The King James Version Debate

The King James Version Debate: A Plea for Realism

D. A. Carson, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, 1985 (reprinted), 128 pages, paper, $4.50.

Reviewed by Thomas A. Davis, retired editor.

From early in my ministry I have seen books and pamphlets claiming that only the King James Version is acceptable as the Word of God. This same point of view is being urged by some Seventh-day Adventists.

Not having the academic background to investigate those claims adequately, but convinced that the picture was not as clear as the KJV proponents said, I looked for material that would help me see the other side of the debate. I found very little that addressed the problem until this book came to my attention.

The King James Version Debate has two parts. In part one the author looks at arguments used by KJV advocates to show that the manuscripts behind the KJV are more reliable. The heart of this section is its last chapter, "Fourteen Theses," in which 14 statements are made that take issue with those arguments. Each dissenting statement is sustained by what this reader feels to be solid proofs. The second part of the book ex amines claims that the KJV is a more accurate translation than the modern versions.

In dealing with this subject, Carson, professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, uses an approach that is sympathetic, low-key, but frank.

Written with a minimum of technical terminology, The King James Version Debate is designed for students, pastors, and laypersons who have little knowledge of the primary literature but desire reliable information to help them see the "other side of the coin."

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Reviewed by Thomas A. Davis, retired editor.

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