IS THERE A PERFECT BIBLE TRANSLATION?

King James I & the AV Bible (1611)

THE CROWN, A CONFERENCE AND ITS CONSEQUENCES

or

King James I, the Hampton Court Conference and

the Authorised Version of the Bible

THE FORGOTTEN FACTS

Introduction

How the texting revolution will impact on clarity of communication is an intriguing question.  An editor’s response to an overdue article—‘Its a gr8 try but 2l8 2day’—is perfectly clear to texters in a dumbed-down age. However, coded brevity can mislead. To my surprise, a recent e-mail with a subject line ‘No to AV’ was about ‘Alternative Voting’ rather than a historic Bible version! In short, language and communication is an ever-changing reality.

In his Preface to the Great Bible (1540), Thomas Cranmer—seventy years before the King James Bible—was aware that language was a living and changing thing, and, to strengthen his case for the new Bible, an ‘ancient custom’ provided a precedent for it: ‘And when this language, i.e. Saxon, waxed old and out of common usage, [the Bible] was again translated in the newer language’.1 Whilst making no concessions to the lowest possible linguistic denominator, Cranmer would doubtless think it strange to cling to sixteenth-century English in the twenty-first century! He clearly distinguished between unchanging truth and changing linguistic forms.  That said, the Bible is no ordinary human document, so faithful translations of the Scriptures will always preserve the unchanging truth of ‘the books of the prophets and apostles, and all holy writ inspired by the Holy Ghost.’2

Agreeing with Cranmer’s point, Dr Philip Doddridge saw the need for updating the 1611 a century later. In his Family Expositor (1738-48),3 he wove a new translation from the Greek into a paraphrase, the AV text being placed in the margin. Besides correcting translation errors when deemed necessary, Doddridge felt the need for clearer contemporary language. Thus the ‘superfluity of naughtiness’ of James 1: 21 became ‘overflowing malignity’, a rendering leaning half-way towards the ‘overflowing wickedness’ of the RAV, later NKJV (1982). Clearly, Doddridge did not feel overawed from altering the King James Bible. However, an unhealthy veneration began to emerge according to Dr David Daniell:

The full idolatry of [the] ‘Authorised’ version did not begin until the 1760s, but then grew steadily: the official revisers in 1881 declared in their Preface that the Authorised Version had been venerated as a classic since 1611, which is untrue. With that, there grew the worship of the Authorised Version as Sublime English Literature, a movement which reached its height in the first half of the twentieth century.4

While it is sadly true that liberal scholarship has distanced itself from the historic doctrines of biblical inspiration, inerrancy and authority, too many cling to the King James Bible. Apart from those who simply hail its literary merits while rejecting the Divine truth it contains, others see little distinction between the Word of God and a particular translation. Besides the linguistic issues, the historical circumstances surrounding the AV suggest additional reasons for avoiding undue veneration of its text.

1. THE CROWN

Sharing the visions of Luther, Calvin and the other continental reformers, our own William Tyndale (b. 1495?) longed to make the Word of God available in English. His response to a Roman Catholic scholar who preferred papal to biblical authority is famous: “I defy the Pope and all his laws. If God spare my life, ere many years I will cause a boy that driveth the plough shall know more of the Scripture than thou dost.”5 However, his work and witness were constantly opposed by ‘the powers that be’, both ecclesiastical and civil. Following his martyrdom in 1536, this opposition was felt by others. Indeed, apart from the brief and happy reign of King Edward VI, royal power—in varying degrees— constantly frustrated biblical church reform and the spread of the Gospel. From Henry VIII onwards, the Tudor monarchs—including the persecutor of the Puritans, Queen Elizabeth I—and their Stuart successors were responsible for England’s defective reformation. Their political meddling in church affairs left a legacy we still suffer from today.

Paralleling the impact of Richard Hooker’s classical Anglican apologia, The Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, this interference showed itself in the area of Bible translation. While Tyndale’s pioneering work influenced the Great Bible (1540), it found enduring expression in the Geneva Bible (1560). This latter version—the result of English scholarly activity in Geneva—was the one favoured by the Puritans who desired a more biblical reformation than that established by Queen Elizabeth I. Predating the AV (1611) by half a century, this was the Bible which established the Protestant Faith in British hearts and minds. However, to counter Puritan influence, Archbishop Matthew Parker initiated a project based on the Great Bible. This led to the Bishops’ Bible (1568). It never seriously rivalled the popularity of the Geneva. However, it was to become the benchmark of the King James Bible (1611).

Following the death of his mother Mary Queen of Scots, young James VI was reared under the watchful eye of the Church of Scotland. More reformed than the Church of England, the Scottish church seemed to enjoy the confidence of the King, despite certain developing tensions during the 1590s.6 On the death of Queen Elizabeth in 1603, James succeeded her as James I of England. Because of his Presbyterian education and connections, the English Puritans had reason to think that James would favour their concerns for a purer, more biblical reformation. So during the King’s journey south from Edinburgh to London, a number of Puritans presented him with the Millenary Petition representing more than a thousand clergy who wished to be free from several superstitious ceremonies and rituals enjoined in the Anglican Book of Common Prayer.

Anxious not to be outflanked, and aware of the Puritan agenda, the Bishops and their supporters also sought James’ favour. Aware of this potentially explosive situation, James promised to hold a conference. In a two-faced response, he assured the Bishops of his concern to maintain the Elizabethan settlement, while giving hope to the Puritans that their grievances would be sympathetically considered. No stranger to scholarly pursuits, James believed he had the capacity and skill to affect harmony in the church of which he was now the Supreme Governor. That said, there were ominous signs that his future influence would be highly problematic. Following friction with Scottish churchmen like John Knox’s successor Andrew Melville,7 James had become increasingly attracted to the idea of royal absolutism: ‘the doctrine of the divine right of kings to do as they please’. Then, his private morals were arousing concern, especially his ‘gay’8 (or more accurately bisexual) tendencies. Since James’ Reformed convictions and piety were in doubt, so was the future peace of the nation. Indeed, what with his influence on his son and heir, the future tyrant Charles I (acc. 1625), James I set events in motion that led to the tragic Civil Wars of the 1640s. This is the king of the King James Bible.

 2. THE CONFERENCE

And so, over three days in January 1604, a conference was convened at Hampton Court ‘for the reformation of some things amiss in ecclesiastical matters’.9 The delegations were far from equal. The four Puritans—simplyclad in their Geneva gowns—were Dr John Reynolds, President of Corpus Christi College, Oxford,10 John Knewstubs, Fellow of St John‘s College, Cambridge,11 Dr Thomas Sparke, Minister of Bletchley, Bucks12 and Dr Lawrence Chadderton, Master of the ‘Puritan’ Emmanuel College, Cambridge.13 They were opposed by nineteen members of ‘the establishment’ including the aged Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr John Whitgift with eight bishops, six cathedral deans and the king’s Privy Council, all dressed in their finery. Regarded also as ‘plaintiffs’, the Puritan delegates were denied the dignity of being chosen by their brotherhood. In nominating them himself, James selected those known for their ‘moderation’. In this way, he sought to ensure a satisfactory outcome.

There can be no doubt that, for all his seeming affability, James was determined to humiliate the Puritans. They weren’t even invited to the opening session when James denied that he sought any innovation. Yet his pretended impartiality made the bishops nervous when, in a protracted period of royal erudition he criticized the corruptions of the Church of England. Then, on the second day—the Puritans being present—he heard all their requests. These were:

1. That Church doctrine might be preserved purely
in accordance with the Word of God.

2. That preaching pastors might be planted in all
churches.

3. That church government might be administered
according to the Scriptures.

4. That the Prayer book might be amended to
promote piety.

As the debates on predestination, grace and related matters progressed, James’ anti-Puritan bias became more obvious, not least where church order was concerned. In his mind, raising doubts about the divine ordination of bishops could have a knock-on effect: ‘No bishop, no King’.14 (This was repeated during a later discussion on the implications for royal supremacy in a Presbyterian system).15 A Puritan was then frivolously defined as a ‘Protestant frayed out of his wits’,16 a more serious comparison then being made between the Church of England and the Reformed Churches of France.17 A cruel point was a cited remark of the French Ambassador that had the Huguenots retained the same episcopal church order as the Anglicans, French Protestants might have been more numerous, as if their witness would have been spared the terrible persecutions they had suffered!

Discussion of the Book of Common Prayer exposed the coarse impiety for which the King was well known. Other matters being attended to, including the making of the sign of the cross in baptism, Dr Reynolds raised concern about the wedding service words: “with my body I thee worship”. In Puritan eyes, this was idolatrous and inappropriate language. However, James ‘smiled’ at the 55 year-old bachelor scholar while making an unsavoury joke at his expense.18 As the day’s proceedings drew to a close, James was becoming decidedly impatient with all the Puritan objections. It was conformity or nothing. Then he uttered this threat: “I shall make them conform themselves, or I will harrie them out of the land, or else do worse.”19 The third and final day saw a concern to deal with disciplinary subscription through the High Commission of ‘the most troublesome and refractory persons, either Papistes or Puritanes’.20 After the King gave his opinion on these and related matters, the fervently anti-Puritan Archbishop Whitgift gave way to an idolatrous outburst of royal adulation, as if ‘his Majesty spoke by the special assistance of God’s Spirit’.21 There had been no such a king ‘since Christ his time’, whereupon the Lords responded with warm applause.22

A return to Dr Reynolds’ criticism of the wedding service produced a rather inept solution. Adding to his earlier unsavoury jest, the King simply ended further discussion in ‘PC’ fashion: ‘His Majesty shut up all with a most pithy exhortation to both sides for unity’.23 While Dr Reynolds’ brethren had been almost silent during the proceedings, Dr Chadderton and Mr Knewstubs now pleaded that ministers ‘might not be urged’ to wear the surplice and use the sign of the cross in baptism.24 They simply asked for toleration. On adding that such imposed uniformity would create problems in Suffolk [with Norfolk, the ‘Puritan Galilee of England’], James promptly accused Mr Knewstubs of being  ‘uncharitable’. Recalling the rebuffs he’d experienced in Scotland, the King interjected with: “We have here taken pains, and in the end have concluded of an unity and uniformity, and you forsooth, must prefer the credits [reputations] of a few private men, before the general peace of the Church; this is just the Scottish argument,…I will none of that, and therefore either let them conform themselves, and that shortly, or they shall hear of it.”25 On this intimidating note, the Hampton Court Conference drew to a close on Tuesday, 17 January 1604.

James was highly enamoured at his own performance. The next day, he reported to an acquaintance in Scotland: ‘We have kept such a revel with the Puritans here as was never heard the like; I have peppered them as soundly as ye have done the papists there’. He was simply unimpressed by the Puritans’ performance. Their teachers would have ‘thrashed their behinds’. However, Sir John Harington, who witnessed the proceedings, gave a very different assessment: ‘James talked much in Latin and bid the petitioners away with snivelling. The Bishops seemed much pleased and said his Majesty spoke by power of inspiration! I wist not what they meant, but the Spirit was rather foul-mouthed’.26 Can we be happy that such a King is so closely identified with the Word of God?

3. THE CONSEQUENCES

There were two major consequences of the Hampton Court Conference. First, James I and his high-handed Anglican treatment of the Puritan delegates provoked increasing resentment within the large and growing Puritan population of England. Having chosen moderate Puritan scholars, James shielded himself from the courageous challenge of men like Andrew Melville.27 Indeed, who was there to stand up to him? However, this is a story for another time.28

The second consequence was the King James Bible of 1611. To back-track a little, after a discussion about catechisms and the profanation of the Sabbath Day, Dr Reynolds had made the proposal for which the Hampton Court Conference has remained famous: ‘that there might be a new translation of the Bible’.29 This unexpected request took everyone by surprise. It had not been on the agenda. The Anglicans were happy with the Bishops’ Bible as surely as the Puritans seemed content with the Geneva Bible. After Dr Reynolds cited doubtful translations of Galatians 4: 25, Psalm 105: 28 and Psalm 106: 30 in Bibles from ‘the reigns of Henry VIII and Edward VI’, it was remarked that such objections were trivial and well known. Then Bancroft, Bishop of London added ‘that if every man’s humour should be followed, there would be no end of translating’.30  The record seems to suggest that James instantly seized on the idea with great enthusiasm. Indeed, his fervour seems to have caught the bishops off guard. The sluice gates being opened, out poured all the King’s contempt for the Geneva Bible, which, of all English Bibles, he considered ‘the worst of all’.31 A new Bible, declared James, produced by ‘the best learned in both universities’ would be reviewed by the Bishops, presented to the Privy Council and ‘lastly ratified by his Royal authority’. The whole Church was ‘to be bound unto it, and none other’.32 Besides castrating Puritanism, the new Bible would provide a challenge to the Roman Catholic Douai-Rheims Bible (1582) which would claim a growing readership.

James’ chief objection to the Geneva Bible was the extensive marginal notes.  He was particularly offended by the notes on Exodus 1: 19 and 2 Chronicles 15: 16, both of which he considered to be ‘partial, untrue, seditious, and favouring too much, of dangerous and traitorous conceits’.33 Certainly, the notes expressed criticism of tyrannical and idolatrous rulers. However, had the notes stated matters differently, one wonders if James would have complained so. As matters stood, Puritanism and his idea of Kingship were on a collision course. So a new Bible presented an opportunity to crush Puritan power in England. It would hence be a literary weapon in the campaign for ‘divine right’ royal absolutism.

One is frankly surprised at the examples of faulty translation given by Dr Reynolds. They are quite tame compared with others that might be cited.  James rather suggests Reynolds’ objections were a fuss about nothing.34  Certainly; the future AV would rectify what were indeed erroneous translations of the cited texts not only in the Great Bible (1540) and the Edwardian Prayer Book Psalms (after Coverdale) but also in the Bishops’ Bible.35 Yet more serious infringements were retained in the new version.  Richard Bancroft was won over to the new project, not least since ‘he was able to secure for himself a leading personal role in selecting the translators, and then limiting their freedom’.36 Alister McGrath concludes that his u-turn ‘paid off’37 when he was appointed as Archbishop of Canterbury in October 1604 (following Whitgift’s death). Scholars were then selected (about a quarter of whom had Puritan leanings). Divided into panels or companies, they were allotted their tasks in translating the Old and New Testaments. Bancroft provided rules to guarantee the desired result. So Rule 1 insisted that the Bishops’ Bible should ‘be followed, and as little altered as the truth of the original will permit’.38 Since Puritans had objected to ‘church’ when ‘congregation’ was more appropriate (as in Acts 7: 38), Bancroft demanded ‘church’ to be always used, in Rule 3. A major difference between the Geneva and the AV was an absence of annotations in the latter, a stipulation of Rule 6. It cannot be denied that this requirement is valid. Notes reflecting human opinions, however sound, should not occupy space on the sacred page, whether they are notes by C. I. Scofield or John Calvin.  In view of Rule 1, the guidelines of Rule 14 are especially interesting: ‘These translations to be used when they agree better with the text than the Bishops’ Bible: Tyndale’s, Coverdale’s, the Great Bible and Geneva’.39

The tension between Rules 1 and 14 was clearly resolved in favour of the first, as a simple select examination makes clear:

1 Samuel 10: 24. The Hebrew demands ‘May the king live’, not ‘God save the King’.

Acts 12: 4. The Greek demands ‘Passover’, not the pagan term ‘Easter’.

Acts 19: 37. The Greek demands ‘robbers of temples’, not ‘churches’.

Romans 3: 4.40 The Greek demands ‘may it not be’, not ‘God forbid’.

1 Corinthians 13: The Greek demands ‘love’, not ‘charity’.

Hebrews 10: 23. The Greek demands ‘hope’, not ‘faith’.

CONCLUSION

Dr David Daniell has pointed out that the AV reflected politically correct Latinate ‘establishment’ tendencies as opposed to Tyndale’s more accurate and homely koiné Greek-based translation.41 Note: Tyndale’s use of ‘love’ in 1 Corinthians 13 compared with the AV’s Latinate ‘charity’. If anything the AV was a backward-step from Tyndale and the Geneva Bible (both of which still had minor inaccuracies, e. g. ‘God forbid’ in Romans 6: 2 and elsewhere). In this respect, the NKJV is better but not always consistent, see Galatians 6: 14).

In respect of linguistic style, the literary features of the AV largely derived from the Geneva Bible. Published for many decades, the final 1599 edition remained in print until 1644. It was the Bible of Shakespeare (d. 1616), Milton (d. 1674) and Bunyan (d. 1688). Clearly Dr Daniell has a high regard for the Geneva Bible.42 Writing over twenty years ago, he lamented the lack of access to Geneva versions.43 If readers prefer an older Protestant translation, the Geneva Bible is a better option than the AV (and today’s version is Dr Blayney’s 1769 edition rather than the original of 1611). Besides being a more accurate translation overall, the former actually has fewer archaic word endings. In Mark 15: 35, ‘Elijah’ is used instead of the Greek-transliterated ‘Elias’. It even uses a colloquial ‘Hey’ in Mark 15: 29! Whatever Dr Reynolds had in mind, all that was needed was a revised GB with fewer notes (see Appendix for a sample new proposal).

Only after the Restoration (1660) and the brutal suppression of the Puritans did the Geneva Bible begin to give way to the King James Bible. Having been reared on the latter—America’s first English Bible, even the Pilgrim Fathers (1620) considered that the AV contained some ‘popish’ features! They objected to the AV on several grounds, including the reversion to ‘Easter’ instead of ‘Passover’ in Acts 12: 4, thus promoting the perpetuation of the ‘popish’ church calendar (saints days, Lent, etc). The use of ‘Saint’ in the author’s details in the NT books (the Greek omits this) assumes a Roman Catholic conception of ‘sainthood’. There were also concerns about published images in the first edition and too high a regard for the Apocrypha. Writing from a Reformed Puritan perspective, it is surprising how Presbyterian, Strict Baptist, Brethren and Pentecostal Christians have been so keen to support what is an Anglican version of the Bible.

Furthermore, on grounds of accuracy, honesty demands the acknowledgement of the AV’s errors, not least where dubious theology and ecclesiastical ideas arise. The equally unbiblical theory of diocesan episcopacy was reinforced by translating episkopos as ‘bishop’ rather than ‘overseer’ (compare 1 Tim. 3: 2 with Acts 20: 28). For all its demerits, the NIV is more satisfactory than even the NKJV or the Geneva Bible at this point.  Likewise the NIV and NKJV correctly use ‘turban’ rather than the AV ‘mitre’ in Exod. 28: 4. Mitred bishops are obviously happier with the AV (although the Geneva Bible also retained the term).

For all its qualities, we should not pretend that the AV is the last word in translation. Of course the LORD has used the AV. Who denies that? But it is significant that, over the centuries, the soundest godly commentators have often corrected the AV’s defects in commentaries and sermons. In that respect, God has blest not the AV as such but corrected expositions of it. This really is the case, over and over again. While it too has its blemishes, the RAV/NKJV is a preferable version for modern use. We dare not let ‘the opposition’ write off the Reformed Faith as an irrelevant and antiquarian version of Christianity. Despite its occasional defects, the NKJV (or original RAV, 1982) is closer to the Greek and the Geneva Bible than is the AV, and therefore more satisfactory for modern use. Let us communicate the Gospel to the twenty-first century using suitably-appropriate contemporary language.

NOTES

1 Miscellaneous Writings and Letters of Thomas Cranmer (Cambridge: Parker Society,1846),119.

2 Ibid. 120.

3 See, The Works of the Rev. P. Doddridge, D. D. , vols. vi-x (Leeds: Edward Baines, 1802-5).

4 David Daniell, Tyndale’s New Testament (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, ed. 1995), pp. xiii-xiv.

5 Cited in Daniell, op. cit, p. viii. See also Robert Demaus, William Tindale: A Biography (London: Religious Tract society, n.d.), 86.

6 See A. H. Drysdale, History of the Presbyterians in England (London: Presbyterian Church of England, 1889), 233-4.

7 See Norman L. Walker, Scottish Church History (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1882), 41ff. Melville’s remonstrance with the King is rightly famous: “I must tell you, there are two kings and two kingdoms in Scotland; there is King James, the head of this commonwealth; and there is Christ Jesus, the King of the Church, whose subject James the Sixth is, and of whose kingdom he is not a king, nor a lord, nor a head, but a member. We will yield to you your place, and give you all due obedience; but again I say you are not the Head of the Church. You cannot give us that eternal life which we seek for even in this world, and you cannot deprive us of it” (44).

8 Alister McGrath, In the Beginning: The Story of the King James Bible (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 2001), 171-2.

9 See William Barlow, D. D., and Deane of Chester, The Sum and Substance of the Conference, which, it pleased his Excellent Majestie to have with the Lords, Bishops, and other of his Clergie,…at Hampton Court (London: Matthew Law, 1604).

10 See Benjamin Brook, The Lives of the Puritans (London: James Black, 1813), ii. 176ff.

11 Ibid., 308ff.

12 Ibid., 324.

13 Ibid., 445ff.

14 Barlow, Sum and Substance, 36.

15 Ibid., 80-2.

16 Ibid., 37.

17 Ibid., 38.

18 “Many a man speaks of Robin Hood, who never shot in his bow. If you had a good wife yourself, you would think, all the honour and worship you could do her, were well bestowed” (Barlow, Sum and Substance, 76).

19 Ibid., 83.

20 Ibid., 87-91.

21 Ibid., 93.

22 Ibid., 94.

23 Ibid., 97.

24 Ibid., 99-101.

25 Ibid., 101-02

26 Benson Bobrick, The Making of The English Bible (London: Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 2001),

219.

27 See n. 7.

28 See Alan C. Clifford, Oliver Cromwell: The Lessons and Legacy of the Protectorate (Norwich: Charenton Reformed Publishing, 1999).

29 Barlow, 45.

30 Ibid., 45-6.

31 Ibid.

32 Ibid.

33 Ibid. 47.

34 Ibid., 47-8.

35 See Galatians 4: 24, Psalm 105: 28 and Psalm 106: 30 in the Bishops’ Bible (1602 edition).

36 McGrath, In the Beginning, 164.

37 Ibid., 165.

38 Bobrick, English Bible, 328.

39 Ibid., 329.

40 See also Romans 6: 2. It is strange to see a ‘latter-day Puritan’ and advocate of verbal inspiration like Dr D. M. Lloyd-Jones defending the AV at this point in D. M. Lloyd-Jones, Romans: An Exposition of Chapter 6 (London: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1972), 10.

41 Tyndale’s New Testament, p. xxiv.

42 Ibid., pp. xxiv-xxix.

43 Ibid., p. xxvii.

APPENDIX

THE NEW GENEVA BIBLE

[AUTHOR’S PROPOSAL]

1 Peter 5: 1-11

Peter the Presbyterian

1 The Elders who are among you I urge, who am also an Elder1 and a witness2 of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed:

2 pastor3 the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers4, not reluctantly but willingly, not for selfish profit but eager to serve;

3 not like lords5 over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock;

4 and when the Archpastor6 appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.

5 Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to the Elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, clothing yourselves with humility, for “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may lift you up in due time.

7 Cast all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

8 Be sober and alert; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.

10 And the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little, make you perfect, established, strong and steadfast.

King James I & the AV Bible (1611)

11 To Him be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.

1 Greek presbuteros (elder) not heireus (priest).

2 Greek martus or martur (whence English ‘martyr’), bearing witness in preaching and/or dying, not as a sacrificing mass priest.

3 Greek poimen (shepherd).

4 Greek episkopois (overseers). See Acts 20: 28 (where a plural eldership serves with shared pastoral oversight); Phil. 1: 1; Tit. 1: 5, 7 (where the elder’s role of oversight is described).

5 Greek katakurieuo, stronger form of kurios (lord) used for ‘Yahweh’ (LORD) and ‘master’ or ‘owner’ in the LXX (Greek OT) and the NT. Uttering truth also applicable in a later age, Peter clearly discourages the idea of lordly dominion among ‘clergy’, e.g. ‘My Lord Bishop’ or ‘Milord’ (English) or ‘Monseigneur’ (French).

6 Christ Himself, also described as ‘pastor and overseer’ (Greek poimena kai episkopon) in 1 Peter 2: 25. As surely as the office of archbishop is alien to the NT ministry (let alone pope or father, see Matthew 23: 9; Greek pater, late Greek papas), Peter’s description of Christ has vital significance for biblical church order.

Published by kind permission from the author, Dr. Alan Clifford

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