Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Why I am not KJV Only

Why I am not KJV Only

I prefer the KJV, and I consider it to be the best widely available English translation of the Bible.

Nevertheless, I am not a so-called "KJV Only" advocate.

The reasons I am not a so-called "KJV Only" advocate are as follows:

  • The original languages were inspired, translations are better or worse to the the degree that the conform to the original languages. The reason for preferring the KJV as an English language translation is its fidelity to the original languages.

  • Although God has blessed the KJV translation with widespread usage in the Church, this is more of a testimony to its accuracy than an indication of special inspiration of the KJV translators.

  • The KJV translators themselves did not claim to be specially inspired, but instead employed scholarly techniques in their translation of Scripture.

  • The KJV translators had to make fallible decisions in certain instances (such as whether - or how - to include 1 John 5:7), and - while in most instances I would agree that their decision was correct - there is no reason to suppose that they decided correctly in every instance.

  • Although the KJV may provide a useful version from which to translate into minor languages, in the long term it would be preferable for Christians of every language to retranslate from the original languages in their own language.

  • Virtually all of the arguments in favor of KJV Only are susceptible to being applied to the Vulgate, which should be sufficient to show their non-unique status.

  • The KJV is largely an improvement of earlier English versions, and there is no reason to suppose that the ultimate pinnacle and epitome of translation perfection has been achieved in the English language, even if the KJV is the best we have so far.

Other reasons have been proposed, which I reject, such as complaints about readability (particularly in the 1611 edition of the KJV), the assertion that various translations are erroneous (such as the term "Easter" or the inclusion of 1 John 5:7), and quibbles over the underlying Greek text (primarily by those in the W-H textual tradition). Those reasons are not persuasive to me for a variety of reasons, and I do not consider them to be particularly powerful arguments against the KJV Only position.

I plan to address in another post the arguments made by KJV Only advocates in favor of their position.


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