Not All King James Bible Views Are the Same
Updated: Feb 8
Sometimes the false slander of having superstitious and cult-like worship of the KJV is put against KJVOnly people. Nothing like going to an extreme to knock those whom you disagree with. No one I know worships the KJV (except maybe Steven Anderson). It is also certainly better to have a reason for standing on a particular Bible than blindly accepting anything and everything that comes down the pike EXCEPT the KJV.
The vast majority of KJVO advocates I have met base their reasons for their position on deep and thorough personal study of the issue. And this unlike many modern version advocates who do reject the KJV simply out of fear or peer pressure, or willful blindness. I believe in at least some, maybe many, cases it’s a salvation issue, since it’s the Spirit of God that authored His Word, which is declared to be more important than His own Name (Ps 138:2) and He indwells truly saved people only. He will give enlightenment to the issue, since there is no more important issue in the Christian life. “But ye [all saved people] have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.” (1 Jn 2:20-21).
A crafty way that multiple version (MV) or eclectic text (ET) advocates oppose the support of the KJV is by lumping together all KJV proponents as if they are one and the same. There are actually extreme differences between different KJV positions. To pick out the weakest, or even the strangest, a weird one, that has almost no veracity, and to knock it down, doesn’t mean that you’ve actually proven much, if anything. And some MV and ET defenders do mow down the worst of the KJVO and treat it like they’ve downed Goliath. Doctrine is sometimes exalted by these defenders, but thrown out the window on this critical issue.
Ultimately, one just wants to follow the truth and honour God, right? Isn’t that what we want? We aren’t trying only to win a debate or an argument. We want to take the position that represents God, what He’s said, right? So just because we are able easily to dispose of some far-out, non-historic, non-exegetical viewpoint, doesn’t mean that we’ve reached that goal. We haven’t even defended our own belief in our attempts to do away with other wrong beliefs. So what are the various KJV positions? Here they are in no particular order.
1. Double Inspiration. Some believe that God has improved upon the original Hebrew and Greek by inspiring His Word in English, an “advanced revelation.” Those who believe this say that the KJV is the final edition of God’s inspiration and God chose to accomplish this in English (“purified seven times” Ps 12:6). They say that He moved the KJV translators to write the oracles of God, like He did when He originally gave His Word. These are obviously strong supporters of the KJVm and KJVO, but they are much different than other iterations of KJVO. As I’ve read this type of KJVO and then MV/ET, I have found them to be very similar in their underlying error. They are both detached from bibliology.
By way of example, I have heard this explained by a local pastor from Victory Fatih Church who distorted 1 Pet 1:24-25, insinuating that the withering grass and falling flowers (v 24) were actually the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts that God inspired. They were allegedly destroyed and then replaced by the KJV, which is now the word “of the Lord” which “endureth for ever.” (v 25). This is heretical, even blasphemous perversion of truth by allegoricalism. The same pastor rendered 1 Cor 14:29, “Let the prophets speak two or three,” as the two (or third, Aramaic) original languages Bible, while the “other judge” is the English KJV. Both examples are contradicting the very meaning of the text, context, and Scripture as a whole.
Both double inspiration and correcting the original language Bibles with the English KJV are unbiblical and cannot be supported from Scripture. Peter Ruckman and Gail Riplinger have been huge proponents of this, and Reg Kelly proclaims it. God completed inspiration in the first century (Ju 1:3; Rev 22:18) and then preserved the words He inspired (Is 59:21; Matt 4:4; 5:18; 24:35), Hebrew and Greek ones, so that there was no need for re-inspiration of an English Bible. The original is obviously greater than a translation, though a translation is considered equal in authority when translated from the proper text, using the proper methodology (word-for-word, not dynamic equivalence).
2. English Preservation. Some, often out of the same group as the double-inspiration, teach that God preserved His Word by means of the English translation, the KJV. They don’t believe that Scripture is preserved in the underlying text, because they would say that we don’t have a whole Greek text of the NT from which the KJV was translated. The preservation of Scripture is allegedly found in the English, the KJV. Any reference to the underlying Greek text would be an attempt to correct the KJV they claim. A translation however is not preservation but the product thereof, a reflection of the inspired and preserved Word of God. This position actually rejects God’s promise to preserve His Word.
3. Majority or Byzantine Text. There are those who prefer the KJV because it comes from the majority of the Greek manuscripts of the NT or from the Byzantine manuscripts of the NT. It became a standardized translation, so they prefer it. They don’t accept the modern versions, because those are influenced by the critical or eclectic text. But neither are they dogmatic about the KJV. They just approve of it themselves without condemning people who use other translations.
4. Accurate English Translation of a Providentially Preserved Text. God preserved all His Words, in the language in which they were written, and those Words have been accessible to every generation of believers (Ps 12:6-7; Isa 59:21; Mt 4:4; 5:18; 24:35). The KJV is the best English translation of those Words. This position is buttressed upon biblical and historic teaching on the preservation of scripture, and doesn’t say that every Word was preserved in any particular printed edition of the Textus Receptus previous to 1611, but that the perfectly preserved Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic Words were received by and accessible to true churches (saints) throughout all generations.
This is the doctrine of the perfect preservation of Scripture. This is both the historic and biblical position. It was the position of the KJV translators and its also my position. I don’t believe the other three positions, because I do not believe any of them have a Biblical basis. There are many just like me. Most MV/ET advocates, who do not hold a historical or biblical view, argue against the proponents of either double inspiration or English preservation, and then they act as though they have shown what’s wrong with the KJVO position. They don’t fare so well when they have to take their positions into the consideration of careful exegesis of scripture. The just shall live by faith.