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Tuesday
Mar272012

Theological Term of the Week

KJV Onlyism
A movement that teaches (erroneously) that the King James Version of the Bible is itself inerrant and the only true Word of God in the English language; also called King James Onlyism.

  • From The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy:

    Since God has nowhere promised an inerrant transmission of Scripture, it is necessary to affirm that only the autographic text of the original documents was inspired and to maintain the need of textual criticism as a means of detecting any slips that may have crept into the text in the course of its transmission. The verdict of this science, however, is that the Hebrew and Greek text appear to be amazingly well preserved, so that we are amply justified in affirming, with the Westminster Confession, a singular providence of God in this matter and in declaring that the authority of Scripture is in no way jeopardized by the fact that the copies we possess are not entirely error-free.

    Similarly, no translation is or can be perfect, and all translations are an additional step away from the autographa. Yet the verdict of linguistic science is that English-speaking Christians, at least, are exceedingly well served in these days with a host of excellent translations and have no cause for hesitating to conclude that the true Word of God is within their reach. Indeed, in view of the frequent repetition in Scripture of the main matters with which it deals and also of the Holy Spirit’s constant witness to and through the Word, no serious translation of Holy Scripture will so destroy its meaning as to render it unable to make its reader “wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 3:15).

    A. It is required of them that would worthily (that is, suitably) partake of the Lord’s Supper, that they examine themselves, of their knowledge to discern the Lord’s body; of their faith to feed upon Him; of their repentance, love, and new obedience: lest, coming unworthily, they eat and drink judgment to themselves.
  • From 40 Questions About Interpreting the Bible  by Robert Plummer:
  • The best Bible translations are based on the most reliable ancient manuscripts of the Old and New Testaments…. The King James Version (KJV) is not highly recommended because it is not based on the best manuscripts and because the seventeenth-century English is hard for most modern people to understand. … While it was an excellent work for its day, the KJV has been surpassed by many modern translations in both readability and faithfulness to the original manuscripts. Some people wrongly and often passionately claim the KJV is a superior translation of the Bible. The historical and linguistic facts do not support this claim. 

Learn more:
  1. GotQuestions.org: What is the KJV Only movement?
  2. Dan Wallace: Why I Do Not Think the King James Version Is the Best Translation Available Today
  3. Jeff Spry: The King James Only Controversy (pdf)
  4. Fred Butler: Confessions of a KJV Only Advocate, plus a whole page of mp3s and articles.
  5. James White: King James Only Controversy
  6. Bill Combs: Beginning of the KJV Only Movement, Dean Burgon: Father of the KJV-Only Movement, Dean Burgon and the Revised VersionThe KJV-Only Movement Comes to America, The Modern KJV-Only MovementIs Only the King James Version the Word of God?, and Is the King James Version the Final Authority?
  7. James White: What’s the Big Deal with King James Onlyism (series of YouTube videos), Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5.
Related terms:

Filed under Defective Theology.

Do you have a term you’d like to see featured here as a Theological Term of the Week? If you email it to me, I’ll seriously consider using it, giving you credit for the suggestion and linking back to your blog when I do.

Clicking on the Theological Term graphic at the top of this post will take you to a list of all the previous theological terms in alphabetical order.

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