Which Version do we use?
Someone asked me a while back to articulate my stand on the Bible version issue and to explain why I only use the King James Version. So I thought I'd share the short version here in this blog.
There are many translations of the Scriptures in the sense that men sat down with a Hebrew and Greek text and translated it to the best of their ability into English. The majority of the versions agree in many areas. But there are significant differences between the English versions today and they cannot all be right. So which one is right? Can we know for sure we have the exact words of God? Do we really need scholars to verify the inspiration of God?
Here are a few thoughts that have guided me to my conclusion.
First of all, this is initially a matter of faith for me. Every issue in life should be first judged from the Scriptures. As a young man, I read passages such as Psalms 12:6-7 “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.” I struggled to understand that God breathed His Word supernaturally and what it meant that He has promised to preserve it. All the questions of "how could the Bible be preserved when man was involved with it?" tumbled through my mind. I came to peace that this subject just like the rest of my Christian life is first a matter of faith. I can simply believe what the Bible teaches about itself. Preservation is as real as the inspiration. I can trust that the very Words of God are available today.
The next step was to determine where The Words are. If you study the issue there were two different schools of thought in the world of translating. One was "word for word" the other was "dynamic equivalency". This distinction put the King James as the only mainstream version to value the word choices of the originals. The other crowd simply felt they could paraphrase to capture the dynamic equivalent. I believe faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. I have a deep respect for those who were careful to guard the word for word meanings of the originals into English. It is kind of like two guys building a house. One contractor follows the blueprints percisely. The other guy says he will get pretty close, but he cannot be sure the blueprint isn't mistaken so he'll adjust along the way. We all agree God wrote the blueprint without error, and He promised He would preserve it for every generation.
One of the most powerful points in this discussion is that of history. Has there been any spiritual awakenings like the revivals that have come through the preaching of the King James during its unprecedented 400 year history? Many of the modern versions that were once touted as the version that would replace the King James have already died and are no longer printed. I know the fruit test (by their fruits ye shall know them) applies to false teachers, but I think examining the fruit of a version is a valid part of this debate.
Ultimately, I have chosen to be a student of the Bible. I pray the Lord will keep me from the haughtiness of ever being a judge of the Bible and presuming to correct it. This is a slippery slope and it opens the Bible up to false teachers to do the same. Who can rebuke them if the Bible believers are correcting it according to their understanding? Believing God has preserved His Words is a faith matter, but it a safeguard against pride, presumption, and false teachers. I have bound myself (by faith) to God's pure Words, and by God's grace, They will be my Guide. If I am wrong on this I would rather face the Lord and say I had too much faith, rather than not believing enough and changing His Word.
A classic example of a false teacher shifting words to fit his teachings is Augustine when He changed Titus 3:5 "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;" To “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the laver of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;” This gave him grounds for baptismal regeneration and infant baptism. Just one minor word changed, but what a drastic doctrinal shift.
We're not threatened by other versions. We don’t do a version check at the door. We understand there is disagreement and confusion on this issue. This is simply where God has lead me as a pastor to stand on the issue of Bible versions and I must be true to Him. I must pastor according to the purity of my heart before God. So whether it is simply to be able to read God’s Word in unison as a congregation, or to avoid Satan’s oft repeated question, “Yeah, Hath God said?” Cornerstone will only use the King James Version in its teaching and preaching ministries.
I have found that it’s not the King James itself that is offensive, but rather it’s the concept that we can actually have the exact Word of God that has some people squirming. Believing God has preserved His Word takes away the need for a professional to verify it. It puts the Word of God back in the hands and confidently in the hearts of the common man who under the influence of the Holy Spirit are able to know the certainty of God’s Word. False teachers often exalt themselves as the only teachers who really understand the truth as God gave it. We see this in Catholicism. We see this in the cults. But now we see this in conservation Christianity when teachers say that we have to go
through them to know for sure if we have the Word of God. At Cornerstone you will find the straightforward preaching of God’s Word as God’s Word.
It saddens me that some are offended by this position. But then, there will be those who do not like that we believe the Creation account, that Salvation is through Christ alone, that we do not baptize babies, that we still use the name Baptist, or any of the other distinctives we hold dear. I guess I do not understand a faith that does not bring definition and clarity to one's walk with the Lord. We live in a day when many Christians want to hide in the murky waters of ambiguity and multiple choice rather then building their life on the firm foundation of "Thus saith the Lord".
There is much more on this topic that I could share, but I think this is enough for now. God bless and may His Word be a light unto your feet!