Isn’t Hebrew a better language for Bible study than the English of the KJV?


We received an email from a young man who believes that the only way to get the true meaning of scripture is to study the words in Hebrew.  He uses a Strong’s concordance to get the definitions of the words in Hebrew.

He wrote, “Without the Hebraic (biblical) perspective, we become subject to erroneous interpretations/word translations – hence one example of this is found in Leviticus 23. The below text is taken from the KJV/with the Strong’s reference numbers [we left them out for simplicity]:

“(Lev 23:2) Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts.

“Let’s now look at the words used and their concepts from their original language starting with the word the KJV translators translated as “feasts”. This Hebrew word (according to Strong’s #4150) means “appointment” or “appointed time”, the word “feast” is a poor (perhaps even misleading) translation of the Hebrew word /concept of “moedim”.

“The next word is the KJV translators’ choice of the English word “convocation” (which once again proves deficient).  The Hebrew word/concept used here is “miqra” (Strong’s #4744). This word means an assembly/rehearsal.

“It was this perspective the Messiah and His disciples were familiar with. With this understanding related to G-Ds appointed times throughout history that shows HIS plan of redemption throughout history in which the redeemed are to come together to assemble/rehearse for.

“If the above is true, and the translators of the KJV, for whatever reason, failed to bring out the true meanings of these words in Leviticus (I can show if you re interested – in other places as well) emphasis on TRUE. The translators translated from either an agenda (anti-Jewish), or anti-Torah perspective – which renders the translation lacking, and dishonest, even shameful.

Our response follows:

Concerning the words in the KJV, We believe that the KJV is the word of God and the words in it are the words of God.  We believe a Hebrew speaking person has the words of God in his language, as well [we won’t get into a discussion of which translation].

Your examples of the “poor” “misleading” “deficient” “lacking” “dishonest” “shameful” words in the KJV are not convincing to this Bible believer.

For instance, you said that “convocation” means assembly/rehearsal.  The English dictionary definition of convocation is “an assembly or meeting.”  So, we do not need to go to Strong’s concordance to understand the plain English.  Furthermore, it wasn’t until Jesus explained to the disciples what the Passover really was that they understood it to be a “rehearsal” if that’s what you want to call it [Matt 26:26-29].  Up to that time it had been a memorial [Ex 12:17].  Because of what the Lord revealed to Paul, New Testament believers know that Christ is our Passover [1 Cor 5:7].  But Old Testament saints didn’t know that and neither did the disciples.

Concerning rehearsing things at the convocations, here is another example of the failure of the disciples to connect the feasts with the events they foreshadowed.  The feast of tabernacles, which involves building booths or tabernacles, is a foreshadowing of the coming of the Messiah.  When Peter, James and John saw the Lord coming in his kingdom [with the two witnesses of Rev 11] in Matt 17:1-5, Mk 9:2-8, Lk 9:28-36, Peter said let’s build 3 tabernacles [see the connection to the feast].  Yet Luke tells us that Peter said, “let us make three tabernacles … NOT KNOWING WHAT HE SAID.”  He didn’t make the connection.  However, New Testament saints do and people will throughout the millennium [Zech 14:16].

So, in the Old Testament they kept the convocations, but they weren’t “rehearsing.”  Otherwise, they would have connected the Passover to the death, burial and resurrection of the Messiah beforehand.  They didn’t [Mk 9:9-10].  And they would have connected the feast of tabernacles to what we now know to be the Second Coming of Jesus.  So, convocation is the right word.

You said that “feast” should be translated “appointment” or “appointed time.”  There is no need for that because you can see from Lev 23 that all of these feasts took place at a very specific time and Israel keeps these “appointed times” to this day.  Yet “feast” in English is defined as “a solemn, or more commonly, a joyous anniversary” and “a festive or joyous meal.”  The English word gives you more, not less, understanding of what transpired at these “feasts.”  They ate [Lev 23:6, 14] and they rejoiced [Lev 23:40] and they did it on the same “anniversary” every year.  So, it is a mistake to change “feast” to “appointment.”

Feast and Convocation are anything but “poor” “misleading” “deficient” “lacking” “dishonest” “shameful” words.  You sound like a scholar whose only interest is to change the words to suit himself.  If you just want to go to Strong’s to demonstrate some more “errors” in the KJV, please don’t bother to discuss them with us.  We have Strong’s and we have seen hundreds of these arguments.  We’re not interested in any more attempts to correct God’s words.  We believe them just the way they are.

Hope this helps,

Pastor Bevans Welder