WRITTEN BY: GEORGE LUJACK
Many Christians believe in the inerrancy and infallibility of the King James Bible as the pure – perfect – preserved word of God for the English-speaking people. This article will discuss the origins of the ‘King James Bible Only’ doctrine, present irrefutable proofs that the King James Bible is not perfectly translated into English, and will declare the King James Bible Only doctrine to be false.
ORIGIN OF THE ‘KING JAMES VERSION BIBLE ONLY’ DOCTRINE
Many persons since the early 1600’s have proclaimed that the English people must read the King James Version Bible ONLY, being that it is the inspired, perfect, preserved, pure word of God for the English-speaking people, and all other English translations are inaccurate and / or inferior. This doctrinal belief originated from King James himself. Bishops of the Church of England, under orders of King James, exercising ‘ecclesiastical authority and jurisdiction’ wrote many articles and promoted the distribution and placement of the Authorized Version of the King James Bible in the English churches and elsewhere. It was King James, through the Church of England, that first introduced the concept that the King James Bible translators were inspired by God and that only the Authorized Version King James Bible was inerrant and infallible.
KING JAMES BIBLE TRANSLATORS WERE COMMISSIONED BY KING JAMES; THEY WERE NOT INSPIRED TRANSLATORS OF GOD
2 TIMOTHY 3:16:
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God…
The Scriptures, given to us in their original Hebrew and Greek languages, are the inspired word of God. The King James Bible is not the original written Scriptures and was not given to us by the inspiration of God, but is a translation of His given inspired word to the English language. God directly inspired the prophets and apostles to write the Scriptures. King James commissioned translators to translate the Scriptures into English.
THE KING JAMES BIBLE IS WRITTEN IN OLD ARCHAIC ENGLISH
There are many Christian ministers that believe that archaic old English is a more godly language than modern English. They like to appear more holy when preaching in the pulpits in old English, saying King James phrases such as, “Thus saith the Lord,” instead of “Thus says the Lord,” or “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name,” instead of “Our Father who is in heaven, Holy is Your name.”
Old English is not a holy language, nor is it any holier than modern English. To believe that old English is the language of God, one is basically worshipping the old English language as being of God. God first communicated to Adam in the garden of Eden, in the language He gave Adam at that time, then later on to Moses in Hebraic. The Scriptures do not record God ever communicating with man in any form of English.
King James Bible Only ministers communicate to their congregations in the confusing old English language in a similar manner that Catholic priests do when conducting their Catholic mass while speaking in Latin. The Catholic congregations are confused, and have no idea of what their priest is saying, because their priest is speaking in a language that they cannot understand. Many Catholics are deceived into believing that Latin is a holy mysterious language that their priest is using to communicate with God. Likewise, King James Bible Only preachers use an old form of English that modern English-speaking persons have difficulty understanding, confusing and deceiving them into believing that old English is the holy language of God.
WORSHIPPING THE KING OF KINGS OR THE KING JAMES BIBLE?
PSALM 12:6-7 (KJV):
The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.
King James Bible Only advocates often cite and misapply Psalm 12:6-7 to uphold their doctrine that God preserved His word perfectly in the King James Bible for the English-speaking people. The words of YHWH (the Lord) were preserved in their original Hebrew and Greek language, from the generation in which they were written, and they will be preserved forever. The Scriptures have been kept, copied exactly word-for-word throughout the generations, in the Hebrew and Greek languages that they were written in, have been preserved to this day, and they will be preserved forever. These verses do not in any way state that the words of the Lord were to be preserved in English, in the King James Bible only.
The King James English Bible was completed in 1611. The King James is a translation of God’s pure words. God’s actual pure words were preserved from the generation in which they were written, not since 1611.
Scripture does not declare that God commanded King James of England to translate His Scriptures or that His word was to be preserved perfectly in English by God-inspired translators commissioned by King James.
The King James Version is not a perfect English translation of the Scriptures, nor is there any perfect English translation. Many terms or words used in the original Scriptures are currently unknown, yet they are part of the original Scriptures. Translators therefore cannot translate words that they do not know, and have often best guessed at translating them in times past.
Many modern English speaking people who use a King James Bible need to use an early modern English dictionary to understand their KJ Bible when casually reading it. The King James Bible is hardly a perfect English translation for modern day English speaking persons.
Although there are numerous minor errors in the King James Bible, there are no errors that are so major as to throw believers off course from God, or cause people to lose their salvation, but to proclaim that the King James Bible is a 100% perfect word-for-word inerrant English translation is a misguided belief and false doctrine. The King James Bible is a good translation, but not perfect.
The King James Bible was not the first Bible published in English. The Geneva Bible was first published in 1560. The King James was later released in 1611. The Geneva Bible was the first Bible taken to America and was used by the Pilgrims and Puritans.
Where in Scripture is it written that the King James Bible is the official God-preserved Bible for the English-speaking people? By what authority, other than the authority of King James, do King James Bible Only advocates proclaim that only the Authorized King James Version Bible is the pure, perfect, and preserved word of God for the English-speaking people? Why the King James and not the Geneva or some other English Bible translation?
THE KING JAMES BIBLE HAS FOUR-FOOTED FOWLS, LEAPING BEETLES, AND UNICORNS
LEVITICUS 11:20-22 (KJV):
All FOWLS that creep, going on all four, shall be an abomination to you. Yet these may ye eat of every flying creeping thing that goeth upon all four, which have legs above their feet, to leap withal upon the earth; Even these of them ye may eat; the locust after his kind, and the bald locust after his kind, and the BEETLE after his kind, and the grasshopper after his kind.
Fowls or birds do not go on four legs or feet. Flying insects have six legs, four of which are used EXCLUSIVELY for walking (or creeping) with two legs that are also used either as hands or for hind leaping legs. The ‘beetle’ is a translation error in the King James Bible. Beetles do not have special jointed hind legs for leaping upon the Earth. Beetles are not the same kind of insects that locusts, bald locusts, and grasshoppers are.
King James Bible Only defenders sometimes cite the click beetle to explain the beetle error translation. It is estimated that there are about 450,000 different types of beetles in the world. Out of all of those beetles, there are a few that can leap. The click beetle, if inverted on its back, can propel itself without using its legs to return to its feet. The click beetle uses elastic energy in its body and releases it abruptly to launch itself in the air.
The insect, mistranslated ‘beetle’ in the King James Bible, and all the related insects after its kind, are described as having special jointed hind jumping legs to leap upon the earth. The click beetle does not have these types of jumping legs. The King James insect mistranslated ‘beetle’ and ALL beetles after their kind’ do not correctly fit the description of the leaping insects of Leviticus 11:21-22. No species of beetle has special jointed hind jumping legs to leap upon the earth.
The four-footed fowls and beetle(s) translation errors in the King James Bible were properly corrected to ‘flying insects’ and ‘cricket(s)’ in the New King James Bible and are listed as flying insects and cricket(s) in most other English translated versions of Scripture.
NUMBERS 23:22 (KJV):
God brought them out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn.*
*See also: Numbers 24:8; Deuteronomy 33:17; Job 39:9-10; Psalm 22:21, 29:6, 92:10; Isaiah 34:7.
King James Bible Only defenders claim that ‘unicorn’ is not a mistranslation. They defend the use of the term unicorn by saying that it is not the mythical horned horse-like creature, but it is instead a rhinoceros.
The problem with that explanation is that it defies the very thing King James Bible Only defenders proclaim; that the King James is the perfect translated word of God for the English-speaking people. Ask any English-speaking person what a unicorn is, even back in 1611, and they would say it is the mythical horned horse-like creature, not a rhino. King James Bible Only defenders must translate unicorn to rhinoceros to uphold their doctrine of the inerrancy of the King James Bible, because unicorn is not a proper English term for a rhino.
The unicorn translation error in the King James Bible is properly translated to an ox or wild ox in the New King James Bible and most other English translations.
There are many other, mostly minor, translation errors in the King James Bible that are far too numerous to list in this article that have been discovered and listed.
KING JAMES BIBLE ONLYISM – A CULT-LIKE FANATICAL BELIEF
King James Bible Only advocates share a cult-like misguided faith with the Roman Catholic Church. King James Bible Only advocates proclaim that the King James Bible commissioned translators were infallible and produced a perfectly translated English version of the Scriptures. The Catholic Church proclaims that their popes throughout the ages have been, and are, infallible. Infallibility and perfection are attributes of God. The original Scriptures, inspired by God, are infallible, as only God is infallible. No translation of man, or any pope or clergyman, is infallible or perfect – as all men err.
King James Only advocates rhetorically ask, “If the King James Version Bible is NOT the perfect translated word of God into English, then what version is?” This is a presumptive question, like asking, “When was the last time you beat your wife?,” to a man who has never harmed his wife. Catholics, when faced with the errors of Catholic teachings, defend their church by asking the same presumptive type question, “If the Catholic Church is not the one true church, then what church is?
There is no true, pure, perfect, preserved English translation of the Holy Scriptures, just as there is no one true apostolic Christian church that the Roman Catholic Church claims to be.
WHAT VERSION OF THE SCRIPTURES SHOULD BELIEVERS USE?
The Jews are God’s chosen people who were given His perfect word. The Tanakh (Old Testament) Scriptures were written in Hebrew and the B’rit Hadashah (New Testament) Scriptures books were written in either Greek or Hebrew, have been copied word-for-word, and have been preserved. Imperfect translators have translated His perfect preserved word into the English language and other languages.
King James translators were neither perfect nor infallible. God did preserve His perfect word, but His perfect word was not perfectly translated to English for the English-speaking people by King James translators. God’s perfect word was also not perfectly translated to the Arabic, Bulgarian, Chinese, Croatian, Dutch, French, German, Hungarian, Indian, Japanese, Korean, Latin, Moldavian, Norwegian, Polish, Russian, Serbian, Spanish, Swedish, Swiss, Turkish, Ukrainian, Vietnamese, Welch, Yemeni, Zulu, or to any other written language of the world.
The King James Bible is a good, but not perfect, translation of the Holy Scriptures. The King James Bible should be used in conjunction and cross-referenced with the New King James Bible, the Halleluyah Scriptures, and other good versions of Scripture when searching for the truth of God’s word.