Five Questions for King James Only Believers—Part One

Title page from the original 1611 King James Version of the Bible.

The first Bible I ever owned was a King James Version that my parents gave me when I was about seven years old. I used it until I received a newer translation in my teenage years. Then in 2000–2001 I used the King James as my primary Bible again. It is one of many translations I have read all the way through, along with the NASB, NKJV, NIV (1984 and 2011), NET, ESV, HCSB, and the Lexham English Bible. I usually read a new translation each year, although I’ve repeated some of them, because I believe there is tremendous value in reading Scripture and discovering how translators have handled certain passages.

I have found strengths and weaknesses in each of the versions I’ve read, but there is one issue that frequently arises that needs to be addressed: the King James Only position. I have spoken with many people who believe the KJV is the only translation of Scripture we should use today. They often refer to it as the KJB, since they consider the King James to be the only Bible, and they don’t really consider the other translations to be legitimate versions. Proponents of this view will often attack fellow believers for using modern versions, which are often said to be based on Alexandrian texts and regularly called New Age Bible translations.

This view is to be distinguished from what has been called “Only King James” or “King James Preferred.” Those who hold these views might be uncomfortable using any version other than the King James, but they do not make a habit of ridiculing, admonishing, or condemning those who use other translations. I have a very good friend who has adopted this position, and I have no problem at all with someone preferring the King James over other versions. It’s a great translation, and God has used it to reach and teach millions of people over the past four centuries.

Years ago, I gave a talk on alleged Bible contradictions in which I showed two verses in the NKJV that are at odds (2 Kings 8:26 and 2 Chronicles 22:2—was Ahaziah 22 or 42 years old when he became king?). This seems to be a classic “typo” made by a scribe somewhere along the way, and it seems rather obvious that he was 22 when he became king. If he were 42, then he would have been older than his father, Ahab. A little while after the talk, an angry woman approached and told me that had she been in there she would have immediately pulled her high school son out because the King James has the same figures in these verses as the NKJV, and I was attacking Scripture. In reality, my talk was all about defending Scripture and showing how to address alleged Bible contradictions. The next day of the conference, she handed me a copy of an attempt to reconcile the two figures by Peter Ruckman, a King James Onlyist (KJO) who utilized some of the most contorted interpretations I have ever read in an effort to save the idea that the King James Version is inerrant. Many similar experiences could be shared. (I’ll talk more about Mr. Ruckman in part 3 of this series.)

This post should not be viewed as an attack on the King James translation, although KJOs will undoubtedly see it as such. As mentioned before, I have read through the King James Version, and I greatly appreciate it. But I do have five sincere and pointed questions I would like to ask KJOs. So in a spirit of gentleness, I ask these questions because I would like for those who have adopted that position to think carefully about their own view and the claims many have made about other translations.

Question 1: Where does the Bible ever teach that the King James Bible would be the version through which God would preserve His Word?

Readers of this blog know that I strongly believe the Bible is the inspired, authoritative, inerrant, and infallible word of God. But the doctrine of inerrancy is usually defined as applying to the original manuscripts, and it only extends to the copies and translations insofar as they accurately represent the original documents.

Did God Promise to Preserve His Word?

A common response in the literature of KJOs is to cite Psalm 12:6–7.

“The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. You shall keep them, O Lord, You shall preserve them from this generation forever.”

This image proudly uses the quote from Ecclesiastes 8:4 and references Psalm 12:6–7, both of which are misused in defense of the KJV Only position. (Image from Now the End Begins website)

Even if these verses are referring to God preserving His word, where does it say that He would do this only in an English Bible translated 2600 years after this psalm was written by David? It doesn’t, so this passage does not answer the question because it says nothing about the King James Bible. Also, if the KJO interpretation is correct, then wouldn’t this also mean that God was lying since He apparently did not preserve His word from sometime soon after the New Testament was composed until the KJV was translated?

But there is a bigger problem with this response. Not only does it say nothing about the King James, the preservation referred to here is almost certainly not about the Lord’s words, even though that’s how it appears in English. The problem is that English doesn’t have gender for words as do many other languages, like Hebrew. When the text states that God will preserve “them” it uses a masculine pronoun, so it refers back to a masculine noun. The “words” that are “pure words” in verse 6 are feminine in Hebrew, so “them” does not refer to the Lord’s words. Instead, “them” refers back to verse 5: “‘For the oppression of the poor (masculine), for the sighing of the needy (masculine), now I will arise,” says the Lord; ‘I will set him in the safety for which he (masculine, obviously) yearns.’”

So these verses are not even about God preserving His words, even though I believe He has done that, but not on the basis of this verse. Instead, they are about God preserving the poor and needy mentioned by David from their oppressors.

The Word of the King Is Powerful

Another response from KJOs to this question is to cite Ecclesiastes 8:4, which states, “Where the word of a king is, there is power; and who may say to him, ‘What are you doing?’”

It should be rather obvious that this verse has nothing to do with the alleged superiority of the King James Version over other translations. The writer is simply saying that that a citizen should obey his king. Verse 2 states, “Keep the king’s commandment for the sake of your oath to God.” And verse 5 states, “He who keeps his command will experience nothing harmful…” To employ this verse in defense of the KJO position is to abuse and twist Scripture by yanking a verse so far out of its context to make it mean something that no one would ever see without KJO-colored glasses. Besides, if another king commissioned the translation of the Bible, would we then need to view that one as the “Authorized Version”? King Henry VIII authorized the Great Bible (1539) by Myles Coverdale. If we use Ecclesiastes 8:4 as some KJOs do, then perhaps the Great Bible should be viewed as the Authorized Version.

Summary

So the answer to the first question is that the Bible never tells us that God would provide the world with an infallible English Bible, let alone a particular version published in 1611. So those who hold this position must base their arguments on something outside of Scripture. Most of the time, it comes down to one’s preference or what they’ve been taught. Essentially, KJOs have put their opinion or preference about Scripture on the same level as Scripture. But there is another approach—KJOs will claim that all the newer Bibles have errors in them, so we need to stick with the King James. This leads naturally to the next three questions:

– Is it a sin to use a Bible that has mistakes?
– Why is the King James Version missing verses or parts of verses?
– Why does the King James Version add verses or parts of verses?

The first of these two questions listed above are addressed here: Five Questions: Part Two.
The third question and an additional question are addressed here: Five Questions: Part Three.

I understand that this topic can be quite sensitive and I will do my best to be kind in my questioning and explanations. If you plan to reply to this series of posts, please be sure to read all three posts and keep it civil. Thanks for reading!

About Tim Chaffey

I am the founder of Midwest Apologetics and work as the Content Manager with the Attractions Division of Answers in Genesis. I have written (or co-authored) several books, including In Defense of Easter, God and Cancer, The Sons of God and the Nephilim, and The Truth Chronicles Series (see the publications page for more details). Please note: the opinions expressed on this site are my own and do not necessarily represent the views of Answers in Genesis.

Comments

Five Questions for King James Only Believers—Part One — 38 Comments

  1. Jesus did not say in Luke chapter 4, ‘well folks, let’s turn now to Isaiah 42:7 as he expounded on Isaiah 61. He did what most preachers do, He preached. Some preachers get anointed when they preach and go all over the place. Besides, there were no chapters and verse divisions to reference back then, so the Lord simply expounded. But if you need positive proof that the scribes of the LXX had the New Testament in front of them when they actually penned the LXX we have today, here it is at https://www.scionofzion.com/lxx_reverse_engineering.htm This will be a hard one to get around. The LXX is a sloppy piece of work and has all kinds of errors and dates wrong in Genesis. You honestly think Jesus would be quoting from a corrupted Greek text in a Hebrew synagogue? Let us be honest here.

    I thank you for our civil conversation, but most likely, anything I say, or any facts that contradict your presuppositions of what you have been taught will persuade you otherwise. It all comes down to faith and discernment. “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13) KJV. As I said before, knowing this is a spiritual issue, not a textual one, and discernment is needed, for “in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness” (Isaiah 29:18). The ‘science’ of textual criticism has caused many to lose their spiritual discernment and they are looking for a verse in the Bible that says, “Thus saith the Lord, in 1611 a perfect Bible will be produced by my hand through King James.” However, “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isaiah 8:20) KJV. Look at the fruits of the KJV Bible as compared to the spiritual condition of the Church today with all these modern Bible Buffet versions, “ye shall know them by their fruits” (Matt 7:16). I also know the KJV is the perfect Word of God because it does not have man’s copyright on it, nor does the Textus Receptus Greek, for the real “Word of God is not bound” (II Tim 2:9) by such. My last question for us all (including me) is this. What will we do when God’s two ministers arrive on the scene and validate the Authorized King James Version (Rev 11:3-13)? Will we still “despise this word, and trust in oppression and perverseness, and stay thereon” (Isaiah 30:12), or will we accept God’s end-time vision and believe His Word by faith? (Habakkuk 2:1-4) KJV.

    I realize going back and forth is most likely a fruitless endeavor, at least for you and me, but perhaps some of your readers will benefit from either side of the argument. I really do suggest you read my book, for many of your questions are already answered in it, and it is filled with manuscript evidence in support of the KJV.

    Blessings to you and yours, and thank you for such a good conversation. You will be in my prayers, as I hope I will be in yours.

    Sincerely,
    In Christ Jesus,
    Bro. Mike

    • Hi Mike,

      Sorry for the delayed response. I agree that we will probably not change each other’s mind on this topic. Let me just clarify a point about Jesus reading in Nazareth because I may not have clearly stated it. I am not suggesting that Jesus read a copy of the Scriptures in Greek while in the synagogue, even though we have evidence of Jews using a Greek translation of the Scriptures in that era (see the recent discovery of new scrolls at Nahal Hever near the Dead Sea, portions of Zechariah and Nahum in Greek were found). My point is that Jesus read a Hebrew text, but that Hebrew text aligned perfectly with the Septuagint’s translation of Isaiah 61 and it did not match the Masoretic Text’s wording of Isaiah 61.
      Without going into too much detail, this and other similar instances, suggests that the Hebrew text that would eventually become the Masoretic Text was slightly altered at some point after Jesus and the disciples. There is considerable evidence that this took place among certain rabbis near the close of the 1st century or start of the 2nd. A couple of other Messianic prophecies were altered, such as Psalm 22:16 (the MT has “like a lion, my hands and my feet”), and some other changes were made that seem to have been done to strike at the idea that Jesus is the Messiah and Son of God. In his Dialogue with Trypho, Justin Martyr explains that certain rabbis had deliberately removed many verses that prove Jesus is the Messiah (see chapter 71). This was written prior to AD 165, and a very strong case can be made that Justin was right. The Masoretic Text is a very reliable text in nearly every respect, but when it comes to a few details supporting Jesus as the Messiah and Son of God, it has been changed. This can be seen in how it differs in those places from the Dead Sea Scrolls (older Hebrew texts), the Septuagint, and quotes of the OT in the NT.
      Anyway, I hope that clarified my point about what Jesus read from in the synagogue at Nazareth. Thanks again for the kind words and civil discussion.

      Sincerely,
      Tim

  2. Tim, I realize this post is several years old, but I just ran across it and have a question. You refer to some people citing Ecclesiastes 8:4 (“Where the word of a king is, there is power…”) as proof of preservation through the “King” James Version. I have never seen or heard this argument. I do not doubt that you have, but could you direct me to someone who has used it? I would like to read just how and when it was used by someone. Thanks. Have a good day.

    • Here is a clip from my book on Ecc 8:4

      Rather than question whether God is in the miracle working business by saying …’what doest thou’, we should look to the book that was sanctioned by a king, (Ecclesiastes 8:4) KJV and written by the Holy Ghost, as we discern the signs of the times in which God chose to bring things to pass. Why did God wait 4000 years to send Jesus Christ in the flesh? God has a time and a place for all things, including the time in which His Word was published in 1611 and even prior to that with many English versions during His refining process (Psalms 12:6-7) KJV. How ironic it is when people question “where was God’s perfect Word before 1611” when they cannot even identify where it is today. If they lack faith to believe there is a perfect Word of God today, what makes you think they would believe, even if they knew where it was before 1611?

      • Hi Michael,
        Thanks for providing another example of these verses (Ecclesiastes 8:4 and Psalm 12) being used in this way. Neither Robert nor I have questioned whether God is in the miracle working business or denying inerrancy. As is clearly stated in this post and the other two in the series, the arguments for the KJV-only position are not rooted in Scripture and your handling of these two passages misinterprets them. If your argument is that “we should look to the book that was sanctioned by a king” then shouldn’t we look to the Great Bible authorized by Henry VIII? The truth is that Ecclesiastes 8:4 has nothing to do with a king sanctioning the translation of a Bible millennia later.
        Sincerely,
        Tim

        • Thanks for your response Tim.

          The KJVO position is actually very Biblical, especially before 1881, when the only English version around was the KJV before Westcott and Hort sprung a new Greek text in secret upon the world based upon corrupted Greek manuscripts. The entire world was KJVO (and with missionary foreign translations of the KJV) before 1881 and was so for hundreds of years. The modern versions are the ‘new kids on the block.’

          You also left out the remainder of my sentence, ‘and written by the Holy Ghost, as we discern the signs of the times in which God chose to bring things to pass.’ Knowing we have an inspired perfect Bible in our hands today is a spiritual issue, not a textual one. We either believe in divine preservation, even in a translation, or we do not. We either believe there is a perfect ‘Book of the Lord’ (Isa 34:16) on earth today or we do not. It all comes down to faith and discernment. KJV believers have a faith and belief that we have that very perfect “Book” in our hands today. Scholarship believes that “divine preservation’ is no longer needed, for we have them now in charge of ‘divine restoration,’ as they try to piece together the ‘originals’ which are forever lost, for they are now dust in the wind.

          As far as Ecc 8:4, you would probably have to read the context of my book {link removed per page policy} for further clarity.

          • Hi Michael,
            Thanks for the civil discussion. As I’m sure you’re aware, many people do not maintain their cool while discussing this subject, so I appreciate it. You might notice that I removed the link to your page in your comment. It’s nothing personal, it’s always been my policy so that people don’t just jump on my comments section to advertise their page, product, etc. I’ll occasionally allow a link if it’s to a page I’m familiar with.
            There are some problems with your claims. First, the KJV wasn’t the only English Bible before 1881. As I pointed out in the article and in my first comment to you, the Great Bible existed and was also authorized by a king (Henry VIII). So the KJV was not the only English Bible and it wasn’t the only Bible authorized by a king. Thus, the KJV is not unique in those respects.
            Second, I also believe in divine preservation of His Word. But I don’t find the KJV-only arguments to be compelling. As I stated in the article — there is not a single verse KJV-only adherents can point to that even hints that God will preserve His Word in a Bible translation in 1611. It’s one thing to prefer the KJV. I have no problem with that. It’s another thing to misinterpret the Bible to support the KJV-only position (Isaiah 34:16 is not about the KJV or any other Bible composed of 66 books). The term used there is cepher, which refers to something written. In Isaiah’s time, this would likely be a reference to a single scroll, perhaps the prophets own writing about Babylon’s judgment and the animals mentioned in relation to that. Books didn’t even exist yet, so he certainly didn’t have 66 books compiled into one in mind. Also, you have misrepresented all other English translations.
            Third, as I explained in the second and third articles in this series, there are a small handful of obvious errors in the KJV. For example, was Ahaziah 42 or 22 when he became king? In Luke 4, why does Jesus read a line from the scroll of Isaiah that isn’t found in the KJV of Isaiah 61? Also, why does Hebrews 1:6 quote a line from Deuteronomy 32:43 that is not found in the Masoretic Text? It’s because in both cases, the NT speaker/writer is using the LXX and not the Masoretic. Read the other two articles in the series for a more detailed explanation. I’m not going to rewrite them here.
            Finally, the Holy Spirit did not write the Bible. The Holy Spirit inspired the writing of the Bible. He oversaw and guided the process by which holy men of God wrote Scripture, but He did not write it and He did not dictate it.
            Sincerely,
            Tim

            • Thanks Tim for your response. I also agree that things should be done in a civil manner and in the ‘spirit of meekness’ (Gal 6:1) KJV. Even though my book has some hard speech at times, my desire and heart is filled with compassion. I am not concerned about my link, you have it, and that is all that matters as per our conversation.

              You said a lot in that post of which I will address as I prepare my responses. But as far as the prior English Bibles, I am aware of them and I will quote the KJV translators themselves regarding their thoughts.

              According to Jerome, Augustine, and the KJV translators (quoting Jerome and Augustine), this translation was as good as gold, likened to ‘two golden pipes,’ streams flowing from the Hebrew and the oldest Greek texts available. Augustine called them ‘precedent.’ Jerome called it ‘fountains.’ The KJV translators said “But it is high time…… that we should need to make a new Translation, nor yet to make of a bad one a good one…. but to make a good one better, or out of many good ones, one principal good one” (THE TRANSLATORS TO THE READER – Preface to the King James Version 1611). The KJV translators were clearly saying that even the prior English versions were ‘good’ versions, and out of these ‘many good ones,’ they were to translate “ONE PRINCIPLE GOOD ONE!” Sounds like ‘King James Only’ to me.

              I will address your other points in future posts,

              Blessings,
              Bro. Mike

              • Hi Mike,
                Again, thanks for keeping it civil. The fact that the KJV translators sought to improve upon previous translations does not mean that their work was inspired or that they viewed their work as inspired by the Holy Spirit. It only means that they sought to do a better job than their predecessors.

            • You said, ‘I also believe in divine preservation of His Word.’

              Perhaps define your view of preservation. Did God preserve His Word 100% perfect for us today? If yes, then where is it, in any language? If not in a ‘book’ today in 2021, when did the preservation end? In your view, is God powerful enough to preserve His Word, even in a translation? Or do you believe what Dr. James White says, quote, “God does not work in that way.”

              You said, ‘there is not a single verse KJV-only adherents can point to that even hints that God will preserve His Word in a Bible translation in 1611.’

              Is there a single Old Testament verse that states the Messiah’s name will be specifically named ‘Jesus’? Is there a specific verse that states exactly the year Christ will return? That is why chapter one of my book talks about faith, for “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrew 11:1) KJV. My book also discusses discernment as Jesus did, “but can ye not discern the signs of the times?” (Matt 16:3) KJV. Why 1611? The question should be why Did God wait until 1440 for the invention of the printing press. Why did God wait 4000 years to send Jesus in the flesh? That’s why I used Ecc 8:4 to respond to all the questions of the critics in saying “what doest thou”?

              You said, ‘(Isaiah 34:16 is not about the KJV or any other Bible composed of 66 books).

              Isaiah 34:16 says “Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read: no one of these shall fail, none shall want her mate: for my mouth it hath commanded, and his spirit it hath gathered them.” You are correct in that before books were printed there were scrolls, however, the Hebrew definition also means ‘missive, document, writing, book’ (Strong’s H-5612). Notice the Spirit of God is involved in the compiling of this predicted “book.’

              You said, ‘was Ahaziah 42 or 22 when he became king?’

              I would encourage you to read the context on Ahaziah of which I have not studied that example. But your answer will be the same as in the so-called contradiction about how many years King Jehoiachin reigned (8 vs. 18), as his MOTHER was the QUEEN from the time he was eight until he was eighteen (II Kings 24:12; Jeremiah 13:18). Context is king when it comes to the Kings and Chronicles, and joint reigns, along with some of the Kings reigning at two separate times is not uncommon. From the little I have looked at Ahaziah’s example, it seems Ahaziah is anointed King of Judah at 22 years of age but fails to sit down on the throne until he is 42.

              You said, ‘ In Luke 4, why does Jesus read a line from the scroll of Isaiah that isn’t found in the KJV of Isaiah 61?’

              Jesus quoted Isaiah 61 and Isaiah 42:7, a good example of ‘precept must be upon precept (Isaiah 28:9-13) KJV. Why not question the modern versions missing both Malachi and Isaiah in Mark 1:2 saying “Isaiah”, whereas the KJV properly says ‘prophets’ plural, detailing quotes from BOTH Malachi and Isaiah.

              You said, ‘Also, why does Hebrews 1:6 quote a line from Deuteronomy 32:43 that is not found in the Masoretic Text?

              My book addresses the LXX and how it is a work of reverse engineering and a fallacy. The Septuagint is nothing more than the Alexandrian Egyptian manuscripts of Codex Vaticanus, Codex Sinaiticus, Codex Alexandrinus (All A.D. not B.C), all mixed up with the heretical apocrypha stuck within the O.T. texts. I recommend you read (“The Septuagint Fallacy: An indictment of Modern Criticism’, Rev. W.I. Phillips, M.A. London: Robert Scott: Roxburghe House: Paternoster Row, E. C. 1918). You cannot name ONE B.C. manuscript that Jesus or the Apostles used or quoting from. There is not ONE Greek B.C. manuscript that you can name, for they do not exist. And please don’t bring up the few fragments that will not even fill one single page.

              You said, ‘Finally, the Holy Spirit did not write the Bible. The Holy Spirit inspired the writing of the Bible. He oversaw and guided the process by which holy men of God wrote Scripture, but He did not write it and He did not dictate it.

              “All scripture is given by inspiration of God” (II Timothy 3:16 (KJV). The question is, do you have the Scriptures? Yes, men were given inspiration as “holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (II Peter 1:21) KJV. The Holy Ghost is the author, men did the dictation, the same way Paul did not WRITE Romans, for Tertius did (Rom 16:22). Being ‘moved by the Holy Ghost’ to write is the same as God writing it, for he chose to use men to author what He said.

              “when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe” (I Thess 2:13) KJV.

              The Word of God is the Word of God, not the word of men, even though God used men for His purpose.

              • Hi Mike,
                Let’s keep these brief because it gets too hard to follow when there are so many things going on in one post.
                I am certainly not a fan of Dr. White, although I would probably be close to him on this particular topic.
                For the most part, you really haven’t answered my very basic questions. For many of them, you deflected and then countered with another question. That’s not the same as answering it. You are the one making the claim that the KJV is the perfect and inspired Word of God. I gave examples of errors in the KJV and your response was to basically point out problems with other Bibles. For example:
                I asked where the Bible ever teaches that the 1611 KJV would be the inspired Bible. Your response was to ask where the Bible says that God’s Son would be named Jesus or where it give the date on which He will return. Then you just assume that He must have chosen 1611 as the appropriate year to give the world the perfect Bible. But you never answered the question.
                You did attempt to answer the next two points:
                Regarding the scroll in Isaiah 34:16, I’ll stand by my earlier statement. The prophet clearly was not speaking about a compilation of 66 books in this passage.
                Ahaziah’s age – you stated that maybe he was anointed at 22 but then took the throne at 42. The problem is that he only reigned one year and his father (Jehoram) died at age 40. If Ahaziah took the throne at 42, then he would’ve been two years older than his father. Obviously, he was 22 when he became king and he died at 23.
                But then you went back to (mostly) avoiding the questions:
                Why in Luke 4 did Jesus read a line from Isaiah 61 that isn’t found in the KJV text of Isaiah 61? You claimed that He read from both Isaiah 61 and 42. There are a couple problems with this. First, Luke 4:17 states that Jesus found the place (singular) where it is written…and then proceeds to from Isaiah 61. He didn’t find two places in the text. He found a single place. And that particular single text matches the LXX of Isaiah 61 just fine. It doesn’t match the Masoretic. And there’s a good reason for that. Without going into too much detail (I’m working on a paper on this), there is considerable evidence that some rabbis altered some Messianic prophecies shortly after AD 70, and these are reflected in the Masoretic, but not the LXX. This is why the MT of Psalm 22:16 is botched as well (it’s not “like a lion my hands and my feet” — it’s “they pierced my hands and my feet”). After your very short answer, you proceeded to question other translations instead of defending the KJV.
                Regarding Hebrews 1:6 quoting Deuteronomy 32:43, you didn’t even attempt to answer it. You just claimed that the LXX wasn’t done prior to the writing of the NT. But that doesn’t solve the problem since we have portions of Deuteronomy 32 in the Dead Sea Scrolls and they repeatedly match the LXX where it differs from the MT. And it also doesn’t actually answer the question at all. The fact is that the KJV of Hebrews 1:6 quotes from the OT, but the OT of the KJV does not have the statement that is quoted. So it doesn’t matter what you think of the LXX. However, there is considerable evidence that the LXX was indeed in existence prior to the first century. I’m familiar with the claims of the book you cited. Your claim that I can’t cite a text from the BC period that Jesus quoted can be turned around on you. The Masoretic Text we have today is from around AD 1000 (Leningrad Codex). We do not have any copies of it from the BC period.
                If you think the Holy Spirit dictated the text of Scripture then it creates some difficulties. Why do the writers have very different styles and proficiencies in the Greek of the NT? Why does John spell the same word differently in the same passages? I believe the dictation view of inspiration goes too far in one direction and cannot account for some of the nuances we see in the text. On the other hand, there are certainly some views that go too far in the other direction to the point that it isn’t really fair to call the view inspiration at all.
                The Bible is the Word of God, but it was written by men whose writing was inspired and guided by the Holy Spirit so that what was written can truly be called the Word of God.
                Let’s either slow this down or bring it to an end. If you’d like to address my specific questions, I’d be happy to give you the space to respond, but please create a different post for each question so that we don’t have these long posts. If not, I wish you well and thank you again for the civil discussion.
                Sincerely,
                Tim

    • Hi David,
      The Bible doesn’t say that the critical text would be the version through which God preserved His Word. That isn’t my claim in this article series. My goal in these three posts is to encourage King James Only proponents to look carefully at their own claims, which do not stand up under examination.

  3. Good Morning :)….. So why the King James Bible??? Rome has changed altered perverted everything it has touched, so the Vatican text is heritical…
    The Alexandrian text was changed perverted by the liberals, Arians in Alexandria…. That only leaves the Syrian received text… Perfect?, maybe not but its Greek and Hebrew text is as close as we are going to get……
    all other versions leave out many verses critical to sound doctrine!!!
    Imho,The NIV stands for the New Incomplete Version !!!
    Thankyou, Lewis

  4. I used to be KJV Only myself, so I know how these folks think. I still greatly admire the KJV, and it is one of the main bibles that I use. However, there are a number of problems with this movement.

    The fact is, logically speaking, it’s purely arbitrary to choose the KJV as the one, true, error-free Word of God. The Catholic Church has done the same thing with the Latin Vulgate in the past, as have some with the Syriac Peshitta. The Eastern Orthodox Church holds to the Septuagint over the Masoretic, though it is a translation of the original. Some English-speaking Catholics still hold to the old Douay Rheims as the “one and only true” English bible in existence. I could even imagine someone declaring the NIV 1984 as the only true Word of God, since it’s been the world’s bestselling Bible for many years.

    Of course, none of this makes sense. The KJV was translated in 1611. The textual base behind the KJV NT is itself eclectic in certain places. Just one example will suffice for now — Rev. 16:5. No other Bible has this particular reading that I know of! That, along with other variants that the translators chose and “locked” in place in the KJV means that prior to 1611, the “pure, complete, error-free” Word of God simply DID NOT EXIST as one complete document available to the Church. And yet you hear them claim that if the modern critical text is correct, that the true Bible didn’t exist until the 19th century. They are saying something very similar, but they just push the time frame back a few centuries.

    Will Kinney starts off almost all of his articles condemning so-called “bible correctors” and claiming they can never put their hands on the one, true, perfect Bible and that makes them hypocrites for saying they believe in the infallible Word of God. Yet, Will is the one who has set up the arbitrary standard! I could declare the NIV the only true Bible and then write articles pointing out how other versions, editions, and translations differ from it and consider that “proof” that the NIV is therefore true. This is irrational.

    I believe this — and I feel confident that it’s backed up by the actual manuscript evidence and how history has played out: we DO have the true, complete, and infallible words of God, and they exist in total in the great mass of manuscripts, versions, editions, and translations throughout history. Amid that great body of witnesses there exists the true and original “words of God”. The problem with the KJV crowd is that this isn’t good enough: they it all packaged in between two covers and for there to be no footnotes indicating the reality of things — that there ARE differences extant. They take the easy route and just declare a particular translation from Jacobean England to be the only true and complete word of God so they don’t have to think through the variants and the various translation decisions for themselves. This is extremely narrow-minded. To acknowledge that one isn’t *certain* about which readings are correct is not the same thing as being a “doubter of the word.” I own just about every Bible version there is. Right now my favorite is the 1537 Matthew’s Bible, because it was translated by martyrs. But I can get the gospel message from the NIV, the NASB, the NKJV, the NLT, and even the Catholic Douay Rheims.

    I admire the zeal the KJV Only folks have for the word of God, but they are setting up unnecessary barriers to potential believers who may find salvation in Christ through different Bibles or non-KJV Only preachers. I think they need to be very careful about what they’re doing, because I think it borders on idolatry. Ever seen the way Orthodox Jews treat the Torah Scrolls in the synagogue? They bow to it, they kiss it, they parade it around like Catholics carry the Pope, etc. The Holy Word of God is truly the Person of Jesus Christ — not a translation of the Bible into English, not even the original scrolls on which Moses or the Apostles wrote. Don’t misunderstand me, I am not denigrating the written Word, not in the least — it is of utmost importance, and it is how we get our information ABOUT God, and about the Messiah, Jesus Christ himself. This modern-day obsession with a translation smacks of a kind of gnosticism, and the fruits I have personally been witness to are all too often arrogance, conceit, and judgmentalism.

  5. Hey Tim,

    I read your posts quite some time back, and I very much appreciated them.

    I recently had some conversations with the president of one of the Bible institutes who recommended 3 books on this topic. I have read one titled King James Onlyism: A New Sect by James Price (quite informative); I am reading another titled From the Mind of God to the Mind of Man, James Williams editor (also quite informative – the chapter “Let’s Meet the Manuscripts” is very, very good!; and I am waiting to receive the 3rd book, by Beacham & Bauder.

    Keep up the good work!

    B.J. Kresnye

  6. I have a question about the Psalm 12:6-7 verses. Is it possible that in the Textus Receptus the gender of the “them” matches so that “You shall preserve them” actually does refer back to the words, not the “Godly Man” in verse 1? This is such a foundational argument for my KJV only church.

    • Hi Jennifer,

      Sorry for taking so long to get back to you.
      That wouldn’t be possible since the Textus Receptus refers to a manuscript family for the New Testament. The Old Testament is translated from the Masoretic Text. This is the base text for all English Old Testaments other than the English translations of the Septuagint.
      The interesting part is that even if they could prove that the preservation of verse 7 referred to God’s words, it still wouldn’t prove that this preservation was to be done in the King James Version. How did He preserve it before 1611? Their own arguments don’t even prove the points they are making.

      • Check this link out…
        http://textusreceptusbibles.com/Parallel/19012001/KJV1611/GNV/TGB

        some thoughts…

        Even the preserved line of scripture shows better translation of Psalm 12:7
        The Geneva and Great Bible translate this verse closer to the NIV than the KJV.
        It’s not the words of God that the Psalmist is indicating as being preserved.
        Although I believe Psa 119:89 LAMED. For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.
        So I still believe God’s words have been preserved in exactly the way they were given: in Hebrew/Chaldean and Greek, otherwise, it would not be preservation but another work of inspiration even after the last inspired scripture of Revelation was given.

  7. Tim,
    I really appreciate this series of articles you have written.
    My family attends a church which considers anything other than KJV to be a corruption of scripture. The pastor has been delivering a painful sermon series on “Why the KJV Only”. Much of his evidence is very selective and emotional in nature (‘easier to memorize’), but some of his arguments are so complex that it’s just easier to ‘take his word for it’ than to try to keep up with it. The works of Gail Riplinger are heavily used without addressing the many criticisms of her works. He has directed the congregation to explain to people why the KJV is THE only version, and if they argue, to walk away. And while I do have the greatest respect for people who prefer and love the King James Bible, I am concerned that it has become an essential of the faith by this Pastor. In general he views questions as attacks on his authority, even when done respectfully and in private. My husband is of the opinion that I don’t have the right to question anything that God’s annointed (the pastor) has said. He is convinced that I am living in rebellion because I’m not KJV only. I do agree there are bad versions, but I am in the NASB and NIV realm, not the Message or Living Bible. Does submitting to my husband mean that I have to read only the KJV? Can you recommend any other resources for refuting the KJV only cult?

    • Hi Jennifer,
      I’m sorry to hear about the difficulties of your situation. Pastors should never act as if their members have no right to ask questions. Such behavior is prideful and very damaging. It is more cult-like than church-like behavior. That being said, there are several good resources out there critiquing the KJV-only position.
      While I disagree with these men on other subjects, D.A. Carson and James White have both written good books on the topic. Just run a search for “King James Only” on Amazon and their books will come up. James White has also done an insightful discussion with Steven Anderson on Youtube. Anderson is one of the more popular KJV-only pastors out there today, and it is rather bizarre to hear many of his “arguments” for the KJV-only position. Ultimately, for him, it comes down to a feeling, which he identifies as the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Several years ago, John Ankerberg had a debate on his show about the KJV-only controversy. I believe Sam Gipp was one of the KJV-onlyists, and once again, the KJV-only side could not provide any reasonable arguments to support their position. Ankerberg also did a short booklet on the topic (also available on Amazon), which I read nearly twenty years ago, and it was enough to convince me that the KJV-only position cannot come close to proving its position (and I was leaning toward that view at the time). It is truly sad to see Christians getting caught up in this movement that is so divisive and misguided.
      Regarding your personal situation…if your husband tells you not to use the other versions, then I would encourage you to go along with his wishes. But I would also ask him if he would watch one or more of the videos I mentioned above along with you or read one of those books. Maybe it’s as simple as asking him to read these three blog posts of mine. I’m sure he believes you should be like the Bereans who search the Scriptures to make sure what Paul was teaching was true. Well, ask him (respectfully) if the two of you should be doing the same thing when it comes to this issue. Who says the King James is the only true Bible? Where is that in Scripture? And if it is perfect, then why does it have the undeniable mistakes I mentioned in my articles (e.g., the NT quoting parts of verses in the OT that don’t appear in the King James)? That’s not just a disagreement with a different version—that’s a disagreement with itself.
      I hope this has been helpful.

  8. Just finished the last book of the Noah’s trilogy enjoyed them all. Because of it joined your blog, enjoying it very much

    I am so glad to see someone comment on the KJV when the NIV came out our church looked it over and decided to use it as our main bible. We had a visitor to our church, who said that it was of the devil, and he would never be back.
    Just shows how some see other translations.
    Love your blog

    • Hi Claude,
      Thanks for the encouraging words about the Noah series. I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed them. If you have a few minutes, would you mind leaving positive reviews on Amazon and/or Goodreads? Also, thanks for following the blog and for the kind words about it too.
      It is very sad how some of the KJV-only people act when it comes to that issue. I recently had a pastor send back a copy of my DVD on the Resurrection saying that he couldn’t play it in his church because the verses weren’t in the KJV. At least he was polite about it, but it seems strange to me that he couldn’t have shown it to his congregation (as he was planning) but give a disclaimer beforehand that the verses were from a different version. But that issue is more important to them than any other.
      God bless!

      • Some are so narrow minded, that they will not even research to find the real truth. All you would have to do is a little research to find the KJV is not without fault.

  9. I find the most dangerous mistake is that it shows Jesus calling people fools. Yet in another passage, it correctly translates the same Greek word as Jesus saying foolish. One is a noun the other is an adjective. It is either
    “foolish and blind” or “blind fools”. “Fools and blind” does not work it is bad English it is bad grammar and most English translations have it written this way. That is like saying “Cat and blind” rather it should be “blind cat” if it were a noun. But the Greek phrase is adjective conjunction adjective NO nouns!

    In fact, if you look at any English most are wrong on this point. For instance, the Hebrew should be read as “the foolish has said in his heart there is no God”

    To call someone a fool is to revile. And to revile is to blaspheme God 1 Peter 4:14, Jude 9.

    Would you tell your son he did foolishly or would you tell your son he is a fool? To say he is a fool it to judge in the seat of God to tell him he is worthless it is verbal abuse!

    So I find it a very big deal that the majority of “English” translations depict Jesus reveling causing many to think it is every ok to call someone a fool or idiot, etc. If what I am saying is correct it is literally having changed scripture. Yet for most, it is easier to dismiss it than to look into it.

  10. I look forward to reading this. All my life I have been told KJV is the closest to God’s inspired word, in fact my father-in law is a Ruckman follower and when I gave him the online bible years ago he never used it because it had other versions inside. I prefer the KJV and will read what you have to say. Thanks for taking the time to write it.

  11. Hi Tim. Looking forward to more of your series. I have read several versions of the Bible, cover to cover, and I have been blessed by God in each. While I do use the KJV as my main bible, I use many versions in studying and sermon preparation. Thank you for addressing a difficult issue among believers. We must stop the squabbling and allow God to speak to each of us individually with whatever version of the truth each is comfortable with. God Bless you in the series.

  12. As we see now, AiG is fully attacking the KJB. We first saw this with Sarfati attacking the KJB in Australia.

    • You are wrong on several counts. First, this is my personal blog and does not represent AiG, which does not use the KJV as its default version. Second, Dr. Sarfati has not been part of AiG for over ten years. Third, this series is not an attack on the King James Version of the Bible. So asking where the Bible says that the KJV is the Bible in which God would preserve His word is an attack on the King James Version? Perhaps you could answer the question posed in the article instead of making false accusations.
      If you can show me from Scripture where I’ve made an error, I’d be happy to offer a retraction and make the change in the article.

      • You said you believe in a inerrant, infallible , word of God but never state what are where it is. God preserves his word. Isaiah 28:11-15 My be worth looking at. Also God is a God of the living. If you claim his word is in a Dead language you don’t know my God.

        • Jason,
          Thanks for taking the time to read the post and leave some comments. Where did I ever claim that His word is in a dead language? Hebrew and Greek are still spoken today. I don’t know of any place that speaks Early Modern English, which is what the KJV is written in. What does God being a God of the living have to do with any proposed dead language? That’s not an accurate application of that biblical phrase.
          Also, please tell me how Isaiah 28:11–15 has any bearing on this matter. Here is the passage:

          11 For with stammering lips and another tongue
          He will speak to this people,
          12 To whom He said, “This is the rest with which
          You may cause the weary to rest,”
          And, “This is the refreshing”;
          Yet they would not hear.
          13 But the word of the LORD was to them,
          “Precept upon precept, precept upon precept,
          Line upon line, line upon line,
          Here a little, there a little,”
          That they might go and fall backward, and be broken
          And snared and caught.
          14 Therefore hear the word of the LORD, you scornful men,
          Who rule this people who are in Jerusalem,
          15 Because you have said, “We have made a covenant with death,
          And with Sheol we are in agreement.
          When the overflowing scourge passes through,
          It will not come to us,
          For we have made lies our refuge,
          And under falsehood we have hidden ourselves.” (Isaiah 28:11–15, NKJV)

          In these verses God warns the leaders of Judah in Jerusalem that He is going to judge them with people who speak a different language. They refused to obey the word God had already given to them precept upon precept and line upon line. God had given them plain instructions and they refused to obey, so He planned to judge them with a foreign people.
          How are those words supposed to support the idea that the King James Version is the version of Scripture through which God would preserve His word?
          Did you really just question my salvation because I asked a question about the King James Version? That’s what you implied by saying that I don’t know your God. Does Romans 10:9 add a condition about believing that only the KJV is inspired to the gospel message? I don’t remember seeing that in there. If you think one must believe in King James Onlyism to be saved, then you have added to the gospel message of Christ’s sacrificial death for our sins and His subsequent burial and Resurrection.

  13. I had never heard Psalm 12 taken out of context like that by any KJV-Onlyists, but if anyone ever does, I’ll know how to handle it.

    And by the way, most KJV-Onlyists have never learned the original languages…and probably don’t want to.

  14. Where does the Bible ever teach that any version or collection of versions would be the version through which God would preserve His Word?

    • Hi Peter,
      I am not aware of anything in the Bible that speaks of God preserving His word in a particular version. Jesus did speak of His word never passing away (Matthew 24:35), and there are several similar passages about the supremacy and unbreakable nature of God’s word. From those and many other passages, I believe we can make a strong case that Scripture teaches that God will preserve His word. Nevertheless, it never explains precisely how this would be done, and it certainly does not tell us which version we should be reading.

  15. Hi Tim. I appreciate this series. This is something that I face all the time and Psalm 12:6-7 is always brought up. Your points on this verse make perfect sense. I can’t wait to see the rest. Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *