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 thoughts on “Giving the KJV the Truth Test”

  1. “Sor­ry to say, but the love of mon­ey is not the root of all evil.”

    Could­n’t agree more… clear­ly ‘Reli­gion’ is the root of all evil ;)

  2. 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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Rick Beckman