II Corinthians 4:2
Introduction. One question that is asked of me about our church is “what version of Bible do you use?” A lot of times people will express their dismay when I tell them that we use the King James Version. In a trip out west earlier this year, I was at a Bible Conference in which a conversation came up about “errors” in the King James Bible. More recently, there was an article which was printed in the Berea Baptist Banner entitled, “The Truth About KJV-Onlyism.” As a “King James Only” preacher, I have decided to respond.
The truth is, God’s Word has survived many storms and attacks through the years and I am confident that it will survive this one as well in spite of our feeble efforts to defend it.
FROM THE POSITIVE.
1. If “King James Only” defines one who believes that God inspired the ORIGINAL text and has providentially PRESERVED His Word in and through the King James Bible and previous versions of Scripture including the Geneva Bible, then you may call me “King James Only.” (See Psalm 68:11)
The grass and the flower will someday fade away, but God has promised to preserve His word! He cannot lie and therefore we must believe that this is an unconditional promise. How great it is to realize that there will never be a time when the Word of our God has not been in existence. How awesome it is to know that there will never be such a time in the future either.
Christ again repeated this promise. We know that the world will not always be in existence in the way that we now see it, but someday will be destroyed (II Peter 3). Yet, the Word of God will not ever pass away.
2. Similarly, if “King James Only” defines one who believes God’s preservation of His church and His preservation of His Word go hand-in-hand then call me “King James only.”
I Timothy 3:15
The church is the pillar and ground of the truth. That truth is the word of God, the Bible. If we believe that the church of the living God has existed in all the years from the time Christ established it until now, we must also believe that there has never been a time when His church did not have the truth. God’s preservation of His church and His preservation of His Word go hand-in-hand. We cannot have one without the other. They are directly related.
History tells us that the Lord’s church has in fact been in existence since the time of Christ. They remained totally separated from Rome. These churches remained true to God, and held His word near and dear to their hearts. They were known by different names, but they were the churches of God. And they held the Word of God. Notice these records I have found:
The earliest record we have is from Syrian Churches who had been organized from the church in Antioch had a translation of the New Testament that came from the Received Text in AD 150. This version was called the Peshitta Version. (Peshitta is a word that means common in Syria.)
Another early translation comes before the churches in the Alps were given the name of the Waldenses. In the year AD 157, the Italic Chuch (as it was called) translated the New Testament from the Received Text.
The Gothic Version was translated from the Received Text for the Germanic tribes in central Europe in AD 350.
I refuse to believe that God preserved His Word in the pope’s library and a monestary in Mt. Sinai where it was hidden for hundreds of years! NO, God’s Word was being used by His churches. And HE preserved it so that we have HIS WORD in the King James Version of the Bible!
3. If “King James Only” defines one who believes modern textual criticism is heresy, call me “King James Only.”
There are two types of textual critism: one is based on belief following the usage of the New Testament churches through the previous centuries. There is nothing wrong with that. However the modern critics of the Bible use a different method. Their criticism is based in rationalism in modern scientific textual criticism totally apart from faith..
Hebrews 11:1, 6
The “original” Scriptures do NOT exist! Yet that is not a problem for God’s people. In fact a lot of things we believe in are very similar. We cannot go to Jerusalem to see the first church there to make sure we are exactly like them in faith and practice. We cannot go back to Adam to see if he was our ancestor. We cannot go back to the original signed copies of the New Testament. We simply have faith that these things are true!
Without faith it is impossible to please God. I believe that those folks who attack the credibility of God’s Word are not pleasing God. I believe that if a man cannot be sure (in and through faith) that he is preaching the Word of God then that man needs to sit down and let someone else preach!
What do we have? Is it the Word of God? Or does it contain the Word? Is it full of truth or errors? If we do not have the true Word of God then how can we be sure of anything? Textual criticism in the modern sense is a great invention of the Devil! Brethren, God called me to be a Bible teacher and a Bible preacher, but not a Bible critic!
4. If “King James Only” defines one who does not believe in “correcting” the Bible then call me “King James Only.”
This is one thing that bothers me worse than anything else. People who will “correct” the Bible. They will place Strong’s Concordance, various lexicons, dictionaries, etc above the Word of God! Listen, it is good to own these study helps to assist in the understanding of the Word, but we ought to never use them to correct the Bible. God has placed His Word (the Bible) above His own name!
A modern version of this when speaking of many folks would say something like this, “they searched the concordances and lexicons daily to see if these things were so.” Brethren, let the Scriptures speak for themselves!
5. If “King James Only” defines one who has no problem standing up and proclaiming the King James Bible as the Word of God, then by all means call me “King James Only.”
II Timothy 4:2
If the true Word of God is only to be found in the “original” copies, then the world does not have the Bible. These folks who will preach from one side of their mouth and say they ought to obey this passage and then from the other side of their mouth say the KJV is full of errors ought to truthful with people. They ought to say, “we have part of God’s Word.”
Of course, the question comes – if one part is wrong then what about the other parts?
Some folks claim the words church and baptize were purposely transliterated by the King James translators in order to hide the true meaning of the words, but I find this to be a bit “far fetched.” The word “church” and “baptize” were used in the Geneva, and other earlier English translations. No form of twisting Scripture can get a universal church teaching from the Bible and baptism cannot be made to mean anything other than immersion. The New Testament made a Baptist out of me and it will make a Baptist out of anyone who will read the Scriptures in their proper context!
I have heard more than one critic of the King James Bible say that Easter is a mistake in our Bible and this was purposely placed here to make sure that the Bible contains a teaching for Easter. I disagree with that. There is evidence to suggest that the Aglo-Saxons used the word Passover and Easter interchangeably. Argue that if you want, but the fact remains, there is not a commandment to observe the pagan holiday of Easter nor do we have an example of Christ or his followers celebrating it. There is not an easter egg hunt or a bunny hopping down the bunny trail. In this passage, it is being observed by the pagan King Herod not by any Christian. By the way, Tyndale (1534) and Coverdale both used the word Easter there also. The 1557 version of the Geneva Bible also used the word “Easter” in this passage. It did not originate with KJV.
I agree with the Pulpit Commentary when it says, “We must guard against such narrow, mechanical views of inspiration as would confine it to the Hebrew and Greek words in which it was written, so that one who reads a good translation would not have ‘the words of the Lord.’”
6. If “King James Only” defines one who is not concerned about trying to find a replacement to the KJV then by all means call me “King James Only.” The King James Version is ALL we need!
I believe that the King James Bible may very well be updated someday, but I do not believe this ought to be our focus at this time period. It is a solid translation with beautiful language that is not so hard to read as what Satan would have folks to believe.
7. If “King James Only” defines one who has no use for modern translations then call me “King James Only.”
I will indeed make it a point of fellowship if a church or pastor decided to use a different translation. Whether or not that church is a church still, that is God’s business. I can’t remove a candlestick anymore than anyone else can, but I certainly can draw lines in fellowship and modern translations are something that I make a test of fellowship!
The fact is, by example, the Lord’s churches have proven to be “King James only” by their example. Many translations have come out and yet I know of no church who uses anything but the King James version. It was the version of the Baptist Examiner. It has been the version of the writers of the Berea Baptist Banner. It was the version I heard preached from at every Bible Conference I have ever attended. The newer versions have been rejected by the Lord’s churches!
FROM THE NEGATIVE
- If “King James Only” defines one who believes the preserved Word of God is available only in English, I am not “King James Only.”
- If “King James Only” defines one who believes that God’s Word did not exist in English until 1611, I am not “King James Only.”
- If “King James Only” defines one who believes that a person can only be saved through the King James Bible, I am not “King James Only.”
- If “King James Only” is one who believes the translators were inspired of God, then I am not “King James Only.”
- If “King James Only” is one who believes the King James is somehow superior than the original writings, then I am not “King James Only.” (Note: I will say this however, if you were to set a copy of the original writings – if they existed – along side a KJV Bible ans ask me which I prefer, I would definitely choose the King James. Why? Because the original writings were not written in a language I can understand!)
God’s Word has been preserved. We have it today in the King James Version. That is all I need to preach from, read from, study in, and rejoice in! Why should I settle for anything else?