King James Onlyism
Before I start this article on this heavily controversial subject within Christian Fundamentalism I want to say that I am not anti KJV. I know that I am going to be misunderstood by KJV Only Christians whom will misinterpret me as anti KJV. I am not anti KJV and personally have a copy of the KJV on all my computers and own the Zondervan KJV print edition. I have included some screen shots below of my KJV Bible.
The KJV is a well written translation but by no means is it the easiest to read translation, nor is it the most accurate translation.
In my research I have discovered the following in regards to the most common Bible Translations.
New American Standard Version- The NASB is an almost identical word for word translation to the original Greek and Hebrew grammatical structure and is the best word for word English translation we have today. Although this translation is not the easiest to read, nor do the sentences always sound so clear in the English. However if I have a question on the meaning of a particular passage, I will usually consult this translation partnered with my Strongs Exhaustive Concordance, and my Interlinear Bible, which uses the New American Standard Bible Translation. I strongly encourage those that want to seriously study and understand the Bible, to purchase a copy of this Translation.
King James Version- The most beautiful literary translation, also the translation that keeps the most of the many basic Theology terms that some of the modern Dynamic Equalivence translations remove. Some of these terms are Propitiation, Sanctification, and Regeneration. None of these theological terms are contained in the New International Version translation.
New King James Version- This is basically a KJV, but with more modern words and phrases. Also much of the archaic language and words in the KJV (such as Unicorn, Gay Clothes, Corn) have been replaced with modern words that a contemporary audience would understand.
New International Version- The most powerful and conservative of the Dynamic
equalivence translations. This translation is my personnel favorite for devotional and leisure Bible reading. Itís the translation that I was raised on, and one of the easiest to read. Since my reading comprehension level is not always at 12th grade level. I found the NIV tons easier to understand in my native language over the King James, or the New American Standard Version.
Reading level chart of
the Bible versions
King James Version
New American Standard Version
English Standard Version
New King James Version
New International Version
MISTRANSLATED VERSES & ARCHAIC LANGUAGE
Some of the arguments against KJV onylism are mistranslated verses to archaic language. The chart below shows a few verses that have been incorrectly translated in the KJV.
Chart borrowed from
Here are some other verses that have been incorrectly translated in the KJV and have been updated in the NKJV.
Exodus 32:14 (KJV) 14And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.
Exodus 32:14 (NKJV) 14So the Lord relented from the harm which He said He would do to His people.
Amos 7:6 (KJV) 6The LORD repented for this: This also shall not be, saith the Lord GOD.
Amos 7:6 (NKJV) So the Lord relented concerning this.
"This also shall not be," said the Lord GOD.
Jonah 3:10 (KJV) 10And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.
Jonah 3:10 (NKJV) 10Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it.
Jeremiah 18:7-10 (KJV) 7At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it;8If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them.9And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it;10If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them.
Jeremiah 18:7-10 (NKJV) 7The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it,8if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it.9And the instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it,10if it does evil in My sight so that it does not obey My voice, then I will relent concerning the good with which I said I would benefit it.
All other translations in my possession use the word relent instead of Repent. The word relented does not mean that God changed his mind, rather it means that God changed his behavior to remain consistent with his nature. When God first wanted to destroy the people, he was acting with his mercy. God told His people on many occasions that if they changed their ways, He would not condemn them. They did change, and so God did as he promised (Life application Study Bible Notes).
The KJVís use of the word Repent in this and many other passages is an incorrect translation and why the modern versions use the word relent instead.
Exodus 20:13 (KJV) Thou shalt not kill.
Exodus 20:13 (NKJV) "You shall not murder.
The Authorized Version mistranslates the Hebrew word Ratsach. This Hebrew word is defined below.
Ratsach- To murder, slay-killed(1), kills the manslayer, manslayer(18), murderd(2), murderer(12), murderer shall be put(1), murderers(1), murders(1), put to death(1), slew(1).
Looking at Ex 20:13 in the King James Version and one could come up with a number of different conclusions. For example one could imply that God has forbidden that man kill animals, insects, etc. Such a conclusion seems absurd, but there are groups out there that do interpret the Bible literally here. There are many 7th day Adventists that believe that God has ordained all of his sons to be Vegetarians. This verse in Exodus is one such verse of many that they use to conclude that Vegetarianism is the way of the Lord. Vegetarianism is not what God wants for his people. For if it was, why would He tell Peter to kill the animals and eat in Acts 19:9-16? There is a reason why God gave us animals, and he did so that we can eat them. One of the dangers of using only the KJV and not looking at the original languages, is that itís so easy to mistranslate verses and misinterpret the Biblical text. The Bible does not forbid one to kill animals for food, nor does it forbid killing insects. But a misinterpretation of the text, by looking only at the KJV, and not the original texts, one can conclude such a thing. Sadly there are many well intended KJV Only Christians that mean well, but have been blinded into thinking that the KJV is superior to the original language in which their translation was copied. These people worship a translation, and not the God that wrote the Bible. Those serious about studying God word will own more than just a KJV. They will own multiple translations and refer to them all. The easiest and perhaps the most cost effective way to own multiple translations is to purchase computer Bible software. E-Sword for Windows is free of charge, and possibly the easiest to use and most powerful software for Windows, outside of Logos. Unfortunately logos has a very large price tag. For the Mac I would recommend both Accordance or QuickVerse. Unfortunately E-Sword does not exist for the Mac, so I cant recommend any free of charge software titles for Mac users.
Below are some examples of the many passages in the KJV Translation that are "archaic" and "outdated" for the current language.
1. Abject: Psalm 35:15.
2. Adamant: Ezek. 3:9; Zech. 7:12.
3. Agone: 1 Sam. 30:13.
4. Alamoth: 1 Chron. 15:20.
5. Almug: 1 Kings 10:11-12.
6. Aloes: Prov. 7:17; John 19:39.
7. Ambassage: Luke 14:32.
8.Ambushment: 1 Chron. 13:13
9. Amerce: Deut. 22:19.
10. Angle: Isa. 19:8; Hab. 1:15.
11. Myrrh: Gen. 37:25; Matt. 2:11.
12. Naught: Prov. 20:14; 2 Kings 2:19.
13. Wimple: Isa. 3:22
14. Wist: Josh. 8:14; Mark 9:6
15. Wit: Gen. 24:21; Ex. 2:4; 2 Kings 10:29
16 Wizard: Lev. 19:31; 20:27; 1 Sam. 28:3
18. Wreathen: Exo. 28:14; 39:15; 2 Kings 25:27
19. Tache: Exo. 26,11; 36:13,18
20. Coney: Lev. 11:5.
The chart above is not including the many passages of scripture that contain mythological animals such as Unicorn.
The word Unicorn as used in the KJV.
Numbers 23:22 (KJV) 22God
brought them out of
Numbers 24:8 (KJV) 8God brought
him forth out of
Job 39:9 (KJV) 9Will the unicorn be willing to serve thee, or abide by thy crib?
The NKJV seems to have replaced the archaic word "unicorn" with "Wild OX."
Below is another example of the archaic language in the KJV Translation. I think that this verse is very important, as its usage is very restricted in todayís society and usually only has a negative connotation when you hear this word these days.
James 2:3 (KJV) 3And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool:
James 2:3 (NKJV) 3and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, "You sit here in a good place," and say to the poor man, "You stand there," or, "Sit here at my footstool,"
Personally I have no idea what gay clothing is. This is an example of archaic language that has been corrected in the New King James Version. The Greek word used in James 2:3 is lampros.
Look at the Greek word and its definition, it makes sense why the NKJV translators decided not to continue the KJV tradition and translate lampros into Gay Clothing in the New King James, bur rather translated the word into Fine Clothes which is a much better wording of the text and accurate representation of the Textus Receptus intended meaning.
Although I could write on and on about this issues I will conclude with some questions that KJV Only advocates usually cannot answer.
QUESTIONS FOR KJV ONLY
1. Which KJV is inspired, since it was revised ten times, the last being in 1850?
2. How did people get saved before 1611?
3. Do you realize that the apostle Paul did not use the KJV?
4. Why do KJV only people reject the apocrypha, the original 1611 version contained the apocrypha?
5. If God always gives the world his word in one language (as KJV believers say of English), then the KJV is certainly not that language, for God chose Koine GREEK not ENGLISH to reveal his New Covenant!
6. If God gave us the KJV as the ONLY inspired translation, why could God not repeat the process again in modern English language or in other languages of the world?
7. If God supervised the translation process so that the KJV would be 100% error free, why did God not extend this supervision to the printers who made and have made many errors in printing the text?
8. Why did the KJV translators use marginal note showing other possible translations? If the KJV translation was the inspired translation of God, there could be no alternates! Since there are hundreds of these possible translations in the margin of the KJV, does this mean God could not make up his mind which one was better to put into the translation?
9. If the KJV translators were inspired of God in their work, why did they not know it, since the lives of some of them and some of their sources for translation, were not at all Godly or would be considered a Minister or a member of their Church or denomination?
10. Why were all the marginal notes and alternate readings removed from modern editions of the KJV? Why was the Apocrypha censored out if God preserved it also through their hands? Why has the opening Dedication to James I been censored out? And, why has the lengthy introduction from "The Translators to the Reader" been censored out?
11. When there is a difference between the KJV English and the TR Greek, why do you believe that the Greek was wrong and the KJV English is correct?
12. If the KJV-only supporters believe fully in the word-for-word inspiration of the KJV, why would italics be necessary in showing that the translators were guessing at a word or words and palced them in italics so the reader could accept them or determine if a better word fit the case at hand?
13. In defending the KJV's use of archaic language, do you really think it is a good thing that a person must use an old English dictionary just to understand the Bible in casual reading to understand such words as "let, suffer, or hinder"; which in today's English often does not mean at all what they meant in 1611? These are only three of many other words?
14. Is it not ridiculous to suggest that when the Textus Receptus (TR) disagrees with the KJV that Greek TR has errors, but the KJV doesn't? Is this not the ultimate example of "worshiping a translation"?
15. Did you know that the Textus Receptus, from which the KJV was translated, was based on half a dozen small manuscripts, none earlier than the 10th century and not on ORIGINAL GREEK manuscripts at all, unless you want to say these copies of copies of copies of copies of copies were pure when the evidence now shows us that they were not?
16. If the Textus Receptus is the error free text, then why are the last 6 verses of Revelation absence from the TR, yet present in the KJV? Did you know that for these verses, the Catholic Latin Vulgate of Jerome was translated into English - a translation of a translation?
17. Why do KJV only advocates believe that the English of the KJV is clearer and more precise than the original Greek language manuscripts? Why should Bible students throw out their Greek dictionaries and buy an "archaic English" dictionary? Are there not word pictures in the original Greek words that the English cannot easily convey? (Jas 2:19 "tremble"; Greek: PHRISSO, indicates to be rough, to bristle: is a powerful word picture of how the demons are in such terror that they bristle (shiver) and shake.
18.Why did the translators make mistakes in the chapter summaries in the 1611 version? Wouldn't God have inspired this as well? Why would God inspire the English providentially accurate, but then allow misleading chapter headings?
19.Why would the translators use book headings like "The Gospel According to Saint Luke" since the Greek merely says "The Gospel According to Luke"? The Catholic cannonizes Luke as a Saint and that becomes inspired by God to be in the KJV?
20. Do KJV only advocates realize that, to point out that all modern translations have the same kinds of mistakes we are accusing of the KJV, is irrelevant, because we maintain that all translations have errors and no translation is the 100% pure unadulterated Word of God.
21. Why would the Holy Spirit mis-guide the translators to employ the use of mythical creatures like "unicorn" for wild ox, "satyr" for "wild goat", "cockatrice" for common viper, when in 1611 and today we know what the real names of these creatures are?
22. If the KJV is error free in the English, then why did they fail to correctly distinguish between "Devil and Demons" (Mat 4:1-DIABOLOS and Jn 13:2-DAIMONIZOMAI); and "hades and hell" (see Lk 16:23-HADES and Mt 5:22-GEENNA; Note: Hades is a place of torment in the grave and a distinct hell which is the lake of fire into which sinners are thrown after the judgement: Rev 20:14).
23. Why would KJV translators render Gen 15:6 which is quoted in identical Greek form by Paul in Rom 4:3, 9, 22; Gal 3:6, in FOUR DIFFERENT WAYS? Why are they creating distinctions were none exist?
24. Why did the KJV translators have no consistent rule for differentiating between the use of definite and indefinite articles? (Dan 3:25 we have one "like 'the' Son of God" instead of "like 'a' son of God", even though in verse 28 Nebuchadnezzar states God sent "His angel" to deliver the men. This change was made to insert the trinity doctrine. Was this interpolation inspired by God?
25. How can anyone accept that the Textus Receptus is perfect and error free when Acts 9:6 is found only in the Latin Vulgate but in absolutely no other Greek manuscript known to man? So, to claim the KJV was translated only from the TR Greek is in itself a lie. Further, how come in Rev 22:19 the phrase "book of life" is used in the KJV when absolutely ALL known Greek manuscripts read "tree of life"? Was this change inspired by God?
26. How can we trust the TR to be 100% error free when the second half of 1 Jn 5:8 are found only in the Latin Vulgate and a Greek manuscript written in Oxford about 1520 by a Catholic Franciscan friar named Froy (or Roy), who took the disputed words from the Latin Vulgate and inserted the trinity again into the KJV. Once again, a text that did not come from the Greek TR at all. Was this interpolation inspired by God?
27. How can anyone explain the grammatical error in the original 1611 KJV in Isa 6:2 where the translators made a rare grammatical error by using the incorrect plural form of "seraphims" rather than "seraphim"? Was this error inspired by God?
28. Must we possess a
perfectly flawless bible translation in order to call it "the word of
God"? If so, how do we know "it" is perfect? If not, why do some
"limit" "the word of God" to only ONE "17th Century
English" translation? Where was "the word of God" prior to 1611?
Did our Pilgrim Fathers have "the word of God" when they brought the
GENEVA BIBLE translation with them to
29. Were the KJV translators inspired by God when they admitted themselves that other preceding translations were still to be considered "the word of God", they were just working on an English translation of those other versions and translations?
30. Do you believe that the Hebrew and Greek used for the KJV are "the word of God"?
31. Are you aware that the Hebrew and Greek texts themselves are not pure and errors have been found in both the Hebrew texts and the Septuagint Greek version? How then can underlying the KJV with the errors in these texts be considered inspired by God?
32. Do you believe that God inspired the English version of the KJV to correct the Hebrew and Greek texts from which it was translated?
33. Is ANY translation totally and fully "inspired" to be the one and only Word of God?
34. Is the KJV the only Bible we can call "scripture"? Is IT the only translation "given by inspiration of God"? [2 Tim. 3:16], or was it not in existence when Paul write this to Timothy and he was speaking of another version or translation? Should we not then get that translation Paul was speaking about and use it even if we cannot read it?
35. WHEN was the KJV "given by inspiration of God" &endash; 1611, or any of the KJV major revisions in 1613, 1629, 1638, 1644, 1664, 1701, 1744, 1762, 1769, and the last one in 1850 (ten in all)?
36. In what language did Jesus Christ in Matthew 5:18 [not Peter Ruckman and others], teach that not one jot or tittle would pass from the Law until all was fulfilled? If it is not the KJV, then what version is it that is the inspired Word of God, if only one version is the inspired Bible?
37. Where does the Bible teach that God will someday perfectly preserve His Word a non-Hebrew language in the form of one seventeenth-century English translation?
38. Did God lose the words of the originals when the "autographs" were destroyed? How come God did not preserve them if he was intent on the actual inspired word as given to be preserved?
39. Did the KJV translators mislead their readers by saying that their New Testament was "translated out of the original Greek"? [title page of KJV N.T.]. Were they "liars" for claiming to have "the original Greek" to translate from when they did not? Did God inspire them to lie?
40. Was "the original Greek" lost after 1611? Will someone please tell me where I can find the Textus Receptus version of the Bible, the one the KJV translators supposedly used? Will someone please tell me where I can purchase all of the ten versions of the KJV so I can determine myself how many places God was wrong in the first translation and needed to correct himself?
41. Did the great Protestant Reformation (1517-1603) take place without "the word of God" since the KJV was not in existence? Did Martin Luther need the KJV to get a revelation of grace salvation and that the Papacy was in error on at least 95 doctrinal points?
42. What copy or translations of "the Word of God," used by the Reformers, was absolutely the infallible and inerrant Word? [their main Bibles are well-known and copies still exist but they are not the KJV].
43. If the KJV is "God's only infallible and preserved word to the English-speaking people," did the "English-speaking people" have "the word of God" at all in the other English versions before 1611?
44. Were the English
versions of Tyndale's , or Coverdale's
, or Matthew's , or the Great , or the
45. If neither the KJV nor any other one version were absolutely 100% without error, could a lost sinner still find salvation and be "born again" by the "incorruptible word of God" [Acts 2:38, 1 Peter 1:23]? The answer is YES!
46. The translators of the KJV disagreed with the Greek in several places and so changed the wording, allegedly correcting the Greek inspired originals. Did the Hebrew and Greek copies originally "breathed out by God" have errors that the KJV translators would need to correct or improve?
47. Which reading is the verbally (word-for-word) inspired word of God to be the inerrant scripture &endash; "whom ye" [Cambridge KJV's] or, "whom he" [Oxford KJV's] at Jeremiah 34:16?
48. Which reading is the verbally (word-for-word) inspired word of God to be the inerrant scripture&endash; "sin" [Cambridge KJV's] or "sins" [Oxford KJV's] at 2 Chronicles 33:19?
49. Since the ten revisions of the KJV from 1613-1850 made (in addition to changes in punctuation, capitalization, and spelling) many hundreds of changes in words, word order, possessives, singulars for plurals, articles, pronouns, conjunctions, prepositions, entire phrases, and the addition and deletion of words &endash; would you say the KJV was "verbally inspired of God and inerrant in all ten versions" in 1611, 1629, 1638, 1644, 1664, 1701, 1744, 1762, 1769, or 1850?
50. Would you contend that God waited until a king named "James" sat on the throne of England before perfectly preserving His Word in English, and would you think well of an "Epistle Dedicatory" that praises this king as "most dread Sovereign . . .Your Majesty's Royal Person . . ." &endash; If the historical FACT was revealed to you that King James was a practicing homosexual all of his life? [documentation &endash; Antonia Fraser -- "King James VI of Scotland, I of England" Knopf Publ./1975/pgs. 36-37, 123 || Caroline Bingham -- "The Making of a King" Doubleday Publ./1969/pgs. 128-129, 197-198 || Otto J. Scott -- "James I" Mason-Charter Publ./1976/pgs. 108, 111, 120, 194, 200, 224, 311, 353, 382 || David H. Wilson -- "King James VI & I" Oxford Publ./1956/pgs. 36, 99-101, 336-337, 383-386, 395 || plus several encyclopedias]. Did God inspire a homosexual to give us the only inspired Word of God for the English people? Can homosexuals take credit for the KJV?
51. Would you contend that
the KJV translator, Richard Thomson, who worked on Genesis-Kings in the
52. Is it possible that the rendition "gay clothing," in the KJV at James 2: 3, could give the wrong impression to the modern-English KJV reader?
53. Did dead people "wake up" in the morning according to Isaiah 37:36 in the KJV?
54. Was "Baptist" John's last name according to Matthew 14: 8 and Luke 7:20 in the KJV?
55. Is 2 Corinthians 6:11-13 in the KJV understood or make any sense to the modern-English KJV reader? &endash; "O ye Corinthians, our mouth is open unto you, our heart is enlarged. Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowels. Now for a recompense in the same, (I speak as unto my children,) be ye also enlarged." If this can be translated to make sense to us in modern language terms would that be a sin?
56. Does the singular "oath's," occurring in every KJV at Matthew 14: 9 and Mark 6:26, "correct" every Textus Receptus Greek which has the plural ("oaths") by the post-1611 publishers, misplacing the apostrophe?
57. Did Jesus teach a way for men to be "worshiped" according to Luke 14:10 in the KJV, contradicting the first commandment and what He said in Luke 4: 8? [Remember &endash; you may not go the Greek for any "light" if you are a KJV only advocate].
58. Is the Holy Ghost an "it" according to John 1:32; Romans 8:16, 26; and 1 Peter 1:11 in the KJV? [Again &endash; you may not go the Greek for any "light" if you are a KJV only advocate].
59. Does Luke 23:56 support a "Friday" crucifixion in the KJV? [No "day" here in Greek].
60. Did Jesus command for a girl to be given "meat" to eat according to Luke 8:55 in the KJV? [or, "of them that sit at meat with thee." at Luke 14:10], or did he mean "food"?
61. Was Charles Haddon Spurgeon a "Bible-corrupter" for saying that Romans 8:24 should be rendered "saved in hope," instead of the KJV's "saved by hope"? [Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Vol 27, 1881, page 485 &endash; see more Spurgeon KJV comments in What is "KJV-Onlyism?", his & many others' views in the article, "Quotes on Bible Translations"].
62. Was R. A. Torrey "lying" when he said the following in 1907 &endash; "No one, so far as I know, holds that the English translation of the Bible is absolutely infallible and inerrant. The doctrine held by many is that the Scriptures as originally given were absolutely infallible and inerrant, and that our English translation is a substantially accurate rendering of the Scriptures as originally given" [Difficulties in the Bible, page 17].
63. Did God supernaturally "move His Word from the original languages to English" in 1611 as affirmed by The Flaming Torch?
64. Is it a sin to use different translations to try and understand all that could be translated from the manuscripts?
65. If God was so intent on preserving an error free text, why is it that there is no Hebrew text preserved that is error free?
66. If God was so intent on preserving a Greek text error free, why is it that there is no Greek text preserved that is error free?
67. If God wanted an error free English text, why is it that there was no error free Greek or Hebrew text from which to translate an error free version?
Please take careful notice: nothing in these questions is saying no one should use the KJV, or that the KJV is of the devil; what is being said is that the KJV is not the only version that Bible Believers should consult when doing Bible study on a word, a passage, or a subject. Gather as much information as you can and then let the Holy Ghost lead you into how a verse or a word should speak to your heart and to your soul.
I use the KJV nearly exclusively but I also consult other versions, other lexicons, other dictionaries, other versions of the Greek and Hebrew texts, and commentaries of scholars, in my studies. Anything that conflicts with the Apostolic teachings of Jesus in faith, practice, or doctrine, is rejected.
God is not the author of confusion. He wants us to know his Word, and so, when there is confusion or doubt, we always have the Holy Ghost to lead and guide us into all righteousness. When the Catholics (Greek and Roman) had the Bible locked up with chains and there were few copies available for the common people, these faithful, without actual Bibles for centuries, trusted in Jesus Messiah for salvation and fulfilled Acts 2:38 by grace through faith as was delivered to them by word of mouth. Man may make a mistake but the Holy Ghost will make no mistakes. If they once again take our Bibles, that written within our hearts will become the testimony of the Lord. And the Lord will use these to continue to reach a lost and dying world. When Bibles were allowed and translated in their languages, these were a confirmation that Acts 2:38 as preached without Bibles for centuries was still accurate.