Opinions on faith and life

King James Only: a study in double-speak

2006-06-01

Orwell would be proud.

For those who don’t know what this is about, let me try to briefly summarize. The original Bible documents were written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. No original autographs remain. Is this a problem? Not at all, for no such ancient documents have their originals preserved. As ancient documents go, the Bible has no contenders (see other articles here for details). But the fact is, the ancient copies we have are in those languages, not English or German or Latin. God ’breathed out’ (inspired) only the original autographs, so only they are infallible. But we have so many thousands of ancient copies to be 100% confident that the Bible we have today, in whatever language, is God’s infallible Word.

So what is King James Version Only (KJVO) all about? It’s the claim that only the 1611 AV (Authorized Version) is the correct and infallible Bible, even to the extent that other language translations are inferior. Many in the KJVO camp go to the extreme of claiming the ancient manuscripts must be corrected by the KJV!

Not only that, but all other versions are called evil or corrupt, even the NKJV (New KJV), which only modernized some spelling and vocabulary. And smear campaigns have been launched against anyone who took part in such evil, twisted activities as to think the Bible should be in a form the average person could read in their own language or dialect. The most wicked venom is spat by the KJVO crowd against Christians who don’t share their hatred.

One of the most embarrassing problems for the KJVO position is the fact that most of the people who hold to it do not use the actual 1611 version, but a revision! Ah, but they have a ’rebuttal’ for that. Below is a sample of the depths to which KJVO-ism will stoop, and the kind of reasoning used to defend it: (from this link)

A revision it was not, but simply a careful correction of earlier printing errors. Just as the first two so-called revisions were actually two stages of one process--the purification of early printing errors--so the last two so-called revisions were two stages in another process--the standardization of the spelling, But beware, you have just been taken by a very clever ploy. The differences you saw are not what they seem to be. There are some differences between the two, but they are not the changes of a revision. They are instead the correction of early printing errors. The great majority of the 400 corrections were made within a few years of the original printing. Take, for example, our earlier sampling. Of the twenty corrections listed, one was made in 1613, one in 1616, one in 1617, eight in 1629, five in 1638, one in 1743, two in 1762, and one in 1769. That means that 16 out of 20 corrections, or 80%, were made within twenty-seven years of the 1611 printing. Maybe now you see that the King James Version of 1611 has not been revised but only corrected. The King James Version we have today has not been revised but purified.
Like I said, Orwell would be proud. And I recall reading somewhere that the original hand-written KJV is lost, so that there is no way to prove that we have the inspired text at all, or whether there were printing errors.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Any internet search will regurgitate reams of this tripe. I encourage you to read some of it, just to see how bad it is. But then, when you’ve recovered and taken some antacids, I also encourage you to visit this link for a long list of articles showing the KJVO position for what it really is, and the people who promote it for what they really are. I also recommend this link.