Sunday, April 1, 2007

Points of Contention with King James Version Onlyism

1. While the New Testament of the King James Version was translated from the Textus Receptus, being the most extant transcripts available at the time, the translation was still originally commissioned approximately 34 decades prior to the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, which now are the most extant transcripts available.

The translation has a number of editions including 1611, 1629, 1638, 1762, and 1769. So which of these years did the KJV become the ­­only Word of God in English? Let's not forget that the KJV originally included the Apocrypha as well.

While it is true that no original manuscripts are still in existence, this most reasonably leaves the practice of textual criticism rather than historical criticism to be preferred.

The Textus Receptus came from Erasmus, a Roman Catholic (some sources say to his dying day), who did not have a complete copy of the book of Revelation. He reverse translated verses in the book from the Latin Vulgate back into Greek, as well as adjusted texts in many places to mirror the Latin Vulgate. Additionally, he hastily rushed the composition to please his publisher which created a plethora of typographical errors.

While the Latin Vulgate is not a good resource to use for translation, as it is not an original Biblical language (and would thus produce a translation of a translation), the principle of translation used by Jerome, that is to bring the Scriptures into the common language of the people (Latin of the Roman Empire), is a commendable one. This principal of translation was shared by Jerome (Latin), Luther (German), Tyndale (English) and contemporary Bible translators. It is that very principal that the Roman Catholic Church corrupted in removing the availability of the Scriptures from the laiety in order to pervert them to their own means.

While the KJV is a viable formal equivalence of its day, it is not the best available formal equivalence with the exacting nature of such translations as the NASB. While the studious Bible reader can gain an understanding of the King’s English, it was a short-lived dialect and has not been the modern English language for hundreds of years.

These 6 points are not a dismissal of the KJV Bible translation, rather, they are a dismissal of the notion that the KJV is the only acceptable translation in English. While tradition and aged authority may predispose one to the preference of the KJV, to claim that it alone stands as the Word of God isn't just an example of poor scholarship, but borderline cultic. It is not the translation that is important, but the transmission of the message of the original manuscripts.

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