Jack Chick on Bible Versions

I ended up on Chick Publications just a bit ago, looking up information on the preservation of God’s Word. Specifically, I came across this page detailing said promises, though with the slant of using those promises to support the King James Bible.

(He ignores the fact that English versions prior to and after the King James Bible contain the same promises, yet the promises are applied exclusively to the KJV.)

I want to make mention, however, of just one thing Mr. Chick says on this particular page:

If your Bible is a King James Bible, it preserves God’s words because it was translated using “formal equivalence.” All other Bibles were translated using “dynamic equivalence,” in which the translator is free to change words as long as he conveys the “idea.”

Did you catch that? According to Mr. Chick, the King James Version is the only Bible translated using the formal equivalence method, while all other Bibles use dynamic equivalence.

Isn’t that something? Do you know what that declaration by Mr. Chick is called? At best, an honest oversight. At worst, a deceptive lie. And either way, the statement exists solely to strengthen a belief in King James Version Onlyism. Is Mr. Chick inadvertantly confessing that the position is so weak it requires imagined “facts” to defend?

Because Jack Chick and his website are so sensationally popular among King James Version Onlyists and even other non-Onlyist fundamentalists, I had to point this out. I appreciate a lot of what Chick says on his site, but lies cannot be excused, no matter who is speaking them.

So, going back to what Mr. Chick said on his site, let’s point out a few things:

The King James Bible indeed was translated using formal equivalence. That is true, but it should be pointed out that there are some passages which use dynamic equivalence, a practice condemned by Jack Chick. For instance, in the “God forbid” passages, the word for “God” is not in the Greek manuscripts. It was added by the translators not because of any physical evidence, but because of interpretation.

I use several Bibles regularly, and all of them were translated using formal equivalence. These include the New American Standard Bible, the New King James Version, the King James Version, and the Darby Bible. The King James Version is certainly not the only one translated using that style of translation!

And so it is also clear that not all other Bibles are based upon dynamic equivalence translation techniques. Indeed, formal equivalence and dynamic equivalence aren’t the only two methods of translation. There is also the strict and paraphrase methods.

The strict method results in an even more literal rendering of the Bible, besting the King James Version in being word-for-word true to the text. The Young’s Literal Translation and the Literal Translation of the Holy Bible are two examples.

The paraphrase method ranks lower than dynamic equivalence in terms of being word-for-word true to the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts. The Living Bible would be an example of this method.

If you’re going to believe in something, make sure it can be defended without sensationalism or deception.

This is silly, but imagine the belief being a house of cards. Truth and integrity would be tape that holds the cards together, resisting the breeze. But remove the tape, and the cards fall at the slightest disturbance. Truth is vitally important, and it should characterize our teachings, for Jesus is the Truth and we are to represent Him.

If anyone has a means of contacting Jack Chick to either point out this error or to direct him to this article, I would be appreciative. If you have an email address I could reach him at, that’d be great too. And if the oversight is ever corrected on the page in question, I will happily remove this post.

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