Five Observations Regarding the KJV-Only Debate

The King James Version is one of the big issues that regularly surfaces in my world. I talk about it with pastors and laymen alike and literally have friends who are all over the place in relation to where they stand!  I have more than a few friends who are KJV-only, although I have to acknowledge that there are multiple degrees of meaning for that term. By that, I mean that some believe that the translators were just as inspired as were the holy men who wrote it in Hebrew and Greek way back at the very beginning. Others believe that it corrects the failures of the  Hebrew and Greek copies and is therefore the final piece of God’s preservation work.  Many simply believe that it is accurately translated and is so well done that it is irreplaceable. Not all of my friends are KJV-only. I have some friends who are KJV-preferred, but who have no issue with modern versions that are accurately translated.  I even have some friends who have no idea that this is an issue (and sometimes I find myself loving them for it), and, of course, I have some friends who strongly believe in using modern versions. 

Here are five observations I have made regarding this matter:

1.  Those I know personally who use other versions love God just as much as those of us who use the KJV. They read their copy daily and meditate on the words they read. They preach and teach it to their congregations. They use it in family devotions. They win souls. We can hold differing views here and still love God.

2.  Those I know who use other versions have just as much confidence in Gods Word as I have. They believe it must be accurately translated and when it is, they believe it is the Inspired Word of God. In the KJV-only camp, we tend to talk as if it is not possible for a person to use a modern version with confidence. By experience, I have to disagree.  

3.  Those I know who are ok with other versions believe as strongly in inspiration, preservation, and the importance of accuracy as I do. We would all agree that the Bible came to us by divine inspiration as God spoke to holy men who wrote the very words God led them to write under the leadership of His Holy Spirit. We both agree that God promised to preserve His word.  From there, we then come to a variety of opinions as to how He accomplished the task.  I have learned that we can disagree quite strongly regarding the “how” and yet still agree on the doctrines of inspiration and preservation, and on the importance of accuracy in translation work.

4. Those I know who use other versions believe the fundamentals of the faith as strongly as I do. 

5.  Those I know who use other versions, do so, not because they are rebels and infidels, but because they primarily want Gods Word to be readable and understandable to the common man.  To be fair, that was certainly one of the reasons the KJV was translated in the first place, at least according to those who did the translation work.  My observation is simply that many who use modern versions want a translation that is both accurate and understandable. I do give some leeway here because I am very aware that our KJV was translated with those same goals in mind. 

So, why share these observations?  First, it is always right to accurately portray another’s views.  Further, we are to “think no evil” about others (see 1 Corinthians 13). Then, it is always helpful to understand where someone else is “coming from” in regards to their particular beliefs. Finally, it is a good thing to recognize that while we can frequently have different views, we can still treat each other with love and respect.

So go ahead and discuss these issues. Listen to those who see things differently and try to understand them.   Debate and write if you are so inclined.  Talk about how and why we see things differently.  Then, invite them to your home, have fellowship together, and talk about our Savior Jesus Christ. And then maybe, just maybe, go soul winning together and tell someone how God’s Word has changed your life.  You may find a great friend! You might even win a soul!

I would love to hear what you think and why! Feel free to comment below.

Thanks for reading.

Your sincere friend,

Dave Young

43 thoughts on “Five Observations Regarding the KJV-Only Debate

  1. Thank you, Pastor Dave, for your observations on the KJV-only. I believe with all my heart that sometimes the KJV-only can be somewhat difficult to understand if you are just a beginning Christian and want to start reading your Bible daily. I never understood all the symbolisms and parables that is used in the Bible. I have tried reading NIV and a few others. But I miss the verses I memorized as a child and didn’t always recognize them in other versions than the KJV. I don’t disagree that some individuals get other versions because of clarity, but I now have a KJV Study Bible, and I feel much more at home with it and s better understanding. If I don’t truly “get it”, I can read below the verses and get a much better picture and understanding of what’s being said. I don’t think we should argue (some of my family does) about how wrong it is to not use the “only real version” of the Bible KJV. God will still bless us and work in us to reach others with the Gospel if we only ask Him. Personally, I now love my KJV Study Bible and make many notes and references for my own clarity. If we are in God’s Word daily and have prayer daily, I believe it truly doesn’t matter as long as you know the Author personally and rely on Him for your daily reading of His Word.

    Like

    • Hello Gina: I think that is great that you have found a Study Bible that helps you in your walk with God! You keep reading and studying. Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord (Psalm 119:1). Every blessing, Dave

      Like

  2. I appreciate your article. I hope it lends itself to charity on both side of the aisle. My remark about #3 is that I am unsure about the accuracy of the statement that people who aren’t KJV-only believe as strongly in preservation as we do. I believe in verbal-plenary preservation. I have yet to hear someone that uses modern Bible versions articulate that same position. I’d love to be wrong though.

    Like

    • That is an interesting observation and I think you are probably right that there is a different position there, as verbal-plenary preservation is defined within the KJVO circles. If it is defined to mean that God has promised to keep his Word and that not one jot or tittle will pass away unfulfilled, then there would be agreement. Thank for reading. I appreciate your comment very much.

      Like

    • I would hold to verbal-plenary inspiration and use modern versions.

      I wrote part of a paper on it a couple years back.
      The concepts of verbal and plenary inspiration are also to be understood from the descriptions given in Scripture. The Bible states many times the reality of verbal inspiration (Exodus 4:10-12; Numbers 12:6, 8; Deuteronomy 18:20; 2 Samuel 23:2; 2 Timothy 3:16). The Bible also clearly speaks to the reality of plenary inspiration, which comes from the Latin word plenus meaning full. Plenary inspiration describes the extent and scope of inspiration and implies that “all the divisions of Scripture—history, chronology, geography, and physics, as well as doctrine—were composed under the infallible guidance of the Holy Spirit.” Jesus himself helps to establish the necessity of plenary inspiration in his response to the first recorded temptation of Satan in the gospel of Matthew, when he states that, “Man must not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” This is a quote from Deuteronomy 8:3 and demonstrates the importance of the actual, individual words of God. Inspiration “extends to every part of the words and all they teach or imply.”

      I think verbal-plenary preservation is a difficult position to argue, only in that the ongoing transmission with uninspired human beings, mistakes will be made. Have you ever heard of the 1631 edition of the King James Bible printed by Thomas Burk and Robert Daniel dubbed the “Wicked Bible” for their rendering of the 7th command, “Thou shalt commit adultery.”

      The King James Bible is a wonderful translation, but truthfully stands on the shoulders of all of the translations that came before it, including the Wycliffe Bible, Gutenberg Bible, Tyndale Bible, Coverdale Bible, Matthew Bible, the Great Bible (so named because of its size), the Geneva Bible, and the Bishop’s Bible. The King James almost immediately replaced the Bishop’s Bible in churches and was largely an extensive revision of the Bishop’s Bible, though it was a new translation – it leaned heavily on the ones that came before it. The KJB perseveres because of the balanced approach of the committee and their refusal to take sides or any single perspective over another.

      Interestingly enough, the 1611 KJV included the Apocrypha and was the last English translation to do so until modern times. Would you also hold to it’s (the Apocrypha) verbal-plenary preservation? Just an interesting issue that comes up in a discussion like this.

      Hope you have a wonderful day!
      grace to you

      Like

      • Hi Junior. To answer your question, no, I do not believe in verbal plenary or any kind of preservation of the uninspired text of the apocrypha. God’s promise to preserve all of His words extends only to those words He inspired. God bless you.

        Kyle Sheridan, missionary in Patagonia

        Like

      • The King James translators placed the apocrypha between the Old and New Testaments for its historical benefit to its readers and basically to satisfy the political issues of the day and time it was written. They did not integrate it into the Old Testament text as the corrupt Alexandrian manuscripts do.

        The Apocrypha was never considered or treated as inspired by the KJV translators.

        There still remains no good reason to teach the world that it doesn’t matter which Bible they are reading.

        Like

      • Hey brother. Thanks for reading and commenting. Agreed about the apocrypha and all that.

        Agreed also that it matters very, very much.

        What do you mean that the Apocrypha was integrated into the corrupt manuscripts?

        Every blessing, Dave

        Like

  3. I have read and enjoyed many of your blogs. Sometimes we agree. Sometimes we disagree. But this is the single greatest post I have ever read of yours. And the most helpful thing I’ve heard you say since God’s will is to brush your teeth.

    What a concept! Taking the poison out of the debate. Acknowledge the good will on the other side of a conversation. Assume the best of others. Really just great! Almost shall we say even . . . Christlike.

    Like

  4. Great article! Amazed that someone so entrenched in the IFB world would write like that! But my only complaint is that you did not go far enough. You synopsis on the KJVO crowd that believes that the KJV corrects the Greek and Hebrew should have been given a stern lecture since that is flat out heresy. It’s a bit insulting to put that crowd in the same paragraph as the KJV preferred

    Like

  5. I appreciate your spirit Bro Dave. I hope mine comes across right in this comment. I get a little wore out with the KJV only crowd feeling regularly like we have to write these articles over and over, when I don’t ever see a non KJV only person writing one speaking kindly of us. Also Even the articles like this one seem to be always apologizing for our side being SO mean. Most of the KJV only guys I know are kind. Your article repeatedly touts the good virtues of the modern version users without saying the same things of the KJV users. Hope that makes sense and thanks for all you do. God bless.

    Like

    • Hey my brother, Thanks for reading and for your comments. I always try to be kind and know of many, many who are as well. I also know of more than a few who are not as kind, and who really do teach things that are untrue about “those I know” (my point being that I am only speaking of those I know) “on the other side.”

      In regards to your one statement that no one over there writes nicely about us, I would simpyensay that even if no one on the other side does right by me, I can still do right by them. At least that is my heart in this matter.

      I also write from the perspective that the KJVO people I know love God (point 1); have confidence in God’s Word (point 2); hold to a very strong doctrinal viewpoint (points 3-4); and want people to read and understand the Bible (point 5). I thought that was clear, but perhaps could have said it better. When we denigrate those with whom we disagree, we close the door to even helping them to see why we believe as we do, let alone helping them to come join us. Know what I mean?

      Do you agree with my statements about those “on the other side” of this issue? I know many who do not, especially since I live here in Ruckman territory and am friends with many in that camp. I am just curious as to where or not you do.

      Every blessing. Hope you are having a fruitful summer of ministry.

      Dave

      Like

      • Thanks for the understanding and response.

        I think I agree with 1,4,& 5 about those I know. I disagree with 3 in the ‘as strongly as I do’ part and partially disagree with 2 since there seems to be a continual ‘upgrading’ taking place.

        Finally, I think my frustration is that the continual catering seems to imply that ONLY the KJV only side has mean people, and to that I would disagree. The Bad Sermons Twitter has used several of my clips about modern versions to throw it out and then the Greek and Hebrew scholars come in like wolves. Their comments are quite strong and graceless. I’m not complaining abiut that I’m just using it as an example.

        God bless

        Like

      • Yessir! I can see your points there. “Mean” and unkind people are on all sides and it always damages honest, open, and humble dialogue and discussion. I fear that we in the church are beginning to handle issues like those in the world handle theirs. It is almost impossible now to have discussion with anyone about anything unless we are all in absolute agreement. Know what I mean?

        At any rate,I am aware that while there are varying degrees on the KJV side, there are also varying degrees on the other side too. As I continue to grow in the Word and in grace, I want to be kind to and learn from others as they are growing as well.

        I have always thought those Twitter clips are dangerous on many levels. They don’t show the context of comments; they make it easy to infer things about a person that may not be true; they violate our belief in the autonomy of the local church; and so forth.

        I believe you to be a good man Bro. Shirley and I respect you a lot.

        Thanks for helping me to think!

        Dave

        Like

  6. The KJV-only debate is a plethora of issues packed into one debate. While I agree with the majority of what you posted, I have only one concern. The agreement of a faithful translation is misleading – what happens if the underlying text from which you are attempting to translate contains a typo?

    Would God purposefully have His penmen write misspelled words?

    What happens if you are trying to proclaim that God has no faults in Him yet a book that supposedly comes from Him has in the earliest dated copy a word that is only found 3 times in ancient documents compared to an alternate spelling with 122 references? One is the document itself, another document where modern scholars have identified and inserted a typo correction for a different word in the same paragraph, and a third document which is in the same collection as the second.

    I speak of G138 – εἵλατο in Critical Texts but spelled εἵλετο in the Textus Receptus. It is the 154th most frequent word in Koine Greek, based on the University of Chicago’s Logeion (https://logeion.uchicago.edu/morpho/%CE%B5%E1%BC%B5%CE%BB%CE%B5%CF%84%CE%BF). Clicking through the Logeion resource will yield the results stated in the previous paragraph for εἵλατο – having only 3 references.

    I have a personal opinion regarding translations and text that I am planning to compose into a book. However, the more I research the more I find that the KJV translators chose the appropriate words and selected the better Greek manuscripts to translate from which were available to them at the time.

    Like

    • Hello Andrew, thank you for reading my blog post and for commenting. You are correct that there are a plethora of issues that need far more discussion and research than can be inserted into a short blog post. Keep thinking and keep reading and let’s all walk in the Spirit as we do. Every blessing, Dave

      Like

  7. Speech with grace must still be seasoned with salt. I don’t believe this post needed to be written unless you are looking to change your stand on which versions you’ll use or accept. I’ve never known of any preacher who started pandering to the critical text crowd that didn’t eventually end up compromising in some substantial way. Please remember that the text is the main source of all we know about God. That’s why textual reliability should matter so much. God has exalted his word above his name (Ps. 138:2).

    Like

    • Hello Jeremy, Thanks for reading my observations and for commenting. I suppose I could understand your thoughts better if you were more specific, but based on what you wrote, these would be my questions for you: do you believe those in the critical text crowd are your brothers and sisters in Christ? Do you believe that they don’t love God, cannot be fundamentalists, and cannot believe in inspiration? Do you believe they are infidels? The ones I know are most definitely my brothers and sisters in Christ and most definitely do love God and believe in the fundamentals and in inspiration. They are not infidels. Perhaps there are some in the CT crowd who are, but not the ones I know. I have to tell you that I know many in the TR crowd who have compromised in many, many ways (some in their morals – doing great damage to the cause of the gospel, some in their family – their children no longer serve God in any way, and some in their doctrine), but I don’t jump to the conclusion that it is because they are TR. That would not be a fair assumption on my part. At any rate, I am grateful that you would read my thoughts and give them some consideration and I hope you have a blessed day . . . – Dave

      Like

      • Salvation is through Christ alone by grace through faith. The Bible teaches us of Christ, but Jesus saves.

        Moral & doctrinal compromise are both shameful. One cannot love truth & accept error. A mathematician must hate wrong answers. A musician must despise bad timing & wrong notes. And God’s people must demand a reliable text. That’s not hateful or critical toward people, just a necessary principle to establish.

        Should we debate or discuss it? Discussion would be better. To throw shade on preachers who hold to the text & lose their children, they might bear some blame, but their children made the choice. I don’t think that is a valid part of the argument for or against a reliable text.

        Like

  8. I have a few questions for you in response to your article.

    1. If you were a Pastor would your friends who use modern versions be welcome to join the church you pastor? After all they essentially believe the same doctrine.

    2. Would you allow teachers and lay preachers to quote modern versions while addressing the church? If the answer is no, why not?

    3. If members in your church began to openly talk about how KJV onlyism was wrong and divisive how would you address it?

    I understand we must be loving and kind to others who differ in opinion. But if you believe that KJV onlyism is right then those that differ with this stand are wrong. Your article encourages close fellowship between people that differ in opinion on Bible versions. If you were a pastor and you did this from your pulpit your church would not be KJV only for long. How could you promote one attitude outside your church family and a different attitude within the church family?

    In my opinion, Your article has a ecumenical tone that is all to common lately among Independent Baptist preachers.

    Pastor Kent McBay
    North Mesa Baptist Church
    Mesa, AZ

    Like

    • Hello Pastor McBay, Thanks for reaching out. I appreciate you reading and commenting. Here are my answers and some thoughts. I have never been a pastor, but I am a Baptist and I strongly believe in both the autonomy of the local church and in individual soul-liberty. I kindly request that you keep all that in mind when you read my answers:

      1. Yes. Baptists believe that salvation and baptism by immersion are the requirements for membership.
      2. I would ask any teacher or lay preacher to respect my church’s official positions on whatever the issue might be. As a guest speaker in well-over 1500 churches in the last 30 years, I have been asked to do that on many, many issues and always have done my very best to honor each local church congregation.
      3. I would ask my church family to do what I wrote in my article – to show love, kindness, and grace to those who differ from them. I believe that we can hold a variety of individual positions on this issue and yet, in the church, come to an agreement as to the position we will hold to and promote. Godly people can (and will) agree to disagree on any number of matters in the church.

      I believe that we can fellowship with people who differ in this matter (and I am also aware that you may not and respect your right as a fellow Baptist to hold to that view). As I wrote in my article, one who holds a different position on the translation issue, but who loves God, believes God’s Word is inspired and is preserved for us today, believes in the fundamentals, holds absolute confidence in the truths of God’s Word, and is working to reach people for Christ and to disciple them to follow Him, is one who is a brother in Christ and with whom I will eat and serve alongside if I can do so with a clear conscience before God.

      I do not promote fellowship with unbelievers nor do I promote fellowship with those who reject the fundamentals of the faith. I am a Christian first, a fundamentalist second (I believe some things are essential to Christianity), and a Baptist after that. Because of that last line, I would absolutely respect your church’s right to autonomy in this matter.

      I hope that makes sense. I would be happy to write more, but have much work to get done today. Every blessing to you as you continue to pastor in Mesa.

      Your friend,
      Dave

      Like

      • You said a lot in your response without addressing the elephant in the room.
        Are you promoting the acceptance of modern versions? Yes or no
        We can’t simply agree to disagree on major issues like which “text” we accept in the local church setting. This leadership philosophy in a local church opens the door for all types of compromise.

        Like

      • Actually pastor, I answered your questions because I thought you were wanting me to answer them. Nothing I wrote is to get you to promote the acceptance of modern versions. I am simply promoting EXACTLY what I wrote in my article. Please reread it. You don’t have to agree with my observations, but I believe I am right or I would not have written them. Respectfully, Dave

        Like

  9. Does it make any sense to teach the world that it doesn’t matter what Bible they are reading? No it doesn’t. We can all be glad the Jews weren’t so inclined to play the same game for thousands of years. Nor does it make any sense to automatically pretend someone wants to burn you at the stake for asking such a question but liberalism has more inroads than the Christians would have us believe.

    Like

    • Hello friend: Thanks for reading my post and for commenting. Your question is fine, but no where did I say it doesn’t matter. So not sure what your point there is. I believe good people can disagree in some of the details involved here and still act like Christian brothers who have love one for another. Jesus said, “by this shall all men know you are my disciples, if you have love one for another.”

      Dave

      Like

  10. Sometimes the comments on an article are just as valuable as the article itself. Thank you for your well written thoughts!

    Like

  11. Hi Dave,

    I personally agree with this article and thank you for writing it. One of the comments above mentioned how the church cannot deal with disagreements like the world around us. If you disagree, you are de-platformed. I am older now as well. I have the same observations about the TR debate. There are sincere Christians on both sides of the fence. Both love the Lord. I think there is a reason that the bible teaches the pursuit of peace and to work out differences.

    I am like one of the commentators, KJV is what’s most familiar from experience.

    You and your family held evangelist meetings at my church 25 years ago. A lot has changed since then, but God has not! I lost touch with you and your ministry when I moved West. I got caught up by listening to several of your evangelistic series through podcasts. One of the points that I picked out of your sermons is the Holy Spirits work in our lives. What a wonderful thought and a real blessing. I appreciated the hard work you put into your teaching and evangelism.

    You have grown and matured well!
    Thanks,
    Matt Kline

    Like

  12. Which version do you prefer? Would you recommend the NIV version for a new believer? Would you be willing to preach at a church where the NIV is preferred? Appreciate your advice! Thanks,

    Like

    • Hello Jeremy: Thanks for reading and commenting. I prefer the KJV because I prefer the TR. I was trained that way and it is where I am comfortable. As a result, I personally would not recommend the NIV for a new believer but have recommended either the NKJV or the MEV for one when I deemed it necessary to do so. The MEV is from the TR and is being revised to address several areas that need to be translated more accurately. I am watching it with growing interest. As to your final question, I am willing to preach in any place where I can agree doctrinally and philosophically and where the pastor is a gentleman! As a result of that, I have preached in churches that use different versions than I do .

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I liked the overall spirit and confidence that you write with. You seem comfortable in your position, not scared and arrogant. I would like to point out a few things that might not be exactly accurate.

    Paragraph 2. I would reckon that I have more confidence in the words than most CT believers do (I don’t mean that as bragging, some would see that as a negative thing, according to the textual absolutists definition given by some). I am not interested in changing the words, I am confident in what I have. I just listened to Dan Wallace explain that to him John 1:34 should say “chosen of God”. Depending on which modern translation you have, you are going to have different wording. If you are holding an ESV in your hands you have to ask yourself if you believe in the institutions, critics, or the Bible in your hand?

    Paragraph 3. “We both agree that God promised to preserve His word” I’m not positive that that is true, or if it is, we may have differing views on what “His word” means. Dan Wallace is said to have said (I don’t have the book), “We do not have now – in any of our critical Greek texts or in any translations – exactly what the authors of the New Testament wrote. Even if we did, we would not know it. There are many, many places in which the text of the New Testament is uncertain.”

    Paragraph 5. “To be fair, that was certainly one of the reasons the KJV was translated in the first place, at least according to those who did the translation work.” I do not believe this in any sense. It is something that Mark Ward has propagated through his ideology and not the actual product. One statement in the preface written by Miles Smith (one translator) is minimized by so much of the facts in the product. I don’t think Smith was blatantly going against everything they thought, I just think it is a bit of publicity, feeding from Erasmus, Tyndale and others (possibly Marmochino’s 1538 Italian Bible preface). I believe the product itself demonstrates that they did not translate in a method that the most ignorant could understand. We know that in John Bois’ notes at Hebrews 13:8 Bois mentioned that A.D. (probably Andrew Downes) said that “If the words be arranged in this manner the statement will be more majestic.” Was A.D. worried about the very vulgar or was he concerned with beauty? Some examples from the text would include: Deuteronomy 32:14, the Bishops’ had “the fat of the most plenteous wheate”, the Geneva, “the fat of the graines of wheat”, the KJV moved this to the less understandable yet more literal, “the fat of the kidneys of wheat”. 1Samuel 24:3 both the Bishops’ and Geneva had “to do his easement”, the KJV changed it to the less understandable, “to cover his feet”. Genesis 3:6 the Bishops’ had “gave also unto her husbande beyng with her”, but the KJV made this less clear, “gave also unto her husband with her.” The 1645 English Annotations preface concerning the understandability of the KJV says, “the people complained that they could not see into the sense of the Scripture so well as they formerly did by the Geneva Bibles because their spectacles of annotations were not fitted to the understanding of the new text, nor any others supplied in their stead.” From what I can see there was little to no attempt made by the translators to make it understandable to the most vulgar. There is so much evidence to the contrary. Just to be clear, I am one of the odd ones that really loves the KJV for its hard places. “Equally what may appear bad through incomprehensibility or sheer ugliness often comes from its earnest fidelity to the originals.” – David Norton. “the Bible itself does not generally exhibit the clarity to which its modern translators aspire: the Hebrew writers reveled in the proliferation of meanings, the cultivation of ambiguities, the playing of one sense of a term against another, and this richness is erased in the deceptive antiseptic clarity of the modern versions…” – Robert Alter.

    Thanks again and have a great day.

    Like

  14. I liked the overall spirit and confidence that you write with. You seem comfortable in your position, not scared and arrogant. I would like to point out a few things that might not be exactly accurate.

    Paragraph 2. I would reckon that I have more confidence in the words than most CT believers do (I don’t mean that as bragging, some would see that as a negative thing, according to the textual absolutists definition given by some). I am not interested in changing the words, I am confident in what I have. I just listened to Dan Wallace explain that to him John 1:34 should say “chosen of God”. Depending on which modern translation you have, you are going to have different wording. If you are holding an ESV in your hands you have to ask yourself if you believe in the institutions, critics, or the Bible in your hand?

    Paragraph 3. “We both agree that God promised to preserve His word” I’m not positive that that is true, or if it is, we may have differing views on what “His word” means. Dan Wallace is said to have said (I don’t have the book), “We do not have now – in any of our critical Greek texts or in any translations – exactly what the authors of the New Testament wrote. Even if we did, we would not know it. There are many, many places in which the text of the New Testament is uncertain.”

    Paragraph 5. “To be fair, that was certainly one of the reasons the KJV was translated in the first place, at least according to those who did the translation work.” I do not believe this in any sense. It is something that Mark Ward has propagated through his ideology and not the actual product. One statement in the preface written by Miles Smith (one translator) is minimized by so much of the facts in the product. I don’t think Smith was blatantly going against everything they thought, I just think it is a bit of publicity, feeding from Erasmus, Tyndale and others (possibly Marmochino’s 1538 Italian Bible preface). I believe the product itself demonstrates that they did not translate in a method that the most ignorant could understand. We know that in John Bois’ notes at Hebrews 13:8 Bois mentioned that A.D. (probably Andrew Downes) said that “If the words be arranged in this manner the statement will be more majestic.” Was A.D. worried about the very vulgar or was he concerned with beauty? Some examples from the text would include: Deuteronomy 32:14, the Bishops’ had “the fat of the most plenteous wheate”, the Geneva, “the fat of the graines of wheat”, the KJV moved this to the less understandable yet more literal, “the fat of the kidneys of wheat”. 1Samuel 24:3 both the Bishops’ and Geneva had “to do his easement”, the KJV changed it to the less understandable, “to cover his feet”. Genesis 3:6 the Bishops’ had “gave also unto her husbande beyng with her”, but the KJV made this less clear, “gave also unto her husband with her.” The 1645 English Annotations preface concerning the understandability of the KJV says, “the people complained that they could not see into the sense of the Scripture so well as they formerly did by the Geneva Bibles because their spectacles of annotations were not fitted to the understanding of the new text, nor any others supplied in their stead.” From what I can see there was little to no attempt made by the translators to make it understandable to the most vulgar. There is so much evidence to the contrary. Just to be clear, I am one of the odd ones that really loves the KJV for its hard places. “Equally what may appear bad through incomprehensibility or sheer ugliness often comes from its earnest fidelity to the originals.” – David Norton. “the Bible itself does not generally exhibit the clarity to which its modern translators aspire: the Hebrew writers reveled in the proliferation of meanings, the cultivation of ambiguities, the playing of one sense of a term against another, and this richness is erased in the deceptive antiseptic clarity of the modern versions…” – Robert Alter.

    Thanks again and have a great day.

    Like

  15. Great article. Thank you. The balance is appreciated. We understand that only the original autographs are inspired. The KJVO position tends to extend inspiration beyond the original autographs to some degree – some admittedly, but almost all practically. As a pastor, this issue continues to come up and I meet people who make it THE primary issue, as if the KJV is God’s inspired translation in the English language. To waver from the KJV is to compromise on the inspiration and authority of the Bible, a compromise of the worst kind. Use of any other version is to use a Bible that is compromised at the level of inspiration. The misinformation about the historicity of the text is so prevalent that to even approach a reliable and accurate historical record of the transmission of the text is a non-starter for many people. So God allowed a corrupt manuscript line to produce pseudo-Bibles? Thousands of Greek manuscripts have to be thrown out because they weren’t used by the KJV translators? Even the KJV translators themselves admit to not having absolute authority for all time on an English translation of the Bible. Some of the KJV translators weren’t even believers and King James probably wasn’t either. God gave us over 5,000 Greek manuscripts in basically two lines of witness – the TR and CT (Westcott-Hort/Alexandrian). No other book has that kind of witness. It is a miraculous testimony to the preservation of God’s Word. Translations and translation philosophy is another issue. I am a fundamentalist and love fundamentalism for its historical stand on biblical separation – ecclesiastical and personal – among other things. This issue continues to divide fundamentalists into categories (compromisers, leaning compromisers, and “true” fundamentalists). When and how do we ever get beyond this? Your willingness to approach the issue is courageous. Sometimes I feel like as a pastor I get boxed in. I cannot minister to some people because I am immediately shut down by not being KJVO. They love our church for everything except this one issue. They’ll attend a church with narrow, shallow preaching but the pastor stumps on the KJV so our church will not be seriously considered. Some pastors won’t fellowship with me because I’m not KJVO. I preach and teach from only the KJV, but we are not a KJVO church. Some people hold themselves up on a spiritual pedestal because their KJVO position makes them more spiritual in their own eyes. Pride of any kind leads to a fall. I am concerned that I will become prideful and imbalanced in any area of my life or ministry and it lead to a fall. I love the KJV and grew up on it, but I benefit in my personal study from other properly translated versions. I agree with 99% of what you wrote. Thank you for your ministry. My kids benefited from your preaching at Camp Cobeac recently. May God bless you for your faithfulness to His Word.

    Like

  16. Great article. Thank you. The balance is appreciated. We understand that only the original autographs are inspired. The KJVO position tends to extend inspiration beyond the original autographs to some degree – some admittedly, but almost all practically. As a pastor, this issue continues to come up and I meet people who make it THE primary issue, as if the KJV is God’s inspired translation in the English language. To waver from the KJV is to compromise on the inspiration and authority of the Bible. Use of any other version is to use a Bible that is compromised at the level of inspiration. The misinformation about the historicity of the text is so prevalent that to even approach a reliable and accurate historical record of the transmission of the text is a non-starter for many people. So God allowed a corrupt manuscript line to produce pseudo-Bibles? Thousands of Greek manuscripts have to be thrown out because they weren’t used by the KJV translators? Even the KJV translators themselves admit to not having absolute authority for all time on an English translation of the Bible. Some of the KJV translators weren’t even believers and King James probably wasn’t either. God gave us over 5,000 Greek manuscripts in basically two lines of witness – the TR and CT (Westcott-Hort/Alexandrian). No other book has that kind of witness. It is a miraculous testimony to the preservation of God’s Word. Translations and translation philosophy is another important issue that comes after inspiration and preservation. I am a fundamentalist and love fundamentalism for its historical stand on biblical separation – ecclesiastical and personal – among other things. The KJV issue continues to divide fundamentalists into categories (compromisers, leaning compromisers, and “true” fundamentalists). When and how do we ever get beyond this? Your willingness to approach the issue is courageous. Sometimes I feel like as a pastor I get boxed in. I cannot minister to some people because I am immediately shut down by not being KJVO. They love our church for everything except this one issue. They’ll attend a church with narrow, shallow preaching but the pastor stumps on the KJV so our church will not be seriously considered. Some pastors won’t fellowship with me because I’m not KJVO. I preach and teach from only the KJV, but we are not a KJVO church. Some people hold themselves up on a spiritual pedestal because their KJVO position makes them more spiritual in their own eyes. Pride of any kind leads to a fall. I am concerned that I will become prideful and imbalanced in any area of my life or ministry and it lead to a fall. I love the KJV and grew up on it, but I benefit in my personal study from other properly translated versions. I agree with 99% of what you wrote. Thank you for your ministry. My kids benefited from your preaching at Camp Cobeac recently. May God bless you for your faithfulness to His Word.

    Like

    • Hello Brent: Thanks for reading and for commenting. So glad you mentioned your kids and Cobeac. That was a special encouragement! It was a great week. I appreciate your thoughts very much and especially the mention that no other book has the evidence (witness) like our Bible. Some of the conclusions from some very sincere brothers are quite troubling and yes, we need to continue to teach truth and discuss these issues. I just slightly grazed the surface of the issues and the push-back has been quite strong. It is good though, because it helps me to think and understand and to continue to grow myself. Stay faithful, my friend. Keep serving the Lord with gladness and keep preaching the Word. Every blessing, Dave

      Like

  17. Dave,
    Thank you for your tone and the presentation here. We would not agree on the subject of translations, but I could not miss the opportunity to commend you for your gracious and godly tone. It was a blessing and reminder of the way we are to engage fellow believers – even if we disagree. Your statements here are not ecumenical, they’re charitable. They’re not compromise. I have never met you but appreciate your kindness on this post. Sometimes, we get so worked up over our issues we forget what God has actually said in whatever translation we use.
    6 We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error. 7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. 8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
    The Holy Bible: King James Version, Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version. (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2009), 1 Jn 4:6–8. We must be careful not to lose sight of objective statements like this in Scripture.

    Faithfulness to God is loving your brother, even if you don’t slice everything the way they do. Actually, being part of the family of God is defined by loving each other. If we don’t love, I would never say it, but John did – you aren’t part of the family. I’m more than certain the Pharisees believed very strongly in their traditions and in their instructions for the people. They held strongly to the instructions and guidelines that went along with the Old Testament Scriptures, in the Mishnah; yet Jesus said by his teaching and confrontation that they were misguided – that they were whited walls and blind guides. May God protect us from being the same. Jesus condemned the Pharisees – 13 But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. The Holy Bible: King James Version, Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version. (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2009), Mt 23:13. Again in Luke, likely on another occasion, 52 Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered. The Holy Bible: King James Version, Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version. (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2009), Lk 11:52.

    Ministers and preachers must be faithful to say what God has said and only what he has said.

    Some on this thread have obviously been offended or hurt by those “on the other side.” Let me genuinely say, I’m sorry for those hurts and offenses and I know that they do genuinely sting. For what it’s worth, you’ve likely never had an actual Greek scholar interact negatively with you online for two reasons: 1.) they’re busy teaching and writing and 2.) they often have to engage opposing positions and have learned to do so charitably and with grace. Likely, you were treated unkindly and without grace by a self-proclaimed “expert”.

    Dave, thank you for the tone and grace of your words – I genuinely believe it honors the Lord and actually promotes helpful discussions. I hope you continue no matter what kind of push back you receive. God is honored when we engage others with grace. We’ll never agree with everyone on every point, but we can show gracious charity to one another and appreciate that despite our differences we are one in Christ and will spend eternity with one another.

    grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ

    Like

    • Thank you so much for your kind words. I certainly appreciate you reading and commenting on my post. And thanks for the encouragement as well. That was a special blessing. -Dave

      Like

  18. Dave,
    A very well written article.

    I’m in a difficult position in that I see both sides of the debate and hold to some of the views on both sides (at least in part). As a result, I am frequently attacked by those on both sides. Honestly, I quit engaging in these discussions because of the failure on both sides to act based on the directions found in 2 Timothy 2:24-25.

    Discussion is one of the best ways to learn because we have the opportunity to deal with differing thoughts without those thoughts being filtered by those who believe as we do. But, when the discussion devolves into insults, and verbal degradation, there is little point in continuing.

    I thank you and praise God for your godly attitude and wisdom!

    Like

    • Hello Terry, I appreciate your kindness and your commenting. I was hopeful that my post would garner more discussion and more openness with those who disagree on these matters. In many ways it has, but for others not so much. I am sure you understand. Every blessing as you serve the Lord! -Dave

      Like

  19. Thanks for sharing this, Dave. I used the KJV for many years and recently switched to the ESV for most of my reading. For much of my childhood, I was taught that the KJV was the only good translation and that the rest were inferior at best or corrupt at worst. I still believe the KJV is a very accurate translation that is superior to many modern paraphrases such as the NLT, NIV, etc. However, it’s worth remembering that even the KJV translators acknowledged their work’s imperfection in the translator notes. I also think it’s noteworthy that the 1611 KJV was published with the Apocrypha. Naturally, I don’t mind when someone chooses to use the KJV as a personal preference. But I find it contradictory when that person believes the KJV cannot possibly be improved upon. Meanwhile, the copy they hold in their hands has no Apocrypha and has been updated numerous times with revised spelling of words.

    Like

  20. Hi Brother Dave! Thanks for posting this, it’s really challenged me. I hold the position that since the original Greek and Hebrew texts that the Bible was translated from are the original Word of God that the men of God wrote, that’s where the debate should take place. For example, if my research is correct, translations like KJV, NKJV, and MEV (the one I use and love) come from the Textus Receptus and Masoretic Text, which, as far as I know based on my research, are the true original works. And other translations like ESV or NIV come from edited texts that were published after the KJV, whose editors believed God had not preserved His Word and they needed to fix it. I believe God did preserve His Word throughout all time and therefore read a translation based on faith and not one of doubt, and I feel that as long as it’s translated from the correct Greek and Hebrew texts, you’re alright.

    However, many of my friends and even the church I go to when I’m away at college use the ESV, which in my opinion leaves out some details in various places. I’ve struggled with this for a while and even confronted my Sunday School teacher about it once, asking why there was an entire verse missing.

    This post has helped me realize it doesn’t matter as much as I’m making it out to be, and I really appreciate it. I will try to be more gracious in my dealings with people about this.

    Unless you use the Hawaii Pidgin Bible. We gotta talk…

    Like

Leave a Reply to Matt Kline Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s