Is The King James Bible Inspired?

by Dr. Ken Matto

One of the most common accusations made against those of us who prefer the King James as our only Bible of choice is that we claim the King James Bible is inspired. What they mean by that is that the English words of the King James Bible were inspired by God in the same manner the original manuscripts were. Now there are those in the King James Only camp who do believe this. They believe God had chosen the actual words in the King James Bible. While I strongly believe that God guided that translation, He did not re-inspire a new Bible, rather He guided the translation of the Words He gave centuries before into English.

I do not believe the King James Bible is inspired in that manner like the original manuscripts, rather the correct way of viewing it is in the manner of "Transferred Authority." When the holy men of old penned the original Autographs under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, those words were inspired by God but once the Book of Revelation was completed in the Greek, inspiration ended and illumination began.

It is also interesting to note the timing of the King James translation. The English language was going through a major change. If the King James Bible was translated 100 years earlier, we would not be able to understand it. By the early 17th century, the English language had undergone a major revision and was actually simplified. What we have in our possession today is the 1769 4th edition. There was no manuscript changes but just an updating of the English wording as the language still continued its evolution to simplicity.   Below is just one example using Mark 3:28:

Wycliffe Bible of 1382
(Mark 3:28) Treuli Y seie to you, that alle synnes and blasfemyes, bi whiche thei han blasfemed, schulen be foryouun to the sones of men.
1611 KJV
(Mark 3:28) Uerely I say vnto you, All sinnes shalbe forgiuen vnto the sonnes of men, and blasphemies, wherewith soeuer they shall blaspheme:
1769  Revised Language 4th Edition
(Mark 3:28 KJV) Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme:

Preservation of the Text
(Psa 12:6-7 KJV) The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. {7} Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.

Here is one promise that God is going to preserve His words for all generations. Notice, He did not say there would be another set of inspirational writings, rather He was going to preserve what already has been written. Today, we have this perpetual promise fulfilled in the King James Bible. The two preserved manuscripts which are the most purest are the 1524-5 Bomberg edition of the Masoretic Text (also known as the Ben Chayyim text) of the Hebrew in the Old Testament and the Received Text (Textus Receptus) in the Greek New Testament. Both of these manuscripts have escaped the ungodly scissors of the Textual Critic who gave us such masterpieces as the NIV and Living Bible, which butcher the true meanings of Scripture and omit words, phrases, and sentences.

Preservation Vs. Inspiration
The trouble starts when these two words are used interchangeably when they should not be because they are two different entities. The Inspiration was when God penned the Bible through holy men of old and preservation is the keeping of those manuscripts down through time for posterity. The preservation part applies to translations. The Textus Receptus has been translated into many different languages from the time of its birth in the inspired autographs. Two of them are the Old Latin Vulgate (90-150 AD) [not Jerome's 4th century Vulgate abortion] and Martin Luther's 1534 translation into the German language. Both of these were translated from the pure line of manuscripts owing to God's promise of preservation and both were in the lineage of the King James Bible.
Transferred Authority
Probably the main reason why people say the King James Bible is inspired is because of its authority.  Wherever a modern version is used, the church is weak (size does not indicate strength) and much confusion is present. When the King James Bible is used there is power and unity in the congregation. When God stated that He would preserve His Word through subsequent generations He also attached something else to preservation and that is the authority of the original writings. Since the King James Bible is based on these pure manuscripts, this authority is ascribed to the KJV and is evident because people are still getting saved and lives are changed through the teaching and preaching of the King James Bible. Since the translation was completed in 1611, the King James Bible built nations, caused revival, changed lives, brought people out of religious darkness for 400 years. If there was no transferred authority in the King James Bible, none of these could have taken place because then it would have just been another religious book without authority but that is not the case.

With the King James being built upon the true and pure manuscripts, the Holy Spirit then illumines the passages being studied for proper understanding. He also opens the eyes of those appointed to salvation. God stands behind the King James Bible as being the purer translation from the purer manuscripts. The modern versions engender confusion. If you are in a Bible study and there are 10 different translations present, see if you get passed, "What does yours say?"

Final Thoughts
God's Word is preserved for us in the King James Bible and although not inspired as the original autographs were, they carry the authority of the original autographs. We can also refer to it as "totally preserved" since the King James Bible carries as much authority as the original manuscripts did. Let me repeat, the difference between preservation and inspiration is, inspiration was when God penned the original manuscripts through the holy men of old and preservation is the keeping of those manuscripts down through time. I hope this clears up the misconception of an "Inspired Translation." The King James Bible is a guided translation of the manuscripts handed down to us which had its birth in the original manuscripts which God gave with appended Divine authority.