The Calvinist KJVOnlyst Dilemma

2 Peter 2:1 and Jude 1:4 use the Greek term ‘despotēn’ (Δεσπότην). Both passages are known to be parallel since scholars and theologians agree there is a common thread among their wording, namely for the purpose of denouncing false Gnostic prophets in the Church.

St. Jude tells us Jesus Christ is both ‘despotēn’/𝘮𝘢𝘴𝘵𝘦𝘳 (Δεσπότην) 𝗮𝗻𝗱 ‘Kyrion’/𝘓𝘰𝘳𝘥 (Κύριον). Whereas the Second Epistle of St. Peter only mentions the former title of 𝘮𝘢𝘴𝘵𝘦𝘳.

The Greek Textus Receptus (TR) equally used the term ‘despotēn’ in both passages. So the English would naturally read:

2 Peter 2:1—”𝘉𝘶𝘵 𝘧𝘢𝘭𝘴𝘦 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘱𝘩𝘦𝘵𝘴 𝘢𝘭𝘴𝘰 𝘢𝘳𝘰𝘴𝘦 𝘢𝘮𝘰𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘱𝘦𝘰𝘱𝘭𝘦, 𝘫𝘶𝘴𝘵 𝘢𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘸𝘪𝘭𝘭 𝘣𝘦 𝘧𝘢𝘭𝘴𝘦 𝘵𝘦𝘢𝘤𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘴 𝘢𝘮𝘰𝘯𝘨 𝘺𝘰𝘶, 𝘸𝘩𝘰 𝘸𝘪𝘭𝘭 𝘴𝘦𝘤𝘳𝘦𝘵𝘭𝘺 𝘣𝘳𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘪𝘯 𝘥𝘦𝘴𝘵𝘳𝘶𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘷𝘦 𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘪𝘦𝘴, 𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘯 𝘥𝘦𝘯𝘺𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝙈𝙖𝙨𝙩𝙚𝙧 𝘸𝘩𝘰 𝘣𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘮, 𝘣𝘳𝘪𝘯𝘨𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘶𝘱𝘰𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘮𝘴𝘦𝘭𝘷𝘦𝘴 𝘴𝘸𝘪𝘧𝘵 𝘥𝘦𝘴𝘵𝘳𝘶𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯.” [ESV]

Jude 1:4—”𝘍𝘰𝘳 𝘤𝘦𝘳𝘵𝘢𝘪𝘯 𝘱𝘦𝘰𝘱𝘭𝘦 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘤𝘳𝘦𝘱𝘵 𝘪𝘯 𝘶𝘯𝘯𝘰𝘵𝘪𝘤𝘦𝘥 𝘸𝘩𝘰 𝘭𝘰𝘯𝘨 𝘢𝘨𝘰 𝘸𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘥𝘦𝘴𝘪𝘨𝘯𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘥𝘦𝘮𝘯𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯, 𝘶𝘯𝘨𝘰𝘥𝘭𝘺 𝘱𝘦𝘰𝘱𝘭𝘦, 𝘸𝘩𝘰 𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘨𝘳𝘢𝘤𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘎𝘰𝘥 𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘰 𝘴𝘦𝘯𝘴𝘶𝘢𝘭𝘪𝘵𝘺 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘥𝘦𝘯𝘺 𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘰𝘯𝘭𝘺 𝙈𝙖𝙨𝙩𝙚𝙧 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝙇𝙤𝙧𝙙, 𝘑𝘦𝘴𝘶𝘴 𝘊𝘩𝘳𝘪𝘴𝘵.” [ESV]

However, in 2 Peter 2:1 the King James Bible translates the word ‘Master/Owner’ (‘despotēn’) as ‘Lord’ (Kyrion):

“𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘯 𝘥𝘦𝘯𝘺𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝙇𝙤𝙧𝙙 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘣𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘮 […]”

This mistake in translation was not originated in the KJV, but it has been carried out by its predecessors the Geneva Bible, the Bishop’s Bible, Matthew’s, Coverdale’s, Tyndale’s and Wycliffe’s… and so on. So the KJV is just passively transmitting (once more) an old mistake corrected in the modern translations.

However, the error is more evident in the case of Jude 1:4, where the KJV goes all over the place with the phrasing:

“𝘍𝘰𝘳 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘤𝘦𝘳𝘵𝘢𝘪𝘯 𝘮𝘦𝘯 𝘤𝘳𝘦𝘱𝘵 𝘪𝘯 𝘶𝘯𝘢𝘸𝘢𝘳𝘦𝘴, 𝘸𝘩𝘰 𝘸𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘣𝘦𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘰𝘭𝘥 𝘰𝘳𝘥𝘢𝘪𝘯𝘦𝘥 𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘥𝘦𝘮𝘯𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯, 𝘶𝘯𝘨𝘰𝘥𝘭𝘺 𝘮𝘦𝘯, 𝘵𝘶𝘳𝘯𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘨𝘳𝘢𝘤𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘎𝘰𝘥 𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘰 𝘭𝘢𝘴𝘤𝘪𝘷𝘪𝘰𝘶𝘴𝘯𝘦𝘴𝘴, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘥𝘦𝘯𝘺𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘰𝘯𝘭𝘺 𝙇𝙤𝙧𝙙 𝘎𝘰𝘥, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝙇𝙤𝙧𝙙 𝘑𝘦𝘴𝘶𝘴 𝘊𝘩𝘳𝘪𝘴𝘵.”

Instead of ‘Master’, the KJB and its predecessors arbitrarily insert ‘Lord God’ (Kyrion Theos) a variant never found in any ancient manuscript. Now, before we move on it is important to say the TR and the Majority and Byzantine-type Texts do contain a variant which reads like this:

“παρεισεδυσαν γαρ τινες ανθρωποι οι παλαι προγεγραμμενοι εις τουτο το κριμα ασεβεις την του θεου (God) ημων χαριν μετατιθεντες εις ασελγειαν και τον μονον δεσποτην (Master) θεον (God) και κυριον (Lord) ημων ιησουν χριστον αρνουμενοι”

So naturally, if the KJB translators would have done a slightly better job they would have translated it as:

“𝘵𝘶𝘳𝘯𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘨𝘳𝘢𝘤𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘎𝘰𝘥 𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘰 𝘭𝘢𝘴𝘤𝘪𝘷𝘪𝘰𝘶𝘴𝘯𝘦𝘴𝘴, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘥𝘦𝘯𝘺𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘰𝘯𝘭𝘺 𝙈𝙖𝙨𝙩𝙚𝙧 𝘎𝘰𝘥 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝙇𝙤𝙧𝙙 𝘑𝘦𝘴𝘶𝘴 𝘊𝘩𝘳𝘪𝘴𝘵.”

Why does this present a difficult challenge for the Calvinist KJVOnlyst? Because of 2 Peter 2:1. Many Reformed theologians strongly argue the Second Epistle of Peter does not identify Jesus as the ‘master’ in 2:1 buying and owning the false prophets. Calvinism teaches these false prophets could not have been bought/redeemed by the blood of Christ because true believers cannot fall away or be damned.

Because the title ‘Kyrion’ is used, the Calvinist believer would have to either choose to appeal to the infallibility of the KJB, acknowledge the master as Jesus (through the divine use of Kyrion) and accept the fact this verse destroys the doctrine of Limited Atonement; -𝗼𝗿- defend Particular Redemption by acknowledging the KJB should not have used the term Lord since the master being referred in 2 Peter 2:1 has nothing to do with Jesus or God the Father and is in no way related to the phrasing of Jude 1:4.

These irreconcilable situations are wrong no matter what solutions are provided. We objectively know the primary meaning of ‘despotēn’ is ‘master’, and we objectively know the scope of the atonement is a universal one. Other verses likes Hebrews 10:29 definitely prove there is no such thing as Limited Atonement.

 

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