The King James Only Controversy

How the Bible Came to Us
The King James Only Controversy
Text Types for Different English
Latin – 150 AD
West Med
Syriac – c. 150 AD
Coptic – 200 AD
Douai (1610)
KJV (1611)
ERV (1881)
ASV (1901)
A Good Quote on the KJV
• “It is probable...that our Authorized Version is
as faithful a representation of the original
Scriptures as could have been formed at that
period. But when we consider the immense
accession that has been made, both to our
critical and philological apparatus; when we
consider that the most important sources of
intelligence for the interpretation of the
original Scriptures were likewise opened after
that period, we cannot possibly pretend that
our Authorized Version does not require
emendment” (Herbert March, Lady Margaret
Professor of Divinity at Cambridge and later
Bishop of Peterborough, as cited in Wegner,
p. 314).
A Quote from the Preface to the
AV 1611
• “Truly, (good Christian Reader) we never
thought from the beginning, that we should
need to make a new Translation, nor yet to
make of a bad one a good one...but to make
a good one better, or out of many good ones,
one principal good one, not justly to be
excepted against; that has been our
endeavor, that our mark” (as cited in The
King James Only Controversy by James R.
White, p. 74).
• Ironically, the AV translators were facing the
same criticism as translators of more recent
versions today!
The Spectrum of KJV Only
• Group #1 – “I like the KJV best”
– Believes that the KJV is the best single
English translation available today, but
would not deny the possibility of a better
translation being made.
• Group #2 – “The Textual Argument”
– Believes that the Greek and Hebrew mss
underlying the KJV are superior to other
text types.
– Some in this group argue for the Majority
Text, others for the Textus Receptus.
The Spectrum of KJV Only
• Group #3 – “Received Text Only”
– Maintains that the TR was either inspired or
supernaturally preserved over time, and hence
maintained in an inerrant condition.
– Does not necessarily believe that the KJV is an
inspired translation, and would allow for an
improved translation of the TR.
• Group #4 – “The Inspired KJV Group”
– Believe that the KJV itself is inspired and therefore
inerrant; many would also believe that the TR is
inspired and inerrant as well.
– Most KJV Only advocates fall into this group.
– The King James Bible Alone = The Word of God
The Spectrum of KJV Only
• Group #5 – “The KJV as New Revelation”
– The most radical of the groups on the spectrum.
– In essence, maintains that God “re-inspired” His
Word for the AV 1611, rendering it into the English
– Thus, when necessary, the original Greek and
Hebrew should be corrected when they disagree
with the AV!
– Advocates of this position are quick to
characterize anyone who disagrees with their
position as a “Bible hater” and even suspect some
kind of demonic activity within such a person’s
– Cannot be reasoned with.
Three KJV Only Advocates
• Dr. Edward F. Hills
– Presbyterian author of The King James
Version Defended.
• Mrs. Gail Riplinger
– Author of New Age Bible Versions (1993),
which sees all English translations since
the AV as “moving mankind to the
Antichrist’s one world religion.”
• Dr. Peter Ruckman
– The best known advocate of KJV Onlyism
in the US; author of dozen of books and
head of the Pensacola Bible Institute.
Next Time:
Recent Translations of the English