KJV Only Movement and the Church


What is the KJV Only Movement? How did they get to this conclusion and what would one say as a Catholic in refrence to it? Thanks and God bless.


From what little I know about it, the KJVO movement believes that the KJV bible is the only inerrant / uncorrupt English translation of the scriptures. I don’t know what they think, if anything, about translations in other languages.

A Catholic should see it for what it is, English-language parochialism of the saddest sort. Unfortunately, there is a segment of American Evangelicalism / Fundamentalism that seems to forget (if they ever knew it) that English is not now, and never was, some sort of privileged sacred language in the Christian tradition.


I would guess that it’s the movement within Protestantism that typifies the King James Version of the Bible as the only reliable translation, and therefore clings to it relentlessly despite it’s outdated language and hard-to-understand idioms. I personally like the KJV because it sounds regal and formal, and therefore reflects the formal view that we Christians hold of Scripture. On the other hand, it is really hard to understand sometimes, especially in large sections and for newcomers (or fewcomers) to the Bible.
As someone who is familiar with Hebrew and Greek, the translation is helpful because it is almost slavish to the original languages. (Hence the difficult idioms.) Anyone who is bi-lingual will understand that to a certain degree.
The difficulty in translation is stiking a balance between being literal and being idiomatic. It’s an art, not a science. What may be most accurate in reflecting the original wording of a different language sometimes clouds the meaning on our own language.
An example of a good balance is the NIV. A slightly more literal translation would be the RSV. An hugely idiomatic translation (too loose, in my opinion) is “The Message.”

Something worth looking into is why the LDS church promotes the KJV as the only inspired version of the Bible. My best guess is that it’s because they needed some justification for Joseph Smith’s “translation” of the Book of Mormon being in Old English, even though the work was done mid-1800s.


One thing to consider is that plenty of people may prefer the KJV but I don’t think there are very many KJV onlyist out there…fortunately.


The KJV was actually quite an improvement over the Geneva Bible, as I understand it. One of the primary reasons for King James to sponsor a new version was to get the Geneva Bible, with all of it’s Calvinist marginal glosses out of circulation.

Another positive was that it used the Greek Septuagint for the Old Testament, rather than the Jewish Masoretic text which is what Jeromes’ Vulgate relied upon mostly. Unfortunately the “received text” of the day was not anywhere as good as what we now have available. Many more manuscripts have been recovered which can be checked against each other. It makes me think that if the original transcribers and translators had a chance to do it again in these days it would be a bit better.

However the KJV only movement seems to approach a level of idolotry, they need to be careful about that.



I have only recently come to understand how just how far some are willing to go in KJV onlism.

Now when I was a Baptist I was partial to the KJV. I liked the poetic language. I respected its place in the history of the English language and at the time it actually was still one of the better translations over all. So I was a KJV only person or least I thought I was.

Anyway, I have a good friend who I have recently found out is “real” KJV only guy. He doesn’t like it when people go to the Greek, Hebrew or Aramaic because even though those are original languages if they differ from the KJV in content they are wrong as the KJV is the inerrant word of God.

I even asked him once just for clarification if what he believed was that the KJV was superior to the original texts from which it was translated and he answered “yes”. The KJV was authored by God anything that differes from it in translation must automatically be considered wrong.

He actually left a Church he really liked because the pastor constantly referenced the original languages instead of just accepting the KJV at face value.

I was blown away. He is also in his early 20’s and none of his family believe this. It is completely whacky.


The continued lack of historical knowledge on the part of my Protestant brothers and sisters continues to astound me. I know public schools utterly fail to teach history in America, but one would think that the Internet, the History Channel, and amazon.com might bridge the ignorance gap.

Do people not even realize how the KJV Bible came to be?


One KJV-Onlyist has it posted on his website that :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: “God puts the King James Bible on a higher level than Jesus Christ”.:nope: :nope: :nope: :nope:


<<From what little I know about it, the KJVO movement believes that the KJV bible is the only inerrant / uncorrupt English translation of the scriptures.>>

My question, that I have asked KJVOnliers, and have never gotten is WHICH RECENSION OF THE KJV?

  1. The American Bible Society version of 1904?
  2. The Cambridge Exemplar?
  3. The Oxford Exemplar?
  4. The Revision of 1769 (the last one to be called KJ/Authorized Version).
  5. With or without the Apocrypha/Deuterocanonicals? (The original KJV of 1611 had them; it’s still possible to find them, especially among Anglicans, and it’s illegal to print one in England without these books.) If they omit these books, on what authority, as they were in the ORIGINAL KJV?
  6. The First Printing of 1611?

The KJV “as originally written” no longer exists. The fair copy delivered to the printer had over a dozen changes in it ordered on his own authority by the then Archbishop of Canterbury, and was shortly afterwards lost.

So–WHICH KJV do they accept as inspired?

(FWIW, there are no fewer than 12 differences in spelling and punctuation in Ephesians 2:8 between the 1611 printing and revision if 1769. What does this tell you about the rest of the book?)


Wow, and here I thought I had seen the scariest side of KJVO…

Was he serious?


Didn’t the KJV also omit a “not” in a commandment, with hilarious results for any KJV literalists?

I believe there were several instances of mischievous scribes messing with the text if I recall correctly.

How odd worship of a book is!


Wow, what a treasure!

I must say that I agree.


The History channel is a poor source as well. Independent producers make most of the programs and sell them, so there is a lot of garbage on that channel, the Learning Channel (my friend calls “the Lying channel”) and even (or especially) Public Broadcasting.

Mythology abounds.



The KJV Only Movement is one of the falsest and most disgusting movements in religion out there in my opinion. Not only do they only accept the KJV as the inspired Bible translation in English but they also tend to be virulently anti-Catholic.


They are a movement among Fundamentalist Protestants who claim that the KJV is the only “true” translation of the Bible. Their twisted opinions are met all time where I live.

The best response is too ask them “By what authority do you make that claim?” The question of authority is the Fatal Flaw of Protestantism. :bible1:

God Bless you as well my brother.


You are absolutely correct - I think it stems from a fear of the other Bible translations (which, we should be on the lookout for this) but to say that we need to burn all other translations of the Bible is ludicrous. I have heard this said before. The people that espouse this doctrine are usually found to be very ignorant of the history.


I have to agree. Unfortunately history seems to be used as a political cudgel to justify almost any sort ideology. Ironically this is rather like what’s happened to the Bible. :frowning:


I love the language of the King James version, but it is such an odd thing to take a product of the 17th century and treat it as a product of the 1st or earlier.


If tortured sufficiently, history, like Scripture, will confess whatever you want it to.


The King James Bible was translated by the Church of England for the Church of England. Perhaps a bit of Anglophile hubris is at work.

-Michael (A direct descendant of King James :stuck_out_tongue: )

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