Despite the KJV onlyist’s claims to the contrary, there have been many examples of the errors found in the KJV. Some errors are rather small and insignificant while others are so drastic that they change the very fabric of how we perceive Christianity. Now I’m being a bit dramatic, but there is some truth to that and I’d like a chance to explain why. There is a HUGE error in the KJV, in particular Romans 8:1-2 that I have come to recognize as a belief altering error.
Coincidence or not, we often hear of a strong correlation between KJV only types and some kind of works based righteousness. If you’ve ever attended an Independent Fundamental Baptist church for more then a second you’ve no doubt heard a sermon about how we are to live our lives measured against a certain set of “standards” or rules. Don’t wear this, don’t go here, don’t listen to that, don’t associate with that crowd, don’t drink that, don’t touch those, don’t think about that, etc. and the list goes on.
One of the passages of scripture that drive the KJV only types to these beliefs is Romans 8:1-2. In the KJV this passage reads: 1: There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2: For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. When read on it’s own we can see clearly that there is something extra we need to do to not have “condemnation” “…walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit.”. Clearly we are being taught that we need to manage our behaviors so that we are not catering to the flesh… or are we???
Let me quote that same passage in the NLT 1: So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. 2: For the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you through Christ Jesus from the power of sin that leads to death.” Notice anything different? There’s something missing isn’t there? Well no, in actuality there’s something ADDED to the KJV. It’s the phrase “…who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
So let’s spell this out in a little different way that may make things a little more clear. According the the KJV (and the NKJV) Romans 8:1-2 lists the requirements for having “no condemnation” as “being in Christ” AND “walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit”. According to the NLT (and every other translation except the KJV and NKJV – Hmmmmmm) Roman’s 8:1-2 lists the requirements for having “no condemnation” as “belonging to Christ Jesus.” (Notice the little period at the end? That means there’s nothing else.)
As (I hope) you can clearly see, according to the KJV, we need to do some extra work in order to be found righteous. This is a pretty important concept to get wrong don’t you think? You can’t have it both ways. Either you are found righteous by the atoning work of Christ on the cross, or you are found righteous by the atoning work of Christ AND our behaviors.
I think IFBers recognize this discrepancy and have chosen to try and reason it away by implying that there are a set of standards we need to follow as believers so we don’t “walk according to the flesh”. We obviously can’t have it both ways. It’s either by the work of the Cross or by our works that we are found righteous, but it can’t be both. So to reconcile the difference the IFB has come up with this idea of “standards” for us to follow making “walk not after the flesh” more of a daily check list of do’s and don’ts to help us in our walk with Christ. The problem is that it’s completely unnecessary. It may be something that’s appropriate and even helpful, but because of this it’s completely unnecessary.
To stick with the KJV and ignore other translations can lead to very different set of beliefs about who we are in Christ and what we are to do. The KJV onlyist will argue that this phrase “who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” is left out of the newer translations, but I beg to differ. I believe that it was added to the KJV. Why? I can only speculate. All I know is that the phrase that’s in the KJV and NKJV but no other translations doesn’t really fit in the context and hopefully with this article you can see the danger of ignoring other translations and relying on the KJV only.