Bryan Ross’ rejection of jot and tittle perfection


Today, like a solar storm, a new contention has come to pass, which is something called the denial of the ultimate very jots and tittles of Scripture being manifest and known in the Earth.

Pastor Bryan Ross is an American teacher who has been investigating claims of various King James Bible only people. Like me, he has sought to distance himself from crazy claims and better articulate some claims that are made by King James Bible onlyists. For example, I think there is no such thing as an “Antioch stream” of Bibles.

I recently had a discussion with Bryan Ross, and he indicates he is not retreating to a mere Textus Receptus onlyist position. But on the other hand, when discussing the issues of variations in words like “stablish” versus “establish”, Ross appealed to the original languages and argued that these words were essentially the same.

In part, this is because Ross has seen in American KJB editions variations of spelling on words, and in order to justify this, he attempts to argue that since the Americans were varying around words (he claims just spellings) that something like “stablish” and “establish” must be synonymous. (After all variations of this sort are to be found even in 1611, in regard to “thoroughly” and “throughly”.)

These are different words with different meanings. As I’ve shown clearly in my book Glistering Truths (get it here), words like “alway” versus “always” or “farther” versus “further” are different, and so too are “stablish” and “establish”. It’s no use relying solely on 1611 when orthography and spelling was not yet standard, but we see huge progress in this through the early Cambridge editorial revisions and in Blayney’s Oxford work, to our final Pure Cambridge Edition of today.

Bryan Ross argues that because in Greek or Hebrew the same word might be translated to similar words, that those English words are really the same. Hence his ultimate appeal is to the original languages and not English of the KJB. This makes him look very much like a TRO, though he has stated that he thinks that the KJB is right.

I have taken the approach of relying on English alone, especially in relation to looking at the internal nature of the editing and grammar of the King James Bible.

Dean Burgon said, “If would really seem as if the Revisionists of 1611 had considered it a graceful achievement to vary the English phrase even on occasions where a marked identity of expression characterises the original Greek. When we find them turning ‘goodly apparel,’ (in S. James ii. 2,) into ‘gay clothing,’ (in ver. 3,) — we can but conjecture that they conceived themselves at liberty to act exactly as S. James himself would (possibly) have acted had he been writing English.” (Revision Revised, page 190). Now obviously this is talking about translation, but the principle applies directly into editorial distinctiveness, which does convey the translation (that is, the meaning).

There are subtleties of nuance, in a way, worlds of meaning between these different words in English. Those differences, just like the “stablish” and “establish” differences, are vital for conveying the very sense of the Scripture. It is said that Martin Luther taught that we must tremble before every syllable of Scripture, that no iota is in vain. And as the Westminster Confession lays out, Scripture is truly in our own language of English. Therefore, this right kind of zeal towards the very words and letters in English.

That’s why we should stay with the proper editing of the King James Bible and uphold the very accuracy of the letters as to be found in the Pure Cambridge Edition.

In my initial investigation of Bryan Ross, I asked him some questions to start to find out about what he was on about. At that time I didn’t know that he had written a book on this subject. He made a video answering my questions here:


Bryan Ross has written a book about the doctrines of inspiration and preservation of the Scripture, called “The myth of the verbatim identicality”. He uses terms common to Textus Receptus onlyism like “verbal plenary inspiration”.

First I will define some terms from my point of view.

1. Ross talks about “verbatim identicality” and “verbal equivalence”. They are not my words, but I will define them anyway. Verbatim identicality says that we have in English exactly what is in the originals. Verbal equivalence says we have the same but in English. Now if it means word order and so on, then obviously in English we don’t have the same as Hebrew or Greek. But if it means the exact ideas communicated, then we do have that. The danger with the Textus Receptus only position is that they do not think the fullness of the meaning is in English, but an adequate or sufficiency of meaning. For example, Jack Moorman, a leading TRO said that basically the light of the originals has to shine through behind the English as the English interface (essentially) is adequate but never going to be precisely full, in other words, there is no such thing as a nuance perfect translation. Well, the KJBO position disagrees with that.

2. Quotations of the Scripture of itself (e.g. Isaiah 61 and Luke 4). It is obvious that within inspiration, the Holy Ghost could vary from one place to another, not requiring the words as separately recorded in Luke, even though literally quoting Isaiah, needing to be the same in English. Remember, we are viewing the Word of God in English. It is a fault of the TRO that they place the authority of Scripture onto the original languages and do not place equal (let alone final) authority onto English.

3. Are different words the same (e.g. Holy Ghost and Holy Spirit)? TRO advocate D. A. Waite, in telling me about his view on the word “spirit” in 1 John 5:8, could not insist on any spelling or any rendering because the Greek, he said, just had “pneuma”. (Remembering of course this is an editorial issue, not a translation one.) Likewise, in regard to the translation, when we have exactness possible in English, we could not just interchange Holy Spirit and Holy Ghost in the Scripture. We could not accept that where it is translated one way, it must always be translated the same.

The King James Bible translators wrote, “For is the kingdom of God become words or syllables? Why should we be in bondage to them, if we may be free? use one precisely, when we may use another no less fit as commodiously?” The translators wrote, “we have not tied ourselves to an uniformity of phrasing, or to an identity of words, as some peradventure would wish that we had done … for there be some words that be not of the same sense every where”. Are we to have a superstition about Greek translation into English? “For is the kingdom of God become words or syllables?” One Greek word can be translated a number of ways, and therefore the best English words should be used each time.

Dean Burgon wrote, “the plain fact being that the men of 1611 … produced a work of real genius; seizing with generous warmth the meaning and intention of the sacred Writers, and perpetually varying the phrase, as they felt or fancied that Evangelists and Apostles would have varied it, had they had to express themselves in English”. Burgon suggested, “But then it speedily becomes evident that, at the bottom of all this, there existed in the minds of the Revisionists of 1611 a profound (shall we not rather say a prophetic?) consciousness, that the fate of the English Language itself was bound up with the fate of their Translation.”


Bryan Ross tells this story that he read David Norton’s book. Now David Norton is a complete modernist and not even Evangelical as far as I can tell. He is approaching the whole area of the internal history of the King James Bible in a purely Enlightenment-based approach. (Never let the other side define the terms of reference!)

Bryan Ross says that he was disturbed by what he read in Norton. Ross began to see that there are various different words in 1769 (i.e. today) than what was printed in 1611. Well, people might remember Sam Gipp, who used an article by another man named David Reagan, who wrote a tract called “The Myth of the Early Revisions”. The main argument was to say that the King James Bible had not been revised. Of course, what they meant to argue was that the textual choices and translation had not been revised.

Likewise, D. A. Waite and David Cloud argued that there were just spelling changes since 1611, because D. A. Waite had spent one time reading the 1611 into a tape recorder and then listened to it while reading a current edition, and detected only some small number of 421. Rick Norris came along trying to prove them wrong and came up with a bigger list of differences. Well, Scrivener, Norton, Norris, me, we all know there are many hundreds of differences.

Now, I have always argued very strongly that all these 1611 to today “differences” are editorial, not translation or underlying text changes. In other words, whether the printers made mistakes in 1611, whether spelling has become standardised, whether other editorial regularisation was required. I’ve said it many times. This does mean that in places a word is different now than what was there in 1611, but what we have now is the capacity to communicate by means of even relying on grammar and capital letters and exact wordings what is the sense and communication of the original autographs/the Bible in Heaven/God Himself.

Bryan Ross however was clearly thrown off, because he thinks that editors have (cue dramatic music and lightning) “made changes” to the KJB. At the same time, Bryan Ross referred to a work being done by Laurence M. Vance on this topic also (which I haven’t read). This is the problem a person gets into once they start referencing Hebrew and Greek in analysing the editorial history of the King James Bible. No one is denying that Dr Blayney looked at the original languages. But to imply an actual change of the translation or underlying text is really untenable. The point is we don’t have to defend the rightness of the King James Bible editing now on the basis of appealing to Hebrew and Greek, when the editing is self-evidently correct of its own authority (i.e. that the Bible in English is our final standard of appeal now).

Because Ross observes variations everywhere, in manuscripts, in TR editions, in Protestant Reformation English translations and in different editions of the KJB, he concludes that there could not be one correct, final, perfect form of the Word of God.

This also means that Bryan Ross does not accept there could be a final setting of some edition of the King James Bible, i.e. the Pure Cambridge Edition.

He does not accept that the PCE could represent what was intended in the print master given to the press by the KJB translators, or that the PCE represents what was intended in the inspired autographs in their original languages, or that the PCE represents the Bible in Heaven or that the PCE represents what is in the mind of God.

Why? Because Bryan Ross does not believe there is actually a word perfect, exact set of words somewhere on Earth today that ultimately represents the Word of God.

And, by the way, having the perfection does not exclude or nullify all the imperfection, which he implies. Having perfection crowns all the imperfection that has existed. No one should wipe off the fact that the scripture once was used and still exists in many varying original language manuscripts! These were scriptures once for people, though they are now seemingly scientific heliographica.


Once a person forsakes the foundation of Scriptural doctrine by embracing some sliver of a thought of Enlightenment philosophy, then everything begins to crumble.

If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do? (Psalm 11:3).

Bryan Ross might see variation everywhere, but that should not be used to say that having one final perfect form in Earth is impossible.

Yes, there were little variations from 1611 to now, but the question is, was the translation and version-text of 1611 right? Or is all in a state of flux like some sort of Heraclitan universe?

There is one verse that destroys Bryan Ross’ doubt or indistinctiveness here. The Bible says,

For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. (Matthew 5:18).

A jot is the letter “i” or a dot on the “i”, and the tittle is like the stroke of the letter “t”. In other words, the very lettering in English.

So, the question is not that the KJB has to be the same letter for letter as the originals, we can agree. But is the KJB idea for idea (and ideas are communicated by words) the same, the answer I think we can agree is yes.

Jesus said that the very parts of letter of the Scripture are important. What this means is that the promises of Scripture, which are conveyed by language, require absolute specificity of language. Now, even though there has been some “variation” in Scripture (e.g. spelling etc.) the ultimate result must be that there is an actual form of Scripture which is accurate.

People could take a Platonic type of view and say that the ultimate Scripture is in the mind of God and written in Heaven. This is true. But people actually believe that the inspiration and autographs of Scripture were fully perfect.

Now, all the people who are influenced by Enlightenment thinking are going to say that while the Scripture was “pure” when first written, it has not actually been kept “pure” through history. They will equivocate about preservation, because while they might claim they believe that God has got Scripture to us, they will argue using some fancy wording or sophistry or genuine ignorance that only a shadow of Scripture exists today, that we can have God’s promises broadly but never rely on the very precise communication. In other words, they don’t believe in the actual jots and tittles, they will just make “jot” mean “detail” as in a figurative meaning and not anything ultimately literal.

But if the Scripture in Heaven is perfect, why should we deny that perfection is also to be manifest here. After all, the Scripture says,

But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. (1 Cor. 13:10).

And again,

He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he. (Deut. 32:4).

So then, the final perfection, when we actually can know precisely exactly the jots and tittles is coming about now. Sadly, however, Bryan Ross is not willing to believe that we could ever come to a final certainly on “every word” since he thinks that words like “stablish” and “establish” are the same word, and cannot see, admit and comprehend the distinctiveness between the two.


Tim Berg, a former King James Bible onlyist, and Mark Ward, a leading voice against the perfection of the King James Bible (who essentially argues that the KJB is locked to the language of the past and does not communicate so clearly to today), have reached out to Bryan Ross in the past and recently.

Why? Because Mark Ward has certain motives. One is to divide and destroy King James Bible onlyism. Now, this does not mean that he is out to eradicate the King James Bible from existence. But what it means is he wants to stop people viewing it as perfect and ultimately stop people relying on it alone for faith and practice.

Tim Berg grew up in what sounds like wild-eyed King James Bible only fundamentalism. Probably sort of like what I was told when I was young, that dinosaur fossils were an invention and conspiracy by scientists so that they could proclaim evolution. That sort of thing. Well, a little bit of education and the pendulum has swung far the other way, and now Tim Berg is on the other side, but unlike others, and to his credit, he actually has a genuine goodwill towards to the King James Bible.

Now Mark Ward, for all his faults, is certainly clever at marketing and Tim Berg is certainly a smart guy, so when they knew of Bryan Ross and his questioning of King James only ideas, they seized upon making a fellowship connection.

Mark Ward wants a propaganda victory, he wants someone like Bryan Ross to fight in the midst of the King James Bible only world and draw people out of what Ward thinks is a grave and detrimental error.

So now there is some sort of accord and affinity between the quasi-TRO position of Bryan Ross and these two anti-KJB perfectionists.

Obviously it would be a kind of problem for Bryan Ross to be going towards them. Ross needs to bring those men to the KJB, but instead, the current would be pulling the other direction.

Laughably, a reviewer named Dwayne Green praised Bryan Ross for taking a “realistic” view. This term “realistic” shows that the debate is really between the influence of Enlightenment philosophy versus Providential Perfectionism.

And at this time, with the recent passing of D. A. Waite, who was a leader in the TRO movement, we have at the same time the rising of someone who seems to be figuratively walking in the steps of D. A. Waite. Bryan Ross’ ideas in his new book is the opening of a new debate battlefront.

Mark Ward and Bryan Ross have reaffirmed their communion together, showing that the spiritual intellectual war is coming into a new season, as the position of the perfection of God’s words for the world is being confronted by well-meaning but misguided brethren.


There have been those in the TRO camp who argued that the exact Scripture, the same as what was inspired, was in the TR. Which TR? They pointed to Beza or, mainly, Scrivener’s.

There have been those who, having the words of the Westminster Confession in their minds about God’s words being kept pure in all ages, have argued that God’s words must be available perfectly in every generation.

And no doubt, there have been those ardent supporters of the King James Bible who have taken that position for the King James Bible.

On the other side, some have bypassed everything and said that basically the King James Bible was made by inspiration. (Bryan Ross calls this a position of denying that any variants exist.)

The modernist-influenced Christians have accepted the idea that there is entropy or imperfection in time, as the Enlightenment thinkers teach. But in order to defend the idea that the Bible is perfect, they said that just the autographs were perfect, but since that time imperfection has prevailed.

In response to all this, Bryan Ross has had to think of a way of explaining both the entropy seen in copying but also some sort of purity through history. He has accepted that Scripture has come to us in the KJB, and he thinks the KJB is the best, but he does not take further steps than that.

Either God is operating deistically (as the modernists assume) or God is operating providentially to bring about perfection. Bryan Ross is therefore stuck in the idea of both entropy and progress.

Perfection and purity can be found on five levels.

One. Scripture itself.

Two. Version/Text/Readings.

Three. Translation.

Four. Edition.

Five. Setting.

Bryan got stuck at number three. He also got stuck because he didn’t quite travel into English alone, but had to leave a foot in the “checking the Greek” field.

Let’s understand how the “furnace of earth” actually works. First, God brings in the word (Scripture) by the immediate inspiration process.

The nature of inspiration is retained in the copying of the autographs. (The NT refers to copies as Scripture.)

Then copies went everywhere, translations were made, and copies of them were multiplied.

Thus the rise of variants in readings.

Then came the solution, the gathering: the rise of the Textus Receptus.

Then multiple English translations were made.

Then the KJB was made.

Then major editorial revisions happened within the KJB. The last being the Pure Cambridge Edition.

Now we have the exact words of God in a global language for the world, destined for end time preaching and the great harvest of souls.

This is the doctrine of scattering and gathering.

This is how the pure word (Scripture) in the mind of God, and the pure Scripture written in Heaven has now been manifest in its final form everywhere.

But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith: (Romans 16:26).

Finally, having arrived at the pure today we cannot condemn good translations or the Scripture at some other time, since they carry the nature of Scripture. Bryan Ross seems to think that having the PCE somehow must mean negating or being required to negate all other copies, versions, translations and editions. But that is not so. And if that is holding him back from embracing the PCE and relying upon English alone, then I hope he realises the blessing of the truth.


For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. (Matthew 5:18).

Bryan Ross has made a huge mistake in letting the words and thoughts of men define his terms.

When defining “preservation” he finds a dictionary definition that says as long as something is in a “near identical state” it is preserved.

Instead of believing the Scripture that speaks of the jots and tittles he looks empirically out there at manuscripts and does not see a perfect set of jots and tittles, so he has to reinterpret the passage. That’s walking by sight, not by faith.

Apparently even D. A. Waite is too radical for Bryan Ross, as Jesus apparently was not talking about letters at all, but only speaking hyperbolically about fulling promises, not actually that the words of Scripture would themselves be exactly present at the end, because, apparently, there are multiple valid translations possible.

It’s a miracle he still thinks the KJB is the best, with those fiery darts of Enlightenment Infidelity entering in.

Since the Law of God is an exact piece of writing, then when Jesus mentioned the jots and tittles, He was speaking literally.

Because Bryan Ross does not find or allow for a literal or ultimate fulfilment of the promise that jots and tittles themselves should not fail, he has gone to a position even weaker than that of the TROs.

The promises of the Law of God are conveyed by words, and those words have meaning. In order to have exactness of meaning, there must be exactness of words.

While through all ages the meaning of the Law of God has been communicated, therefore preserved, we have never been able to know certainly the very finest meaning in every last place. But the Scripture gives the answer. We can know. The Holy Ghost is come to lead us into all truth.

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).