King James Only

What is the King James Only controversy?

The King James only controversy is a debate over whether the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible should be the only Bible translation we read and use. There are groups of believers who sincerely believe that God only wants English speaking people to read the King James Version. These proponents of "KJV onlyism" strongly argue that the new translations are not accurate, and even worse, that they are perversions of the true Word of God.

We strongly believe that each and every Christian should pray to the Lord for wisdom (James 1:5) regarding what Bible translation they should use. If a person feels led to use the KJV, they should do so. The King James Version was a superb English Bible translation from the 1600's to the 1900's. We believe that it is still a good Bible translation for today. At the same time, we do not usually recommend the King James Version because of its Old English wording and sentence structure. The KJV simply is not how people read and speak today. The Bible was originally written in Greek and Hebrew, in the current languages of the people of that time. Translations of the Bible should be in the language we speak and read today, not necessarily a 400-year-old version of the language we speak today.

Yes, there are many differences between the King James Version and the newer translations such as the New International Version, the New American Standard, and the New Living Translation. These differences should not be seen as "perversions" of the Bible or attempts to change the Bible. They should be seen as different translations. When translating from one language to another, there are often multiple ways to word the translation. This explains many of the differences. There are also some entire phrases and/or verses "missing" when comparing the King James Version to the newer translations. Why is this? It is not an attempt by the new translations to remove from the Word of God. Rather, it is their best attempt to make sure that nothing has been added to the Bible that was not originally there.

We usually recommend for people to have access to at least two or three of the major translations (KJV, NIV, NAS, NKJV, NLT) to compare. If a verse in one translation seems to be a little confusing, sometimes comparing it side-by-side with another version can make the meaning more clear. No matter what Bible translation we use, we can trust that it is God's Word, and that it will accomplish His purposes (Isaiah 55:11; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; Hebrews 4:12).

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