Preaching KJV to “avoid stumbling”?

A preacher was recently discussing with a radio personality the application of Paul’s teaching in 1 Corinthians about not causing others to stumble.

The preacher explained that he much prefers, both for his own use and for preaching preparation, the ESV or (gasp!) even The Message, which he is always quick to explain is merely “commentary” (you may anticipate another post about that later).

The preacher also explained that many people in his congregation have grown up with the KJV, memorized verses in KJV, and enjoy the literary vibrancy and meter of the KJV. Therefore, due to Paul’s admonition not to cause others to stumble, the preacher uses the KJV whenever he is in the pulpit.

Several questions come to mind.

1. Is this proper interpretation? That is, is a congregant’s dislike of a version of Scripture equate to the “weaker brother” in Paul’s admonition, such that using an unpopular version from the pulpit equates to “causing them to stumble”?

2. Similarly, who is to be kept from stumbling? That is, in any given congregation there will be more than one favored version of Scripture. If the preacher uses KJV to keep KJV-lovers from stumbling, what about those who prefer the NIV, the NLT, the RSV? Do we presume that they do not stumble, or that their stumbling is less problematic than that of the KJVers?

3. Is this appropriate pulpit stewardship? That is, even if the preacher’s use of a particular version of Scripture does not call into play issues of stumbling, should he use a version that he does not like in order to satisfy some who like it?

Comments and insights (and insightful comments) are welcome.

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