22 Sep 2002

The Authorized Version - KJV

Submitted by theshovel
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In case you're not familiar with the term "Authorized Version", the label designates the King James Version of the Bible. Now, I best say right up front that I mean no disrespect to the translation or to the translators. There is no doubt that the effort behind publishing this version paid off in wresting the ancient writings from the clenched fists of the religious institution and into the English-speaking public, so that through this version many have proclaimed and heard the miraculous work of Christ. This is a major accomplishment by any stretch of the imagination.

But let's not pretend that the preaching of Christ represents the full legacy of the KJV. Instead, its history is strewn with much guilt, fear, and shame that has been inextricably linked to its verses so that many cannot even read them without finding condemnation and not life. So I ask, did the King James translators really provide the English-speaking world with the much-desired Final Authority that many from the past - and from the present - claim it to be? Or has it been perpetuated as a loophole of translational perfection in an otherwise imperfect medium of communication? And has the living Spirit of God been shoved aside in favor of the ancient words that spoke of his coming? Consider the following statements:

"There MUST be an infallible Book somewhere ... The new 'bibles' are the work of MEN, but the KJV is a divine work of the Holy Spirit ... According to the scriptures, there must be a single Book that is the word of God, and there must be MANY which are involved in CORRUPTING the word of God ... There has to be a perfect volume somewhere. I know the King James Bible is the word of God because God promised to preserve His words." Quote from: "How I know that the King James Bible is the Word of God"

For the record, let me state that I seriously doubt many of my readers lean this way. Heck, most of you probably read those "corrupt" man-made versions, don't you? :) Of course, this begs the question: Why even take the time to deal with the KJV-only teaching? Maybe because it best exemplifies the faulty logic I find inherent in the quest for 100% accuracy. You see, the KJV-only folks recognize the contradiction in having more than one infallible Bible, and they base it upon many Scriptural demands. Consider the logic:

That's impossible, because the various translations contain different readings, and God is not the author of confusion (I Corinthians 14:33). Besides, if all of the versions are the word of God, then where are the 'corrupt' and 'perverted' versions that we are warned about in II Corinthians 2:17 and Jeremiah 23:36? If everyone is innocent, then where are those who are said to be GUILTY of subtracting from and adding to the word of God (Rev. 22:18-19)? God wouldn't have warned us about Bible perversion if it wasn't going to be a reality.

Bible perversion? But let's face it, they make a good point. For if the understanding of God is indeed found in linguistic accuracy, there'd better be a perfect translation available so that we can get it right. I mean, if we are supposed to follow a specific set of standards then we'd better be able to determine the exact nature of such requirements. The sense behind the Authorized Version is not only that it was crafted using accepted infallible versions of the original documents, but that the translation itself was inspired of God. Do you see why the KJV-only adherants demand that no other Bible can be used? We may criticize their logic ... but at least it's consistent ... to a point, that is!

This logic proceeds with:

What's the point? The point is that a translation CAN be perfect, if God is involved in the translating.

You know, such a perception might explain why so many believers cling to Bible verses as unto prison bars - even though most of us only hold a dim MEMORY of the perfect translation. After all, we have the words of God, so we have no excuses, right? And no, this has nothing to do with the truthfulness of God, but instead an assumption that a relationship with God consists of figuring out what His demands are ... and then, doing them. Simple, huh? Well then, I wonder why Israel of Moses' time, who had no translation problems, were not able to perform either? Forget the massive commands in the completed version we think we're supposed to be faithful to, they stumbled at the very first command before Moses even made it down the mountain!

But what about the NEW TESTAMENT words of Jesus in Luke 12:48 that are often used leverage gravity into the study of God's Word?

For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.Luke 12:48

Do we just ignore these Scriptural demands? It's a shame we haven't recognized such statements as describing the INADEQUACY of the written law ... instead of being an ENDORSEMENT of it!! Believe me, I know the guilt many of you have suffered in having received far more understanding than you could possibly keep up with, for I have communicated with many who wish they could retreat back into the bliss of ignorance because of the fear of judgment!

No, Jesus was NOT preparing us to relate to God based upon precise instructions found in the perfectly translated words of God so that we might become increasingly responsible to the degree of received instruction. Quite the contrary, he insisted that the heart would follow the treasure (Luke 12:34). Go read that chapter again! It began with a warning:

Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. Luke 12:1

You see, the Pharisees were those who built their godly claims upon the written word, and yet their hearts were not in sync with the revelation they had received through those words.

What was his message? DON'T BE LIKE THEM!

And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought HOW or WHAT THING ye shall answer, or WHAT ye shall say: For the HOLY GHOST shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say. Luke 12:11-12

It seems rather odd that he would have ruled out the quoting of Scripture during such a time of intense need for wisdom in what to say, don't you think? These men also supposed their life consisted of the stuff of this world, and even though the word they claimed to believe refers to a realm outside that which can be touched and seen, they built their possessions by twisting it to their own desires. (Luke 12:13-34)

Despite having been given God's words they had no real expectation in God for their treasure was in the things of this world. They were like those whose master was absent, and though having the knowledge of his return their heart speculated that he would not. All the commands and promises and blessings recorded in the written word (the one they supposedly believed) could not cause the heart to wait in expectation of the one they served. All their precise understanding only brought them stricter judgment. (Luke 12:35-48) It was not the FUTURE Jesus spoke of, but ANOTHER REALM.

You hypocrites! You know how to analyze the appearance of the earth and the sky, but why do you not analyze this PRESENT TIME? Luke 12:56

Though they demanded adherence to the precision of Scripture they did not recognize the presence of life: Christ himself.

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Luke 12:34

A command to build your treasure in the right place ... or the demand of a reality found in having Christ as your life?

To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory... Colossians 1:27

...In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Colossians 2:3

You see, the reality of Christ's life in the person would fix the inability found in pursuing godliness through a precision of words.

Do we not understand that the most accurate translation - even a perfect one - could never become the Word of God? This is no more an attack against the KJV than it is against any other version. I've read, and continue to read, many of them. I even have my preferences. But it is a misconception to substitute the testimonies with the reality! This fallacy assumes that perfect words deliver perfect understanding, while those words have been demanding that such wisdom can only come through miraculous revelation!

Love, Jim


These comments were all transferred over from the original website

Posted: September 22, 2002 by Rick P


You may have pointed this out earlier but I seem to see some bootstrapping logical fallacies here. See if my logic string isn't correct here:

1. KJV only proponents say their version is flawless.
2. They say this is a requirement of the Bible
3. They base this on what they read in the KJV
4. If the KJV is flawed, then the demand of a flawless translation is a self-contradiction
5. If the KJV is not flawed, then divergent versions must by definition be flawed
6. If the flawed versions make the same claim that they are unflawed (and they do BTW since they have the same verses. Mostly.) then they are self-contradictory
7. What is the objective, external standard we can use to lay all of these versions side-by-side and assess their claims? If all claim to be flawless, how can we detect which is true and which is false?
Here's my kick with the KJV only folks. They refuse to apply the same standards to the KJV that they expect the other versions to live up to. Now don't get me wrong, I think this is a worthy discussion (the reliability of the scriptures) but only in a context of a level playing field. If the KJV had been translated today, what would it look like?

Of course this backs up to the question you have raised, is this really a Biblical issue? Nowhere in the word of God do we find any arguing about scripture versions. And they had access to a lot more languages than we have. There were more translations after the first century than we have in English today. If there weren't then we would not have all the variant manuscripts and certainly not in all the languages available. Multilingual people don't have near the problems that Americans have with various versions because they understand the realities of how language functions.

Keep up the good work.


Posted: September 22, 2002 by the shovel

Hello Rick, my friend!

Oh yeah, the logical fallacies abound, and you bring up some excellent considerations!! I think the real kicker to the whole thing is that many will even argue that their perspective gives "Christ" the preeminence. Even in the article I quoted from the man ends with that crowning "proof". The funny thing is that this "preeminence" is so doggoned clinical and impersonal. Check this quote out:

"The true word of God will always EXALT Jesus Christ, and it will NEVER attack His Deity, His Virgin Birth, His Blood Atonement, His Bodily Resurrection, His Glorious Second Coming, or any other doctrines concerning His Person."

I can remember how "true to God's word" this used to sound to me, but it lacks one quality: LIFE! "... or any other doctrines concerning His Person."? Christ seems to have been "exalted" every place other than within us ... and within us - as our life - is the core of the good news message. All the doctrines can be "defended" without even once acknowledging that Christ has become our life!

Thanks Rick!

Posted: September 22, 2002 by Michael


I thinkest that thou art out of thy head!!! That thou shouldest doubt the veracity of the version authorized by our most worthy and heathen King James, is an unspeakable affront to our race and to our God! Supposeth thou greater than the divines who have subordinated the masses for over 400 years? No doubt the next thingest thou wilt be doingest, is usingeth the new feminist translations. Thy vexation with grace art driving thee mad!!! Repentest thou sooneth or thou wilt surely be losteth!

Thy humble servant - Michaeleth

Posted: September 22, 2002 by Adam

Dude Jim,

im sitting here wondering how, i mean HOW, you can be so down to earth and yet be so gifted and blessed to articulate such words....your shoveletter hit me like a ton of doves my good friend.! What a message of freedom, divine! I wanted so much to hear something like that today--and have always wanted to. Thank you, this one really moved me. GOD BLESS YOU

Posted: September 22, 2002 by Anonymous

I just came to your site on a referral from eternity now. I was reading your msg to the comment to your newsletter, and it hit me, one item you stated, yes I have heard many, and read over and over teachings on the doctrines, but the one that is sadly lacking, or at least I didn't have "ears to hear" for so many years was the LIFE, Christ Jesus living in me. What an amazing truth, mind boggling to me. I am bookmarking your site, thank you, I needed this. I was discouraged, and praying earlier. That little sentence hit me good. Isn't it grand how an answer to prayer comes through, when least expected, and a person never knows before hand from what source? Yes, our GOD us absolutely HOLY, and JUST, but how HE loves us more than we can comprehend--To come down , GOD the SON, Jesus Christ Son of Man, lay down his life, shed HIS blood to cleanse us, take the wrath of GOD in our place, take up HIS life and rise from death, to the right hand of our FATHER, to intercede for us, and give us LIFE, CHRIST in us, our hope of GLORY! I'm getting fired up now! I want to tell someone about this, I am normally a very quiet person.

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Random Shovelquote: No need for Christ (view all shovelquotes)

But the "gospel" we have heard so many times in this world needs no miracle, it doesn't really even need Christ for that matter because it is established after the pattern of the world's logic, motivations, and ideologies source