In defense of the KJV, many people write to me to defend it as a “perfectly preserved Word of God”. The argument usually goes something like this:
I believe that the KJV is God’s perfectly preserved Word for Christians today. God must have preserved His Word PERFECTLY because He promised in His word that He would preserve His word – see Psalm 12:6-7, Psalm 119:89, Isaiah 40:8, 1 Peter 1:25, Matthew 5:18, Matthew 24:35 and John 7:17. If there is not a perfect bible then we cannot be sure that everything in the bible is true. Thus if we cannot be sure every thing in the bible is true then our faith could be something that is false and therefore our faith would be in vain.
If God is perfect and if God kept his promise to preserve his word then the bible we have today is perfect. I believe God is perfect and I believe God has kept His promise and therefore I believe we have the “perfect” Word of God today. Since the KJV is the oldest and most used version it must be the version that God has preserved for us today.
Despite asking everyone who’s approached me with this to prove, using scripture, that God would preserve His Word via the KJV, no one has yet to do so. People only respond with something like:
Well I believe this by faith.
The KJV is the oldest version and based on the oldest manuscripts so it must be the one God has chosen to be the perfect preserved Word of God for us today.
God promised in Psalm 12:6-7, Psalm 119:89, Isaiah 40:8, 1 Peter 1:25, Matthew 5:18, Matthew 24:35 and John 7:17 that He would preserve His word.
Newer versions leave out verses and are very different from the KJV so they must be wrong.
In doing a proper hermeneutical exegesis of scripture you will find that the KJV doesn’t differ all that much from other translations. What’s more, of the differences that are apparent, I have yet to find one that affects the core theology (absolutes) that Christians base our beliefs on. As such, I believe they are all trustworthy. God promised to “preserve his Word”, but he didn’t tell us how he planned to accomplish that. To conclude that he promised to do that via the KJV is fallacious and not supported in scripture.
In the same vein, we don’t know exactly what God meant by “I will preserve my Word”. It’s important to make the distinction about what is meant by God’s “words”. This essentially has two meanings. In today’s Christian circles, “God’s Word” is typically taken to mean what we know of as the Bible or the “Word of God”. But God’s words can also mean his promises. Many of the advocates of this idea of a perfectly preserved Word of God make the argument that God’s words represent the Word of God or the Bible since that is the context in which they teach this.
As such, this is a good example of where the KJV is wrong. When the Bible talks about God’s word – especially in the two passages that are most often associated with this belief (Psalm 12:6-7 and Matthew 24:35) – it is talking about literally God’s word or God’s promises, NOT the Bible as we know of it today. It’s similar to our phrase “you have my word on that”. It means God’s promises NOT the “Word of God” or the Bible. The bible wasn’t assembled, as it is for Christians today, during the times that those verses were written. We refer to the Bible as the “Word of God” but when those verses were written that phraseology wasn’t used so to interpret “God’s words” at the Bible or the Word of God is incorrect translation. (by the way the NLT among others properly translate those verses as God’s promises).
But lets say for argument’s sake that God did promised to preserve the “Word of God” (the Bible). God may have promised to preserve his Word, but he never told us how he would accomplish that promise. One thing is for sure, he did not promise to preserve his words by using only the KJV (if this is in the Bible somewhere I have yet to see it). To think that the KJV is the preserved Word of God simply because God promised to preserve his Word is nothing more than mere speculation and hearsay.
Psalm 12:6-7 is about God keeping his promises, it has nothing to do with the preservation of the Bible. Matthew 24:35 says that God’s words will never pass away not that God will perfectly preserve his word through the use of the KJV. These advocates of a perfectly preserved Bible are taking those verses and twisting them so that they fit this agenda. The use of those verses to support the argument is manipulative at best and heretical at worst.
The IFB also typically uses Matthew 5:18 to teach that the KJV is the “Preserved Word of God” because verse 18 reads: “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot nor one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled” (KJV). I was also taught growing up that this verse means that the Lord will preserve His Word in the form of the KJV. The message was that other versions of the Bible added or subtracted or changed things in the Word of God and since the Lord tells us that “one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law” then the KJV MUST be the only version we are to use.
With just a little investigation and logic we can see that this is completely false and a severe twisting of scripture. First of all this verse is talking about the law, NOT versions of the Bible. Secondly, it isn’t our responsibility to preserve God’s Word. The Lord said that He would take care of that. Finally, as noted above, we know that the KJV has gone through many changes because of poor translations. Even if Matthew 5:18 did apply to Bible versions the KJV wouldn’t be the preserved version since it has errors.
Someone recently wrote to me and asserted the following for my consideration:
I agree that we do NOT have the originals. My understanding of what you are saying is that there is no perfect bible in existence today. If that is true then that is a huge problem! If we do not have a “perfect” bible then how do we know what parts are correct and what parts aren’t? If we have no Perfect Bibles then God Lied!! If God lied then He cannot be trusted and we have no reason to believe anything any version of the bible says.
We know which parts are correct and what parts aren’t (or at least may not be) by the proper exegesis and hermenutical study of scriptures, culture, history and original language. It’s really not that difficult to understand. It’s been estimated that the current bible we have is about 98% accurate and of the inaccuracies (or questionable accuracies) none of them are related to the core theology (the gospel) of scriptures. They are all related to parts of the the bible that do not affect core doctrine.
This nicely addresses the issue of trust in scriptures. The question then arises, can we have a Bible that isn’t 100% perfect yet still trust what God says? The answer is yes, absolutely. We don’t have a perfect bible in existence today, that’s not my belief that’s a fact. We don’t have a perfect bible. Even the KJV has mistakes and contradictions. They are listed on my site. It’s highly improbable that we have a perfect bible because of the history of bible translations and even if we did it’s certainly not the KJV.
I don’t think it’s logical to assert that “God must have preserved His Word PERFECTLY or our faith is in vain“. I don’t understand that reasoning. Our salvation isn’t dependent on having a perfect bible. It’s only dependent on the atoning work of the cross. If the scriptures we use today are 95% accurate than we can still trust it and trust that God will lead us to salvation despite not having a perfectly preserved Bible.
Finally, further study of the other passages shows us that even with a bible that isn’t 100% perfect, God didn’t lie. Psalm 119:89 “For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven“, Isaiah 40:8 “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever“, 1 Peter 1:25 “But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you“.
These verses aren’t telling us that God will perfectly preserve scriptures for us. They are a promise that his word (promises) and scriptures will stand the test of time and remain relevant throughout time. These are an issue of relevancy NOT of perfect preservation. It’s a bit of a stretch to assume that these verses mean that God will preserve the scriptures perfectly and an even greater stretch to assume that He will do that via the KJV.
1 Peter 1:25 is a direct quote of Isaiah 40:8. Isaiah uses the Hebrew term “`amad” which is translated “to last” or “to endure” which is why we see in 1 Peter 1:25 the use of the Greek verb “meno” which is also correctly translated “endure” and has the meaning “to last” or “to endure”. This means that God’s not promising to perfectly preserve the scriptures via the KJV, but that he simply promises that his Word (the scriptures) will last forever – nothing more. To teach that these verses prove that God will preserve the scriptures perfectly via the KJV is a severe and laughable twisting of scripture to support a KJV only belief.
So my offer still stands for anyone who want’s to accept it. If you can prove by using the Bible that God promised to preserve either the “Word of God”/the Bible or even God’s word/promises, by way of the KJV I will retract all my KJV articles and replace them with articles promoting KJV onlyism. I first issued that challenge about 10 years ago. I’m still waiting.