How does King-James-only-ism apply to other languages?

As far as I know, the King-James is an English specific bible, and the King-James-Only standard is an English specific subject, which if I am not mistaken might even make a claim of divine inspiration on behalf of the translators.


In the comments it was suggested I clarify the question:

The King James version is an English Translation. King James proponents elevate the KJV over all other translations, saying it was given by God at that time, and often it is asserted (and this typifies the KJO movement) that to date there is no other bible translation that is of the same validity as the KJV.

I've made a sincere assessment of the King James Only view, and a very important question manifests (the question of this post) how does this view apply to other languages?

Obviously God has not called only English speaking people. Not all languages are equal, or have the same capacity or way of expression. Hence, one would think that a convert would have to learn English (older English, in this case) to properly understand the bible. But there is the rare case of those who need no other translations, those being able to read the original languages - one might think they too should read the KJV, by the modern standard of KJO.

On a related note, modern translations (Such as my NET) exist not merely for reasons of "profit" but range of use, besides the necessity to update the language for the benefit of the user. Some KJO proponents assert that all other translations are from the devil, obscuring doctrine - but considering that languages (or language variants) cannot be sharply classified, a translation that exists for a language or language variant is asserted,by default, to be "from the devil" by some KJO proponents.

The entire issue, really, reduces to this simple question: How does KJO apply to other languages? Even an evolved language (such as our English) can be to some extent called "another language".

  • What KJV-only proponents think speakers of other languages should speak is a very different question from whether there are organic parallels for other languages. Both are worth asking! But you should edit this to make perfectly clear what you're asking.
    – curiousdannii
    Mar 26, 2016 at 9:43
  • Minor point: Since when is the word Bible (as in Holy Bible) not capitalized? Just wonderin'. Don Apr 16, 2017 at 20:02

2 Answers 2


One acceptable approach to KJV-Onlyists is to make a foreign translation based on the English text of the KJV.

For example, this is from Peter Ruckman:

The only LIVING BIBLE on earth today is the AV (1611), or translations made from it.

And from Brian Donovan, writing in Peter Ruckman's publication:

Any effort to translate the Bible into other languages will be right if it comes from the KJV, and wrong when it does not. It is that simple.

And Gail Riplinger:

Because the KJV is a precise and contextual accurate translation, thousands of foreign language translations were subsequently made directly from it.

And Roy Branson:

From the KJV the Bible had been translated into a multitude of other languages, thus making it the Bible God had used to reach the world.

I (happily) cannot speak for any of them, but I would suspect that KJV-Onlyists would view the translation of the KJV a necessary, though unfortunate, accommodation to non-English readers. The translation would of course only be considered accurate insofar as it accurately translated the KJV.

That said, there are some KJV-Onlyists who do not believe it is possible to have a fully-trustworthy translation of the Bible in any other language besides English. For example, Sam Gipp:

QUESTION: If there is a perfect Bible in English, doesn’t there also have to be a perfect Bible in French, and German, and Japanese, etc?

ANSWER: No. God has always given His word to one people in one language to do one job; convert the world. The supposition that there must be a perfect translation in every language is erroneous and inconsistent with God’s proven practice...

and again:

When in Mexico I tell people that the Word of God is preserved in English as the KJV 1611. The best bet would be to learn English if they want the WHOLE pure word.. a translation of the KJV into Spanish would be great but would be subject to those who learned English returning to the English to clarify the Spanish... because the Spanish KJV would only be a translation of the preserved text.

See http://www.ruckmanism.org/danger for more examples. And more from Roy Branson (if you really want to know) is at http://www.biblebelievers.com/Branson_KJV1.html

  • Does this really address the question? I understood the question to ask whether there are translations in other languages that are held up to native speakers of those languages the same way the KJV is held up to English speakers. You seem to be addressing a case where the KJV is held up to speakers of other languages. Did I misread the question?
    – guest37
    Mar 26, 2017 at 23:49

In the sense that it is considered by some to be a God-inspired translation, the Greek Septuagint may be relevant to your question. It was, as you are probably aware, a translation into Greek of the Old Testament Scriptures, undertaken by Hellenic Jews in Alexandria in the 2nd century BC.

In City of God, Book XVIII, Chapter 43, Augustine asserts the divine inspiration of the Septuagint. This belief continues to date within the Eastern Orthodox Church.

This is not to discount the Hebrew text, but since the most common extant Hebrew Text is the medieval Masoretic Text compilation, Orthodox generally trust more in the Septuagint.

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