Home > King James Only, Mallinak > Not All KJVO’s are Created Equal

Not All KJVO’s are Created Equal

June 22, 2007

Regarding the issue of preservation, on a basic level there are those who believe that God has perfectly preserved His Word, and there are those who believe that God has not.

Those who believe that God has not perfectly preserved His Word typically will say something like this: The Bible is inerrant in the originals, however…the however indicating that copyists and translators and the human element has corrupted the perfection of the originals.

We can divide those who deny perfect preservation into two different camps. On one side are those who deny the inerrancy of Scripture altogether (we call them modernists). Opposed to the modernists, though not entirely separate from them are those who believe that God preserves His Word in a sort of Theistic Evolutionist way, through man discovering new copies and gaining new understanding of Greek, “finding new light through scholarship.” Modern Versions have come from these “Critical Text” promoters.

Opposite these MVO’s (Modern/Multiple Versions Only), we have those who believe in Perfect Preservation (commonly referred to as KJVO’s). The KJVO’s can also be divided into two camps. On the one hand, we have those who believe that God has perfectly preserved His Word in the English Language, which we can call English Preservationists. On the other side, we have those who believe that God has perfectly preserved His Word in the Original Languages. We can call them Original Language Preservationists. Both sides will hold to the King James, and both sides agree that God has perfectly preserved His Word. But the two sides differ on a number of important issues.

I wish I would have understood that division before writing the infamous “Plea for an update…” Having spent a significant amount of time debating for the side of the King James Version, I was a bit taken back by the personal attacks launched against me over that one article. Honestly, I was blindsided by it. I have always known, in the back of my mind, that it wasn’t enough to be King James Only, that one could not simply hold the position, but that he must also “say it” right. One’s membership card will not be adequate. KJVO’s must have two forms of identity and pass the shibboleth. Even as a KJVO, I’ve often felt that a discussion of the issue was like a walk on eggshells. So, I wasn’t surprised that I slipped up. After all, I’ve never been one for tiptoeing.

What surprised me was not the fact that I said the wrong thing. That never surprises me. What surprised me was the massive efforts from busybody pastors (some my friends, some not so friendly) who set the phone lines ablaze all across the country rallying the troops against me. What disappointed me was the efforts of some to stir up strife within my church. What disgusted me was the move of some to cut me off without so much as a trial, let alone any effort to set me straight. I heard about many phone calls that were made about me, but had only one phone call made to me. The pastors who did this should be ashamed. The conduct was frankly ungodly, and I cannot be silent about it. Short of naming names (y’all know who you are) I’ll simply say that I will be more wary of “friendship” in the future.

But that aside, it forced me to give more attention to the differences between the English Language Preservationists and the Original Language Preservationists. I am not an English Language Preservationist. I should be clear about that first. But from my little seat in the bleachers, I am noticing that the English Language Preservationists have done much to damage our cause and to hijack our position. As you read, notice the influence that English Preservationists have had on the King James Only position, and then consider this my attempt to isolate their position and refute it.

English Preservationists

I would not purposely misrepresent the position of anyone, and since I consider those who are English Preservationist to be on our side, I especially do not want to misrepresent theirs. Of course there are a variety of differences even amongst those who are of this persuasion, so I’ll try to recognize that and not spend too much time on the extreme views that are not necessarily shared by all.

I’ve attempted here to identify the basic tenets of this position, boiling down to the essential elements. Forgive me where I have left too much skin hanging on the bones.

1. Basically, the English Preservationist believes that God wrote the King James Bible, in much the same sense that God wrote the Bible. God used men to do the work, but God wrote them both.

2. The English Preservationist believes that the Bible has always been preserved in one form or another throughout New Testament history. However, they also believe that when the King James Bible was written, it was written to preserve Scripture, and that from 1611 on (or for some, from 1769 on), the English version became the standard, and that it is now the place where God is preserving His Word. This is key to understanding the English language position.

3. I don’t know of any English Preservationist who would claim INSPIRATION for the King James Bible (including Ruckman, from what I’m told). Most English Language Preservationists will deny “secondary inspiration” though they believe that the English version is inspired. However, every English Preservationist would say that inerrancy applies to the Version itself.

4. Amongst the English Preservationists, there is some disagreement as to whether any other language could also have their own perfect translation. Some believe that the English translation is the preserved word for all languages. Others believe it to be the preserved word for English, while Spanish or Chinese could have their own preserved word.

5. Some (not a few) English Preservationists believe that with the writing of the King James Version, preservation was perfected. This point also is essential to understanding the English-only position.

Original Language Preservationists (OLP’s)

  1. The OLP’s believe that God preserved jots and tittles (Mt 5:18), and that not one has passed. Thus, God has perfectly preserved His Word.
  2. Therefore, the OLP’s believe that the Word of God is perfectly preserved in the Textus Receptus for the NT, and in the Masoretic Hebrew for the OT.
  • The OLP’s believe that God canonized words through the faithful copying of His people, and that through those words, we have the 66 books of the Bible, which are also canonized.
  • Some will object that among the various copies of the TR, there are numbers of textual variants. And this is true. In fact, there is about 93% agreement amongst the existent copies of the TR.Â
  • Those of the CT/eclectic position will argue that because there is about 7% disagreement amongst the copies, therefore we should all study the texts scientifically to determine the “best” reading. Thus, they rely on forensics and science to render the correct reading.
  • The Original Language Preservationists believe that this is an entirely faithless approach, and in addition, that this is disobedient to Scripture.Â

3. That brings up the third main fundamental of the OLP. The OLP believes that the church is the pillar and ground of the truth (I Tim 3:15), and thus that the local churches throughout NT history have received the Word of God as it is, and have accepted it.

  • Put another way, the local churches (what we refer to as The Church) did not determine what the Word of God is, but rather they gave important testimony to what the Word of God is. They did not set out to scientifically prove, based on evidence, what the “best” word was. Rather, they received and accepted the words as kept by the churches.
  • In other words, throughout New Testament history, the accepted readings were used. That is, up until the last 150 years or so.
  • Again, this was accomplished through the faithful copying of believers throughout the ages.
  • The copies that have survived and have seen widespread usage are the copies that we accept to be the preserved Word of God.

4.  For the Original Language Preservationists, this is where the King James Version enters the scene, and explains why we are King James Only.

When the KJV was written, the English-speaking world had two English Bibles available: the Geneva Bible and the Bishop’s Bible. The English-speaking world was deeply divided between these two Bibles, and the KJV effectively settled the dispute. As evidence, the Geneva and the Bishop’s Bible are museum pieces today. You normally won’t order one from a Christian bookstore or catalogue. But the King James Version is the most widely distributed Bible in the History of the World. Truly, the churches settled on this Bible. It is the “Church Bible.”

In 1894, Scrivener assembled the Textus Receptus used by the King James Version translators into one distinct edition. So, we have the Bible which English-speaking churches have held to for almost 400 years, and we have the underlying Greek and Hebrew editions. We can be sure then that we have the perfectly and Providentially preserved Word of God in the Masoretic Hebrew for the Old Testament, and in Scrivener’s TR for the New Testament.

Reconciling the two positions

Now, when we put the two positions (English Preservation/Original Language Preservation) side-by-side on the ole table, we see clearly that there is a difference between the two. Both accept by faith that God has perfectly preserved His Word. On that we can agree. Both agree that the King James Bible was Providentially given to the churches. We can agree on that as well.

Since I believe firmly in the Sovereignty and Providence of God, I also can loosely agree with the English-only assertion that God wrote the King James Bible. I can agree in this sense and only in this sense… I believe that God was involved in the writing, and that God was guiding these men to choose this word and not that one.

However, I do not believe that God was involved in the writing of the KJV in the same sense that God was involved in the writing of, say, the book of Romans, or of the Psalms, or of Ruth. Did God write the King James Bible? The King James is not inspired in the same sense as Hebrews and James are inspired. The English words are not God-breathed. If I were to make a comparison, I would have to say that God wrote the KJV in the same sense that God wrote the U.S. Constitution. The Providence of God was clearly involved in both, and we see his hand in each. But the U.S. Constitution is not God-breathed, nor does it have the same life in it as the inspired words of Scripture.

I want to be careful here, because I know that this will offend some. I’ll do my best to be void of offense, if the reader will give his best effort to understand what I am arguing here. The words that God-breathed were Greek and Hebrew words. There was no need for God to re-breath those words in English. Nor do I believe that the English words were divinely inspired. Otherwise, God would have given the words in English to begin with.

Along with that, I disagree with the notion that when the King James Bible was written, preservation moved from Greek / Hebrew to English. God promised to preserve jots and tittles (Mt 5:18), not commas and semi-colons (or, perhaps more accurately, not dotted i’s and crossed t’s). Nor is there one verse in all of Scripture that ever indicates that God would preserve the Bible in any language other than the language in which God gave the Bible.

In addition, I disagree with the notion that any further editions of the 1611 would be “changing the Bible” or “re-writing the Bible.” Preservation did not begin in 1611, nor did it reach its final destination that year. Since the closing of the canon, God has been providentially preserving His Word, and God’s Word is preserved. Translations neither add to nor detract from the perfection of Providence.

If God has preserved His Word, then God’s Word is preserved. Translations cannot change that. The issue of Modern Translations is not that it undermines the preservation of God’s Word. It cannot do that. It might undermine our understanding of preservation, but it cannot undo what God has done. Preservation is preservation, and translations are just that. Translations.

I was truly amazed at some of the accusations that were hurled around a few months ago. I have never said that I wanted to “re-write the Bible.” I have never said that I wanted to “change the Bible.” I was not saying that before, and I am not saying that now. I have never called for a new version. I don’t think we should try to get a new version.

When Wycliffe wrote his translation in 1380, he was neither “re-writing” nor “changing” the Bible. He was writing a translation. When Tyndale wrote his in 1525/1530, he was not “re-writing” the Bible. He was not “changing” the Bible. He was writing a translation. In 1611, when the King James Bible was written, these men were not “changing” or “re-writing” the Bible. And when the next edition of the King James Bible was written, the Bible was not changed. To say that I ever argued for “re-writing” or “changing” is a gross slander, and those who perpetrated this lie should be rebuked before all.

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Categories: King James Only, Mallinak
  1. Chris Stieg
    June 22, 2007 at 6:34 pm

    A hearty Amen to that!

    In my observation, there is a fundamental failure among some (possibly many) KJVonly people to separate between preservation and translation issues. I believe that is why there is so much contention about it even within our own “camp”.

    I am curious, though, about the figure that there is 93% agreement WITHIN the T.R. I am wondering how agreement among 5,000+ manuscripts is computed. I thought the 93% was the difference between the T.R. and the C.T., according to Dr. Waite’s count.

    Also, from point 3 under “English Preservationists”, in what sense do they NOT believe God did not inspire the KJV? I thought that was Ruckman’s main point – that the KJV is inspired. I have argued with people who thought I was wrong because I did not believe the KJV was “inspired” per se. Perhaps I am missing something.

  2. Jim
    June 23, 2007 at 12:19 pm

    This is the first time I have seen a summary of the different types of KJVO’s, but I can sympathize with the author’s findings. It is sad that there is division in the inspiration and preservation of God’s word.

  3. Thomas Ross
    June 24, 2007 at 12:38 pm

    Dear Chris,

    I believe that the 93% agreement among the editions of the TR was a slip of the pen; I believe Pastor Mallinak meant that the 93% was the figure for the agreement between the CT and the TR. The differences between editions of the TR is much, much, much smaller; probably c.99.5% or more. The differences between the Scrivener TR and the 1598 Beza is listed in the back of the edition made by Bible for Today (the leatherbound one, anyway). They are very minimal. In those instances, we should go with the text accepted by the churches, namely, th eone behind the KJV, the Scrivener TR.

    Concerning the Biblical doctrine of inspiration: We have only the use in 2 Timothy 3:16:

    All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

    Job 32:8 helps us appreciate that the word “inspiration” means “God-breathed.” Certainly the Greek and Hebrew are directly inspired, and thus cannot be changed in any way, Mt 5:18, etc. However, I believe that we can, and should, assign inspiration in a derived sense to an accurate translation, and thus we can call the KJV inspired (or, for that matter, the verses in the NASV, when correctly translated, inspired–only in those portions where it is correctly translated–this is not, of course, an endorsement of the corruptions in that version). Why?

    1.) All Scripture is inspired, 2 Tim 3:16.

    2.) The Word correctly translated is Scripture, 1 Tim 5:18 (there both Deut 25:4 and Luke 10:7 are quoted, and both are called “Scripture.” Deut 25:4 is translated from Hebrew into Greek. There are many other places where the New Testament translates the Old and calls the translation “scripture”).

    Conclusion:

    3.) The Word correctly translated in inspired.

    Therefore, keeping in mind the distinction between direct and derived inspiration (the KJV could have words rendered differently and still be inspired; for example, in English one could update the word “conversation” to “conduct,” and the English would still be inspired; while the Greek and Hebrew cannot be altered at all), I have no problem referring to the English text of the KJV as inspired, speaking of the product, not the process (the process of inspiration happened one time when God moved the holy men of old, etc.).

  4. Chris Stieg
    June 24, 2007 at 4:22 pm

    Tom, I pretty much agree.

    The thrust in 2 Timothy 3:16 is not whether or not a translation is inspired, but that Scripture is. Whether Timothy was using a Greek or Hebrew Old Testament is debatable.

    That to say, the original languages are inspired; and as they are correctly translated, they are a translation of what is inspired; thus “derivately inspired”. I have no problem with that.

    The question was about Ruckmanites or “semi-Ruckmanites” who believe that the KJV is MORE THAN “derivately inspired”. I was wondering in what sense Ruckman did not believe that the King James was inspired. I thought that “secondary inspiration” (in contrast to “derivative inspiration”) was his main point.

    Again, I agree with the thesis of the article. I was just curious about what was intended by a few points.

  5. June 24, 2007 at 11:08 pm

    Hi Dave

    I think your analysis of various basic divisions has some merit, but I think your understanding is lacking at various points. I am not sure that I want to get into a detailed catalog of those points, but I would like to point out one.

    You stated that those opposed to your view deny perfect preservation. In fact, I don’t believe this is true. I hold to an eclectic view of the text. I deny the affirmations of the KJO position, though I heartily recommend the KJV as one of the faithful translations of God’s Word that God’s people can depend upon. But please note this:

    I don’t believe that ONE word of the original has been lost.

    The providential work of God in guiding copyists, librarians, scholars, etc, through the ages perfectly preserved the Word of God just as the Lord promised. We disagree on methodology and locality, but not on the notion that the Word hasn’t been perfectly preserved. No one is going to dig up a manuscript that will give us the ‘lost’ ten verses of any book of the Bible. Someone MAY dig up a manuscript that sheds some light on the value of one reading as opposed to another, but no wholesale change will manifest itself.

    Though some who share my views may have reacted in scorn to the notion of ‘verbal plenary preservation’ as espoused fairly recently by some at PCC, myself included, the fact is that if God hasn’t perfectly preserved His Word, we have a problem with inerrancy. For myself, I have never thought we were somehow adrift, holding to the inerrancy of the originals without certainty of the contents of the originals.

    I will grant that some of the individual readings may be difficult to discern the EXACT original reading, but I am quite confident that in one or another of the possible alternatives we DO have the originals.

    My point in bringing this up is to suggest that I think you are quite incorrect to describe those who disagree with your viewpoint as ones who deny perfect preservation. For me, at least, this is not true. I doubt that it is true of any fundamentalist who holds to an eclectic view of the texts.

    Regards
    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  6. Anvil
    June 25, 2007 at 11:43 am

    Pastor Mallinak,

    It is indeed sad to see the response you received to what you wrote from those supposedly “in your camp” on the KJV issue. It is exactly the reaction that those of us in the “kinder, gentler” fundamentalism that is shown by some on SI and so mocked here would fight against. It is in fact the tendency of those in some segments of fundamentalism to eat their own young that gives rise to reactions against that attitude, even if those reactions sometimes swing too far the other way.

    Be that as it may, except for the one who directly contacted you, or those who wrote to you directly here, you are right that that kind of “behind your back” response is unbiblical. Short of a request for forgiveness from those men, you should probably just forget about them and not even worry about whether or not you are in close (or any kind of) fellowship with them. Their reaction shows that they are not really interested in furthering the cause of Christ, no matter which camp they claim or what their public affiliation says.

  7. June 25, 2007 at 1:14 pm

    Don,

    I appreciate your interaction here. I have carefully read the other side on this issue. I read God’s Word in Our Hands, which would claim, I believe, to represent the kind of position that you take. They claim also to take a preservation of every word in the preponderance of the manuscripts view. However, upon reading the book, and I mean this charitably, they actually do not believe that we have every word and they are hoping that some day through some discovery we will get some of the words that are missing. I can prove this to you if you would like, but I think it is obvious to anyone who reads this carefully. Second, it is obvious that they have been influenced by the purveyors of textual criticism. Thirdly, you are missing one important aspect in the Biblical doctrine of preservation and that is availability. Every word available is also a Biblical doctrine. That is not the case with the eclectic view. Fourthly, they are not settled on what the words are. The Bible teaches settled perfection of Scripture.

    I don’t mind finding out what is Scripturally wrong. Usually people argue, not with Scripture, however, but with history.

    Thanks.

    KB

  8. Bobby Mitchell
    June 25, 2007 at 2:26 pm

    Don said:
    “I will grant that some of the individual readings may be difficult to discern the EXACT original reading, but I am quite confident that in one or another of the possible alternatives we DO have the originals.”

    So, how does a man live by every word of God as he is commanded? If you are right then that command is impossible to obey. Your statement is just more textual criticism that falls into the category of “science falsely so called.” Why not believe, accept, and receive God’s Words?

  9. June 25, 2007 at 4:14 pm

    The King James is not inspired in the same sense as Hebrews and James are inspired. The English words are not God-breathed. If I were to make a comparison, I would have to say that God wrote the KJV in the same sense that God wrote the U.S. Constitution. The Providence of God was clearly involved in both, and we see his hand in each. But the U.S. Constitution is not God-breathed, nor does it have the same life in it as the inspired words of Scripture.

    Where or when does God’s Word lose its inspiration? Yes, the 66 books of the Bible were inspired when written – but they are still inspired today, regardless of whether they are translated or copied. The Bible says “is given by inspiration”, not “was” – and Paul was referring to the copies or translations Timothy had, not the originals.

  10. June 25, 2007 at 4:56 pm

    Jerry,

    God did not write the KJV, but He did providentially use those men like, Brother Mallinak himself believes in his comparison, He used the founding fathers to write the Constitution.  We believe that they received guidance, but this is not on par with inspiration.  Many of them were unbelievers. However, because of providence they did an accurate translation. It can’t be inspiration like when God gave it, because the KJV has changed in spellings, words, etc. We believe that inspiration goes to the jot and tittle. This is something worth discussing. You are good in doing it Jerry.

    KB

  11. June 25, 2007 at 10:10 pm

    Bro Kent, I don’t know what you mean by availability. Do you mean to say that God promises that his word will always be available to every man or?? something else. By settled perfection, do you mean that there will be one settled text available at all times? If that is so, which one is it and how is it known? What if someone differs with you on which one is the settled text? What is the test for that…

    Perhaps you have answered these before and I am just a little thick and don’t remember the answers!

    Bobby, generally speaking the readings where there is less certainty on the exact words ultimately have no effect on meaning, doctrine, or living. I don’t know of any Biblical doctrine that is affected by uncertainty concerning any text.

    Regards
    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

    PS: something is funky with your comment section… I am typing this in a different program and pasting it in here. Your comment section is allowing me to type “invisibly” in the right hand margin.

  12. June 25, 2007 at 11:12 pm

    Hopefully, I’ve solved some of the funkiness in my low-tech capacity, with Jeff gone. OK, the words must be available to live by, Don, Mt. 4:4. That’s a Scriptural position, so every word generally accessible. That isn’t believed by the preponderence people. You probably know that Benjamin Warfield invented a new position in which he read into the Westminster Confession–providential equals textual criticism. They believed they were using the equivalent to the originals, when you read their writings. Settled means that there is a canonicity of Words, the Holy Spirit guiding true churches to agreement on the Words. The NT does not teach a canoncity of books but of Words. Do you believe we have a settled 66 books? Your same arguments for that, Scripturally, would actually apply to Words. We receive the Words that are agreed upon by the churches. The Bible is settled, not constantly being bickered over, disected, and weighed, as if it is a science experiment. That is what it has become. The evangelical exegete not only preaches the Word but chooses what the Words are. That’s what eclectic means, as you know. So on a Sunday morning, one man determines what Scripture is. God’s churches have believed that the Words were settled, available—perfect, pure, inerrant, to the jot and tittle.

    I could go on and on, but we did already write a book on this that expresses it much more thoroughly.

  13. June 27, 2007 at 5:06 am

    Brother Dave,

    I have been out of the office for a few days, so I am a little late to say,
    THANK YOU! You have put into writing what I have been trying to articulate to a few brethren over the past couple of years.

    We must be able to “intelligently articulate” what we mean by inspiration and preservation. I believe you and I would agree on both points. I am a KJVO preacher, and I appreciate the way you stated it.

    As for “friends” who have turned on you…let me say this:
    It is a sign of the times in so-called “Fundamentalism” today. There is a lot of bluster about the Bible, but very little obedience to its tenets, particularly about slander and gossip.

    Keep up the good work!

  14. June 27, 2007 at 5:07 am

    Brother Dave,

    By the way, how can I get permission to use your post either on my church’s website or at church?

  15. June 27, 2007 at 12:57 pm

    Art,

    You can get permission simply by asking! Permission granted!

    Tom,

    Thanks for correcting me on the “93% agreement” part. Tom is correct on that. Please note (everybody).

  16. July 2, 2007 at 5:04 am

    God did not write the KJV, but He did providentially use those men like, Brother Mallinak himself believes in his comparison, He used the founding fathers to write the Constitution. We believe that they received guidance, but this is not on par with inspiration. Many of them were unbelievers. However, because of providence they did an accurate translation. It can’t be inspiration like when God gave it, because the KJV has changed in spellings, words, etc. We believe that inspiration goes to the jot and tittle.

    My personal position is that God inspired the words of the Bible (not the Bible writers) – yes, He moved the writers, but I believe it was the words, not the writers, that are inspired – therefore those words are still inspired and living today.

    I certainly wasn’t trying to state that God inspired the KJV translators, but I was trying to say that because God’s Word is inspired, any sound copy or TR-based translation is still inspired today – which includes the King James Bible. Hope that makes sense.

  17. David T.
    November 3, 2007 at 7:24 pm

    Well if you are OLP then you shouldnt have a problem with the NKJV. I have yet to see anyone demonstrate that the NKJV does not, in its English text, reflect the MT and TR.

  18. David T.
    November 3, 2007 at 7:28 pm

    IN addition, no where has it been proved that NKJV is a dynamic translation, or substantially MORE dynamic than the KJV.

  19. November 4, 2007 at 4:57 am

    David, you might find it beneficial to read the Preface to the NKJV. In it, the writer informs us that the NKJV was not solely based on the TR and the MT – they also used other texts, such as the Septuagint. Therefore, it is not a modernization or a revision of the KJV in any sense – it is not even following in the same footsteps. It is a deception, an attempt made to look like the tried and true King James Bible.

  20. Chris Tullos
    April 8, 2009 at 9:09 pm

    In one of the paragraphs within your article, you stated:
    However, I do not believe that God was involved in the writing of the KJV in the same sense that God was involved in the writing of, say, the book of Romans, or of the Psalms, or of Ruth. Did God write the King James Bible? The King James is not inspired in the same sense as Hebrews and James are inspired. The English words are not God-breathed. If I were to make a comparison, I would have to say that God wrote the KJV in the same sense that God wrote the U.S. Constitution. The Providence of God was clearly involved in both, and we see his hand in each. But the U.S. Constitution is not God-breathed, nor does it have the same life in it as the inspired words of Scripture

    My first question is this:
    You compared God’s hand in writing the KJV similar to the hand He had in writing of the U.S. Constitution. Then you stated the U.S. Constitution does not have the “same life” as the “inspired words of Scripture”. When you mentioned the “inspired words of Scripture” were you referring to the TR or the KJV?

    Second question:
    If you are referring to the TR, does that mean since you believe that the KJV was inspired in the same manner as the U.S Constitution that like the U.S. Constitution the KJV does not have the “same life” as the TR ?

    Any assistance in clarify this for me would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks~
    Chris

  1. February 20, 2009 at 5:09 pm
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