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KJV Only-ism Comments - 1998
Below are assorted e-mails I have been received in 1998 commenting on the items listed under "KJV Only-ism" at Bible Versions Controversy. The e-mailers comments are in black and enclosed in "greater than" and "lesser than" signs. My comments are in red.
>Just wanted to let you know that I was recently confronted with someone that informed me that my version of the Bible was not inspired by God, and therefore was the Devil's tool. This greatly concerned me, so I've spent the last five hours doing a little research, and discovered that while my translation (NIV) may not be the best for me personally to be using, The King James is not infallible either, and can not be the only "true" translation of the Bible.
Your site was key in helping me reach this conclusion. It was very informative and useful. Thank you for taking the time to put such a site on the net....
I am thankful I could be of help. The KJV-only crowd can be a tough lot, as you're found out. Personally, I think they do more harm than good. You're not the first to e-mail me and tell me about the "trauma" their claims caused. Completely unnecessary, especially saying things like the NIV is "the Devil's tool." I don't prefer the NIV (as my site makes clear) but such language is not needful.
>Dear Gary, Thank you very much for making the fruits of your research available to all on the web, and in such a thorough, logical, and usable format. I have recently become fascinated by "where our Bible came from", and in searching the web for relevant sites, have generally come up with what can only be described as hate-filled KJV-only sites. To say the least, these have left me rather saddened and bewildered (to use a good archaic word :-).<
I agree. It is saddening to see that most sites on Bible versions are "KJV only" type of site.
>Therefore, it was with delight and relief that I stumbled across your site. (I found it by searching for "new king james" using AltaVista). In an afternoon and evening of perusing your site, many issues that had been somewhat vague to me became clear. I had been reading mostly in the NIV Study Bible, but something about it just didn't seem quite right. Besides, I wanted a Bible to simply read on my own for a while - I couldn't really get into the flow of the verse itself because of all the maps and subscripts and superscripts and sidebars and whatnot in the NIV Study Bible (I suppose any Study Bible).<
The NIV Study Bible does have a lot of good info in it; but as you say, if you just want to concentrate on the text itself it does get in the way some. Then again, given the text that is used, maybe that isn't so bad : )
>Luckily, somewhere along the line I had acquired some Bible software with the NKJV on it, and I found it very readable and yet somehow more, well, inspiring. I also liked to think that it had a line of descent from the KJV. But the KJV-only folks condemn the NKJV almost as much as they do the NIV!<
Yes, that has always amazed me. And what will often happen is a person will try reading the KJV, get fed up with it, and then either switch to the NIV or even a less reliable version, or worst of all, give up on bible reading altogether. Meanwhile, there is a reliable and readable alternate, the NKJV, the the KJV only folks simply will not acknowledge.
>So, dutifully brainwashed, I tried reading the KJV, but even as an over-educated, life-long, voracious reader, I couldn't help but get distracted by the archaicisms. Hard enough these days to find quiet time to read the Bible without adding needless stumbling blocks. So tomorrow I'm going to purchase a NKJV, and I'm going to read it, and I'm not going to worry about the satanic emblem on the cover (ha! ha! ha! :-)<
I received several questions in regards to the NKJV symbol; I personally find the KJV only-ists arguments in this regard simply silly, and shows how far they have to reach to "prove" there is something wrong with the NKJV.
>Again, thank you for all your work. I feel that the KJV-only crowd is way over-represented on the web, and can cause a lot of mischief, confusion, and grief, especially among new Christians who just want to settle down with a version that they feel they can trust, but also can read!<
See my comments above. I really bothers me to think about how many people have probably been turned off of Bible reading by the KJV only folks.
Same to you.
>Hi Gary.......Thanks for the well-packed information on the website. Of the position you take regarding KJV vs NKJV, I can't agree with more. Yes: in many cases, we don't really have to choose only one.
Yet, I still have a problem regarding the Nelson logo, you know, the 3 corners sign. The KJV-only friends say the origin of the sign's more agnostic than Christian. I don't know. Since no one's talked about this, the suggestion sticks to the mind.
Can you help? Again, many thanks!
Well, what sticks in my mind is that Thomas Nelson says the Triquetra is an ancient symbol of the Trinity. And if that is what they say it is a symbol of, and why they use it, then I will go with that.
Symbols, like words, can have a variety of meanings. The way to determine what a word or symbol means in a particular context is by, well, context, and by what the person or persons using the symbol or word says they mean by it.
Beyond that, I would say that if complaints about the symbol is the best the KJV only folks can do, well, they must really be stretching.
> Dear Gary, It would seem that one can never satisfy a KJV Only person. As is evident in your recent exchanges on the KJV [KJV Only Arguments].<
Wow, that was quick. I just posted part two of that exchange a couple of hours ago. I guess people really do read the E-mail Exchanges I post on my site. Ive been wondering if it was worth the effort or not. Thanks.
> Proponents of the KJV Only side often change tactics and meaning as one debates with them. it is similar to how an evolutionist will argue with a creationist; they will say evolution and mean one thing (macro-evolution) and then when important and credible arguments are brought up against that point, they will shift and say that evolution means something else (micro-evolution). It seems that KJV Only-ers want their cake and eat it too.
Although the mountain of argument is immense against the KJV only position, it seems to me that the whole nonsense can be dispersed with one argument: If the KJV is the inerrant word of God, and any other version is corrupt, then any version that is in a language other than English is corrupted and not usable. This would be a surprise to many Italians, Germans, Chinese, etc who have read the word in their own language and have become Christians. Since even in the most formal of translations, a word-for-word translation is not possible for 100% of the text, than there could not be a translation of the Bible in any other language but English. A position like this, that a KJV only advocate would have to accept, is nothing less than Anglo-centric, arrogant and quite frankly ignorant to think that God has blessed the English speaking world with his word more so than any other Christian.
"For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him." Romans 10:11,12 KJV
Very good point.
God bless you too.
> Dear Gary, Two more quick points on KJV Onlyism: KJV only people, by asserting that the 1611 KJV is the only word of God, re-inspired in its entirety, must, by default, accept the Apocrypha as inspired since it was part the KJV in 1611 (and after, until what update I don't know - I'm sure you do.). If this is true, then the KJV they are using is "corrupted" because the Apocrypha is not included. In essence, they are breaking their own rules.<
Arthur L. Farstad (NT editor of the NKJV) writes in this regard:
Some devotees of the King James Version are shocked to find out that, like its predecessors, the 1611 Version included the Apocrypha between the Old and New Testaments. But unlike its predecessors, which clearly stated that the apocryphal books were not part of the canon of Scripture, the 1611 Version contained no comments about the canonicity of the Apocrypha, thus leaving the question open. The Puritans requested that tat copies be printed WITHOUT the Apocrypha, but to no avail. In 1615 Archbishop Abbott prohibited the issue of Bibles without the Apocrypha. It was not until 1629 that the King James Bible was available both with and without the Apocrypha.
Compare the above, with one of the predecessors to the KJV, the Geneva Bible of 1560, "The books of the Apocrypha were separated from the Old Testament, with an introduction clearly stating that they were not canonical" (Arthur L. Farstad. The New King James Version in the Great Tradition." Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1993, pp.24,18; emphasis in original).
So it does appear you have a good point.
>Point two: Despite some of the nuttier arguments for the KJV only position, many, many of their arguments are actually quite good and correct, as far as defending preservation of the Word, the correct text to translate from, formal equivalence, etc, etc, all which are excellently articulated at your web site. They shoot themselves in the foot when they argue for inspiration of the KJV alone, and this deflates all of their other sensible arguments.
To use evolutionary debate as an example again, I can argue sensibly against evolution with arguments for special creation, design preceding function, no transitional fossils, etc, I can then blow myself out of the water if I say I believe that an alien in a space ship came to earth and created all life forms. I've now gone over the sensible edge. In essence, the baby gets thrown out with the bath water. Going beyond the bounds of reason will cause all of your arguments, even the reasonable ones, to be discarded by the opponent.<
Be careful as to what use as an example of an "nutty" argument. There are evolutionists (not creationists) who believe life originate in outer space. Though they do not believe it was brought here by an alien in a space ship. They believe an asteroid or comet deposited the "seeds of life" here when it hit earth. This idea gained momentum with the discovery of a supposed Martian rock here on earth with supposedly fossils of life in it.
I discuss these points in the following two articles on my site: Sci-Fi and the Primeval Soup and Martian Life, Evolution, and Creation.
Nevertheless, you main point is well taken. A series of sound arguments can be overshadowed by also adding an unsound one or simply by overstating ones case. I try to avoid making such mistakes in my articles.
>KJV only people should focus on the supremacy of the TR/MT, and then, if they don't like the NKJV, MKJV, LITV or the KJ21, update the KJV to a version they do find acceptable.
You are the second person to write me and say that if the KJV Only people do not like the currently available updates of the KJV; then they should produce one of their one. I will repeat what I said the earlier writer:
All I can say is Amen! Let the KJV only people put their money where there mouth is. But I wouldn't hold your breath. It is a lot easier to rant and rave than to actually produce a Bible translation.
Hi, Gary, ... On my monthly run to your site, I just read over Rick Norris' KJV-Only book reviews. This is a great addition to the site. I appreciated the correspondence at the end, which adds great strength to the article by telling the reader how to verify the facts if they are in doubt.
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