KJV Only? I don't think so!
I had an online chat with a KJV-Only guy yesterday, and it actually ended up being quite civil. I'm assuming most people who read this blog are not KJV-Only folks, and in fact, some may not even know there are people for whom the King James Bible as the only Word of God is a matter of doctrine. But they're out there, and they're usually quite outspoken. The guy I chatted with yesterday happens to be from a church in central Illinois that is actually about an hour away from my hometown. He told me his church believed in the KJV as the perfect Word of God and eschewed the use of any modern translation. Now I noticed in the course of my brief chat with him that he did refer to the KJV as the best, and seemed to have the opinion that, if you can read the best, why read any other version? So I'm not certain he was a hardcore KJV-Only guy, although looking at his church's website I found some pretty interesting articles about modern versions, including a scathing page about the NET Bible. ("The New English Translation (NET) is straight out of the pits of Hell," are the author's exact words.) And the articles don't simply criticize the modern versions; no, they outright excoriate the modern Bibles, indicating that they are all published in order to lead true believers away from the path of righteousness! (For some reason, today the links to said website are not working for me. I don't know why.)
Part of the reason I am bringing this issue up today is that I find it very bizarre that one can have a nice, friendly chat with someone who apparently believes such...well, craziness. Don't get me wrong, I love the King James Bible. I have over two dozen different King James Bibles in my collection, including one that was my grandfather's Bible. I think the KJV stand as a monument in the history of Bible translations. But accusing modern versions of deliberately perverting Scripture is, quite simply, insane. Not that there aren't some bad translations out there. I used to like The Message Bible, but the more I've studied it, the more awful I think it is. It strays so far away from the text, that it pushes the borders of paraphrase, and becomes a rewriting of Scripture. The New World Translation published by the Watchtower Society is pretty horrible, as well. (John 1:1 in the NWT reads, "In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god." So, there are bad translations; but there are many, many good ones as well. If anyone else has had interesting encounters with KJV-Only folks, I'd love to hear about it. In the unlikely event there is anyone reading this who is KJV-Only, I guess I'd like to hear from you, too, as long as we can have a civil discussion. Thanks for reading.