Me, a hater of the King James Bible? Who in the world told you that?!

There are Christians who are King James people because they prefer the wonderful language and cadence of the KJV, or who believe (wrongly, in my opinion, but no matter for now) that it has a stronger basis in the original Greek text. With these brothers and sisters, I have no serious quarrel.

But when someone condemns my Bible as a tool of Satan, or suggests that I think the same about their Bible, then I must quarrel.

Many are asking the leading question: “Why do people hate the KJV Bible?” This is a fallacious way of putting it, because it is supposing that which it is trying to prove: so rather than demonstrate that people hate the King James, they simply claim that it is so. The underlying assumption seems to be: unless you are KING JAMES ONLY!, then the only possible explanation is that you must be KING JAMES NEVER!, and that by extension, you must hate the Bible.

I google the question, and this is the random selection that came to the top:

“The reason people hate the KJV” is a thread that the editor eventually shut down; the original post suggests that if people “hate” the KJV, it’s because they reject the Bible, period.[1]

An article “Why People Hate the King James Bible” suggests that people hate the KJV because it is “dogmatic” against sin, and liberals just love sin, so that’s why they aren’t devoted exclusively to the KJV.[2]

The site has a strong position on many issues. They prove that people “hate” the KJV, but “their opposition isn’t to the concept that the King James Bible is the perfect word of God. Their opposition is actually to the concept that there is a perfect Bible anywhere on earth! They don’t just hate the King James Bible but they hate the thought that there is a perfect Bible anywhere, no matter which version it might be.” This, the article goes on to claim, is because they would rather be evolutionists.[3]

Faithful Baptist College speaks of the “many seminary professors who hate the King James.”[4]

Samuel Gipp says, to answer the question “Do Christians who use other Bibles [than the KJV] hate God?” – “God desires worship and love from His creatures. There are many preachers who, as Bible college students were misled concerning the King James Bible. They may very well love Jesus Christ but through ignorance or deceit use the wrong bible. They certainly do not ‘hate God’. [But he goes on to say that they are on the road to apostasy!] It has been found however that someone who loves the Lord and uses the wrong bible must one day face the Bible issue and make a choice between right and wrong. If they chose ‘right’ their faith is strengthened and they will cease to use other bibles and usually cease to attempt to ‘correct’ the Bible while reading or preaching… [But] It can happen that a Christian simply refuses to be in subjection to what he considers a mere book. He rejects the authority of Scripture in his life.”[5]

“Seven Reasons Why I Know that the King James Bible Is the Only Word Of God in the English Language,” by Pastor Herbert Noe – “You can determine the character of a person by who hates him. In the same way, you can define the character of the King James Bible. Westcott and Hort hated this Bible and the Greek text behind it and their work is reverenced by all Bible correctors today. Bible correctors are the enemies of God’s Word, whether they think they are or not. Not only are they enemies, but they are followers of the champion and first corrector [that is, the Devil]. Genesis 3:1 is where he first appeared saying, “Yea, hath God said?”[6]

“Why I Believe the King James Bible is God’s Word,” says David J. Stewart, is because “feminists, liberals and homosexuals hate the King James Bible, because it condemns sin and is masculine and AUTHORITATIVE!!!” Among other issues.[7]

I use a wide variety of Bible versions: most of my study is with the Hebrew or the Greek text; in English I use maybe 5-6 versions regularly, but 20 occasionally; most of my ministry is in Spanish, and I most often use the Reina Valera 1960, the RV Contemporánea, and the Nueva Versión Internacional, but others regularly. Besides which I consult with the French versions, the occasional reference to the Vulgate, etc.

By no means do I hate the KJV, which I use quite frequently, as I also do the NKJV. I can say this as a Christian, and also one of the “many seminary professors” who, according to the quotation above, supposedly “hate” the King James.

My goodness, my conversion and early Christian life ran entirely on the fuel of the King James Bible:

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23 KJV) – this was the verse they read to us kids just before I became a Christian.

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8 KJV) – what a comfort that was to me as a young believer.

“O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?…Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” (Gal 3:1, 3 KJV) – weren’t these the verses that were a lifeline to me when I was almost swallowed up in the murk of legalism?

“But the LORD said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak. Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD. Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth” (Jer 1:7-9 KJV) – weren’t these the verses the Lord used when he called me to ministry, assuring me that my shyness would not cripple my future ministry?

Me, hate the King James Version? Well that comes out of left field!

But let’s make sure we place the emphasis where it belongs – it was not the KJV that saved me, but it was God’s Word, which happened to be in its 1611 English form. If I had been born in France, it would have been, what, the Louis Segond version; in Romania, the Cornilescu.

From what I have read, there are some – not all, probably not most – King James Only people who are on a crusade against non-KJV Bibles. Let’s be very careful not to psychologize them, but here is the parallel I can see:

Some people are iPhone people, some are Android. And maybe they have a solid preference. But a tiny minority of each group has become so radicalized that it is impossible for them to admit that the other phone is anything but, well, according to one article “******** ******.” I cleaned it up a bit. Although there is plenty of cursing, I haven’t seen anyone claim that the user of a certain phone literally is on his way to hell. O! that we could say this about Bible versions!

Again: there are Cat People and there are Dog People. Maybe a bunch of us fall into one group or the other. For my part, I like dogs and cats, and have kept both for many years. But certain people interpret my broadmindedness as somehow sinister: “Unless you are not hardcore Cat-holic (or Dog-matist, I guess), then the only possible explanation is that you have a deep hatred of cats. Or dogs.” This explains articles like this one: “Science Proves It: Cats Are Stupid Jerks.”

I assure you that I love the KJV, and also love and use other versions. I guess it is this lack of exclusive devotion to one version or another that offends. It is because not everyone yet “knows that the King James Bible is the only Word of God in the English language” in the way that Pastor Noe knows, above. For some, only Translation Jihad is acceptable: and so when they accuse people of being KJV-haters, I wonder if they are “projecting” on others something they are wrestling with in their own mind. Because they demonize early Bible manuscripts and of Bible scholars such as Bengel, Westcott, Hort, Metzger, and others makes them assume that we must in turn be privately demonizing the KJV and its exclusive followers.

I may be wrong.

Recently someone wrote into this blog and congratulated me for taking a firm stand against the “KJV addicts.” I did not permit the comment, first because it wasn’t accurate, but also since our rule here is “No abusive language toward the author, other posters, or other parties.” And to be consistent, I would not wish to accuse any specific individual of “addiction” or of “projecting” some inner conflict.

Selecting a Bible version is not like selecting a spouse, where one and only one deserves our exclusive devotion, and any flirtation with another is a sign of corruption. I encourage Christians to sample the full selection of the versions, the various human attempts to render the infallible Word, not perfectly, but as perfectly as they possibly can.








[7], emphasis in the original.

“Me, a hater of the King James Bible? Who in the world told you that?!” by Gary S. Shogren, Professor of New Testament, Seminario ESEPA, San José, Costa Rica

Tagged: Bible, Christian, evangelical, Greek, Hebrew, KJV, NA28;Bible;Christian;evangelical