Statement of Purpose
“Something must be wrong in my understanding.” That was the realization with which I kept being confronted a number of years ago the more I dealt with the issue of what the Bible has to say about itself. What I thought, and had been taught, just wasn’t perfectly or consistently lining up with what I found the Bible to be saying about itself. And that not only bothered me, it frightened me.
I held the prevailing viewpoint of fundamentalism regarding such issues as inspiration, preservation, original manuscripts, and the like. However, the more I considered exactly what it was I was saying I believed, and the more I scrutinized it in the light of precisely what God’s word said about these matters, I discovered and became convinced that what I was saying wasn’t exactly what the Bible was saying about these issues. Something, therefore, was wrong in my understanding, and the more I examined it the clearer it became that one of the primary problems was that my understanding was deficient. For example, I discovered that I had a poor grasp upon such issues as inspiration and preservation. What I thought about these matters was woefully weak compared to what the Bible was actually saying. Yet though I recognized that my primary problem was deficiency, I also came to realize that my thinking was faulty and corrupted in other areas. It was tainted with various ideas and accepted notions about the Bible, which I had to conclude were purely human viewpoint, for I could find no support for them in the Bible itself. This was found to be particularly true regarding what I had been taught and believed about original manuscripts and the transmission of God’s word in history. Something indeed was wrong in my understanding, and if I was going to be honest with the Bible it demanded that I re-examine the whole issue. It became obvious to me that I needed to be able to say more about the Bible than what I had been saying about it. For I knew from my initial investigations that it was saying more about itself than I had been allowing it to say.
My viewpoint, therefore, about the Bible has changed. The change, however, is not one of abandoning fundamentalist statements about such issues as the inspiration of the Scriptures, inerrancy, infallibility, and the like. Instead, it is one of bringing my understanding of those issues into full line with what I am convinced the Bible’s own testimony about itself demands. This adjustment in my thinking has resulted in a stronger statement about those issues. It has also resulted in a stronger conviction about using them and applying them when speaking about God’s word. Hence what I have always believed about these Biblical matters, I believe now with more understanding and more conviction than I possessed before.
However, this change in my thinking has made it so that I have departed from commonly accepted fundamentalist thinking about the Bible in one notable area. Instead of generally restricting terms like “inerrant” and “infallible” to the “original manuscripts,” or the “autographs” of the apostles and prophets, (as I used to do), I am fully convinced that God has preserved His word and that I can say without qualification that I possess the “inerrant” and “infallible” word of God today. Moreover, I am persuaded that I can say these things about His word translated into my native language — English. Howbeit, I am equally fully persuaded that I can not say these things about all English translations calling themselves the Bible. But about one in particular. The King James Version.
As I examined this issue I learned that a significant revolution has taken place over the past couple hundred years in the generally accepted, historic thinking about what God has done with His word, especially since the canon of Scripture was completed. Divine preservation of the Scriptures, and what that entails, used to be more than a topic of debate. It was generally acknowledged as something the Bible taught about itself, and the science of textual criticism for the most part used to operate with the doctrine of Divine preservation as its foundation. However, over the past couple hundred years this has changed. In fact, one of the foundational tenets of the thinking that resulted in the New Greek Text introduced in 1881, (which not only established the issue of a competing text of the Bible, but planted the seed for the ongoing production of “newer” translations), was the complete denial of the idea that God has specially preserved His word. The modern phase to the science of textual criticism, therefore, operates on a fundamentally different foundation than its predecessors. And, consequently, all of our modern English versions with their textual differences rest upon a completely different foundation than that of the King James Version. In connection with this, they have come into existence for a completely different reason than did the King James Version.
At first, however, I was not aware of this. Not having investigated for myself the foundation upon which these different English versions rest, I naively accepted the teachings and conclusions set forth by the modern science of textual criticism. Yet having taken the time to investigate these things, I am now fully persuaded that they rest upon a foundation that is not only inconsistent with the Bible’s own testimony about itself, but is actually contrary to it.
My thinking, therefore, has involved me in a sort of counter-revolution. For in departing from the conclusions of the modern science of textual criticism, I have returned to the conclusions of its predecessors. This I have done being fully convinced from the Bible that God has preserved His word, that the science of textual criticism when operating upon that foundation can successfully identify God’s word when confronted with textual variations, that the science of textual criticism has already succeeded in doing that during the Protestant reformation, and that the culmination of that work in English is the King James Version of the Bible.
Being persuaded of these things, and possessing personal conviction about them, I therefore take a stand for the King James Version. Yet my stand is not just one of preferring it over the multitude of other English versions. Rather, it is one of being convinced it has both the right to be called the inerrant, infallible, preserved word of God in the English language, and to be dealt with as such.
Personal convictions are fundamental to the issue of taking a stand for or against most anything. Such convictions can be based upon a wide variety of things, including even subjective things like experiences, traditions, and also irrational things and superstition. However when it comes to the Bible, one’s personal conviction certainly should be based not only upon God’s testimony, but solely upon exactly what God says about His word and the matters that pertain to it. In addition, because God is the one who is saying the things upon which one’s personal conviction rests, that conviction can be held with much assurance, even when it is not popular. In fact, the conviction can be held even when evidence for what has been said by God is not necessarily seen.
The Bible’s own testimony and doctrine about itself, along with its promises regarding preservation, are issues to be believed for the simple reason that they come out of the mouth of God. Faith is believing what God says. As such, it is the issue of believing what God says regardless of what anybody else says or thinks.
My personal conviction about the Bible, and in particular about the King James Version of the Bible in the English language, is based upon having to face up to exactly what the Bible says about itself, its preservation, and other related matters. The issues with which the Bible confronted me made my former understanding, profession, and stand untenable. Simply taking God at His word has made it so that I am persuaded that the stand I now take is the only stand I can take that is fully consistent with the Bible’s testimony.
Statement of Purpose
The purpose of these Articles is simple. It is to make a brief presentation of the personal conviction of Pastor Keith R. Blades, and of Enjoy the Bible Ministries, regarding the King James Version of the Bible and other English versions. As such, they put in written form a synopsis of the major issues that comprise our understanding and appreciation respecting this matter.
The subjects set forth and dealt with in these Articles by no means address every issue connected with the Bible’s doctrine about itself, or every issue germane to the science of textual criticism, modern or otherwise. And no apology is made for this being the case, for, as said, the purpose of these Articles is strictly to relate information that has led to the formation of some personal convictions. They are merely an attempt to present in a concise manner information about the major issues connected with the stand taken by myself and Enjoy the Bible Ministries regarding the King James Version of the Bible and other English translations. As such, these Articles are not designed to be confrontational, but informational.
In addition, these Articles that comprise the initial section to this site are not designed to be a defense of my stand regarding the King James Version. They do not address objections or objectors as such. They do not contain an analysis of opposing views, nor an exhaustive defense of all objections to the conclusions at which I have arrived. That, once again, is not the purpose of these Articles. Instead, these Articles simply declare the stand I take, and the major reasons why I take it.
– K.R. Blades