“The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.” – Psalm 12:6-7
There are many approaches to the ever important versions issue. There is the “Faith Approach” which I actively endorse and promote. There is the “Scientific Approach” which I believe is dangerous to our doctrine of verbal inspiration. Then there is the “Extreme Approach” which is a monkey wrench in this critical debate. I will attempt to summarize each approach for the purpose of both clarifying my position, and laying the groundwork for future discussion regarding this premise.
The Faith Approach
“The Faith Approach” is essentially the approach of the King James version translators and Textus Receptus advocates. It is both scholarly and reasonable. It does not reject future translations or clarifications, but rather promotes that what God says is true. Namely, that God preserves His word unto every generation. This approach enables one to believe that the original autographs of Scripture (those penned by the writers) were perfectly preserved without error through the centuries, even unto the published Textus Receptus so readily available today. We do not know every detail of how God did this any more than we understand every detail of how God brought the Israelites across the Red Sea or how Jesus turned a few loaves and fishes into a feast for the multitude. The simple fact is that we believe these things because they are there. It is an approach made by faith. Every theory formed and every idea postulated regarding versions and texts of Scripture must be formed from the mindset of FAITH.
The Scientific Approach
The Scientific Approach” is essentially the approach Messrs. Wescott and Hort took in the formulation of their theory, Greek text, and their English version in the mid-nineteenth century. this approach leaves the realm of faith and enters the arena of human observation. It is scientific, in that it approaches the Scripture with a microscope endeavoring to achieve understanding regarding its origin, reliability, and transmission through the ages. This approach seems fine, considering that true science is pure observation and should prove truth: however, when one approaches such divine mysteries as creation, divinity, and Scripture with a humanistic, scientific view only, the hypothesis, theories, and repercussions that follow will also be humanistic. For instance, when Charles Darwin viewed creation from observation only, he concluded that there was no creator, but a big bang. The results have been disastrous for science, the church, education, etc. The “theory of evolution” has played its part in the onslaught of abortion and infusion of sodomy into society. Likewise, Wescott and Hort approached Scripture humanistically and with similar results. Their “theory” espouses the following logic: transmission of literature without error is impossible, therefore our Bible does not preserve every word perfectly, but does contain most ideas the author intended. This theory birthed a new body of intelligentsia into the academic world called textual criticism. Textual criticism, in turn, brought us the Wescott/Hort Greek text. For generations, the Textus Receptus was received as the true text of Scripture by faith until this new approach engendered doubt and question in the minds of many. It was over this very issue that Charles Spurgeon preached the sermon “The Greatest Fight in the World” in which he explains his reasons for leaving the London Baptist Union. He prophesied that if this approach was not checked it would destroy the union within 50 years. His prophecy came true. Realize that this approach came when theology was being greatly damaged by “German Rationalism” the birth father of modernism. All modern English translations have espoused this approach, including the NKJV. Although the KJV translators certainly were “scientific” and scholarly in their approach, they were also filled with faith regarding the preservation and perfection of the Textus Receptus. (See preface in the KJV). Scripture must be approached by faith.
The Extreme Approach
Lastly, the issue has been greatly clouded by a third approach called the “Extreme Approach.” It is the erroneous “KJV Onlyism” Espoused by men like Peter Ruckman and Jack Hyles. It has been a great monkey wrench in the debate because it is both sensational and fictitious in essence. It leaves faith and science to enter an approach based on lies and misinformation. It is quite simply a scheme. It proposes that God super-inspired the KJV 1611 translation team and that there He corrected errors in the original tongues. It theorizes that the English is superior to the Greek and Hebrew and should be the source from which translation should be made. Advocates of this approach have often been mean-spirited and cultic in their devotion to these errors. These ideas are so easily refuted and ridiculous that they become easy prey to the promoters of the “Scientific Approach.” It makes all Textus Receptus and King James Advocates appear, “extreme, ignorant, and divisive.” This is simply just not the case. I do not accept “King James Only Extremism” advocated by this approach. It has been a tool of Satan to cloud the eyes of sincere lovers of God’s Word. It should be rejected by all such amorous saints, so the truth may be crystal clear.
In conclusion, please examine your approach to the Scriptures. Have you rejected the KJV or Textus Receptus position because you perceived we were all in the “extreme”? Is this what college, seminary, and textbooks have led you to believe? Certainly, an approach so scholarly and scientific would appeal to academia, but what about you? Approach the Word of God by Faith. You will not be an extremist or an ignoramus because you hold to the King James Bible, rather, you will be faithful. Furthermore, there are tremendous, scholarly resources that prove and defend the preservation of Holy Writ. The King James Version is the only English version translated by a faith approach and solely from the Textus Receptus.