There are some people who believe that the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible is the only English translation of the Bible that can be trusted, and therefore, the only version that should be used. Some even believe that the original version, released in 1611 (KJV1611), was itself divinely inspired and infallible. People of this opinion are often referred to as KJV Only. I came across a few notes from the original preface that I found very interesting.
While KJV Only proponents refuse to use other versions, the original preface to the KJV1611 actually recommends that we study a variety of translations for our understanding of the Word.
“Therfore as S. Augustine saith, that varietie of Translations is profitable for the finding out of the sense of the Scriptures: so diversitie of signification and sense in the margine, where the text is not so cleare, must needes doe good, yea is necessary, as we are persuaded.” — King James Version Bible, original preface, 1611
According to the preface, it’s beneficial to have a translation in the common (“vulgar”) language. You’ll notice that these quotes are not anywhere close to today’s common English language.
“Indeede without translation into the vulgar tongue, the unlearned are but like children at Jacobs well (which was deepe) without a bucket or some thing to draw with…” — King James Version Bible, original preface, 1611
In contrast to the idea that the King James Version is without error, the original translators addressed criticism from others that they changed and updated it too often. In addition, they defended their corrections and changes by implying that both they and their work were not without fault.
“Yet before we end, we must answere a third cavill and objection of theirs against us, for altering and amending our Taanslations [sic] so oft; wherein truely they deale hardly, and strangely with us. For to whom ever was it imputed for a fault (by such as were wise) to goe over that which hee had done, and to amend it where he saw cause?” — King James Version Bible, original preface, 1611
“But the difference that appeareth betweene our Translations, and our often correcting of them, is the thing that wee are specially charged with; let us see therefore whether they themselves bee without fault this way, (if it be to be counted a fault, to correct) and whether they bee fit men to throw stones at us…” — King James Version Bible, original preface, 1611
This all makes me wonder if the original translators of the King James Version of the Bible would be KJV Only if they were alive today. Frankly, I don’t think so.
If you actually enjoyed reading these quotes, you can read the entire original preface online for yourself.
Jeremy Caris is the founder and president of Caris Ministries. Since he is called as a prophet and gifted as a teacher, much of his focus involves equipping believers to hear, know, and follow God in their own daily experience. He teaches the foundational truth of the Word with simple clarity, while revealing deep things of the spirit in practical ways. He has the unique ability to demystify the supernatural side of real relationship with a living God and make it an embraceable and accessible reality for all believers. Jeremy has been married to his best friend, Mandy Caris, for twenty years, and is the proud father of two boys.