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KJV Only-ism Comments - 1999

Below are assorted e-mails I received in 1999 commenting on the items listed under "KJV Only-ism" at Bible Versions Controversy. The e-mailers’ comments are in black and enclosed in "greater than" and "lesser than" signs. My comments are in red.

>Just a note about the rendering "study" in 2 Timothy 2:15 [in the NKJV]. The Webster's dictionary gives "an earnest effort or intention" as one of the definitions of the word "study." The translators didn't "not translate" the word that was there. They used a word that very effectively incorporated the idea of diligence while also helping to "bring out the 'sense' of the passage." Just because we've ceased to use the word "study" to mean "give diligence to" doesn't mean it does not include that connotation.

In Christ,

Thanks for the info. However, as you indicate, the use of "study" is an archaic way of saying "diligence." So it would still be true that "diligence" would be the preferred translation for today's readers. And most importantly, the KJV-only folks are incorrect in saying that "diligence" is a "wrong" translation. And that is the most important point.


Thank you for your website. While I have not yet had the time to review all the material, I think it is a very comprehensive, logical way to map out the major arguments in the Bible versions debate. I was wondering if you had a reply to a rather standard KJV-only argument that I hear on a regular basis.

It goes something like this: Since God is all-powerful, then He is able to preserve His word 100 percent accurately through all of history. Therefore, any texts that disagree with the TR are faulty. Basically, this argument says that there has to be a body of text exactly the same as the original or God would not be sovereign. Of course, KJV-only proponents claim that the TR is that body of text, and that it is completely accurate, and that the KJV is therefore the only truly inspired word of God in the English language.

I understand you are doubtless very busy, but if you could find the time to reply to this question or point me to a counter-argument, I would be most grateful.

In Christ,

The problems with this line of reasoning are many, and mainly have to do with the history of the TR.

First off, the TR is NOT a manuscript (i.e. a handwritten copy of the NT done prior to the invention of the printing press). The TR was put together by comparing several different manuscripts available in the 1500-1800's. As such, the TR does not occur 100% in any extant manuscript. So there is no unbroken tradition for the TR dating back to the originals. It simply did not exist before the 1500's.

Second, which TR? There are several texts which claim to be the TR. None agree 100% with each other. The TR I am using for the ALT is Steven's 1881 version. In working on the ALT I have noticed a few minor places where it disagrees with the KJV. In fact, no TR agrees 100% with the KJV. In other words, it is not sure exactly what text the KJV translators were using.

Otherwise, the arguments for the MT would be arguments against the TR, i.e. the MT is based on the MAJORITY of the extant manuscripts whereas the TR was based on the handful of manuscripts available in the 1500's.

> Dear Gary: I have been reading your various correspondences with KJV only folk and your report on difficult words in KJV, etc. If you have addressed this elsewhere, please forgive me for asking again: Don't you think that NKJV, MKJV, and LITV users are at a disadvantage not to have the ye/ you = plural and thou/ thee = singular distinction?

With all its attendant difficulties, I still find the KJV's use of plural and singular you to be very helpful. Luke 22:31 is one of those places where the distinction is valuable, as well as many places in Exodus, where the Lord distinguishes between speaking just to Moses and speaking to all of Israel or to Moses and Aaron.

Please comment, if you have time.
Thanks very much.

This issue has been brought up before by KJV-onlyist but I don't know if I have addressed it on my site or not. But to respond, you are correct, knowing when "you" is singular or plural can be helpful at times in Biblical interpretation. But the problem is, in modern-day English there is simply no distinction between the two. So the deficiency is with the current English language, not modern translations per se.

As for using terms like "ye" I'll just say my niece, when she was about 11, was given a KJV NT at church. I sat down to read it with her. She was struggling a lot to say the least. But when she came to "ye" she stopped and asked, what is that? I told her it was an old English word for the plural "you." She just shook her head and with a "that is really weird" look on her face, went back to trying to read the KJV.

My point is, it would be helpful for someone to "invent" a plural form of you that is universally acceptable. Here in the Pittsburgh area we use "youns." But I don't think that would be a good idea to use in a Bible translation!

So instead, for my translation, the Analytical-Literal Translation, I am using an asterisk to indicate the plural you. Using you* is admittedly a bit awkward—but it's better than "youns" and "ye" is simply too archaic.

Dear Gary: What an excellent idea to cue a plural you with an asterisk! So simple, yet no one has done it yet. Thank you so much for your gracious answer.

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