My thoughts on the King James Bible.
I don’t claim to be a scholar when it comes to the Word of God – but I believe every Word of it. I can’t speak Greek or Hebrew or Aramaic (or any other foreign language for that matter), but I can speak English. I can’t read any language except for English. I’ve never taken any classes or sat through any discipleship courses about the Bible – so I guess technically I am unqualified and ignorant in the scholastic sense of this topic.
I’ve never studied the original texts. I’ve never seen the ancient scrolls. But I’ve read history. I’ve talked to hundreds of people. I’ve heard countless sermons. I’ve prayed many earnest prayers. I’ve asked many, many questions – and I’ve received many, many answers supporting both sides of the issue.
I’ve read about Christian martyrs – both in history and in our present day – people who gave their lives defending and hiding the Bible so that we could have it today. In essence, God used the willing and acceptable sacrifice of their lives to preserve His Word down through the ages.
Who am I to place the King James above the original texts – the inspired, perfect Word of God? Without those texts, we would not have the Bible in the English language at all. God breathed the original Scriptures to men who did not speak English – in fact, they spoke several other languages. One cannot honestly place the King James above the original texts – whether we can find them or not.
Do I condemn or look down on people who use other translations of the Bible? No. It is their choice what they read, study, and meditate on. I prefer a Bible that is complete in doctrine. Do I believe that people can be saved if they use other translations than the KJV? Of course; to say otherwise would be very foolish. Salvation is a faith and grace thing (free gift); not a read and do thing (works-based).
Let me take this opportunity to admit that I have struggled with my position on the Word of God. I have wondered if perhaps I am mistaken for believing that one English translation of God’s Word is superior to all the rest. “Surely, the translators had good intentions…”
But good intentions aren’t enough.
I didn’t understand how one group of people could get it “so right” and another group of people get it “so wrong.” I didn’t understand why one set of translators understood it to mean one thing, while another group got something similar, yet so different out of the same job. I didn’t understand how people could take the ancient texts and derive the NIV, NASB, ESB, the Message, NKJV, the Living Bible, the NLT, and a host of others from it. All containing a similar message, but making seemingly slight changes resulting in changed doctrine. I began to question which one got it right…
That’s when I realized that I was going about this the completely wrong way. I’m not going to understand it all. I’m not going to be able to “reason” it into my mind. It’s a faith issue. By faith, I accept and believe the Bible is God’s inspired, holy, perfect, and preserved Word.
I believe the King James Bible is the preserved Word of God for the English-speaking people. Not for the Spanish; not for the Swedish; not for the Jews… but for the English. I believe my God is big enough to do that for His people. Again, I’m not at all fluent in any language other than English, but even I know that things cannot be translated word-for-word from English to another language. There are going to be differences.
Based on my above statement, many people will label me as one of two things: closed-minded or open-minded. I’ll leave that for you to decide. I’m still figuring it out for myself. So be gentle, I’m still learning… and I have a long way to go.
I’m not brain-washed. I’m not compromising my stand by any means. But I want to know more. I want to be able to give an answer for myself, instead of going about it in the “he said, she said” way. That’s why I continuously study this topic; that’s why I’ll keep reading and learning – because I want to dig deeper and know more than I already do. I know I’ve overlooked several points in this post about the matter – it was intentional. This article was not meant to be an exclusive commentary on the Word of God. This is just scratching the surface – my personal and preliminary thoughts and wonders on the matter.
If you have any articles, books, or links that you could share – feel free to do so via the comment box. The same goes for any questions or thoughts you wish to share.