This page is not an exhaustive look at the King James only controversy. However, I have been confronted with the "error" of my ways by a few web visitors who insist that the King James English Bible is the only version a Christian should read. This page mostly consists of a series of links to other (more thorough) pages.
A few introductory comments are in order. The Bible was written over a period of approximately 1500 years in three languages - Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. Therefore, English (King James or other) is not one of the original languages of the Bible. Therefore, all English translations of the Bible will suffer somewhat from differences in languages, differences in idiomatic expressions, etc. Different translations tend to aim for either word for word (more difficult to understand) or thought for thought (less "accurate") representation of the original language. Most translations (including the King James version) substitute "inaccurate" translations of certain words so that the thought will be understandable to our culture. For example, Revelation 2:231 contains the Greek word nephros, which literally means "kidneys." However, the English sounds pretty weird when Jesus says, "...I am He who searches the kidneys and hearts..." The word refers to the deepest emotions and affections of man,2 and is more understandable in our culture when translated as "thoughts" or "mind."
Why did the translators of the King James Bible translate it into the common English of the time? They said that they wanted to make a version that everyday common folks (of the time) could understand. Obviously, King James English no longer qualifies as being the common language of our time, and would probably be rejected by those very translators if they were alive today.
Well, shall we get started? Here are the links.
- How The Bible Came To Us - If you don't have an good background regarding the manuscript evidence for the Bible, you should start here (You should know the difference between Byzantine and Alexandrian text types).
- The KJV Translators Said THAT?!? - Some of the best arguments against KJV-onlyism come from the translators of the KJV!
- KJV Only? (King James Version Bible) - A letter pointing out many of the problems with the KJV.
- The NIV The Making of a Contemporary Translation - Isn’t the King James Version Good Enough? (The KJV and the NIV Compared) (PDF version)
- The KJV's Archaic Language - Pros and Cons - The good, the bad and the ugly of KJV English.
- John 1:18 - Why the NIV makes a stronger case for the deity of Christ than the KJV.
- The King James Only Controversy: Can You Trust the
Modern Translations? Minneapolis, Bethany House Publishers, 1995.
- Metzger, Bruce M. The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission,
Corruption, and Restoration.
Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2005.
- Aland, Kurt and Barbara. The Text of The New Testament an Introduction
to the Critical Editions and to the Theory and Practice of Modern Textual
Criticism. Grand Rapids, Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1995.
- Wurthwein, Ernst. The Text of The Old Testament: An Introduction to the
Biblia Hebraica. Grand Rapids, Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1995.
- Metzger, Bruce M. A Textual Commentary of the Greek New Testament. Stuttgart, United Bible Societies, 1995.
- 'And I will kill her children with pestilence; and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds. (Revelation 2:23)
- From the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia:
(1) The kidneys owe their importance in the Bible partly to the fact that they are imbedded in fat, and fat of such purity that fat of the kidneys was a proverbial term for surpassing excellence (Deu_32:14 margin). For the visceral fat was the part of the animal best adapted for sacrificial burning, and hence, came to be deemed peculiarly sacred (Lev_7:22-25; 1Sa_2:16). Accordingly, the kidneys with the fat surrounding them were burned in every sacrifice in which the entire animal was not consumed, whether in peace (Lev_3:4, Lev_3:10, Lev_3:15; Lev_9:19), sin (Exo_29:13; Lev_4:9; Lev_8:16; Lev_9:10), or trespass, (Lev_7:4) offerings; compare the "ram of consecration" (Exo_29:22; Lev_8:25). So in Isa_34:6, "fat of the kidneys of rams" is chosen as a typical sacrificial term to parallel "blood of lambs and goats." (2) The position of the kidneys in the body makes them particularly inaccessible, and in cutting up an animal they are the last organs to be reached. Consequently, they were a natural symbol for the most hidden part of a man (Psa_139:13), and in Job_16:13 to "cleave the reins asunder" is to effect the total destruction of the individual (compare Job_19:27; Lam_3:13). This hidden location, coupled with the sacred sacrificial use, caused the kidneys to be thought of as the seat of the innermost moral (and emotional) impulses. So the reins instruct (Psa_16:7) or are "pricked" (Psa_73:21), and God can be said to be far from the reins of sinners (Jer_12:2). In all of these passages "conscience" gives the exact meaning. So the reins rejoice (Pro_23:16), cause torment (2 Esdras 5:34), or tremble in wrath (1 Macc 2:24). And to "know" or "try the reins" (usually joined with "the heart") is an essential power of God's, denoting His complete knowledge of the nature of every human being (Psa_7:9; Psa_26:2; Jer_11:20; Jer_17:10; Jer_20:12; The Wisdom of Solomon 1:6; Rev_2:23). See FAT; PSYCHOLOGY; SACRIFICE. Compare RS2, 379-80, and for Greek sacrificial parallels Journal of Philology, XIX (1890), 46. The anatomical relations are well exhibited in the plate in Sacred Books of the Old Testament, "Leviticus."
We are what we think.
- 06/28/2016 09:00 AM
3 Qualities that Draw People to Ask about Our Faith
Most Christians want their light to shine among other people, to serve as a signpost to the truth that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior. But just how does a believer go about being a good witness? Sometimes the virtuous qualities and characteristics we strive hard to live out in life earn us a unique opportunity to reach others—for as…
- 06/21/2016 10:00 AM
Christian Thinkers 101: A Crash Course on Jonathan Edwards
Photo Credit: Public Domain Puritan theologian Jonathan Edwards may be one of America’s greatest thinkers, but what exactly did he believe and what else did he contribute to Christianity? Here’s your crash course on the life and accomplishments of Jonathan Edwards—and why he still matters today. Who Was Jonathan Edwards? Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758) was born in New England in colonial…
- 06/14/2016 09:00 AM
How to Make Sense of Things We Can’t Control
How are we to think about our inability to control certain facts of our lives (e.g., our conception, time of birth, place of birth, family, and culture)? These “givens” in life powerfully remind us that we humans have genuine limitations and boundaries. Our lives are dependent upon many causal factors. Life itself is fragile, short, and there is a clear…
- 06/07/2016 08:00 AM
5 Things We Can’t Control
As human beings we like to think that we are masters of our own fate. We enjoy thinking that we are autonomous individuals whose personal decisions have made us who we are in life. Philosophers even talk about libertarian freewill—defined as the view that an individual who freely made a specific choice could have decided differently (in contrast to some…
- 05/31/2016 09:00 AM
Christian Thinkers 101: A Crash Course on St. Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas’ system of thought was declared the official philosophy of the Roman Catholic Church, but what exactly did he believe and what else did he contribute to Christianity? Here’s your crash course on the life and accomplishments of St. Thomas Aquinas—and why he still matters today. Who Was St. Thomas? St. Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274) was born in a castle…
- 05/24/2016 09:00 AM
Spheres of Awareness: 4 Unique Ways Humans Perceive Reality
An implication of being made in God’s image is that human beings have a unique awareness of reality. That reality is wide and deep and extends to four basic philosophical spheres or dimensions of life. The awareness of and interaction with these spheres illustrates humankind’s uniqueness and makes the discovery of four critical truths possible. Sphere 1: The Intellectual Human…
- 05/17/2016 09:00 AM
Christian Thinkers 101: A Crash Course on St. Athanasius
St. Athanasius passionately defended Christ’s deity during a time when Christological heresies were rampant, but what else did he contribute to Christianity? Here’s your crash course on the life and accomplishments of St. Athanasius—and why he still matters today. Who Was St. Athanasius? St. Athanasius (c. 296–373) was born and educated in the ancient city of Alexandria. Coming from a…
- 05/10/2016 09:00 AM
The Crowd Roared: Christian Reflections on Fame
Recently, I went to a Lakers game with family and friends, and I came away with a philosophical reflection. I noticed that every time Lakers star Kobe Bryant touched the ball, scored a basket, or even appeared on the big screen, the crowd at Staples Center visibly changed. Lakers fans became loud, energetic, and collectively erupted into a roar. There…
- 05/03/2016 09:00 AM
Christian Thinkers 101: A Crash Course on St. Anselm
Can faith and reason be compatible? Does reason support the truth claims of Christianity? Many people today believe in a false dichotomy that forces faith and reason into separate categories—but thinkers like St. Anselm, a medieval Italian, have offered compelling arguments for integrating faith and reason. St. Anselm’s ontological argument for God’s existence was a significant, though controversial, contribution that…
- 04/26/2016 09:00 AM
The Insatiable Search for Peace and Rest
Human beings were made for God (Psalm 100:3, Acts 17:26–27), but something has gone deeply wrong. Sin has cut us off from our Creator and left us out-of-sync with each other and ourselves. Under the curse of sin, we both desire God and resist Him simultaneously (see Romans 1). The consequence of this spiritual tug-of-war is that we often turn…
Last Updated January 9, 2006