If the point of Bible reading were Anglophilic enculturation or Early Modern English decoding practice, then giving people KJVs would be ideal. But if the point is understanding what God said, then people should be given the Bible in their English, not someone else’s.
Mark Ward, The Gospel Coalition
This sort of rhetoric is little better than the overblown statements of King James Onlyists. It’s just the opposite extreme. It is all too common to see people arguing against King James Onlyism fall into the opposite extreme in their rhetoric. We must always keep in mind that the problem with King James Onlyism is not that its adherents use the King James Bible. It’s the fact that they ascribe equal or greater authority to a translation over that of the original Hebrew and Greek texts.
People who demand the Bible they and others read be in the “street speak” of our day should consider the following…
The Greeks did not constantly update the Greek New Testament to conform it to the latest trends. They continued to use the Koine Greek of the New Testament in their Bibles and courts long after their language had shifted to Medieval Greek (and thusly preserved the original text down to the time of The Reformation).
The Hebrews likewise continued to educate themselves in the Hebrew tongue for the sake of the Scripture long after they were speaking Aramaic, else the Hebrew Old Testament would have been lost to us.
Now I don’t mean to say we need to always use the KJV after our language makes it incomprehensible, for we are not preserving the fontes (note: it is not incomprehensible to literate readers). However, this notion that God’s people read the Bible in their “everyday street language” was only true of the original language texts for 2-3 generations. After that, as the Greek and Hebrew changed with subsequent generations, they were reading a text that would have been “archaic” to them. If you look at the history of the texts, this means that well over 95% of believers who read from the original language texts were reading an “archaic” text.
All this to say, there is absolutely nothing wrong with reading from an older, archaic, well received text. Likewise, there is nothing wrong with reading from a reliable, contemporary translation. There are ample reasons to argue for either kind of translation. I would argue that the Christian who wants to be best read in Scripture study with BOTH.
I would also argue that there is reason for the English speaking church to desire a standard translation and that the King James Version remains the most well fit for that task, but that is a different post.