Was Christ KJV-only?

I have chosen this week to tackle the issue of King James Onlyism, a perverted doctrine of inerrancy that has led many to incorrectly assume that one translation is set above all others as the inspired word of God.

Jesus is NOT KJV-only – by Brian Tegart

KJV-only supporters accept only the KJV as scripture, and believe any differences in wording from the KJV is a corruption and thus not the word of God. Conversely, if someone accepts a reading as “scripture” that differs from the KJV, they are not KJV-only. Anyone who has spent more than three minutes examining the KJV-only issue knows this – but did you know it can be proven, using only the KJV, that Jesus Christ is not KJV-only? Other translations and a look at the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts could enhance this article, but I will avoid using them here to demonstrate that using the KJV and only the KJV proves Jesus was not KJV-only.

Luke 4:16-21

In Luke 4:16-21, we read the account of Jesus in the synagogue, where he reads a passage of scripture aloud:

Luke 4:16-21 (KJV) “And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.”

The passage that Jesus read from is Isaiah 61:1-2a. Here is that passage, as the KJV tells us Jesus read it, and as it appears in the KJV, with significant differences bolded:

Isa 61:1-2a as the KJV tells us Jesus read itIsa 61:1-2a as it appears in the KJV
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD

What makes this comparison especially interesting, is 1. the differences are not simply due to translating from Hebrew versus translating from Greek, nor 2. more importantly, the differences are not due to Jesus paraphrasing nor exercising his authority as God and changing or producing scripture (as some KJV-only supporters have tried to explain this difference as). The immediately surrounding text of Luke makes it clear this is not the case, not once, but four times:

  • Jesus stood up to “read” (Luke 4:16), not simply orate.
  • Jesus read from a “book” (Luke 4:17).
  • Luke provides the passage, telling us it was “written” (Luke 4:17).
  • Jesus tells his hearers that the “scripture” (Luke 4:21) he just read was fulfilled in their ears. Scripture is, by definition, written. “Scripture”, as an English word, comes from the Latin scriptura, “what is written”, which in turn comes from from scriptus, the past participle of scribere, “to write”. If Jesus altered the words, if he paraphrased or introduced a new revelation of “the word of God”, it would not be “scripture” as he himself called it until his words were written down later by Luke.

What Jesus stood to read, what Luke said was written, what Jesus said was scripture – is different than what the KJV has. Jesus is not KJV-only.

Luke 10:25-28

Luke 10:25-28 (KJV) “And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.”

In this passage, Jesus asks a certain lawyer what is written in the Law, how he reads it. The lawyer then quotes from Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18. Here are the passages compared:

Deut. 6:5 and Lev. 19:18 as the KJV tells us the lawyer read itDeut. 6:5 and Lev. 19:18 as it appears in the KJV
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might; thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself

After the lawyer answer with this, Jesus affirms his response. Jesus does not correct him for adding “and with all thy mind” to the text – in fact, when the Pharisees at another time ask Jesus what this passage in the Old Testament says, Jesus (like the lawyer) includes the words “and with all thy mind” (Matt 22:36-37, Mark 12:28-30), and the Pharisees accepted his answer. However, the phrase “and with all thy mind” does not appear in Deut 6:5 in the KJV, nor anywhere else in the KJV’s Old Testament. Jesus accepts “and with all thy mind” in Deut 6:5, which is different from the KJV. Jesus is not KJV-only.

Matt 26:31

Matt 26:31 (KJV) “Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.”

In this passage, Jesus quotes a passage that he says is written. The passage comes from part of Zech 13:7. Here are the passages compared:

The phrase from Zech 13:7 as the KJV tells us Jesus said it is writtenThe phrase from Zech 13:7 as it appears in the KJV
Matt 26:31: I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered
Mark 14:28: I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered.

Again, what Jesus said is “written”, what Jesus accepted and used as scripture, is different from the KJV. Jesus is not KJV-only.

Mark 7:6-7

Mark 7:6-7 (KJV) “He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”

In this passage, Jesus is responding to the Pharisees, who challenge him because the disciples didn’t wash their hands before eating. Jesus responds by quoting a passage that he says is written in Isaiah. That passage is Isaiah 29:13, and here are the passages compared:

Isaiah 29:13 as the KJV tells us Jesus said it is writtenIsaiah 29:13 as it appears in the KJV
This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.…this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:

This time, what Jesus said is “written” is quite different than what the KJV has, especially the last sentence. Jesus is not KJV-only.

Luke 7:27

Luke 7:27 (KJV) “This is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.”

In this passage, Jesus is explaining who John the Baptist is, and how he fulfills Old Testament prophecy. Jesus quotes what he says is written in Malachi 3:1a. Here are the passages compared:

Malachi 3:1a as the KJV tells us Jesus said it is writtenMalachi 3:1a as it appears in the KJV
Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me:

Again, what Jesus said is “written” is different than what the KJV has. Jesus is not KJV-only.

Summary

There are numerous places in scripture where Jesus Christ reads from or quotes Old Testament scripture. Many times, the scripture that Jesus uses and accepts is different than what the KJV has in those passages. The above examples is not an exhaustive list, and there are also other places where it can be shown that the Apostles and others used and accepted scripture that differs from the KJV. Am I saying that the KJV is not the word of God? No, I am saying that KJV-only supporters, unlike Jesus Christ, will not accept any text as “scripture” if it differs in words from the KJV. Since Jesus does accept and use scripture that differs from the KJV, Jesus is not KJV-only.

Jesus is not KJV-only.

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25 Replies to “Was Christ KJV-only?”

  1. Great Argument! However it is hard to argue with these folk. they believe the KJO very deeply. I met with a pastor once to consider church consolidation. He told me the story of how he was saved reading the Good News Bible, but after his salvation realized the king James was the only word of god. honest he said that.

  2. It always worries me how people want to limit God – If God was KJV only then God would have had man write the KJV as the original text, rather than as a translation.

  3. Polycarp,

    WOW! That kinda left me speechless for a few seconds (a rarity, I know). How on earth did they dream that one up I wonder…. I suppose we can justify just about anything if we try hard neough. May God prevent all of us from trying to justify anything that is not exactly as He inspired men to write – but to stick to God’s message and Truth.

  4. WB, I have been beaten with that saying. You wonder why everybody isn’t a Christian, Then Polycarp shares the Goth story. Educated people know that English is a modern language, you know Angles, and Saxons, French, German. You would need not a Goth, but a time machine!
    When did we start to desire to be so right that “do not be a stumbling block” lost meaning?

  5. willohroots,

    Which saying were you referring to?

    Is it being a stumbling block to teach truth? The problem with people holding to one particular translation to such an extent as to believe no other translation is from God is that it limits God and actually limits people’s understanding of what God has written. We need to go back to as close as possible to the original text to have as accurate as possible understanding of what God had written – otherwise we run the risk of teaching philosophy instead of what God has said.

  6. As far as I know and it is my belief that KJV is a DIRECT translation of an original manuscript. sometimes it hard for people to become intelligent for they are making words or topics to discuss but can ruin the spiritual aspect of others, whtever it is, just believe that Christ can save us, not by our might nor by good works but by Faith… that’s all that matters.

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