Why the King James Version?

As of January 10, 2022, at 12:39pm StandardSacredText.com has reached 139 posts. We have largely concluded our two series of A Bibliology Primer and Essential Vocab. A large portion of our argument has been laid out for your examination and perusal. We hope that you can see that it is not King James Onlyism popularly understood. Still, it is an argument for a standard sacred text in both the original languages as well as receptor languages. In our case that language is English. Among the English translations we believe the King James Version is the standard sacred text for the English-speaking community and we believe this for the following 12 or so reasons.

1.) First and primarily, Dr.’s Van Kleeck hold to the KJV because it has been the English version of the Bible which speaks to them and continues to sanctify them and grow them in the knowledge and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is the living voice of God in English.

2.) We hold to the KJV because it is quite apparent that the believing community held to this book for over 400 years. As the Spirit of God has led the church to believe in the great things of the Gospel so the Holy Spirit has led His people by faith to accept His words in the form of the English language. Those accepted words have taken the form of the KJV for the English-speaking church for more than four centuries.

3.) We hold to the KJV because we believe that Early Modern English is a sublime form of human language in general and of English in particular. For us and for most of Western thought the Good and the True are accompanied by the Beautiful. That is, not only must the word of God be good and true, but because it is good and true, it must be beautiful. And though the content of the Bible is beautiful regardless of the translation, the KJV is a particularly beautiful translation in content and form.

4.) We hold to the KJV because it is a good translation. Even those who do not hold to the KJV admit this truth. As formal equivalence translations go, the KJV is a very good translation.

5.) Because the believing community has held to the KJV for so long and because much of the Christianized West has been exposed to the KJV as the standard sacred text of the English-speaking believing community, there has arisen both in the church and outside the church a common parlance, a common language. To this day, many who have memorized Scripture have memorized it in the KJV. A great host of commentaries and devotionals center on the KJV. The Scripture language of the KJV is what we expect when we hear the word of God read or go to recite the Lord’s prayer. If there ever was an English version of the Bible which served as the language of English-speaking ecclesiastical culture, the KJV is that version.

6.) While many versions seem to hope to be a standard for the English-speaking believing community [e.g., English Standard Version, Legacy Standard Version, Christian Standard Version], none of them has acquired such a status. Even after the advent of so many different versions, some so obviously aiming for the status of standard, only one remains the standard and often in a much-derided segment of Christendom and it is those who hold to the KJV. In other words, to this day and generally speaking, the only folks who seem to hold to a standard sacred text are the King James Version folks.

7.) Not only has the KJV served the English-speaking church for over 400 years and has provided us with a common language from which to carry on our theology and devotion, it is also the book that has been handed down from one generation to the next. Fathers have read these words in the ears of their sons and then these sons have read the same words in the ears of their sons and on and on. The KJV is home in a homeless world. It is home for the individual, for the family, and for the church. Those who do not hold to the KJV do not have a home. They often go from one house to another trying this or that couch, but they never really have a home. KJV folks do.

8.) We hold to the KJV because it is not the possession of any company or board of trustees. The KJV belongs to the people. It is not copywritten by this or that publisher and therefore under threat of being discontinued because the great god, Bottom Line, calls for a sacrifice in the burgeoning printing portfolio.

9.) Negatively, there has yet to arise any serious non-trivial argument or movement of the Spirit of God for some other standard sacred text in English to the exclusion of all others. For example, there does not appear to be a strong ESV or NIV only presence in the English-speaking believing community. In short, no meaningful alternative to the KJV has been offered by the English-speaking believing community.

10.) Negatively, the believing community seems to be in a great bit of disarray from the leadership to the laity. And we need look no further than the COVID crisis. We here in the USA scattered the sheep in the name of COVID and at the behest of government, only to turn around and clamor for their return a year or two later. And why should they return after the leadership expressly scattered the sheep and told them to leave? This is not a time to seek a new standard sacred text.

11.) Negatively, after the rise of Rationalism, the Enlightenment, and the boon of modern textual criticism, where is that paragon of textual purity held to be the word of God first in Greek and Hebrew and then in English by scholar and preacher and layman? After 150+ years no such product exists. In fact, many in the field of modern textual criticism have now abandoned the quest to find the original text of Scripture in the Greek and Hebrew. When do we agree to say that the rationalist enterprise as touching the identity of the New Testament has failed at least as it concerns the church?

12.) BONUS: The KJV is the Bible Eli memorized in post-apocalyptic sun-scorched America. Checkmate.

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