Let us look at a favorite verse that the KJV Onlyist loves to use in the defense of their position.
The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. – Psalms 12:6 KJV
They then follow this with
Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever. – Psalms 12:7 KJV
Even in the NewKJV we read:
The words of the LORD are pure words, Like silver tried in a furnace of earth, Purified seven times. You shall keep them, O LORD, You shall preserve them from this generation forever. – Psalms 12:6-7 NewKJV
This sounds like it supports their contention that the KJV is the “pure and preserved” word of God. The difficulty is that these two verses have been taken out of the context in which they were penned, namely the 12th Psalm, written By King David to be played on an 8-Stringed Harp.
Until the KJV Onlyist began using this as their proof text for support of their argument, this was seen in a different light. Careful analysis of the verse in context also reveals a different understanding.
In the first, I can find commentators that either totally ignore the KJV Onlyist position, or suggest something otherwise in the understanding of this verse. I challenge a KJV Onlyist to show a commentator prior to, say mid 1800’s that presents the KJV Onlyist position on this verse.
Verse 6 is in praise of the trustworthiness of Gods promise, or rather His oath, set forth in verse 5
For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now will I arise, saith the LORD; I will set him in safety from him that puffeth at him. – Psalms 12:5 KJV
It is not a declaration about the written Bible, then, nor now. It is about the reliability of God to carry out His declaration. Is what God has promised to the poor and needy unworthy, untrue? Is God a liar?
Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar. As it is written: “THAT YOU MAY BE JUSTIFIED IN YOUR WORDS, AND MAY OVERCOME WHEN YOU ARE JUDGED.” – Romans 3:4 NewKJV
The words of the LORD are pure words, Like silver tried in a furnace of earth, Purified seven times. – Psalms 12:6 NewKJV
What then, what promise will God keep?
You shall keep them, O LORD, You shall preserve them from this generation forever. – Psalms 12:7 NewKJV
In context, the “them” is not the “words”, but the “poor” and “needy” in verse 5. It is His promise to protect them (poor and needy), to set them (poor and needy) in safety, and they can trust this because what He declares is pure, more so than silver purified 7 times in the furnace.
Reading this in the KJV, or the NewKJV in context… in other words starting with Verse 1 and reading through to the end, this understanding of what David is singing about, what God has penned becomes more evident:
To the Chief Musician.
On An Eight-Stringed Harp.
A Psalm of David.
Help, LORD, for the godly man ceases!
For the faithful disappear from among the sons of men.
They speak idly everyone with his neighbor;
With flattering lips and a double heart they speak.
May the LORD cut off all flattering lips,
And the tongue that speaks proud things,
Who have said,
“With our tongue we will prevail;
Our lips are our own;
Who is lord over us?”
“For the oppression of the poor,
for the sighing of the needy,
Now I will arise,” says the LORD;
“I will set him in the safety for which he yearns.”
The words of the LORD are pure words,
Like silver tried in a furnace of earth,
Purified seven times.
You shall keep them, O LORD,
You shall preserve them from this generation forever.
The wicked prowl on every side,
When vileness is exalted among the sons of men.
– Psalms 12:1-8 NewKJV
If you have the desire or the ability to read this in the Hebrew, you will discover that the “them” in verse 7 means “you-shall-preserve-us” and “you-shall-guard-them” both linking back to the poor and needy in verse 5.
Yes, we do see that what God says is truth, and that His will does come to pass, and that what He has to say to us, in whatever language is pure. But, this passage does not state that the word, the English words of the KJV are preserved forever.
Which brings me to the words “generation forever”. This is applied, once again, to the poor and needy. It is a promise that for their generation, their life span, God will always preserve them and keep them and guard them… set them in safety for which they yearn. “Forever”? Yes, always shall God be the defender of the lest, the last, and the lost… he shall always Arise and set him in safety.