The Six Arguments in Defense of KJV Onlyism

Before I launch into addressing the various elements of King James Onlyism, I thought I would begin by first providing an outline of what I believe are the 6 key arguments King James only (KJVO) advocates use to defend their belief that the King James Version, originally published in 1611, is the only Bible that contains the pure, infallible, and inerrant Word of God. These arguments may not be a complete list, but I know I would incorporate them in my apologetics defending KJV onlyism.

I. The Exclusivity Argument:

KJVO advocates begin with the presupposition: The Word of God Alone = The KJV Alone

If this presupposition is true, the reverse will be true as well: the KJV alone can only be God’s Word alone.

God has given us only one Bible, they claim, not a multitude of Bibles. Only the KJV represents God’s Word, thus, any other translation that will alter the reading of the KJV in either updating its language or producing translational revision is in essence changing the Word of God.

II. The Promise Argument:

KJVO advocates claim God has made clear promises to preserve His Word for ever. This promise of preservation is seen in such passages as Psalm 12:7 and Matthew 5:17,18.

This promise of preservation goes beyond just the general message of the Scriptures to the very words. God did not promise He will preserve His Word (singular), but His Words (plural). If not every word God breathed-out is preserved, then we cannot say with certainty that the Scriptures are pure and inerrant.

III. The Textual Argument:

KJVO advocates make the claim that the King James Bible is translated from the best original manuscripts.

The KJV translators used the 1525 Daniel Bomberg, 2nd edition of the Jacob Ben-Chayyim Masoretic text for the Old Testament and the Received Text, originally published by Roman Catholic scholar Desiderius Erasmus, for the New Testament.

These are considered the best original language texts for the following reasons:

1). They represent the majority of ancient, manuscript witnesses.

2). These ancient manuscripts were used consistently and without interruption by God’s believing people.

3). These ancient manuscripts were never lost to the “sea of time” or ever laid aside by God’s people. They were continually copied and re-copied and show signs of being worn out from use, thus indicating the confidence God’s people placed in them as being God’s holy Word.

Yet, on the other hand, the original language texts used to translate modern versions must be rejected for the following reasons:

1). The manuscripts utilized by modern translations are few and represent the minority of witnesses.

2). Those manuscripts have their origin in and around Alexandria, Egypt, an area known for false teaching.

3). The manuscripts utilized by modern translations are in pristine condition, indicating they were never used by God’s people.

4). Those manuscripts give the appearance they were altered or corrupted by heretical men who desired to undermine Christian doctrine.

IV. The Purity Argument:

God’s Word, based upon Psalm 12:6,7, has gone through a seven-fold purification process in the English language. Beginning with Wycliff’s Lollard translations, then Tyndale’s Bible, Coverdale’s Bible, Matthew’s Bible, the Geneva Bible, the Bishop’s Bible and then the King James Bible, or Authorized Version.

This providentially guided process certified the purity of God’s Word as He divinely guided the translators to burn off any dross by their continual translation. The King James represents the culmination of purity. (It should be noted that the “seven-fold” list is not standard and differs among KJVO advocates).

V. The Scholarship Argument:

The King James was translated by the greatest textual scholars in all of Church History. All of the men who helped to translate the King James Bible were the world’s experts in the fields of biblical languages and theology. God specifically directed these men by divine providence to use their expertise so as to provide His people with the best translation that represents His holy Word.

VI. The Historical Argument:

The King James Bible demonstrates God’s hand of blessing by how it has impacted world history.

1). The forerunner English translations (along with the original language texts used in translating the KJV) where all instrumental in the shaping of the Reformation led by Martin Luther, John Calvin, and John Knox.

2). It was the translation carried to the new world by the Pilgrims and Puritans

3). It was the translation utilized in the preaching of the two Great Awakenings in America. Both Jonathan Edwards and George Whitfield used the KJV when they preached.

4). It was the translation carried around the world in the great missionary endeavors of the 18th and 19th centuries.

5). All of the wonderful Christian literature published in the 1600s by the Puritans and Baptists used the KJV.

Now as my series progresses, I hope to draw my posts around the claims put forth in these 6 arguments. They will help us frame the discussion in a more cohesive manner.

When I presented my KJV series in spoken format, I wedged an historical overview of the development of KJV onlyism in between my testimony and the introduction to these arguments. To save a little time, I would encourage readers to take a look at Doug Kutilek’s article, The Unlearned Men, that provides a good summary background to the origins of KJV onlyism being founded upon the writings of a 7th Day Adventist by the name of Benjamin Wilkinson.

Wilkinson did not like the new Revised Version because it changed some of his pet, Adventist verses and so he responded by writing one of the first ever books defending the idea the King James Bible was God’s final authority. He was also the first person to libel the character of Westcott and Hort as being liberal, Bible correcting heretics.

Now as an addendum, I should point out a handful of KJVO advocates who claim the Wilkinson connection is bunk. Fundamentalist, David Cloud, for example, wrote a lengthy article allegedly refuting the assertion that modern era KJVO apologetics have their origin with a 7th Day Adventist cultist.  His refutation is a bit of a stretch, however, because the men he claims are pre-Wilkinson KJVO advocates are better understood as TR advocates or anti-revisionist advocates.  Those men upheld the KJV, not because they believed it was the final, preserved Word of God, but because they opposed the publication of a newer translation that did not have as its text base, the Received Text.

As I have argued elsewhere, in order to refute the connection between Wilkinson and KJV onlyism, KJVO apologists need to identify and document pre-Wilkinson equivalents to such KJVO individuals like Sam Gipp, Peter Ruckman, and Gail Riplinger. Individuals who affirm three presuppositions as I noted,

1) They defend what I term inerrant translational exclusivity, or the concept God’s perfect, preserved revelation is found only in one, biblical translation, the KJV 1611.

2) The notion of two lines of Bibles: a preserved line of good Bibles that culminates in the publication of the KJV, as opposed to a corrupted line of bad Bibles that culminates in the modern “perversions.”

3) And who would refuse any meaningful revision of the KJV text, claiming the KJV reading is infallible and never in need of being corrected. For example, an 18th and 19th century scholar who insisted the word “easter” as it is rendered by the KJV at Acts 12:4, is the inspired reading and to revise the text to correctly read “passover” places an error onto the biblical text. See my paper on this subject here.

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18 thoughts on “The Six Arguments in Defense of KJV Onlyism

  1. Pingback: Answering the Claims of KJV-Onlyism | hipandthigh

  2. Pingback: hipandthigh

  3. Fred, thanks for re-posting this series. It was informative and helpful the first time I read through it as I encountered KJVO advocates for the first time. And I find that is equally helpful now as I consider the many idols that rise up in the lives of believers as we seek after God.

  4. So your going to base your refutation on an association fallacy.

    How about this: the counter-Reformation Jesuits set out to undermine Protestant faith in the word of God by putting forth competing manuscripts (what your new versions are based on today) and thus attempt to turn Protestants away from the word of God to rely on the word of man (the Romanist Magisterium and Pope).

  5. So your going to base your refutation on an association fallacy.

    Explain what you mean by “association” fallacy? Not sure how you are seeing that?

    How about this: the counter-Reformation Jesuits set out to undermine Protestant faith in the word of God by putting forth competing manuscripts (what your new versions are based on today) and thus attempt to turn Protestants away from the word of God to rely on the word of man (the Romanist Magisterium and Pope).

    And your historical proof for such a tin-foil hat conspiracy is….?

  6. “Explain what you mean by “association” fallacy?”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Association_fallacy

    The latter point I made would be an example of what you are proposing to do. Only I daresay there’s a nugget of truth in my association of the Counter Reformation with your Critical Text bibles. Take it or leave it, but don’t complain when the same weapon is shot at you that you are shooting at others.

  7. Come on. Explain where you see an “association fallacy” in this post. I think you are confused about your charge.

    Again, you have to demonstrate at what point and when the Jesuits introduced bogus texts that became the “critical text.” At this point, all you are doing is spouting typical KJVO revisionist propaganda.

  8. Your Seventh Day Adventist fellow. Are you engaging in disingenuous bewilderment?

  9. I’m bewildered because you are being vague and non-specific.

    But let me grant your premise: that there is some “association fallacy” by highlighting that the key talking points of KJV Onlyism have their origin with a Seventh Day Adventist, well then, go prove I’m wrong.

    Note that I stated in the post that David Cloud and a few other modern day KJV Onlyists attempt to defeat that “association” but can you list any traditional text apologist before Wilkinson who taught those three items I noted at that conclusion of my article? If you can, please list them and I’ll attempt to research them out. Certainly there were Baptists and Anglican’s who favored the KJV over the Revised Version, but they were not arguing for translational exclusivity or claiming a Jesuit conspiracy was afoot to dissuade the use of the KJV.

  10. You move the goal posts to isolate what you label KJO defenders of the Traditional Text from the Reformation and the reformers who fought that battle and won. Obviously you have to do this. Fallacy upon fallacy. Without them your job would be a bit overwhelming.

  11. You then want to throw words like ‘whacky’ around at any mention of Counter Reformation tactics by the Roman Catholic Church involving biblical manuscripts, while at the same time you brush off all the ‘whackiness’ associated with your sainted scholars involved in the Critical Text movement. You get away with this for one reason: you are standing with the world. You are standing on the side of the majority. You are going with the easy current of the world. You have that comfort and ease. When you do this you can mock the other side and feel secure at every step.

  12. Ah yes. The old “moving the goalposts” accusation. The claim that I am ignorant of counter-Reformation tactics allegedly involving textual criticism is especially precious, too,seeing that the translators of all the major English translations from the period of the Reformation had to depend upon the edited text of a Roman Catholic priest in order to translate

    Maybe you are right there. The KJVO view is a devious work of Jesuits to cause Christians to have a muddled understanding of God’s preservation of His word.

  13. “The claim that I am ignorant of counter-Reformation tactics allegedly involving textual criticism is especially precious, too,seeing that the translators of all the major English translations from the period of the Reformation had to depend upon the edited text of a Roman Catholic priest in order to translate”

    This is just an intellectually silly statement.

  14. Pingback: The Exclusivity Argument [1] | hipandthigh

  15. This is just an intellectually silly statement.

    Seriously? Explain how? You come here making these challenges about what I wrote, say they are intellectually silly and filled with association errors, but then you don’t demonstrate your claim. If you are going to charge me with being intellectually silly and whatnot, then you need to show how that is happening in light of what I have written in response to your equally intellectually silly arguments.

  16. Pingback: The Exclusivity Argument [2] | hipandthigh

  17. Reblogged this on iconobaptist and commented:
    Wading into some writings on the history of Bible translation and how some people came to the conclusion that using any version other than the King James version is a sin! Interesting.

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