Ecclesiastes 8:4 and KJV-Onlyism

One of the proof texts I have seen used to show that the King James Bible is God’s cho­sen Eng­lish trans­la­tion is Eccle­si­astes 8:4. I can­not recall who taught me it, though you can see the verse used in this way at

Where the word of a king is, there is pow­er: and who may say unto him, What doest thou? Eccle­si­astes 8:4, KJV

The KJV Only­ist’s argu­ment must be that since their pre­ferred ver­sion is the King James Ver­sion, it must have pow­er, hav­ing been autho­rized by a king. 

The line of think­ing that just because a king’s words have pow­er makes their words right is a dan­ger­ous course to take. Hitler was for all intents and pur­pos­es a king, and his words cer­tain­ly had pow­er. But was he right in what he said?

The point of Eccle­si­astes 8:4, in con­text, was that a king’s words are author­i­ta­tive to those under him and there­fore must be obeyed.

King James, so far as I know, did not order peo­ple to read only the trans­la­tion he called for. He com­mis­sioned the trans­la­tion, and those under him obeyed. That is the extent of the king’s pow­er in regards to the King James Ver­sion, it would seem.

Anoth­er very huge gap in the KJV Only­ist’s log­ic would be that if it takes the order of a king to make an infal­li­ble, author­i­ta­tive Bible trans­la­tion, what did the Eng­lish speak­ers use before King James was in pow­er? What do non-Eng­lish speak­ers read? Does every nation have a king-com­mis­sioned ver­sion in its own lan­guage to ral­ly around?

If not, under what author­i­ty may we pre­sume that God is biased toward the Eng­lish peo­ples in giv­ing us a king-com­mis­sioned, pow­er­ful Bible while leav­ing every­one else with imper­fect versions?

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Rick Beckman