scriptures, in those tongues, we set before us to translate, being the tongues in which God was pleased to speak to his church by his prophets and apostles." In this preface, Miles Smith wrote: “If you ask what they had before them, truly it was the Hebrew tnext of the Old Testament, the Greek of the New.” Earlier on the third page of this preface, Smith referred to “the original” as “being from heaven, not from earth.” Writing for all the translators, Miles Smith noted: “If anything be halting, or superfluous, or no so agreeable to the original, the same may be corrected, and the truth set in place.” Miles Smith observed: “No cause therefore why the word translated should be denied to be the word, or forbidden to be current, notwithstanding that some imperfections and blemishes may be noted in the setting forth of it. For whatever was perfect under the sun, where apostles or apostolike men, that is, men indured with an extraordinary measure of God’s Spirit, and privileged with the privilege of infallibility, had not their hand? The Romanists therefore in refusing to hear, and daring to burn the word translated, did no less then despite the Spirit of grace, from whom originally it proceeded, and whose sense and meaning, as well as man’s weakness would enable, it did express.” Laurence Vance cited the report of the British delegates (including KJV translator Samuel Ward) to the 1618 Synod of Dort that included a reference to “the truth of the original text” (King James, His Bible, p. 47). In the dedication to King James in the 1611, Thomas Bilson (1546-1616) also acknowledged that the KJV was a translation made “out of the original sacred tongues.“ John Eadie noted that the account of the Hampton Court conference written by Patrick Galloway, the king’s Scottish chaplain, [“an account revised by the king himself”] stated “that a translation be made of the whole Bible, as consonant as can be to the original Hebrew and Greek” (English Bible, II, p. 179).

Daniel Featley (1582-1645), who was a chaplain of KJV translator George Abbot, who was appointed to the Westminster Assembly of Divines, and who may have been a KJV translator according to the British Museum list of translators, asserted what could be soundly regarded as the typical Church of England and Protestant view of that day. In 1624, Daniel Featley wrote: “We believe the Originals of the two Testaments, in Hebrew and Greek, to be authentical, and of undoubted authority“ (The Roman Fisher, p. 98). Daniel Featley wrote: “No translation can equal the authority of the original, much less be preferred before it” (Appendix to the Fishers Net, pp. 69-70). In a later book published in 1646, Daniel Featley wrote: “For no translation is simply authentical, or the undoubted word of God. In the undoubted word of God there can be no error. But in translations there may be, and are errors. The Bible translated therefore is not the undoubted word of God, but so far only as it agreeth with the original” (Dippers Dipt, p. 1). Concerning translations, Daniel Featley asserted: “For there is none in which there are not some mistakes, more or less” (p. 74). Daniel Featley added: “Other slips must be born with in translations, or else we must read none at all till we have a translation given by divine inspiration, as the originals are” (Ibid.). In his 1620 commentary on Romans dedicated to King James, Andrew Willet (1562-1621) noted that the ancient Syriac translation “must give place unto the authentical Greek, whereout it was translated” (Hexapla, p. 2). In 1630, John Weemes wrote: “We believe a translation, in so far as it is agreeable to the authentic Scripture” (Christian Synagogue, p. 55). James Ussher (1582-1656) maintained “that all translations are to be judged, examined, and reformed according to the text of the ancient Hebrew and original Chaldee, in which the Old Testament was penned, and the Greek text, in which the New Testament was written” (Body of Divinity, p. 20). James Ussher observed: “In them [the original languages] only the Scriptures are, for the letter, to be held authentical. And as the water is most pure in the fountain or spring thereof: so the right understanding of the Holy Scriptures is most certain in the original languages of Hebrew and Greek, in which they were first written and delivered to the church, out of which languages they must be truly translated for the understanding of them that have not the knowledge of those tongues” (Ibid.).


In agreement with these views, reformer Francis Turretin (1623-1687) pointed out: "Our teaching is that only the Hebrew of the Old Testament and the Greek of the New have been and are authentic in the sense that all controversies concerning faith and religion, and all versions, are to be tested and examined by them" (Doctrine of Scripture, p. 126). Francis Turretin also declared: "The question is whether the original text, in Hebrew or in Greek, has been so corrupted, either by the carelessness of copyists or by the malice of the Jews and heretics, that it can no longer be held as the judge of controversies and the norm by which all versions without exception are to be judged. The Roman Catholics affirm this; we deny it" (Doctrine of Scripture, pp. 113-114). John Diodati (1576-1649), translator of the 1607 Italian Bible, is translated as writing: “The authentic text of Scripture, and that which is truly God-breathed, consists only of the Hebrew originals in the Old Testament and Greek originals in the New Testament” (Ferrari, Diodati’s Doctrine of Holy Scripture, p. 47). In 1609, Henry Ainsworth wrote: “Only because in this changing or translating, imperfections, wants [lacks], errors may fall in: therefore, the first writings as the prophets and apostles penned them, are to be made the absolute canon, rule, touchstone, whereby all translations are to be tried” (Defence of the Holy Scriptures, p. 47). Dutch reformer and pastor Wilhelmus a Brakel (1635-1711) referred to “the original Hebrew and Greek languages in which holy men moved by the Holy Ghost have written” (The Christian’s Reasonable Service, Vol. I, p. 70). Wilhelmus a Brakel wrote: “Only the aforementioned languages are authentic, having the inherent authority to be both credible and acceptable. It was in these languages that it has pleased the Lord, by the inspiration and direction of the Holy Spirit, to cause His Word to be recorded. All translations into other languages must be verified by means of the original text” (p. 33). Brakel noted: “The original texts are directly inspired by God and originate with God--both as to doctrinal content as well as the words. In translations, however, only the doctrinal content is divinely inspired, not the words” (p. 71). Brakel wrote: “As accurate as a translation may be, it nevertheless is neither authentic nor infallible” (p. 70).

In another testimony to the view of believers in the 1600's, John Owen (1616-1683) contended that the copies of God's Word in the original languages are "the rule, standard, and touchstone of all translations, ancient or modern, by which they are in all things to be examined, tried, corrected, amended; and themselves only by themselves" (Church & the Bible, p. 357). John Owen added: "Translations contain the word of God, and are the word of God, perfectly or imperfectly, according as they express the words, sense, and meaning of those originals. To advance any, all translations concurring, into an equality with the originals,--so to set them by it as to set them up with it on even terms,--much more to propose and use them as means of castigating, amending, altering any thing in them, gathering various lections by them, is to set up an altar of our own by the altar of God, and to make equal the wisdom, care, skill, and diligence of men, with the wisdom, care, and providence of God himself" (Ibid.).

A bill for revising the English translation of the Scriptures in the 1650’s passed by Parliament affirmed this view. John Stoughton cited this bill as stating: “it is our duty to endeavour to have the Bible translated in all places as accurately and as perfectly agreeing with the original Hebrew and Greek as we can attain unto” (Ecclesiastical History of England, II, p. 545). In his 1659 book, Brian Walton, editor of the London Polyglot, wrote: “That neither the Hebrew nor Greek texts of the Old or New Testament are corrupted by heretics or others, but that they remain pure and entire; and that they always were, and still are, the authentic rule in all matters of faith and religion, and that by them all translations are to be tried and examined” (Todd, Memoirs, II, p. 51). John Goodwin (1593-1665) referred to “the fountains themselves (I mean the originals)” (Christian Theology, p. 48).

Joe Early maintained that according to John Smyth (?-1611) and Thomas Helwys “only the original Greek and Hebrew texts were considered to be inspired” (Life and Writings of Thomas Helwys, pp. 21). In his 1654 book, Edward Leigh (1603-1671) wrote: “We hold that the Hebrew for the Old Testament and the Greek for the New is the sincere and authentical writing of God; therefore that all things are to be determined by them; and that the other versions are so far to be approved of, as they agree with these fountains” (System or Body of Divinity, p. 59). Baptist Thomas Granthan (1634-1692) "emphatically asserted the superiority of the original languages to any secondary language for authority in translation" (Bush, Baptists and the Bible, p. 41).

Baptist scholar John Gill (1697-1771) also presented the Baptist view of Bible translation of that period that was in agreement with the view of the early Bible translators and the view in the 1646 Westminster Confession of Faith and the 1677 Second London Confession by Baptists. John Gill wrote: “The apostle Paul speaks of himself, and other inspired apostles of the New Testament, Which things, says he, we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Spirit teaches [1Cor 2:13], and it is the writing, or the word of God as written, that is, by inspiration of God [2Tit 3:16]. Fourth, This is to be understood of the Scriptures in the original languages in which they were written and not of translations. Unless it could be thought, that the translators of the Bible into the several languages of the nations into which it has been translated, were under the divine inspiration also in translating, and were directed of God to the use of words they have rendered the original by; but this is not reasonable to suppose.” John Gill added: "To the Bible, in its original languages, is every translation to be brought, and by it to be examined, tried, and judged, and to be corrected and amended; and if this was not the case, we should have no certain and infallible rule to go
by; for it must be either all the translations together, or some one of them; not all of them, because they agree not in all things: not one; for then the contest would be between one nation and another which it should be, whether English, Dutch, French, etc. and could one be agreed upon, it could not be read and understood by all: so the papists, they plead for their vulgate Latin version; which has been decreed authentic by the council of Trent; though it abounds with innumerable errors and mistakes; nay, so far do they carry this affair, that they even assert that the Scriptures, in their originals, ought to submit to, and be corrected by their version; which is absurd and ridiculous" (Body of Divinity, p. 18)

In addition, this fact that the early English Bible translators, Reformers, and other Bible believers in the 1500's and 1600's accepted the preserved Scriptures in the original languages as the standard for trying and evaluating all translations is confirmed by Roman Catholics. Rheims New Testament translator Gregory Martin condemned those who made the Hebrew and Greek the standard: "They admit only the Hebrew in the Old Testament, and the Greek in the New, to be the true and authentical text" (Fulke, A Defense, p. 46). Gregory Martin also noted that the Reformers and early translators "call the Greek verity and the pure fountain, and that text whereby all translations must be tried" (Ibid., p. 43).

The 1646 Westminster Confession of Faith by Presbyterians, the 1658 Savoy Declaration of Faith and Order by Congregationalists, the 1677 Second London Confession by Baptists, and the 1680 Confession of Faith by Congregationalists in New England stated: "The Old Testament in Hebrew . . . and the New Testament in Greek . . . , being immediately inspired by God, and, by His singular care and providence, kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentical; so as, in all controversies of religion, the Church is finally to appeal unto them (Walker, Creeds, p. 369; Lumpkin, Baptist Confessions of Faith, p. 251; Woods, Report on Congregationalism, p. 95; Dennison, Reformed Confessions, Vol. 4, pp. 236, 460, 534). John Lee also asserted concerning the Church of Scotland: “The doctrine of this National Church is well known to be, ‘That the Old Testament in Hebrew and the New Testament in Greek, being immediately inspired by God, are authentical; so as, in all controversies of religion, the Church is finally to appeal unto them” (Memorial for the Bible Societies in Scotland, p. 186). The 1647 Westminster Larger Catechism noted that “the holy scriptures are to be translated out of the original into vulgar languages” (Dennison, Reformed Confessions, Vol. 4, p. 340).

The Reformers, the early Bible translators including the KJV translators and translators into other languages, Baptists, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, and other believers clearly regarded the preserved Scriptures in the original languages as the proper authentic standard and the greater authority for making and trying or evaluating all Bible translations.