The Baptist Pillar ©      Brandon Bible Baptist Church     1992-Present

"...The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
I Timothy 3:15

Why Some Cannot Understand

The King James Version

E. L. Bynum

Available in Tract Form. Contact the Editor

We are often told that people cannot understand the King James Version of the Bible. Certainly we would agree that some people cannot understand it and in the following paragraphs we will attempt to show why. It is our contention that the fault does not fall upon the version, but rather rests upon the reader.

The "Natural Man" Cannot Understand the KJV

"But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." (1 Corinthians 2:14) The "natural man" is the unsaved, unregenerated man. To him the Word of God will have little meaning. He may be cultured, learned and very intelligent, but until he is saved, the Bible will remain a mystery to a large extent. The unsaved man may be highly educated and even trained in philosophy and theology, but in his natural state, he will not understand God's Word.

The reason for this is clearly revealed in the Bible. Divine truths must be revealed by a divine person, that is, the Holy Spirit. "But God hath revealed them unto is by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God ... the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God." (1 Corinthians 2:10-12)

Only the saved have the Holy Spirit dwelling within them. Unfortunately, there are many religious people who have never been saved, yet they are trying to interpret the Bible and teach others. They will always have trouble in understanding the Bible, so these will often find refuge in blaming the KJV for their problems.

When you hear the propaganda that usually accompanies the introduction of a new version, you had better exercise some spiritual discernment. Often we are told of a new version that at long last we have a Bible "that everyone can understand." We have two things to say about such a statement:

(1) It is an utterly false statement, and any fair test will prove it to be so.

(2) If all or nearly all can understand it, it is proof positive that it is not the Word of God. There is big money in publishing new versions of the Bible, and many will do and say almost anything to promote their sales.

The "Carnal" Man Cannot Understand the KJV

Paul describes the "carnal" man as one that is saved, but still unable to understand much of God's message to man. "And I brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able." (1 Corinthians 3:1, 2) "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby." (1 Peter 2:2)

Babes in Christ are to be given the milk of the Word that they may grow. One purpose of spiritual growth is that the Christian may grow up to the place that he may partake of the meat of the Word. The same problem is discussed in Hebrews 5:11-14. Many of the Hebrew Christians ought to have been teachers, but they were still babes and had to be taught once again "the first principles of the oracles of God." (Read this entire passage)

The Carnal Christian is one who is still a babe spiritually. The carnal ones live a life of envy, strife etc. Unsaved members and carnal Christians are the source of most Church strife. The carnal man does not live a separated life. He finds it easy to live in the sins of the world. He may be very active religiously, but he does not and cannot understand the deep things of God. He may very well occupy the theological chair at a Bible College or a Theological Seminary. Since he does not understand the Bible, he may very well blame this on the KJV.

Among professing Christians there is a large but unknown percentage who are unsaved and therefore cannot understand the Bible. Among those that are truly saved, the majority will be found to be carnal Christians, who can understand very little of the Word because they are babes. Much of the blame for these conditions can be placed at the doorstep of the Pastor and Church.

An ear tickling message will not convict sinners, nor will babes be converted to maturity by it. The present emphasis on gimmicks and psychology in modern churches can only worsen the condition. By gimmicks and contests, unsaved people are lured into church membership without the new birth. By psychology, unsaved and carnal members are taught how to be good. God's program has largely been set aside in favor of the modern methods.

Poor Readers Find It Hard To Understand the KJV

It is absolutely appalling that in 20th century America, vast multitudes of the population are functionally illiterate. Many of these have passed through grade school, high school and even college, but they still cannot read. According to late studies, 20% or 23 million people, in America are functionally illiterate. These cannot even read newspaper help-wanted ads and understand them. How could they be expected to read and understand the Bible?

In the view of this writer, there are two principle reasons for the sad lack of reading ability among 20th century Americans. The first reason is our degenerate educational system in this country. For years, educators have followed some variation of the Dewey progressive education plan. Until this ungodly system of education is scrapped, we cannot expect much improvement.

There is very little discipline in our school system today. Very few students are ever failed, but are simply passed on to a higher grade. Everyone has the right to a diploma, whether they earn it or not. Why not deliver a high school diploma and a college degree to every baby that is born? Give it to them at birth. Then they could get an extra 20 years of use out of them. Ridiculous and absurd as it may seem, it is only a few degrees worse than some of the educational concepts today.

Television is the second reason why multitudes cannot read. The vast majority of adults and children spend very little time reading anything worthwhile. This writer has known quite a number of people who had very little formal education, but yet were excellent readers because they had spent much time in reading. According to recent surveys, the average American spends 6½ hours per day watching TV. You may be sure that the average person will have little or no time for reading after spending 6½ hours with the boob tube. No one can learn to read while watching TV, and in fact, no one can learn much of anything worthwhile on TV. People learn to lust, rape, kill, rob and as assault from TV, but little else. TV might be described as a modern device for pickling the brain without chemicals. No invention of the 20th century has proven as valuable to Satan as TV.

Spiritual People Can Understand the KJV

In between Paul's description of the "natural man" and the "carnal" man, he gives us a description of the "spiritual" man. The spiritual man is one who is saved, separated and growing in spiritual maturity while he walks with God. "...He that is spiritual judgeth all things…” and he has "the mind of Christ." (1 Corinthians 1:15, 16) The spiritual man doesn't need the counterfeit Bibles, such as: The Living Bible, The Good News Bible, The New English Bible, The Revised Standard Version, The New International Version and The New American Standard Version.

The spiritual man can understand the King James Version. In fact, he learns more than he is able to absorb. He doesn't expect the Bible to read like a newspaper or a comic book. He understands that it is a divine book, and therefore has many things that are hard to be understood. It has to be studied diligently. It has to be rightly divided. The careful student can spend a life time studying and never cease learning. We don't need a new Bible. God's people need to read and heed the Bible God has given us.

For more than 25 years (now 50 years), we have witnessed the parade of "easy to be understood Bibles." These include the RSV of 1952 and the Good News Bible of 1976. Yet, we notice those who carry, promote and read these modern versions seem to know little about the Word of God. We don't expect that to change!

Note from the Editor, Pastor John Reaves (Bible Baptist Church):

We must add something here - just because the unspiritual and the lost cannot understand the Word of God (the KJV), it does not render the Word of God of non-effect.

It convicts! Acts 2:37: "Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?"

It produces the faith to be saved! Romans 10:17: "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."

And it can bring one to salvation! Eph. 1:13: "In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise…"

One must understand that the Word of God will do its work - whether one believes it or not. II Tim 2:8, 9: "Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel: Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound…"

Dear lost person, won't you believe in the true Word of God, the King James Version?

1 Thess. 2:13: "For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe."