Archive for June 14th, 2013


White, James R. The King James Only Controversy. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Bethany House, 2009.

Dr. James White writes a fascinating account regarding the King James only controversy.  This reading is his updated edition.  Be sure to get it because it has new contents.  The book is loaded with great insights.

Unlike the King James only proponents of A.V. 1611, who argue from mere emotion and speculation, Dr. White provides a number of detailed accounts regarding the King James only controversy.  Within some of the detailed accounts addressed in the book, Dr. White focuses on the A.V. 1611 King James Bible, and a number of modern translations, in order to help the reader understand what translations are in the heat of the controversy.  Because the controversy deals a lot with translations, Dr. White will bring the reader into a tunnel of other pertinent elements that has an impact on translations of the Bible.  Some of these pertinent elements relates to ancient manuscripts such as the Alexandrian (minority) and Byzantine (majority) tradition.  The A.V. 1611 incorporates more of the Byzantine tradition, while most of the modern translations like the NIV and NASB, incorporates more of the Alexandrian tradition.  Since the Alexandrian and Byzantine tradition are discussed heavily in the King James Only Controversy book, Dr. White does a good job in bringing the reader into a transparent discussion of the effects on translation when implementing ancient manuscripts like the Alexandrian and Byzantine tradition.  In this macro and micro-level research, Dr. White, discusses some important points to note, such as the history of KJV, the King James only camp, translational differences, the translation of God’s name (huge topic for KJV only proponents), problems in the KJV, and textual data.  The examples for this book review are not meant to be exhaustive, but are just examples of some of the issues discussed.

Because Dr. White discusses a wide range of topics in the book, I will only evaluate some issues that I think are critical.  Upon my reading of this book, one of the major problems that Dr. White points out with the King James advocates are its contradictions, double standards, circular reasonings, and anachronistic use of words (hard for most to understand).  Most of the issues such as circular reasoning, double standards, ad hominem attacks, and misrepresentations from the KJV advocates stems from two major disciplines I believe: lower criticism and higher criticism.  Dr. White defines lower criticism this way, “…involves the study of the biblical manuscripts, written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, as well as ancient translations into other languages like Latin or Sadhidic or Coptic” (pg. 51).  This is more of an objective approach.  With higher criticism, this is how he defines it, “is not concerned primarily  with the manuscripts but with questions of the form of the text and what this allegedly can tell us about the process of the text’s writing and transmission” (pg. 51).  This on the other hand, is often subjective because people will argue how the text originated and how it came to its form.  Since most of the arguments in this book are seen more in light of the higher criticism realm, I will provide some examples that will provide a snapshot of how the latter arguments appear.  For example, it this book, KJV onlyism proponents argue that because all books are materials, they can not be inspired by God because God is spirit (pg. 162).  As a result, they focus most of their attention on one particular book, which is the  A.V. 1611 translation.  This does not make sense and defies the rules of logic because they are creating a double standard by making their book the authority.  This is mere pragmatism and opens-up the door into relativism.  This is how cults make their arguments.  They do not start with the original such as the  Greek, Hebrew, or Aramaic (which are more reliable, historical, and orthodox), but they think that most of the manuscripts in the original language were corrupted in transmission and form; and influenced by culture and the word’s system.

Dr. White creates a trail of other insightful elements when dealing with higher criticism.  For example, he takes the reader into areas such as translational differences into certain verses.  And this is where you start to see contradictions in the KJV advocates.  Here is an example of what Dr. White says, “KJV advocates often allege that the use of terms related to obedience by the NASB in translating the particular Greek term translated believe many times in the KJV—John 3:36 being the prime example—is indicative of a modern-translation tendency toward works-salvation” (pg. 174).  Dr. White indicates this as being untrue because the KJV translates the very same term obey in verses like 1 Peter 3:1; 4:17; Romans 2:8 (pg. 174).  And since some of the KJV advocates accuse modern translations of being influenced by tradition rather than God’s word, Dr. White shows their inconsistency with the Jerome and Lucifer debate.  They accuse modern translation for using “O star of the morning” in Isaiah 14:12; and removing the Lucifer (the Devil) from the picture.  They will say that using “O morning star” is Christ’s name, so they accuse modern translations of accusing Christ—they must read in context in order to understand the verse.  At any rate, the modern translators in this case, can not be guilty of poor translation, but rather KJV is guilty of a poor translation because the word Lucifer is borrowed from the biblical tradition through the traditional translation of Jerome’s Vulgate—the very thing they accuse modern translations for (pg. 180).

With that in mind, I would therefore highly recommend this book for pastors and Christians who have a desire to understand this controversy that is filled with selfish/man-centered tradition, ignorance, and pragmatism.  This book will give you a better understanding that the modern translation you have is not from the devil, but are God’s truth and word’s of hope.  Also this book will give you confidence and an acumen in the world of lower and higher criticism.  If this book is studied diligently, I am confident that the reader will be prepared to defend the Bible when confronted by KJV onlyism.

Read Full Post »