OUR POSITION CONCERNING THE KING JAMES BIBLE
Lighthouse Baptist Church
The position that I hold, as pastor of Lighthouse Baptist Church – Reno, NV, in regards to the King James Bible is a position that I have come to hold more dearly and with more conviction than ever. As I’ve seen the decline and compromise of many of my peers and even of those that I have looked to for direction and guidance; it is with much regret, in having seen many compromise their position, as well as with a renewed resolve for the preciousness of God’s inspired Word, that I again declare my allegiance and loyalty to the inspired King James Bible – God’s Word supernaturally preserved for the English speaking people of the world. If there has ever been a time to draw a line in the sand it is now; we cannot afford to allow the emerging church or the neo-fundamentalist to redefine for us what has already been defined so clearly and articulately.
It is very dangerous for any pastor to ever shake his congregation’s faith in the King James Bible, even in the slightest way. The average layman in the pew needs to hear his pastor uphold the King James Bible as God’s Word. In Exodus 20:7 we are warned, “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.” My question is this: If God will not hold them guiltless who take His name in vain, and He has elevated His Word above His name, can those who question the inspiration and preservation of His Word be found guiltless? As the under-shepherds of God, we must never be found casting doubt upon the validity, authenticity, accuracy or integrity of God’s Holy Word; for it is the very foundation upon which our ministry stands.
WHY WE USE THE KING JAMES BIBLE
One of the most often asked questions of our church is, “What Bible do you use?” We answer unapologetically, “the King James Bible.” More and more individual Christians and unfortunately Bible-believing churches are forsaking the King James Bible in favor of the more modern translations. A desire exists to forsake the King James Bible (KJB) for the more “modern” translations such as the New American Standard Bible (NASB), the New International Version (NIV), or even the New King James Version (NKJV). The argument is put forward that the more modern translations are easier to read because the translations update the language and leave out all those “thee’s” and “thou’s.” Another argument tries to say that the new translations are more accurate than the KJB. Lighthouse Baptist Church whole-heartedly disagrees with these and any arguments that claim that these translations are more accurate than the KJB. It is the position of Lighthouse Baptist Church to reject these arguments and these translations, and to confidently say that we use the King James Bible exclusively in all services, ministries, or activities associated with our ministry. Before we can accurately state what we believe about the Bible, we must first establish some definitions of the terminology that we intend to use. These definitions will aid the reader in a clearer understanding of the position that will be explained.
Inspiration – is that process by which “God breathed” or wrote the books of the Bible by holy men of God, as they were moved by the Holy Spirit, in such a definite way that their writings were supernaturally and verbally inspired and free from error, as no other writings have ever been or ever will be inspired. (2 Timothy 3:16, 2 Peter1:19-21)
PLENARY INSPIRATION – is the view that the entire Bible is inspired.
VERBAL INSPIRATION – is the view that “God-breathed” extends to the choice of the Words of Scripture. It asserts that the God-breathed truth was grasped by God-appointed men who were guided by the Holy Spirit in their selection of Words.
PRESERVATION – is the view that God will, and has, preserved His Word in pure form, including the most minute details (the jots and tittles), and that this would include the whole Scriptures, Old and New Testaments. The Biblical doctrine of preservation is verbal, plenary preservation, which is the only reasonable view in light of the Biblical doctrine of the verbal, plenary, inspiration of the Writings.
INERRANCY – is the view that the Bible is without error; that the Bible is correct in every statement it makes. The Bible reports and identifies errors accurately, of course, but it does not perpetrate them.
INFALLIBILITY – is the view that the Bible is effective in everything it does. When the Bible is used, it always works. It never fails us. The Bible is incapable of error.
Lighthouse Baptist Church believes the Bible is comprised of sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments and was given by divine inspiration of God.
We believe, therefore, that it is inerrant and infallible.
We furthermore believe in both the verbal and plenary inspiration. In addition, we believe that God has preserved His Word as He promised, and that He has preserved it in the traditional texts or in the set of manuscripts known as the Received Text (Greek Textus Receptus) and Hebrew Masoretic Text.
We also believe that the King James Bible is an accurate, faithful, and reliable translation of these manuscripts and that the English reader, therefore, can study it with utmost confidence and rely upon it.
Lighthouse Baptist Church can confidently say the King James Bible is the inspired Word of God, not because God “breathed” again in 1611, but because the King James Bible was translated from the preserved-inspired texts.
Lighthouse Baptist Church believes that the King James Bible is an accurate, reliable, and trustworthy translation of the best manuscripts. Although the italicized words were well done and properly included in the translation in order to help the English reader understand what he is reading and to aid in the smoothness of the translation, the italicized words are not inerrant. The translators used italics in order to make it abundantly clear that these words were not part of the original, and that they had not added them to the original, because they knew well the Biblical statements warning against adding to the Words of God. (Proverbs 30:6, Revelation 22:18)
We do not believe that there are “mistakes” in the King James Bible, and do not perform any correcting of the King James Bible.
We do not believe that the translation of the King James Bible is wrong or that It should have been translated differently. The only English version of the Bible we use is the King James Bible.
We believe that the King James Bible is accurate, reliable and completely trustworthy. At the same time, however, we are not opposed to studying the Hebrew/Greek in order that we might better understand the Word of God and accurately teach and preach it. The Greek text is frequently used to clarify the meaning of the original in the thinking of the English reader. Therefore, it would not be uncommon for our preacher to say something such as, “Baptism is to be understood in the sense of immersion.”, or “Conversation is to be used in the sense of behavior or manner of life.”
AN EXPLANATION OF OUR POSITION
That the originals (also known as the “autographs”) were inspired perfect in their entirety is an undisputed belief among fundamentalists today. “And, obviously, no translation of God’s ‘original’ inspiration”, the critics say, “could possibly be equal to its source, to say nothing of all those errors introduced in the copies of copies of copies over thousands of years.” That’s the standard, acceptable, and “logical” view that the modern naysayers would have us to believe. To say that only the ‘originals’ were inspired is to say that we do not have God’s inspired Word for today. There are some today who say that the King James Bible is not preserved. There are others who say that the King James Bible is not inspired. And some deny both the preservation and the inspiration of the King James Bible.
Although they say that God has “providentially preserved His written Word,” they do not believe that He did it ‘supernaturally’. According to them, the Bible does not support supernatural preservation. In their mind, ONLY the inspiration of Scripture was ‘supernatural’, not its preservation; God was careful in inspiration, but somehow careless in preservation. Why would God want to inspire His Words supernaturally without wanting to preserve them in the same way? It has to be pointed out that when these neo-fundamentalists say that God has “providentially preserved” His written Word, they mean His general providence and not special providence. There is a significant distinction between the two.
GENERAL PROVIDENCE refers to God’s indirect intervention in the maintenance and sustenance of all things through the laws of nature (Ps 104:10-30).
SPECIAL PROVIDENCE, on the other hand, speaks of God’s direct intervention in the protection and preservation of certain things through extraordinary acts of miracles (Ps 91:1-16).
The providential preservation of the Scriptures falls under the latter category. We believe in the 100% perpetual, permanent, and perfect preservation of the divinely inspired Hebrew/Aramaic Old Testament and Greek New Testament Words of the Holy Scriptures.
DUAL-DEFINITION OF INSPIRATION
To properly understand inspiration we must recognize that inspiration has a dual-definition. Failure to recognize this will cause much confusion and doctrinal heresy.
God breathed. .. This is the supernatural work of God when God gave to mankind His eternal Words.
Life given. .. This is the ongoing supernatural work of God where God gives life to His Words.
The word ‘inspiration’ has to do with God not only breathing His Words, but breathing His Spirit AND His Life into the Words, as clarified by the Lord Jesus in John 6:63 where He declared that “… the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” It is important to note that when God speaks of inspiration, He is not implying that a man was inspired, and gave His inspired opinion, but rather that God spoke through that man and saw to it that what He dictated was accurately recorded AND alive. Inspiration is not only to breathe the Words, but to infuse them with life. The breath of God is equivalent to the Spirit of God, according to John 20:22, where it says, “…he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost.” The breath of God is the breath of life. This is clearly pointed out in Genesis 2:7 where it says, “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul.” Let me point out a couple of things. First of all, God formed man, and I am certain that if he formed man, it was a perfect form. But there was no life in that form until God breathed life into it. The breath of God is the breath of life. Whatever He breathes into has life. If you take the breath away from man he dies, according to Psalm 104:29 which says, “…thou takest away their breath; they die…” It is equally true that if you take the breath or the inspiration out of the Scriptures, it is a dead book. If our Bible is not inspired, then it is equivalent to an embalmed Bible. The form is still there, but the life is gone. 2 Timothy 3:5 speaks of those who have a form of godliness but deny the power thereof. To have a preserved Bible and deny Its inspiration is to have the form or the shell of the Bible, but to deny the power thereof.
Inspiration is what sets the Bible apart from all other religious books, such as the Koran or the Book of Mormon. A preserved Koran has no life in it, even if it is a perfect copy of the original, because there was no inspiration of God in it to start with. If you take the inspiration out of the Bible and have a perfect copy of the words, you have reduced it to just another religious book, rather than ‘the power of God unto salvation.’ (Rom 1:16) In Hebrews 4:12 it says, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” In this verse there are attributed to the Bible certain qualities that could only be attributed to something or someone that is alive. First it says that the Word of God is quick. The very word ‘quick’ speaks of life. The ink and paper cannot be alive, but God has infused the Words with His breath, and made them spirit. If the King James Bible is not alive, it is not the Word of God, because the Word of God is quick, or alive. God never promised to inspire a language; but rather, He promised to inspire His Words. God’s Words are still inspired no matter what language they are translated into, seeing they have been translated from the correct Hebrew and Greek manuscripts.
DUAL-DEFINITION OF PRESERVATION
To properly understand preservation we must recognize that like inspiration, preservation also has a dual-definition.
Inerrancy… the Bible, though copied from copies of copies from the original autographs, has been providentially preserved from having any errors, omissions or mistakes.
Inspiration…the Bibles life-giving inspiration has supernaturally been preserved in the King James Bible for the English speaking world.
There are some who would have us to believe that the King James Bible is preserved but it is not inspired. My question is very simple…If we begin with something inspired, and we preserve it, how do we lose inspiration in the process of preservation? What good is inspiration without preservation? The actual ‘originals’ have not been the recipient of the promise of preservation, as they have long since dissolved. Who cares if there ever was an inspired Bible if we don’t have it today? The whole point of inspiration is defeated without God supernaturally preserving His inspired Words. Psalm 119:89 proclaims, “For ever, O LORD, Thy word is settled in heaven.” Notice that the originals are in Heaven. Before God ever spoke the universe into existence, the final Word of Revelation was already recorded in Heaven. The doctrine of ‘preservation’ has primarily been used by Bible believing Christians to refute the argument that errors were introduced into the copies of copies. Through divine preservation God providentially preserved the inerrancy and infallibility of Scripture. The word inerrantmeans the text is “without error.” The word infallible is technically a stronger word, meaning that the text is not only “without error” but “incapable of error.” We believe that God preserved all the Words. (Matthew 4:4) We believe God preserved all the Words perfectly and completely and we also believe that He supernaturally preserved the inspiration of those Words, which is the spirit and life of the Words.
When God breathed into Adam the breath of life, he became a living soul. Is that soul still alive? Absolutely! For those who might argue that Adam was the ‘original’ human being and God breathed life directly into him only, I agree that only Adam and Eve were formed by direct creation. Since I am not the original, God did not breathe life into me by direct creation. However, I too am a living soul. That same life that was breathed into Adam directly has been transmitted from one generation to another for over 6,000 years by way of reproduction (i.e. preservation), not by way of direct creation (i.e. inspiration). I am a descendent and a copy of Adam, over 6,000 years removed from his direct creation, and yet I have the same spirit of life in me that God breathed into Adam. My point is this: God did not need to re-inspire the translators. He breathed the Originals and breathed His spirit and life into them, and He has seen to it that the life is carried on to every generation by way of reproduction, not re-inspiration. So if I have a preserved copy of the Bible, I also have an inspired copy of the Bible, because it is impossible to start with something inspired and to preserve it, without it continuing to be inspired.
Here is an excellent quote from Dr. Shelton Smith of the Sword of the Lord…“God has preserved His inspired Word for us. It is preserved in the Hebrew Masoretic text and in the Greek Textus Receptus. It is also preserved for us in the English in the King James Bible. What He at first inspired, the Lord God has now preserved. Therefore, when I hold the King James Bible in my hand, I hold the inspired text. It was inspired and now that inspired Word has been protected, preserved and provided for us!” The doctrine of preservation is the process that God used to supernaturally preserve His inspired Words. It simply means that God’s Words are inspired and always will be inspired, no matter what language they are translated into. What’s important is that God’s Words will forever be incorruptible, settled in Heaven, preserved AND INSPIRED. Preservation must include inspiration if it is genuine preservation. The word ‘preserve’ in Psalm 12:7 means “to maintain.” Hence, God has maintained His inspired Word unto all generations, as He so promised, which means that those Words must remain inspired. It is the doctrine of preservation that guarantees that God would supernaturally watch over the inspired Scriptures to preserve them for future generations (Ps. 12:6-7; 100:5; Matt. 5:18; 24:35). This is the process whereby God preserved the Scripture in the Hebrew and Greek texts and in the accurately translated versions. The King James Bible is an accurate translation of the preserved Word of God and as such is the preserved Word of God in English. The King James Bible is the inspired Words of God in English because it accurately translates the text that was given by inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
2 Timothy 3:15-17, "And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works." Whatever inspired Scripture is, Timothy had it as a child. What is interesting is that Timothy lived roughly 1,500 years after Moses, to whom God gave the first five books of the Bible (written on materials incapable of surviving centuries of use). So immediately the Holy Spirit tells us that Timothy’s copies of God’s words were given by inspiration. Whatever “inspired Scripture” is, what is it for? The Holy Spirit tells us that it works in four ways:
And to what purpose? Perfection of the man of God. A way to understand this is to read it in reverse. Do you want to undergo perfection and be ‘…throughly furnished unto all good works’? You need doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness. How do you get those four things? Scripture given by inspiration. If the modern ‘original’ inspiration position on inspiration is true, then we have no means of doctrine, reproof, correction, or instruction; for the Holy Spirit says that these things are the profits of Scripture given by inspiration. So we see that inspiration is inextricably mingled with Scripture. If it is not given by inspiration, it is not Scripture. The Bible doesn’t say that the man of God needs the ‘preserved’ Words of God to profit him; but rather, the Scripture ‘given by inspiration of God’.
Scripture knows of no such thing as an ‘uninspired’ Holy Bible. Any translation that can be said to result in Holy Scripture is by definition given by inspiration. While the Bible critic is haughtily demanding scriptural proof that the King James Bible is ‘inspired’. or proclaiming that a translation can’t be as good as the ‘originals’, the New Testament is replete with inspired translations of Old Testament texts. (Romans 9:17, "For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.") That quote is an inspired translation from the ‘original Hebrew’ of Exodus 9:16 (which was itself written long after the words were first said by Moses!) into the ‘original Greek’ of Romans 9:17. And you’re reading it in the English… given by inspiration.
The King James Bible is just as much the ‘inspired’ Words of God as the sources that form the basis of its translation. We do not believe that the King James Bible lost Its inspiration in translation. The Spirit of God not only once inspired those who wrote it, but continually inspires, supernaturally assists those that read it so as to bring about understanding (Job 32:8, "But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.") Every time you understand, it is by the inspiration of God that you are given that understanding. It is a continual process. If we accept the idea that “given by inspiration” can only apply to the original language in which the words were given, we are consigned to never grow in our understanding of God’s Word, no matter how much Biblical Hebrew or Greek we learn. We do not believe that the King James Bible is merely a superb translation or the best manuscript available in English. We believe It is God’s inspired, inerrant, infallible, impeccable and preserved Words.
A POSITION THAT WE REJECT…
Lighthouse Baptist Church rejects the arguments of those who, in their pursuit to defend the King James Bible against the onslaught of modern translations, textual criticism and the liberal church movement, have accepted questionable theology concerning the Scriptures and particularly the King James Bible. This questionable theology centers around what one believes the King James Bible actually is. Some may feel the King James Bible is given certain qualities that are more advanced in revelation from the manuscripts from which it came.
We do not believe that the King James Bible contains any advanced revelation over the Greek and Hebrew from which it came; nor do we believe that it is superior to any Greek text (including the Textus Receptus), that it corrects the errors in any Greek text, and that it is “advanced revelation.”
We do not believe that there is no need whatsoever to study the Biblical languages of Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek due to an inspired English translation;
We do not believe that the King James Bible is superior to, and thus more authoritative than, the original manuscripts. We also do not believe that the King James Bible can be used as a corrector or clarifier of the original Greek or Hebrew manuscripts.
We do not believe that the King James Bible is doubly inspired or what some would call ‘dual inspiration’, but we do believe in divine preservation, as it is promised in Scripture. (Psalms 12:6-7; 100:5)
We do not believe that all non-English speaking believers must learn English to know the Truth.
Lighthouse Baptist Church believes that the King James Bible is the inspired, infallible, preserved Words of God. But it was not given by inspiration as the originals; the translators never claimed such. It is not an original but a translation of what had already been inspired and given by God. However, since it is an accurate preserved copy of those writings, it is obviously and undoubtedly the inspired Words of God. It is not one bit inferior to the originals, nor is it any better. We believe It has derived Its inspiration from the text upon which It was based. The King James Bible is an accurate and beautiful translation of the preserved Scriptures, and as such, is the inspired Words of God–inspired only derivatively by supernatural preservation, not directly.
Lighthouse Baptist Church is a church that uses the King James Bible by conviction. We cannot see any reason to use another translation in worship or personal study.