QUESTION: Is the King James Bible inspired or preserved?
ANSWER: The original autographs were inspired. The King James Bible is those same autographs preserved up to today.
EXPLANATION: The best way to simply describe inspiration and preservation of the Bible is as follows:
Inspiration is when God takes a blank piece of paper (papyrus, vellum, etc.) and uses men to write His words.
Preservation is when God takes those words already written and uses men to preserve them to today.
Both of these actions are DIVINE and are assured by God as recorded in Psalm 12:6, 7.
6 "The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.
7 Thou shalt keep them, 0 LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever."
In Psalm 12:6 God assures us that His originals are perfect. Even though penned by fallible men with the heinous sins of; murder (Moses and David), adultery (David), idolatry (Solomon), and denial of the lord (Peter), God's words are untainted by the sins of the penmen.
That the originals were inspired perfect in their entirety is an undisputed belief among fundamentalists today.
But most fundamentalists argue that only the "originals” were perfect. They say that today we have nothing but copies and translations of those copies. They seem indignant at the thought that any "mere translation" should be considered a perfect copy of the originals. They claim that copies and translations are products of uninspired men and therefore must all contain mistakes.
Fundamentalists clinging to this tenet are mislead. Their folly in accepting this erroneous teaching is fourfold.
1. It is somewhat confusing and unexplainable that a person could claim that God could not use, sinful men to preserve His words when all fundamentalists believe that he used sinful men to write His inspired words. Certainly a God who had enough power to inspire His words would also have enough power to preserve them. I highly doubt that He has lost such ability over the years.
2. Why would God inspire the originals and then lose them? Why give a perfect Bible to men like Peter, John, James, Andrew and company and not us? They had seen, heard, and touched the Lord (I John 1:1). We haven't! If anyone ever needed a perfect Bible it is us, nearly two thousand years separated from a Saviour we have never seen!
Why did God inspire a perfect original if He didn't plan on preserving it? Couldn't He have afforded some error, in His originals just as some believe He has allowed some errors in today's Bible! Or do critics of God's perfect Bible believe that God was unable to prevent errors in the copies. It would seem like only half of a God who had the power to do one but not the other.
3. It is a "convenient" faith which cannot be tested. In other words, it is rather safe to believe in a perfect set of originals which have been LOST. Since they are lost, no one can ever practically challenge such a belief. Adherents to such a shallow persuasion can rest safely in the fact that they will never be proven wrong since the evidence needed to prove them wrong (the "originals") is lost.
But if they dare put the same faith in a Bible available today, they know that they will definitely be bloodied defending their faith.
Thus, to believe in a perfect set of originals, but not to believe in a perfect English Bible, is to believe nothing at all.
4. Regardless of their arguments against the doctrine of a preserved perfect Bible, such a fact as much guaranteed by Scripture as the bodily return of Jesus Christ (Acts 1:8).
Psalm 12:7 plainly states, thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever."
Thus we have God promising to preserve the same words that He inspired. Not too much of a feat to overwhelm such an omnipotent Being.
The fearful fundamentalist launches two attacks on the Scriptural teaching found in Psalm 12:7.
1. They claim, "Verse 7 is talking about the Jews, not the Bible." Then to add credence to their claim they rush out and publish a translation that says just that in Psalm 12:7. Let's look at this verse in the New International Version.
"O LORD, you will keep us safe and protect us from such people forever."
This is an irresponsible and dishonest translation. The Hebrew word "shamar" meaning "to keep" which the New International Version translators render "you will keep us" is found in the future second person singular "thou shalt keep" and is directed to the THIRD person plural "them" and NOT the first person plural "us" as the New International Version translators rendered it. Thus we see it is the King James, God’s perfect, preserved Bible which has accurately preserved the reading of the originals, not the unreliable New International Version.
Psalm 12:7 is not God's promise to preserve the Jews, a promise which flourishes elsewhere in Scripture. It is God’s promise to preserve His words, and is a direct reference to those words as described in Psalm 12:6.
2. Oftimes a Christian, whose faith is too weak to accept the literal truth of Psalm 12:6, 7, will piously quote Psalm 119:89.
“For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.” Then they will state that God actually meant that He preserved His perfect Bible in Heaven, not on Earth. And they say this with a straight face! This escape to a house of straw is embarrassingly humorous.
First, it is foolish for anyone to believe that God inspired a perfect original on earth so that He could have it brought to Heaven. Is that supposed to be the reason that He wrote the originals? The answer is embarrassingly simple. The Bible is addressed to man, not God. God did not write a perfect book directed to man and then put it in a library in Heaven where man cannot benefit from its existence. Again we ask, "What good to us, here and now, is a perfect book locked up out of reach in Heaven?"
Secondly, Psalm 12:6 makes reference to His words being on earth. To preserve them somewhere other than on earth is not to preserve them at all. So we see then that God inspired the originals perfectly. Then over the centuries He has preserved those same word today. They are found in the Authorized Version.
In the area of "inspired translations" it might be noted that the double truth of Genesis 22:8 which in a King James Bible is plainly revealed as a prophetic reference to Jesus Christ, is lost in such weak translations as the New King James, the New International Version, and the New American Standard Version.