Sunday, August 7, 2011

1 Timothy 6:20 and the KJV

I've been having an interesting discussion with a guy who rejects all modern translations and thinks the KJV is perfect.  One of his objections to new versions stems from 1 Timothy 6:20 when he stated . . .
you don't have the warning to avoid the oppositions of "SCIENCE"
The KJV reads in 1 Timothy 6:20 . . .

1 Timothy 6:20 (AV)
20 O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:
The Greek word for science is γνωσεως from the root γνω̂σις.   Transliterated into English it reads gnosis.  It's translated 28 other times in the KJV as knowledge, not science.  So I asked . . . 
Why do you reject modern translations for being consistent and translating it knowledge every time and why does the KJV translate it as knowledge every time but this time?
His response was a fair one to start.  He said to look at the context.  So I gave him the other 28 references.  He said science doesn't work there.  Fair enough.  But what about 1 Timothy 6:20?  Why doesn't knowledge work there?  Why is the KJV correct and all others wrong?  And what was going on in the scientific community that Paul was warning Timothy about?
His response amazed me.  He said . . . 
The teaching or idea of evolution, the idea that we came from non-living matter outside of any God-like influence, has been with us forever. I don't have the science journals from 60 AD, and what's more, I don't think you do either. Men of science and those of philosophical expertise have almost always been in disagreement with Genesis and the Bible. ALWAYS! Not just 1859 and after.
Wow!  Of course, if you looked at the word gnosis, you probably already see what Paul was warning about. Paul had already began to deal with some gnostic tendencies in Colossians and here it is again.  Paul was warning about gnosticism.
I am not anti-KJV.  I am pro-Bible.  People on the KJVO side often complain about people saying they cannot understand the archaic words.  I've always said it isn't the archaic words that bother me, it's the words we still use today that don't mean what we think they mean in the KJV.  Science is a great example.  Paul wasn't warning about science.  He wasn't warning about Darwinian evolution and macro-evolution over time through the mechanism of gradualism.  He wasn't warning about philosophical naturalism.  He was warning about a group of spiritual elitists known as the gnostics.
This Christian, who chides other Christians for giving up using the KJV because they don't understand the KJV, holds a false view because he uses the KJV.  If he used a modern version, he would not have made this gross error in interpretation.

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