The Majority Text is a group of Greek New Testament manuscripts also described as Byzantine Text-type. These manuscripts form the basis for the Textus Receptus, a group of printed editions of the Greek New Testament text used by translators of the KJV and NKJV. Many KJV advocates believe the Textus Receptus is the best available Greek text. The Alexandrian Text-type is a group of Greek New Testament manuscripts that are older than the Majority Text, dating as early as the second or third century after Christ. Other groups of manuscripts are known as Caesarean Text-type and Western Text-type. These groups of manuscripts are studied by textual critics, scholars who study the differences between these various manuscripts to discover the most accurate Bible text. One such committee worked to assemble the Nestle-Aland Greek Text (27th ed.), now the most popular Greek text used to study and translate the New Testament. While scholars continue to discuss the merits of various Greek manuscripts, believers can be assured that their English Bible is an accurate translation.
We believe our English translations are the Word of God.
When the GARBC wrote its first doctrinal statement in 1932, it emphasized that “the Holy Bible as originally written was verbally inspired.” When the statement was clarified in 1975, the words “infallible and inerrant” were added. Theologians teach that these words refer to the “original autographs,” the original manuscripts of the Bible, but none of these manuscripts exists today. The Greek and Hebrew manuscripts that we have are various copies produced by scribes through the ages.
GARBC churches believe that the original manuscripts were inspired, but we do not say our English translations are inspired. Other churches teach that the King James Version of the Bible is the only inspired translation—but GARBC churches consider this view to be unorthodox.
King James Version (1611) was the standard English translation used by GARBC churches for many years. Though it is commonly referenced with the 1611 date, the version most often used was produced by Oxford in 1769 (an edition that modernized spelling and grammar). Some GARBC pastors still believe the KJV is the best translation of the best available manuscripts.
The term KJV-only did not appear until the 1980s, and was used to describe believers who would not tolerate the use of any other English Bible translation. Some fundamentalists believe the King James Version is directly inspired by God and the only valid English translation, but GARBC churches reject this view.
American Standard Version (1901) was used by several early GARBC leaders, including Paul Jackson, former GARBC national representative. When his Doctrine of the Local Church was released by RBP in 1956, it contained several quotations from the ASV. Interestingly, these quotations were changed to the KJV when the book was revised in 1968.
New American Standard Bible (1974) was produced by a committee that included a translator with GARBC roots. Hermann Austel, dean of Los Angeles Baptist Seminary, worked on portions of the Old Testament.
New International Version (1978) was quickly adopted by GARBC pastors such as Don Tyler and Ernest Pickering who preached from it and encouraged their congregations to purchase it. In 1979 Pickering preached “Questions and Answers about Bible Translations” at Emmanuel Baptist Church, Toledo, Ohio, a sermon that was later printed as a booklet by Central Baptist Theological Seminary and Baptist World Mission.
New King James Version (1982) was intended to update the language of the KJV while retaining the same translation philosophy. Former GARBC pastor James T. Jeremiah participated in the overview committee that organized the translation process. Though the NKJV was translated from the Textus Receptus text of the Greek New Testament, it was not embraced by the KJV-only advocates. In 2005 Regular Baptist Press began offering some of its curriculum in the NKJV.
In 2009 The GARBC Council of Eighteen added the ESV to the list of translations approved for authors to use in Regular Baptist Press publications. When the council began the policy in 1963, the list included the KJV, ASV, Berkeley Version, and Williams translation. This list was expanded through the years and now includes ASV, ESV, Holman Christian Standard Bible, NASB, NIV, New Scofield Bible, and Amplified Bible.