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Giving the KJV the Truth Test

I’m not going to link to anyone, point fingers, name names, or otherwise reveal who was the inspiration for this post; I don’t know them, though presumably they have read here before.

Suffice it to say that this person is a King James Onlyist. They believe that the King James Bible is the best — if not the perfect — translation of the Scripture sin English. What I read from this person was largely non-argument rhetoric; however, the point was made that he or she “knows” that the King James Version is true, and therefore it passes the Bible’s internal tests — the Word of God must be true being the key one here. In other words, if a translation contains a lie, it cannot be the Word of God.

This person said that if a translation lies in Mark 1:1-3, it is not a worthwhile translation. The issue is one I’m familiar with; verses 2 and 3 contain two Old Testament quotations from two different prophets — Isaiah & Malachi. Versions which rely on the Westcott-Hort texts give a citation of “Isaiah” or “Esaias” in vs. 2, while versions relying on the Byzantine Majority Text or the Textus Receptus give the reading of “the prophets.”

Without any regard to the concept of conflated (fused) citations, the usage of “Isaiah” rather than “the prophets” is determined to be a lie, and so versions which are “guilty” of such are disregarded.

I applaud this person’s zeal for the truth; however, I do not feel he is being consistent. What happens if we apply the same standard to the King James Version?

Does not 1 Timothy 6:10 tell us that, “For the love of money is the root of all evil…”? Is that a true statement? Is money really the cause of all evil? If it is not, then the King James Version’s translation is, well, wrong. Money has nothing to do with a great many of sins which are committed today and which have been recorded in the Scriptures.

Sorry to say, but the love of money is not the root of all evil. Looks like that verse could use an overhaul. Indeed, a literal translation would have us believe, “For the love of money is a root of all evils.” Money is no longer the root but is one of many — a true statement. Nor is money the root of all evil, but of all evils, a change which emphasizes variety rather than totality. The love of money can cause a variety of evils, but it is not the root of all evil.

The King James Version is wrong in this instance, plain and simple, and this person’s test that he applies to others’ translation causes his own to fall out from under him.

The attitude I derived from his postings would lead me to believe that if he felt that the King James Version had error, then there would be no perfect Word of God on the earth today. That’s an accurate statement — God’s Word is settled in Heaven. On Earth, it is preserved in a vast array of manuscripts — many of which King James Onlyists want to reject in favor of a translation, which is somehow more accurate than the actual evidence God has preserved for us.

The doctrine of biblical inerrancy extends to the original autographs only, and they have been lost to time. And while they can be faithfully reconstructed based on the vast array of evidence at scholars’ disposal, their translation into English will always be an art which can be improved upon, for the simple fact that translation is a human work. God promised inspiration to the originals and preservation of their words to all generations. What He did not promise was to superintend a translation into every language. Let’s be careful not to turn a tradition (King James Onlyism) into a Bible doctrine invented to justify our practices.

2 replies on “Giving the KJV the Truth Test”

Ooh, clever; think of that one all on your own? ;)

I’ve no problem at all believing that what people believe causes all evil. I mean, if people didn’t believe in murder, they wouldn’t murder. If people didn’t believe in lying, they wouldn’t lie. And so on.

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