FIRST READ: ROME’S PERSECUTION OF THE BIBLE
A Brazen Claim that Rome Had a Role in
Producing the King James Version!
By Shaun Willcock
This really – really – takes the cake. A travelling Bible exhibit, called “Passages”, which is set to open in the Vatican in October, claims that the Roman Catholic institution made a significant contribution to the production of the King James Version of 1611, the most accurate and faithful Bible version of all time and the Protestant Bible!
“The announcement [about the exhibit] was made at the Vatican Embassy [in Washington, D.C.] to highlight the Catholic contribution to the best-loved English text, the 1611 King James Version, which draws about 80% of its majestic language from an earlier translation by a Catholic priest.”1 Read that statement again! This exhibit claims that the great King James Version is based on an earlier translation of the Bible by a Roman Catholic priest! “How in the world could anyone claim such a thing?” you say. “How could they possibly dare to make such an absurd claim?” Here’s how: according to the exhibit (and to Rome), it was William Tyndale who was the “Roman Catholic priest” who gave us 80% of the King James Version! But this is a shocking falsehood.
Yes, it has been accurately estimated that between 80% and 90% of the King James Version is the work of William Tyndale; for the KJV translators used about that much of Tyndale’s own English translation of the Scriptures when they produced the KJV. His work was so accurate that the KJV translators could carry over that much of his version, lock, stock, and barrel, into their own matchless translation!
And Tyndale had been (at one time) a Roman Catholic priest. But what’s the historical truth? It is that this godly man, whom Rome now wants to hold up as her own faithful priest who did so much for Bible translation, became converted to Christ, ceased to believe or preach the doctrines of Rome, ceased to practice as a priest in communion with Rome, directly disobeyed the law of the Roman Catholic “Church” by translating the Bible into English, and had to smuggle copies of his Bible into England because of the violent opposition of the “Church” authorities! He was so loathed by the “Church” of Rome for daring to translate the Bible into English, that it had him strangled and burned at the stake when he was finally betrayed and caught!2 This was Rome’s contribution to the production of the King James Version!
In all Rome’s excitement about the “Passages” exhibit, what is very conveniently overlooked is that after his conversion to Christ, Tyndale branded the pope of Rome as Antichrist, and wrote much against Popery, including a book entitled The Practice of Prelates, in which the corruptions of Popery were powerfully exposed, and other books in which he also exposed Popery, such as The Obedience of a Christian Man, The Exposition of the Sermon on the Mount, a commentary on the epistles of John, and A Treatise Upon Signs and Sacraments. Were such works the writings of a priest of Rome? Hardly.
He hated the Harlot “Church” and loved the Word of God, and longed to see it in the hands of every Englishman. Never must Tyndale’s immortal, soul-stirring words be forgotten, spoken in a debate with a Romish priest who said that it would be better to be without God’s laws than the pope’s laws. To this shocking statement, Tyndale replied: “I defy the pope, and all his laws. If God spare my life, ere many years I will cause a boy that driveth a plough shall know more of the Scripture than thou dost.” Was this the language of a Roman Catholic priest? – a man who defied the pope of Rome and all his laws? No – this was the language of a true, Bible-loving Christian, whose eyes had been opened by the Holy Spirit to see that Popery was the devil’s own religion, which sought to hold back the Word of God from the people.
Rome had no intention of ever giving the Scriptures to people in their own languages! – and loathed Tyndale with all its might for daring to do so. They burned his books; the Romish bishop of London burned copies of his Bible translation; and they hunted for him tirelessly so that they could have him put to death. Eventually they were successful: Tyndale was betrayed by a Papist Judas, cast into prison
(during which time Romish priests had many disputations with him), and finally strangled to death; his body then being burned.
This was how the monster “Church” of Rome “contributed” to the King James Version! Indeed, what Rome did to Tyndale and his Bible version reflects Rome’s attitude to the Bible through the centuries. Its entire history has been one of hatred for the written Word of God. Throughout the centuries it burned copies of the Bible, and burned those who translated it; for centuries it kept the Bible in Latin, which hardly anyone could read; it even placed the Bible on the Index of Forbidden Books in the Vatican! Long before William Tyndale, when John Wycliffe produced his English version of the Bible, he was condemned as a heretic by Rome for doing so; and their hatred was so great for him that,
decades after his death, they dug up his bones and burned them. Rome forbade the reading of his translation. And during the next hundred years people were burned alive, with Wycliffe’s Bible tied around their necks. As we have seen, they later brought about the death of Tyndale. And then Tyndale’s associate John Rogers, who produced the Matthew’s Bible, much of which was substantially Tyndale’s work, was also martyred for his work. And then the Geneva Bible, which was the most popular version in English before the KJV came into being and superseded it, was produced not in England but in Geneva, because of the persecution of Christians in England at the hands of the Roman Catholic queen, Mary, known to history as “Bloody Mary.”
And then, just a few years before the publication of the KJV in 1611, Rome’s Jesuits tried to blow up King James and his parliament in what became known as the Gunpowder Plot, and is commemorated annually as Guy Fawkes Day.3 If they had succeeded, doubtless the production of the KJV would have been derailed, as the plot involved setting up a Papist on the throne of England after James was killed.
In the words of a brother in Christ who wrote to me about these things, “The Whore on the Tiber has really taken the cake this time. With her mouth dripping with the blood of Tyndale and Rogers... she claims she contributed! With the smoke of the Gunpowder Plot still reeking in her skirts, she fails to recollect that if she had had her way there would not have been much of King James left to ever see or give his name to the version/translation of the Scriptures begun with his approval!”
This was Rome’s true contribution to the production of the English Bible! How could a religious system which so hates the Word of God now brazenly claim to have had a positive role in the production of the wonderful King James Version? She can do so, knowing she can get away with it because of the utter ignorance of history of most of the world today!
A little bit about the exhibit itself. It is a multimillion-dollar, high-tech, interactive museum of the Bible, consisting of thousands of biblical manuscripts and texts. It is sponsored by Steve Green, an American businessman whose family has amassed the world’s largest collection of ancient biblical manuscripts and texts. Green, described as an “evangelical” and a Baptist,4 nevertheless evidently had no scruples about making use of the Vatican Embassy in Washington, D.C. for the announcement of his museum, nor of (perhaps ignorantly) falsifying history by permitting the claim to be made that there was a Roman Catholic contribution to the production of the KJV. He made it clear that the museum has no theological agenda, saying, “It’s a museum, not a ministry.”
So how did it come about that the Vatican came to be associated with an interactive museum put together by a Baptist? Scott Carroll, the director of the Green Collection and of the travelling exhibition, said the collaboration with the Vatican came about through his friendship with a former Vatican official, and because he discovered an aspect of the collected artifacts that captured the interest of the Vatican. And what was that? “I thought of something that we have that the Vatican Library does not have. It was the KJV,” he said. Furthermore, he said he discovered several items within “Passages” which (according to him!) show the Roman Catholic contribution to the King James Bible! He said one of the more remarkable aspects of the collaboration is that it reflects on the ecumenical premise of “Passages”. The translation of the KJV in 1611, he claimed, is “largely considered a Protestant event, but it’s not. Many Catholics read the KJV.”5 What an outright falsehood! The Roman Catholic institution had absolutely nothing to do with the production of the KJV, but plenty to do with seeking to prevent it ever seeing the light of day! And as for many Papists reading the KJV, this is simply false.
Some may read it out of curiosity, some may read it for its contribution to the English language or for some scholarly purpose as part of research, but any Roman Catholic who reads the KJV as if it was an acceptable translation of the Holy Scriptures would be directly violating his “Church’s” teaching. Carroll added that Vatican leaders were very interested in hosting the travelling exhibit in conjunction with the 400th anniversary of the King James Version being observed this year. Of course they were! What an opportunity for Rome to falsify history and claim what is not hers! The Vatican officials must have been licking their lips in anticipation of the ecumenical mileage they could get out of hosting this naive Protestant’s exhibition.
In this, the 400th anniversary of the publication of the Protestant Bible, the magnificent, matchless King James Version, Rome is seeking to take the credit for it! What brazen wickedness! We urge all true Bible Protestants to make known the TRUTH about the King James Version, by acquainting themselves with its true history, and making the facts known as widely as possible. There are various books and pamphlets which can be obtained, containing this true and remarkable history; get them, read them, familiarise yourselves with the truth, and pass them on! Don’t let Antichrist take the glory for what belongs to Christ Jesus alone!
Materials concerning the King James Version, available from Bible Based Ministries (see our
website or the printed catalogue for details):
CDs by Shaun Willcock:
The Preservation of the True New Testament Text (set of three CDs) (Catalogue No. 80)
The Translation of the True Text: the King James Version (set of three CDs) (Catalogue No. 89)
The Corrupt Text and False Bible Versions (set of three CDs) (Catalogue No. 227)
The King James Version Archaisms (Stock No. 49)
The Incomparable King James Version by Shaun Willcock
The Authorised Version by J.C. Philpot
Recommended Books Available from Other Sources:
The King James Version Defended by Edward F. Hills
The Revision Revised by John William Burgon
The Traditional Text of the Holy Gospels by John William Burgon
The Causes of Corruption of the Traditional Text by John William Burgon
Which Bible? True or False? Counterfeit or Genuine? three books edited by David Otis Fuller
An Inquiry into the Integrity of the Received Text by Frederick Nolan
A Bible Society Deserving the Support of All Christians:
The Trinitarian Bible Society
Tyndale House Dorset Road London SW19 3NN UK
Shaun Willcock is a minister of the Gospel. He runs Bible Based Ministries. For other