It interesting that those “of old” who did not support an inspired and infallible King James translation – unlike their modern counterparts – nevertheless knew that there were those who so believed. Sometimes the testimony of “King James Only” support is found in the writings of their “enemies.” Here are three.
Anglican cleric, poet, and textual critic Henry Alford (1810-1871)Commenting on Hebrews 10:23 – “Let us hold fast…” – Henry Alford writes:
We have here an extraordinary example of the persistence of a blunder through centuries. The word “faith,” given here by the A. V., instead of hope — breaking up the beautiful triad of vv. 22, 23, 24, — faith, hope, love, — was a mere mistake, hope being the original, without any variety of reading, and hope being accordingly the rendering of all the English versions previously to 1611. And yet this is the version which some would have us regard as infallible, and receive as the written word of God!
(The New Testament for English Readers, Vol. II, Part II. London: Rivingtson, 1872 (New Edition), p. 706)
Basil Manly, Jr., a Baptist preacher and educator (1825–1892)
Basil Manly believed there had been “a providential guardianship over the Word, by which it has been preserved remarkably incorrupt, and singularly attested as being substantially the same that proceeded from the original writers” (p. 82). Nevertheless he believed that the received text needed correction in “about a dozen important passages” and makes it clear he did not believe in the infallibility of any particular translation. In his explanation, though, he indicates there were presently such believers.
We do not deny that there have been some wild and unfounded assertions on the subject, just as there is even now, with some ignorant persons, an assumption of the infallibility and equality with the original of some particular translation, as the Vulgate, or King James’s, or Luther’s.
(The Bible Doctrine of Inspiration Explained and Vindicated, New York, NY: A. C. Armstrong and Son, 1891, pp. 83-84)
William Bell Riley (1861–1947), Baptist pastor and fundamentalist leader
W. B. Riley, personally held a view that “The Bible is divine in origin, and human in expression (p. 13).” He also recognized some that considered the translation itself inspired.
There are at least three features of the old conception, each of which has now passed away. They are, first, that the Bible was finished in heaven and handed down; second, that the King James Version was absolutely inerrant; third, that its literal acceptance and interpretation was, alone, correct...Is the King James version absolutely inerrant?On this point we are inclined to think that, even unto comparatively recent years, such a theory has been entertained.
(The Menace of Modernism, (New York, NY: Christian Alliance Publishing Company, 1917, p. 6ff.)
RSV Reviewers, 1946, Louis F. Martin of St. Andrews Church, and Ray Summers of Southwestern Seminary
“The Star Telegram has asked two Fort Worth Protestant clergymen to prepare articles discussing the need for the [Revised Standard Version]…” It appears that the statement below is from Louis F. Martin, Rector of St. Andrews Episcopal Church.
“There at some who think the King James Version is or contains the word of God and that anything recent or modern cannot be good.”
“Revised New Testament Hailed by Reviewers Here as Superb Work,” Louis F. Martin and Ray Summers, Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Fort Worth, Texas), Sunday, May 5, 1946, page 10, section 1