The notion of Multiple Version Onlyism (hence MVO) arguably began in 1901 with the American Standard Version and has developed unabated until the present day. MVO holds to the uncritical, inclusive approval of the aggregate content of every English version since 1901 as God’s Word in English. MVO includes both formal and dynamic equivalency including paraphrases, idiosyncratic translations such as the New Revised Standard Version’s inclusion of Psalm 151, and niche interpretations based on feminist readings, for example. The sole exclusion to this aggregate is the King James Version.
Initially, MVO accepted all renderings as equally valid because it was held that no substantive doctrinal differences existed in the aggregate: all renderings were simply variations of the same theme. Choice of preferred bible versions could only be aesthetic. But with the proliferation of bible versions, the sheer number of various renderings brought every reading into question until no one knew for sure what the bible was saying.
Questions about the bible are responded to according to a scale from most unlikely to most likely correct but not in terms of infallibility. With the addition of each successive translation, what was first conceived to make a “better” translation, instead exacerbated the growing epistemological malaise by expanding the translational perspectives and options within the aggregate. Subsequent translations were not seen as “better” or replacements of previous editions as was the case with the historic development of the King James Version from Tyndale onward but were simply added to the dissonance of previously printed versions.
At this juncture in MVO transitioned the bible from being a sacred text to the research of academics. The viva vox dei, “living voice of God,” was replaced with a seat in a Ph.D. course on history, linguistics, and theology. The professors in this case are the versions, which as witnesses to their authors, the scholars, is open to the same critical inquiry common in Ph.D. courses. Answers and conclusions are not asserted right or wrong but are decided by whatever the student deems most valid. Critical thinking minds take and leave what they hear from which they formulate their own ideas and systems. And so it is with MVO functioning within a personal and ecclesiastical context. The subject, the MVO adherent, the final authority, ultimately determines what in the MVO aggregate is consistent with their own ideas and systems. The most skilled in MVO produce their own translation.