Daily Archives: July 1, 2007

In chapter one, White takes the time to describe the variations of "KJV-only-ism"

When we say, "KJV-only-ism" we run the risk of lumping all sorts of people into a single definition and (as with many other belief systems) there are many "levels" of KJV-only-ism. So we need to start by being aware that any person we are talking about this extra-Biblical doctrine may fall at any place in the spectrum. To place that person, without knowing where he or she actually falls) is not helpful to the conversation.

Group #1: I like the King James best.

This group is simply saying that they believe that the KJV is the best translation we have going right now. They don't deny that a better one might come along, they merely believe that translation hasn't been made yet. This group is only marginally part of KJV-only-ism and would most likely not insist that everybody else agree with them. They will most probably not be militant about their position and we should have no quarrel with their right to examine different translations and choose the KJV as their translation of choice.

Group #2: The Textual Argument.

This is a large group that believe that the underlying Greek and Hebrew texts used by the KJV translators is superior to all of the other original language texts. These people do not necessarily believe that the KJV (as translated) is inspired, but that it more accurately reflects the intent of the original language.

There are two terms that will be used - "Majority Text" and "Textus Receptus" (TR). "Majority Text" advocates believe that the most accurate rendering in the translation is the one that was most accepted by the majority of the existing original language texts. That is to say that a large number of texts were examined and the translation depended on the majority of the texts examined. "TR" advocates rely on the text that was used by the translators of the KJV that would become known as the "Textus Receptus" (Recieved Text). The TR differs in places from the Majority Text - supporters of the TR will support their favored text over the Majority Text for reasons of doctrine and practice more so than reasons from the manuscripts themselves.

Group #3: "Received Text" Only.

This group of people insist that it is the TR (and the TR only) that has been either supernaturally preserved - or even inspired), and therefore is (in its current form) in an inerrant condition.

This group will say that it is not necessarily the KJV that is inspired, but rather the underlying text. They point out the differences between the Received Text and the manuscripts that are being used today for more modern translations. The reasoning for this belief varies - some believe that the providential hand of God was upon the translators, such as Erasmus, Beza and Stephanus, others believe that God has blessed the KJV beyond that of other translations, therefore the KJV must be the correct version.

(Ellen's note: In a "KJV-only" ebook that I'm following along in, there is a segment on "the bad guys" - the Minority Text. The author uses a slight on hand maneuver to introduce a new description of the TR - one leap of logic brings us to the use of the TR as the "universal text", which is most certainly NOT universal.)

Group #4: The Inspired KJV Group:

It seems that most people who present themselves as KJV-only adherents fall into this group. The KJV IS inspired of God, as are the texts (and only these texts) used to translate the KJV.

The King James Bible Alone = The Word of God Alone

This is the starting point of the thinking of most KJV-only believers. Any attempt to persuade them to consider other translations is considered an attack on the Word of God. By defending or using another translation, a person is seen to be rejecting the "true" or "real" Bible.

The next step is the characterization of other versions. Any difference is called a "omission", "change" or "deletion". There is no questioning of why the KJV is unquestionably used as the standard to judge all other translations. The KJV was not the first English translation and it was not the last. So WHY is it used as the only standard to judge whether or not a Bible is "real"?

This goes back to the equation: The King James Bible Alone = The Word of God Alone.

If the KJV, and only the KJV is the Word of God, then any other translation is corrupt, evil, whatever adjective the KJV-only adherent wishes to use.

Group #5: The KJV as New Revelation:

This is the most radical group under the "Kjv-only-ism" umbrella.

In this view, the KJV, the English text, and the translators were inspired by the Holy Spirit to the just as the original text and the apostles and prophets that penned the Scriptures were inspired by the Holy Spirit.

God "re-inspired" the Bible in 1611, giving the world a new revelation called the "authorized version" in the English language. Many in this group will go so far as to clearly state that where the original Greek and the KJV disagree, the KJV can go back to correct the ancient manuscripts.

As a result, people who use other Bible translations are often called "Bible-haters" and all sorts of demonic, or cultic activity can be suspected.

Freedom in Christ:

Surely the use of a particular Bible translation should be a matter of personal taste. (myself, I asked the man who taught our Greek class what translation he preferred). I love the poetic flow of the Old Testament in the KJV and I own several. The use of a particular translation should not be a point of division - and the division comes from one side.