Sunday, June 15, 2008

Thoughts on King James

...the Bible, not the man

And now, a few random comments on KJV subjects (the Bible, not the man):

In his book The King James Only Controversy: Can You Trust the Modern Translations? (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 1995), James White provides five "KJV Only" categories: (1) those who like the KJV best, (2) those who support the KJV textually [e.g. those who "are joined by their common belief that the underlying Hebrew and Greek texts used by the King James translators are, for various reasons, superior to all other original languages."], (3) those who are Received Text only, (4) those who believe the KJV is inspired and inerrant, (5) those who believe the KJV is advanced or new revelation [e.g. Peter Ruckman]. I provide this for what it's worth in helping the reader understand there is a wide variety of supposed "KJV Only" people.

Among the fifth category of so-called "King James Only" people are some who believe most or all of the following: that the KJV was given by inspiration; that the KJV is superior to the Hebrew and Greek texts upon which it was based; that the KJV is advanced revelation over the Hebrew and Greek text (and therefore used to correct Greek or Hebrew manuscripts); that Bible translation into other languages should be based on the KJV rather than Greek and Hebrew manuscripts; and finally, that a person can only be saved through hearing the gospel from the King James Bible.*

As a point of reference, I use the King James Bible in private study and public ministry -- not because of convenience, but because I believe its accuracy of translation and underlying Greek texts are superior. I recommend only it to others for personal study, public use and private devotions. That being said, the Peter Ruckman/new revelation issue IS NOT a King James Bible vs. Modern Versions issue. There are people on both sides of the KJV/MV fence who believe that Mr. Ruckman's teachings are heretical and disruptive. No one should charge that a position against Ruckman's teaching is inspired by hatred of the King James Bible. That simply is not true!

The Old Testament and New Testament authors were inspired. The KJV translators were not inspired. I believe they DID accurately translate the Hebrew/Aramaic/Greek scriptures into the English language. I neither use nor recommend modern versions of the Bible; but, for example, any part of the NASB that is accurately translated is as much the word of God as the KJV. If a "thou" becomes a "you" it is still the truth. {though the "thee's", "thou's", "ye's" and "you's" of the KJV have advantage of denoting number and usage}.

Some American detractors say that the 1611 King James Bible is almost unreadable. This is probably more of a reflection on the typical modern American than it is on the King James Bible. I am of average intelligence (I hope). I own a 1611 KJV, and I read it all the way through one year for my Daily Bible readings. Admittedly, the type, spellings, etc. all give own cause to take care, but I see no reason why one who can read any other version of the Bible could not read a 1611 KJV. A few have said the 1611 KJV "isn't even close" to the KJV Bibles we have today. I am no authority on this. But I am quite familiar with the present KJV, and noticed no major difference of real consequence in my reading. A reasonable person who has both a 1611 and a modern print KJV will notice there are changes in spelling and punctuations, and probably corrections of typographical errors, etc. as well. But to say it "isn't even close" is an exaggeration or misrepresentation of the facts.

* I am indebted to David Cloud of Way of Life Literature for clear explanation of some of these teachings.

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