For “KJV Only” Wrangling

Posted By on August 20, 2010

The Evangelical Textual Criticism blog posted a link to this article by Dan Wallace today.† It’s a nice short piece where Dan takes on the “KJV only” position. If you’re not familiar with this, please don’t read it. I’d feel guilty about putting it into your brain.

I always recommend D.A. Carson’s book on this subject — The King James Only Debate: A Plea for Realism.† Concise and devastating. Who could ask for more?

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,

About The Author


15 Responses to “For “KJV Only” Wrangling”

  1. rode says:

    so the NIV is based on these older texts?

  2. Gary says:

    OK, I see your point, why clutter my mind with stuff I do not understand, or do not care about? However, I was looking for my single “hot” item on KJV versus NIV vs most of the newer translations. And this says nothing about my “hot” item. Nor does it really summarize it’s point very well. I guess I lost the point. Anyway, my only question to this is, which is correct, “Thou shall not kill”, or “Thou shall not murder”? Of course, whatever anyone says, I already have my opinion, which is clearly “Thou shall not kill”. Try the book from one of your fellow midwesterners, “”You Shall Not Kill” or “You Shall not Murder””, by Wilma Ann Bailey. So sum up in one line, if you don’t have enough evidence to change it, leave it as it is. The change came about by a “conspiracy”, my words, not Bailey’s, to justify Christians going to war in Vietnam, and later, among other things, to feel OK about killing per the bible and OT traditions. I do not plan on arguing the point. It is covered quite well by Bailey, and the book is only 92 pages, so it is easy reading. I’d like to see opinions, but beyond this, I am mute.

    • MSH says:

      the book has a lot more coverage. The point of the prohibition is “thou shalt not take an innocent life that is not worthy of death, or that has done nothing worthy of death” (i.e., thou shalt not murder). This law needs to be placed in the context of all the other laws that involve taking life (innocent or not) and the allowance for taking life (death penalty) in the law. It isn’t a matter of translating one verse. It’s about historical – contextual exegesis, of which translating is only one step.

  3. blop2008 says:

    Most, if not all new translations are based on these older manuscripts. The fact they these older manuscripts have more variants is very telling, that copyists (to avoid saying scribes, since early copyists were not necessarily scribes) did not have the same careful practice for copying texts. Who knew in the first and early second century that Paul’s letters were going to be part of the New Testament, the word of God?

    The word of God is more than just text and more than just oral. The Bible could of been mechanically inspired and it could of been just text, but it turns out that it’s not. Were not living in Moses’ time nor in Paul’s time, we need to study and we need discernment from the Holy Spirit in devotional time. As Wallace puts it in his interviews, we need to focus on Christology not bibliology.

    • MSH says:

      This is predominantly true, though it would be an overstatement to say or assume that newer translations use ONLY the older manuscript material. (This is why the “reasoned eclecticism” method is eclectic).

  4. blop2008 says:

    No they don’t, it’s a generic comment against KJV onlyism

  5. WoundedEgo says:

    My question is, which KJV? The 1611? Or the 1640? Up until 1640, the KJV included the “Apocrypha” (which, in fact, is part of the historic scriptures).

    And if the 1640, why? Why not 1611? One word springs to mind: “arbitrary.”

    The ones who **created** “The Bible” are the Catholics. These questions should be deferred to them and their “Pooppa”.

    • Gary says:

      My RSV (which is not Catholic) includes the apocrypha too. So what? The apocrypha includes valuable historical information. You don’t like Catholics, maybe? I just asked myself why am I am even wasting my time. I’m signing off.

  6. tom bionic says:

    One comment and one question. hope this thread isnt “closed”…

    The article states that church fathers quoted and preferred the alexandrian tradition of texts. So I decided to look up something that was of use awhile back in study, which was the phrase “this kind only comes out by prayer and fasting” in mark 9.
    I talked to a few people I respect about it, and they all sort of shook their heads and basically said “well I would probably defer to the ESV. as A, B, C, D, and Aleph are all probably correct on this matter.”
    But then it shows up in one of the church fathers writing (I forget which, maybe Iraneus) as prayer and fasting, arguing (I think) for the KJV on this matter.
    So my questions…
    1. Is there a semi simple way to compare and contrast the places where the Byzantine textual tradition and the earlier Alexandrian ( A B C D etc.) traditions disagree without spending months pouring over the manuscripts myself?
    2. Is there a way to look at what is attested to in scripture by the church fathers? Where they agree with which manuscript?
    3. MSH, what is your opinion on the majority text? (maybe that could be something you could blog about in the future.)

    Thanks for this blog. Its so good to see people who exercise their brands inside the context of the Holy Word.

    • MSH says:

      quick answers:

      1. the simplest way is to use the apparatus of something like Nestle-Aland 27 or UBS4 (they are editions of the Greek NT). However, the require a reading knowledge of Greek. If one could do that and had UBS3rd edition, one could also get Metzger’s Textual Commentary that goes with it. And Hendrickson just put out a similar, more detailed tool by ROger Omanson. But you have to be able to read Greek. I will be offering a MEMRA course next year that focuses on this sort of thing taught by a friend named Rick Brannan — he’s the guy who puts together all our Greek NT editions at Logos; he really knows the ins and outs of the editions and tools for that sort of thing. He blogs on textual criticism from time to time:,category,textual%2Bcriticism.aspx

      2. No – this is notorious. There are indexes for this sort of thing but they are hard to find and hard to use.

      See here for the how the guys at the Evangelical Textual Criticism blog answer this:

      See here for indexes and databases:

      3. I’m what’s called a “reasoned eclectic” – meaning that I give no text family priority in principle, and am willing to have later material (Majority Text) be original if it provides the best explanation for how all the other readings would have arisen, and otherwise has the greatest explanatory power. I think all variants should have their day in court.

  7. tom bionic says:

    that is actually three questions.

    sorry bout that

  8. tom bionic says:

    that “brains”, not “brands.”

  9. tom bionic says:

    those are great answers.

    Thanks. you rock!

  10. tom bionic says:

    thought I’d share a link regardin statistical significance and a comparison of manuscripts.

    might be interest to some.

Leave a Reply

Please note: Comment moderation is currently enabled so there will be a delay between when you post your comment and when it shows up. Patience is a virtue; there is no need to re-submit your comment.