I'm happy our church uses the King James Version. Because of our belief in the preservation of its underlying text, our church can't use the New King James Version, even if it were a superior translation. The NKJV doesn't come from the identical Hebrew and Greek text of the KJV, so we won't use it. Should we use one of the other revisions or updates of the King James Version? I've written that we have several reasons for continuing to use the King James Version that far outweigh the difficulty of some outdated words. Those can be explained. If you want, you can buy a Defined King James Version, which defines those words in the margins (which is why it is called "Defined").
Here's what we see happen. Someone says words in the King James Version can't be understood. We say, there is a Defined King James Version, if you want it. The person says words in the King James Version can't be understood. We say, there is a Defined King James Version, and it defines those words. Crickets. What are we to think about that? I think a sensible inclination is to think that he doesn't really care whether they can understand the King James Version or not. He doesn't like or want the King James Version.
This post will continue dealing with arguments against the support of the use of the King James Version. I've written that Mark Ward really gave one argument, that is, updating outdated words. We've answered that charge in a number of different ways. We had several arguments against a revision that Ward gave to dispute our reasons. They weren't arguments. They were attempts at answering our arguments, and I'm going to continue to answer what he wrote in his chart I posted in part one. I'm going to keep using the *asterisks to mark a new argument, and I'm to the fifth of nine.
*How low can you go with language? The King James Version translates in a formal equivalent of the Hebrew and Greek text received by the churches, the words preserved and available to every generation of church. It stays there with formal equivalence in translation language. It gives us God's Word, and it is God's Word, so it is respectful to God. People have loved the King James because it reads like God's Word, not like a comic book or a popular novel. That might be what some people want, but church leaders shouldn't take that bait. This is what we see in our culture and it spreads to churches. There is a tremendous lack of respect and reverence to our culture and instead of turning the world upside down, churches are being turned upside down. We shouldn't cooperate with that as a church.
*Ward has expressed numerous times that he is concerned about how that the translation of the King James will hinder evangelizing the "bus kid." I evangelize every week numerous times. A week doesn't go by where I will not preach the gospel to someone. I'm not talking about in our assembly during a service, when I preach there. I'm talking about out in the world. When it comes to the translation issue, the greatest hindrance for evangelism is the translation confusion and chaos out there. People have less trust in the Word of God. Offering more and more "translations" takes away confidence in scripture. More and more translations published gives the impression that the Bible is malleable in the hands of men. It takes away respect. I think everyone knows that.
Ward says more translations will bring clarity. I get the argument. He's saying that you can lay out twenty translations in front of you and compare what the translators did to attempt to get what a passage is saying, using them like a commentary. Translations shouldn't be commentaries. They aren't crafts for men to read in their theology or maybe even a pet peeve. What you very often get today are men that do translation shopping, where they find a translation that agrees with their position, and they keep looking until they find it. It puts men in a position of sovereignty over God's Word.
*For the next argument, Ward says the KJV is not precise because it has confusing punctuation that people today are not accustomed too. My original point is that you can read the number in second person personal pronouns in the King James Version, and you can't in modern versions. You see those communicated in the original language and you do in the King James Version. You don't read in the modern versions the specificity of the original languages. You get the same kind of precision in the verbs of King James: singular, I think, thou thinkest, and he thinketh, then plural, we think, you think, and they think.
The King James does more than what I just described in precision. Look at the following examples of Matthew 3:13:
King James: "Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.""Cometh" is present tense in the original language, and yet the modern versions translate it as past or aorist. It's also present tense in the critical text, and yet the modern translators, all of these three very commonly used, give it a past tense, which is not accurate.
English Standard: "Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him."
New American Standard: "Then Jesus arrived from Galilee at the Jordan coming to John, to be baptized by him."
New King James: "Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him."
*God is immutable. God's Word should not be so apt to change. Just because new translations are made and can be made, we should not be quick to change God's Word. Keeping a standard and us changing to fit that standard is more in fitting with a biblical way of life, than to keep adapting the Bible to us. That was my point.
There are reasons why you could mark a church by what version of the Bible it used. The translation issue reflected a new-evangelical church. The new-evangelical church changed Bibles. This has been the nature of pragmatism and regular change in churches. Churches have a tradition and keep a culture stable with a tradition. When churches change and change and change, it's no wonder we can't keep the slide from happening. Translation change got this going with churches. This is a historical reality.
The language of the Bible is still the language of the Bible. No one should be advocating change of that. However, the actual language of the Bible has become out of reach of a degrading culture. We should not pull the Bible down with it. It is an anchor for a culture. When I say that, I'm not talking about a discussion of the use of the English word "halt," but of Hebrew poetry and long Greek sentences and metaphors used by the authors that are no longer in use.
Language itself, it is true, isn't immutable. However, God's Word is immutable, even when language is changing. We want people to conform to what God has done, rather than encourage an expectation of the Bible adapting to people.
*The last argument is the one that I see Mark Ward understand the least. The King James Version was accepted by the churches. It was used and continued to be used by the churches. The church is the pillar and ground of the truth. Jesus gave the church the truth. The church is the depository of the truth. The new translations aren't being authorized by churches, but by independent agencies and with varied motivations. Churches keep the translation issue on a spiritual plane, instead of other incentives, like profit, business or trade, and intellectual or academic pride.
The modern versions did not originate from churches. They started among textual critics, who were almost unanimously unbelieving. This wasn't a movement of churches, but of extra-scriptural, parachurch organizations. College and universities, which were laboratories of liberalism and upheaval, is where the modern version movement began. This is not how God has done and does His work. He uses the church.
The biblical and historical doctrine of preservation leads our church to use the King James Version, because of its underlying original language text. Other thoughtful reasons motivate our church with the translation of the King James. We have considered an update and we are not supportive for reasons we gave. We have careful and reasonable arguments that outweigh arguments against. There is no groundswell of support for an update or revision of the King James Version from churches that use the King James Version.