If the King James Bible in English is the perfect words of God, then What About Other Languages?
I am frequently asked this question by other Christians who do not believe the King James Bible or any bible is now the inerrant words of God.
I finally decided to put a concise answer together to respond to this common question. Here it is.
Hi brother and sister......, this is a good question but not at all hard to answer if you think about it. God never promised to give every nation or every individual a perfect Bible. It certainly never turned out this way in history, did it?
In fact, for the first 3000 to 4000 years of recorded history, there was only one nation on earth that had the true words of God. "He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel. He hath not dealt so with any nation, and as for his judgments, they have not known them. Praise ye the LORD." Psalm 147:19-20.
Now that the gospel is going out to the nations, the only promise from God we have is that "this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come." Matthew 24:14
The gospel of salvation through the substitutionary death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ is found in any bible in any language it has been translated into, no matter how poorly or partially done it may be. God can and does use other bible versions, partial translations, or just simple gospel tracts to bring His people to faith in Christ. I do not deny but strongly affirm this to be true.
But that does not make these other partial translations, bible tracts or versions the perfect words of God. There has to be at least one perfect Bible in this world that serves as the Final Authority and Standard by which all others are measured.
It certainly does not exist in the Hebrew or the Greek. There is no "the Hebrew" and much less is there "the" Greek. Besides, once a complete Bible is put together, there has to be a translation of some kind in order to put both the Old and New Testaments into one language. Since God has promised to preserve His WORDS (not just the general, ballpark approximation) in the book of the LORD, this book must exist somewhere.
All the evidence points to the King James Bible as being that book for over 400 years now. It was the KJB that was used by English and American missionaries to carry to gospel to the nations in the greatest missionary movement in history. It was the KJB that was carried out into space and read from.
I believe in the sovereignty of God in history. "For the kingdom is the LORD'S; and He is the governor among the nations." Psalm 22:28. God has set His mark upon many things in this world that reveal His Divine hand at work in history. Why do we use the 7 day week instead of the 10 day week? Why are dates either B.C. (Before Christ) or A.D. (Anno Domini - year of our Lord)? (although the secular world is now trying in vain to change this too to BCE and CE.) England just "happens to be" the one nation from which we measure the true Time (Greenwich time, zero hour) and from which we measure true Position, zero longitude. In 1611 the English language was spoken by a mere 3% of the world's population, but today English has become the closest thing to a universal language in history. God knew He would use England, its language and the King James Bible to accomplish all these things long before they happened.
Today it is only the King James Bible believer who boldly maintains that there really is an inerrant, complete and 100% true Holy Bible on this earth that a person can actually hold it in his hands and read and believe every word. All modern version proponents deny that any tangible, “hold it in your hands and read Bible” IS now the inerrant words of God.
God only holds us accountable for the light He has been pleased to give us. To whom much is given, from him shall much be required - "For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more." Luke 12:48.
God has given to the English speaking people His perfect words in the King James Bible. We will be held far more accountable for what we have done with this Book than any other people.
In his excellent book, Which Translation Should You Trust?, Timothy S. Morton writes: -
“Nowhere in the scriptures does God make any statement or implication that there must be a perfect Bible in every language. He has promised to preserve His word for every generation as we have seen, but He has not promised to preserve it in every existing language. Let's look at the language of the original autographs for a moment. Nearly all of the Old Testament was written in Hebrew, however, no nation spoke Hebrew except the Israelites. God was not obligated to give His word in Egyptian, Syrian, Chaldian, or any other language. His word was available to the people in these nations also, but they had to go to the Jews to get it. To the Jews were committed the oracles of God, and there were provisions in the law to allow strangers (foreigners) to convert to Judaism. Look at Ruth the Moabite for example. She was David's great-grandmother, an ancestor of Jesus Christ.
The same can be said about the New Testament language, Greek. Though it was a more widespread language than Hebrew, there were still millions of people who could not understand it when the New Testament was written. Again, God was not then, or now, obligated to give His word in every existing language, and those who argue He must are ignorant of history and of the scriptures.
God, who will not be intimidated by modern "scholarship," decided to combine His word into one universal language to make it more accessible to all men. He knew how English would circle the globe under the British empire and American influence. He knew how in the twentieth century English would be the second language for millions. He knew how it would become the world language of diplomacy, finance, and airlines, as well as of absolute time, temperature, and position. By his grace, God has made His word more available, readable and understandable by putting it in English; much more than it ever was in the "original languages." (End of quote by Tim Morton)
To the degree that foreign language bible versions follow the same underlying Hebrew and Greek texts, and to the degree that their individual translations match those found in the King James Bible, to that degree they can be considered to be the true words of God. To the degree that they depart from both the texts and meanings found in the KJB, to that degree they are corrupt and inferior.
Some may bring up the argument - "Well, what about the verses that say "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. (Matthew 4:4 and Deuteronomy 8:3) So how can foreign language Christians do this if they don't have a perfect Bible?"
This is a good question, but again, I don't think it is that hard to answer. When both Deuteronomy 8:3 was written, as well as when Jesus repeated it in Matthew 4:4, the whole Bible had not yet even been finished yet. In fact, none of the New Testament has been recorded.
We can only live by every word of God that He has been pleased to give us for the time and place we live in. Many languages today still do not have a complete Bible or even a complete New Testament. And some of the Scriptures they do have omit many whole verses, phrases and words. But what they DO have that IS the true words of God is what He has been pleased to give them to live by.
Among foreign language translations that I would recommend are the Spanish Reina Valera of 1909, or the more modern Reina Valera Gomez translation of 2004, the Italian Diodati of 1649 or the New Diodati of 1991, the German Schlachter Bible 2000 and the French Ostervald of 1996. All these Bibles are based on the Hebrew Masorretic texts in the O.T. and the Traditional Greek texts in the New Testament.
I do not believe that every foreigner in non-English speaking countries needs to learn the English language and read the King James Bible. Salvation through faith in the substitutionary death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ is not only found the King James Bible.
If there are several different versions in their own native language (Spanish, German, Russian, Chinese, or whatever), then I would recommend they use the one that most closely follows the same Hebrew and Greek texts that underlie the King James Bible. If they only have a translation based on the ever changing, modern Critical Texts, then they should thank God for what they do have and use it.
Regarding the question of “Well, what about before 1611?” please see my article here:
As for: “Can a Translation be inspired?” please see:
This is how I see it and what I believe. Not a difficult question at all.
In contrast to the KJB believer's views, the multiple choice, contradictory meanings, and "different, omitted, added, or made up underlying texts" proponent has no Final Written Authority or Standard by which all others are to be judged, and he has no inspired, inerrant and 100% true Bible to give or recommend to anyone.
Note: The Bible for Spanish speaking Christians
There is a similar battle for the Bible going on in the Spanish speaking countries all over the world. I love the Spanish speaking people and know many of them who are lovely Christian men and women. They have several good Bibles that are based on the correct texts, but the Spanish Bible market is also being flooded by modern updates like the Nueva Versión Internacional and others that are based on the Catholic Connection UBS Greek texts. Their traditional Reina Valera bibles have been very good, but over time men like Eugene Nida are slowing changing some of the Greek and Hebrew readings to those now adopted by the 'Evangelical/Catholic' collaboration committee of the United Bible Society. I highly recommend the 2004 Spanish Bible called La Reina Valera Gomez bible. You can see it online here
And you can watch a You Tube video with Dr. Humberto Gomez talking about the Spanish Bible issue here
Notes from the Internet -
Liza S... asks: - “So Will, you believe the King James Version is the only pure word of God in our language today. So what happens to all the other languages. What bible do they use?”
Hi Liza. I get this question a lot. Not hard at all to answer.
Look at the alternatives. Either we take the typical “ONLY the originals WERE inspired” (or in the case of those who have not thought through their position at all - only the originals ARE inspired), in which case we have NO infallible Bible or Absolute Standard now.
Or we tell folks the equally absurd - “you need to learn “the” Hebrew and “the” Greek”, when this is a virtual impossibility for most folks to do and there IS NO such thing as “the” Hebrew and much less “the” Greek anyway. What there is in fact is the reality of hundreds and even thousands of variant readings found among the Hebrew and especially the Greek and no one on this earth is in agreement with anybody else about which “the” Hebrew and “the” Greek we should be using or how to translate it once we make a decision on which specific text to use. THAT is the alternative. God bless.
More Notes From the Internet
Are People who are not KJB Only "out of luck"?
Bill Anderson posts" So Will, from the time that the Apostle John died (around 99 AD) there was no perfect Bible? According to you God left His church for 1600 years with no inerrant Bible? so all of the Christians between 96-97 AD (when we think Revelation was written) to 1611 were just out of luck? Is this what you are saying you believe, I am not trying to be belligerent I just want to make sure I understand you. And if the 1611 KJV is the only "perfect" Bible, are Christians in Iraq who cannot speak English out of luck? Do they have to learn English to have a perfect Bible?"
Bill Anderson, I don't know why this truth is so hard for you bible agnostics, bible correctors, self appointed authorities and deniers of inerrancy to grasp. Just take your own view of the Bible and apply it to your own question. You guys don't believe there EVER WAS AND IS NOT NOW such a thing as a complete and inerrant Bible.
Or if we take your own goofy view you stated where "the Biblia Sacra O.T. (which is in Hebrew and many of its readings are rejected by your ESV, NIV, NASB, NET, etc.) and the Nestle-Aland 28th edition (which is different that all previous 27 editions and NO Bible in all of history every read the way it does) are inerrant", then this means that there never has been an inerrant Bible and STILL is not one in ANY language other than these two books (one of which is in Hebrew and the other in Greek that about .0001% of the people on the planet can even read) Try to THINK through your own position, Bill.
You do not have to have an inerrant Bible in order to become a Christian or to learn a lot of things about God and how He has acted in history. There is a lot of good found in all bibles, no matter how corrupt they may be in other ways and to varying degrees.
But when we come to an INERRANT and complete Bible, both in texts and meaning, I believe the final product and the masterpiece of God is the English text of the King James Bible. It has ALL truth and no corruptions or perversion of doctrine.
A Spanish speaker or Russian, or Swahili or any other language speaker does not need to learn English in order to get saved or to learn a lot of truth. If they cannot learn English, then use a foreign language Bible that most closely follows the same underlying Hebrew and Greek readings that make up the KJB and that have the same meanings of those translated texts.
God gives different degrees of light to different nations and individuals. To whom much is given, much will be required. He will not hold a Russian Christian responsible for something He did not give them. They should use what light He has been pleased to give them.
But for those of us who do speak English, we have been given much more light and will be held accountable for what we have done with it. Are we embracing it and teaching it, or fighting against it - like you and so many other self appointed bible correctors are doing?
There are many very good reasons for believing that the King James Bible is God's infallible Book. This is faith, but not a blind and unreasonable faith. We have the purity of its doctrine. It exalts the Lord Jesus Christ like no other. And God Himself has born witness in history to the King James Bible like no other.
The Absolute Standard - God's Historic Witness to the Absolute Truth of The King James Holy Bible.
And it is the only Bible that thousands of blood bought saints still today believe and defend as the complete, inspired and inerrant words of God.
And what do YOU bible agnostic guys have to give us instead? Each of you is your own authority who rummages through the various versions and manuscripts and decides for himself what should or should not be in God's Book - and none of you agree all the way through with anybody else.
We have Bible believers on one side, and the Yea, hath God said? groupies on the other.
So, Yes, Bill, I stand by what I have said. I believe the King James Bible is the inerrant words of God and there was not one either before or after it.
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