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KJV Only-ism Comments - 2000

Below are assorted e-mails I received in 2000 commenting on the items listed under "KJV Only-ism" at Bible Versions Controversy. The e-mailers’ comments are in black and enclosed in "greater than" and "lesser than" signs. My comments are in red.

>Hi Brother Gary,

I love your website.  I came across it approximately 12 - 18 months ago while I was in the predicament of researching the whole KJV only thing.  I was saved and very powerfully converted in 1983 by reading the NIV; however as some friends began to point the many differences between the KJV and the NIV and i went through a period of angst, confusion and great mental wavering. However, your site did more to clear things up than any other site I had visited.  In fact, I found some to be so caustic (usually the KJV only's) that I could hardly believe it.< 

I'm thankful my site helped to clear up the confusion. It is an issue that leaves many in "angst." And yes, the KJV only sites can get rather caustic. I will never understand why people who purport to be Christians can't deal with disagreements in a civil manner.

> Anyway, I have corresponded with you in the past re: what is the best recommended Bible version, and I am now using a NKJV and quite happy with it.<

Glad to hear it!

> Two questions:

1. You mentioned in the past that you were using the NASB and then changed; however you didn't expound on the reason why.  Was it because of the manuscripts?<

That was the main issue. The other would be the use of the archaic language in the OT (thee, thou, didst, etc.) The language has been updated in the NAS95. However, the NAS95 is not quite as literal as the NAS77 was. So even if it wasn't for the textual differences, I'm not sure if I would use either NAS version. But that said, textual differences aside, either version of the NAS is still better than most any other Bible version out there. For more details on the NAS95, see my article NAS95 Review.

> 2. Why has the KJV translated the word agape as "charity" in 1 Cor 13, but as "love" in most of the other epistles?<

I've been asked this before, and I really don't know. I don't see any reason why the word should be translated differently just in that context.

> Thanks for your time and input Gary!!!  Bless you my brother.

Jesus precious name,

 "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field."  Luke 10:2


Thank you for the kind comments and the "blessing." 

>Dear Gary,

In my reading I have encountered several times the claim that King James I, as head of the Anglican church of England, directed the KJV translators not to depart from traditional hierarchical/institutional terms. (Accordingly, for example, in 1 Tim. 3:1, 10, 13 and in Heb. 7:5, by adding the word "office" even though the Greek text contains no equivalent, the translators in effect interpreted these passages in line with the king's wishes, rather than strictly translating them.)

"Thus," to quote one source (Frank A. Viola in Who Is Your Covering, p. 48), "words like ekklesia, episkopos, and diakonos were not accurately translated from the Greek. Instead, they were translated into the Anglican ecclesiastical jargon of the day {ekklesia = church [instead of 'assembly,' as properly in Acts 19:32, 39, and 41], episkopos = bishop [instead of 'overseer'], diakonos = minister [instead of 'servant']}. While the original KJV of 1611 went through four revisions up until 1769, these errors were never corrected."

My problem is that none of the publications making this claim offer any documentation. Lacking the necessary research tools, I have e-mailed a number of KJV websites for more information. The responses have ranged from "That's a new one on me" to silence. Viola wrote, "I've read this in several places. Unfortunately, I don't have the sources handy."

Hence my question: Do you know of any primary source, such as records of the king's correspondence, for these alleged directives to the translators? If you have the time, I would appreciate any help you can offer.


I've heard this claim before, but I also have never seen any specific documentation for it. But it is true that these terms would be more accurately translated as you indicate. Whether King James had anything to do with using the alternatives, or it it was simply the decision of the translators themselves, would probably be hard to determine at his point.

>Dear Gary

I was reading your site and the articles on KJV-onlyism 2000 and noticed the discussions about HarperCollins. Collins is the publisher of the King James Version in Scotland. I have

at least 4 Authorized versions published by them. Indeed I keep one by the computer!

I remember the fuss about Murdoch buying Collins because his company publishes a newspaper in the United Kingdom which has a picture of a topless model on page 3. This is so much a British "institution" that such models are referred to in Britain as "page 3 girls". Maybe this is where the idea that he publishes adult magazines comes from.

Hope this is of interest!

Yours sincerely,

Thanks for the info. 

>Your website is very good and contains much useful information (especially with regards to the NKJV). I too, after much studying have come to the conclusion that the NKJV is the most accurate modern translation (maybe most accurate period) available.  I have bookmarked your website because of the valuable information.

The only complaint is that the original KJV is put down as being inaccurate, or just plain too darn hard to read.  If words have changed in meaning over time, as they have, but originally had the proper meaning that is NOT an inaccuracy. I would agree that if someone picked up a KJV for the first time it would be more difficult to understand than modern English but so what?  With the Holy Spirit teaching, the KJV is not hard to understand and the lost are not going to understand God's truth no matter how dumbed down it becomes.  Only time will tell as to the ultimate success of the NKJV but one thing for certain the KJV has survived the test of time and continues to thrive.


Thank you for the kind comments, even with the one minor disagreement. And note, I do not "put down the KJV as being inaccurate"it is on my list of recommended versions. What I do try to show is that it is not "perfect" as KJV-onlyists contend.

>Thank you for responding back.  I know you must have lots of email to consider and to wade through.  I guess my main point is that there has to be a way to show the good of a translation (in this case the NKJV) without pointing out perceived flaws in the KJV.


It wouldn't be necessary, IF the KJV-only people didn't claim the KJV was "perfect," and thus by implication, all other versions are "imperfect" or even "perversions" since they "alter" the Word of God by disagreeing with the KJV. But as it is, since that is there claim, the only way to prove it wrong it to show the KJV is not perfect.

>The NKJV struck the words 'and replenish' [in Gen 1:27] and the passage now reads 'go forth and subdue...' like other translations I am aware of. Being inclined towards Creation Spirituality, and in light of what we are doing to this planet, this omission broke my heart.

Do I favor a comment?

Thank you,

The NKJV has "fill" rather than "replenish" as the Hebrew word means "fill." It does not and cannot mean "replenish." Check Brown, Driver, and Briggs lexicon for confirmation. So the NKJV did not "strike" the word "replenish" from the text, but corrected a mistranslation in the KJV. 

>Mr. Zeolla,

I am a rather new and young Christian, despite my church upbringing.<

Praise the Lord for your conversion!

> My brother recently gave me a student Bible, a NIV version, about two or three days ago. I read it each day since, and am following the first study track recommenced by the book. (it is on chapter a day, many different chapters from all over, and lasts 26 weeks). Anyway, yesterday I went to a new church with a friend I have just met. I had never been to a church quite like it. It is the Bible Baptist church, the pastor of which is supposedly famous, yet I had never heard of him, Dr. Ruckman.<

NO, not Ruckman! Yes he is famous, although some would say infamous. What he is is a rabid KJV-Only advocate. I personally do not recommend his writings to anyone for any purpose. The best way to explain it is they are filled with venom.

I say this as someone who does agree with *some* of his arguments. I too have a problem with many new Bible versions, but by no means all as he does. But more importantly, in my discussions about Bible versions I try to avoid the inflammatory language people like Ruckman use.

> Anyway, my friend showed my that my NIV Bible was copyrighted, and according to him, for only one purpose, so that the Zondervan Publishing House could make money and control the publication of the book.<

This is a standard KJV-only argument. What they fail to tell you is the KJV was copyrighted itself when it first came out. The only reason it is no longer copyrighted is because the copyright period has long since run out. The same is true for many other older versions of the Bible. I discuss this issue in my e-mail exchange, Royalties and Bible Versions. I would suggest you read it.

> He further told me that Zondervan was owned by one particular person, and that this person owned lots of things. Newspapers and magazines, including an adult magazine. This was a little disturbing. I was wondering if you could confirm this, and if so, is there any way I can confirm it for myself?<

Before making such an accusation against another Christian, don't you think your friend should have had some proof in the first place? It is unbiblical to make unsubstantiated charges against another Christian. That's an important point to consider. KJV-onlyist are good at making claims they can't substantiate.

That said, I don't know who runs Zondervan, or even if it is run by only one person. So I can't comment on way or the other for sure on this claim. But frankly, it sounds like an "urban legend" to me. You could try contacting Zondedrvan itself. At the very least, they should be able to tell you who owns the company.

>Maybe an internet reference or something?<

I'm sure Zondedrvan has a Web site, but I don't know the URL off-hand.

> Not that I don't believe my NIV Bible is not any good. I firmly believe that God can use anything he wants, and although I know that there is a big controversy about KJV vs. NIV, I kind of don't want to get into that too much yet. However, if what my friend says is true, I would really like to know. Thank you.


As a new Christian, I would suggest you stay away from radical types like Ruckman. I have had many people tell me of the spiritual damage that has been caused them by their involvement with such people. In fact, the whole KJV-only movement can get a little hate-filled IMO.

It is an important issue what Bible version to read. But the most important thing for you at this point is to read the Bible, any Bible. My first Bible was an NIV, although I don't use it anymore, nor particularly recommend it.

You can read the articles on my site if you want more info on this whole controversy. I even specially address KJV-only claims at places

God bless you in your new life with Him!

>Wow! Thanks a lot for the response and the information. It really meant a lot to me that you even responded, but the information you gave was priceless. I had no idea about Dr. Ruckman. Thanks again.

Prayers answered,

>Hi, Gary,

>Q wrote to you, "He further told me that Zondervan was owned by one particular person, and that this person owned lots of things. Newspapers and magazines, including an adult magazine. This was a little disturbing. I was wondering if you could confirm this, and if so, is there any way I can confirm it for myself?"

I agree with you that it does sound like an "urban legend," but it is true. Zondervan is ultimately owned by Australian media magnate Rupert Murdoch, a member of the Pontifical Order of St. Gregory the Great, which is a Roman Catholic papal knighthood.

"Zondervan's 300 headquarters employees began enjoying the new facilities in 1992, 19 years after the company began publishing the New International Version Bible (NIV). A steady cash flow provided in part by that Bible made Zondervan an attractive takeover target. In 1988 HarperCollins bought Zondervan; HarperCollins is a wholly owned subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch's The News Corporation, which owns Fox Television, Twentieth Century Fox, TV Guide, and other media properties worldwide." -- Source:  World Magazine, April 19, 1997 ~ http://www.worldmag.com/world/issue/04-19-97/national_1.asp

Rupert Murdoch never had anything to do with the content of the New International Version, no more than he has to do with the listings published in TV Guide.  One of his companies bought Zondervan four years after NIV was completed.  As well, Zondervan is under contractural obligation to an organization called the Committee on Bible Translation, which has exclusive authority over the content of the NIV.

Zondervan is also the owner of the NRSV, which was completed under Murdoch' ownership in 1989, with the Catholic version being completed in 1993.  But again, content is the domain of the National Council of Churches, not Zondervan or Rupert Murdoch.

The charge against Murdoch by KJV-Onlyists is that HarperCollins publishes some pro-homosexual books, some of which are of a "how-to" nature.  This charge is true, but HarperCollins do not publish pornography or adult magazines to my knowledge.  Obviously a "how-to" book is pretty graphic, though, so it's a fine line distinction.

Just thought you'd like to know what Q was referring to.

Your friend,

Thanks for the info.

>Dear Sir,

Having recently come across your web site I must say that I am most impressed. The mass of work you have posted seems to be quite an accomplishment, and I admire your logic, clarity and professionalism in presentation. I think we have a mountain of thinking and belief in common.

I am something of a lone wolf in Biblical debates (not that I think of myself as much of a wolf). You see, I only use the King James Version. Now wait a minute—don't judge me yet. I am a KJV DEFENDER (as I think you are), but I am most definitely not a KJV-Only advocate. I denounce the hatefulness and demagoguery that I see in that movement, and I KNOW such is not born of the Spirit. But I am prone to be wrongly accused and identified with a hateful, misguided, and likely uninformed group of overly-zealous people whenever I defend my translation. I do not mean to laud my own intellect, nor my linguistic abilities, but I just have never had a lot of significant difficulty with the AV. I also read Shakespeare with ease, but the point is, whether due to my education or intellect or background, it stands that using the AV alone I have been able to learn and understand all the doctrinal truths of Christianity with fair ease.

I guess when it comes to KJV I just "get it." Based upon my personal experience with it I defend the KJV as a true and accurate translation. Now you might ask "Are you sure you didn't learn all that you know in Sunday School?" Well that is fair, and I would say that I have many times been reading in my Bible quite alone and have felt the revelation of something profound. I do not read other translations because I do not feel I need them (though I do have a Harper-Collins Study Bible around somewhere). I DO recognize a need for other translations for the English language. The sheer number of translations is bothersome to me however, especially when many other languages are fortunate to have one or two translations—but who am I to tell people they can't take a stab at a better translation?

Specifically though I dislike the NIV, not because of homosexuals or missing verses that I know the debate behind, but because it seems rather too paraphrastic and is based on the Critical Text. I generally dislike CT-based translations. The NKJV I have no strong opinion on, but I would likely accept it on my short list of recommendable translations. But I decry the adoption of the NIV in my denomination [Assemblies of God], largely because when it is read from by another it is hard for so many people, generally using AV's, to follow along. I've noticed this is dramatically less so with the NKJV.

When some say the KJV is a bad translation, I contend that for many people, especially given deteriorating literacy, but even for the learned, it can be a DIFFICULT translation. I will not affix the moniker "bad" to a book of the church with its well-known tenure: it is unconscionable to me to do so. I know it sounds suspiciously like empty euphemism, but that is how I feel. In parallel, I think of the TR as a "difficult" representation of the Byzantine text type. No, I am not religious about the TR (and I think there is a sliver of credit to the AV that no one can tell EXACTLY what text it uses). I actually contend for the Byzantine/Majority text, so that I feel no need to specifically defend the TR group.

Let me just add that, while not exactly a scholar, I am a schooled academic, and I read the Greek and am learning Hebrew. I prefer and use Hodges & Farstad, mainly because I like to have some apparatus, though I tend to think that genealogical reconstruction can do no good and should be forgotten. I also have UBS4 so as to know and understand both efforts, and I have read much from both sides of the NT debate. The short answer to my acceptance of the MT vs. CT is that the blatant problems in the CT (Asaph and Amos, etc), along with too many omissions to not be omissions, force me to reject the basic approach the CT has taken. But as you see I do not entirely depend on the English translation in order to know the Word of God. My philosophy about this is really like a quote from one of your pages:

"...my position is and always has been that Christian theology should be based on the Hebrew and Greek texts, not on any English translation..."

I am not religious about the AV, but I staunchly defend it against those who would in essence esteem it as so much rubbish. I think the KJV does not have to be used by everybody, but should always have an honoured place in the English-speaking church. It is a true and worthy translation and it can be believed if you can understand it. And no disputed verses are doctrinally unsound when left in the text. Thousands have believed on those verses, and perhaps, just perhaps, that is reason enough to leave them in any translation.

I guess my overall point is that much debate is being hindered by lines being drawn in the sand. I defended the KJV and was grouped with diatribes who pass out tickets to hell for those with NIVs. I can't get my points across when I have to defend myself from rebukes deserved by others. And I think this concept applies elsewhere. I think the entire MT argument has been hurt by wrongful association in some cases with generally uninformed and uneducated (in textual criticism that is) evangelicals and the KJV-Only branch of that group. While the best scholars might recognize our distinction from such, many link MT with TR (as I suppose they should) and then draw the connection to KJV-Only and hatred and lawgiving, etc and really don't take time to hear and consider good MT arguments. …

I think your work is a commendable effort to spread the truth to as many as will hear it.

And so in closing (you're thinking "Finally!") I would admonish all to pray strongly for those who seek to cause such division over the AV, but also that the AV would not unjustly suffer at their hands. …

May God bless your work,

All that you have to say sound good to me! We definitely agree much more than we disagree. May God bless you in your Bible studies.

>Hello Gary,

I was reading your critique on the critique of the KJV vs. NKJV.

First, I must say I am not a Bible scholar. I am simply a man who has accepted the Lord as his personal savior and happens to be an engineer. I must share with you, in the last couple of years I have been submerging myself into the Word. Praise the Lord. I am thankful for it. I had purchased several years before a One Year Bible in the KJV. I did not purchase it because of the KJV. I just purchased it, to the best of my recollection because it was the only one available. For several years that Bible collected dust. We moved 5 or 6 different times and I never started to read it and yet I could never loose it. Anyway, I finally yielded to the Holy Spirit with the feeling "O.K. God, I heard this book would change my life. I'm going to give it a chance". So I read it, the key was I prayed for the Author to ring the Bell for me and give me understanding every morning before I read it. Well I hope this does not sound cliche, I can tell you that it ABSOLUTELY CHANGED MY LIFE. My understanding of the Faith

I thought this way of reading the word so Awesome that I began it again. I also bought a ONE YEAR BIBLE in the NIV for my wife. But, my view of all Bibles being equal was soon about to change. The Lord put me through a test that caused me to seek HIM in a profound way. I must say I had never heard of King James Only-ism. All I know is that when the Lord met me in my KJV One year Bible, He gave me Proverbs 19:27. It was just what I needed to hear. God is so good!!! For grins I guess, I looked up that very same verse in the NIV and do you know it is completely opposite !!!!! I also checked my John Hagee NKJV and it agrees with the NIV. Now, when you check these two versions of this verse, and if you find them as opposite as I do, you will ask yourself which Version of the Word is Gods WORD. I know the one HE chose to speak to me through. I know you must receive a lot of mail, but please reply if possible, I would appreciate your feedback. I am not championing a cause, at least not until HE tells me

Best Regards and God Bless,

Thank you or your e-mail. I will just comment on the verse you mention. It reads in the KJV and NKJV:

KJV: Cease, my son, to hear instruction [that causeth] to err from the words of knowledge.

NKJV: Cease listening to instruction, my son, And you will stray from the words of knowledge (Pr 19:27).

I don't see these translations as contradictory, but as looking at things from a different angle. The KJV, by adding the words "that causeth" makes the verse be a warning against listening to false teachings. The NKJV, more generally, says it is good to listen to instruction. And this is true for a "son" (i.e. young person), if it is good instruction.

The point is, there is a time to listen to instruction, and there is a time when not to. But comparing the two different possible ways of taking this verse, these points are brought out. So what this does is confirm what I say repeatedly on my site: to compare more than one translation in Bible study.

There is not always one "right" way to translate a verse. And this verse is a good example of that. Either type of translation is possible.

God bless.

>Thank you Gary for your reply and Lord Bless you as well,


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