King James Only movement

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The First Page of the Book of Genesis in the 1611 printing of the KJV

The "King James Only movement" advocates the superiority of the Authorized King James Version (KJV) of the Protestant Bible. This phrase is disputed and has been described as a term meant to discredit the group of supporters that use this translation to the exclusion of all others. For instance, KJV proponent D. A. Waite states the term is a "smear word."[1][2]

Adherents of the movement hold that the King James Version of the Bible is superior to all other English translations, with some teaching that it is the greatest English translation ever penned, needing no further enhancements.[3][page needed] Previous to the completion of the King James version, a series of other English Bible translations were created in succession gradually improving the quality of each new release. It is believed by many that this version of the Bible has more greatly influenced the positive direction of Christianity than any other English Bible ever created. Even today, the Authorized Version is still considered an outstanding translation of the Greek and Hebrew Bible texts into English.


The history of the King James Version Only (hereafter KJVO) movement can best be described by a genealogical outline of writers whose books have not only given birth to the movement but also have influenced their doctrines. Dr. James D. Price's book, published in 2006, gives the same information in a summary.[4]

Benjamin G. Wilkinson (1872–1968), a staunch Seventh-day Adventist missionary, theology professor and college president, wrote Our Authorized Bible Vindicated (1930) in which he attacked the Westcott-Hort Greek text and expressed strong opposition to the English Revised Version New Testament (ERV, 1881).[5] He was the first to apply Psalm 12:6–7 to the King James Bible, claiming that the reference is a prooftext for divine preservation of the Scriptures.[6]

Jasper James Ray (1894–1985), a business manager, missionary and Bible teacher, wrote a booklet entitled God Wrote Only One Bible (1955). It was nearly identical to Wilkinson's Our Authorized Bible Vindicated book without note or acknowledgement to Wilkinson's authorship.[7] The result was a continued propagation of Wilkinson's statements but with the misconception of a separate, corroborating affirmation of Wilkinson's ideas.[a]

Regular Baptist pastor David Otis Fuller (1903–88) edited a book entitled Which Bible? published in 1970. It is an anthology by authors such as Robert Dick Wilson (1856–1930), Zane Clark Hodges (1932–2008) and others, who distinctly reject the "Textus Receptus only"/"KJV-Only" viewpoint and whose writings actually give some information refuting some of the extremes of the KJVO movement.[8] This book, however, is singularly responsible for [the birth of] the "King James only" / "Textus Receptus only" controversial viewpoint that gained wide acceptance among KJV-Only believers.[9] Almost half of the book is dedicated to the ten out of sixteen chapters from Wilkinson's Our Authorized Bible Vindicated.[10]

Peter Sturges Ruckman (1921–), a Baptist preacher, wrote a series of uniformly bound commentaries on various Bible books, topical books on Bible-related subjects and books related to Bible text and translation issues. At least some of his books are characterized by harsh criticism of almost everyone involved in textual criticism, such as Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield (1851–1921), Archibald Thomas Robertson (1863–1934), Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834–92) with the likes of Julius Wellhausen (1844–1918) and Harry Emerson Fosdick (1878–1969). The Christian's Handbook of Manuscript Evidence (1970) is among them. Ruckman was influenced by JJ Ray's God Wrote Only One Bible, and Ruckman's The Bible Babel (1964) is nearly identical to Ray's 1955 book.[11] Some supporters of the KJVO movement reject Ruckman's position that the King James Version Bible is superior to existing Hebrew and Greek manuscripts,[12] and criticize Ruckman because "his writings are so acerbic, offensive and mean-spirited that the entire movement has become identified with his kind of confrontational attitude."[13][14]

Edward F. Hills (1912–81), who wrote Believing Bible Study (1967) and King James Version Defended (1956, 1973) and wrote a chapter on Dean John William Burgon in Fuller's Which Bible?, did not advocate the inerrancy of the King James Version nor the Origenian origin of the Septuagint. However, Hills’ works are commonly cited to give support to the KJVO's position even though Hills never supported such KJVO positions.[15]

Gail Riplinger (1947–), known for her book New Age Bible Versions and a number of other works, has also addressed in some detail the issue of differences in current editions of the King James Bible.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The relationship of Ray's booklet to Wilkinson’s text is documented in Hudson, Gary (Spring 1991), "The Real Eye Opener", Baptist Biblical Heritage (article) II (1)  .


  1. ^ Waite, Donald A (2007-02-03). "King James Only As Slander" (1). 
  2. ^ Waite, Donald A (2007-02-06). "King James Only As Slander" (2). 
  3. ^ Riplinger, GA, In Awe of Thy Word: Understanding the King James Bible, Its Mystery & History Letter By Letter .
  4. ^ Price, James D, King James Onlyism: A New Sect, SG: Truth, p. 4 .
  5. ^ Kutilek 1998, second paragraph: "All writers who embrace…"
  6. ^ Kutilek 1998, 2nd paragraph: "Wilkinson was the first…"
  7. ^ Kutilek 1998, 3rd paragraph: "when J. J. Ray…"
  8. ^ Hudson & Kutilek 1990, 10th paragraph"The book Fuller edited…"
  9. ^ Hudson & Kutilek 1990, first sentence.
  10. ^ Hudson & Kutilek 1990, 2nd paragraph: "But the overwhelmingly longest…"
  11. ^ Kutilek 1998, 11th and 12th paragraph: "Also in the third generation…"
  12. ^ White 1995, pp. 1–4.
  13. ^ White 1995, p. 109.
  14. ^ Schnaiter, Sam; Tagliapietra, Ron (2002), Bible Preservation and the Providence of God, Xlibris, p. 364 .
  15. ^ Kutilek 1998, 13th paragraph: "A word needs to be said…"
  16. ^ Riplinger, Gail A. "Settings of the King James Bible" (PDF). Our KJV. 


Further reading[edit]

  • Anderson, Robert (1903). The Bible and modern criticism. ASIN B00069Y39O. 
  • Ankerberg, John; Weldon, John (2003). The Facts on the King James Only Debate. Eugene, OR: Harvest House. ISBN 0-7369-1111-1. 
  • Beacham, Roy E.; Bauder, Kevin T (2001). One Bible Only? Examining Exclusive Claims for the King James Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications. ISBN 0-8254-2048-2. 
  • Carson, D.A. (1978). The King James Version Debate: A Plea for Realism. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House. ISBN 0-8010-2427-7. 
  • Comfort, Phillip W. (2000). Essential Guide to Bible Versions. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers. ISBN 0-8423-3484-X. 
  • Dewey, David (2005). A User's Guide To Bible Translations: Making The Most of Different Versions. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press. ISBN 0-8308-3273-4. 
  • Macgregor, Alan J (2004). Three Modern Versions: A Critical Assessment of the NIV, ESV and NKJV. Salisbury, Wiltshire, ENG, UK: Bible League. ISBN 0-904435-87-3. 
  • Mauro, Philip (1924). Which version?: Authorized or revised?. Boston: Hamilton Brothers. Retrieved 2008-07-23. 
  • Paisley, Ian RK (1997). My Plea for the Old Sword. Emerald House Group. ISBN 1-84030-015-9. 
  • Ryken, Leland (2002). The Word of God in English: Criteria for Excellence in Bible Translation. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books. ISBN 1-58134-464-3. 

External links[edit]

Pro King James Only

Anti King James Only