Is the King James Bible Inspired Or Preserved?
By David J. Stewart | March 2009 | Updated September 2016
“Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible,
by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” —1st Peter 1:23
Both! The precious King James Bible is BOTH inspired and preserved. There are some teachers 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 teachers deny both preservation and inspiration. Without a doubt this is a delicate and sensitive issue in churches today, because the Bible is the greatest number one threat to Satan. Yet, if we’re wrong on the Bible as born-again Christians, then we’re wrong on everything else. There is a raging battle today over the King James Bible.
You don’t have to read very far in contemporary, fundamentalist, Baptist literature to come across scoffers who attack the “King James only” position and degrade those of us who would dare call the King James Bible “inspired.” Well, bless God, it’s inspired Word for Word!
- Dr. Jerry Falwell announced that he had hired Dr. Harold Rawlings to “refute the ‘King James Only’ cultic movement that is damaging so many good churches today.”
- Dr. Robert Sumner warns about the “veritable fountain of misinformation and deceptive double talk on the subject of ‘King James Onlyism.’”
- Dr. J. B. Williams refers to those who advocate the King James Only as “misinformers” and as “a cancerous sore.”
- Dr. Robert Joyner calls King James Bible loyalists, “heretics.”
- Dr. James R. White warns about King James Bible proponents “undercutting the very foundations of the faith itself.”
- And now in 2009 an influential pastor of one of America’s largest Independent Fundamental Baptist Churches is calling us “careless Bible students” and “ignorant” for saying that the King James Bible is inspired. How tragic!
I just don’t get it. Why would any Christian leader shake his congregation’s faith in the Word of God? If the Bible that we hold in our hands is not inspired, then let’s just throw it into the garbage and go buy the latest New York Times Bestseller to read instead. Thank God for Dr. Jack Hyles who upheld the King James Bible as inerrant and perfect…
“I must have every Word if I speak His message. If I didn’t think I had a perfect Bible I’d close this one, walk out that door, I’d never walk in the pulpit again.” —Dr. Jack Hyles
The 54 King James Bible translators (47 did the actual work of translating) were a collection of some of the world’s best scholars. They approached this translation with the mindset that they were translating the very Words of God, not just some book. The King James Bible has been called “the monument of English prose” as well as “the only great work of art ever created by a committee.” Howbeit, the question is raised, is the King James Bible inspired? I say, yes, absolutely, and it is self evident.
We must begin with the Scriptures themselves, for Jesus commanded in John 5:39… SEARCH THE SCRIPTURES!
2nd Timothy 3:16 proclaims, “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.” Some teachers lift out the words “is given,” claiming that only the original autographs given by God were inspired. I have a serious problem with that, because God promised to PRESERVE His Word in Psalm 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.”
For someone to say that God preserves His Word without inspiration is akin to saying that God preserves our salvation without the Holy Spirit. It just doesn’t set right. The very notion that a translation does not contain the inspired Words of God is disturbing indeed. And if a translation DOES contain the inspired Words of God, then it is divinely 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!”
SOURCE: What Is That Book You Hold In Your Hand?, by Dr. Shelton Smith, editor, Sword of the Lord.
Yes, I agree! How could God’s preserved Word not be inspired? If God has kept His promise to PRESERVE His Word (and He has!), then those Words must also maintain their inspiration. To say that onlythe originals (also know as the “autographs”) were inspired is to say that we do not have God’s inspired Word for today, which means that we cannot claim 2nd Timothy 3:16. If the man of God is to be “perfect,” then he absolutely MUST have the “inspired” Words of God to profit him.
It is expected for unsaved heathens to claim that mortal men authored the Bible. Yet, how sad it is when Gospel preachers agree with them by saying that flawed men wrote flawed translations which are flawed. How can any believer who loves the Lord feel confident if they are taught that the Bible they love, cherish and obey is imperfect? They cannot. It is a woeful injustice to rob a church congregation of their faith in God’s Word by diminishing the inerrancy and inspiration of the King James Bible. God has preserved His Word for the English-speaking people in the King James Bible, and it does not contain errors. Volumes of books have been written addressing alleged discrepancies and so-called mistranslations in the King James Bible. Ultimately, critics of the King James Bible find themselves barking up an empty tree.
Dr. Jack Hyles (1926-2001) believed that the King James Bible is inspired. The following quote is taken from his book, The Need for an Every-Word Bible, page 54…
“I’m tired of colleges and universities advertising that they use the King James Bible. Tell the whole story! Tell everyone that you do not believe that it is inspired word for word.” —Dr. Jack Hyles
A friend of mine who used to teach martial arts taught his students, “Practice does not make you perfect, perfect practice makes you perfect.” When he told me that I immediately thought about the King James Bible, because an imperfect Bible can only produce imperfect children. Corruption can only bring forth corruption. Jesus said an evil tree can only bring forth evil fruit. The reason why the King James Bible has been so successful over the centuries in getting people saved is because it is God’s inspired, infallible, inerrant and preserved Word.
The Words Of The King James Translators
The King James translators humbly stated that their work may contain “imperfections and blemishes.” Remember, this is THEIRopinion of THEIR best efforts to better the Word of God in English. We must not forget that GOD PROMISED TO PRESERVE HIS WORD and was overseeing the work . . .
“No cause therefore why the word translated should be denied to be the word, or forbidden to be current, notwithstanding that some imperfections and blemishes may be noted in the setting forth of it. For whatever was perfect under the Sun, where Apostles or Apostolic men, that is, men endued with an extraordinary measure of God’s spirit, and privileged with the privilege of infallibility, had not their hand?” [emphasis added]
In Exodus 4:10 we find Moses lacking confidence in his own communication skills, and yet God used Moses to author the first five books of the Old Testament, “And Moses said unto the LORD, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.” Clearly, Moses did not feel qualified to relay God’s Word to the people. The humility of the King James translators does not in any way mean that God wasn’t in complete control of the work they did. They prayerfully and diligently labored to give us the King James Bible.
Dr. Samuel Gipp states in favor of the King James Bible being inspired . . .
QUESTION: Did the translators of the Authorized Version claim to be inspired by God?
ANSWER: No. But Biblically that does not mean that they could not have been inspired. [emphasis added]
Does this mean that, because they did not claim God’s hand in translating the Scripture that He could not be or was not in control of their commission? For the answer we must look to the Bible, our final authority in all matters of faith and practice.
When John the Baptist was accosted by the Levites in John chapter one and asked if he was Elijah (John 1:21) he answered that he was not Elijah. Yet in Matthew chapters 11:7-14 and 17:10-13 Jesus Christ plainly stated that John was Elijah.
Did John the Baptist lie? No. Did Jesus Christ lie? Of course not. The answer is very simply that John wasElijah but he didn’t know it! Thus we see from our Bible example that a man can have God working through him and not know it. Likewise, God could easily have divinely directed the King James translators without their active knowledge.
SOURCE: THE ANSWER BOOK, chapter 14, by Dr. Samuel C. Gipp, Th.D.
I say, most definitely, yes, God was in control of the King James Bible committee and the Words of the King James Bible are inspired. This is not “double inspiration.” That is, God did not give His Words afresh to the King James translators. It simply means that God’s Words are inspired and always will be inspired, no matter what language they are translated into.
In 1st Corinthians 7:6 the Apostle Paul said, “But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment.” Paul felt that he was merely giving his personal opinion in this portion of Scripture, rather than writing what God had commanded him to; yet we know from 2nd Timothy 3:16 that, “ALL SCRIPTURE is given by inspiration of God.” Paul’s writings in the Bible are all inspired by God, because Paul was only the pen which God used to give us His Words.
God is the Author of the entire Bible. God used imperfect men to write His perfect Word, by putting His Words into their mouth. God made unholy men holy for His purpose. So it matters not that Moses was not eloquent in speech, nor that Paul gave his personal opinion in 1st Corinthians chapter 7, nor that the King James translators acknowledged that they were only imperfect men—What’s important is that God’s Words will forever be incorruptible, settled in Heaven, preservedAND INSPIRED.
“One Book Stands Alone encourages believers to stand by the one and only inspired book of God, the King James Bible.” —Dr. Douglas Stauffer
Some scholars today claim that God has only preserved His Word in the original languages; but the Bible does not teach that. It is self-evident that God has chosen America as the citadel of Christianity over the past 100 years to the world, having sent out millions of foreign missionaries with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Heresy went East, but truth went West. I believe God has preserved His inspired Word in the English-speaking language in the King James Bible. I do not believe that the King James Bible is merely a superb translation or the best manuscript available in English.
I believe it is God’s inspired, inerrant, infallible, impeccable and preserved Word. 1st Peter 1:23 plainly states that sinners are “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” This means we need an incorrupt Bible! It is sad that preachers don’t start doubting the Word of God until they go to seminary. Maybe we should call them preacher cemeteries.
The King James Bible was the finished product of SEVEN revisions. Interestingly, “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.” Notice that God said His Word is “pure,” as pure as silver refined seven times. (the number seven in the Bible represents God’s perfection.) We have God’s perfect Word in the English language in the King James Bible. Amen! It is the manuscript God wanted us to have to fellowship with Him and do the work of soulwinning.
The King James translators said they weren’t trying to make a new translation of the Bible; but rather, a good one better…
“Truly (good Christian Reader) we never thought from the beginning, that we should need to make a new Translation, nor yet to make of a bad one a good one, (for then the imputation of Sixtus had been true in some sort, that our people had been fed with gall of Dragons instead of wine, with whey instead of milk:) but to make a good one better, or out of many good ones, one principal good one, not justly to be excepted against; that hath been our endeavor, that our mark.”
If one truly believes that a sovereign God is able to work in the hearts of men to do His will, and if one believes that God has kept His promise to preserve His Word, and if one considers that the mightiest soul-winning men of God over the past four centuries have preached from the King James Bible, it is self-evident that God has given to us the King James Bible. Is God incapable of preserving His Word without mistakes? Of course! If, as some claim, the Bible is only preserved in the original languages today, then we do not have an English Bible in America? Which means we are hopelessly destitute.
If the King James Bible is less than perfect, then why even preach from it? Why preach from an imperfect Word? If the King James Bible is imperfect, then what are you doing using it? If the King James Bible is imperfect, then so is everything you teach from it. I mean, if the King James Bible has hundreds of problems with it as many preachers are claiming today, let’s throw our Bible into the garbage. A pastor who places a question mark on the King James Bible is no better than Satan who weakened Eve’s faith when he asked her, “Yea, hath God said?” (Genesis 3:1c).
Matthew 4:4, “But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” If we are to live by “every Word,” then we need an every Word Bible. I believe the King James Bible to be that every Word Bible, preserved and inspired by God.
Some preacher says that the Bible is only for the scholarly and studious. No, the Bible is for anyone who wants to pick it up and use it, read it and hear it.
“The King James Bible crowd is going to come out on top!”
—Dr. Jack Hyles (an awesome quote from the classic MP3 sermon titled, “THE BATTLE OF THE AGES!”)
In Preservation, We Have the Originals
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.” People talk about the “originals,” but according to Psalm 12:6,7 we have the originals. Psalm 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.” God didn’t promise in Psalm 12:6,7 to renew or republish His Words. No, rather, God promised to PRESERVE His Words, “as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.”
What we hold in our hands today in the form of the King James Bible is the PRESERVED inspired originals, which means the King James Bible has to be inspired. God’s Word has been preserved. If the King James Bible is not inspired, then God did not preserve His Word, because His Word is 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.
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. Some Biblical scholars claim that the original manuscripts are only existent in the Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic languages; but it is not a language that God promised to inspire, it is HIS WORDS. It is the “Words” of the Lord that are pure. God Words are inspired, no matter what language they are translated into. The text of our beloved King James Bible are the inspired Words of God.
Please Don’t Drop My Food On the Floor
For any preacher to speak bad about the King James Bible, while simultaneously speaking about how wonderful it is, is akin to dropping someone’s food on the floor and then serving it to them on a plate. The same way most people would feel eating a steak that has just been dropped onto a dirty floor is the same way many church members feel when their pastor teaches them from a Bible which he claims is imperfect. Either we have God’s preserved, inspired, inerrant, infallible Word in the English-speaking language, or we do not. The Bible is our spiritual milk, bread and meat. I don’t know about you, but most people prefer not to have their food tampered with before they eat it. So keep your stinking feet out of my drinking water and my food.
No pastor should ever shake his congregation’s faith in the King James Bible, even in the slightest way. The average uneducated layman in the pew needs to hear his pastor uphold the King James Bible as God’s Word. To fail to do so is a grave injustice against the common man. The average believer will NEVER understand Greek or Hebrew and it is a woeful injustice to place that kind of a burden upon humble church people, i.e., telling them that they cannot understand the Bible without learning Greek and Hebrew. Childlike faith only requires a childlike understanding of the Bible.
Do not tell me that a child cannot understand the Bible to get saved. Do not tell me that those with learning disabilities must understand the Greek to be saved. Do not tell me that a humble sinner, who only has a third grade education, cannot receive and experience sweet fellowship with Jesus Christ without learning Hebrew. Bless God, if the King James Bible was good enough for mama, it’s good enough for us too! If the King James Bible was good enough for Dwight L. Moody and Billy Sunday, bless God, it’s good enough for us too!
“They’re taking the pure Word of God and changing it for a buck and changed it for a dollar. So-called Christian colleges, take your stinking feet out of the Word of God! Quit serving dirty water! So-called Christian seminaries with your intelligencia, which is nothing more than stupidity hiding behind the guise of scholarship, you keep your stinking feet out of my drinking water! Dr. Custer of Bob Jones University, who says that there is no perfect Bible in the English language, you keep you stinking feet out of my drinking water! Greek scholars, so-called, self-styled Greek scholars, who are only called ‘Greek scholars’ by other Greek scholars, you keep your stinking feet out of my drinking water! … I am so sick of these guys that go to an institution. I’ve got more respect for a State university professor who says there’s no Word of God, than I have for a man who’ll hide behind the sacred desk and change God’s blessed Book.”—Dr. Jack Hyles
Dr. Lee Roberson (1909-2007) believed that the King James Bible is inspired. In his sermon, HAVE FAITH IN GOD, he made the following statement concerning his text verse, Mark 11:22, “And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God” Pastor Roberson referred to the King James Bible as “these inspired words.” Amen. There are some preachers today who deny the inspiration of our precious King James Bible. It is apostasy. Thank God for Dr. Roberson’s faith in the King James Bible as God’s inspired, inerrant, infallible, impeccable and preserved Words of God.
“Whether in sunshine or rain, it will help us to have these inspired words before us: HAVE FAITH IN GOD.”
In defense of the inspired and preserved King James Bible, the following quotes are taken from the excellent sermon by Pastor Jack Hyles, LOGIC MUST PROVE THE KING JAMES BIBLE…
I have Mama’s Bible—the same one she read—in my office. I’ve had it there for years. I don’t know how old it is, but I suspect it is 55 or 60 years old. It is the same Bible she used to hold up. I was thumbing through it the other day. On the inside, it says on the title page, “King James Bible.” That’s what it says. You know it worked. It’s amazing how well Mama did before she found out that it wasn’t the Word of God.
It is amazing how well this nation did when we didn’t know how ignorant we were. (Are you listening?) This is my fifth pastorate. I’ve seen miracles in my pastorates. I’ve preached over 41,000 times, and I’ve never yet preached a sermon that wasn’t preached from the King James Bible.
It bothers me when people say, “We believe that the Bible, in the original manuscripts, is the Word of God.” If that’s true, we have no Bible. Did you hear what I said? We have no Bible.
We need a Bible that we can understand and a Bible that is God’s Word. It looks like anybody would agree that if God gives us the command to preach the Word, He would give us the Word to preach. That’s logical. If God wants to say to a nation, “You are the custodian of world evangelization for a generation or two or three or four,” it looks like God would give that nation the Word of God.
What is it? I would say it ought to be the one that has worked. Which one has worked? The one I hold in my hand right now. I has worked! It will work!
The following is sang to the tune of The Old-Time Religion:
It was good for our fathers;
It was good for our fathers;
It was good for our fathers;
And it’s good enough for me;
It was good for my mama;
It was good for my mama;
It was good for my mama;
And it’s good enough for me.
THE BATTLE OF THE AGES (an awesome KJB defense by Dr. Jack Hyles)