Wednesday, August 1, 2007

The KJV-Only Debate

Growing up, I was given King James Version bibles from the moment I could read. According to my grandpa, it was the only inspired version. (He had come to this conclusion, of course, after studying with the NASB and other versions for YEARS... but I digress.) As I got closer to the teenage years, I began using other translations for my personal study, and found it so personally enriching. Suddenly, I didn't have to rely on a memory of what a word meant... the words used in these newer versions ACTUALLY spoke to my heart. Anyway, my grandpa still believes this. And has left many a church over any deviation from this belief. And he's not the only one; there are still many people who believe this. And they split and leave churches over this conviction.

When someone asked me recently what I thought of KJV-only conviction (not as a personal preference for reading, but the belief that it is the only "inspired" translation), and how one should respond to relatives or friends who espouse this belief, this is what I wrote, and I wanted to share it with you lovely folks and get your views and allow you to add any additional points I may have missed.

There is one simple way (in my mind) to put such arguments to rest:

Simply ask your well-intentioned relatives if they really think that everyone should be reading the KJV, does that include converts in Mongolia? What about in remote parts of North Africa? What about in the jungles of Peru? And in the Pacific islands?

Does one really have to know not only English, but Old English, in order to come to faith and be pleasing to God? And if not, why not? Because they wouldn't understand it? HMMMM....

And then what if the situation were reversed? If some Tajik from Tajikistan came to America and moved to your neighborhood, saying that the only way to know God was to learn 15th century Tajik and read one particular manuscript, and that even an English translation (that you could understand) wasn't good enough, what would you think of the power of that book or manuscript? What would you think of his God? I bet you'd never bother.

When you put the whole KJV only thing in the global context, it's patently absurd.
What say you, dear friends and fellow bloggers? I'm not asking if it's OK to use the KJV for personal reading, as an individual preference. I'm specifically talking about the conviction that the KJV is the only inspired version of the Bible. Thoughts or comments?


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