The “King James Version [KJV]” ONLY Movement

There are a substantial number of fundamentalist Christians who believe the King James Version of the Bible is the only version Christians should use.

Dr. James White – a great reference, by the way, for those wanting to delve deeper into this issue – offers subdivisions of the KJV-only movement of today. I abbreviate his observations on the various types of KJVO people: the comments following are mine.

1. “I Like the KJV Best” -… This group simply regards the King James Version as a very good translation and prefers it over other translations because the church which it attends uses it, has always used it, or prefers its style.

This is not technically KJVO in the sense I am using it.

2. “The Textual Argument” – This group believes that the KJV’s Hebrew and Greek textual base is more accurate than the alternative texts used by newer translations.

These people also are not violent in their pronouncements.

3. “Textus Receptus Only”/”Received Text Only” – This group holds the position that the traditional Greek texts represented in the Textus Receptus were supernaturally (or providentially) preserved and that other Greek manuscripts not used in this compilation may be flawed.

These folks can be argumentative but often they are not judgmental.

4. “The Inspired KJV Group” – This faction believes that the KJV itself was divinely inspired. They view the translation to be an English preservation of the very words of God and that they are as accurate as the original Greek and Hebrew manuscripts found in its underlying texts.

Now we describe the passionate. The farther from the truth, the more emotion is used by those holding to a cult-like belief.

5. “The KJV As New Revelation” – This group claims that the KJV is a “new revelation” or “advanced revelation” from God, and it should be the standard from which all other translations originate.

And watch out if you do not agree!

I believe that a cult lives among us, Christians.

There is a history of cults among us that goes back to Bible times. “I am of Paul,” “I am of Peter” etc. There have always been exclusive groups that claimed exclusive rights to God’s favor. The Jehovah’s Witnesses in our own day claim they are the only people of God.

These people demand allegiance to concepts that God did not ordain. They are not fanatics for truth. We understand persons who cleave vehemently to belief in the resurrection of Christ. We understand why they are suspicious of, even disassociate from, persons who do not hold such a basic doctrine. This is not cultism. What God has said ought indeed to be guarded with zealous fortitude.

But to say, and even demand, something that God never said, for example, that a particular translation of the English Bible, 1600 years after Jesus lived and died here, is to be slavishly adopted by every born again child of God, to the utter exclusion and perhaps even condemnation of all children of God on the planet who are in disagreement… well, that is cultism.

Truly, God never said what they are saying. Therefore, I am not bound to say or believe it either. The Word of God that came from prophet and apostle is one thing. The translation of that word into a language foreign to those prophets and apostles is something else.