KJV Onlyism

For those of you who haven’t heard of this, “KJV Onlyism” refers to the phenomenon of some churches and/or Christians placing the King James Version of the Bible on a pedestal above all other translations, some to the point of saying it’s the only valid version of the Bible.

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This isn’t really so much a heresy as it is just a complete misunderstanding of what the Bible actually is.  The Bible is God’s written message to us, inspired by the Holy Spirit, but written through human authors in their own languages and through their own personalities. The Bible contains three languages in its original form: Hebrew, Aramaic and Koine Greek.  Notice how English is absent from that list. English didn’t begin to even exist as a language, at least in anything nearing its current form, for more than a thousand years after the Bible was completed. Are you starting to see an issue here? The King James Version is a man-made translation of the holy scriptures- not the scriptures themselves. This whole issue is a major distraction being used, no doubt, by Satan to divide Christians and cause yet more confusion in the world. Don’t be a part of this abject nonsense.

Unless a person has a view that the translators of the KJV were somehow infallible, or guided to perfection by the Holy Spirit, then it’s totally indefensible to say that the KJV must be the only valid version. But that view itself is indefensible. We know the King James Version is not perfect. It’s misleading to modern ears in many different places, due to its use of now-outdated terminology. There are places (you can look it up) where the KJV is not always the best rendering of the original Greek and Hebrew.

It’s always useful when studying the Bible to look into the original languages and compare various translations. Don’t put your faith in any one human translation- that is a form of idolatry.

Sometimes you’ll hear people say they prefer the KJV due to its being so poetic (they are referring generally to the Elizabethan English- the thees, thous, -eths, etc.). There’s one problem. God didn’t inspire the Bible to be flowery and poetic-sounding. At least not all of it. Look at the original scriptures of the New Testament- they were written in the speech of the common man: Koine Greek.  God could have had people with a strong command of ancient Classical Greek inspire the scriptures to sound very academic and poetic. But God didn’t do that because God wants the Bible to be easily readable by everyone.

Even after having read Hamlet and other Elizabethan literature, I still find more modern, down-to-earth translations to be much easier to digest than the KJV.

If you like the KJV- fine! Use it! But don’t commit idolatry by claiming it’s the “only good version”. No human work is perfect. When doing in-depth study, always take the time to compare different translations. Or just learn the original languages yourself, if you’re so inclined.

For more reading on this topic, try these pages. I do not necessarily
condone every opinion stated on these sites, of course, but I reference them for the sake of this issue only.

http://www.raptureready.com/rr-kjvo.html

http://www.bible.ca/b-kjv-only.htm

http://msbc-bos.org/CC/article/0,,PTID34418_CHID629816_CIID416826,00.html

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