King James Only?: Refuting the False Conspiracy Theories of King James Only Teachers

by Bob DeWaay

Click here to read the FULL article from Critical Issues Commentary online.

"For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope." (Romans 15:4)

In recent years, an old debate has rekindled: Is the King James Bible the only valid translation of the Scriptures for English speaking people? G. A. Riplinger has published a book that claims not only that the King James is the best translation, but that all other modern versions, including the New King James, are the products of a New Age conspiracy.1 Filled with over 600 pages of charts, quotations, footnotes, and numerous examples of similarities between New Age teachings and words found in various translations of the Bible, her book has convinced some people that she is right.

Riplinger is not the first to propose that new translations are suspect and that the King James is the only valid English Bible. In the 1950's controversy attended the publication of the Revised Standard Version, partly because it was published by the National Council of Churches and partly due to the translation of Isaiah 7:14 as "young women" rather than "virgin." The RSV was deemed liberal and unacceptable to most conservative, Bible believing Christians. Since the King James was the only major alternative at the time, it remained the Bible for most evangelicals. Since the RSV did translate "virgin" correctly in the New Testament passages that teach the virgin birth, perhaps the translators were not trying to deny the virgin birth in Isaiah 7:14 (the Hebrew word translated in Isaiah 7:14 as "virgin" in the NASB is not translated that way in any other O.T. passage). Nevertheless, the RSV became suspect and was never adopted by many conservatives.

With the appearance of the New American Standard Version, the New International Version and other English translations, English speaking Christians now have several options. Riplinger and others, however, have charged that every new translation, including all recent lexicons, Bible dictionaries and other study aids are the result of a grand, New Age conspiracy to change the Bible and deny the deity of Christ. According to this conspiracy theory, the Greek texts that we use are also corrupted. Some of scholars, texts, and lexicons indicted by Riplinger are: Brown - Driver-Briggs, Alford, Thayer, A.T. Robertson, Nestles-Aland Greek New Testament, Strong's Concordance, and Theological Dictionary of the New Testament.

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