We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. A.W. Tozer
Therefore let God-inspired Scripture decide between us; and on whichever side be found doctrines in harmony with the word of God, in favor of that side will be cast the vote of truth. --Basil of Caesarea
Once you learn to discern, there's no going back. You will begin to spot the lie everywhere it appears.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service. 1 Timothy 1:12

Sunday, July 26, 2009

King James Version Only?

I have studied the whole issue of the “King James Only” controversy for several years now, as well as studying the issue of biblical translational philosophy (formal vs. dynamic). I have a whole shelf of books on the subjects in my personal library.

Now, I am not going to entertain debates or arguments of any sort in relation to the merits of which Bible version is better, etc. I want only to make a few points about the “KJV Only” issue because of the cultish nature of some KJV only believers.

1. The KJV is NOT the inspired Word of God. It is man’s translation, and quite a fallible one at that, with many errors. And if you want to argue for KJV only, then which version are you claiming?

2. Most other English versions are quite acceptable for teaching the Christian faith. People do indeed come to Christ through their usage. (Yes, there are abominable so-called “translations,” such as the New World Translation, the Joseph Smith Translation, the Clear Word Bible, The Message, et al)

3. Christians who use other versions are not of the devil and are not new age conspiracists.

4. Since the KJV itself is not inspired, it is redundant to call any other version a “Non Inspired Version” (as I have heard the NIV referred to).

5. There is no conspiracy to bring in “new age” versions of the Bible. (Unless you want to say the conspiracy is one of Satan, who wants to distort the Word of God.) This includes other conspiracies which supposedly involve the Catholic Church, the Illuminati and other organizations that probably don’t exist either.

6. Having a Christian assembly based on everyone accepting only the KJV as the Word of God is cultish. Period.

7. 1611 English makes the KJV an excellent tool for false teachers, and all sorts of cults and aberrational teachings are based on misunderstanding 400 year-old English!

With the abysmally poor reading skills of the average person on the street, it is very difficult to reach people using Elizabethan English. As problematic as the NIV is, I have found it to be a much better version for reaching non-believers, although my Bible of preference for passing out tends to be the NKJV or ESV. However, I do not neglect to explain that the NIV is often interpretive more than translative (if that’s a word!) We can use any English translation if we understand its limitations, and not be propagating “new age” versions.

So for all you KJV Onlyers, lighten up! There are a lot more serious issues to be addressed, such as cultic and other false teachings. It isn’t usually the particular English version which leads to false teachings, it is the misuse of the Bible in general.


Marie said...

I totally agree. Have nothing more to add. :) An old friend of mine out in Oregon thinks I'm not saved because I use the NIV.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

To Corey,
I will not post your lengthy questionaire because I stated that I will NOT entertain debate on this subject because I don't find it edifying or profitable. My post was to make a point that the KVJ Only stance is cultic and uselessly divisive.

Ron Livesay said...

It is sad that anyone would say you are not saved because you use the NIV. The gospel message is there.

That having been said, just be aware that the NIV is a "dynamic equivalent" translation rather than a literal one. I was using the NIV until certain passages just did not ring true - Micah 5:2 is a key one.

I wrote a blog post on this topic: http://buffalonoise.blogspot.com/2009/04/why-i-quit-using-niv.html

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

The NIV makes a good commentary, though! Otherwise I will often cite it when desiring a more modern translation for ease of the reading public who are familiar with the NIV.

When using modern Bibles with the eclectic underlying manuscripts, I have two favorites now: The ESV is the one I use for formal translation, while I really like the HSCB as a dynamic version - it is more formal than the NIV, and I have found my HSCB Apologetics Study Bible to be a wealth of information.

My other primary Bible besides the KJV is the NKJV (MacArthur Study Bible version) bcause the Greek underlying texts are closer to the KJV's than the rest of the new Bibles.

As long as we know the limitations of the particular Bible we use - be it textual or translational philosophy - it can be benficial to use many versions.

Ron Livesay said...


I agree with you about the use of the NIV and others as commentaries. The use of many versions and other tools is tremendously valuable as we study and dig for the literal truth of the passage.

As you make very clear, one thing we need to avoid is the practice of selecting one English version as inspired and therefore rejecting all the others, such as the "KJV-Only" crowd does.

Thanks for your great articles.

Jesse said...


One insurmountable dilemma for the KJV only position is that it demands the impossible: there are no KJV Spanish or Chinese Bibles!

Jesse said...


On the contrary, there are no early Byzantine manuscripts. No Greek New Testament manuscripts for the few three centuries of Christendom were based on the Byzantine text. The earliest found is represented in a late forth century Gothic version.

What is even more, is that these manuscripts which you despise were produced and used widely in the church. So the K.J.V. only claim that the Alexandrian and Vaticanus have little support is based on ignorance. It violates God's providential role in preserving His Word to mankind. To be dogmatic on this issue is to present a false gospel--namely that reading the King James Version is a requirement for salvation.

Anonymous said...

Exactly what part of “ANYONE WHO ADDS OR TAKES AWAY FROM THIS BOOK” DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND ? IT IS INDEED NO different than “WHICH PART OF THE WORD “NO” DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND ???? I was at a loss as to why almost everyone was reading from every other so called new and improved versions of the bible. All Reading from any and every other version EXCEPT the true Old King James……Why Why why would you want to change God’s word to suit the brethren. It ought to be rather, The brethren adapting to the grand language of the Old King James not all changing the word to suit the brethren !!!! The old King James Version has the SALT. All the rest are simply put…without SALT. I am just shocked though I know Our King of King’s Christ Jesus says I should think it strange. Go ahead brethren. GO ON… explain away. Many others will be led astray by you and yours. I am grateful to God evermore I remain wide awake.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...


All you did here was demonstrate your complete ignorance.

First, the passage you cite is in Revelation and is just about the book of Revelation, not the Bible. the Bible didn't exist as such when Revelation was written. CONTEXT.

Secondly, KJV adds and subtracts a lot from what is found in earlier manuscripts that what KJV translators had to deal with.

The KJV is just an English translation with no special approval or inspiration from God. You've let fanatic cult-type teachers deceive you with false teachings.

Anonymous said...

Dear Glenn,

I know that Jesse's writing style may sound pretty scholarly on the surface, but his stuff is junk and ignorant. You should not allow cultists like him to rampage on your blogs; please abandon your modern translations also. It's worth all the while.The evidence all supports are position. I remember reading something of your's where you said that you loved to study history. Well don't you recall the corruption of the Egyptian manuscripts? Even the Old Testament proves that paganism came from that place. These modern translations are just wicked and vile. Please look up all this, my fried.


Glenn E. Chatfield said...


Actually, Jesse's stuff is right on and exactly what I have discovered in my decades of research on the topic.

And who says the Egyptian manuscripts were corrupt? KJV Onlyiers just assert such because they compare all manuscripts to the very late T.R.

I have looked into this quite in depth and it is you who are deceived by the KJVO cult.