I work in a Christian bookstore. Most of the time I really like my job; it is a nice place to work. I encounter a variety of people each day, most of whom are Christians. Christians are an interesting group of people. Some tell me that I must be spirit-filled and speak in tongues (unknown languages), others are more reserved. Some like Southern Gospel music while others listen to rap, rock or alternative. Others make comments about the evil liquor store next door to us. Yes, really we are next door to a liquor store, personally I find it amusing. Of course, being a Christian bookstore we carry a variety of Bibles. For some this is a big problem. Some Christians believe that the King James Version is the only reliable Bible. For more on Bible translations read this. Personally, there are three I use the most: English Standard version (ESV), New Living Translation (NLT) and New International Version (NIV).

Well, today I had an encounter with a couple who were die-hard KJV-only. My first indication was when the man started loudly complaining that we only had a few real Bibles and the rest were junk. I quickly learned that the KJV was the only real Bible. I have finally found a good response to KJV only: Personally, I think nothing beats reading the Bible in the original Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic. I have found this usually catches the person off guard. I think many have never considered that the Bible was not originally written in English. The couple proceeded to trash other translations of the Bible as being just worthless books. I did point out that both the NASB and ESV were closer to the original language than the KJV. I even suggested they should try comparing the ESV or NASB with the Greek and Hebrew. This really seemed to shock the couple. The man was apparently not used to women who stood up to him or had any form of theological training. For the most part I tried to leave the couple alone or only talk about other merchandise. However, the couple could not resist throwing barbs at me about the KJV and as one last parting jab the woman begin slamming Christian rock music.

One of the things that struck me about the encounter was something the man said. The KJV had been the only Bible for years and there was no reason to change. There are many Christians that like things status quo. They are comfortable in their nice little church world. Things have worked for them for years and see no reason why they should ever change.

So why do churches/Christians need to change any way? First, I am not talking about changing the message of the Gospel but rather our methods. For starters, the church is quickly becoming irrelevant to an entire generation. I have read some articles recently about how 18-30 year-old are leaving the church, because they believe it is no longer relevant to their lives. (See Is the Church Irrelevant for Today’s Society?) Instead of bickering over things like Bible translations, we as Christians should be more concerned about reaching non-Christians. In fact, fighting among Christians is a big turn off to those who are not believers.

51 thoughts on “KJV Only, Rock Music and Other Rants

  1. The last part is so sad but so true. The generation coming up in America now is the largest ever, yet the least represented in the Church. That alone should cause good-hearted Christians to stop and think.

    But I, too, love the KJV only people. Your response is the same as mine. I usually hide my Greek and Hebrew Bibles to resist the temptation of pride. But when people say stupid stuff like that, I’ll gladly bring them out. They start talking abou the “changes” from the KJV to all other versions, and I’ll start throwing out everything I can about textual criticism. You’re right, it almost never fails to get a stunned look on their faces. And I can only imagine the look after a woman takes them to school.

    It may be wrong to gloat in such a way, but it sure is fun.



  2. Alan,

    I was trying not to get into an argument especially the lady commented how much she liked us better than that large chain that is only Christian in name. However, their comments boarded on blasphemy. They kept going on about how other translations are worthless. Then the last jab about the evils of Christian rock music. My iPod has everything from GNR to Handel. I really wanted to crank up some Cross Movement. I have discovered to just start throwing out the theological terms until the eyes glaze over.

    Off topic, we are headed to Passion this weekend with our college students.


  3. The encounter is sadly all too common as of late. Many people who hold to the KJV as the only true Bible are sadly ignorant and belligerent. I think people who are like this do way more damage than good to the cause.

    However, I do hold to the KJV as the best translation we have today and probably ever will have. The modern translations, for the most part, are translated using paraphrasing. Obviously not all of them, but most of them. I believe God was, is, and always will be interested in preserving EVERY ONE OF HIS WORDS so we should be careful not to put it into our own (Ps. 12:6; Mat. 24:35; Mat. 5:18). Also, I believe they should be translated from the TR instead of the line they do come from.

    Either way, the point is, although I loath rock music, and the modern English translations, I also loath ignorance at loud volumes so I respect your reaction.


  4. Tim,

    Thank your for your comments.

    Although, I disagree with you about modern translations. The NIV, HCSB, NKJV, NLT, KJV all use dynamic equivalence and all are translations. However the ESV & NASB are extremely literal and very close to the original language. While the KJV is a good translation is not the only good translation. Currently, I use ESV as my primary Bible. I also use NLT, NIV, NJKV, KJV and AMP. If really do not use a paraphrase but will sometimes use NCV/ICB.


  5. Yes, I am well aware of the arguments he uses and textual criticism. Have you ever compared the NASB, KJV with the Greek and Hebrew texts? Also, had a good text on this topic for Hermeneutics, can’t remember the name. I’ll post the name later. However, How to Read the Bible for All It’s Worth By Gordon Fee is another excellent resource.


  6. I will check out the resources you’ve provided for me, thank you.

    I have not learned Greek or Hebrew and sometimes consider it a hinderance but I don’t think not knowing either necessarily makes one uninformed on the issue. Although I cannot argue from that standpoint, I can read the writings of the editors of the texts and translators to see what they believed and the methods they used.

    The other issue I have with many other English versions is the text from which they were translated. Because I cannot read the originals, I have to rely on the writings of the translators themselves and common knowledge. I’m sure you are familiar with this part of the on-going debate. The translators of the KJV used the RT or the text that had been received by Christians for years and considered the promises by God to preserve His words for all generations (Ps. 12:6?). If you have any good resources for me, let me know.


  7. Oh, yeah, and then there was the music debate! I’ll blog on it soon! The conversation to follow should be interesting, do you think?


  8. The KJV uses the Textus Receptus for its translation purposes. The TR is based upon miniscule texts (read: later versions of the greek, and thus less desireable), as well as the Latin Vulgate. Now, that sounds strange, doesn’t it? That the greek text used in the KJV relies upon a latin text? Yeah. Well, what happened is that part of Erasmus’ greek text were incomplete (especially in Revelation), and he translated the latin text into greek. There are obvious problems there. There are multiple words in the greek for such things as love, see, body, etc. He chose which word to put in.

    So, in other words; the KJV is bases upon a less than desirable greek text. One that is based upon manuscripts farther away from the originals, as well as remade from a latin text. So, the argument of the TR’s desirability is less than credible.



  9. Is Passion in Atlanta, or where?

    I know you had to be careful in what you said while at work. I’ve had to bite my tongue a time or two–like when one of our residents told me organized religion was the cause of all the world’s problems and then said he didn’t know much about religion–I really had to bite my tongue to keep from raking him over the coals. But, it is still fun to push a little, and I’m glad you were able to push them a little.

    I can’t believe there are still so many KJV only people hanging around.


  10. Tim D, Tim & Alan,

    Ok, Alan help me out on this one if I get something wrong.

    First, the KJV is one of many good translations. It is not the only translation nor is it the oldest English translation. Actually, the Geneva Bible which was used by the Puritans is older, 1605 or 1608 (can’t remember the date) instead of 1611. The KJV is also called the AV or authorized version but who authorized it? According to the Big Guy and resident historian it was authorized by King James. His motives for wanting a translation of the Bible were not pure or noble. Essentially the KJV is an English translation of the Latin Vulgate. Which is a Latin translation of the Greek Setpuingent (spelling). The translators of the KJV used the best manuscripts available in their day. Translators of the ESV and other modern translations have a more manuscripts to use than what was available in 1611.

    There are many reasons I do not prefer to use it. First, currently I want to use a literal translation. Second, for many the language of the KJV is a stumbling block. To many under 30 churches already seem out of touch. Third, when studying the Bible I use at least 3 different translations, commentaries, theology books and other references. I find the differences in translations intriguing not a stumbling block. The only translation of the Bible I will not use is God’s Word on the Street. It is a paraphrase and is to contextualized.


    We are going to Passion weekend in Atlanta. Should be good. The Big Guy is looking forward to hearing the worship leader from the college Bible Study he attended. Have you noticed that many of those KJV-only are Baptists? Often they seem to be uneducated and are only repeating what a pastor has taught them. Of course, I have done the same but some of my former pastors include: Dr. Huber Drumwright, Dr. Bruce Corley and Dr. Frankie Rainey. Drumwright and Corley were both served as Dean of the School of Theology. Corley & Rainey are both NT scholars. Rainey does his morning devotional in Greek and he is one of the most humble men I have met. He can effectively communicate to the college educated crowd and to young children as well.



  11. The TR is certainly not the text preserved by God for his people. It has many problems(the backwards translation from Latin one but not the only) Unlike the cry generally issued…that the new translations removed versus from the Bible…the exact opposite is true. The King James added verses…most notoriously in 1 John 5:7-8 “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.”
    Erasmus actually declined to include these in his text because it was only found in the Latin, and not in any known Greek manuscript. He was vigorously fought on this issue until he conceded that if they could produce any Greek text at all with this verse in it that he would put it in…so the church literally “produced” a new Greek text with the verse included.
    Fun fun fun.


  12. “Ok, Alan help me out on this one if I get something wrong.

    First, the KJV is one of many good translations. It is not the only translation nor is it the oldest English translation. Actually, the Geneva Bible which was used by the Puritans is older, 1605 or 1608 (can’t remember the date) instead of 1611.”

    This is as I understand it as well.

    “The KJV is also called the AV or authorized version but who authorized it? According to the Big Guy and resident historian it was authorized by King James. His motives for wanting a translation of the Bible were not pure or noble.”

    Yes, King James is the one that “authorized it.” Also, if you can find one with the official Introduction, it will explicitly cite the reasons for its genesis. It was written to 1) prop up Anglicanism, and 2) to dispute the up and coming congregational churches (aka: Baptist Churches, even though at the time we were known as the Brethren.) That is one reason that they never translated the word “Baptize,” but only transliterated it.

    “Essentially the KJV is an English translation of the Latin Vulgate.”

    I have to disagree with this one. It is an english translation of the Textus Receptus(sp?). Yes, the Vulgate had an impact upon that particular greek text, but not enough to say it was a greek version of the Vulgate. Erasmus only used the Vulgate when he was missing a portion of the greek (as in Revelations). The Textus Receptus was a rushed translation, because the publisher wanted to beat another greek text that was coming out in Spain at the time by Cisneros. He used miniscule texts (meaning all lowercase script), which puts all of the greek texts Erasmus was using as later copies (earlier is better). Frankly, it was a rush job using inferior texts.

    “Which is a Latin translation of the Greek Setpuingent (spelling).”

    Err… No. The Septuagint is a greek version of the Old Testament. I can’t remember if the Vulgate used it or the Masoretic Text(Mt, Hebrew version of the O.T.).

    “The translators of the KJV used the best manuscripts available in their day.”

    Again, no. It was the product of the most inferior texts at the time.

    “Translators of the ESV and other modern translations have a more manuscripts to use than what was available in 1611.”

    Yes. We have much older and reliable greek manuscripts than was ever available in 1611.

    I would like to recommend, “The Text of the New Testament,” by Bruce M. Metzger (I have the 2nd Edition) as a resource concerning this. He is a true giant in the field. You may have to order a used copy off of Amazon, because I think it went out of print years ago. Our professors learned from the guys Metzger taught. 😉


  13. Shane,

    Good points

    Tim D.

    Have several of Metzgers books. However, I think you are wrong about Baptist at the time. The earliest General Baptist were emerged around 1609 (Leon McBeth, The Baptist Heritage, 21)


  14. Dee,

    True, Smyth and Helwys formally disbanded their Separatist church, and rebanded together around baptism by immersion in 1609. (McBeth, 36-37). However, to think that they just formed out of thin air would be folly. They had been together for a period of time before that. He was part of the Gainsborough Church (McBeth 33) at least by 1606, a full 5 years before our beloved KJV came out. Something to remember is that most of our labels for them is just that, our labels. They called themselves brethren, just like we call ourselves brothers and sister. So, when you read this from the KJV Preface:

    “So that, if on the one side we shall be traduced by Popish persons at home or abroad, who therefore will maligne us, because we are poore Instruments to make GODS holy Trueth to be yet more and more knowen unto the people, whom they desire still to keepe in ignorance and darknesse: or if on the other side, we shall be maligned by selfe-conceited brethren, who runne their owne wayes, and give liking unto nothing but what is framed by themselves, and hammered on their Anvile;…”

    …you realize that the KJV was written against both the Catholics and the Separatists (that would be our Baptist forefathers/mothers) in England. The truth that they want to proclaim isn’t the Truth as we understand it (Christ’s Truth), but instead the “truth” of the Anglican Church. KJV was written for the purpose of propping up the Church of England and decimating all other rivals (including our Baptist predecessors). Like it or not, the brethren listed in the preface includes us. We did not come out of a vacuum.

    If you want to see a complete version of the preface, go here: http://kjvbibles.com/kjpreface.htm


  15. I am working on a post and will let you know. For now, the only thing I’d like to mention is that the KJV was primarily translated from Theodore Beza’s Greek New Testament, fifth edition of 1598 AND that the textual editors of the Received Text WERE aware of the Vanicanus and it’s readings. Erasmus even knew of them and chose not to use them. Anyway, as I said, I will go into further detail without writing a three page comment on your blog! We’ll talk more, I’m sure. Thanks again for the input!


  16. “So where do you lie on the Baptists/Ana-Baptists issue?”

    I wouldn’t say that the Anabaptists had no impact upon English Baptist. I would argue that there is more of a Puritan influence than any Anabaptist influence. However, especially with their stop in Holland, we know they came into contact with Mennonites. There was so much of an influence there that Smyth eventually left the Baptist church he had helped create, and went over to them for baptism. I would think that we could claim them as spiritual brothers and sister, if not forfathers and mothers. But, I’ve been wrong before.

    Btw, I favor any dynamic equivalence translation over a literal one. 😉



  17. Tim D,

    Currently, I am using the ESV as my primary Bible but I also use the NLT and NIV quite a bit.

    Yes, The Big Guy and I had a discussion about the Anabaptist thing tonight. He is the historian, my focus was on ethics.

    Tim where do you pastor?



  18. Just a note:

    Theodore Beza’s Greek New Testament, fifth edition of 1598 took largely from Robert Estienne (1550), which in turn relied heavily upon Erasmus’ text.

    In other words: Beza=Estienne=Erasmus. Ok, that is an oversimplification; but you get the idea.

    Be Well,



  19. “Tim where do you pastor?”

    If I’m the “Tim” you’re talking to, I’m in Lake Worth…its a small town in the midst of Fort Worth. Its a small church with a big heart. 🙂 We’ve been here a little over 5 years, and we’re having a blast.

    Be Well,



  20. Tim Dahl,

    Yes I was speaking to you. I didn’t realize Lake Worth was that small. One of my dad’s friend’s from SWBTS days pastored FBC Lake Worth for many years. Isn’t Lake Worth High school the one that is partially underground or am I thinking of another school over there. I’m from the other side of town.



  21. Didn’t realize this had turned into such a discussion.

    Dee, I think your assessment of the KJV is pretty good. One thing, the Vulgate couldn’t have used the Masoretic text, but Jerome did use Hebrew. He learned Greek and Hebrew to deal with his porn problem. And, there were a couple of holes in the Greek text of the textus receptus that were filled by translating the Latin to Greek and then into English. But that was only a couple of instances.

    One thing most KJV only folk don’t realize is that the textus receptus is an eclectic text, just like the text underlying all other Bible translations, it was just one before text criticism and the critical apparatus were so “important.” All the manuscript differences you can find in Nestle-Aland or UBS had to be dealt with for the textus receptus, but it was done for us instead of leaving the the issue for scholars to resolve.

    The another often overlooked by KJV only people is that the KJV used by most is from the 18th century, and is not the 1611 AV. And, since the KJV was translated, there has been a massive amount of manuscript evidence and linguistic discoveries.

    Ignoble purposes are involved in many translations, unfortunately, and the KJV is not an exception.

    I’ve really never understood anyone who could say any particular Bible translation is the right one. I’ve never understood how that was any different than the Roman church’s longstanding claim for the inspiration of the Vulgate–one of the main problems the Reformers fought against.



  22. A few points (still working on my own post but easily distracted):

    I will hit on the textual criticism debate soon.

    The KJV held by most people today is definitely not the actual 1611- drives me nuts when I hear preachers going off on how they hold to the AV 1611! In actuality, their Bible reads the same with some editing (not actually revised). The spelling, punctuation, and font type has been updated, and I hear even some italics. Other than that, if you compare them side by side, I believe they should read the same. However, it sounds kind of ignorant to claim the 1611 as your Bible when it tells you right in the front that it’s not!

    That’s just a note from my side. By the way, the couple you ran into at work were probably what can be termed as “ruckmanites.” Just a guess and I’m probably labeling, but the signs are all there. If you thought salvation could come from no other version, then you’d be pretty dogmatic, too! Though you’d think there’d be more love, right?


  23. Alan & Tim,

    We actually own a copy of the 1611 KJV among other Bibles. My mom studied middle and old English in college.

    I think one reason why some people are so dogmatic against KJV is that they are uneducated and really don’t understand the issue.



  24. Alan & Tim,

    Very funny. Have you ever seen the Word on The Street by Rob Lacey

    The Bible is divided into sections like the Liberator for the Gospels, Jesus Liberation Movement for Acts, or Other Email Writers for Hebrews – James. Christ is referred to as the Liberator. Here is a sample of it.

    Excerpt: The Big Ten (Exodus 20:1-17)
    1-3 God dictates to Moses:

    No.1: “I’m your God, your God who liberated you from slave labour in the sweatshops of Egypt. I get total priority. You won’t have any other gods taking your attention away from me. I’m it, the only God! No other god’s worth squat.”

    4-6 No.2: “You won’t idolize anything else of any shape. Nothing that is something, or represents something – you’ll waste no time polishing them or showing them off to your mates or looking to them for the big answers of life. ‘Cos I get jealous! And when I’m jealous, I’m ruthless. I punish families even three or four generations after those who hated me have rotted in their graves. But those who live by my rules, I show them incredible love for thousands of generations of their family line.”

    7 No.3: “You won’t use my name lightly, as some sort of magic word, supposed to blackmail me into action. You won’t use it as a swear word. If you do, you won’t go unpunished. Handle my handle with care!”

    8-11 No.4: “You’ll keep my Rest Day different, distinct, special. You’ll do what the word means – ‘stop’. You’ll work six days, do all you’ve got to do, then the seventh day is my day. You won’t work, your family won’t work, your staff won’t work, your equipment won’t work, your guests won’t work. ‘Cos I made everything you see in six days. Then I took a break on the seventh. So will you.”

    12-17 No.5: “You’ll treat your parents with respect. Then you’ll live long and prosper in this new land I’m moving you into.”

    No.6: “You won’t snuff out a life, stop someone’s clock, blow anyone away, bump anyone off, dole out the big chill, erase, drop, hit, top, waste anyone.”

    No.7: “You won’t sleep with someone else’s wife or husband, put it about, cheapen yourselves.”

    No.8: “You won’t thieve, nick, lift, blag, fleece, half-inch, swipe or get sticky-fingered.”

    No.9: “You won’t lie, fib, fudge about someone, in or out of the witness box.”

    No. 10: “You won’t drool over your mate’s wife, his house, garden, staff, equipment, gadgets or anything he has and you don’t.”

    That is about the only paraphrase I don’t like. However, having worked with youth and college students I just want them to read the Bible. In the story we sell Biblzines that are actually pretty cool. They are complete NCV versions of the Old or New Testaments in magazine form. We carry one for children, younger teens boys & girls editions, and older teens boys & girls editions. The cool thing is that teens and kids will actually pick those up and read them. After all,many people just don’t read the Bible.


  25. Alan,

    Just checked the stats on this post it has had 71 hits since the 7th.

    Oh, this off topic. We just got word that one of our college students who is in the undergrad program at SEBTS is having serious health problems. If you don’t mind would you please keep her in your prayers.



  26. My wife got me an ebonics Bible for $2 a couple of years ago (while we were still dating). It’s hilarious, and we read it just for kicks.

    Do you have a name, or would rather not say?



  27. Alan,

    I’ve heard about the Ebonics Bible but haven’t seen one. We do have a couple of the Word on Street Bibles in the store. I guess we have them so that both the KJV-only and NIV-(insert translation here)only crowd can agree about something.

    Here name is Mindy. Don’t want to post last name here.



  28. OK. Keep me updated about Mindy. I’m surprised I haven’t heard anything about her yet, but do keep me updated.



  29. The KJV is the Bible for English Bible-believing Christians. Now, I know of one person who was kept from faith due to the NIV! See the below verse. First, compare 2 Cor 2:17 in your Bibles. If it doesn’t say corrupt, then it’s corrupt.

    PHILIPPIANS 2:6: The KJB again, clearly declares the deity of Jesus Christ: “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery TO BE EQUAL WITH GOD” The NIV reads, “Who, being in very nature God, DID NOT CONSIDER EQUALITY WITH GOD something to be grasped,”. The NIV again subtitly perverts the deity of Jesus Christ!

    LUKE 2:33: The King James Bible reads, “And JOSEPH and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him.” The NIV reads, “The CHILD’S FATHER and mother marveled at what was said about him.” The “CHILD’S FATHER”? Was Joseph Jesus’s father? Not if you believe the virgin birth! Not if you believe John 3:16, that Jesus Christ was the Son of God! A subtil, “perversion” of the virgin birth. See also Luke 2:43.

    Stick to the KJV you English speakers. http://jesus-is-savior.com/Bible/1611_authorized_king_james.htm

    http://hardpreaching.com/ See the sermon on The New King James Version Exposed


  30. Tony,

    You are entitled to your opinion. The best way to study the Bible is from the Greek & Hebrew. If that is not possible then the ESV or NASB are the next best translation. They are literal translations that are very close to the original. Yes, I have compared them. Have you?

    The KJV is an older dynamic equivalent translation. It is a good translation but not the only translation. I’m sure that other issues not the NIV.

    Also, by the way I read some of the stuff about you linked to. The amateurish layout of your site makes it almost impossible to find anything.

    Where did you or the author get the info? King James was not considered one of the greatest monarchs ever. He was actually quite weak. His motivation for translating the Bible was for personal acclaim not spiritual wisdom.


  31. I just your blog on the KJV. I am a 100% KJV reader. Yes all of the other versions are corrupt and have preverted the word of God. I am an independent baptist, just saved last year on May 1st, 2009. Th other versions have taken the BLOOD out of God’s word. The niv took out over 40 scriptures! Plus a lesbian helped revise the niv.That alone should tell you that that is corrupt. It is an abomination in the eyes of the Lord to be a sodomite. So do you think Jesus likes people to read these corrupt versions? NO. In Revelation 22:18-19 KJV

    “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:”

    “And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”

    That alone tells enough. These other versions have done just that, taken away from God’s words.


    1. Jacksonmom,

      You are entitled to your opinion. What evidence do you have for supporting your view that the KJV is the only correct version and the others are the corruption? The KJV is a translation. The standard should be the original languages not any translation. However, the NASB and ESV are the closer to the original language. So they would be best choices of translations.

      As for you other reasons there is really no evidence to support those claims. If you would like to learn more about Bible translation read How to Read the Bible For All Its Worth by Gordan Fee and Douglas Stuart.


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