Theological Positions I Don’t Understand, Part 1

“The King James Bible is the ONLY Inerrant Bible”

There are several theological positions held by Christians that make no sense to me.  This is the first in a series exploring these beliefs. I am NOT arguing that these beliefs are necessarily wrong – I’m just raising questions for which I have not been able to find a reasonable explanation.  If a good explanation exists, I’d love to see it.

There are a number of Christians who hold to the “King James Only” position – the belief that the King James Bible is the only Bible that should be used.  There are two main versions of this position:

  1. The King James Bible is the only Bible that should be used, because it is the best translation.
  2. The King James Bible is the only Bible that should be used, because it is the only inerrant translation.

The first position is less difficult to me, because it is largely an opinion.  Such a position does not exclude all other translations, nor claim inerrancy for the King James Bible.

The second position is quite problematic.  There are two imbedded claims that need to be evaluated:

  1. The King James Bible is inerrant.  It contains no errors.
  2. No other English Bible is inerrant.  All other translations contain errors.

The second claim follows logically, IF the first claim is true.  There are differences between the King James Bible and all other translations, so if the King James is inerrant, then the others must contain errors.  Every argument I have ever seen defending the “King James is the only inerrant Bible” position focuses almost completely on this point.

The first claim, that the King James is inerrant, is a claim for which I have never found a cogent explanation.

I don’t understand:

  1. There are several different texts used in Bible translation.  How do we know the texts upon which the King James was based are inerrant?
  2. How can any translation be inerrant, since we don’t know what some Hebrew and Greek words used in the Bible actually mean?  How could they have been translated correctly?  For example, the Hebrew word תיבת or teiveh only appears twice in the Old Testament.  It is the word for Noah’s ark, and the word for Moses’ baby basket.  Nobody knows exactly what it means, though.
  3. A related problem is that there are many Hebrew and Greek words for which we do know the meaning, but there is no corresponding English word with exactly the same meaning.  How can any translation in any language be inerrant?
  4. Even if it were possible to have a perfect, inerrant translation – how do we know it’s the King James?
  5. Even if the King James Bible was inerrant in 1611, when it was written, how can it be inerrant now, since the English language has changed so much in the last 400 years?  Many English words do not mean the same thing in today’s English as they did in 1611 English.

I’ve looked for a cogent explanation supporting the “King James is the only inerrant Bible” position, but have yet to find one.  Every argument I’ve seen is either completely arbitrary or entirely circular.  If any of my readers can point me to a logically sound explanation detailing why the King James Bible is inerrant, I’d love to see it.

In the meantime, I’ll continue to file this under, “Theological Positions I Don’t Understand.”

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3 Responses

  1. I have a few more questions for trutherator. I have been trying to find a logical explanation justifying the KJBO position for a long time, and your explanation is a bit different than others I have studied.

    Your answer to my first three questions boils down to the belief that the KJV was essentially re-inspired, and is not dependent on the inerrancy of the Textus Receptus or the translation process. If I understand your argument, you believe the original autographs were inerrant, but the originals no longer exist. Therefore, God inspired the KJV to replace the originals as the only inerrant Bible. Is this correct?

    This is a new concept to me, one that I would like to have further explained.

    You correctly stated, “While we’re into this one, keep in mind that the modern translators have absolutely no Biblical basis whatsoever to say that God cannot have inspired a translation for modern times. None.” My question : What Biblical basis is there that God DID inspire an inerrant modern translation?

    You refer to Psalm 12:6-7 (not Psalm 12:8):
    6The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.
    7Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.
    I understand that this verse (and others) tell us that God’s Word is eternal, and can never be changed, altered, or corrupted. Yet, if I understand you correctly, it WAS corrupted, from the time the original autographs disappeared, until the KJV was completed. If this is true, then logically Psalm 12:6-7 cannot be referring to the written Bible, but to something else. If your understanding of Psalm 12:6-7 is correct, then how do you explain the “gap” in inerrant Bibles between the original autographs and the KJV?

    You also indirectly refer to 1 Corinthians 14:33:
    33For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.
    In context, this verse is referring to confusion during corporate worship and meeting, not to different Bible translations. It seems that you are pulling this verse out of context to make your point. I’m not saying you’re wrong, just that this verse is a weak support in context.

    To go from Psalm 12:6-7 and 1 Corinthians 14:33 to the conclusion that the KJV is inerrant seems like a tremendous leap in logic. Are there other passages that support this view, or can you further explain how you conclude from Psalm 12:6-7 that the KJV is inerrant? How do you logically get from “Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever” to the belief that the KJV is the fulfillment of this verse?

    And, on a side note, I completely agree with you that behemoth was a dinosaur – probably a sauropod.

  2. Taking one thing at a time:
    Q: Reinspiration:
    The original autographs not only do not exist, but in Jeremiah we see that the first one dictated direct from God was destroyed, and God had Jeremiah put pen to paper again. “Re-inspired”. I don’t know if I would use the word “re-inspired”, but, based on promises in the Word about God’s Word, as a listed, we must look for one standard for God’s word down to jot and tittle. Jesus wasn’t talking about the literal marks in Hebrew but it is an obvious expression that points to the most minute nuances of meaning in God’s Word. So Jesus himself promised the most fine-tuned micro-sized piece of meaning in his word would not be lost.

    A: The only candidate that jumps to the front of the line quick is the KJB, for other reasons as well.

    Q: “What Biblical basis is there that God DID inspire an inerrant modern translation?”

    A: See the previous answer to see that God will not leave us without His Word and He will preserve it. Forever. Since the “original language” tsext is gone, there has to be something.

    Q:Yet, if I understand you correctly, it WAS corrupted, from the time the original autographs disappeared, until the KJV was completed

    A: You did not understand correctly. Nothing I said meant that there was no source for God’s word extant before the KJB, but quite the contrary, logically, as you did understand correctly. But I did not live then and so do not know. I suspect there was something somewhere (from the promises) but that (1) the knowledge of it, I suspect, had diffused, and (2) God had some greater thing to prepare for the last days, and (3) considering the following.

    There was a time during the kings of Israel that their scripture, the book of the Law, had disappeared from everywhere, destroyed by a wicked king. But in remodeling a copy was discovered hidden in a wall of the temple, a priest brought it to the king, and he had the land repent with trembling and so it was preserved.

    Q: 1 Corinthians 14:33:
    33For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. In context, this verse is referring to confusion during corporate worship and meeting, not to different Bible translations.

    A: Of course absolutely I know what the verse was referring to, but –in context, mind you– it refers to the fact that God is not the author of confusion. It was a reference to the gift of interpretation and prophecy being more to be sought than of tongues that no one understands, and so there is a parallel for the subject of interpretation.

    So God is not the author of the confusion of “translations” we have today, which are “interpretations” of the Biblical languages.

    Why would God have us so confused? Some claim God guides them in their study but then why trust in man in the first place whose breath is in his nostrils, especially when they graduate from ungodly schools of today’s world, including so many “cementeries of faith” that used to be seminaries?

    Q: To go from Psalm 12:6-7 and 1 Corinthians 14:33 to the conclusion that the KJV is inerrant seems like a tremendous leap in logic.

    A: Seems like because we’ve been led to believe that God can have so many versions of his word. If not the KJB, then what? And I’ve heard probably a hundred times more criticisms of the KJB than you because I’m in the middle of discussions on it, others more than me, and they all fall down.

    God has one standard, one Bible, that’s according to his word. From there it’s consider the fruits, internal consistency, all the characteristics you would expect from the Word. There are many, lots of them. Just one more example is that the KJB, even with its formal equivalency standard and all, is much more given to memorization because of the cadence in the reading of it.

    If you listen to Alexander Scorby’s reading of the KJB, you can feel the anointing because he is like a channel for the Word, but that’s also because the KJB is given to inspire.

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