The English translation issue has caused no small stir among conservatives and evangelicals today. It is not our desire to be contentious about this issue, but we do desire to preach and teach with clarity.
It is our conviction that the whole translation debate hinges on three basic questions that must be answered in the following order:
1. Has God preserved His inspired Word? In fact, has He even promised to do so? If God has not promised to preserve His words—and all of them, then all discussions regarding which Hebrew & Aramaic or Greek Text is superior and which translation is best is all academic, at best.
To this question we answer in the strongest affirmative possible. It is a fact that the Bible has more to say about preservation than it even says about inspiration. Such promises as those found in Psalm 12:6-7; 33:11; 89:34; 117:2; 119:60; Isaiah 34:16; Matthew 4:4; 5:17-18; 24:35 demand of us that we believe that every inspired word of God has been preserved until this hour and will be preserved into eternity itself.
2. If it is preserved, where is it preserved? Is it preserved in any specific Text or in all the texts or in only the so-called “oldest and best manuscripts?” One should expect to locate God’s words if they are preserved.
We believe that those texts often referred to as the Traditional Text, known more commonly as the Ben Chayyim Masoretic text1 of the Old Testament and the Textus Receptus2 of the New Testament, hold those preserved words.
Many Christians have no idea that the Hebrew texts (including some portions in Aramaic) of the Old Testament and the Greek texts of the New Testament underlying the KJV are quite different from those underlying the modern versions. In the New Testament alone as much as 7% differences exist, or to put it another way, as many as 5,600 places are different between the two text. This approaches nearly 10,000 word differences.
3. Do the Lord’s churches in the English-speaking world have a faithful, accurate translation of that preserved Word that they can call reliable?
The last English translation of the Hebrew and Greek texts listed above was done in the seventeenth century by the translators of what has come to be called the King James Version of the Bible (known also as the Authorized Version), first published in 1611. Most, if not all, of the modern versions have been translated out of a different Greek text in the New Testament called the Eclectic Text or the Critical Text. We reject these texts as only containing the Word of God. Furthermore, the Hebrew text underlying these modern versions is different from that used by the KJV.
Therefore, a local church must make a decision guided by the Scripture as to which translation is in fact God’s words in their language based upon its underlying text. We recognize that God did not breathe out English words, but the inspired words He did breathe out have been accurately and correctly translated into our language in the King James Version.
The New Testament makes clear the necessity for translations of God’s preserved words (cf. Matthew 28:19,20; Romans 16:25,26; et al.). We certainly believe that faithful translations, using the principles of formal equivalency (word-for-word translation), can be made from these preserved, received texts into receptor languages of all nations and that such is the testimony of the KJV into English.
In addition, we recognize that there have been a series of English translations that were translated faithfully from the Received Text (i.e., Wycliffe, Tyndale, Geneva, Great Bible, etc.), but the English translation that God has used in a unique way over the past four centuries in His churches in the English-speaking world is the KJV. It has been and continues to be the Bible of English speaking, independent, Baptist churches. Therefore, with great conviction Bible Baptist Church uses only the KJV in all of its ministries.
For further information and with much more detail, explanation, history and often-asked questions, you will find many resources at www.thekjvstore.com/christian-books/bible-reference-books/why-kjv/
1This text is named for the editor, Jacob ben Chayyim, a Hebrew Christian who put together a standardized Hebrew text from the finest texts and first published it in 1524. His text was accepted both among Jewry and Christianity until 1937. At that time a new text was put forth using a different textual basis and employing the principles of modern textual criticism. It is this post-1937 text that is the province of modern scholarship.
2The phrase, Textus Receptus or Received Text comes from the Latin “textum ergo habes, nunc ab omnibus receptus” (or “therefore you have a text now received by all”). This phrase was first coined by printers of the Greek text which was published in AD 1633. Although this phrase was coined then, its theology did not originate in AD1633, but with Jesus Christ in John 17:8 and by the Bible itself in such passages as Acts 8:14; 11:1; 17:1; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; et. al.
*This article is taken with permission from www.bbchixson.org/why-the-kjv/. It was written by the pastor, Dr. J. Michael Bates. My thanks to Pastor Bates for the research and the great article as well as his kindness in allowing the use of the article on our website.
Pastor Bates has written a book on the subject that is currently out of print. However, he said that they are considering reprinting the book. Check back on www.bbchixson.org periodically to see if the book has become available.