The Double Inspiration and King James Only Controversies

I believe that the King James Version (KJV) is the best and most accurate translation of God’s words in the English language, and it is the ONLY version of the Bible I use. This can get some “Christians” all riled up. I have been accused of being “King James Only” – the idea that the KJV is the one and only word of God. Period.

According to some modern translation users, “King James Only” is not simply a reference to only using the King James Bible, but an argument of “double inspiration.” This is often defined as a theory that the original Biblical manuscripts were inspired (God breathed), AND the King James translators were ALSO inspired.

Most Christians can agree that the original Hebrew and Greek manuscripts written in the hand of the prophets and apostles inspired, but double inspiration has become very controversial – even among my own Baptist church members. The idea that God might be able to inspire a 1611 translating committee in the same way that He inspired Moses, David, Peter, and Paul is too much for many to believe.

I am on the fence on whether the KJV translators were, themselves, inspired in the same way as the original authors, but I would not dare say that God is not capable of doing such a thing if He were to so choose.

The “Heretic”

The most famous bogeyman of both King James onlyism and double inspiration is Dr. Peter Ruckman – though Steven Anderson (with whom I strongly disagree on many doctrinal positions) is the torch bearer for the KJVO position these days (and should never be lumped in with Ruckman – especially since he believes Ruckman is a heretic burning in hell).

Despite his positions often being misrepresented, Ruckman is considered a heretic for his views on double inspiration. I promise you that by mentioning his name, I have already turned some readers away from the argument altogether.

Dr. Ruckman passed away a couple years back so he can no longer defend himself, but I would suggest listening to his sermons instead of hearing someone tell you what he believed.

As a Bible teacher, Ruckman was fantastic, but he was also flawed man – like every human being who has ever lived (Romans 3:10). Many Christians ironically cast away decades of ministry, fantastic and bombastic preaching, leading hundreds to salvation, and sending missionaries and students of his Pensacola Bible Institute into the world to preach the Gospel, because Ruckman was “mean” and was twice divorced (Biblically divorced, for what it’s worth).

After years of research, I have come to the conclusion that I am likely considered a heretic or an apostate by most Christians as well. I am proudly King James Only (in the English language). I am also inclined to believe in not only double, but multiple inspiration – though likely not in the manner you think.

Allow me to present an accurate representation of my beliefs before you excommunicate me.

Definition of Inspiration

First and foremost, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).

That means ALL scripture. Not just the 17th century B.C. Hebrew scripture, but ALL scripture. If you hold up your Bible, regardless of translation, and say to your friends, family, and church members that “this is scripture,” then it MUST be inspired. I am 100% confident that my King James Bible is scripture; therefore, I believe 100% that it is inspired.

Conditions for Inspiration

In order for scripture to be inspired, Gods words must be written and spoken. “Inspiration” is not the same as “expiration.” In other words, God breathes out (expiration of the spoken word) and scripture breathes it in (inspiration of the written word). Jesus Christ, as God in the flesh, most certainly held many conversations that were not written down. Are they Scripture? No. When Christ rescued the adulterous woman and challenged her accusers to cast the first stone, he wrote something on the ground (John 8:6). Is that considered Scripture? No. So not every word of God is THE Word of God. Thus, inspiration is more than just a communication from God, there are specific conditions for it—and God is the one who can truly determine what that is.

Types of Inspiration

Inspiration need not be God’s words directly to parchment through man. Inspiration may come in many forms. God wrote the ten commandments by his own hand (inspired original texts), and the tablets were broken by Moses as he descended the mountain (Exodus 32:19). The LORD then created an exact duplicate of the original tablets in Exodus 34 (an inspired copy). Moses then wrote the words from the tablet onto parchment (another inspired copy). Jesus Christ quoted the Hebrew commandments in the Greek tongue (Mark 10:19) making this an inspired translation. The fact that the ten commandments are still available for the world to read is an inspired preservation.

Therefore, there is a Biblical precedent for inspired originals, copies, translations, and preservations. I believe the King James Bible meets 3 of the 4 criteria.

Inspired Originals

There are no original texts, nor have there been for many centuries. No translation of the Bible in any language has had the privilege of being translated from the original source manuscripts. What we have are translations of copies. If the original manuscripts are the only “inspired” texts, then NO modern translation is. This is absurd on its face.

Inspired Copies

What we have is a compilation of copies of original language texts. The KJV comes from the Ben Chayyim Masoretic text for Hebrew, and the compiled Greek texts are called the “Textus Receptus” or “Received Text.” that sometimes contain differences between them. The King James stands atop the rest of all Bible translations as being 99% accurate (most of the differences are grammatical) when compared to this compilation.

Inspired Preservation

There are several verses that deal with Biblical preservation, and basically God promised that His words would remain accessible to us until all the words in the book have been fulfilled (Matthew 5:18). The KJV has been the dominant English translation of the Bible (both in fame and book sales) for 500 years. If that is not preservation, I would love to know what is.

Inspired Translation

I believe that the King James Version contains the literal words of God written in English, making it an inspired translation of the original language texts (double translation!). I also believe that God speaks all of our languages. Therefore, there are probably literal, inspired translations in every language on the planet. Thus, I go well beyond double inspiration to multiple inspiration! Oh no, the heresy!

King James Only

There are some major issues with not only the other English translations (missing verses/changing meaning) but the translators of other versions. The worst offenders are Westcott and Hort (now known as Nestle-Aland) who translated the Alexandrian texts used for the NIV, NKJV, NSV, and even the newly touted ESV (which is “supposed” to be the newest “superior” version to the King James).

The ESV claims to “grow out of the Tyndale–King James legacy.”

It is simply and updated version of the Revised Standard Version (translated from the extremely problematic Alexandrian texts, not the Textus Receptus), not the King James.

Furthermore, Westcott and Hort were: Darwinists, mockers of the first three chapters of Genesis, supporters of Mary worship, blasphemers who called the Atonement a heresy, deniers of Satan’s existence, and believers that heaven is not a real place

How can someone who does not believe in so many foundational Christian beliefs possibly produce an accurate translation of The Bible?

The Perfect, Preserved, Inspired Word of God

I personally find many completely logical reasons to believe in double inspiration. Again, without ANY ORIGINAL TEXTS, Christians would have to admit that not only have none of us ever read the inspired Word of God, but that God lacks the power to preserve his word throughout the ages as He promised. I am not bold enough to question His omnipotence.

Moreover, it disturbs me to find that so many Christian “scholars” and preachers are so petty. I believe that the issue of which translation is superior is a valid concern, regardless of “double inspiration” or “King James Only” being some sort of buzz words used to identify radicals and “Ruckmanites”—I would wear either term with a badge of honor. However, one simple question often seems to be left out when discussing the new translations: is there anything actually wrong with the KJV?

I doubt if you could find a “scholar” who can accurately point to something tangible as evidence that has not been refuted a dozen times by men more capable than I.

There is absolutely no doubt that more people were brought to Christianity under the King James Version than any other translation in history. In fact, most, if not all of you reading this was likely led to salvation in a KJV church or by someone who was influenced by the KJV.

Not bad for an “outdated” old book that is “too difficult to understand.” It’s almost as if God’s promise of preserving the inspired scripture remains in tact.

Feel free to comment here or find me on social media if you’d like to discuss the subject in more detail. I am always up for a conversation.

3 thoughts on “The Double Inspiration and King James Only Controversies

  1. I’ve always wondered something. The KJV is something I grew up with, and still use (although I’ve ben in ESV for many years, and understand the complaints). But I also speak English

    But once you leave the English language, is this relevant? Is/does the KJV have equivalents in other languages? And if so, what kind of vetting process is there?

    1. Hi, Ron. Thanks for the comment! I believe that there are inspired translations in other languages (remember, ALL scripture is inspired), and I know several missionaries who use Bibles that were translated into other languages from the KJV. I would never pretend to provide a valid opinion on which ones are “best” in any language other than English. As an English only speaker, the word of God in my native tongue is my primary concern.

      Those are fantastic questions, and I am curious myself. Perhaps I will find some answers and write some recommendations in the future. Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s