One Bible Only?

Roy E. Beachum & Kevin T. Bauder, General Editors
Grand Rapids, MI
Kregel Publications. 2001. 238 pp. $13.99

Subtitled, Examining Exclusive Claims for the King James Bible, this book does an excellent job of refuting the position of King James only adherents. The editors are both professors at Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Plymouth, Minnesota. A total of seven contributors were involved in producing this title. It covers the background and origin of the King-James-only controversy, with separate chapters on the debates concerning the OT and NT texts, followed by a chapter on the preservation of Scripture as it relates to the controversy.

A discussion of translation theory and an examination of several 20th century versions is also included. Four Appendices then follow: a question-and-answer format regarding the controversy; an essay on Fundamentalism and the KJV only position; a reprint of the preface to the KJV; and finally a reprint of the address of Thomas Armitage at the founding of the American Bible Union. The Introduction is by Bauder.

Earnest counsel is given here that all Bible believers should be hesitant to be dogmatic about the merits of any one translation’s methods. Neither formal nor dynamic equivalence is believed to be the inherently better theory. Both methods have their strengths and weaknesses, depending upon the use for which a given translation is intended.

As Bauder asserts, if the preservation of the Word of God depends upon the exact preservation of the words of the original documents, then the situation is dire. No two manuscripts, whether the Masoretic or the Textus Receptus, contain exactly the same words. Neither do any two modifications of the KJV text contain exactly the same words. Either the advocates of KJV only must specify, a priori and without Biblical evidence, a single manuscript or edition of the Bible in which the exact words are preserved, OR they must modify their insistence upon exact preservation.

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