KJVO Issues with Hebrews 1:6

I frequently run into KJVOs (King James Onlyists) who cannot seem to understand why nullifies their belief that “the King James is the one and only perfectly true pure and preserved word of God, and all other modern translations are corrupt.” Hopefully this article will shed some useful light on this question.

The Three I’s

But before we get into the details, I need to lay out our common ground:

  • All conservative Christians affirm that the authors of the Bible wrote the Inspired, Inerrant and Infallible Word of God.
  • We all believe that it’s been copied thousands of times by fallible humans, and it’s been translated hundreds of times by fallible humans.
  • We all believe that after 2,000 years of translating and copying, you’ll end up with lots of very subtle (and some not-so-subtle) differences between the various translations that are out there.

The archaeological evidence for these points overwhelming, readily displayed in many museums in the US, Britain, and Israel, in particular. Denying these facts requires the same stubbornness as denying the earth is round.

So the question is this: where is that Inspired, Inerrant and Infallible Word of God that Jesus promised would never pass away ()? Are all copies corrupt? Or is the perfectly preserved Word of God to be found in the NIV? The ESV? The NASB? The KJV? The Latin Vulgate? The Dead Sea Scrolls? The Greek Septuagint OT? Some yet-to-be-discovered manuscript? …or somewhere else entirely?

Better still, does the Bible itself tell us where this perfectly preserved Word can be found?

I believe it does:

[+] LORD, Your word is forever; it is firmly fixed in heaven. ()

Nowhere else in the Bible can I find any other mention of where God’s perfectly preserved word is kept. The only mention is “in heaven”.

But Do Perfectly Preserved Copies Exist on Earth?

As humans, we all know that any time a human is involved in manually copying or translating a passage, we run the risk of messing up the copy (especially if a computer is doing the language translation!). It doesn’t necessarily mean something was actually lost, of course, but we don’t want to be shallow and assume nothing was lost. Risk increases if the passage is a long one, or if the passage assumes the writer and reader share the same cultural context, as the author will inevitably utilize shared cultural ques in his communication that will be lost on a reader unfamiliar with the author’s language and cultural context. This happens a lot in prophetic and poetic passages.

Sidebar: Here’s a fun example of something getting lost in translation.

Print these two lines on a 3×5 card and show them to anyone who attended an American elementary school:

Twinkle, twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are
Q, R, S, T, U, V. W, X, Y and Z

The average person will read it and laugh because although the two lines have completely different meaning and context, they are joined because they share the same musical tune.  But show it to someone like my mother (who became deaf at a young age), and she won’t see anything here that’s interesting, let alone funny. Because of her deafness, music is purely an abstract concept, and plays no real part in her world. She’ll see this as a mostly meaningless and abstract collection of words and letters. Something will have been lost to her as she reads these lines.

Translate it to Swahili, Yoruba, or Kirundi and show it to my African friends. Although they will understand exactly what each word means, like my mother, they’ll also completely miss the significance of how these lines relate to each other, and will see nothing humorous about it at all. Something will have been lost in translation.

Better still, try translating it to a logosyllabic or logographic language (eg, Mandarin, Cantonese, Egyptian hieroglyphics, etc). It can’t be done, as these languages don’t have translations for our alphabets. Indeed, something (if not the whole thing) will be lost in translation.

In short, the further apart the cultures, the more difficult it is to faithfully translate a written work. And the more likely something (even if it’s small) will be lost in translation. That’s the way humans are.

The Real Question for KJVOs

While all this is nice and well, we want to get back to the real question: Has something been lost in the KJV, and if so, can this be demonstrated by examining the KJV alone? The answer is an emphatic ‘yes’. We can see this in the way the KJV handles NT quotations of OT passages. These discrepancies arise because the NT authors frequently quoted from the Septuagint. (The Septuagint is the Greek translation of the OT Hebrew Scriptures, written about 150 years before Christ. The abbreviation for the Septuagint is “LXX”.)

Because the KJV translators rejected the Septuagint translations as corrupt, the KJV NT has authors referring to things that aren’t actually in the KJV OT. But please note: No essential doctrines are at stake. The only thing at stake is the claim that the KJV is the one and only perfectly preserved Word of God. If it were perfectly preserved, the NT authors would accurately quote the OT passages.

Here’s one of the best examples of this problem.

In , the author is explaining to his audience that Jesus is the Son of God (v1). To make the point, he quotes repeatedly from the OT. Here’s the passage copy/pasted directly from the 1769 KJV:

v4) Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. v5) For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? v6) And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him. v7) And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. v8) But unto the Son [he saith], Thy throne, O God, [is] for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness [is] the sceptre of thy kingdom. v9) Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, [even] thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. ( KJV)

Question: What passages are being quoted?
Answer: Various passages.

v4) Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.

v5) For unto which of the angels said he at any time, “Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee?” [quoting b ” …Thou [art] my Son; this day have I begotten thee.”]
And again, “I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?” [quoting a “I will be his father, and he shall be my son.”]

v6) And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, “And let all the angels of God worship him.”  [quoting ????]

v7) And of the angels he saith, “Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.” [quoting “Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire” ]

v8) But unto the Son [he saith], “Thy throne, O God, [is] for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness [is] the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, [even] thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.” [quoting “Thy throne, O God, [is] for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom [is] a right sceptre. Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.” ]

As we can see, the NT author of Hebrews is carefully and accurately quoting a variety of OT passages to make his point. But where did the author get v6’s “And let all the angels of God worship Him”? That’s nowhere to be found in the KJV OT. There’s one passage that comes close:

[+] Confounded be all they that serve graven images, that boast themselves of idols: worship him, all [ye] gods. ()

But as you can see, that’s not a direct quote. So did the author of Hebrews slip up or make it up? ..or did he get it from somewhere else?

If we look at the Septuagint and the Dead Sea Scrolls, we’ll see that is indeed a direct quote taken from . Here’s the Septuagint, translated to English (It reads the exact same from the Dead Sea Scrolls):

[+] Rejoice, ye heavens, with him, and let all the angels of God worship him; rejoice ye Gentiles, with his people, and let all the sons of God strengthen themselves in him; for he will avenge the blood of his sons, and he will render vengeance, and recompense justice to his enemies, and will reward them that hate him; and the Lord shall purge the land of his people. ( LXXe)

Let’s compare the LXX to the KJV:

[+] Rejoice, O ye nations, [with] his people: […omitted phrases…] for he will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance to his adversaries, and will be merciful unto his land, [and] to his people. ()

As we can see, the KJV OT is clearly missing the phrase that Hebrews is quoting. If you’re a KJVOnlyist, this should deeply disturb you. Why did the author of Hebrews have this phrase in his Bible, yet the KJV translators removed it from their Bible?

The answer is simple: The oldest and best Hebrew manuscripts do not have that phrase in . So not only is it missing in the KJV, it’s also missing in the ASV, ESV, Geneva, HCSB, LSG (French Bible), NASB, NET, NIV and NKJV. All these translations, like the KJV translators, hold the LXX in low regard due to its many mistakes. And well they should have, because many of the mistakes in the LXX are painfully obvious (eg, genealogies). But the fact that quotes from the LXX means that that specific verse is to be handled as part of the Inspired, Inerrant, Infallible Word of God, not left on the cutting room floor.

There are dozens of examples of NT authors quoting the LXX instead of the Hebrew OT. Again, none of these citations involve issues of doctrinal significance, but if a person is unprepared for the discussion, or entrenched in KJVO traditionalism, it can be a jarring thing to consider. This exercise points to the complexity of textual criticism, and how mature believers need to slow down and be careful when we’re talking about what “infallibility” means.

Is the KJV a good translation? Yes! It’s rather good.

But is it the “perfectly preserved” Word of God?

Obviously not.


And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says,

“Let all God’s angels worship him.” (ESV)

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I will tell of the decree:
The Lord said to me, “You are my Son;
today I have begotten you. (ESV)

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And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says,

“Let all God’s angels worship him.” (ESV)


43 “Rejoice with him, O heavens;
bow down to him, all gods,
for he avenges the blood of his children
and takes vengeance on his adversaries.
He repays those who hate him
and cleanses his people’s land.” (ESV)


43 “Rejoice with him, O heavens;
bow down to him, all gods,
for he avenges the blood of his children
and takes vengeance on his adversaries.
He repays those who hate him
and cleanses his people’s land.” (ESV)


43 “Rejoice with him, O heavens;
bow down to him, all gods,
for he avenges the blood of his children
and takes vengeance on his adversaries.
He repays those who hate him
and cleanses his people’s land.” (ESV)


43 “Rejoice with him, O heavens;
bow down to him, all gods,
for he avenges the blood of his children
and takes vengeance on his adversaries.
He repays those who hate him
and cleanses his people’s land.” (ESV)


5:1 This is the book of the generations of Adam. When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man when they were created. When Adam had lived 130 years, he fathered a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth. The days of Adam after he fathered Seth were 800 years; and he had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days that Adam lived were 930 years, and he died.

When Seth had lived 105 years, he fathered Enosh. Seth lived after he fathered Enosh 807 years and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Seth were 912 years, and he died.

When Enosh had lived 90 years, he fathered Kenan. 10 Enosh lived after he fathered Kenan 815 years and had other sons and daughters. 11 Thus all the days of Enosh were 905 years, and he died.

12 When Kenan had lived 70 years, he fathered Mahalalel. 13 Kenan lived after he fathered Mahalalel 840 years and had other sons and daughters. 14 Thus all the days of Kenan were 910 years, and he died.

15 When Mahalalel had lived 65 years, he fathered Jared. 16 Mahalalel lived after he fathered Jared 830 years and had other sons and daughters. 17 Thus all the days of Mahalalel were 895 years, and he died.

18 When Jared had lived 162 years he fathered Enoch. 19 Jared lived after he fathered Enoch 800 years and had other sons and daughters. 20 Thus all the days of Jared were 962 years, and he died.

21 When Enoch had lived 65 years, he fathered Methuselah. 22 Enoch walked with God after he fathered Methuselah 300 years and had other sons and daughters. 23 Thus all the days of Enoch were 365 years. 24 Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.

25 When Methuselah had lived 187 years, he fathered Lamech. 26 Methuselah lived after he fathered Lamech 782 years and had other sons and daughters. 27 Thus all the days of Methuselah were 969 years, and he died.

28 When Lamech had lived 182 years, he fathered a son 29 and called his name Noah, saying, “Out of the ground that the Lord has cursed this one shall bring us relief from our work and from the painful toil of our hands.” 30 Lamech lived after he fathered Noah 595 years and had other sons and daughters. 31 Thus all the days of Lamech were 777 years, and he died.

32 After Noah was 500 years old, Noah fathered Shem, Ham, and Japheth. (ESV)


And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says,

“Let all God’s angels worship him.” (ESV)


43 “Rejoice with him, O heavens;
bow down to him, all gods,
for he avenges the blood of his children
and takes vengeance on his adversaries.
He repays those who hate him
and cleanses his people’s land.” (ESV)

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