Review – James White and the KJVO Controversy (Final)

I am reviewing the newest edition of James White’s book for Bethany House. (Part 1, here – Part 2, here – Part 3, here) I am deliberately taking my time and spacing it out for several reasons –

  • I come from the KJVO background, and James White was our archnemesis
  • I have many from the KJVO group on various social networking sites that see the links, and the more that they see, the more likely they are to read at least one
  • It is a great resource in dealing with KJVO’ers

This is the final review in this series.

In looking over the reviews on Amazon, I noticed a good many of the negatives (1-star) are those made by anonymous reviews. If defending the KJV is such a righteous cause, why do so in such a manner – not just the anonymous postings, but also the strong negatively leveled James White?

In chapters 7, White discusses the textual differences between the KJV and the modern translations. While many times, the rules are the same, the outcomes are indeed different. Why? Because the very few who put together the Greek which underlies the KJV NT had very little to work with while those that help with the UBS and the NA have much older MSS. The author takes the reader through the methods of determining readings, and makes a strong case that modern variants rarely, if ever, change important doctrines. He highlights different arguments from the KJVO crowd and shows them as hypocritical to their own words.

Moving to chapter 8, White delivers a power understanding of the preservation of the deity of Christ in the modern translations, sometimes strengthening it when compared to the KJV. Taking us through several important, and key doctrinal passages on the deity of Christ, including Titus 2.13 and 2nd Peter 1.1, White shows that the translation of the KJV hinders the advocacy of the Godhood of Christ. Further, he effectively deals with the counterattacks by the KJVO crowd concerning ‘omits’ and ‘loose translations,’ quoting from their works in which they condemn, often times without sound merit, the modern versions.

In chapter 9, White moves to the problems with the KJV. He writes about the archaic language found in the KJV and the translation method. While attempting to maintain that he is not anti-KJV, White demonstrates the need for updated language, especially in light of our own updating of English. Further, he shows that many times, due to the method in which the KJV was translated, words and phrases wound up meaning completely different things, depending upon the translator.

In the final chapter of the first part of the book, White attempts to answer several questions, which I assume that he, like others who defend the bible, has been asked over the years.

Part 2 of the book deals with textual data, and is not for the feint of heart.


James White has updated and expanded his first work to deal with new material and the added attacks by the KJVO crown. While at times he drifts into a directed response against certain authors, he does attempt to maintain a conversation about the KJVO doctrine and defends the modern versions. He allows that not all modern versions are recommendable, but that all doctrine should be well founded upon Scripture.

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