What about the KJV Only controversy?
The author of this article has wrestled with the KJV Only controversy for many years. He has read many articles from scholarly men on both sides of the issue. William James had a concept called “cash value”. Basically it went like this: once you get the correct answer of how much practical value is it? Like how much value is it to be able to determine how many angels can dance on the head of a pen? The answer is “practically none”.
What is the spiritual and moral value of determining what the exact original biblical texts were and are?
One is that it gives confidence to the reader that the source is truly from God. With the multiplicity of modern translations the common man might be lead to believe that the Bible is very unreliable and the truth it presents is also unreliable.
Also, I believe that the multiplicity of translations has actually hindered the memorization of Scripture. Also, everytime you attend a new church you may have to use a different translation. Organizations like AWANA have their program in many different translations but that is actually confusing to the students as well as the parents. Note that some alleged translations are actually paraphrases or Dynamitic equivence translations. They do not give a word for word translation from the Greek and Hebrew manuscripts into English.
When it comes to the Word of God I personally would like the exact text of the original Scriptures. But is it necessary for a person to have absolute perfection to be saved and grow in the Lord? The answer is “no”. But that does not mean that we don’t desire a perfect copy of the original autographs.
Sometimes I think the controversy causes more problems than it solves. After considerable study regarding the transmission of manuscripts it is my judgment that the Textus Receptus or Byzantine manuscript family is the most reliable. The work on the Revision of the Greek text of Westcott-Hort is full of problems and contradictions.
The two manuscripts that were used primarily to create the Westcott-Hort Greek text were seriously flawed with many corruptions. Also, Westcott-Hort were very liberal theologians and did not believe in many of the most important essentials of the Faith. The basic argument of Westcott-Hort was that older is better. The two manuscripts were older but there is a serious question as to whether they were better.
The Jewish scholars that copied the Hebrew Scriptures were very exacting and precise about their method of copying the Scriptures. They would count every word on every line and if the number was wrong they would tear up the whole page and start over. Also, when they would come to the sacred name (YHVH) for the G-d the copist would take a complete bath and change their ink pens.
One of my conclusion about the ”cash value” of translations is the result of my assessment of the method of transmission of God’s truth from the beginning (Adam & Eve). Until approximately 1550 B.C. there was no written recorded Word of God. The Mosaic Covenant was the first written recorded Word of God. That bring up the question of “How were people saved and grow in their knowledge of God prior to the Mosaic Covenant?” Apparently the truth of God was passed on by verbal communication and certain direct communication by God to certain individuals, such as Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Also, oral communication was very reliable prior to the Genesis Flood because of the longevity of men. There were five persons who lived over 900 years. Adam himself lived 930 years so he could have directly communicated the truth of God which he had to many others.
More than likely God taught Adam and Eve the necessity of blood sacrifices. Cain and Abel were both taught by Adam and Eve. Cain knew the correct method for sacrificial offerings but through self-will he reject the way of God. Abel knew and offered a blood sacrifice in accord with what he was taught by his parents. We do not know what else God taught Adam and Eve, but from Genesis 3:15 we know that they were taught about a coming redeemer that would take care of sin.
15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. Genesis 3:15 (KJV)
Apparently, the people in the O.T. were saved by faith in the Promise of God to bring a Redeemer to pay for their sins. This was symbolized by their blood offering. There was a debate in the past whether people’s faith in God in the O.T. was Theo-centric or Christo-centric. From reading the account of Abraham’s being declared righteous by his faith in God’s promise of a Messiah coming from him and Sarah and their descendants faith apparently is Christo-centric.
2 And Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus?
3 And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir.
4 And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir.
5 And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.
6 And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness. Genesis 15:2-6 (KJV)
The Apostle Paul uses Abraham as an example of Justification by faith prior to the Mosaic Covenant and David as an example of Justification by faith during the Mosaic Covenant.
So it is very clear that people during the Old Testament period were saved by their faith in the promise of a coming Redeemer (Messiah).
Neither Abraham nor his immediate descendants had the written Word of God. They just had the oral word that was conveyed to them through their godly ancestors.
Romans 4:1-8 (KJV)
1 What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?
2 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.
3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,
7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.
8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.
For those of you who value the KJV Mr. Chris Sherburne has produced an updated KJV with the archaic words in the KJV changed.
His information is list below. I created a copy of Romans from his text in Word. I also created the 10 commandments with verses on the meaning of the Law. All of my memory work was completed in the KJV so it is very hard to change to any other translation. One piece of advice. If you are starting your children on the Word of God you need to pick a translation that is literal and which they will be able to keep and read all their life. That advice would also apply to you and any church that is choosing a translation. I believe that every church should take seriously which translation they will use. Almost all of the modern translations since 1881 are based on the Westcott-Hort Greek text which I consider as seriously flawed.
© 2004 Chris Sherburne
Third printing, January 2012
May God bless your today and forever!
Rev. Thomas L. Clark – Phil. 3:14