Okay, so there is more than just one problem with the KJV Only movement. I know that. But having grown up in a KJV only church, there is one major problem that sticks out to me above the rest. It is not just a major problem; it is an insurmountable problem. And it drives me crazy.
If the King James Version, which is a 1611 English translation of the Bible, is truly the only infallible, inerrant, and inspired Word of God, then what about the billions of people who have lived and died and never understood a word of English? At this very moment, there are more than 6 billion people in the world who understand little or no English.
And lest we forget, it wasn’t until 1455 that the first Bible was printed (on the Gutenberg Press) and then much later into the 16th century before the Bible became affordable and widely available. These early Bibles were printed in Latin. This begs an important question. Did the Faithful over the centuries who either never had access to the Bible or had to read it in Latin go to hell because they never held the King James Version in their hands?
By claiming that the King James Version is God’s only chosen version, the KJV Only crowd is dismissing tens of centuries of Christendom and implying that the majority of the world populations today cannot know the truth of God’s word. Such a claim is arrogant and nonsensical. Most of these KJV types proclaim their adherence to “Sola Scriptura” yet nowhere in the King James Version does it tell us which version is the true one. Many of these same people also express their disdain for the”traditions of men” while at the same time swearing allegiance to a tradition that that has been passed down to them since 1611.
The King James Only claim is also deeply and disturbingly ethnocentric because it implies that English speakers have a much better chance of inheriting the Kingdom of God because of their ability to read the KJV. This claim is used to show that God bestowed His special blessing on the West and that we are his Chosen people. I recently heard a KJV only proponent suggest that the best way for non-English speakers to know God’s word was to learn English so that they could read the KJV.
You will find many of these KJV Only pastors leading independent fundamentalist churches. This is not surprising. Such pastors use the KJV to wield control over their congregation by claiming that without it (and also without their personal guidance), the truth of the scriptures cannot be ascertained. The thought of attending another church where some modern “devil-inspired” version is being used is simply out of the question.
I will leave you with one final thought about the King James Only issue. The so called “4ooth Anniversary Edition” of the King James Version that Zondervan printed in 2011 was not as it was claimed an “exact replica” of the 1611 edition. Noticeably absent was the Apocrypha (also referred to as the Deuterocanonicals) which had been included in every printing of the KJV until 1885. Say what you want about the inspiration (or lack thereof) of the Apocrypha but any KJV Onlyist who claims that he is using the 1611 version of the KJV is delusional.
I welcome your comments below. Let’s keep it civil.