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Author Topic: KJV and Episcopal Structure  (Read 1189 times) Average Rating: 0
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Rosehip
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« on: April 08, 2009, 01:12:46 PM »

I'm increasingly hearing that many people (evangelicals) do not appreciate the KJV because it was created to promote the ecclesiology of the Church of England, and to support the episcopal form of church government favoured by the C of E. I have even been told that the introduction of the term "bishop" was used to support aforementioned system and that this term is actually not biblically supported-that the term "bishop" was "invented" at the time of the KJV, and should be avoided. I find this hard to believe, but maybe it is true? I am in no way one of those fanatical "KJV only" people, but am interested in a discussion on this topic,from an Orthodox standpoint.
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« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2009, 01:37:20 PM »

Bishops are clearly outlined in 1 Timothy 3 & Acts 1:20 and St. Clement of Rome clearly expresses the understanding of a bishop per Isaiah 60:17 "I will confirm their bishops in righteousness, and their deacons in faith" in his epistle to the Romans (ca 96 AD) which is from the Septuagint whereas the King James translation of Isaiah 60:17 lacks this precision so the KJV could not be part of some concocted hierarchical duplicity. These so called sola scripturist revisionists (not all sola scripturists per se) are making dangerous self rationalizations of what they think rather than what is established by holy tradition.
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« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2009, 01:40:55 PM »

Bishops are clearly outlined in 1 Timothy 3 and St. Clement of Rome clearly expresses the understanding of a bishop per Isaiah 60:17 "I will confirm their bishops in righteousness, and their deacons in faith" in his epistle to the Romans (ca 96 AD) which is from the Septuagint whereas the King James translation of Isaiah 60:17 lacks this precision so the KJV could not be part of some concocted hierarchical duplicity. These so called sola scripturist revisionists (not all sola scripturists per se) are making dangerous self rationalizations of what they think rather than what is established by holy tradition.

The actual word "Bishop" may indeed have been invented/used for the first time on the KJV, but you're exactly right about the term we associate it with (Episcopos = Overseer), which is found in the NT.  You've got to remember that the KJV may have single-handedly nearly eliminated the name Jacob from he NT in favor of James (translating Iakovos as James).
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« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2009, 02:00:38 PM »

Bishop was certainly not invented at the time of the KJV. It's attested in the Old English period (pre-1066) as any dictionary with an etymology will show. And it's not even an invented word--its the original Greek term borrowed through Latin into English--episkopos: the initial e falls silent and disappears as does the grammatical ending 'os', the initial 'p' becomes its unvoiced pair 'b', 'sk' in the middle of words turns into 'sh' in the transition from Old to Modern English, and the final labial 'p' becomes and f--all well attested sound changes either between Greek and Latin, Latin and English, or from Old to Modern English.

Protestants can legitimately (if wrongly) argue whether 'bishop' as used in modern English is the *best* term to translate the original Greek meaning, but you can't really argue that using the English pronunciation of the term itself was a bad translation.
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« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2009, 02:17:05 PM »

Bishop was certainly not invented at the time of the KJV. It's attested in the Old English period (pre-1066) as any dictionary with an etymology will show. And it's not even an invented word--its the original Greek term borrowed through Latin into English--episkopos: the initial e falls silent and disappears as does the grammatical ending 'os', the initial 'p' becomes its unvoiced pair 'b', 'sk' in the middle of words turns into 'sh' in the transition from Old to Modern English, and the final labial 'p' becomes and f--all well attested sound changes either between Greek and Latin, Latin and English, or from Old to Modern English.

Protestants can legitimately (if wrongly) argue whether 'bishop' as used in modern English is the *best* term to translate the original Greek meaning, but you can't really argue that using the English pronunciation of the term itself was a bad translation.

Thanks for the info!
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« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2009, 02:30:03 PM »

A bishop is an overseer, and whichever term you use as a translation there still remains a hierarchal structure.  Evangelicals tend to refute the term bishop because they do not want people to equate the "overseers" of the NT with those of the traditional churches; which I might add, they indeed are.  One has to ignore a lot of history to argue that there was a time from the apostles to now when the episcopate was not.

To date, the KJV is the only version still in print that uses the received text, which is the traditional text handed down through the church, and therefore despite its somewhat out-dated language, I believe the KJV to be the most reliable and best English translation.  The Douay-Rheims is also an excellent version, as it is taken from the Vulgate which was the work of St Jerome at a time when our traditions still claimed relative unity.
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« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2009, 02:36:58 PM »

I too, thank everyone for the excellent information! For myself, I'm a bit puzzled at this aversion for the term "bishop". I've asked them about it, and they feel it has been a very abused office, and therefore, some of them even go to great lengths to control the situation with a complex system of checks and balances (i.e. ensuring their "overseer" is completely accountable to all laity/pastors and only has a tenure of 5 years, after which he is replaced, etc.).
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« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2009, 05:59:43 PM »

Before y'all jump on me for using Wikipedia, let me say that I found the following Wiki entry on "presbyter" to be fair. I am of course open to correction.

"The word presbyter derives from Greek πρεσβύτερος (presbyteros), the comparative form of πρέσβυς (presbus), "elder"

History

The earliest organization of the Christian churches in Judea was similar to that of Jewish synagogues, which were governed by a council of elders (presbyteroi). In Acts 11:30 and 15:22, we see this collegiate system of government in Jerusalem, and, in Acts 14:23, the Apostle Paul ordains elders in the churches he founded. Some modern comentators believe that these presbyters may have been identical to the overseers (episkopoi, i.e., bishops) and cite such passages as Acts 20:17, Titus 1:5,7 and 1 Peter 5:1 to support this claim.

The earliest post-apostolic writings, the Didache and Clement for example, show the church recognized two local church offices—elders (interchangeable term with overseer) and deacon. The beginnings of a single ruling bishop can perhaps be traced to the offices occupied by Timothy and Titus in the New Testament. We are told that Paul had left Timothy in Ephesus and Titus in Crete to oversee the local church (1 Tim. 1:3 and Titus 1:5). Paul commands them to ordain presybters/bishops and to exercise general oversight, telling Titus to "rebuke with all authority" (Titus 2:15). It is certain that the office of bishop and presbyter were clearly distinguished by the second century, as the church was facing the dual pressures of persecution and internal schism, resulting in three distinct local offices: bishop, elder (presbyter) and deacon. This is best seen in the 2nd century writings of St. Ignatius of Antioch.

The bishop was understood mainly as the president of the council of presbyters, and so the bishop came to be distinguished both in honor and in prerogative from the presbyters, who were seen as deriving their authority by means of delegation from the bishop. Each church had its own bishop and his presence was necessary to consecrate any gathering of the church.

Eventually, as the Church grew, individual congregations no longer were served directly by a bishop. The bishop in a large city would appoint a presbyter to pastor the flock in each congregation, acting as his delegate."

In my simplistic way, you could say that:

- Episkopos (Greek)= Bishop (English) = overseer and elder (functionally)

- Presbyteros and Presbus (Greek)= Priest and Elder (English) = deputy overseer or deputy elder (functionally, except that in the monarchical form of governance, the presbyter has much less authority than in a conciliar form)

There are just two more ecclesiastical terms in the Holy Scriptures:

- Royal priesthood: all of us (no functional definition, except that it is a root cause of the differences between monarchical and conciliar forms of church governance)

- Deacon: some churches have permanent deacons who function in consonance with the New Testament Church, while in most others it is a short-lived step to the priesthood.
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« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2009, 01:04:18 AM »

To date, the KJV is the only version still in print that uses the received text, which is the traditional text handed down through the church, and therefore despite its somewhat out-dated language, I believe the KJV to be the most reliable and best English translation.  

Many people seem to think this, including some of our posters here on OC.net and some clergy.   I don't think this is true at all.  I don't really know why people think this.  They say that the KJV is based on the Byzantine text. (This is not your point of reference, I know.) I don't see the real connection here.  It is certainly not the most accurate translation.  There are so many Byzantine texts.  Which one do people claim it is based on? 

I'm not sure why you are excited by the Latin Vulgate.  I don't see it as being a particularly faithful rendering of the Greek. 
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« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2009, 06:47:18 AM »

To date, the KJV is the only version still in print that uses the received text, which is the traditional text handed down through the church, and therefore despite its somewhat out-dated language, I believe the KJV to be the most reliable and best English translation.  The Douay-Rheims is also an excellent version, as it is taken from the Vulgate which was the work of St Jerome at a time when our traditions still claimed relative unity.

This seems correct in so far as the New Testament is concerned, but I'm not certain that St. Jerome relied on the Septuagint for the Old Testament books. Hence, the D-R and Vulgate might be problematic for some in those books.
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« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2009, 09:49:39 AM »

For the NT, the KJV is based on Beza's Greek text with some alternate readings as are found in Scrivener's text.  The underlying text agrees with the Byzantine texts more than any other English translation available - I don't think any scholar disputes this.  No, the OT in the KJV does not rely on the LXX but it's pretty good.  Jerome, if he did not use the LXX for his primary source, it would have definitely been consulted.

The NKJV and RSV use the received text as a basis, but give priority to readings variance from the critical texts and Wescott and Hort.

As far as accurate translations, if you support the modern critical text than no the KJV is not the best, but if you support the received text  family of texts, then yes it is.
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« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2009, 10:55:04 AM »

Considering that one of the translations the KJV is based upon is the Bishops' Bible, isn't it obvious that Christians had bishops before the KJV was translated?

Comments of others regarding the meaning of the Greek are correct.
~~~

Thank you very much to whoever posted the link to Fr. John Whiteford's article!
I have bookmarked this and especially like the part which says:
The King James is in fact generally so accurate that one could reconstruct the original text with a high degree of accuracy by translating the text back into Hebrew and Greek, though unlike many translations that are so woodenly literal they actually distort the meaning of the text, it is also a beautiful translation.

Would anybody please be able to inform me as to how I might contact this priest please?

Thank you.
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« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2009, 11:37:48 AM »

Just for interest's sake here's a pic of my 1619 KJV bible.


{Edit - I shrunk the image to make it easier for the page to load (for any users saddled with older computers or bad internet); if you wish to see the full-sized image, right-click on it and select "View Image."  Cleveland, Global Moderator}
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« Reply #13 on: April 11, 2009, 02:14:24 PM »

Wow! That's amazing, Marc!!
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