Questions for KJV Only Advocates

July 14, 2011 at 4:44 pm | Posted in English Bible Translations, Questions for Pastor Glenn | 2 Comments

I lead “The Manuscript Game” with some people from my nephew’s small group.  This game is designed to give participants confidence that we know what the original documents of God’s Word say, in spite of how often it has been copied and recopied; in spite of what critics say about not being able to know because our copies are so many generations removed from the originals.  It is a great exercise, and if you are interested in the game, let me know.  I might be able to lead it for you too.

One of the guys playing the game had been influenced by the King James Version Only (KJVO) teaching.  I’ve lead this game with some who had been influenced by that teaching before, but never to this extent.  David wasn’t a sold out KJVO advocate, but he did know the arguments they use.  The Manuscript Game reveals some of the fallacies of their thinking.  I even try to convince the people playing that the majority manuscript is the correct one, and have only been successful convincing one person of the roughly 50 who’ve played it, and even that  was a temporary convincing for one round of the game.   Even David argued strongly that the oldest manuscript should be way more authoritative than the majority.

After leading the game I was thinking about the arguments for the KJVO philosophy and have some questions you can ask someone who thinks that way.  I don’t consider myself an expert on this matter, but I have read some of the KJVO material, and these questions address the arguments used in that material.

1. Why do you say that the KJV was translated from manuscripts “closer to” the original rather than manuscripts that “are identical” to the original?  This question is important because KJVO advocates are so adamant that God would never allow his Word to be corrupted, yet every manuscript is unique with its scribal errors; no two are alike.  If God wouldn’t allow his Word to be corrupted through scribal transmission, then we should have a manuscript that is “identical to” not “closer to” the original.  Can you actually make that claim?

2. If God will not allow his Word to be corrupted, then why did he allow so many different manuscripts to be out there?  Of the over 5,000 existing manuscripts of the New Testament, only one at most can be identical to the original.  The KJVO advocates I’ve heard proclaim they are certain they have God’s Word because they use the majority text.  They play the same game of looking at the textual evidence and deciding which variants are correct, they just eliminate a big chunk of evidence before they play, for even the “majority text” is an eclectic edition of many other variants.

3. What hard evidence do you have that Textus Receptus (or majority text) is closer to the original than any other manuscript or textual family?  This question points out that KJVO advocates eliminate a huge amount of evidence – the very evidence that destroys their dearly held theory.  Unless they can give a solid reason why this evidence should be eliminated, then this question proves they are using circular reasoning.  If they argue that the best manuscripts haven’t survived as well as the corrupt ones, then, once again, they deny their own dearly held belief about God’s Word never being corrupted, because God allowed only the corrupt versions to remain.

4. Does your argument that Textus Receptus is closer to the original, when there is so little evidence to support it, play directly into the hands of the critics who say we can’t know the original because the Bible has been copied and recopied so many times?  They, just like you, want to ignore the hard evidence that gives a level of certainty about the original in favor of an all-or-nothing theory.  They use the same methods as you, they just opt for the nothing side of the conclusion.

5. Have you ever read the preface to the 1611 KJV?  The translators of the KJV admit that there were good translations before theirs and that other good ones would follow.  They go so far as to say that “varietie of Translations is profitable for the finding out of the sense of the Scriptures,” and “We affirme and auow that the very meanest translation of the Bible in English containeth the word of God, nay, is the word of God.”  Why do your claims about their translation work go way beyond their own?  And how can you say there is only one English translation, when they recognized so many others?  Even when they quote scripture in the preface to the KJV they quote other translations, usually the Geneva Bible!



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  1. I have never heard of the manuscript game. I use various translations or versions of the Bible, but I must confess that the King James Version is my favorite. I do not have the formal knowledge about Bible translations that both you and those who oppose your views possess, so I am not qualified to make any meaningful persuasions on either side of this debate.

    It does make me a little uncomfortable when people bring up the subject of error in interpretations of the Bible, especially errors in the KJV. I guess there might be errors, but I know that the KJV is the only version with which many English speaking people had access for many years.

    When I start to consider the idea that so many versions of the Bible have errors it seems to undermine my confidence to some extent in the sovereignty of God. I love to quote and rest in these words:

    12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12 NIV

    15Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15 KJV

    4But he answered, “It is written,

    “‘Man shall not live by bread alone,
    but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” Matthew 4:4 ESV

    8But what does it say? The Word (God’s message in Christ) is near you, on your lips and in your heart; that is, the Word (the message, the basis and object) of faith which we preach,

    9Because if you acknowledge and confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and in your heart believe (adhere to, trust in, and rely on the truth) that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

    10For with the heart a person believes (adheres to, trusts in, and relies on Christ) and so is justified (declared righteous, acceptable to God), and with the mouth he confesses (declares openly and speaks out freely his faith) and confirms [his] salvation. Romans 10:8-10 Amplified Bible

    9 How can a young man keep his way pure?
    By keeping Your [b] word.
    10 I have sought You with all my heart;
    don’t let me wander from Your commands.

    11 I have treasured Your word in my heart
    so that I may not sin against You.

    12 LORD, may You be praised;
    teach me Your statutes.

    13 With my lips I proclaim
    all the judgments from Your mouth.

    14 I rejoice in the way [revealed by] Your decrees
    as much as in all riches.

    15 I will meditate on Your precepts
    and think about Your ways.

    16 I will delight in Your statutes;
    I will not forget Your word. Psalm 119:9-16 HCSB

    6Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:

    7Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

    8For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.

    9For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

    10For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:

    11So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. Isaiah 55:6-11 KJV


    If I pause to focus on the errors that might be present in the above passages of scripture it has an unsettling effect…where does it all end? I just can’t go there.

    I know this comment ran awfully long, but I would really appreciate your thoughts, because I enjoy so much of what I read here at your blog.


  2. I forgot to mention in my above comment that I have a post where I explained to a blogger in the comment section why I use the KJV so much. Here is the link to that post:


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