By Pastor Bruce K. Oyen, First Baptist Church, Spearfish, SD
1. IS THE BIBLE THE WORD OF GOD?
Yes, and there are many good reasons to believe it is the Word of God. Instead of listing some of the reasons, here is a suggestion: read it with an open mind and discover its contents for yourself. I suggest you start by reading the New Testament, and then read the Old Testament. Note the many statements affirming it to be the Word of God. One of the most well-known is 2 Timothy 3:15 – 17. If you want to read a good article on this subject, read R. A. Torrey’s article called “Ten Reasons Why I Believe the Bible Is The Word Of God.” It was written in 1898. It is still in print, and can be read on the internet from a variety of sources.
2. WAS THE BIBLE (the Word of God) IN ENGLISH PRIOR TO THE PUBLICATION OF THE KING JAMES VERSION IN 1611?
Yes. Two examples are the Wycliffe Bible and the Geneva Bible. These and some other pre-King James Version translations are still in print, and some, and maybe all, are also available on the internet. One of many interesting books on the history of old English Bible translations is by David O. Beale. It is called “A Pictorial History Of Our English Bible.” I have profitably read it two times.
3. SINCE THE BIBLE (the Word of God) WAS IN ENGLISH PRIOR TO THE PUBLICATION OF THE KING JAMES VERSION, ARE THOSE TRANSLATIONS STILL THE WORD OF GOD?
Yes, of course. The Bible never ceases to be the Word of God.
4. WHAT, THEN, OF THE CLAIM MADE BY MANY SINCERE CHRISTIANS THAT ONLY THE KING JAMES VERSION IS THE WORD OF GOD IN ENGLISH?
Such a claim is plainly false, and should not be accepted. The King James Version is the Word of God in English, but so are the English Bible translations that preceded it. The publication of the King James Version did not in any way cause those translations to become less than the Word of God. The Bible is always the Word of God.
5. SINCE THE BIBLE (the Word of God) WAS IN ENGLISH PRIOR TO THE PUBLICATION OF THE KING JAMES VERSION, IS IT POSSIBLE THAT ENGLISH BIBLE TRANSLATIONS PUBLISHED SINCE THE KING JAMES VERSION ARE ALSO THE WORD OF GOD?
Yes. Absolutely. There is no logical, defensible, justifiable reason to say this cannot be possible. But it is more than possible. It is a provable reality. There is no evidence whatever that the translators of the King James Version believed their translation was the final translation of the Word of God into English. They did not believe, as many wrongly believe in our day, that their translation alone was the Word of God for the English speaking people of the world. Nor should we. Good translations of the Bible into English have been made since the publication of the King James Version. Some examples are the New American Standard (updated in maybe 1995), the English Standard Version, the New King James Version, and the Modern English Version.
6. WHAT IF ONE HAS A STRONG PREFERENCE FOR THE KING JAMES VERSION, BUT WOULD LIKE TO READ A MODERN ENGLISH TRANSLATION THAT IS VERY SIMILAR TO THE KING JAMES VERSION AND THAT IS BASED ON THE SAME ORIGINAL-LANGUAGE TEXTS AS THE KING JAMES VERSION?
In that case, I recommend at least two translations: 1) The New King James Version (NKJV). 2) The Modern English Version (MEV). The NKJV has been in print for many years, and the MEV was published in 2014. I have been reading the NKJV for several years, and I have been reading the MEV for several months. I have read the old KJV at least 40 times, and as I read the NKJV and the MEV, it is easy to see the similarities they have to the KJV, and their differences from it. But their differences are not so great as to keep one from reading the NKJV and the MEV. If you don’t want to buy these translations, both of them can be read on the Bible Gateway website, and perhaps on other websites. I have a preference for the KJV, NKJV, and the MEV. But I refuse to make this preference a test of fellowship with other Christians.