I prevented God this morning

I grew up on the King James version of the bible, believing that is was the sole word of God. This is called King James Onlyism and is heavily promoted by fundamentalists, especially of the Baptist variety. This tradition is barely a century old, yet many old to it as a sacred doctrine near only to that of the Godhead.

One of the issues that I have with the KJV-Onlyism is that it doesn’t allow for an update of language. The English language, as most living languages, is prone to change, and when the languages changed, it is important that the meaning of the communication is not lost.

For instance, if we were to abide in ignorance of the King James, we would understand that David stopped God by a prayer,

But unto thee have I cried, O LORD; and in the morning shall my prayer prevent thee.  (Psalms 88:13 KJVA)

But at at least we will not prevent those that are asleep in Christ from being called away.

For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. (1 Thessalonians 4:15 KJVA)

‘Prevent’ in the KJV comes from the Hebrew word קדם which means to ‘precede’, and in no way does it actually carry the meaning of ‘stopping’. The same is said of the Greek word φθάνω.

The NKJV translates the words properly,

But to You I have cried out, O LORD, And in the morning my prayer comes before You.  (Psalms 88:13 NKJV)


For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep.  (1 Thessalonians 4:15 NKJV)

Further, the words ‘advertise’ means ‘tell’ (Ruth 4.4), ‘allege’ means ‘prove’ (Acts 17.3), and ‘conversation’ means ‘behavior’ (Galations 1.3); ‘communicate’ means ‘share’ (Galations 6.6) ‘take no thought’ means ‘be anxious’ (Matthew 6.32) and meat is a general word for food.

“The plain truth of the matter is that the version that is so cherished among senior saints who have more or less come to terms with Elizabethan English, is obscure, confusing, and sometimes even incomprehensible to many younger or poorly educated Christians. The words of Edwin H. Palmer are not too strong: ‘Do not give them a loaf of bread, covered with an inedible, impenetrable crust, fossilized by three and a half centuries. Give them the Word of God as fresh and warm and clear as the Holy Spirit gave it to the authors of the Bible. . . . For any preacher or theologian who loves God’s Word to allow that Word to go on being misunderstood because of the veneration of an archaic, not-understood version of four centuries ago is inexcusable, and almost unconscionable’ ” (The King James Version Debate: A Plea For Realism, D. A. Carlson, Baker Book House, 1979, pp. 101,102) .

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