So, reflections and meditations… a running blog about what’s on my mind. Well… due to much controversy on Facebook concerning the KJV, KJV-onlyism has been on my mind. Those who adhere to it have made such assertions as calling non-KJVonlyists apostates, bible correctors, heretics, etc. Now the facts about bible translation work and biblical texts, English versions, how the Textus Receptus come into existence, textual criticism, etc. is quite a bit to delve into (although well worth your time). My goal isn’t to cover all of that here, but to expose some of the fallacious logic that is employed by the KJV-only camp.
They assert the KJV is the preserved, and most of the time, inspired Word of God. If one were to put it into a word picture it would look like this: God’s Inspired, Infallible, Preserved Word = the King James Version. If one claims there are errors in the KJV then he is accused of saying God’s Word has errors and is attacked for saying God can’t preserve His Word. They base everything off of this assumption.
No real evidence is given for the superiority complex they harbor aside from some subjective feeling they get when they read the KJV. The problem with this, is that Mormons and Muslims get the same subjective feeling when they read their sacred writings. There are few KJV-only who will objectively actually examine textual and historical evidence in this discussion, and those who do, do so to their own demise.
Let me give an example, or two, of how their flawed thinking works.
1. Ian Paisley, a KJV-only advocate, in his book “My Plea for the Old Sword” quotes John Wesley as saying
“I am a creature of a day, passing through life as an arrow through the air. I am a spirit come from God, and returning to God: just hovering over the great gulf; till, a few moments hence, I am no more seen; I drop into an unchangeable eternity! I want to know one thing the way to heaven; how to land safe on that happy shore. God Himself has condescended to teach the way; for this very end He came from heaven. He hath written it down in a book. O give me that book! At any price, give me the book of God! ” and then comments “The book of John Wesley’s was the Authorized version (KJV)” [pg 111 of My Plea for the old sword copyright 1997] The problem with this is that Wesley was referring to the original manuscripts, not his translation (or anyone’s translation) of it. For God didn’t write down the way to heaven in the king’s English. He inspired His prophets, and apostels to do so in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. The failure to differentiate between the inspired word of God and their favored translation of that word is abundantly clear. The leap is made, and the undiscerning will swallow it – hook, line, and sinker. Ian Paisley closes his book by quoting James 1:21-25 encouraging men to receive the engrafted word. The entire book he has equated any reference to the word of God to be an actual reference to the KJV. Thus he closes attempting to use Scripture to advise us to accept the KJV and reject all other English translations. contrary to their thinking, one doesn’t have to accept the KJV at the exclusion of all other English translations in order to receive the engrafted word which is able to save their souls. Although they may not like it, the power to save is not inherent to the KJV.
For the record, I’m not anti-KJV, as badly as the KJV-only camp would like to paint me as such. I am, however, against exalting a translation to that of the originals. No translation is perfect, nor inspired. No translation has a market on God’s Word, and no translation is praise worthy enough for any man or group of men to attempt to bind men’s souls to. They power of God’s truth is not confined to a translation. The truth of God’s creating all things, man’s fall, God’s redemptive plan, His carrying out that plan in Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, saving men by grace through faith in the Son of God, and the return of The KING is recorded in the NASB just as in the KJV. The power is in the truth, not Shakespearean English.
Their faulty foundation is also displayed when attempting to attack other translations of the God’s Word. They try to claim they leave words out or change words, yet their standard of comparrison is not the original texts, but their own KJV. This circular argumentation goes like this: “The KJV is the preserved Word of God. The new translations are not the complete word of God because it doesn’t have all the words the KJV does. And we know the KJV is the preserved word of God because it has all the words that the KJV should have.” Let me illustrate an argument used from Ian Paisley’s book. He accuses the NIV as undermining the inspiration of the Scriptures because the NIV translates the II Timothy 3:16 differently. The KJV says that all Scripture is given by “inspiration” of God, and the NIV says that all Scripture is God-breathed. They KJV-only advocates don’t seem to care the “God-breathed” is actually a better translation of the greek, nor do they seem to ask if there is actually any damage done in using the word “God-breathed” in the stead of “inspiration” (which their isn’t. I actually believe the NIV to be better in this instance because to say “God-breathed” the words is also to say “Thus says The LORD”). No, all they care about is the fact that their idolized translation uses the word inspiration and the NIV doesn’t. This must mean men have changed the word of God, therefore the NIV has a satanic agenda of destroying Christianity. If anyone is doing damage to the cause of Jesus Christ it is the KJV-only movement. The movement was never part of orthodox Christianity, and can only survive in an anti-historical (the KJV translators didn’t even believe about their own work what the KJVonly crowd claims), anti-intillectual community that keeps people from seeking the truth by using tactics of fear (telling people that if they seek the facts instead of just blindly believe then they are on the road to apostasy) or shunning (separating from those who are not KJV-only, calling them liberals at best and apostates at worst). Due to the damage factor as well as the cultish factor of the movement, this is easily labeled as heresy. When combined with the fact that they place one’s translation choice on par with that of one’s belief of the divinity of Jesus or the atoning work of Christ, this is done when they equate non-KJVonly with unbelief, then it’s clearly heresy. They have added to the gospel, making their favored English translation just as necessary to defend against all other translations as the blood of Christ is to be defended against any pagan system of salvation. Bibliolatry – bible worship – is a problem with those in this camp.
There’s much more to say on this topic, but I would encourage you to study the issue out for yourself.
If you would care to read some articles on the matter then I would refer you to the following: