14 August 2009

Was Spurgeon KJVO?

by Phil Johnson

e don't normally delve into the debate over Bible versions. The issue seems to attract people who are overzealous or slightly unhinged—and always in a bad mood. Besides, James White's The King James Only Controversy covers all the important ground far better than we could ever say it in blog-post-sized bites.

Still, there is one issue I'd like to address that seems to come up whenever someone has been reading too much Ruckmanite propaganda. Here's a sample question from a reader who wrote me looking for a debate about whether the King James Version is inerrant and verbally inspired:

I have read the statements of many men in the 17 through 19th centuries, including the venerated Spurgeon, that indicate they believed the King James to be the word for word correct, inerrant, infallible, authoritative word of God.

My reply:

Uh, you might want to read Spurgeon again. Spurgeon loved the KJV but did not regard it as infallible. He gave preachers this advice:
Do not needlessly amend our authorized version. It is faulty in many places, but still it is a grand work taking it for all in all, and it is unwise to be making every old lady distrust the only Bible she can get at, or what is more likely, mistrust you for falling out with her cherished treasure. Correct where correction must be for truth's sake, but never for the vainglorious display of your critical ability. [Commenting and Commentaries, p. 31.]

In message 1604, "Heart Disease Curable," Spurgeon says,
Concerning the fact of difference between the Revised and Authorised Versions, I would say that no Baptist should ever fear any honest attempt to produce the correct text, and an accurate interpretation of the Old and New Testaments. For many years Baptists have insisted upon it that we ought to have the Word of God translated in the best possible manner . . .. By the best and most honest scholarship that can be found we desire that the common version [KJV] may be purged of every blunder of transcribers, or addition of human ignorance, or human knowledge, so that the Word of God may come to us as it came from His own hand.

And in his autobiography, recounting the laying of the foundation-stone of the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Spurgeon explains why they chose a Grecian design for the building: "Greek is the sacred tongue, and Greek is the Baptist's tongue; we may be beaten in our own version [the KJV], sometimes; but in Greek, never" (Autobiography, vol. 2, p. 327).

Spurgeon used, and preferred, the Authorized Version. He did not regard the translation as inerrant.

Phil's signature


Jon said...

This should be the stance of every Bible teacher/pastor. I've heard John MacArthur on numerous occasions translate a word differently than what you normally read in the NASB. The translations themselves can be fallible, but that doesn't mean we'll be left in the dark. I think that's the spirit that all Bible translators should have. And from what I've read the original KJV translators believed this to be true.

Bobby Grow said...

I disagree, I don't think fallible translations are acceptable! John Mac using a different word only illustrates that there is a semantic range available (which the context determines the best and most fitting word[s] to use); not the "fallibility of the translation." Let's hope to God that translations aren't accurate and indeed scripture; the Apostle Paul for example believed that the LXX (I infer) was the "inspired Word of God" (a Greek translation of the OT), which led Timothy and family to the Lord (cf. II Tim. 3:10-17).

If our translations do not represent, accurately, the originals; then they are bad translations!

Bobby Grow said...

I meant to say: "Let's hope to God that translations ARE accurate and indeed scripture; . . ."

Bobby Grow said...

One more thing. I totally agree with Phil, James White's book on KJVO is excellent!!!

Let me recommend one other though, it is by the venerable D. A. Carson; and it is called:

King James Version Debate, The: A Plea for Realism

It's a little more precise than White's and a much quicker read. I think both are must reading in regards to this issue :-)!

Stefan Ewing said...

Always the master pastor, putting pastoral concern above all else.

On another note: "Spurgeon explains why they chose a Grecian design for the building...."

See, now you've just reinforced the whole conservative-evangelicals-are-Hellenists myth!

That said, I wish I could read Greek fluently, not only to read the New Testament in its original language, but especially to read the Septuagint, and the NT in light of the Septuagint.

(But with Korean and Hebrew high on the list as well, our Lord and Saviour might return first.)

Penn Tomassetti said...

Thanks for the good information for me to use sometime, gently informing my KJVO friends about what Spurgeon said.

I learned another language in a year. It took a lot of study and still does. But it was worth it. I didn't have a lot of free time to study, so I read on breaks at work, write on notecards and do whatever possible. Of course, I was super motivated to get grapple it. Just saying, you can get it done!

Boerseuntjie said...

As a believer from a Nation with multiple national tongues; I find the arguments for Only-isms; much akin to the Romanist argument for Latin Only-ism.

Sad to say that human endeavours are ALWAYS fraught with our sin nature's effects and that any translation requires our diligence in seeking the meaning in the Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic (Not that I am a scholar); but the Dictionaries and Concordances are freely available to any who would seriously contend for the faith.

I prefer certain MORE accurate translations in certain languages - BUT let us not lose sight - We argue NOT that Translations are Infallible, NOR that Copies of the Originals ARE Infallible - BUT we argue that the ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPTS that where written by the Prophets and Apostles Themselves - THESE are infallible as gifted by the Spirit of grace and truth.

Therefore we may argue that ALL translations and ALL copies are fraught with human error - even when we are at our most honest and scholastic best.

I prefer Multiple Translations in Multiple Languages to get to a better understanding of the English use, so as to form a better understanding of words - and when studying a particular concept of the text take out a Dictionary and Concordance.

Your fellow bondslave captivated by merciful grace Alone,

donsands said...

"Wot ye not what the scripture saith of E-li-as? how he maketh intercession to God.." Rom 11:2

"I trow not." Luke 17:9

Didn't the people in Spurgeon's day converse with these same words?

The King James is an old language, like shakespeare, and can be admired, but in our day I don't see the sense in pastors using this version. Makes no sense to me.

I have run into some KJVOnly people, and I have never met harder hearts: Incredible stubborness.

I have been reading and studying the ESV. I like it a lot. In our weekly Bible study we actually look at 5 different versions: NAS, NKJ, NIV, ESV, & NJB.

Anonymous said...


I trow. It's a much faster way than running to get the ball to first base.

Apparently Luke wasn't much of a ball player.

Nash Equilibrium said...

If we could just wait another 100 years, KJVO will no longer be a controversy, as people will no longer be able to understand it at all. Anyone who interacts with even today's younger generation knows exactly what I am talking about. Even KJVO people don't use the original KJV, they use theone from almost 200 years after the original.
Most of the KJVO people I've met were brought up in that tradition and know that if they came to a rational conclusion that the KJV is not the only legit version, they would greatly alienate their relatives and friends. So they stick their heads in the sand and rely on insistence, loudness and avoidance to willfully ignore the reality of how absurd their arguments are. Unfortunately they may also give unbelievers the impression that all Christians are as unthinking and irrational as they are in this area.
This article was greatly helpful in knocking one more leg out from under the whole KJVO house of cards. Thank you for writing it.

Chris said...

My answer to KJVO: Easter in Acts 12:4? Easter??

I rest my case.

Euaggelion said...

I have a question. Let me start by saying I am NOT a KJVO person. I personally prefer NASB and ESV. But, my question is what do you think about the different greek texts used? For instance the Textus Receptus vs Westcott & Hort . Just because a text is older, does that mean it is more accurate to the original?

Solameanie said...

I think the Richter scale just triggered near the San Andreas Fault. I am tempted to run for the hills, but this meta will probably be too good to miss.

Excellent post, Phil.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Gail Riplinger will come to the King James Versions' defense?

If anyone would take the time to read the Preface to the original 1611 KJV they would understand that even the translators did not think their version to be inspired (breathed out) by God.

Great post.

That Conservative Dude said...

I love the KJV, its language is quite beautiful. I like to study and read from the NKJV or NIV. I have a question for anybody to respond to if so led. Who can quote John 3:16 from their favorite version other than the KJV? The KJV is so ingrained in me that I usually have to re-look it up to refresh my memory.

JackW said...

"Who can quote John 3:16 from their favorite version other than the KJV?"

I canith!

Stefan Ewing said...


Thanks for the encouragement.

James David Beebe, Jr. said...

Is it fair to suggest that 1611 only arguments lead to acceptance of the apocryphal books it included?

Lee Shelton said...

Were Spurgeon alive today, I'm sure he'd be an ESV guy.

Lee Shelton said...

Most (if not all) KJV-only people are unaware that the KJV came about as a backlash to Calvinism. The king saw the Geneva Bible as politically subversive because of the notes added by the Reformers.

B Barnes said...

I've heard that argument; it goes like this: The material of the manuscripts the KJV used didn't last long, so new copies had to be made, while the "older copies" we have now were supposedly written on better, longer lasting material. Hence, the KJV's manuscripts (with it's missing/included words) would actually be older, if they lasted.

I think it's like comparing to writing on notebook paper over and over, as opposed to etching in leather or stone (KJV manuscript on paper, newer manuscripts on stone/leather). The original message would be the same on the paper and likely more accurate, since the actual message is older, though not the paper.

I haven't researched it much so I don't know how accurate that would be. Assuming it is, would that play a difference?

John said...

All joking about obsolete words aside, the greater difficulty with the KJV (which remains one of the most beautiful works in the English Language) is the words that we still use - with different meanings. For example, the word "study" in "study to shew thyself approved" meant "be diligent" 400 years ago. Not so today. In answer to Euaggelion, the "TR" from which the KJV was translated came from less than 10% of the manuscripts we have available today, and was woefully incomplete. In fact, for part of Revelation, Erasmus had to back-translate from the Latin Vulgate to construct his own Greek text! Although there were many revisions to the TR, it remained a sub-par manuscript. Modern translations, however, are not based on the long-obsolete W&H, but on the NA27/UBS4.

Jugulum said...

B Barnes,
I've heard that argument; it goes like this: The material of the manuscripts the KJV used didn't last long, so new copies had to be made, while the "older copies" we have now were supposedly written on better, longer lasting material. Hence, the KJV's manuscripts (with it's missing/included words) would actually be older, if they lasted.

I think the argument usually goes more like this: "Bad copies with known mistakes weren't used much. When the early church actually used the manuscripts, they wore out and disappeared. So the earlier manuscripts that still survive are the ones that the early church generally rejected."

Anonymous said...


Thank you for this post, it is so refreshing and dead on. There is no inerrant/infallible English version, the Bible was not written in English. People don't seem to really get this. Every version has its problems, even my beloved NASB 95.

I have a paper which cites 850 textual emendations that the KJV translators made from the Hebrew OT--I'll snail mail it to anyone who will read it and benefit from it.

This KJVO stuff is evidence of ignorance, that is, they just don't understand the issues, textual criticism and the languages.

By the way I've found a few books to be really helpful in this area, they are:

"One Bible Only" by, Roy E. Beacham & Kevin T. Bauder, Kregel, 2001.

"J. Frank Norris and His Heirs: The Bible Translation Controversy" by, Doug Kutilek, Pilgrim Publications, 1999.

In the end, I'm a proponent for accuracy, and my findings have proven to me that the KJV is not one of the most accurate versions out there, it was the best for Spurgeon's era, but the Spurgeons today are using other more accurate versions.

Anonymous said...


In the book "One Bible Only?" Beacham and Bauder write a lot about the TR and Erasmus, it is a really good discussion, they point out all the problems with the TR and how that in many places Erasmus was using the Latin Vulgate rather than any Greek Manuscripts. He was under tremendous pressure from the church to get the TR completed, so he did what he had to do. Also, it is argued that in many places things were added into the TR, e.g., the Comma Johanneum (1 Jn 5:8).

Nash Equilibrium said...

All the talk of manuscripts and so on is interesting to a rational being, but don't you think most KJVO people eventually retreat to God somehow divinely guiding the KJV translators to use just the right words, since their position is otherwise indefensible?

Anonymous said...

Here is a sample of "One Bible Only?"

"The Textus Receptus (TR) is the title given to the 1633 version of the Greek text edited and first published by Erasmus in 1516. Erasmus was a Roman Catholic priest and humanist who came to Basel in 1514 to publish his annotations on the New Testament with a text of the Latin Vulgate. His publisher, Froben, pressured him to include the Greek NT in his work. Consequently, in eight months Erasmus edited his Greek NT based on the seven manuscripts available to him at Basel. Erasmus described his text as "thrown together rather than edited." It had many typographical errors, and with regard to these errors, F.H.A. Scrivener said it is "the most faulty book I know."

"Of the seven manuscripts that Erasmus used, none contained the whole NT. One was complete except for Revelation, and all the rest had various parts of the NT (one had only Revelation, except for the last six verses; two had only the Gospels; two had only Acts and the Epistles; and one had only the Pauline Epistles). All of them date from the eleventh to the fifteenth centuries" (Beacham and Bauder 81-82).

I hope this helps a bit, Euagellion. A big reason behind the problems with the KJV NT is the TR. Not only was it based on late manuscripts (11-15th century) but in places it lacks support from any manuscript.

Now, we have great Greek manuscripts that date back to the 4th and 5th century (Nestle Aland). And they have an incredible amount of consistency with each other. You tell me, which English Bible would you prefer. One based on the TR or one based on the Nestle Aland 27 (Minority Text)?

This is just one of many reasons why so many American scholars/pastors are using translations other than the KJV. Its just not the best out there anymore.

I hope this helps.

Anonymous said...


Your comment in regard to the position of many KJVO people retreating back to the "God led them to write this" is dead on. I mean, how can you really argue with that it is so subjective?

I force them to prove that God wrote the KJV. And its impossible to prove. That position is called double inspiration and it is completely invalid.

I normally tell them that the TR was written by a Humanistic Roman Catholic who probably wasn't even saved. Which is absolutely historically accurate. Needless to say, they don't like to hear that. Then they normally retreat to saying, well, this one was good enough for Grandpa and my Dad, so its the one I'll use. They taught me that it is the best, so I'm sticking with that.

Again, how can you argue with someone like that. Its like arguing with a child over what candy is the best.

James David Beebe, Jr. said...


I heard one (not their best representative, to be sure) who apparently found out "sorceries" in Rev 9:21 is pharmaka-something ... the KJV is inerrant ... therefore ... the practice of modern medicine, the use of pharmaceutical drugs, is ... [ta-daa!] sorcery. We should heal ourselves with herbal remedies and donations to health/wealth ministries.

[disclaimer: I don't mean to project guilt by association onto other KJO folks, and I'm all for legitimate natural and herbal stuff.]

Bob Hayton said...

Spurgeon, not KJVO??? Next you'll be saying Spurgeon was a Calvinist....

Seriously, ignorance of church history is an ingredient in the mix that allows for the growth of sectarian belief systems like King James Onlyism.

As for good books on the topic, White's ie excellent. But I like One Bible Only? Examining Exclusive Claims for the King James Bible edited by Kevin Bauder and Roy Beacham (Kregel) even better. I can see Chris has already plugged it. But it's written by fundamentalist scholars who are familiar first-hand with KJVO churches. It deals with the manuscript evidence and such, but focuses in more on the Bible's testimony as related to the topic at hand.

I'm interested in Chris' paper.

There are other resources available on this issue on a blog I help run: King James Only?. We blog about matters related to KJV Onlyism. And we're all former KJV Onlyists.

Thanks again, great quotes by Spurgeon.

Nash Equilibrium said...

Yes I agree - most KJVO people arrive at their position as a result of upbringing and emotion. You can't argue on a rational basis against "God inspired the 1611 team to write infallibly." The same non-debatable argument has kept Catholicism's ex cathedra Papal infallibility claims alive for centuries.

Carl said...

I have a question for the Spurgeon experts (or at least more knowledgable than I): other than the King James Bible, what other translations were available at that time? I know about some like the Geneva Bible, the Latin Vulgate, Tyndale's, Douay-Rheims, etc. (admittedly I've never actually read from any of them personally).

Okay...two questions:

Of those translations, which ones were most used by non-RCC preachers of that era? I'm assuming the King James version was the most used during Spurgeon's era.

And for the record, I am not IFB nor KJV-Only. The questions popped in my head when I read the blog entry and felt the folks who post comments on this blog are, for the most part, very knowledgable when it comes to these matters.

Also for the record, that was NOT kissing up. :-)

Tom Austin said...

I know that rejecting a position based solely on its adherents isn't justified, but it does give some good indications. The KJVO people I've met were the type who "can't change his mind and won't change the subject."

Conversations tend to go like this: "Is that fried chicken? We had fried chicken on Sunday at church, where we only use the KING JAMES HOLY BIBLE."

Anonymous said...

We're church planting french-speaking churches in Quebec, Canada. I ran into a guy (who was bilingual, but whose first language was French) about a year ago who lives here who was thinking about starting an English-speaking church to reach French-speakers.

"What?" I asked. "Why? That makes no sense."

"So that we could use the Authorized Version."

His plan was to teach people old English so that they would be able to study the REAL Bible.

Again... I'm sure that's why Paul preached in 16th century English during his missionary journeys.

Nash Equilibrium said...

LOL. I've had coversations like that myself with hillbilly KJVOers. (Which I admit is a redundant phrase for the most part).

Stefan Ewing said...


One of the best websites I've found on English versions of the Bible (and other matters) is Bible Research.

The KJV enjoyed hegemony for several centuries, until the English Revised Version came out (and briefly mentioned in Phil's excerpt from Spurgeon).

In terms of literary style, the RV is very similar to the KJV; but it reflected developments in 19th-century textual criticism, basing the New Testament translation on Westcott and Hort's 1881 Greek New Testament.

The RV New Testament was published in 1881, the Old Testament and whole Bible in 1885, and Apocrypha in 1895.

The American Standard Version (the American edition the RV) came out in 1901, and apparently formed the basis for the RSV and NASB many years later.

Anonymous said...


Shoot me an email, with your mailing address I'll dig that out make a copy and send it over to you. And that goes for anybody who wants a copy.

It was given to me from my mentor and Hebrew prof. from seminary. It deals primarily with the OT and it is amazing how many times the KJV OT translation relies on the LXX or just made something up since their Hebrew mss were lacking.

The lacking that I'm talking about is seriously small, most people think its hair splitting.


I like how you tied in the Roman Church, I find that so many arguments, like the KJVO one and others from said camp are very Catholic. Landmarkism is another one.

Anonymous said...

I meant, "catholic like"

pardon me...

But believing in double inspiration sounds a little like the dual source theory. Didn't God finish speaking once the canon was closed when the final verse of Revelation was written?

Bob Hayton said...


So Spurgeon lived until 1893 I think, and he was able to see the relase of the RV Old and New Testaments. He made some use of them too, I believe.


Are you referring to James Price's work? I have a couple hundred page analysis of the OT text and the KJV by him. I don't think he says the KJV made 800 emendations to the Hebrew, but they may have departed from the Hebrew MT 800 times. Emendations would be a conjectural guess based on no textual evidence at all.

If it's someeone else's study I'll definitely be interested in it. I have quite a few resources on the KJV Only issue and would love to have that research too.

In Christ,


Stefan Ewing said...

Picking up where I left off:

In fact, the context of Phil's quote from Spurgeon appears to be on the subject of whether pastors should continue using the KJV, or the newfangled Revised Version.

His answer, of course, was that while from a scholar's, theologian's, or seminarian's point of view, the RV was preferable, the KJV was a better version to use out of a sense of pastoral care and evangelization, since that is the only version that everyday believers and non-believers were used to; and introducing the RV could lead to cognitive dissonance among churchgoers accustomed to the only English version that had been in print since the Geneva Version had stopped being put out in 1644.

Nash Equilibrium said...

Chris: Landmarkism is a new one on me - I had to look that up. Basically you could have a "Authorized" church using the "Authorized" version of the Bible. LOL!
Let's face it, these types of fantasies (KJVO, Landmarkism) could have only been invented and nurtured in the extreme isolation of rural 19th century America. In today's interconnected world, it's truly weird that they could continue to survive.

Bobby Grow said...

@ Boerseuntjie,

I would just respond, that if you call variant readings and such "errors," then I would agree with you. But I don't consider variant readings "errors," instead I just consider them "varian readings;" and thus not errors, but a reality of textual criticism.

And to be honest I think the "autograph" argument is an "argument from silence;" I think text critical arguments are better since we have a multitude of such things (i.e. manuscripts) --- thus avoiding the typical "argument from silence."

Stefan Ewing said...

Oh, and one very, very cool thing about the Revised Version is that it was the first English version to render poetry as poetry, all versified and everything.

The 1881 RV New Testament is available online at the Bible Research website, here.

Anonymous said...


I think you've got it.

"Textual Emendations In The Authorized Version" by, James D. Price, Ph.D.

Presented at ETS Southern Region, March 22, 1986.

Now for the emendations, I understand that an emendation was any editing/correction to the manuscript, usually by the scribes.

And pardon me, the 800 number was off the top of my head. I did hear that several times in class though, that there were 800 or more emendations of the mss from the KJV writers. I may have another paper somewhere, I'll do some more looking.

Don't get me wrong, I don't like over statements. Of the emendations many are valid, that is, they are based on good evidence. The problem is, many are not. And this really goes to prove that God did not inspire the hand of the KJV writers. And to say that no English version has evidence of emending is a fallible statement.

Back in that fellowship KJVO was a serious problem with many. So we had lots of info on the subject.

Anonymous said...


You're right, you must read Kutalik's book, he describes how the KJVO position did not develop until the 60s and 70s in America. He shows how J. Frank Norris was not a KJVO guys at all, whats funny is that many neo fundamentalists love to revise church history.

At my old school, the fact that some of the early founders were not KJV men got out and it outraged many. Noel Smith, in fact used the RV and was an early mover in that fellowship and school but since he had been gone for so long it was never mentioned, if Noel was alive today, he couldn't preach from his bible in chapel, he would have to use a KJV. The same was true of J. Frank Norris, kind of funny as to just how inconsistent these folk really are.

Kent Brandenburg said...

I think that if Spurgeon had lived longer, he would have settled on a position similar to Turretin and Owen on the text. No one knows.

I think the best hint is found in his Final Manifesto, written shortly before he died.


God didn't breathe out English words, but Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic ones. Those are also the ones He preserved. That is the position of the Westminster Confession, the Formula Consensus Helvetica, and the London Baptist Confession.

This is all I plan on saying on this, but if someone wants to read a good history of bibliology, he should read Richard A. Muller's Volume 2 of his Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics, Holy Scripture: The Cognitive Foundation of Theology.

Penn Tomassetti said...

I've always wanted to read a post on Pyromaniacs about the KJVO issue. Is this the first one? I never saw any others here.

All the good information you guys can spread on this issue is worth it, because even in the largest cities of Pennsylvania this is still a dividing line for many Christians.

And for all you commenters, I know people who were not brought up Christian at all, and they have come to hold intensely firm to the KJVO position because of something they read or heard about all other versions being modern distortions or of the devil, and so they stick with the KJVO.

And these are calvinists too, not just your old backwoods fundamentalist Baptists.

The sad fact is, many good calvinist preachers and teachers are convinced of KJV-Onlyism and are getting their listeners to hold to it also. This isn't a small movement, and the consciences of a lot of uninformed Christians are getting hurt.

FX Turk said...

I've been in an airplane all day, but I'm relieved to find that Kent has sounded off on this critical issue.

Because let's face it: continuing to disseminate the lie that Owen and Turretin share this faulty opinion is a full-time job. Gospel-centered pastors certainly have nothing better to do.

Get you recorder out, Kent. I'll be ready for that phone call when you can record the whole thing and post it on thw web.

Kevin Williams said...

"Were Spurgeon alive today"...

Then I seriously don't think he would have changed his position.

Loved the KJV, prefered the KJV. But doesn't claim it's infalliable.

My own personal choice is the KJV. It's not perfect but I got sick of having Bibles that told me the resurrection in Mark isn't really there. As if Mark and the Holy Spirit (Ghost ;0) somehow dropped a big whoops and forgot to mention the event which the whole Christian faith hinges on.

I've tried the ESV, but so often it's an interpretation rather than a translation. A reformed fad: "I've got one coz he's got one".

Rachael Starke said...

FWIW - The Mormies only read the KJV. I keep one on hand so that I can read my own and not have to pick up their dead brick of anti-Bible they have stuck to it.

And, Puritan, I'm interested in how you would distinguish translation from interpretation, perhaps with an ESV example?

I do agree with you a little that the ESV does seem to be the new "Shibboleth" for the cool reformed kids. Who knows, maybe in a hundred years we'll have sparked a whole ESVO movement... :)

(Speaking as a mom, though, I deeply love that it's a version our entire family, from my 3 year-old up, can read together with a greater level of confidence in accuracy than the NIV, and far more readability than the NASB or KJV.)

Anonymous said...

And I thought that KJVO would not be an issue now that my wife and I had left that fellowship.

Chad V. said...

You know Puritan the attitude you've just displayed would make any accurate textual or translation work on the bible impossible. Whether the ending of Mark or the woman caught in adultery in John for that matter are genuine or not should be based on a calm rational and intelligent analysis of the textual evidence, not the assumption that the Holy Spirit should have said X,Y, and Z. Other wise you could never know with any certainty what the bible actually says.

Besides, the ESV and other modern translations don't say that the ending of Mark isn't genuine. They just point out that the earliest manuscripts don't contain it and guess what, they don't. It's a statement of fact. As a Christian the facts should not bother you.

Aaron said...

Rachael, most mormons I've met also pray in KJ.

I'm really surprised there aren't more posts on this. Mentioning the controversy is like waving a red flag in front of a bull. Almost every KJVO person I've ever met reminds me of the those who claim the government is covering up alien existence are Area 51.

Stefan Ewing said...

One thing...just thinking off the top of my head...but the influence of "higher" criticism and mainline liberalization on revisions in the KJV translation stream (I'm thinking especially of the RSV and NRSV) has been such that both the NIV and ESV (not to mention the NLT, Good News Bible, etc., etc., etc.) were produced essentially as Evangelical alternatives to the more liberal revisions. Perhaps this also sparked the development of KJVO?

I thought of it because in South Korea—given its large and zealous Evangelical population—there's as much of a plethora of 20th-century Bible translations, retranslations, and revisions as in English, and running the same gamut in style and substance as the KJV to the Good News Bible; but the dominant Protestant version for Koreans has never been abandoned as the version of choice for the vast majority of Evangelicals there, because for all its revisions, it's never been subject to the same liberalizing tendencies as some of the English versions.

Jon said...

I think most KJVO avoid any blog that actually teaches truth. They're more concerned with formulating their own history of the church than actually reading what happened.

I present the Satanic NIV!" Dun dun dun!

Jugulum said...


What are you talking about?

Mark still talks about the resurrection, even if the long ending of Mark isn't there! It ends with the angel telling Mary & Mary that Jesus has risen, among other things. It just doesn't go on to describe the appearance of Jesus.

Anonymous said...


Are you sure about this? I thought it was King James who appointed Spurgeon as the King's official pastor. Maybe that's why Spurgeon preferred the AV.


Kevin Williams said...

Chad V,

Augustine told us plainly why the adulterous woman story was missing out of John 8. The professing church had descended into legalism and so adultery had become the unpardonable sin. Some "church fathers" who Augustine said were not Christian were then removing the passage, because they didn't like what it says.

The ending of Mark was quoted in its entirety by early church Fathers. It's pretty hard to quote something before it is written.

This Comparing Manuscripts and Translations is one of the best and most balanced pieces online on the subject. It's not KJV-only nor anti-KJV. It takes about an hour but it's well worth the read.

Chad V. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chad V. said...



I'm not going to repeat myself. Go back and respond to what I actually said.

BTW, as Jug already pointed out the resurrection in Mark is recorded in the first 8 verses. The portion in dispute is in verse 9 and beyond.

That Conservative Dude said...

I am looking forward to the OSV Bible (Oliver Stone Version). It is the version done by movie director Oliver Stone. I hear his plan is to interview the "Bible experts" in the U.S (Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Jeremiah Wright & Dan Brown) and get their interpretation of every verse in the Living Bible. Stone will then merger their 4 interpretations into 1 all encompassing text. Stone knows this is a daunting task & suspects it will take up to 3 weeks to interview, compile & merge the text. The OSV will then be made into a Hollywood blockbuster movie with an all star cast. Stone expects the movie to take 7 years to get to the theaters with casting alone to take 18 months. I also hear Marvel Comics is slated to do the OSV children's bible comic. It is rumored that the OSV will be the only bible allowed to be read in the U.S.S.A by 2031.

CR said...

What was it with Spurgeon and with you guys? If the KJV was good enough for the apostle Paul, it should be good enough for us.

John said...

Just realized that i meant to write "less than 1%", not "less than 10%". Big fingers, little number pad.

Solameanie said...

Maybe if we all went and took Hebrew and Greek courses -- then proceeded to read Scripture in the original languages -- that would settle this never-ending dispute.

Oh, but wait. I forgot about the autographs.

Anonymous said...

Maybe if we all went and took Hebrew and Greek courses -- then proceeded to read Scripture in the original languages

But the original language was the King's English.

Paul Wilkinson said...

re. movementquebec comment 11:16AM 8/14

It just keeps getting curiouser and curiouser. One of the best responses I've always kept in my back pocket to respond to KJVO people is the case of foreign language translations.

And now the KJVO camp finds a way around that.

Missionaries around the world should be teaching English first and foremost. Why didn't I think of that? Think of the work it would save Wycliffe Bible Translators. And imagine their surprise when they find out they've been doing it wrong all these years.

steve said...

Perhaps the most definitive writing from Spurgeon about his view of the KJV is found in the preface of The English Bible by H.C. Conant, the Passmore & Alabaster edition printed in 1858 (you won't find this preface in the American edition). He speaks forthrightly of translation errors in the KJV and even quotes other Bible scholars who call attention to specific errors. Spurgeon said that those who were KJV only held to a form of Popery.

Berean Wife said...

Paul Wilkinson,

Your comment would be humorous if it wasn't so true. I attend church with a retired missionary to the Middle East. While in the Middle East, he was sent a large sum of money to help him translate and distribute the KJV into that Arabic dialect. After informing the lady that there was a perfectly good translation available, she asked for her money back if the Arabic wasn't translated from the KJV only.

One church I visited had a pastor that insisted that Jesus said “Ye.” This wasn’t an isolated statement but essentially the point of the sermon repeated many times. It was about all we could do to contain ourselves during the sermon.

Berean Wife

steve said...

Whoops--the danger of attempting to go by memory. The publisher of the Conant book in which Spurgeon wrote the preface was not Passmore & Alabaster, but another publisher in London. Sorry.

Aaron said...

Translation is a monumental task. With respect to smaller tribes, etc., there are concepts and words that simply don't translate to their language. So translators use different methods to accomplish the same goal which is making the gospel accessible. The same is true with English translations. There are different versions to try to compensate for the changes in the English language over time, lower educational levels, and other problems that occur in languages. For example, Jesus was a carpenter, right? Many people get this idea that he sat around carving all day. Some people believe a more accurate description of what Jesus did was "construction worker." So it was translated construction worker rather than carpenter does that make the translation evil or more liberal? No. It may not be word for word accurate, but the goal was to make Scripture accessible and understandable to every man.

We can debate the appropriateness of the methods and accuracy all day, but a perfect translation is just not possible.

see this link for some history of bible translation. Only a couple pages. http://www.christianitytoday.com/ch/byperiod/modern/goodnewsforthe20thcentury.html?start=1

Aaron said...

I might also point you to the movie "Luther." There is a scene where he is translating the Bible and he can't decide how a particular word should be rendered.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, "Let's hope to God that translations ARE accurate and indeed scripture".

Apply now Nation wide cash

Caleb said...

I think many are conflating positions taken on translations and positions taken on underlying texts. A lot of the mockery of KJVO proponents here doesn't bother me personally because my preference for the KJV and rejection of the modern versions does not stem from the belief that God dictated His word in English or that the KJV transators were infallible or inspired, but from the doctrine of preservation taught in scripture.

In other words, by faith I take God at His word that He preserved His words (each and every one). I believe that the very words of God are found in the TR, and that the CT is corrupt. Thus, because the KJV is the only version I'm aware of that exclusively uses the TR, I use the KJV. For people who speak other languages, whatever version is translated from the TR is what's best for them; certainly it's silly to expect them to learn English. THAT type of KVJO-ism is foolish. In fact, I would describe myself as textus receptus-only, not KJV-only.

As far as updates to the wording of the KJV, "hard" words in the KJV seem to fall into 2 categories: outdated words (e.g. "let" meaning "hinder"; "trow"; "wot", etc.) and technical terms (e.g. "propitiation"). I don't necessarily have a problem with updating the former (but see no real need to), but technical terms with no exact modern-English equivalent should stand. After all, I don't think it's too much to ask someone reading a book the size of the Bible to take the time to learn the meanings of a few technical terms - we do this all the time in our everyday reading, if we read much at all.

I have not personally ever met anyone who claimed the KJV translators were infallible. Obviously they exist and they make convenient targets, but I encourage anyone who believes in the superiority of the CT and that God failed to keep His promise to preserve His word to examine the textual argument and not just spend time shooting fish like Ruckman and Riplinger in a barrel. The strength of any position is measured by the strongest argument it refutes, not the weakest.

Unknown said...

Did Charles Spurgeon Become A King James Onlyist Before He Died?: http://readytoreason.com/charles-spurgeon-king-james-onlyist/