Over the last 12 months or so I’ve made it a policy to not use my blogging opportunities to cover controversial topics within the realm of Christianity. For right or wrong I am, quite frankly, tired of the arguing. A good case in point is the authority of the 1611 authorized version of the King James Bible as the perfect Word of God in English.
I decided to briefly broach this subject in violation of my own ban because numerous people have asked me about it since the beginning of the year. I know the authority of Scripture is a very touchy subject within the Church as evidenced by the fact that there are so many versions of the Bible now used within our ranks. It is what it is.
Years ago I would have engaged anyone willing to undertake a spirited debate regarding the authority of the King James Bible. But that was then. Today, I’m more than willing to answer any questions that might come my way regarding what I believe and why I believe it. But I decided to no longer argue over Bible versions. Believe what you want to believe.
Is my new tone because my beliefs have changed? Absolutely not. Is it because I am okay with so many versions of the Bible floating around out there? Absolutely not. It comes down to one simple fact: hardness of heart. Not hardness in my own heart, but an unwillingness to create hardness in someone else’s heart.
Arguing leads to hardness of heart. I refuse to be part of it. I will tell you the truth if you ask; what you do with it is your business. I have enough to worry about in my own walk with the Lord.
Different Premises, Different Results
It has become painfully apparent through past discussions and debates that I, as a firm believer in the authority of the 1611 King James Bible as the perfect Word of God in English, base my conviction on a premise that very few Christians these days believe. That premise is as follows: that God went to great lengths to inspire the writers of Scripture to ensure that every word they wrote down was perfect; he has gone to the same great lengths to make sure that his Word remains perfectly preserved in an accessible format today.
In the simplest possible terms, I do believe that God’s word exists perfectly in the English language in the authorized 1611 King James Bible. But that’s not where I started. My starting point was the belief that God would always provide a perfect source of truth to those who seek to know it; that he wouldn’t say, “Sorry, I can’t provide you with the truth because translators make mistakes.” My God is not that small.
Those who do not agree are operating from an entirely different premise. They don’t believe that we still have a perfect copy of Scripture anywhere in the world. They believe only the originals were perfect and, because we no longer have the originals, we do not have a perfect copy of Scripture.
When you start with two vastly different premises as opposed to one another as these two, there is no possible way you can agree. Therefore, it is impossible for me to make the case for the 1611 King James to those who do not believe there is any such thing as a perfect version of Scripture in modern, tangible form.
Continuing the debate is a lot like trying to debate right and wrong with someone who believes in moral relativism. If the two of us have different starting points of reference, there is no way we have anything common on which to form agreement.
My Faith Is Settled
All I can say to those who question my stand is that my faith is settled. My confidence in the absolute perfection and infallibility of the 1611 King James is based in the firm belief that God will always stay true to his Word.
No matter which version of the Bible a person uses, it cannot be denied that God expects us to read his Word, know it, and allow our lives to be governed by it. That says something to me.
If God expects me to abide by what Scripture says, yet he provides me with a copy that is flawed, then he is holding out on me. He’s expecting me to adhere to something that has fallen victim to this lost world. That neither makes sense nor is compatible with the God who says that he exalts his word above his own name.
Furthermore, if one word in the Bible can be shown to be inaccurate, then the entire thing is up for grabs. Who is to say that the translators didn’t completely miss the boat on any number of doctrines — from the virgin birth to the Trinity to the very gospel message itself? God either preserved his Word or he didn’t. He certainly didn’t preserve it partially and leave the rest up to sinful humanity.
I simply cannot believe God would go to the trouble of assembling 66 perfectly written books inspired by the Holy Spirit to be completely accurate, only to then sit back in a recliner and fail to preserve his Word in a form that man has access to through the end of the age. Why bother writing things down if you plan to put no effort into making sure what was written remains accurate?
God Has Not Let Us Down
For me, it comes down to this: I firmly believe there is a perfect Word of God somewhere in the world today. I believe that perfect Word of God is the authorized 1611 King James Bible. If I’m wrong, then I’m wrong. But then I need to search until I find that perfect Word. It is not possible to have multiple conflicting versions of the Word and have them all be true. God is unchangeable. God is pure. God is not the author of confusion.
As a Bible teacher, people often ask where I get my scriptural insights in light of the fact that I’ve never been to seminary and I don’t read commentaries written by others. God gets all the glory in this, because all I do is simply believe the Word as written. I don’t argue with it, I don’t try to reason it away, I don’t look for a “better translation”, etc. This provides tremendous freedom when I study because it gives the Holy Spirit open access to my heart and mind to teach me what the Word truly says.
You may choose to believe there’s no such thing as a perfect Word of God available to mankind today. If so, that is entirely your business. That’s why I have chosen to no longer argue about Bible versions. Our faith (yours and mine) in Scripture rests on two distinct premises that can never agree because they are opposite. So be it.