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The Bible, of course, is a book with history, not only in its pages but about its pages. For centuries the Scriptures have been passed down, translated, copied and established in many dialects and languages. No ‘version’ of the Holy Writ has held the heart of a culture as has the English translation from 1611 known as the King James Version. This copy of the Scriptures included not just the Old and New Testaments, but also the Apocrypha and other related non-canonical writings. The language of that era is breathtaking and even the small and quirky nuances are cherished by millions as the voice of “their bible” from childhood. Through the years the King James Bible has been changed, updated, corrected and supplied to any household who wanted one in English speaking lands. While there is nothing inherently wrong with this translation of Scripture, very few people have actually read an original and fewer even have a replica of this literary masterpiece. Strangely in contrast to this fact, many taut that the King James Version, or KJV, is God’s ordained “translation” from the original “tongues” and any other translation efforts are “unauthorized”. This type of thinking is rooted in a wide pool of theories, suspicion, conspiracy, fear, and ignorance.
The KJV is a fine contextual representation of the Scriptures but it is no different and no better than other good translation efforts put forth in contemporary times. Now there is a difference between a translation and a ‘version’ of Scripture. A translation concedes to the original meaning in context and word-for-word accuracy as able, so that the message of the original text and its variants can be brought forth. A paraphrase or thought for thought commentation is not translation work at all. These types of so-called “bibles” are best left alone. For the KJV, it along with many of its English counterparts are good copies of Scripture and can be safely utilized to know the truths of God and the Gospel of Grace. But when it comes to those who try to wage war with the KJV as a divinely ‘inspired’ or ‘authorized’ version of Scripture, they are committing idolatry and in a real sense, are exposing a very dark side of human depravity and the ploys of the enemy.
Dr. Edward Dalcour and I produced an informal podcast on this topic a few months ago and have it published at the ChristianPodcastCommunity.com for anyone who’s interested you can listen above. We discuss the idea that while the KJV is a perfectly fine version of Scripture, the dark side of KJV “onlyism” is that many fail to understand the silly ignorance behind it and worse, they fail to see the horrible sinfulness of placing undue burdens on the church who fear things that Scripture itself commands not to fear. They have no authority to hold to their views on the very book that claims sovereign authority over the church. We’d love your thoughts and engagement. If you have any questions for our show, please go over to TheologyAnwers.com and post them!