definition and description of the final authority

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by Logos1560, Mar 27, 2008.

  1. Logos1560

    Logos1560
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    In discussions involving the issue of Bible translations, many seem to use the term "the final authority" without defining or explaining clearly what it means. Perhaps it would be helpful to consider a definition or description of the final authority.

    The final authority would be the ultimate authority beyond which there is no other.

    The final authority would have primacy, pre-eminence, predominance, and power over all other authorities.

    The final authority would be the foremost [ahead of all others in authority or position].

    The final authority would be unalterable and absolute.

    The final authority would be underived, not deriving or obtaining its authority from earlier authorities.

    The final authority would be the first and foremost cause, not an effect or consequence.

    If not before time, the final authority would be first in time, first or fundamental in order, and first or foremost in authority.

    Would the above statements all be true concerning a proper use or true sense of the term "the final authority?" Do you have any other suggestions for a better definition or description of "the final authority?"
     
  2. Pastor_Bob

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    This concept entirely throws out the doctrine of preservation. This view would eliminate all translations. One would have to have the originals themselves to have a final authority.
     
  3. Logos1560

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    How does a valid definition or description of the final authority throw out the doctrine of preservation? Have those who have used the term "the final authority" considered its true sense or meaning?

    The doctrine of preservation could be understood to make the preserved Scriptures in the original languages the greater authority and the standard for the making and evaluating of all translations.
     
  4. Logos1560

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    Pastor_Bob, how would you define the term "the final authority" or what statements would you use to describe it?
     
  5. Pastor_Bob

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    The "final authority," as it relates to the text/version issue would the particular standard by which you base all matters of faith and practice. For me, an English-speaking American who cannot read Greek, Hebrew, or Aramaic, my final authority must necessarily be my English translation. I have to place my faith and trust in God's promise that He would preserve His Word and that His Word will never pass away. I can only conclude, therefore, that His perfect Word is available for me somewhere right now.

    This is why I disagree with your statement that a final authority cannot "derive or obtain its authority from earlier authorities." In as much as my English translation accurately reflects the original autographa, it becomes synonymous with the "final authority." Because of God's providential preservation of His Word, I can base all matters of faith and practice upon my English translation. It carries the same authority as if God had originally written it in English.
     
  6. sag38

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    I can too, but "my English translation" isn't the KJV.
     
  7. thomas15

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    Given that there are 100s of English translations of the Bible, Pastor Bob has his work cut out in identifying which particular one or which group of English Bibles meets the criteria of his doctrine.

    But the problem goes away once the believer learns NT Greek.
     
  8. NaasPreacher (C4K)

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    Lets stay on topic here - the KJV or any other specific version is not germane to the discussion.
     
  9. Pastor_Bob

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    The problem does not exist when one believes in providential preservation.
     
  10. EdSutton

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    I agree, but since we are in the "Bible versions" section, is the thread even germane to the forum??

    Ed
     
  11. Mexdeaf

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    Its all 'germane' to me.

    :smilewinkgrin:
     
  12. thomas15

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    Thats a response all right, but it doesn't answer the question.
     
  13. Logos1560

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    My definition and description concerned "the final authority," not "a final authority. You are correct in seeing that a valid definition and description of "the final authority" does not seem to match up to a translation. You have not provided another definition or description for "the final authority" that can be examined or shown to be more accurate or better. I have yet to see an accurate definition for "the final authority" that would seem to match an accurate definition for "a translation."

    If "the final authority" is unalterable, how can over 2,000 changes be introduced into its text from 1611 to this present day? It seems that some want to make a 1900's edition of the KJV arbitrarily "a final authority" when that edition seem to different from the intended text of the KJV translators and definitely differs from the 1611 edition. Why must your "final authority" necessarily be an English translation when you know that there is an authority that lies behind that translation [its underlying original language texts]? Without that prior authority, would your "final authority" exist? A translation may validly serve as your "authority," but should it be claimed to be "the final authority" when it is clear and obvious that there is another authority that serves as its foundation or basis?

    It is the additional word "final" used with "authority" that requires the meanings or descriptions given in my first post in this thread such as "ultimate" and "beyond which there is no other."

    If you can arbitrarily [based on individual judgment] establish a certain translation to be "a final authority," do you have any valid basis for each person not doing the same?

    I think that you are well-enough informed to know that if a German-speaking believer made Luther's German Bible his "final authority" that it would not agree 100% with your "final authority." What is "the final authority" that can determine whether your "final authority" or his "final authority" more accurately represents the preserved Scriptures in the original languages? What is "the final authority" for believers who can speak two or more languages [both German and English, or both Spanish and English, or which ever languages]? What is "the final authority" for all believers regardless of which language they read and speak?
     
  14. Pastor_Bob

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    I will concede that the final authority is the inspired originals. But again, I cannot read the languages in which the originals were written. Even if I could read them, we know that they do not exist. Therefore, a certain measure of faith is required to regard the various copies as just as authoritative as the originals. Then again, I cannot read the copies. What I can read is a translation of the copies that I believe accurately represent the originals. My translation derives its authority from its equivalency to the original. When I read my translation, I have the confidence that I am reading an accurate representation of the originals. Consequently, my translation becomes my final authority.

    As you well know, the changes consist of no altering of fact.

    As stated, I cannot read any language but English. Why would I make my final authority a text that I cannot read nor comprehend?

    In as much as the translation is an accurate reflection of the foundational authority, it can be regarded as equally authoritative.

    Each person must do exactly the same thing.

    If by "not agree" you mean that it says something totally different, thereby contradicting the other translation, I would say that we have a problem. The problem would most likely lie in a different textual basis. Obviously that is not the case in the example you cited.

    I see no relevance here. If both translations accurately represent the originals in their respective languages, then they can be equally considered as authoritative by those who read the respective languages. One can stand independent of the other.

    The final authority remains an accurate translation of the originals. If two translations conflict, of necessity, one has to more accurately reflect the originals and the problem lies either in the textual basis or the translation of the textual basis. Either should be easily recognizable.
     
  15. Deacon

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    If a "final authority" is founded upon our ability to comprehend, couldn't that authority shift as our abilities grow?

    Rob
     
  16. Pastor_Bob

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    Even if our abilities grow, there would be no need to shift authorities because the translation has already been established as a reliable authority. At that point, the two authorities become synonymous. One is a copy of the original; the other is a translation of the original. Both, if true to the original, can be trusted with complete confidence.
     
  17. Mexdeaf

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    And the flip side... why should some make their final authority a translation that they cannot read nor comprehend? KJV English IS 'Greek' to many whose language is English.
     
  18. readmore

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    The Riplinger brand of KJVO'ism would say that the KJV is actually easier to understand than modern translations.

    I can't think of a better illustration of what it means to "kid yourself".
     
  19. Logos1560

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    As you acknowledged, a translation derives its authority from its source texts and from being an accurate rendering of those texts. The authority of a translation is derived and dependent; therefore, it cannot be "the final authority." It should be clear that the preserved Scriptures in the original languages are a greater authority than the translation made from them.

    It has been recognized that the translation you prefer does not reflect the preserved Scriptures in the original languages at least a few times because of the influence of other sources such as the Latin Vulgate, the Greek LXX, Jewish tradition, etc. For example, in his book entitled King James Onlyism, James D. Price listed 146 places in the Old Testament where the KJV unjustifiably emended its Hebrew text (pp. 572-590). It has also been recognized that there are a good number of differences in translating between the pre-1611 English Bibles of which the KJV was a revision and the KJV. It has been recognized that there are differences between the translating in the KJV and in the standard translations in other languages such as Luther's German Bible, the 1637 Dutch Bible, etc. In at least a few places, one or more of those pre-1611 English Bibles may have a clearer, better, or more accurate rendering of the preserved Scriptures in the original languages than the KJV has.

    The early English translators including the KJV translators accepted the preserved Scriptures in the original languages as the greater authority for the making and evaluating of all translations.

    Baptist scholar John Gill (1697-1771) presented the Baptist view of Bible translation of that period that was also in agreement with the view of the early translators. John Gill wrote: "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. 13)
     
  20. NaasPreacher (C4K)

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    There has already been one warning about making this a KJV thread. Any future posts violating this warning will be deleted.
     

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