Thanks, but no thanks,

Matthew Verschuur of Australia has undertaken to prepare a definitive copy of the “Cambridge Edition” of the KJV circa 1900, which he calls the “Pure Cambridge Edition” (PCE). He has taken time to check punctuation and capitalisation and spelling against printed editions published by various publishers.

This edition is distinguished by the following features:

  1. Using “inquire” instead of “enquire” (that’s an Americanism)
  2. Using “counseller” instead of “counsellor” (I have never seen this)
  3. Various words with “c” instead of “k” or “s”: expences, ancle
  4. Unique capitalisation of “Spirit” in the New Testament.
  5. An incorrect question mark ending Jeremiah 32:5

Why did I even look into this? For a printing project, I was looking for a well-formatted and consistent electronic edition of the Bible. The sources I found were …

  • Debian KJV for e-sword – also not great quality. Doesn’t have italics, so not suitable for printing.
  • some kind of oxford edition: it has “grain” offerings in Leviticus 2, and modern spellings of proper names
  • KJV – claims to be the 1769, but has some terrible typos, so not great quality. Appears to have inconsistent punctuation. Most significantly, it has “son of David”, which, while technically correct, is not acceptable to people that have read “Son of David” all their lives.
  • “Pure Cambridge Edition” – the subject of this article. I used it, but then I made the mistake of reading about it, when I checked on why it said “LORD” in the new testament, and found, instead, Mr Verschuur’s doctrine.
  • I eventually went with by scraping their web site. (Their downloads are PCE, bizarrely). Once I assembled the file, wdiff told me that they’re not into “iniquire”, but “enquire”, have “ankles” and not “ancles”, and have marginally fewer italics, and no matters of any great substance. I am very glad that I did not have to use my own potted corrections to the textus-receptus file.

The pentecostal spirit

The “PCE” edition has some merit, but my judgement is that Mr Verschuur’s Pentecostal theology has coloured his choices of capitalisation: i.e. he has chosen editions that appear to provide support for his doctrine. The original Greek does not provide guidance on capitalisation, so any capitalisation or the lack thereof reflects the publisher’s own ideas. The translators did provide their ideas in 1611, but rather than defer to those, Mr Verschuur delves into history to find these verses.

And the Spirit spirit bade me go with them, nothing doubting. Moreover these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered into the man’s house:

And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar.

And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit spirit and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.

Acts 11:12, Acts 11:28 and 1 John 5:8

The reason for these choices is given by Mr Verschuur in his testimony on his site as follows:

On April 4, 2001, I then stated to the Elders of Victory Faith Centre a case in favour of this, which was when I fully recognised the correct edition. I then came to understand the meaning of the word “spirit” with a lowercase “s”, and its connection to proper Pentecostal doctrine, namely, that the Spirit is to work in the human spirit (such as Christian sanctification and the impartation of knowledge), as well as His Pentecostal filling of it.

Guide to the Pure Cambridge Edition of the King James Bible, sixth draft, by Matthew Verschuur, page 10.

Given that there are no upper or lower case “πνευματα” in the Greek, this doctrine cannot be from scripture itself: it is imposed on scripture.

This is the kind of “spirit” that pretends to give legitimacy to extra-biblical prophecy, and words of knowledge, flopping around on the floor like fish out of water, and the unassailable authority of the pentecostal preacher, even when he speaks of his own, because supposedly his spirit is able to prophesy of its own accord, like Agabus, and speaks to him of its own accord, like the spirit of Peter, which supposedly had ascended to that high level of spirituality that it could instruct him to go to Cornelius. This is some weird doctrine that is a hop-skip-and-jump away from “ye are gods”.

Purer than purity itself, he says

These trivia are given as the marks of purity in a “Cambridge Edition”:

Sadly, many King James Bibles that follow the Cambridge Edition as are now being produced or provided by King James Bible people are not the correct Cambridge Edition, but follow the Concord Cambridge Edition, which has departed from the pure text. The correct text has, among other things, “rasor”, “inquire”, “counseller”, “expences”, “ancle”, “Geba” at Ezra 2:26 and lower case “spirit” at Acts 11:12, 28 and 1 John 5:8.

And why should we accept those particular texts? Because of their “purification”:

There has been a great ignorance of the fact that a final purification took place in the history of the King James Bible. Those who have studied the history of the King James Bible in depth would have been aware of the major purifications that took place, such as the editions of 1629, 1638 and 1769. There was also a proper purification that took place circa 1900, which has resulted in the final text of the King James Bible, which is in all ways the definitive presentation of the King James Bible, and should not be altered.

We are to believe, he says, that the editions after the original 1611 “purified” the Bible. Indeed, when it was published, we should think that it was somewhat “impure”. And when it was corrected, we should suppose that it remained somewhat “impure”. And only in 1900, when the wave of pentecostalism and other faux Christian religion began to sweep around the globe, oh then, was it purified ­presumably so that that same pentecostalism and its harlot offspring could almost immediately cast off the Bible entirely.

Considering that the “purified” editions remained somewhat muddled, it would appear that the word of God did not really exist in English in a pure form until he, Matthew Verschuur, arose, resolving the typo’s in various somewhat-Pure Cambridge Editions. Such a pity he missed a spot. Also pity the poor people before this who supposed that word of God was already pure:

Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it.

Psalms 119:140

What if they made it worse in 1900, adding impure italics and bad spelling, and even typos? Why should we believe that they improved it? Are we to believe that the scholars of 1900 had superior ability and spiritual wisdom to the scholars of 1611? Instead of accepting the translators’ views, they added more italics, to make them follow a scheme of some sort, but is it not possible that the original italics were superior? The sparse and inconsistent original italics reflect the translators’ confidence in their work. Adding italics seems like the spirit of the age, which does not put confidence in God’s word. Yes, they made new editions, but why should we believe that these are more pure?

If the word of God can be “purified” by new editions, then who is to say that it will not be further purified in the future? Publishers are lining up right now…


The word of God is not corrupted by typpos, variations in spelling and capitalisation and physical holes in the pages that obliterate words. It is corrupted by deliberately changing the actual words, adding and removing, and pretending that those changes are real. Matters of spelling and punctuation and italics are of no account whatsoever: if all the words are right, and you can say them, that’s the word.

All these non-issues only matter when non-issues are tacked together to support doctrines that ultimately run contrary to God’s word.

Pretending that certain capitalisations are marks of purity is so close to adding to God’s word.

If I get a PCE based Bible, I’ll likely go through it with a red pen, and conduct “inquiries” into the “counsellers”, all in the “spirit” of proper capitalisation. I wonder if there will be red ink on every page. Words of … someone .. in red.

These thoughts are not very complete, or well-formed, but it’s late, and I’m tired, so this is as good as it gets for now.

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