KJV Onlyism is the belief that the King James, or 1611 Authorized edition, is the only version that should be used today.
This does not mean it is simply the version one prefers, but that all other versions are corrupt.
It's nothing but a ridiculous conspiracy theory and needless division of the Body. Because of that, I see it as a dangerous cult that needs to be rebuked.
Now, they say that the "modern corruptions" take out the deity of Christ, and this or that verse is removed (yet still in the footnotes), and all sorts of other accusations.
My answer to that is, how then, do I know about the diety of Christ, and have a basic Biblical knowledge if all that is true? I mean, if it's really that dangerous, there must be some resultant heresy of doctrine due to this, right?
Well, none have been able to show me evidence of this. Heresy is not resultant upon which version of the Bible one uses. Oh, there are bad versions, such as the NWT, which has been tampered with in order to reflect the JW heretical doctrine.
But for the most part, the normal versions, NIV, ESV, NASB, HCSB, NLT, NKJV, and KJV are great for comparison.
No language translates exactly to another, so it is interesting to see which ones are translated differently, such as "gird your loins" or "get dressed". Same meaning, different words, and no change in the context or doctrine.
The KJV does this as well. Different committees translated the same word differently, such as the 6th Commandment, in Matthew says, "You shall not murder", but in Romans it states, "You shall not kill." Not a big difference, but the same word, translated two different ways!
The KJV is not without minor copyist error, just like any other version. Which is why it's a good idea to compare them.
This is actually a good thing, and what ensures us that no one person could have corrupted the Word. There were too many manuscripts, too early, that were dispersed in order to get the Good News out. No one could have gathered them all up to make some doctrinal change in every single one. Minor copyist error? Sure. But in comparing what we have, those can be overcome and do not affect doctrine.
We have also learned more in recent years. Have you heard of the Grandville Sharp Construction? In the 19th century, Grandville Sharp recognized some rules in Greek language, rules which are now named after him. These Greek grammar rules were discovered AFTER the KJV was printed, so it obviously would not be translated as clearly as we can do today.
Since the 1930's we've discovered manuscripts much closer to the originals with papyrus manuscripts from the 2nd century, that were not avialable in King James' time.
The KJOnlyists often appeal to the 400 years that it was considered the standard. However, the Latin Vulgate was the language of the people and used for 1100 years.
When Erasmus came out with a new version, he faced the same type of opposition as we see with the KJOnlyists against other versions today, only with an 1100 year standard instead of only 400.
The KJV was opposed when it first came out, and it certainly wasn't even the first English version. The pilgrims detested the KJV, calling it a liberal bible. They much preferred the Geneva Bible,dated to 1560, which was a revision of Tyndale's Bible and the Great Bible on the basis of the original languages.
I'm really not sure why the KJV is picked by the cult following, rather than an older English version.
The King James Version was derived principally from early editions of the Greek text compiled by Erasmus (1469-1536), who was a Roman Catholic priest, and he had to make choices in choosing the texts he would use.
And the committees used printed editions, not manuscripts when putting together the KJV.
While the King James Version is a decent translation, and quite adequate for learning the truth of the Gospel, if you like the old English language, we should realize that numerous additional ancient resources have gone into constructing the more modern Greek texts.
Thus, we see that the KJOnly position is quite misguided, thinking that the KJV is the only, or even the best, English translation.