The King James Version Debate: A Plea for Realism
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The King James Version Debate: A Plea for Realism

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  115 ratings  ·  19 reviews
The author addresses laypeople and pastors with a concise explanation of the science of textual criticism and refutes the proposition that the King James Version is superior to contemporary translations.
Paperback, 128 pages
Published March 1st 1978 by Baker Academic (first published January 1st 1978)
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In this critique of the King James Version Only movement, Carson nails the technical issues but perhaps misses his target audience in doing so. Though some proponents of KJVO do engage in strenuous debate over text types, transmission habits, and the like, most people who believe in it do so for much simpler existential reasons. For them, KJVO doctrine offers a simple, practical solution to questions of authority. The lack of attention to these concerns, which receive cursory treatment in the mi...more
Thomas Kinsfather
If you grew up King James Only, as I did, then this is a must read. Carson writes about a complex and nuanced issue with clarity in language that anyone could grasp. Clear and to the point. THis book helped me to let go of many myths and misunderstandings I had surrounding the King James Bible.
This book is very useful introduction to the whole debate over whether or not the King James Version is the best (or, according to some, the only valid) Bible version.

Carson gives very good arguments that this is not the case, that instead, there is a reason why modern translations don't rely on the same set of manuscripts as the KJV, and does a good job of addressing many of the arguments I have commonly seen used by proponents of the King James only view. It's not that hard of a view to refute...more
Wow... I have an even greater respect for Carson after reading this book. He and Tim Keller both are worth emulating in their consistent pursuit of humility, listening and thinking carefully to many sides of an issue and suspending judgment where it's appropriate (but not afraid to state the truth boldly when it's warranted). I came away from this book with a much better understanding of some of the issues behind translation, but probably more importantly, with a much better understanding of how...more
Justin Dillehay
I gave it three stars because I "liked it." I gave it three rather than four or five because even though it was a fine read, James White's "The King James Only Controversy" far outstrips it in value as a guide on this subject. But Carson's work is definitely worth having, and reading at least once (it's only 100 pages long).
I read this last summer in preparation for my ordination because I got tired of not knowing as much about the KJV as I should. Its a bit dated, and you can tell by Carson talking about the upcoming completion of the NIV translation but informative and brief.
Who is this book for: It is worth reading if you are a die hard KJV. If you are anti KJV. And if you don't care either way but would like to know more about Bible translating, and how the NT text has transferred over the last 2000 years. DA Carson does a fantastic job explaining how textual critics go about insuring that we have the most accurate Bible possible. He explains in simple language his position on the KJV debate, and does it inoffensively. Most of all he educates his readers. This alo...more
Todd Bryant
Good book with solid information. It is a little outdated for 2014 however. That said, definitely worth the read.
Christopher  Waugh
Thoughtful, erudite and helpful, this short polemic is a great starter for those who wish to begin the study of textual criticism. Carson is somewhat biased in his analysis, but offers a great deal of clarity on the historical flow of textual traditions. All that being said, one can trust the KJV as a sound translation, albeit one must study the Elizabethan vocabulary to understand it. My recommendation is that of the English Standard Version, being a formal equivalence translation, in modern da...more
a must read not only for those who are KJV only, but for all who want to understand more about the history and theory of translation and the manuscripts for various readings! very good!
Jul 27, 2011 James added it
Carson, a big name in theological studies, is capable of great writing. This work from 1979, however, will not knock your socks off. It is, above all else I believe, fair. Carson intentionally avoids emotive argument and "gotcha" polemic. The book is much more academic than popularly written, but will be the one I recommend to those interested in the English translations debate until I find a better one.
Paul Lawrence
A concise and clear picture of the textual criticism of the NT. Combined with simple arguments as to why the KJV is not the only inspired English text for us today, but also why this particular issue should not be a reason to divide the brethren.

An effective argument that for my money settles the "dispute"
This book should put the KJV only controversy to rest. Carson convincingly shows how the KJV is based on inferior manuscripts and that modern translation not only can be trusted but many are more accurate than the KJV!
Mike Hyatt
It is decent. I would recommend James White's "The King James Only Controversy" over this one if you had to choose. This book does a good job of summarizing the various arguments the KJV Only crowd uses.
William Dicks
While this is a good introduction to the problems with the King James Only idea and its underlying manuscripts, I would rather suggest "The King James Only Controversy" by James R. White.
Chris Krycho
Probably the best argument for inclusive language translations I've come across. I'm not persuaded, but Carson is far more compelling than the feminist arguments.
Wyatt Houtz
Helpful introduction to KJV debate and a powerful polemic.
Zack marked it as to-read
Sep 16, 2014
Mandi marked it as to-read
Aug 16, 2014
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Don (D. A.) Carson (b. 1946) - Reformed evangelical at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. His theology is similar to that of Wayne Grudem except on charismatic issues, where his view may be described as "open but cautious." Carson's tendency is to strive for balance and amicability in disputes but is uncompromising on the essentials of the faith. He is a complementarian but supports gender-neutr...more
More about D.A. Carson...
Exegetical Fallacies An Introduction to the New Testament The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God A Call to Spiritual Reformation: Priorities from Paul and His Prayers Scandalous: The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus

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