Anyone familiar with the KJV Only Debate knows that it is the quintessential “hot button” topic. Proponents of KJV Onlyism, which would be most people who insist that the KJV is the only acceptable English version, are very serious about this issue. Why? Because it is a matter of faith.
Many of you might be rolling your eyes right now. Let me guess why. 1) This whole KJV debate sounds very strange to you. 2) You are weary of this debate and see so many more important things to focus on. 3) You use the KJV and love it, but you don’t want to make this whole issue a big deal. 4) This whole issue seems so complex that you wonder how it can be so clear as to be dogma.
I can understand why people don’t get this issue. The endless debates get old real quick. But this is why it is important. KJV Only adherents, insist that if you really believe the Bible and if you really believe God’s promises, you must conclude like they do about the KJV. And if you don’t, your a doubter. When faced with historical or textual evidence which seems to contradict their position, the ever resilient KJV Onlyist will appeal to faith. He may not be able to prove it, but he can surely believe it. And isn’t this what we normally encourage with other issues (creationism, inerrancy, inspiration, miracles, etc.)?
Just because I don’t agree with the KJV Onlyists, does not mean I (and other non-KJV Onlyists) don’t love and respect the Bible. And I believe the Bible has much to say about the KJV Only debate. So I am planning a series of posts which detail what the Bible teaches with regard to this debate. You’re reading the introduction to that series. Let me conclude this post with some important, and somewhat lengthy quotes by Dr. Kevin Bauder from One Bible Only? Examining the Exclusive Claims for the King James Bible (Kregel, 2001). These quotes and this post will set the stage for the issues I plan to address in these posts.
The question is not whether the Bible contains a promise that God will preserve His Word. King James-Only advocates go much further. They insist that God has preserved His words and preserved them exactly in a singular, identifiable, and accessible form. So the question is whether the Bible contains a promise that God will preserve, word for word, the text of the original documents of Scripture in a particular manuscript, textual tradition, printed text, or version. [pg. 158]
The core issue in the King James-Only controversy is whether one must have the very words of God (all of the words and only the words of the autographs) to have the Word of God….Does possessing the Word of God depend upon the exact preservation of all of the words and only the words of the original documents of Scripture in an accessible form? If so, what text of Scripture teaches us this premise? Where are the exact words of the originals to be found, and what passage of Scripture assures us of the location of this accessible manuscript, manuscript tradition, published text, or version? If the advocates of the King James-Only position cannot answer these questions with explicit, biblical, reasonable, and verifiable evidence, then they ought to stop defending their position as if it were a question of doctrine…. [pg. 164]
Click here for all posts in this series.