Have God's Words Been Purified Seven Times?
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1. One of the key passages in defence of the preserved purity of God's word in English (the King James Bible - Ps 12:6) is actually misunderstood and misapplied, even by some accomplished defenders of his word.
The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. (Ps 12:6)
2. The facts are that:
a. Ps 12:6 says that the LORD'S words are pure words,
b. They have always been pure words,
c. The participial phrase "purified seven times" modifies the metaphoric-noun "silver". It does not modify the subject-noun "words", as many would claim. We know this by at least two proofs:
1) by the parallel construction of the TWO participles used to modify silver – "tried" and "purified", and
2) by the full colon break that precedes them - which separates the metaphor (in the subordinate clause) from the principal clause
d. Therefore, the LORD'S words are being compared metaphorically to silver that has (already) been purified seven times.
e. By failing to understand the rules of grammar in this, some defenders of God's word mistakenly believe that the process of inspiration, itself, or that of preservation, itself, is being compared to the seven-stage purification process of silver.
f. But, the LORD'S words were pure when they were first issued. They remained pure when they were written. And they continued to remain pure when they were translated.
3. It is the silver that was purified seven times; not the words of the LORD that were purified seven times.
4. Now, we realize that God's word has been written in at least seven languages: Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, Old Syrian, Old Latin, German and English. But these were not all complete translations, and they do not constitute progressively purified translations of God's word.
5. We also realize that seven major English bibles were printed: Tyndale's, Coverdale's, Matthew's, Great, Geneva, Bishops' and King James Bibles. Again, these seven works are certainly interesting, but they do not constitute progressively purified versions of God's word. At most, they are like the 'silver' that has been tried and purified, until they manifest the perfection of the pure words that God spoke.
6. In short, the words of the LORD have always been pure - and will always be pure.
7. You can trust God's word in English, the King James Bible - EXACTLY as written!!