The Problem With KJV Onlyism

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.




9 thoughts on “The Problem With KJV Onlyism

  1. Discussion (and civil, at that) is indeed needed on the subject! My maternal progenitor, Rev. Lawrence Saunders (Fox’s Book of the Martyrs) was burned at the stake for Protestantism by Queen Mary a full 56 years before my paternal progenitor, Robert Barker, was awarded knighhood by King James for printing the first KJV. I tend to believe grandad Barker would have insisted that Reformation pioneers such as grandad Saunders were fully saved–even though none of them had ever seen a KJV!

  2. Many of the false doctrines , i.e., eternal torment, spiritual death, substitutionary atonement, etc, are all founded on KJV interpretations. While the Version is poetic and reasonably accurate, it fails greatly to provide the value of a study source. It is too corrupted with interpretations instead of translation.

    A sectarian spirit is emblematically displayed in this heretical group. Undoubtedly the larger portion of its adherents are fellow saints, nevertheless the works done under the influence of that spirit will provide little in the way of praise from the One Who will one day mount His dais and requite the believers for the things He achieved in them in this life.

      1. The Concordant Literal New Testament. Other than changes of idiomatic expression, it renders each Greek word with one English equivalent, thereby scientifically avoiding interpretation of any passage. Because of this method of translation, it can sometimes read in an odd way, since certain Greek words have no common or modern word that is comparable. It was compiled over many years through the cooperation and vetting of many scholars here and abroad, and reviewed extensively by peers and foes alike. It is available at the Concordant Publishing Concern or Amazon online. I also recommend the Interlinear Scripture Analyzer at Scripture4all freely available online as a program download. It is a very valuable tool for study and can quickly guide the student to any passage in the KJV, CLNT, or the YLT, along with the Strong’s Concordance in its program. Very useful.

    1. Philip Nickel, eternal torment and substitutionary atonement is clearly taught in all versions of the bible and they are the truth. If you reject Christ you will eventually be cast into the lake of fire which is eternal torment (Revelation 14). Christ died for our sins…if Christ did not die for you (substitute)…for your sins…then you too will die in your sins. That is a clear teaching that you cannot reject and say that you are Christian.

  3. My go-to version in English is the English Standard Version (ESV). It has its flaws like any other version but it does pretty well for all it does have them. I have the Concordant Greek Text edition and it is pretty good. However, some folks may have some trouble with its universalist bias, though I don’t. I am personally of the view that the best purchases a serious student of the Bible can make are Jay Green’s Interlinear and Benjamin Wilson’s Emphatic Diaglott, another interlinear edition. Since Green uses the Revised Text for the New Testament one is better off using Wilson’s for the New Testament which uses Griesbach’s Text. I have both of them sitting on my desk and in my computer program.

  4. There are blatant scribal errors in the AV [ Authorised Version, erstwhile name of the KJV ].
    Dr. Luke’s Praxis Apostolon [ Acts of the Apostle ] says in one citation that “… they waited until after EASTER to ….” [ whereas the original Greek says Pascha and translates as passover in english].
    Also . . . 1 John 5:7-8 has a classically erroneous text which did not appear in the oldest and best Greek codices :

    KJV rendering :
    “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.”

    NewAmericanStandardBible Revised
    “So there are three that testify, the Spirit, the water, and the blood, and the three are of one accord.”

    Comment: The KJV is superb Theology. It is 100% true, and supports Trinitarian doctrine.
    Sadly, it doesn’t appear in the oldest and best Greek manuscripts [ most were not available in 1604-1611 ].

  5. What has been said about Westcott and Hort is true and the modern bible versions do use a different greek text to that used by the King James Bible. The King James Bible is the best translation of the bible into English…even though the more modern versions do use a “modern” English. HOWEVER, the problem with the KJV only group is that they will refuse to update the Archaic English to a more modern English that the people of today can readily understand.

    If Jesus appeared today he would not speak to English people in Archaic Shakespearean English but he would speak clearly in a language that could be understood. So I agree that the modern versions are using a questionable Greek text which does plainly remove the deity of Jesus and in some cases is seeking to remove the blood sacrifice…this can be proved by just simple comparison.

    However, at the same time a cannot, and will not, agree with the snobbery that we must leave the word “canst” and “wot” to name two words in the KJV that can easily be written today as “can” and “know” which is much more clear. By holding onto the elitist snobbery of Shakespeare we have deprived a generation of knowing the full word of God in plain English.

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