Sharper Iron recently posted a fascinating article on the KJV Only debate. It is a treatment of Acts 19:20 in light of KJV Onlyism (of the TR Only variety). Doug Kutilek made the important point that the KJV departs from all editions of the TR to read “word of God” with the Vulgate instead of “word of Lord” in this verse. The modern Majority Text and the Critical Text both agree with the TR on this reading, as well.
While the article was profusely documented, it made one fatal mistake. It used “lemmings” to describe KJV Onlyists who mindlessly follow D.A. Waite, David Cloud and others. This was a big mistake, as reading the ensuing discussion demonstrates! I am not defending the use of that word necessarily: it can definitely be understood as an insult. But I think it unfortunate that such a molehill became the mountain which stopped any fruitful discussion of the article’s main point.
Eventually the thread was closed with a good explanation and defense by Jason Janz. I respect his decision to close the thread, but the problem Kutilek pointed out in his article had not been answered by the KJV Onlyists. Kent Brandenburg had promised to come back with an answer. And now he can’t. With all threads on the KJV issue closed at Sharper Iron right now, it is unlikely he will be given opportunity.
So, let me discuss what Pastor Brandenburg’s answer most likely is. I have discussed this issue with him and others at his church and I believe I have a good feel for his answer.
He would say something like this:
Using “God” instead of “Lord” amounts to a dynamic equivalent translation. There are some of these in the KJV but not many. In fact both the LXX and the New Testament sometimes use the word “God” to translate the Hebrew equivalent of “Lord”. Thus there is more than sufficient precedent for this translation.
I do not think that explanation cuts it. And here’s why.
Brandenburg and most TR onlyists believe that God has perfectly preserved His Word. For the New Testament the TR is the avenue of that preservation. Now the reason it is the TR is because that is what the church used. Which TR? Glad you asked! Since the KJV was universally used by the English church and respected by others so much and for so long, we use the form of the TR that the KJV translators used. Scrivener has providentially given us that very form in his TR edition from the late 1800s. Case closed.
But here is where Acts 19:20 becomes sticky. If we are to determine which TR to use on the basis of the KJV, and then the KJV arbitrarily goes with “God” instead of “Lord”, are not we to assume that the correct reading of the TR should be “God” not “Lord”? All the stuff about a precedent for using “God” instead of “Lord” doesn’t become practice for the KJV translators. They translate “God” when they find “God” in the Greek and “Lord”…”Lord”, almost without exception. So why in Acts 19:20 is it okay to now follow some great precedent?
The fact is Acts 19:20 throws a cog into the wheels of the TR only machine. And Acts 19:20 is not alone. Ruth 3:15 is another sticky situation. The KJV 1611 ends the verse as follows: “and he went into the city”. Yet the modern KJV (1769 and later editions) has “and she went into the city”. The Hebrew Masoretic Text has “he” while its qere reading (the marginal reading) has “she“.
Now when the churches accepted the KJV and thus that exact form of Greek/Hebrew text, did they accept the “he” or the “she”. “She” is not even in the margin of the KJV 1611. Some TR onlyists go with the MT and the original 1611 reading, while others go with the modern form of the KJV and affirm the qere reading of “she”. But this case illustrates the problem of deciding which TR to use on the basis of the KJV’s readings. Which KJV is to be accepted, and which group of churches (those before 1769 or after) are to be followed when deciding which TR to use? This problem is an Achilles’ heel in my view, I have discussed it in more length earlier here.
Other examples of such a problem where the KJV does not use the text that is accepted today as perfect, include Ps. 22:16 (Hebrew MT reads “like a lion” rather than “they pierced”), Job 13:15, Is. 10:32, Lam. 3:26, Jer. 3:9, Micah 1:10, Ia. 13:15, Gal. 4:15, Eph. 6:24, Phil. 2:21, 2 Tim. 1:18, 1 Pet. 2:13 among many others.
âˆ¼striving for the unity of the faith for the glory of Godâˆ¼ Eph. 4:3,13 \”¢ Rom. 15:5-7