Why We Use the KJV
One of the most often asked questions of Christ Community Baptist Tabernacle is, “What Bible do you use?”
We answer unapologetically, "the King James Version." More and more individual Christians and unfortunately Bible-believing churches are forsaking the King James Version in favor of the more modern translations. In fact, there exists a huge controversy among Bible-believing, Independent, Baptist Fundamentalists as to whether or not the King James Version of the Bible is the Bible to be used in worship and personal study. A desire exists to forsake the King James Version (KJV) for the more “modern” translations such as the New American Standard Bible (NASB), the New International Version (NIV), or even the New King James Version (NKJV). The argument is put forward that the more modern translations are easier to read because the translations update the language and leave out all those "thee’s" and "thou’s." Another argument tries to say that the new translations are more accurate than the KJV. Christ Community Baptist Tabernacle whole-heartedly disagrees with these and any arguments that claim that these translations are more accurate than the KJV. It is the position of Christ Community Baptist Tabernacle to reject these arguments and these translations, and to confidently say that we use the King James Version of the Bible exclusively in all services, ministries, or activities associated with our ministry.
But, why do we use the King James Version?
Is it because Independent Baptist churches have always used the KJV and we cannot break tradition?
Is it because we have adopted whole-heartedly, or even without knowing, the unbiblical teachings of Peter Ruckman and believe the KJV is advanced revelation?
Or is it because the KJV is the most accurate translation in English because it is from the preserved Hebrew and Greek texts?
It is the latter reason why Christ Community Baptist Tabernacle uses the KJV. It is a conviction.
Before we can accurately state what we believe about the Bible we must first establish some definitions of the terminology that we intend to use. These definitions will aid the reader in a clearer understanding of the position that will be explained.
- Inspiration – is that process by which “God breathed” or wrote the books of the Bible by holy men of God, as they were moved by the Holy Spirit, in such a definite way that their writings were supernaturally and verbally inspired and free from error, as no other writings have ever been or ever will be inspired. (2 Timothy 3:16, II Peter 1:19-21)
- Plenary Inspiration – is the view that the entire Bible is inspired.
- Verbal Inspiration – is the view that "God-breathed" extends to the choice of the words of Scripture. It asserts that the God-breathed truth was grasped by God-appointed men who were guided by the Holy Spirit in their selection of words.
- Preservation – is the view that God will, and has, preserved His Word in pure form, including the most minute details (the jots and titles, the words), and that this would include the whole Scriptures, Old and New Testaments. The biblical doctrine of preservation is verbal, plenary preservation, which is the only reasonable view in light of the Biblical doctrine of the verbal, plenary, inspiration of the Writings.
- Inerrancy – is the view that the Bible is without error, that the Bible is correct in every statement it makes. The Bible reports and identifies errors accurately, of course, but it does not perpetrate them.
- Infallibility – is the view that the Bible is effective in everything it does. When the Bible is used, it always works. It never fails us. The Bible is incapable of error.
Christ Community Baptist Tabernacle believes the Bible is comprised of sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments and was given by inspiration of God. Christ Community Baptist Tabernacle believes, therefore, that it is inerrant and infallible. Christ Community Baptist Tabernacle furthermore believes in both the verbal and plenary inspiration. In addition, Christ Community Baptist Tabernacle believes that God has preserved His word as He promised, and that He has preserved it in the traditional texts or in the set of manuscripts known as the Textus Receptus. Christ Community Baptist Tabernacle also believes that the King James Version of the Bible is an accurate, faithful, and reliable translation of these manuscripts and that the English reader, therefore, can study it with utmost confidence and rely upon it. Christ Community Baptist Tabernacle can confidently say the King James Version is the inspired Word of God, not because God “breathed” again in 1611, but because the King James Bible was translated from the preserved texts.
AN EXPLANATION OF OUR POSITION
While Christ Community Baptist Tabernacle holds to the position that the original manuscripts were given by inspiration of God and are, therefore, perfect and inerrant both verbally and plenarily, we do not believe that inspiration as a process extends to any translation including the King James Version. Therefore, neither perfection nor inerrancy can be extended to the King James Version in the same sense that the original manuscripts were perfect and inerrant. To believe otherwise would lead to several conclusions which are unacceptable. Some of these unacceptable conclusions will now be explained.
First, to believe that the King James Version of the Bible is perfect and inerrant in the same sense that the original manuscripts were perfect and inerrant would result in our believing that the italicized words constitute additional revelation to that which was given at the time of the original writings. Revelation ceased with the completion of the New Testament. This is based on the position that the phrase “when that which is perfect is come” in I Corinthians 13:10 refers to the completion of the New Testament. At that time “that which is in part shall be done away” refers to several things mentioned including prophecy. Prophecy (or the giving forth of divine revelation) ceased when the New Testament was completed. Christ Community Baptist Tabernacle believes that the King James Version of the Bible is an accurate, reliable, and trustworthy translation of the best manuscripts. Although the italicized words were well done and properly included in the translation in order to help the English reader understand what he is reading and to aid in the smoothness of the translation, the italicized words are not inerrant.
The translators used italics in order to make it abundantly clear that these words were not part of the original, and that they had not added them to the original, because they knew well the Biblical statements warning against adding to the words of God. (Proverbs 30:6, Revelation 22:18)
Secondly, if a passage in the Greek or Hebrew text happens to be capable of more than one translation, all of which are equally accurate, viewing the King James Version as perfect and inerrant ( in the same sense that the original manuscripts were perfect and inerrant) would lead one to conclude that the King James Version shows which of these possibilities God intended. This sort of thinking would in turn lead one to conclude that the King James Version of the Bible serves as a clarifier or corrector of the original manuscripts and is, therefore, actually superior to, and thus more authoritative than, the original Greek or Hebrew manuscripts. Christ Community Baptist Tabernacle does not believe that the King James Version of the Bible is superior to, and thus more authoritative than, the original manuscripts. We also do not believe that the King James Version of the Bible can be used as a corrector or clarifier of the original Greek or Hebrew manuscripts.
Thirdly, Christ Community Baptist Tabernacle believes that the sixty-six books comprising the Old and New Testaments are the Word of God and that the apocryphal books have no place whatsoever in the sacred canon. Note that the apocryphal books were included in the first edition of the King James Version but were later (and properly) removed. Thus, to believe that the King James Version is perfect and inerrant in the same sense that the original manuscripts were perfect and inerrant would bring us into conflict with our view of the apocryphal books and with their original inclusion in the King James Version of the Bible.
Fourthly, the King James Version has undergone several revisions. While recognizing that these were minor revisions consisting mainly of spelling and typographical corrections, this would have been totally unnecessary if the King James Version were perfect and inerrant in the same sense that the original manuscripts were perfect and inerrant. There was no necessity of revising the original writings. God the Holy Spirit so superintended their writing that the finished product was exactly what He wished to say the very first time He said it. Furthermore, the fact that there have been a number of revisions of the King James Version (however minor they may have been) implies that, if the King James Version of the Bible were perfect and inerrant in the same sense as the original manuscripts, we would then have to decide which particular version of the King James Version was perfect and inerrant (ie., whether it was the original King James Version manuscripts, the first revision, the second revision, or one of the others.)
Christ Community Baptist Tabernacle does not believe that there are “mistakes” in the King James Version, and does not perform any correcting of the King James Version. Christ Community Baptist Tabernacle does not believe that the translation of the King James is wrong or that the King James Version should have been translated differently. The only English version of the Bible we use is the King James Version. Christ Community Baptist Tabernacle believes that the King James Version IS an accurate translation of the Bible. At the same time, however, we do not believe that there is necessarily only one correct way in which a verse may have been translated. Therefore, we study Greek in order that we might better understand the Word of God and accurately teach and preach it. The Greek text is frequently used to clarify the meaning of the original in the thinking of the English reader. Therefore, it would not be uncommon for our preacher to say something such as, “Baptism is to be understood in the sense of immersion” or “Conversation is to be used in the sense of behavior or manner of life.”
A POSITION ON THE KJV THAT WE REJECT
Christ Community Baptist Tabernacle rejects the arguments of those who, in their pursuit to defend the King James Version against the onslaught of modern translations, textual criticism and the liberal church movement, have accepted questionable theology concerning the Scriptures and particularly the King James Version of the Bible. This questionable theology centers around what one believes the King James Version actually is. Some may feel the King James Version is given certain qualities, that it is inspired, inerrant, or preserved, and that these qualities will automatically settle the Bible version debate. However, when leaders of local churches accept a belief system that has no Scriptural authority, they end up with a theology that is corrupt, inaccurate, or completely out of line with what the Scripture teaches. The result is that these leaders then pass their flawed theology on to their members through their preaching and teaching ministries. Any theory which assigns divine origin to the King James Version, or which in any way includes the idea of inspiration or even preservation in its view of the production of the King James Version, is borrowing ideas from Ruckmanism.
What is Ruckmanism? A working definition of Ruckmanism is the belief that the King James Version is absolutely inerrant, containing advanced revelation over the Greek and Hebrew from which it came, with the demand for one exact, inerrant version to preach and teach. Ruckman teaches that the KJV English translation is superior to any Greek text (including the Textus Receptus), that it corrects the errors in any Greek text, and that it is “advanced revelation.”
Christ Community Baptist Tabernacle is a church that uses the King James Version of the Bible by conviction. We cannot see any reason to use another translation in worship or personal study. If you have any questions or comments that you would like to share with us, please contact us.