Author Tim Barnett
Published on 06/03/2024
Christian Living

Do Not Denigrate the Original Languages of the Bible

Tim responds to a KJV-only pastor who says he can correct the Greek text using the King James Version.


Original Video: Thank God for the Word of God. Oh, yes. Amen. You can’t separate Jesus Christ from the Bible. “You’re bibliolaters.” Yes. Amen. We believe the King James Bible is the Word of God. Every word of it. I can take this book and correct the Greek. I’ve had Greek and Hebrew. My last class on Hebrew—we finished the last class, and someone says, “What are you doing?” I said, “I’m going out there in the backyard, and I’m burning this Hebrew grammar book.” What? I torched it. I had to learn Hebrew and Greek and all that mess. You said, “What did you learn out of that?” The King James Bible is the Word of God. Thank God for the English. Who cares what the Greek says? They make pretty good sandwiches. That’s about it.

Tim: Where do we even begin? Well, for starters, it’s really important that we keep the Bible and Jesus distinct. The Bible isn’t the Word made flesh. The Bible didn’t die for our sins. The Bible didn’t rise from the dead. The Bible is the inspired Word of God and, therefore, should be revered as such, but we shouldn’t worship the Scriptures. Rather, we should worship the God who inspired the Scriptures.

Second, this fundamentalist pastor says he can correct the Greek text using the King James Version. In fact, he confidently states, “Who cares what the Greek says?” Ironically, the original translators of the King James Version cared very much about what the Greek said. After all, that’s how they produced their translation. No Greek, no KJV. In other words, they had to know what the Greek and Hebrew text said to then decide what English words would best convey that meaning. Choices needed to be made, and this process wasn’t perfect.

This brings me to the final point. The work of translating ancient text into modern language can be difficult. Some translations are better than others. Some are more word-for-word, while others are more thought-for-thought. In either case, we ought to thank God for those men and women who have done the heavy lifting so that those of us who don’t understand Greek and Hebrew have access to the Scriptures. But please understand, the doctrine of inspiration refers to the composition process of the originals. It does not extend to the translation process. There are no perfect translations, and that includes the King James Version. Now, I’m not knocking the King James Version. If that’s your preferred English translation, then good for you. But we should all agree that it’s ridiculous to denigrate the original languages when your English translation was produced from the original languages.