A Bit of Comparison Between the KJV Translators and the KJVO Movement

The PDF can be found here.

When the King James Version of the Bible came off the press of Robert Barker in 1611, it contained an eleven-page preface entitled “The Translators to the Reader.”1 This preface is primarily a defense of the new translation, but it also provides important information about the translators’ views on the subject of Bible translation as well as giving the purpose for their new version. It is most unfortunate that this preface is no longer included in modern copies of the KJV, especially since the viewpoints expressed in the preface are clearly at odds with the modern King James-only movement. Because of the importance of the preface and its value to the current debate, it has been printed in full at the end of this essay. The purpose of this essay is to analyze some of the arguments used by supporters of the King James-only position in light of the preface.

While reading the article, I encourage you as well to read the Preface. If these mighty men who helped to bring forth (I would contend that much credit should still be given to one William Tyndale) such a magnificent translation would then see the value in comparing other translations, in reading them, and in understanding that only the Scriptures as given were inspired (all translations have blemishes) then it would no less benefit us to enrich ourselves by the hearing the Scriptures in different voices (by this, I mean translations).

Therefore as S. Augustine saith, that variety of translations is profitable for finding out of the sense of the Scriptures: so diversity of signification and sense in the margin, where the text is not so clear, must needs do good; yea, is necessary, as we are persuaded.…They that are wise had rather have their judgments at liberty in difference of readings, than to be captivated to one, when it may be the other.

While I simply cannot recommend all translations, let me say that I can recommend to always study the Scriptures – and I stand here with the KJV translators, that a variety of translations is indeed very profitable for finding out the sense of the Scriptures.

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17 Replies to “A Bit of Comparison Between the KJV Translators and the KJVO Movement”

  1. One of Fee’s steps in the book NT Exegesis is to compare a passage in at least 6 translations. I’ve found this to be one of the most helpful things to do for studying a passage. If I can, I print out the passage in 8 translations and can’t say how valuable it is.

  2. I appreciate this post. A good friend of mine alerted me to this document some years ago in a discussion about KJV-Only advocates. I punctures a rather large hole in that whole movement!

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