KJV-Only: The Exclusivity Argument

One of the fundamental assumptions of my book, What’s in a Version? is that the Bible should and can be available in any language. Thus the initial chapter starts by asking just what questions onbe might ask if one was deciding how to produce a translation for people who don’t have one.

Advocates of the KJV-Only position, however, argue for exclusivity, i.e. the KJV is the one and only form in which we have the true Word of God. In any argument with them, one comes back to this point. A particular reading or translation cannot possibly be right. Why? Because it’s not what the KJV says.

Fred Butler at Fred’s Bible Talk claims this is the most fundamental argument of the KJV-Only position, and all the other arguments come back to it.

He takes a lot more time with this than I would. In fact, in my book I didn’t bother with the KJV at all. But I think he’s right. He’s also right about the implications. If one follows this argument to it’s logical conclusion, it means that almost all Christians at all times have not had the real Word of God available to them. It also means that those who don’t speak English must either go without or must learn English.

In any case, it’s an interesting article for those who want to take time on this issue.

Debating the KJV and Textual Theories

Erik DiVietro suggests respect and coexistence.  While I commend his effort, not to mention his various posts, which are both informative and respectful, I think this is a topic that will always get heated.  The KJV Only position, and those that are perceived to be close to it will tend to bring out a great deal of heat.

On a related matter I’d suggest a bit better distinction from folks on my side between the KJV-Only position, and the various related positions regarding the New Testament text, such as the TR best or Majority Text, or Byzantine text positions.  While I’m solidly committed to the eclectic approach myself, there is a very large difference between a KJV-Only position and these more nuanced approaches.