Two days ago I visited a fellow street evangelist in Ashland, Virginia who I hadn’t seen in over a year. This man previously blessed me with numerous gospel tracts including the “million dollar bills” I enjoy handing out. Since I was running low on those money tracts, I hoped he had extra so I wouldn’t have to place a special order for them. To my surprise (and disappointment), my friend revealed he burned all his tracts except those that quoted from the King James Version of the Bible.
I’ve dealt with “King James Only” advocates before but don’t remember knowing someone who suddenly became one. During our meeting, my friend repeatedly claimed the New International Version was satanically inspired. That prompted me to look up a few evangelistic verses from the NIV…
Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” - John 3:3
“You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’” - John 3:7
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” - John 3:16
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” - John 14:6
“Jesus is ‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’ Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” - Acts 4:11-12
“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” - Acts 16:31
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” - Romans 6:23
“If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” – Romans 10:9
Do any of these Scriptures look satanically inspired? Would the devil influence someone to translate a verse that would help lead people to salvation? I doubt it.
King James Only advocates even claim that people open doors to the devil if they read and quote bible verses from other translations. If Jesus walked our streets today, I don’t believe He would speak Elizabethan English except maybe at a Shakespearean festival or an old-fashioned church. I picture the Lord reaching out to the homies by speaking the vernacular of today. (“You know what I’m sayin'?”) The Apostle Paul encourages us to “become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” (1 Corinthians 9:22)
Although my friend got a little pushy about his opinion, he still valued our friendship and asked to pray with me before I left his place. He specifically asked the Lord to reveal the truth to whoever was wrong about this issue. While I personally don’t use the New International Version that much (I prefer the New King James Version), I still consider it a viable translation.
“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”
- 2 Timothy 2:15 (NIV)