In the book Fighting Back! A Handy Reference Guide for King James Bible Believers, James L. Melton shares a list of ten questions:”(The text for these questions can be found here.)”: which Terry Watkins of Dial-the-Truth Ministries says cannot be answered honestly by what he calls “attacker[s] of the King James Bible.”
I am by no means an attacker of the KJV. I find it beautiful, poetic, and a monument to the God whose words it contains. I am, however, antagonistic toward KJV-Onlyism because it was devised by men and cannot be maintained alongside a sola Scriptura conviction.
I’m assuming, though, that by “attacker of the King James Bible,” Mr. Watkins referred to those who are not onlyists. I do fit that mold, so I am going to answer Mr. Melton’s questions. I am obligated only to speak the truth with love, and it is with that mind that I share my answers here.
1. Since you’re smart enough to find “mistakes” in the KJV, why don’t you correct them all and give us a perfect Bible?
Language is an ever-changing thing. Even if a perfect Bible were to be produced (which I doubt is possible for anyone this side of Heaven), it would be “out of date” relatively quickly.
Also, human beings are not perfect creatures. Every translation has its own share of mistakes, despite correcting some of the mistakes made by other translators who have gone on before.
I counter this question with one of my own: If you are smart enough to find mistakes in modern versions, why can you not see similar mistakes within the pages of the King James Bible?
2. Do you have a perfect Bible?
No, and coincidentally, neither do you. There is a reason the Lord said His word was forever settled in Heaven, without mention of Earth.
3. Since you do believe “the Bible” is our final authority in all matters of faith and practice, could you please show us where Jesus, Peter, James, Paul, or John ever practiced your terminology (“the Greek text says…the Hebrew text says…the originals say…a better rendering would be…older manuscripts read…” etc.)?
First off, they wouldn’t have to do these things. They quoted from the Greek Septuagint, and they spoke Greek (which the New Testament was written in).
A better question is, if we can only go by perfect translations and assuming the Septuagint is not a perfect translation, why did Jesus and the apostles quote from it?
That being said, they sometimes did say, “a better rendering would be” simply by the action of quoting the Old Testament, but changing the wording slightly.
To counter this question: Since you believe Scripture to be your final authority in all matters of faith and practice, can you please show me where Jesus, Peter, James, Paul, or John ever practiced your terminology (“the King James Bible is perfect,” “the King James translators were the best scholars ever,” “modern Bible per-versions,” etc.).
4. Since you do not profess to have a perfect Bible, why do you refer to it as “God’s word”?
I reply with the response given to the adversaries of the King James Bible translators: “…That we do not deny, nay, we affirm and avow, that the very meanest [worst] translation of the Bible in English set forth by men of our profession (for we have seen one of theirs of the whole Bible as yet) containeth the word of God, nay, is the word of God: as the King’s speech which he uttered in Parliament, being translated into French, Dutch, Italian, and Latin, is still the King’s speech, though it be not interpreted by every translator with the like grace, nor peradventure so fitly for praise, nor so expressly for sense, every where.”:”(This quote can be found in the preface to the King James Bible called “The Translators to the Reader” in the section titled “An Answer to the Imputations of Our Adversaries.” This preface is not included in most King James Versions published today, making the words of its translators largely unknown. It is notable, however, that the translators who are so praised by King James Onlyists would scoff at such a tradition as KJV Onlyism.)”:
I can call my NASB or my NKJV “God’s word” because they are, just as my KJV is. Without the blinders of tradition, one would search in vain these books to find a difference in message, theme, or purpose. If Satan wanted to counterfeit the word of God, he wouldn’t keep any reference to Jesus being Lord, for only through the Holy Spirit can that profession be made. Satan wouldn’t keep the message of salvation by grace through faith, for he wants us to think we are as gods already. If there is a conspiracy behind the NASB and the NKJV, it is a very poorly executed one because it accomplishes nothing.
5. Remembering that the Holy Spirit is the greatest Teacher (John 16:12-15; I John 2:27), who taught you that the King James Bible was not infallible, the Holy Spirit or man?
The Holy Spirit teaches us through God’s word, which not even He would add to. Because the King James Bible does not command or teach that the King James Bible is the only reliable English translation, then I must consign such a teaching to the realm of men and cling to the book and to the Spirit speaking through it.
I ask you this: Remembering that the Holy Spirit is the greatest Teacher and that the Scriptures are sufficient for all doctrine, what verse of Scripture teaches anything about the King James Bible? Please quote the relevant Greek or Hebrew text so you won’t be accused of circular reasoning. Thanks.
6. Since you do believe in the degeneration of man and in the degeneration of the world system in general, why is it that you believe education has somehow “evolved” and that men are more qualified to translate God’s word today than in 1611?
Sinners still continue to be sinners. Why do you think that the world was perfect enough in the 1600s to translate God’s word but not in the centuries before when English was still spoken? Were previous English versions perfect?
That being said, knowledge has increased. With each passing generation, knowledge is added to the collective knowledge of mankind. This happens in the fields of linguistics, translation, and so on as well. Adding to this, there is more manuscript evidence available today than was available in the early 1600s.
Education hasn’t necessarily evolved; the tools and knowledge available to translators, however, have been augmented and refined from what we had in the 1600s.
I trust that your stand is consistent, however, and that if you go to the doctor you only allow medical practice which was available 400 years ago?
7. There is one true God, yet many false gods. There is one true Church, consisting of true born-again believers in Christ, yet there are many false churches. So why do you think it’s so wrong to teach that there is one true Bible, yet many false “bibles”?
I believe this primarily because there is no command or indication that there is “one true Bible.”
Because the Bible teaches it, I wholeheartedly believe that “there is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Ephesians 4:4-6, KJV).
Why do you add unto God’s word and teach dogmatically that there is “one version” as well, when with honesty you must admit no such decree has ever been spoken by God.
8. Isn’t it true that you believe God inspired His holy words in the “originals,” but has since lost them, since no one has a perfect Bible today?
I believe God inspired the autographa, or those original documents as penned by the prophets, apostles, and others. I believe that those autographa have since been lost, yes. Can you hold up any document and claim it was first held by Isaiah? No? Why make a big deal about not having the originals?
God’s word is forever settled in Heaven, and there it stays perfect. However, in preserving His word on Earth, He has entrusted it to men. Men invariably make errors, and in the thousands upon thousands of extant manuscripts available to us, there are variants among all of them. No one with any honesty can pick through them all and decide which particular variant in each instance represents precisely what was originally written.
However, from among the variants (very few of which are contradictory or of any consequence), it is possible to paint a very accurate and reliable picture of what the original documents contained. We have such pictures in the King James Version or many of the modern versions.
You cannot provide a single shred of biblical evidence that says the King James translators were inspired to choose the perfect variant to use or the perfect word to use in every verse, so upon what basis is the King James Bible perfect? Why would God base it upon a previous English Bible that apparently wasn’t perfect (the Bishop’s Bible)? Why not just miraculously inspire the translators in their work on the KJV, leaving no question to its authenticity? And if He did do this, why did He do so
an a manner unknowing to the translators? When He inspired the biblical writers, they knew they were speaking the Lord’s words. The KJV translators, however, made no such claim, ever.
9. Isn’t it true that when you use the term “the Greek text” you are being deceitful and lying, since there are MANY Greek TEXTS (plural), rather than just one?
It depends upon the situation. If citing a variant, then yes, it is a bit deceitful to refer to “the Greek text” as if there was but one. But in the case of Acts 12:4 (for example), there is no variant in question. Truly, “The Greek text says pascha,” is an accurate and truthful statement. It can then be determined that pascha always meant “Passover,” and the KJV errs by using “Easter.”
10. Before the first new perversion was published in 1881 (the RV), the King James Bible was published, preached, and taught throughout the world. God blessed these efforts and hundreds of millions were saved. Today, with the many new translations on the market, very few are being saved. The great revivals are over. Who has gained the most from the new versions, God or Satan?
Where is such pragmatism found in Scripture? “If it works, it is blessed/approved/authorized by God,” makes no biblical sense.
What made the KJV great was that it was the word of God translated into a common language in a way which was accessible. If you still enjoy the KJV today, use it.
To those who understand Revelation 2 and 3 to refer both to First Century churches but also to seven time periods throughout Church Age, it is apparent that we are no longer in the Philadelphian Age but have moved on to the Laodicean. Notice no mention of any age having a monopoly on God’s word is given, nor is it said that one group’s translation must be used by all others.
The modern versions are the word of God. If there are not any revivals, it is not their fault. Remember, guns don’t kill people; people kill people. Likewise, no matter how good a translation is, it doesn’t do the walking, the preaching, or the
expositing of the word. If you want something to blame for the lack of revivals, you would do better explaining why there are no Moodys or Spurgeons or others who are traveling the world and seeing people actually converted rather than leading them in a prayer and sending them on their merry way.
It is the fault of all believers that we are not working hard enough; it is not the fault of the Scriptures we use. Want evidence? Look to the Bible. Find me where the word of God is at fault for conversion not happening. And then find me where it places the responsibility to work on the Christian. Finally, tell me who you think God blames for a lack of revival–His word or His people who have been lulled into a state of complacency.
Those are my answers. I don’t think they will change anyone’s mind about King James Onlyism. But I hope you have been edified by them, and I certainly hope to have done something to enforce a sola Scriptura basis for doctrine. With it, there is no room for tradition, even that of King James Onlyism.
Further, I answered these questions honestly, a feet which Mr. Watkins said could not be done.
To my friend Mr. Watkins, I point out that I do not have a problem being honest about these things; I do, however, have a problem with traditions that can only be dishonestly maintained.
Thank you for your time.