Let me clarify right up front: I’m not including here those who are represent a KJV only or KJV-preferred position that rejects the things I describe below. Some who love the KJV, and some who think it is the only legitimate version, do not engage in the problematic behaviors detailed below. Sadly, a very vocal and extreme section of the movement furnishes examples of the following.
Satan surely loves…
1. …when extreme 1611 KJV only advocates misrepresent facts and lie.
The devil is the father of lies (John 8:44). Some KJV only advocates seem justified in their cause, until someone checks their research (Proverbs 18:17). Some claims are patently false. Some say the KJV had no copyright, yet, for many years, the Crown of England was in charge of who could print it. Even saying they use the 1611 Bible isn’t correct, as modern KJV’s are based on a 1769 revision (which does not include the Apocrypha, something that was in the original 1611). When they claim that there are two lines of manuscripts, that is not accurate, since there are also Western and Caesarean families in addition to the Antiochene and Alexandrian manuscripts. They try to scare people with a story of an alleged translation committee member for a modern translation who supposedly claimed he was in trouble with God for his involvement (turns out their story is not historically accurate).
2. … when extreme 1611 KJV only advocates wrongly accuse others.
The devil is the accuser of the brethren (Revelation 12:10; cf. Zechariah 3:1ff). Some KJV only advocates go to great lengths to make ad hominem attacks and “poison the well” with guilt-by-association tactics. They call people heretics and apostates. This includes those in the past, such as Westcott and Hort, who cannot clarify or answer, and those in the present, who can and sometimes do clarify and answer (and yet are still dubbed members of the “Alexandrian cult” that denies the perfect Word of God). This feature of some KJV only folks may be the reason one pastor told me there was a difference between “King James Only” and “King James Ugly”!
Ironically, some of these same people instigate no suspicion about Erasmus, a Roman Catholic who opposed the doctrine of justification by faith alone but who was the first to publish a printed Greek New Testament. Some will go to great lengths to argue against the evidence that some bring forth about King James’ sexual preferences (which would not affect the quality of a Bible that simply happened to be produced during his reign, anyway).
3. …when extreme 1611 KJV only advocates sow discord among the brethren.
“He that soweth discord among brethren” is one of the things that God hates (Proverbs 6:19). In some circles, there are many who “bite and devour one another” (Galatians 5:15; this is not one of the “one anothers” commanded by God in Scripture!). Instead of “endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph 4:3), wrathful and froward (contrary) people stir up strife, with no just cause (Proverbs 15:18, 16:28). Discussions are held and people are attacked because they have a different view than those advocating the 1611 King James Version. People are excluded or mocked because they use a modern translation. These things ought not to be.
4. …when extreme 1611 KJV only advocates misuse the Word of God to make their case.
When the devil tempted Jesus, the Lord responded with Scripture. But Satan himself used, or rather, misused, Scripture in one of the temptations, as He sought to entice Jesus to do something contrary to God’s directives (Matthew 4:6).
We see God’s Word misused, for instance, when some explain Psalm 12:6-7 as a prophecy that the KJV would be a perfect translation! (“ The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O Lord, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.”)
Another way the Bible is misused is in promoting one line of manuscripts while vilifying another. The claim is made that there are two manuscript lines that Bibles are based on. The KJV is based on the Antiochene line, deriving from Antioch, where the disciples were first called Christians (Acts 11:26). The Alexandrian manuscripts, originating in Egypt, underlie the modern versions. In the Bible, Egypt is a type of the world and evil (see Revelation 11:8 where Jerusalem is unfavorably compared to Sodom and Egypt). Therefore, the Antiochene manuscripts are to be trusted and the Alexandrian ones rejected. After all, God said, “Out of Egypt have I called my Son” (Matthew 2:15, cf. Hosea 11:1). Egypt is bad.
The Antioch/Alexandria example is a blatant abuse of Scripture. It uses selective facts but does not prove its conclusion. One could just as well make the case that since God called His Son of out Egypt, and God preserved His people in Egypt when they moved there during Joseph’s life, later being taken out under Moses in the Exodus, that the good manuscripts are the ones which come from Egypt! (This too would be misusing Scripture to make a point.)
5. …when extreme 1611 KJV only advocates please their hearers by perpetuating myths.
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Timothy 4:3-4).
Some teach that the King James Version is inspired, that it has absolutely no mistakes or defects. (This is different from teaching that the Bible has no mistakes.) Some teach that the English corrects the Greek. These are not merely unsubstantiated claims, that also happen to be contrary to the beliefs of the KJV translators themselves, but are, in fact, myths – myths which are taught in some churches and Bible institutes! The Scriptures were written centuries before 1611, and they were God-breathed and without error when originally given; no translator was involved (only the transcribers/human authors of Scripture, whom God kept from error; see 2 Timothy 3:16 and 2 Peter 1:20-21).
These five tactics smell more of propaganda than of credible teachers. It’s quite ironic that some who wish to vilify others as “tools of Satan” have played right into the devil’s hands with their underhanded tactics. They’ve deceived preachers they’ve trained and have victimized many congregations and individuals. But no one has to be a victim. When you hear the claims of extreme KJV only folks, don’t automatically assume they are correct or that they have been based on actual research. Be like the Bereans, who, even at the apostle Paul’s preaching, “searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11). And if you find that they are not telling the truth, don’t be intimidated or influenced by them on this issue. Don’t be afraid of the truth. Seek godly influences that truly honor God, accurately represent the facts and honest historical research, and seek to trust and obey God’s Word.