Arminian Today

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Two Issues With KJV Onlyism

There is a podcast that I listen to while driving my truck that I enjoy until the teacher goes off on a rampant about the King James Version Bible (KJV).  He is a KJV only follower and he is convinced that there is a conspiracy on the part of the “modern translations” to corrupt the Word of God, to dethrone Jesus, and to exalt either Satan or humanity above the Lord God.  He is convinced that the KJV is the “pure Word of God” and that it alone is the inerrant and infallible truth of God for us in the English language.  He is not an extreme KJV only follower in that he holds that the Hebrew and Greek texts that underline the KJV are the superior texts (the Textus Receptus).  I can tolerate his ramblings only because I enjoy his other teachings but I will admit that it is pushing me to the edge.

I decided, in regard to this man’s teachings, that I would download a teaching he gave on four reasons for the superiority of the KJV.  His four points were: A Superior Text, Superior Translators, Superior Theology, and a Superior Translation.  To highlight them, he basically said that the TR was the inerrant Word of God, that the KJV translators were vastly superior men of God than modern translators (and were nearly perfect fundamentalists in his eyes), that the KJV translators and the KJV itself offer sound theology to the church, and the KJV is simply the best English translation ever produced (and probably ever will be produced).

So let me take a shot here at the KJV.  Let’s look at just two passages that Dr. James White points to also in his book The King James Only Controversy.  The first is Acts 12:4 where the KJV reads:

And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.

The ESV reads:

And when he had seized him, he put him in prison, delivering him over to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out to the people.

The Greek word for “Easter” in the KJV is the word pascha.  The word is translated in the KJV as “Passover” (see John 19:14 for example) in every case but here.  The ESV is consistent and translates it as Passover throughout.  Why did the KJV translators (with their superior theology and being nearly fundamentalists) translate it as Easter?  The KJV only theory is that this shows the providence of God but this is incorrect.  There is no basis for Easter being the word here as the context shows.  Herod is trying to please the Jews (v.3) and the Jews celebrated Passover not Easter.  Easter, as we know it today, would not appear for hundreds of years following this text.

The second passage that I want to focus on in the KJV is Acts 19:37 where the KJV reads:

For ye have brought hither these men, which are neither robbers of churches, nor yet blasphemers of your goddess.

The NIV reads:

You have brought these men here, though they have neither robbed temples nor blasphemed our goddess.

For some reason the KJV translators translated the Greek word for “temples” as “churches” despite no reason to.  Dr. White believes this to be a case where their own tradition stood in the way of the translation.  The New King James Version (NKJV) corrects the KJV here.

In conclusion, the KJV is not a vastly superior translation.  It is a good translation and one that I honor though I do not use.  I don’t doubt that the Lord used the KJV to glorify His name.  I also don’t doubt that many souls have been saved because of the preaching of the gospel from the KJV.  But the KJV is just a translation.  It is a good translation that falls into line with good English translations such as the ESV, NASB, or the NKJV.

One final point.  I still have yet to learn which edition of the KJV is the “pure Word of God.”  Is it the Cambridge edition?  The Oxford edition?  The Zondervan edition?  Is the one published by Thomas Nelson or one perhaps published by the smaller Bible publishers?  They are all different and we need to know which one is the pure Word of God.  This is vital!


Written by The Seeking Disciple

04/22/2014 at 11:57 AM

One Response

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  1. It seems that some folks I’ve discussed these matters with really get hung up over the fact that newer translations “delete” out passages of scripture that the KJV retains. They typically aren’t impressed when I suggest the possibility that those verses could have been “added” to the KJV over time from earlier manuscripts where they weren’t present. The idea of adding verses must not seem as scandalous as deleting verses… I don’t know. 🙂

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