I had the awesome privilege over this past weekend of ministering at Logansport, Indiana, to Hillcrest Baptist Church (with Pastor Brandon Hudson, an old Maranatha classmate of mine!). I basically gave a seminar on "How we got our Bible." The people were great, very gracious, and I had a blast!
I tried to emphasize the need to avoid both the extreme of "preservation is not taught in Scripture" and that of "preservation only applies to the King James Bible." [For a decent overview of which Scriptures passages do, and probably do not, teach preservation, see William Combs' article here]. In the process, I emphasized some key differences between the two:
1. Is supernatural (personally, directly guided by the Holy Spirit),
2. Cannot involve mistakes,
3. Involved special people,
4. Does not continue once the Canon is completed,
5. Involved three languages.
1. Uses secondary means (may be Spirit-led, but not Spirit-inspired; people led by the Spirit still obviously make mistakes),
2. Involves human mistakes (see, for example, 2Kings 22:8; either human error or malicious intent had let to the Word of God being temporarily set aside; however, it was not permanently lost and cannot be permanently lost),
3. Involves all Christians everywhere (of various competency!)
4. Continues until Jesus' 2nd Coming (and maybe beyond?)
5. Involves all languages
The take-away from this is that you, personally, dear Christian, are involved in preservation (i.e., it's not something unique to the KJV translators, or those of any other translation, for that matter). Every time you quote Scripture to a brother or sister in Christ, every time you teach your children God's Word, every time you witness to a co-worker, every time you memorize the Bible--in all those instances, you, personally, are involved in preservation (regardless of how "good" or "competent" you are, and regardless of whether or not you make mistakes).
So, Christian, get busy preserving God's Word!
I leave you with this quote which demonstrates that the King James translators themselves had solid grasp of the fact that their new translation was not the only preserved Word of God:
"Now to the latter we answer, that we do not deny,
nay we affirm and avow, that the very meanest translation of the Bible
in English set forth by men of our
profession contained the word of God, nay, is the word of God: as the
King's speech which he uttered in Parliament, being translated in French, Dutch, Italian, and Latin, is
still the King's speech, though it be not interpreted by every translator with
the like grace, nor peradventure, so fitly for phrase, or so expressly for
(From “The Translators to the Reader,” the preface
to the King James Bible)