One Major Problem I Have With KJV Onlyism
Some people prefer the King James Version. I understand that. I have respect for the King James Version. It was the Bible that John Wesley preached from. It was the Bible that Francis Asbury preached from. It was the Bible that Adam Clarke preached from. It was the Bible that Richard Watson, Leonard Ravenhill, Samuel Chadwick, E.M Bounds, and A.W. Tozer all preached from. The great Baptist preacher Charles Spurgeon preached from the KJV. No doubt God has used the KJV in powerful ways!
Yet thankfully we have better translations today. I prefer the ESV. Some prefer the NKJV. I believe the NKJV is much more superior to the KJV. The marginal notes alone help the NKJV as the marginal notes show the differences in the various Greek texts used. Most English translations including the ESV or the NASB don’t do this and I wish they would follow the NKJV and put variant readings in the marginal notes.
Yet despite my love for the ESV, I am not an ESV only guy. I know some disciples love the NIV. I have respect for the NIV but I prefer a more literal translation and the ESV fits that bill for me. Someone wrote that the ESV is the offspring of the marriage between the NIV and the NASB. The ESV is not a perfect translation by any means and I have been faithfully reading and studying from the ESV since 2007 and I can honestly say that I have found disagreements with the ESV text and the Greek text. They are not major problems but they are there.
However, one major issue I take an exception with the KJV-only movement is that they make a Bible translation an issue of both fellowship and sometimes even salvation. Not all KJV-only people are guilty of this but I have met many who make the KJV an issue of the gospel of Christ. If one is not preaching from “God’s preserved text” then they are not preaching the Word of God. Since a person can only be saved by hearing the Word of God (i.e., the King James Version = the Word of God) then one can not be saved without the preaching of the KJV (Romans 10:17 KJV of course). I have met a few that would admit that a person can be saved by reading from an NIV or an ESV but most stand their ground. When I pressed further with the point that salvation is by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9 KJV of course), they would agree. But then I would say, “So if a person reads from the NIV and believes the gospel of Jesus Christ, that He died for their sins, that He rose again, and that He is alive at God’s right hand and they confess their sins and repent, are they lost or saved?” Most would admit that they are saved. Yet if they can be saved from reading the NIV or the NASB or the NKJV or the ESV then what is the problem here? Isn’t salvation the main issue of the gospel of Christ?
When we add to the work of Christ by saying that a person can only be saved if they hear the gospel from the KJV or they must use the KJV to be faithful to Jesus, we are adding to the gospel. This is nothing more than the errors that Paul dealt with in the book of Galatians. Jesus is the gospel. Not a translation. Jesus is our salvation. Not a translation. Jesus is our righteousness, our hope, our redeemer, our Passover Lamb, our sacrifice. Not a translation.