King James Bible Only or Textus Receptus Only? There Is a Difference
In the Old Testament book of Judges, we have the Ephraimites escaping from the Gileadites in chapter 12. When the Ephraimites passed by the Gileadites, the Gileadites had a password, and that password was the word Shibboleth. They used this word because the Ephraimites could not pronounce it properly, and when asked for the password, they would prounounce it Sibboleth.
And the Gileadites took the passages of Jordan before the Ephraimites: and it was so, that when those Ephraimites which were escaped said, let me go over; that the men of Gilead said unto him, Art thou an Ephraimite? If he said, Nay; Then said they unto him, Say now Shibbolet: and he said Sibboleth: for he could not frame to pronounce it right. Then they took him, and slew him at the passages of Jordan: and there fell at that time of the Ephraimites forty and two thousand. Judges 12:5-6.
Under the “King James Only” label, we have the true King James Only people (the Gileadites) and the Textus Receptus fakers (the Ephraimites). Before they are put under close scrutiny, they may appear to believe the same thing. Remember that the Ephraimites appeared to be Gileadites until they could not pronounce the word Shibboleth. We have many claiming to stand on the King James Bible that cannot pronounce Shibboleth, and when asked to, we see their real position.
The King James Bible was translated from the Greek Textus Receptus. There are those that believe the King James Bible is perfect because it came from the Textus Receptus, not because it is the King James Bible, yet they claim to be “King James Only”. What they really mean but won’t tell you is that they are “Textus Receptus Only”. There is a difference, and it’s a big difference. In the time of the Judges, there was a difference between Shibboleth and Sibboleth, and it was an important difference.
When asked what the difference is between a King James Bible only man and a Textus Receptus only man, Dr Samuel C. Gipp answers:
A "TR Man" gets his manuscripts from Antioch and his philosophy from Egypt. (“The Answer’s Book” Samuel C. Gipp, Daystar Publishing).
Dr Gipp continues by explaining the two different origins of the texts, the Alexandrian and the Antiochan texts. Along with those texts come certain philosophies also.
We are going to explore both the Textus Receptus only and the King James only people to see what the difference is.
One of these groups is indeed King James only, and we believe that the King James Bible is the perfect, pure, preserved and inspired Word of God. The true Bible believers have their manuscripts and their ideology right. We believe that the King James Bible is perfect because it is the King James Bible, not just because of the texts it was translated from. We believe there was inspiration in the translation of the KJB. We believe that every word of the KJB is perfect, and that to go back to the Greek or Hebrew to try to get "deeper meaning" is in fact wrong as it is implying that our Bible is not perfect and we must get deeper meaning from somewhere else.
Then the other group are really Textus Receptus only, and are really Bible correctors under a King James only guise. These are the ones that Dr Gipp describes as having their manuscripts from Antioch but their philosophy from Alexandria. They are right about one thing…the right text. They have compromised with the Alexandrian ideology though that teaches that we do not have a perfect Bible. These are the ones that will say “Sibboleth” because they cannot pronounce “Shibboleth”. They believe that the KJB is perfect, or almost perfect, but only because it was translated from the Greek Textus Receptus, which they like to call "the originals" even though they are NOT the originals. They are copies of originals, and furthermore, there are many different varieties of the Textus Receptus, and those copies disagree with each other, so knowing which one is the right one would be difficult. The Textus Receptus-only people believe that we need to go to the underlying Greek and Hebrew texts to get "extra meaning" or "deeper meaning" from "the original text" when the Textus Receptus is NOT the original.
It’s also interesting to note that the version of the Textus Receptus that people use to study now was translated by Scrivener in 1894. If we know anything at all about math, we know that 1894 is well over 200 years after 1611, which is when the King James Bible was translated. That means that the King James Bible was around over 200 years before the Scrivener’s Textus Receptus. Remember, Srivener’s is the copy of the Textus Receptus that is used today for study. It is also interesting to note that the Scrivener’s Textus Receptus was backtranslated from the King James Bible. Yet there are people that think that the King James Bible is preserved because of a manuscript that came out after it. That doesn’t make any sense.
Will Kinney says: They then defend what they call the “traditional text” and what they mean by this is the particular variety of Textus Receptus that CAME FROM the King James Bible. Their 1894 Scrivener edition of the TR was a back-translation from the KJB into a Greek N.T. text. The Greek texts of Erasmus, Stephanus and Beza are about 99.9 % the same, but there definitely are some textual differences. Usually the KJB translators went with Beza, but sometimes with either Erasmus or Stephanus. What Mr. Scrivener did was to find the particular Greek readings from these various Greek texts that the King James Bible followed, and he then made up his copy of what is now the Trinitarian Bible Society Greek Textus Receptus. Their TR did not give rise to the KJB but it was the KJB that gave rise to their printed copies of their Textus Receptus! (Will Kinney “Tyndale, the Textus Receptus or the King James Bible?”).
I hope this has helped define the two main groups that fall under the "King James Only" category, because sometimes a person will tell you that they are King James only, only to find out later that they are really Textus Receptus only. This is a deceptive cloak for a Bible corrector to use so that people don’t know he is a Bible corrector. Most fundamental Baptist churches, Bible colleges and ministries will claim King James only when they are really Textus Receptus only. It’s important to find out before you get involved. Chances are, if they “go back to the original languages” that they are Textus Receptus only. Listen carefully…are they saying Shibboleth or Sibboleth?