By Matthew C. Daniels
In 2012, Michael Gove, then England’s Secretary of State for Education, announced a plan to send a King James Bible to every state school in England. The initiative met with mixed reactions. Some praised it, calling the King James Bible “a national treasure”, “an important part of western cultural heritage”, and “the single most influential literary work in the English language.” Others were less than pleased. The National Secular Society claimed that schools were already “awash with Bibles” and that students would be better off with copies of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species.
Andrew Zak Williams, writing for The New Statesman, questioned the value of the Bible. He concluded his article (titled, “the Trouble with the King James Bible”) with the statement that the donated Bibles “should come with a slap in the face to those who think that it could possibly be the inspired and accurately-recorded Word of a loving God.”
But what evidence did he cite for such a conclusion? We need look no further than two of the most popular arguments of modern liberal textual critics.
First, he attacked Mark 16:9-20 (the so-called “longer ending of Mark”) as inauthentic. Then, citing agnostic New Testament scholar and textual critic Bart D. Ehrman, he went after 1st John 5:7-8, crucial verses supporting the biblical doctrine of the Godhead (the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as one).
These arguments have been ably answered in articles and books elsewhere (See Answers to Your Bible Version Questions by David W. Daniels, available from Chick Publications), but what is most striking about Williams’ article is his question for believers, posed shortly after supposedly demolishing the text of the King James using the above arguments. Williams wrote, “Quite frankly, when you read the King James Bible, you have no way of knowing whether any particular line would have been in the original manuscripts. This poses an interesting question for those who believe that all scripture is God-breathed: if God was not going to preserve the original manuscripts, why would he have bothered to inspire them?”
This question demonstrates an important reason why we ought to cling to our belief in God’s preserved words. Williams’ question is legitimate, and one that is dismissed far too easily by Christians with opposing views, but it does not come from a place of faith. He obviously does not believe Jesus’ guarantee in Matthew 24:35 that “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.”
The Bible itself is the foundation of our faith. When atheists or agnostics want to attack our faith in God, the legitimacy of the Bible as the very words of God is the first battle they choose.
As Psalm 11:3 says, “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?”
You can make that foundation sure in your own heart by reading and believing God’s preserved words in English, the King James Bible. You can also take advantage of the many resources that Chick Publications offers on the topic.