Answering David O’Steen

David O’Steen is an American preacher and author at Hope Bible Church in Jackson, Georgia.

Recently he made a video talking about the Pure Cambridge Edition of the King James Bible. Some of his basic facts were generally right, but he made some incorrect statements which we will go through.

David knows that there are typographical errors in the history of the printing of the King James Bible and that spellings have altered since 1611. However, he implies that the Pure Cambridge Edition position is pedantry. His belief is that all variations in editions are concurrently true.

Further, one reason why David is very suspicious of the Pure Cambridge Edition is because I am a Pentecostal from Australia. It is obviously a bitter pill that I am Pentecostal because there is a huge divide between King James Bible only Baptists and Pentecostals in the United States.

Note that I did not invent the Pure Cambridge Edition, it was printed by Cambridge for decades in millions of copies before I was ever born.

David says that whether the word is spelt (or, spelled as they say in the USA), “ancle” or “ankle” it means that same thing. The answer to that is simple. Yes, it does have the same meaning, but we are talking about exactness and God’s use of English, not how we use English in our own usage.

Well of course no doctrinal collapse or whatever is there just because of a “c” or a “k”. That’s not the point, the point is that we should stick with God’s way, not our own heads. We should not diminish ought from the Scripture.

The Pure Cambridge Edition, which arose maybe in the late 1920s, is clearly called “pure” in relation to editorial standards. That is, in relation to typographical accuracy, a deliberate scheme of spelling, etc.

What David wrongly does is conflate the editorial issue with the translation and textual/version issue. There are three levels here: TEXT, TRANSLATION and EDITION. The first two go together: the correct TEXT is the King James Bible, gathered from the TR variants and set forth in 1611 and beyond. The correct English TRANSLATION is the King James Bible which was made in 1611, improving upon the Bishops’, Geneva and other translations. The same TEXT and TRANSLATION have been printed throughout all normal and proper editions. Thus, the Oxford Edition is indeed the pure and correct TEXT and TRANSLATION. However, due to some editorial variations and typographical errors, the Oxford Edition is not quite as pure EDITIONALLY as the PCE is.

David knows that the variations in editions are not intentional corruptions of the King James Bible itself, but have arisen through circumstance, accident, poor editorial decisions, etc. However, editorial variations are still deliberate. Surely the editors at Oxford knew that the Cambridge editions were spelling some words differently and had some tiny variations in wording. But the Oxford people stuck to their tradition. Having said that, the potential for misreading or for error in the detail is therefore possible with an edition that might have typos, misspelled words and worse, editorial changes that are actually wrong. These wrong changes are not going so far as to change the translation or version itself, but still pose impediments as to what is correct, precisely and accurately.

No one should think that a Bible with typos is as good as a Bible with no typos. No, it is proper and godly and orderly to get rid of the typos.

David makes a comment about some young Christian who gets a King James Bible and it happens not to be PCE. Let me say right now that God’s grace is sufficient. I don’t think anyone is (or should be) ripping that Thomas Nelson or whatever out of his hand or calling other editions the work of Satan or whatever. The PCE position is a nuanced one, whereas often a Christian would be so ignorant that he would think that getting an ESV was fine. If the Body of Christ was limited to only King James Bible users or PCE supporters rather than all born again believers today, such a distinction measure at this time would be a damnable heresy. I would to God a Christian read an Oxford KJB rather than the NIV. But there is a better thing than just “any edition” of the KJB.

David then looks at the list of 12 test places of the editions of the King James Bible (the list is on He seems to think that the PCE issue is one where we are saying that there are deliberate and evil corruptions, and that unless you have a PCE, your King James Bible is corrupt. This is clearly NOT what is being said by me on my website or any video I make. Purity is about refinement, not about saying that things less pure are the work of Satan. (The Geneva Version was less pure than the KJB, but the Geneva Version was not the work of Satan.)

David tries to argue that the differences in the tests don’t matter. But they do. Now he rightly says that things to do with the Holy Ghost are not always with a capital “S” on the word “Spirit”.

But then he makes a huge blunder. David says he thinks that I am saying that the word “spirit” (such as in Acts 11:28 or 1 John 5:8) is not something to do with the Holy Ghost. This is simply not true. It is evident that while David has seen that there are variations in these things from 1611 and that the word “spirit” is plenty of times lower case today, he has not understood anything about what I have explained on this issue.

(It is very easy to go online and find the basic information and some semi-negative report about me being a Pentecostal and then just base a flawed conclusion on these points.)

I have quite extensively talked about the “spirit” case issue, including how the Holy Ghost is meant or his work, and why it is precise to use lower case “s” on the word “spirit” on occasions.

The problem is that David is taking a sort of ultra-simplistic approach that basically it doesn’t matter whether it is capital or lower case, because it just must mean the Holy Ghost. But the case difference gives nuance and is entirely deliberate. Editors like Blayney in 1769 knew full well to capitalise deity or that usage should be editorially consistent, yet these learned editors deliberately chose to have the word “spirit” lower case in places, because as we are able to discover today, there is a meaning difference in the case usage.

Laughably, David uses the Donald Waite argument that since Hebrew or Greek did not use the case of letters, therefore it mustn’t be an issue in English either.

By David’s logic, then, whether “god” or “God” doesn’t matter. And “Word” and “word” don’t matter either. Why not then have “dAVID” if letters don’t matter?

And likewise, if spelling is no issue, why not today have “Iesus Christ” or “Sonne of God”?

No, rather, worlds of meaning hang on capital and lower case. Just look at the issue around the word “god” in the story of the fiery furnace.

David brings up examples where one place has “Spirit” or “spirit”, and whether another nearby or parallel passage as the other. These are exact things, and I explain them on my website. The issue is not about fake uniformity, but about what exactly the word “spirit” means as is different to “Spirit”. I discuss this in detail elsewhere, but it seems to me that David completely has ignored this, and instead tried to draw his own negative conclusions about me and reinforce his own belief that variations in editions don’t matter.

David thinks the difference of “spirit” or “Spirit” both being present, somehow must be an “inconsistency”. Not so, but rather precision. I make points about this issue on my website and in youtube videos.

Now, it gets more and more ridiculous with David when he tries to justify the two different wordings. He begins the mental gymnastics by trying to say that both the “or” and “and” readings of Joshua 19:2 are correct.

A quick question should be asked, seeing as God inspired and gave one word, how can it now be two? How is it that now all the “legitimate” variations in editions are all to be accounted as correct and true? No, the whole KJBO argument versus modern versions is that only one set of words is right, so obviously the same must be with editions. Only “and” or “or” can be correct at Joshua 19:2. It is pretty easy to see that the word “or” is correct because Sheba has two names, whereas saying “and” creates a distinction which then messes up the total number of towns listed in that passage.

In another example in Jeremiah 34:16, the PCE says “ye” and the Oxford says “he”. Where each word has a different meaning, and worlds of meaning hang on the grammar or words, to say “ye” is not to say “he”. There is different information conveyed by these word differences. They are not concurrently true.

In another example, David tries to reconcile “flieth” and “fleeth” in Nahum 3:16. But these are two different words. David then gives this crazy explanation that people are saying that the cankerworm could fly. (In fact, the cankerworm does change to a flying insect, e.g. a moth.) He then strains to explain how both could be correct. But once again, seeing as each word has a different meaning, and meaning itself must be precise with God’s words, the “additional information” (basically an “advanced revelation”) that David tries to concoct by adding the “fleeing” to the “flying” is incorrect, since it can and should be only one or the other. (Otherwise would not God have said in Hebrew that the cankerworm flees and flies away?) David says, “the point is the same” … but how can flying and fleeing be the same? He really knows this because he then tellingly says that if you think it is one or the other, write what you think it is in the margin. And now we see that David has come to where the modernists are at: deciding God’s truth for themselves, deciding what variation they would like to choose as their preferred one. He says don’t throw the Bible away because it hasn’t got it the way you think it should be. Maybe stick with the PCE and that’s it after all!

In the example of “further” and “farther”, David clearly has no knowledge from either the dictionary or myself on the clear and distinct meaning of these two words. They are not synonyms. They are not complementary information. No, it has to be one or the other, and the PCE is right with “further” at the place in Matthew. When elsewhere the PCE has “farther” that also is correct in its place.

In the example of “bewray” and “betray”, David knows nothing about these being two completely different words with completely different meanings. But David is wanting to make all variations concurrently correct … is he suggesting maybe that we should get a KJB that has all the variations present, maybe as marginal notes, so that only then we can have the “full” picture?

David rightly says that the 1769 is just as much KJB as the 1611 Edition. Yes, that is my point too. But we are not talking about the VERSION-TEXT or the TRANSLATION, we are talking about eliminating typos, using proper (Biblical) spelling and having editorially resolved what is the right word/spelling in every place.

“But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4).

Every word means every single word, not all the variations. God’s mouth did not produce variations like, “bewray” AND “betray” at a place. No, God’s word must one or the other.

David falsely says, “Don’t let a Pentecostal from Australia undermine your faith.” This is blatantly wrong! I am encouraging faith in God’s words. Did I ever once go to the USA and tear up Oxford Editions? No, I am about encouraging faith in God’s words, and that we should have and know them.

I have plainly said that the Oxford has the pure and perfect text and translation, because the KJB is the right VERSION and the right TRANSLATION.

But, it is Biblically consistent to have the proper words and their meanings in a proper edition.

“Have not I written to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge, That I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth; that thou mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee?” (Proverbs 22:20, 21).

Of course, as David says, no one should be getting hung up. I know some people are like, “This Bible’s printer missed a full stop here” which if taken to an extreme can be unbalanced and sort of so-called mental illness territory. No, the Pure Cambridge Edition is one for the Church, to have a consistent edition, to have precision to the words, a proper tradition, a uniformity in usage.

Any true believer in Christ should be seeing that the common heritage of God’s words is important. The issue being discussed here is not about Pentecostalism or Independent Fundamentalist Dispensationalism, it is about simply whether we believe God’s words and believe that God has provided His words exactly and precisely, and that His providence and power is such as to ensure that we’ve had the King James Bible properly edited over the years and typographical errors resolved. If we know we have something right then it makes it impossible for the devil or anything to change even one jot or tittle in KJB on us.

“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32).


Information on the Spirit/spirit case issue: