Bible Question:

You might have known there is a certain group within Christendom which believes the KJV is not only the most accurate and faithful of all translations, but that it is perfect also, in the sense that it is without any scribal or translation errors. They say that since God has promised to preserve His Word, He would be able to give us a 'perfect bible' today. So they believe, by faith, that the manuscripts Majority Text (MT) and Received Text (TR) underlying the translation of the KJV are the exact replicas of the autographs. This also implies all other versions which are not translated from the MT & TR are corrupt; they include the NKJV as well, though the NKJV is not translated from the Critical Texts. This erroneous teaching has caused divisions and schisms in some churches. I have read through the versions issue and believe this extreme KJV only group's teaching is unbiblical. My questions are:

1) If my church endorses this erroneous teaching (though other teachings concerning the fundamentals of the faith are biblical), are there grounds for me to leave the church? The church leaders (especially the two teaching elders) are dogmatic about this teaching, and some have tried in vain to persuade them of the error of this teaching.

2) Should the “perfect bible” teaching be considered a heresy?

Bible Answer:

Please visit a previous question titled “Should I use only the King James Version Bible?” Unfortunately, the King James Only controversy is not based on objective facts. It is factually obvious that any document that is copied risks the possibility of being changed or having “errors.” When that copy is then copied by hand the likelihood that more errors or changes are introduced increases. As copies are successively copied, the risk of more and more errors or changes continues to increase. As time increases, the risks increase. The best documents are the earliest copies. They will have the fewest errors or changes. The majority text reflects all of the ancient biblical documents. The Textus Receptus, while not reflecting all of them, is based on a very large number.

Current Greek Texts

The recent Nestle-Aland Greek text is probably the best available today. It is based on the oldest ancient biblical manuscripts spread out over a wide geographic area. This would provide the fewest errors and changes. In contrast, the MT and TR texts reflect more errors and changes, as has been pointed out in numerous discussions and books. It is not possible to declare any of these Greek texts to be one hundred percent accurate in terms of content.

All Scripture Inspired

Those who fear that they cannot trust their Bible have missed an important fact – none of these “errors” or “changes” affect any doctrine that we believe. Secondly, one must realize that God wrote the Bible and anything that it says is completely and totally inerrant and infallible. The parts of the Bible that are in question are a fraction of a percentage point. They do not affect anything that we believe about God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, salvation, angels, the church, living the Christian life, or any other doctrine. The following verses say it all.

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. 2 Tim 3:16-17 (NAS95S)

How To Respond

Those in leadership who hold so strongly to the King James Only position may fear that any such objective admission is contrary to Matthew 5:18.

For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Matt 5:18 (NAS95S)

If so, they have missed the point that Jesus was not talking specifically about a written text. God’s Law, whether written or verbal, will never pass away. God’s Word is not changed because a copyist makes an error. God said it, and it will never pass away – independent of human mistakes. It does not matter what we do with it. The reaction of the leadership reveals a lack of wisdom and objectivity about the Bible. Yes, there are are some passages of uncertainty, but that does not mean the entire Bible is in doubt. The portion that is in doubt is incredibly small. Please visit “How Accurate Is the Bible?” The major concern with the leadership team is “Can their interpretation of the Bible be trusted in the future?” If the deacons in Acts 6:3 had to be full of wisdom, how much more the elders or church leaders?

Conclusion:

One should not consider the King James Only (KJO) teaching to be a heresy. It does not reject any fundamental doctrine to my knowledge. KJO is simply a teaching that lacks wisdom and objectivity. However, their lack of insight and wisdom raises doubt as to whether they have truly submitted to the Holy Spirit. Consequently, their teachings of various biblical passages are suspect. When a teacher or preacher is off in one area in such a major way, one must ask why. That should raise a red flag.

Reference Links:

How Accurate Is the Bible?
Should I use only the King James Version Bible?
When should a person leave a church?
How do I know which church to attend?
Peace With God