Is the Word “Easter” an Error in the KJV in Acts 12:4?

A critic of the KJV-only position wrote:

“The KJV is NOT perfect. One of the most glaring of its goofs is “Easter” in Acts 12:4. Easter DID NOT YET EXIST when Luke wrote Acts!”

This assertion is a demonstration of ignorance concerning the etymological history of the word Easter.

First off, the KJV translators did not come up with the word “Easter”. William Tyndale did. In his day, the word Easter was an acceptable translation for the Greek word Pascua and the Hebrew word Pesach. The proof of this is the fact that the word Passover wasn’t even in existence in the English language until Tyndale coined it back in the early 1500s. Tyndale invented both these words. Prior to the 1611 KJV, Tyndale’s translation of the English Bible used the words ester or easter, ester-lambe, esterfest, and paschall lambe in the places where we now have the word Passover. Tyndale later revised his English translation and changed these renderings to Passover. But the point here is to show that before the word Passover was introduced to the English language, variations of the word Easter were acceptable.

Tyndale only began incorporating his new word Passover when he realized that a distinction needed to be made between the Jewish feast day and the Gentile Pagan observances that fell upon the same time of the year. During the early development of the English language, the word Easter was used in reference to both observances.

Secondly, Easter is not only acceptable, it’s the proper translation for Acts 12:4. The KJV translators left the passage in Acts 12 as Easter because the Passover feast was already past when Herod intended to kill Peter after a certain observance. That observance couldn’t have been the Passover since the Passover was already over with and the scriptures clearly stated that “then were the days of unleavened bread”. The Passover took place BEFORE the days of unleavened bread, not during or afterwards.

Le 23:5 In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD’S passover. v.6 And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread.

Those who insist the KJV is in error are quick to point out the fact that there are times in the scriptures when the days of unleavened bread were inclusive under the Passover reference such as in Mark 14:1. They would almost have a point if it wasn’t for the fact that in Acts 12:3 the Holy Spirit made a specific distinction between the two events by laying out the following words as plain as day, “then were the days of unleavened bread”.

If anything, the fact that the KJV translators recognized the distinction that the Holy Spirit made here only demonstrates the superiority of their scholarship over that of the modern versions.

The word Easter is in no way, shape, or form an error in the KJV. It is the proper translation.


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