Is the KJV the only Bible we should use? In today’s episode, we examine the King James only debate in some detail.
The King James Only Debate
What does the KJV-Only camp believe?
– There are no errors or problems of translation in the KJV.
– There are no internal errors or problems in the text of the KJV.
– Any changes of words of the KJV constitutes changing God’s word (and so no other English translations are “the word of God”)
– God promised to preserve the Scriptures word for word throughout the centuries.
– The KJV translators were divinely guided, and thus the words they used were given to them by the Holy Spirit to be implemented without any alternates.
Examining some specific accounts
1) Is Psalms 12:6-7 is a promise fulfilled in 1611? Or is that referring to the poor in Psalms 12:5?
2) Did Elhanan killed Goliath?. 2 Samuel 21:19 If the other translations are wrong, then so is the Hebrew text the KJV uses.
3) David’s choice 3 or 7 years of famine: 2 Samuel 24:13 and 1 Chron 21:12. In the Masoretic text, the discrepancy exists, but not in the Septuagint (LXX). The King James follows this inconsistency, but some of the newer texts lean on the LXX?
4) Jesus or Joshua? Acts 7:45 and Hebrews 4:8. The names are the same in the original Hebrew and Greek. But KJV erroneously translates the wrong name.
5) Daniel 3:16-18 – The KJV translators remove the verb, “exists”
6) The KJV translators actually translated some of the Masoretic “margin notes” called the Qere directly into the text, yet many condemn other translations for “cutting” stuff out. Some of those “cuts” were never even there in the original text.
Instructions to the translators
There were political reasons for many of the word choices and phrases which were chosen by the King James translators. The King provided 14 very specific instructions. The translation was largely inspired by the King and his political concerns. Here are a few of them…
1) “The ordinary Bible, read in the church, commonly called the Bishop’s Bible, to be followed, and as little altered as the original will permit.” — In reality, the King James Version is more of a revision of the Bishop’s Bible than a new translation.
3) “The old ecclesiastical words to be kept; as the word church, not to be translated congregation.” — The word “church” was of great political importance to the King to maintain peace with the Roman Catholic Church. Many times the word congregation was a much better choice, but it is purposely not translated that way.
4) “When any word hath divers significations, that to be kept which has been most commonly used by the most eminent fathers, being agreeable to the propriety of the place, and the analogy of the faith.” — So what if there’s a better way to translate a word? Stick to the words which have been traditionally used in the Roman Catholic Church.
The translators themselves did not consider their work without error. They say as much in their message to the reader which prefaced the first few printings.
“…it hath pleased God in his divine providence, here and there to scatter words and sentences of that difficulty and doubtfulness, not in doctrinal points that concern salvation, (for in such it hath been vouched that the Scriptures are plain) but in matters of less moment, that fearfulness would better beseem us than confidence…”
“There be many words in the Scriptures, which be never found there but once, (having neither brother or neighbor, as the Hebrews speak) so that we cannot be holpen by conference of places.”
“For as it is a fault of incredulity, to doubt of those things that are evident: so to determine of such things as the Spirit of God hath left (even in the judgment of the judicious) questionable, can be no less than presumption.”
“Therefore as S. Augustine saith, that variety of Translations is profitable for the finding out of the sense of the Scriptures: so diversity of signification and sense in the margin, where the text is no so clear, must needs do good, yea, is necessary, as we are persuaded.”