The KJV is celebrating its 400th birthday this year and it has served the church of Jesus Christ well over those years. Its time for the church to offer the KJV a gold watch, shake its hand, and let it fade into history. Andrew Wencl, at sbcIMPACT posted an article today which facetiously (I think) suggested a resolution for the 2012 SBC Annual Meeting calling us to state that it is not an acceptable translation for use in Christian churches today – as per previous resolutions concerning the TNIV and NIV. He is on to something. It is time for serious Bible students and people in the pews to leave their KJVs home and get a more accurate, more helpful translation of the Bible to use.
Obviously, what translation people use in their private Bible Study is not mine to dictate. However, I strongly urge pastors to read and preach from a more accurate modern translation than to keep on using the King James.
Here are my reasons.
1) The KJV, obviously, uses archaic language that makes it harder to understand the Bible. People do not speak that language today. I don’t use a Spanish Bible on Sunday – my people don’t really know Spanish. Words have changed meaning (conversation meant lifestyle, not discussion, for instance).
2) The use of Koine Greek in the writing of the NT seems to indicate that God wanted us to read the Bible in the language we speak, not the language of 400 years ago. He could have inspired the NT in the lofty language of classical Greek, but did not. God wanted people to read the Bible in their own language. KJV English is nobody’s language today, except for a few ushers praying before the offering.
3) The textual basis of the KJV is woeful. Many of the manuscripts that modern textual criticism relies on weren’t even discovered until after 1611. We are far closer to an accurate knowledge of the autographa today than we were then.
4) The science of textual criticism has made great strides in the last 400 years. Again, we simply know what the authors wrote better now than in 1611.
5) The idolatry of the KJV-only groups must be opposed. They promote a false doctrine that should not be submitted to but opposed by those who love the Word and want people to understand it. Even the traditionalism of KJV-preference can be a little oppressive. It is a tradition without value that can actually hinder the work of the church.
6) As Andrew said, the KJV is one of the least accurate, least clear translations we have available. When such superior translations of God’s Word exist, why use the KJV?
7) The use of the King James can be counter-productive to effective outreach. If we are missional, then we are more concerned with the mission than with pleasing people and pacifying the pews. In the world at large, the KJV does not communicate to people. It seems to me that 99% of the reasons to use the KJV focus on keeping the people already in the pews happy. But the people in the pews should be concerned with reaching a lost and dying world. That lost and dying world does not relate to thees and thous and doest and goeth. It would seem somewhat anti-missional to use the KJV.
8.) Can anyone give me one, good, biblical and rational reason to continue using the KJV?
There is no question that the KJV was a blessing for many years. So was the Model T. But I don’t drive to church in a Model T and I don’t preach from the KJV.
What thinkest thou, brethren?