The KJV Only movement is a belief on the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible – also known as the Authorised Version (AV) or the Authorised King James Version (AKJV) – that ranges from preferring it over other, later translations, to the belief that it’s inspired, perfect, and superior to the original Hebrew & Greek texts, and that all other translations are intentionally corrupt, satanic, and unreliable. The former is of course entirely a matter of personal preference & opinion, and you won’t hear criticism of it from me. The latter on the other hand… well, that’s the focus of this article.
First, some historic background (although most will be at least partly familiar with it: following his coronation as King of England and Ireland in 1604, King James I (VI of Scotland) commissioned a new translation of the Bible into English. The project was handed over to committees – each of which translated a separate portion of the Bible – which separately completed their work in 1608. The translation was subject to review, and finally completed and published in 1611. A longer and more detailed (and very interesting – to those interested in history and/or the Bible) discussion of the KJV’s origin and history can be found here:
It’s worth noting that there have been a number of changes to the KJV of the 4 centuries since its publishing – mostly grammatical, although the most drastic was the removal of 14 of the books in the original translation – commonly known as the Apocrypha – in the 1600s, made official in the 1800s.
But those who insist that the committees that translated the KJV were inspired by YEHOVAH/God – and that the 1611 KJV is inerrant – will almost always use a later edition, and will almost always REJECT the Apocrypha, despite it’s inclusion in the “inerrant” 1611 translation. Major piece of hypocrisy, right there.
(Before continuing, allow me to clarify: I have nothing against the KJV; however, it’s just a translation, and like any translation, isn’t perfect.)
Here’s a good summary be Trevin Wax:
Occasionally, someone will ask me what I think about the King James Only controversy raging in some of the fundamentalist circles of independent Baptist life. Having grown up around many KJV-Onlyers, I can only express sadness that the conservative independent Baptists continue to separate from each other over unimportant matters.
The fundamentalist movement is cocooning itself into a safe web of tradition that will eventually squeeze the very life out of it. It used to be that independent Baptists separated themselves from other Christians over important doctrines, such as the virgin birth of Christ or the inspiration of the Scriptures. Today, the independents are separating, even among themselves, over issues such as Bible translations, music style, and dress.
Rising to the forefront of the fundamentalist squabbles is the King James Only controversy. Some groups are claiming that this is the hill on which to die, the main issue by which to tell a fundamentalist from a liberal.
So what is it anyway? The King James Only controversy is essentially a conspiracy theory that claims that all modern translations of Scripture are based on tainted manuscripts and that their translators are driven by a liberal Protestant or Roman Catholic (or even one-world government) agenda. This theory manifests itself in various forms, some of which are more extreme than others.
KJV Only Arguments
1. The King James Version is based on the “Majority Text” over against the modern versions that are based on the corrupt “Alexandrian Texts.” Response: Most of the Byzantine texts used by the King James translators come from the 11th and 12th centuries. We have since discovered many older and more reliable manuscripts, which are closer to the original writings of the Bible authors. By comparing the earlier manuscripts to the later ones, we can see how the flourishes and additions of scribes can corrupt a text over time, leading us to believe that many of the “Alexandrian manuscripts” are closer to the originals and the majority of Byzantine texts altered. If the controversy were truly a textual issue, one wonders why the Greek scholars in the KJV camp have not come up with a modern English translation based on the texts they deem “inspired.” The textual issue is actually a smokescreen which hides the true reason for rejecting modern versions: any update of the KJV is considered tampering with God’s Word.
2. The modern translations attack the deity of Christ by removing references to his lordship. Response: The Byzantine texts have the additional “Lord” and “Christ” added to the name of Jesus in many places where the older, more reliable texts do not. These are most surely the results of ambitious scribes, seeking to show reverence to the Savior or simply making mistakes in copying manuscripts. There are many examples where the deity of Christ is made clearer in modern translations than in the KJV. (Jude 4, Phil. 2:6-7, Acts 16:7, 1 Peter 3:14-15, John 14:14)
3. Heretics, occultists and homosexuals were on the translation committees of modern versions. Response: This is an all-out attack on the character of faithful believers who have sought to use their linguistic skills in offering an accurate translation of the Scriptures. The biblical linguist B.F. Westcott is consistently attacked, due to negligence in confusing him with the spiritualist W.W. Westcott. If there is anyone whose salvation should be questioned due to their “fruit,” it would be some of the extremist KJV Only advocates, whose polemic, vicious rhetoric is not becoming of a believer in Christ.
4. The modern translations delete verses from the Bible. Response: Based on the older and more reliable manuscripts, the modern translations have simply sought to reflect what was contained in the original manuscripts. It is just as serious to add to Scripture, as it is to take away from Scripture. The starting-point for KJV Only advocates is that the KJV is the standard to which all other translations must bow, which is also the position they seek to prove. Thus, they employ circular reasoning that will not allow them to see any other position as possibly correct.
5. The 1611 Authorized Version is the preserved Word of God in English. Response: No one today reads from the 1611 version, which also included the Apocrypha. The 1769 revision is the most common version of the King James translation, and this one includes thousands of differences compared to the original.
6. The modern translations promote a “works-salvation.” Response: Virtually all of today’s cults (excepting the Jehovah’s Witnesses) prefer the King James version over the rest, including the Mormons, who also preach a “works-salvation.” Of course, this does not negate the worth of the King James version, but we could use this argument if we were to employ the same tactics of the KJV Only crowd. Compare Revelation 22:14: Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. (KJV) Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. (ESV) If we were to use the KJV Only logic, we could assume on the basis of this verse that the King James translators were conspiring to take us back to the chains of Catholicism, while the ESV translators are translating faithfully God’s Word. Of course, this would be a ridiculous assumption, but it is the kind of reasoning that KJV Only advocates employ. Even John R. Rice, the founder of the (now KJV-Only) Sword of the Lord admitted in Our God-Breathed Book – The Bible that the KJV renders Revelation 22:14 incorrectly and that the ASV is more accurate here.
7. The newer versions include footnotes which offer different renderings of certain words or verses. These footnotes confuse the reader and undermine the doctrine of inspiration. Response: The 1611 King James Version also included thousands of footnotes which offered different readings for different verses. We should be grateful for today’s translators, who in the spirit of the King James tradition, have been intellectually honest when rendering exceptionally difficult verses about the limits to their knowledge.
Conclusion Like with anyone who expounds a conspiracy theory, it is usually fruitless to try to reason with the KJV Only crowd. One should seek to prod these brothers and sisters to a correct understanding with love and patience, realizing that most efforts will be spurned and may turn out in vain.
I intend to show the claims of several of the more radical KJV-Onlyists, and demonstrate them to be largely false. Again, this is ONLY an attack on the belief that the KJV is inspired, perfect, and corrects the original texts; I’ve got nothing against the KJV as a whole, and certainly nothing against personally preferring it to other translations (which is none of my business). I found most of these on Pinterest.
While there’s nothing theologically problematic about the verse per se, this verse is NOT found in ANY Aramaic manuscripts (see The Original Language of the New Testament for evidence the NT was originally written in Hebrew and Aramaic), NOR is it found in the earliest Greek manuscripts. It’s earliest appearance (discovered so far) is in the 6th century AD, and it ONLY appears in Western manuscripts. (Manuscripts of Acts go back at least as far as the 3rd century.) Notice in the Deuteronomy verse cited that ADDING TO His Word is just as wrong as TAKING AWAY from it; and almost all evidence points towards Acts 8:37 being an ADDITION that SHOULD be removed from modern translations – which many of them do. This error isn’t necessarily the KJV translator’s fault – there were MUCH fewer and MUCH younger manuscripts available in the 1600s; which brings us to another flaw in the radical KJV-Only mentality: it’s a simple fact that in the 4 centuries since the KJV’s publication, we’ve discovered not only hundreds – no, scratch that: thousands (at the least) – more manuscripts. And much older manuscripts. In addition to having a better understanding of Hebrew and Greek.
In Revelation 1:6, if you look up the Greek, the literal reading is “the God and Father of Him” – which is closer in meaning to the NKJV rendering of this passage than the KJV’s one, and most definitely does not affect or downgrade Yeshua/Jesus’ divinity. The fuss over Colossians 3:17 and Philippians 4:20 is similarly nonsensical. The KJV appears to have rendered 1 John 3:16 more accurately, but how does the NKJV’s translation “attack” Yeshua’s divinity?
The argument (in the bottom half of the graphic, anyway) seems to be that because the NIV & NASB differ from the KJV in this verse, therefore they are automatically wrong, and sowing confusion in the church. Which is of course nonsense. Especially when you look up the Hebrew word translated as either “ruleth” or “unruly” (Strong’s #H7300), and find it’s defined as “to tramp about, i.e. ramble (free or disconsolate)”. And their outrage over the NIV & NASB reading goes down the tubes…
Differences in translation will ALWAYS produce different (sometimes vastly different) word counts, so pulling up a figure like “There’s 64,000 words missing” is literally meaningless. As for the other claims: “Hell” NEVER APPEARS IN THE HEBREW, ARAMAIC OR GREEK OF THE BIBLE. Whenever you see “hell” in the KJV or other translations, it is Sheol or Hades, which refer to the general place of the dead – and includes both Hell AND Paradise. Translating these words as “Hell” really is inadequate – and other translations are RIGHT in replacing it with the transliteration Sheol or Hades (although some mistranslate it as “grave”, which is inadequate – and often makes the verse sound like it’s supporting the lie of soul sleep).
As for God’s Name: it’s YEHOVAH, not JEHOVAH (although it’s closer than most attempts at God’s name; see The Creator’s Name). And even JEHOVAH VERY rarely appears in the KJV, which almost always replaces it with the generic “Lord” and “God” (in violation of the Ten Commandments). Sad, but the above graphic is still misleading.
As for its claim about the Godhead: that’s probably referring to 1 John 5:7-8, the Trinitarian portion of which is literally a Latin addition with NO manuscript authority – or authenticity. There are literally only two Greek manuscripts containing this verse – both VERY later manuscripts. They are not found in ANY Aramaic text. Simply put: it’s spurious. Modern translations are 100% right in excluding it – even more so that the spurious Acts 8:37.
Of the above two graphics, the top one is complete and pure FICTION with no basis whatsoever. The bottom one is just plain deceptive, with half-truths and lies. 95% of all NT manuscripts are NOT completely identical to each other – or the KJV. No matter how much KJV-Onlyists insist they are. Also, textual criticism is not only about the majority of manuscripts, but the oldest manuscripts – something KJV-Onlyists never tackle because it PROVES flaws in their “perfect” translation.
“satan” is not a name – it’s an adjective, a descriptive word that means “accuser”.
“Spider” probably is the correct translation – but the above graphic is simply splitting hairs, and making a mountain out of a molehill – and a conspiracy where there is none.
I covered this in A History of Marriage – Part 3. Polygyny is not once condemned, called sin, or spoken negatively of in the entirety of Scripture. Not once is monogamy mandated, praised, or indicated as God’s plan. And where it says bishops must be the husband of “one” wife… well, looking at the Aramaic & Greek, that’s simply not an accurate translation. The word could mean his “first” wife, “a” wife (i.e. “be married”), and if you look at the Aramaic… well, it’s the same word used in Genesis 2:24 for the phrase “one flesh”; i.e. two or more who are united in one – spiritually and physically. In short, he has to have a true relationship with his believing wife… not necessarily have just one.
Actually, the Hebrew word – #5769 olam – means both, although “from eternity” is probably the more relevant translation. However, saying that Yeshua existed in ancient times (as the ESV does – which is not quite an inaccurate translation) does not challenge His divinity or origin, and does not remotely count as “birtherism”.
Actually, Biblically, one’s daughter’s betrothed COULD be called a son-in-law – and in Genesis 19:14, the Hebrew says they “were taking” Lot’s daughters, indicating they were FIANCES – not yet husbands.
Look up the Hebrew word – #4723 mikveh. It means BOTH – and translating “no hope” (which, looking at the Hebrew definition, is actually what I’d translate it as) DOES NOT proclaim hopelessness, or negate or contradict the Bible’s hopeful message. Chick Publications quite literally blows it completely out of proportion.
I’ve already covered why Acts 8:37 and 1 John 5:7 are fakes (especially the latter). I’ll address each one individually:
- Matthew 17:21 – This verse doesn’t appear in the earliest Greek manuscripts or the Old Syriac (the oldest Aramaic texts), ALTHOUGH it DOES appear in the Aramaic Peshitta AND the Hebrew texts, and in the writings of some of the early church fathers. CARM provides a very good discussion on the verse’s textual history. If it’s an addition, it’s a very early one. I myself am of the opinion that it’s authentic – mainly because of the Peshitta & the Hebrew – but the NIV only deals in the Greek (due to the common misconception that the NT was originally written in Greek), and their intention in excluding this verse was not malicious. It’s worth noting that the verse appears without dispute in Mark, so even if its inclusion in Matthew isn’t right, it’s still in the Bible anyway.
- Matthew 18:11 – not found in the two earliest Greek manuscripts (see CARM’s discussion), but found in all the Aramaic manuscripts and the Hebrew versions. Probably authentic (although again, the NIV translators – who deal with the Greek – don’t appear to have had malicious or sinister intentions).
- Matthew 23:14 – doesn’t appear in the earliest Greek (or Latin) manuscripts (see CARM’s discussion), although it DOES appear in the Hebrew and Aramaic, and is probably authentic.
- Mark 7:16 – not found in all of the earliest Greek manuscripts (although it’s unquestionably included in Mark), although it’s found in the Hebrew and Aramaic, and many of the Greek. See CARM’s discussion. Probably authentic.
- Mark 9:44 – not found in the earliest Greek manuscripts or the Old Syriac, although it is found in the Peshitta. Validity uncertain, although given its Peshitta inclusion, I’d be inclined to accept it. See CARM’s discussion.
- Mark 9:46 – not found in the earliest Greek manuscripts or the Old Syriac, but found in the Peshitta. Validity uncertain, although given its Peshitta inclusion, I’m inclined to accept it. See CARM’s discussion. Note that regardless of whether verses 44 and 46 are valid, the exact same phrase is found (without dispute) two verses later in 48, and in Isaiah 66:24.
- Mark 11:26 – not found in the earliest Greek manuscripts or the Old Syriac, although it is found in the Peshitta. Due to its Peshitta inclusion, I’m inclined to keep it, although its being a fake is still definitely a possibility. See CARM’s discussion.
- Mark 15:28 – not found in the earliest Greek manuscripts (first appearing in the 6th century) or the Old Syriac, although it’s present in the Peshitta. For the Peshitta’s sake, I’m willing to keep it. See CARM’s discussion.
- Mark 16:9-20 – not included in the Old Syriac or the oldest Greek manuscripts, although it appears in the Peshitta, and is attested to by many of the “Church Fathers”. One manuscript of the Armenian notably includes a note that this section was written by “Ariston the Elder/Priest”, who was identified by the Apostle John’s student Papias and others as a colleague of Saint Peter. It’s quite possibly a 1st-century addition; whether or not that affects its inspiration, though, I’m uncertain. I accept it.
- Luke 17:36 – even the KJV translators included a footnote that it wasn’t found in the earliest Greek manuscripts (which is an understatement – see CARM’s discussion). It IS however, included in the Old Syriac and Peshitta, and is probably genuine.
- Luke 23:17 – not included in some of the oldest Greek manuscripts, although it is included in the Old Syriac and the Peshitta. The Old Syriac places it between verses 19 and 20. Seems to be authentic.
- John 5:4 – not included in the earliest Greek manuscripts, or the Old Syriac. It is found in the Peshitta, though.
- Acts 15:34 – lacks in the oldest (and overall majority of) Greek manuscripts, and in all the Aramaic versions. Almost certainly a later addition, and not authentic. See CARM’s discussion.
- Acts 24:7 – not found in the earliest Greek manuscripts, although it is found in the Peshitta. Probably authentic. See CARM’s discussion.
- Acts 28:29 – not found in the earliest Greek manuscripts or the Peshitta. Almost certainly fake. See CARM’s discussion.
- Romans 16:24 – not found in the earliest Greek manuscripts, but is found in the Peshitta – at the very end of the chapter. Authentic. See CARM’s discussion.
Most of the verses in the graphic are probably authentic, while almost certainly aren’t. Regardless, there is nothing malicious in the NIV’s exclusion of them; they’re following what the oldest Greek manuscripts seem to show.
No, I don’t think this is a big deal. A) this is a Babylonian pagan speaking, so “a son of the gods” actually makes sense; and B) the Hebrew of this verse can be translated both ways. The Hebrew word ELOHIM – commonly translated as the singular God – is actually PLURAL, and not only the same word but the same form and tense of the word used to refer both to YEHOVAH and to plural pagan “gods”. Also, the form in Daniel 3:25 is ELOHIN rather than ELOHIM, and very likely the speaker intended to refer to pagan “gods” (although ironically, it probably was Yehoshua/Jesus the Son who was seen).
I’ve already covered the issue of “removed” verses. As for the second point: there are two manuscripts that refer to Joseph as Yeshua’s “father” in that verse, although the majority (including the Old Syriac and Peshitta) simply read “Joseph”. While I don’t think “father” is intended to undermine the virgin birth (for most in Nazareth during Yeshua’s childhood, Joseph WAS his father) BUT I think the KJV is right in this case.
The following post adequately explains how rubbish the KJV-Only arguments on this passage are (and demonstrate that if they’re to be non-hypocritical and consistent, they’ll need to condemn the KJV itself).
I’ve already explained why the absence of “hell” is actually more accurate. “Sodomite” and “effeminate” are terms that are more clearly represented by “homosexual” or something similar, which is what most translations reference – nullifying the KJV-Only argument. If fornication and whoredom – and indeed these other words – don’t appear, it’s because different translations will often use different wordings to convey the same meaning. The Bible isn’t “scrubbed” of politically incorrect material. The impact is rarely “lessened”. Translators simply use different words that mean the same thing.
I’ve already covered the “removed verses” schtick. And the nonsense over “removed words”, which is BS. “Verses changed” – it’s a new translation, OF COURSE verses are worded differently (“changed”) – OTHERWISE THERE WOULDN’T BE A NEW TRANSLATION! LOGIC, anyone?!
The claim over “who killed Goliath” is ABSURD and deliberately deceptive. Make no mistake: the most die-hard KJV-Only apologists are serial liars.
It’s a FACT that both 2 Samuel and Chronicles, Goliath’s brother was killed (by Elhanan). However, the Hebrew text of 2 Samuel (possibly through a scribal error) neglects the phrase “brother of”, although Goliath himself had been killed by David years ago. However, this is NOT a case of modern translations “changing” the Bible or the story of Goliath’s death; they simply followed the text as it stands to the letter. Honestly…
I have no idea whether or not the KJV is the easiest version to memorise. That is NOT an argument for “most accurate translation”.
The “95%-5%” bullshit, I’ve already covered that.
The KJV DOES have a copyright – in the UK. It’s owned by the Royal Family. Stop the BS that it’s the only (or one of the few) translations to NOT have a copyright; it does in the UK, and copyrights expire with age, so OF COURSE the older translations will likely not have a valid copyright anymore, compared to the newer ones! Logic has left the KJV-Only building…
THE NIV DOES NOT EQUATE JESUS WITH SATAN. Baseless garbage – then again, so are most KJV-Only ramblings. (Again: remember, I’m ONLY referring to the cult centered around the KJV, NOT persons who personally like it best.) The following post absolutely refutes this LIE:
As for Frank Logsdon: HE WAS A FRAUD!!!
I also recommend the following:
(The above link especially relevant for those who FALSELY claim the KJV is the easiest to read.)
First of all, there is nothing blasphemous with the “other” reading of Psalms 10:4-5. It’s one of the “complaining” psalms. It’s hyperbole. Looking up the Hebrew, it seems the KJV is correct.
In Ecclesiastes 8:10 the KJV is correct – but once again, the other translation has no spiritual implications. It’s verse on the vanity of everything. BOTH readings give that impression – even though the one claiming they’re prosperous appears to be wrong.
Isaiah 14:12 has been covered, and the NIV is correct.
There’s a fair amount of textual variation – and dispute over the meaning – of Matthew 11:12.
The phrase from Galatians 2:20 has been cherrypicked. In context, they’re the same.
The Textus Receptus of Colossians 2:18 seems to favour the KJV, but reading the different translations, there’s no real theological difference, and the KJV-Onlyists are once again making a mountain out of a friggin’ molehill.
As for 1 Peter 3:3, look at the 3 translations side-by-side: THEY’RE SAYING THE EXACT SAME THING!!!! For crying out loud…
If you think about it, we aren’t “saved” until we get die and go to Heaven. And what is heretical about “being saved”?!?!
Guess what? Look up the Hebrew (Strong’s # either 436 or 437) and THE NKJV IS RIGHT.
NO Bible translation claims that Jesus is not God. NO Bible translation claims that Hell doesn’t exist. The KJV is NOT the only Bible that exalts our Lord and Saviour to the highest Godly position with most clarity. The KJV DOES contain contradictions between Psalms 40:6 and where that passage is quoted in Hebrews. Not the only example. The KJV is NOT the only Bible in the public domain; in fact, it’s copyrighted in the UK. There’s no supernatural numerical system unique to the KJV. It’s not the only Bible to tell us to study God’s words. The Dead Sea Scrolls MOSTLY (NOT completely) support the KJV because like all translations, it’s mostly accurate. Notably, several of the differences between the KJV and modern translations are because of consulting the DSS – and other texts – and discovering errors in the Masoretic Text that the KJV is based on. They PROVE modern versions.
If you look up the Greek word – #2585 – it means BOTH.
A) The difference in wording is TRIVIAL; B) Look up the Greek (#1223 dia). You’ll find it not so black and white.
The word REALLY DOES mean both.
The ESV reading really DOES NOT affect the meaning. Honestly!
Does anyone remember that “begotten thee” and “become your father” mean THE EXACT SAME THING?!?!
It’s a simple fact that the original languages simply read “great fish”.
Even a dunce can recognise the absurdity of Chick’s interpretation of “imitate”. And the Greek word – #3402 mimetes – means BOTH; and if you think about it, they’re the SAME.
The cherubim are angels, as a 6-year-old will tell you. And both translations say the same thing – just with different words that in this context mean the same thing.
First of all John 7:53-8:11 REALLY IS a fake; it’s not in the earliest Greek manuscripts or ANY of the Aramaic ones. Second of all, it certainly is sad that no translation has taken the leap to remove this passage from our modern Bibles; however, is it not natural to feel hesitation to take out a CHUNK (not just an individual verse) from our modern Bibles, even if that chunk is fake? Similarity to the KJV has nothing whatsoever to do with it; the suggestion really is absurd.
The KJV is actually wrong here: the Hebrew word is Strong’s #5769 olam, which means ETERNITY. Just another defective version…?
Hebrew mashiach means both messiah and anointed one. And Yeshua/Jesus is both.
Are these people even serious?! Is it any wonder KJV-Onlyers aren’t taken seriously? They apparently think you can plan without thinking. Who again isn’t thinking…?
The fact of the matter is that the Hebrew word is “Azazel”, which is a name – that of a fallen angel. William Tyndale didn’t know what to do with the word, and coined “scapegoat”. The ESV is right, and the KJV is wrong.
“Critical salvation omission”? Seriously?
Look up the Greek word, why don’t ya. Both are correct.
The Hebrew can be read BOTH WAYS.
While “science” is not beyond the definition of the Greek word – #1108 gnosis – it literally means “knowledge”. Facts never matter, do they…?
Look up the Greek word: Strong’s #G1907 epecho, which means “to hold upon, i.e. (by impl.) to retain; (by extens.) to detain; (with impl. of 3563) to pay attention to“, with further clarification “This word literally means to hold upon; then to direct towards, to give attention to”. In other words, Chick Publications missed the entire point of this passage, and uses his WRONG interpretation to “prove” the NKJV wrong.
For once, they actually got something (partially) right… and then made it a salvation issue.
No, you will not find all the correct readings in the KJV. And while right wording is very important, does the difference here actually make a difference to the text/meaning? No.
“The KJV’s reading sounds more reverential” doesn’t prove a thing. “Jealous new version printers sought to rename it” – what do they call it when you publish DELIBERATE, COMPLETE DISINFORMATION, AND KNOW IT TO BE FALSE? I believe that is a LIE.
The Hebrew word is #8163 saiyr and refers to goats and fauns, the latter of which are of course demonic Nephilim. The NIV is the more literal translation. It doesn’t “obscure” devil worship.
Look up the Greek. The NLT is correct.
Notice that the person who put up this graphic provides no examples or evidence to back up his assertions. It was the head of his article, which went on to claim:
YOU know a person is under the direct control of SATAN when they question God’s Word – by casting doubt on His obvious preserved Word. There’s no other conclusion when you understand that SATAN was the first and perpetually the one behind casting doubt on God’s words – “Hath God said?” (Genesis 3:1) You MUST grasp this. This doubt-casting questioning led to the fall of mankind in the Garden of creation and is leading to the fall of many today who are wise in their own conceit, blind, and walking in darkness!
Someone may say “Well, you say that the King James Bible is God’s Word but prove that the King James Bible is God’s Word.” REPLY: That’s easy to prove when you begin with His promise to preserve His Word (Psalms 12:6-7) and then out of an honest heart you simply, objectively compare verses side by side, having nothing to hide and no agenda but the truth. Those bent on defending obvious corrupt “bibles” have sin and therefore darkness in their hearts (John 3:19-21).
NO – you determine whether or not a translation is accurate – i.e. whether or not it is God’s Word – by LOOKING AT THE ORIGINAL HEBREW, ARAMAIC & GREEK, AND THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE MANUSCRIPTS, AND FIND THE MAJORITY AND/OR OLDEST READINGS. His “criteria” are about as valid as those of the Mormons for the “validity” of their Book of Mormon. Absolute garbage, in other words.
A bunch of fancy nonsense for we must have every translation in archaic English that is rarely spoken anymore. Nonsense.
Do they honestly believe a Bible translation could get away with removing almost all references to God? The above graphic fails to mention that in most of the places where it “removes” the word Lord… it reads God. Perhaps even in all instances. In other words, it mentions God just as much as the KJV. Funny – statistics on the occurrences of the word “God” are curiously missing from the above graphic. Another proven case of deliberate lies, deception, and cherry-picked half-facts turned into outright lies.
There’s nothing uncertain about honesty and truth; unless you’re a KJV-Onlyist. The Hebrew word literally means “balanced”, “equity” or “reality”. In other words, another mountain out of a non-existant molehill.
There’s no evidence of sex in any of the translations; and its a well-known fact that Pharaoh at the very least intended for Sarah to be his wife. And it’s a fact that in the Hebrew, the ESV is actually correct.
I never knew God’s own inspired, perfect, inerrant words were insulting to Him. IN MOST OF THE CASES WHERE THE KJV AND MOST OTHER TRANSLATIONS READ “MAN” – INCLUDING THE ABOVE VERSES – THE HEBREW WORD IS “ADAM”, WHICH IS GENDER-NEUTRAL AND REFERS TO BOTH MALES AND FEMALES. In short, THE NIV IS 100% RIGHT TO GO GENDER-NEUTRAL IN THESE VERSES. These are God’s words, whether you consider them politically correct or not. That’s not your call – unless you want to go to hell.
The KJV is following the Masoretic Text, which was compiled between the 7th and 11th centuries AD, and which is KNOWN (for a fact – not speculation) to have made occasional edits to Messianic passages. Isaiah 53:11 is one such case – the word “light” is found in the Dead Sea Scrolls & Septuagint, and DOES NOT “mess up” the passage or its meaning. It mucks up Jack’s own interpretation – and he is absolutely, positively, 100% wrong.
You’ll find that “yet” is not in the Greek text – implied, but not actually there.
“Grieve” and “cause pain/write in pain” are the same word in Hebrew. Get over it.
Looks good, but is a complete fiction with no historical basis whatsoever. Actually, the Textus Receptus that the KJV is based on included portions translated from the Catholic Latin Vulgate, due to the lack of available manuscripts (which is no longer the situation).
The difference is negligible – and just because the KJV reads “in”, doesn’t automatically make it the right one. There is simply no evidence whatsoever for the claim the KJV is inerrant and inspired. Either reading is possible. And the KJV translators knew the future about as much as the modern ones do.
The main problem is that there is nothing in these translations to suggest gnosticism, seances, Darwinism, that Jesus isn’t God, etc, etc. These claims are categorically false – deliberate lies.
I don’t think much more needs to be said; the KJV-Only movement (i.e. the cult that has IDOLISED the “inerrant” translation) is just that: a cult. I could point out several more errors in the KJV – notable, many of them are found in most Bible translations – but I’ll limit myself to mentioning Psalms 40:6 – in which the KJV follows the Masoretic “You have opened my ears”, even though the passage’s quotation in Hebrews proves the Septuagint reading “A body You have prepared for me” (a clear Messianic prophecy) to be correct – and Romans 10:4 – which the KJV translates as “Christ is the end of the law [Torah]”, but SHOULD read “Christ is the goal of the Law”. Both of those errors are in most translations.
On the flip side, there’s an interesting issue that the KJV gets MORE accurate than most: dragons, which modern translations mistranslate as “jackals”. And there are more examples of both (inaccuracies & sometimes-unusual accuracies). Ultimately (as the facts demonstrate), it’s just a translation.
I’ll close with a couple articles. First, Steve’s KJV-Only experience:
As many of you already know the Independent Fundamental Baptist Movement (henceforth IFB) is a King James Version only denomination meaning that they believe that the King James Version of the Bible (henceforth KJV) is the only version of the Bible that Christians of this era should use. They believe that the KJV is the version of the Bible that is closest to the original. As with other areas of the IFB belief system, this falls along a continuum of beliefs. On the more liberal side of the continuum, some IFB churches believe that the KJV is the most accurate version of the Bible and should be used by all Christians to avoid heretical views and beliefs. On the more conservative side of the continuum, some IFB churches believe that the KJV is THE original Word of God. While there are variations among the different IFB churches as to the strictness of their beliefs on this topic, there are very few IFB churches that don’t advocate using the KJV to the exclusion of all other versions of the Bible.
I think it’s fair to say that most of us know how silly the notion is that the KJV is THE original Word of God so for the purposes of this site I would like to share a little insight into the KJV, why it is a dangerous version to use and how it relates to the IFB.
The IFB churches I experienced fell on the more conservative side of the above mentioned continuum. They taught that the KJV is the only acceptable version for the Christian to use, it was the closest translation to the original manuscripts, all other versions of the Bible presented mistakes at best and heresy at worst, it was a sin to read versions of the Bible other than the KJV and because of the aforementioned one couldn’t truly be saved unless he/she got the gospel message from the KJV.
I don’t really know where the IFB gets this information to be honest. It would be interesting to do a study of how the IFB came to the conclusion that the KJV is the closest translation to the original. I never could get a good answer other than the message then “the KJV is the Bible for the English speaking world.” The belief was never validated for me, at least not that I can remember. I simply took it upon faith like every other teaching that came from the IFB.
Like other IFB teachings, I was always troubled by the fact that I had a difficult time reading and understanding the KJV. When I brought this up to my pastors, teachers, parents, leaders, etc. I would get the answer that it is for this reason that I should be in a good IFB church so that the Pastor could explain what the words in the KJV meant. It was weird to me that they would accept the Pastor’s explanation, but refuse to use a different version of the Bible for an explanation. It also made me suspicious. I often wondered if the Pastors really knew what the meanings were or if they were simply repeating what they had learned thus perpetuating the lie.
I was also told that understanding the KJV would come with spiritual maturity. This was strange to me also and I wondered why the Lord would have us use a Bible that was difficult to understand and that understanding the Bible would only come with spiritual maturity. That just seemed backwards to me. I often wondered if it would have been better had the Lord made a Bible that was easier for new Christians to understand and have the more mature Christians use the KJV. As a good little IFB follower, however, I suppressed my curiosity and took them at their word.
When I left the IFB around age 25 I found out some valuable information that flies in the face of the IFB and their KJV only stance. Personal experience became the fuel that burned the fire within me. I started reading the New International Version (henceforth NIV) and after I got over my initial guilt which was highly unfounded, I actually understood the Bible for the first time in my life. Things were jumping off the pages at me and I was like a sponge, absorbing all the information I could. I read the NIV from cover to cover and then went on to read a New Living Translation (henceforth NLT). The NLT became my favorite and is the version I use at present.
The messages contained in the Bible are so clear to me now as I finally have the freedom to read a version of the Bible that I can comprehend. It’s amazing what a difference it makes. If this were my only evidence that the KJV is not a good Bible to read it would be enough for me. I often wonder how many people in our world have their spiritual maturity stunted because of this legalistic philosophy about the KJV Bible. It makes me sad to think that people are trapped like I was so many years ago.
Well, I don’t have to rely solely on personal experience to draw my conclusions from. As I researched this topic, I began to see increasing evidence about just how inaccurate the KJV actually is. I learned that the KJV is nothing more than a translation in a long line of translations. You see, I was taught growing up that the KJV is a translation of the original text and all other translations are just translations of the KJV making them less accurate and reliable. What a lie that turned out to be.
A Brief History of the KJV
It’s well known that we only have fragments of the original manuscripts. All current versions of the Bible are simply English translations of first translations. The KJV is actually nothing more than a translation in a long line of translations. The KJV New Testament (and all editions since Tyndale) was compiled primarily from the Byzantine family of manuscripts (AD 500 – 1000) frequently referred to as the Textus Receptus (Latin for Received Text). Modern translations such as the NIV are compiled primarily from the Alexandrian Family of manuscripts which are believed to be closer to the original than the Textus Receptus manuscripts, which is why they have been chosen by the translators of the modern versions. In the early and mid 14th century John Wycliffe attempted many translations of the Greek and Latin Vulgate text and in 1388 The Wycliffe bible was completed in the German language.
William Tyndale later translated The Wycliffe Bible which also had many revisions and corrections. In 1534 The Tyndale’s Revised and Corrected Bible was completed. Unsatisfied with this work, an exiled group of scholars driven out of England with the help of the Church of Geneva produced an English Bible without the need for the approval of either England or Rome and formed the Geneva Bible in 1553. The Geneva translators produced a revised New Testament in English in 1557 that was essentially a revision of Tyndale’s revised and corrected edition of 1534. Three years later another revised Bible was published and translated in accordance with the Hebrew and Greek text. This was during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. Elizabeth was determined to move England towards Protestantism. During the reign of Queen Elizabeth the Geneva Bible was translated into what scholars refer to as the Bishop’s Bible in 1568 which became the official Bible for use in Church services at that time.
King James I succeeded Queen Elizabeth I in 1603 and almost immediately began to translate the Bible into a newer version based on his ideals of what he thought were a political threat to his reign. He made many changes to his version of the Bible to reflect his beliefs and reduce the political message for the purpose of security in his reign. In 1611 the first King James Version of the Bible was published and the Geneva Bible was officially replaced by the King James Version.
This version of the Bible in 1611, which became known as The Authorized Version, went through several editions and revisions itself. Two notable editions were that of 1629, the first ever printed at Cambridge, and that of 1638. The Geneva Bible was last printed in 1644, but the notes continued to be published with the King James text. The years 1881-1885 brought many revisions and changes beginning with the Revised Version and ensuing modern translations. 
Brooke Westcott served on the committee that produced the Revised Version and obtained the services of editor Fenton Hort. Wescott and Hort eventually brought us our modern day KJV translation which is based on the Westcott-Hort translation of The Revised Version and is actually the 4th revision of the original Authorized 1611 King James version. It is interesting to note that the original Geneva Bible contained the Apocrypha, which is commonly believed by Protestants to be extraneous material not inspired by God. Many scholars believe that the Apocrypha was actually left out of the KJV 1611 version simply because King James I was more interested in publishing this version for his political career. He forced his translators to rush through the translation. This caused many omissions, additions and other errors in the KJV 1611. In the original preface to the KJV the translators themselves admitted there were many Hebrew and Greek words and even whole sentences they did not understand, but were were forced to make guesses at there meanings in order to produce the KJV more quickly.
This brief overview of the history of the KJV is not meant to be all inclusive. There are many details of the succession of translations, editions and revisions that should be read and understood in order to get a full understanding of the issue. For the purposes of this site, however, I simply wanted to share the basics to give the reader adequate understanding of the origins of the KJV and to make the point that the KJV is certainly NOT a perfect Bible, is nothing more that a translation of other translations and is by no means the original Word of God.
I would even argue that the KJV has become an idol for some in that it is elevated to the status of a god and worshiped rather than read and used to develop spiritual maturity. I remember feeling so much better than other “Christians” – if they were Christians at all – because I used the KJV rather than those other versions. It became a source of pride for me and I imagine that many others in my church felt the same way. There was a strong message that if you wanted to be a good Christian you had to use the KJV. I was even told that the KJV was a sacred text and that my Bible was to be kept in pristine condition or I was defacing the Word of God. I remember feeling so guilty one evening after having spilled some water on my KJV Bible. I prayed and prayed for forgiveness. It was really pretty silly in hind sight. Like I said before, everything changed for me the day I finally got up enough courage to pick up a NIV and read it.
General Information about Translations
During the formation of the KJV, the translators ran into several major problems. Scholars of the day had to rely on manuscripts or copies of the original documents because no one had access to the original documents. Some of these copies were even copies of copies and copies of translations. If you’ve ever played the game of “whisper down the lane”, you can understand that copies of copies can end up being quite different from the original document. The responsibility to decide what to include in the KJV and what not to include rested solely on the shoulders of the translators. This process of “textual criticism” can be very difficult.
Much of the work in translating the KJV was done in England. It is generally believed that England didn’t have any ancient Greek manuscripts until about 1628. Therefore, the translators were at a definite disadvantage when trying to decide which passages were in the texts originally, and which were added later by someone who was copying or translating another copy or translation.
Today, there are many documents that we can use to compare and to find out what belongs and what was added making modern translations much more reliable and accurate. The translators of the KJV didn’t have such information for comparison. For example, the committee for the formation of the NIV consisted of over a hundred scholars from five different countries who had much older manuscripts that are more true to the originals and have a much better grasp on ancient Hebrew.
Some in the IFB, when comparing the KJV with other modern versions, will find some differences and automatically assume that the new versions are adding to or subtracting from the Word of God. They will often make several references to verses that have been seemingly “left out”. It’s important to remember that these verses are not being left out, nor is the Bible being changed. We have access to better information now and the newer translations are just trying to correct some mistakes that have been made in the older translations.
There is also the need to consider the problem of capturing the idea of the message and not just the message itself. It’s a problem of how to make the new version read as closely to the original as possible, but still get the author’s idea across. We have to remember that we live is a much different culture than the people of Jesus’ era. Even so, that culture had their own idioms that need to be understood in order to capture the flavor of the message.
For example, it would be difficult for me to translate the phrase “I made it by the skin of my teeth” into another language because that phrase is unique to the US culture. That is a phrase that is only used in this region of the world. If I were to translate that word-for-word or literally into lets say French, it wouldn’t make much sense to the French speaking culture. They would wonder how I got skin on my teeth and how I managed to use it to assist me in whatever I was doing. This phrase would have to be translated using the idea of the sentence such as “I just barely made it”.
Sentence structure and syntax varies across cultures as well. Translating a work from Greek to English would require many adjustments to the structure of the sentences. Words, phrases and concepts which meant one thing to a 17th Century reader often mean something totally different to a 20th Century reader. It would be important for the translator to substitute the correct English phraseology for something that doesn’t make sense when translated word-for-word.
The IFB promotes the KJV as the only, or at least one of the few, versions of the bible that is a literal or word-for-word translation. It’s important to remember that no translation can be exactly word for word because it just wouldn’t be understood. Even the KJV has some text translated using the idea of the text rather than the actual words.
The translators of the KJV, along with the New American Standard and some others tried to keep the word order as close as they could. In contrast, the translators of the NIV wanted to develop a Bible that is easy to read and understand so they made a thought by thought translation which conveys the essence and meanings of the original documents, but becomes much more natural and conversational to the modern reader since our sentence structure and syntax is vastly different from ancient Greek, Hebrew and Latin.
An emotional response
Looking back on my experiences in the IFB churches I can remember strong emotions surrounding the KJV controversy. Preachers and teachers often presented a one sided argument for the authority of the KJV. The unsubstantiated claims were shrouded in sarcasm and illogic and never was even one piece of evidence or proof given. Their appeals are based largely on emotion rather than evidence. We were expected to take their word for it and accept it on faith. I would often repeat these empty arguments with others who used versions of the Bible other than the KJV.
I have a feeling that those who give me the message of KJV onlyism and try to discredit the modern translations and the Greek texts behind them have never really investigated the data. They simply repeat the manipulative message that they themselves learned. For whatever reason, be it a need for control, indoctrination, manipulation, etc. followers of the IFB aren’t allowed to question anything and this issue of the KJV is no exception.
A Keen Observation
During my early post IFB years I secretly took my NIV with me to the IFB church when I would return to visit with my family hoping that no one would notice. Later I secretly wished someone would notice. I really wanted to explain why I was using the NIV rather than the KJV (and at that time all I knew was that I actually understood what the Bible was saying for the first time) and how proud I was to be free from the legalism of having to use the KJV.
Anyway, during the messages I sat listening to with my NIV Bible I noticed a peculiar pattern emerge. I found that in almost every circumstance the preacher would explain a difficult to understand passage in the KJV using very similar if not the exact words from the NIV. I don’t think they did it on purpose because they didn’t know what the contents of the NIV were. But I got to thinking, if a pastor is explaining the KJV with words that the NIV already uses, why not just use the NIV?
The Conspiracy Theorist in Me
As I ponder the dilemma mentioned above, I can’t help but wonder if all this manipulation surrounding the KJV isn’t on purpose. The conspiracy theorist in me wonders if it isn’t the intention of the IFB leaders to purposefully want to keep people in the dark with a difficult to understand version of the Bible because they know that if people read the NIV or other easier to understand version they will discover the truth and an end will come to the IFB. I also wonder if the IFB leaders use our naivety to spread the IFB message. It’s just a thought and I don’t really believe it, but I often wonder. I don’t think I will ever have an answer to this, but it peaks my curiosity to say the least.
- A Brief History of English Bible Translations by Dr. Laurence M. Vance.
- Based on an article found at: http://www.comereason.org/theo_issues/theo025.asp
- Smith, Wilbur M. The English Bible and its Development The Open Bible Thomas Nelson Pub. Nashville 1979 p.1251
- Why I Quote The NIV Bible by Graham Pockett
- A Response to the King James Only Debate by Eric Pement
- “The King James Version Debate: A Plea for Realism”, by D. A. Carson (Baker Book House, 1979)
- “Demystifying the Controversy Over the Textus Receptus and the King James Version of the Bible,” I.B.R.I. Research Report No. 3, by Douglas S. Chinn and Robert C. Newman (Biblical Theological Seminary, Hatfield, PA, 1979);
- “The Truth About the King James Version Controversy”, by Stewart Custer (Bob Jones University Press, 1981).
- Charles V Taylor “Bibles With Holes?”
- Bruce Metzger, The Text of the New Testament, p. 99
- Bruce M. Metzger, Bart D. Ehrman, “The Text Of The New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption and Restoration”, Oxford University Press, 2005, p. 152
- T. Robertson, An Introduction to the Textual Criticism of the New Testament, Nashville: Broadman, 1925, pp. 107-108
- D. Whitby, Examen variantium Lectionum Johannis Milli, London 1709
- J. J. Griesbach, Novum Testamentum Graece, (London 1809)
- An Inquiry into the Integrity of the Greek Vulgate, or Received Text of the New Testament; in which the Greek Manuscripts are newly classed; the Integrity of the Authorised Text vindicated; and the Various Readings traced to their Origin (London, 1815), ch. 1. The sequel mentioned in the text is Nolan’s Supplement to an Inquiry into the Integrity of the Greek Vulgate, or Received Text of the New Testament; containing the Vindication of the Principles employed in its Defence (London, 1830)
- ibid., ch. 5
- Daniel Wallace, “Some Second Thoughts on the Majority Text”, Bibliotheca Sacra, July-September, 1989, p. 276
Interesting site sir, and one I stumbled across very recently.
Having come out of the IFB circle some years ago, it was refreshing to see another person who identifies many of its unscriptural problem areas.
However, I urge you to take a good look at the translation issue again. Despite the “archaic” language, I for one have VERY little trouble, if at all, understanding the KJV.
At the heart of the translation issue are the key manuscripts used, and everything sort of spirals out from there.
I’ve looked at both sides, and am convinced that the KJV is THE most faithful and accurate ( I didn’t say “understandable” ) translation in print today.
Once you understand, as I did, that most modern English translations are based on the Critical Text ( instead of the Majority Text or even the TR ), then you may think differently about them…another thought I had, regarding what I noticed in one of your articles:
The NLT is a PARAPHRASE ( as is the NIV and several others ) using Dynamic Equivalency instead of Formal Equivalency…”thought-for-thought” instead of word-for-word literalness. To the natural mind, it WILL read easier…don’t let this deceive you. Just because it may be easier to read, doesn’t necessarily mean it is God’s very word.
One question I have to ask:
Do you care about God’s very words? If you do, give this issue some more research, DESPITE being able to read the NIV and NLT easier…the labor will pay off, if you are led of the Holy Spirit.
In other words, if you are His, then it shouldn’t matter how “old” the translation is, HE will make it understood to you.
May you grow in the knowledge and grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Thanks for writing and for your thoughtful defense of the KJV. I understand where you’re coming from and I respect your position. There are just a few flaws in your logic, however, that you should consider. I’ll try to tackle them one at a time…
First of all, I find it quite interesting that different people can “look at both sides” of the bible translation debate (although I think there are more than just two sides – I’m assuming that by “both sides” you mean KJV advocates vs. the rest of the world??? – I’m not sure what exactly you mean by “both sides”) and come up with very different ideas and convictions. Even the most influential and brilliant theological scholars can’t agree on this issue. And there’s the rub… this is an issue first and foremost of personal and individual conviction and preference. There is nothing inherently unscriptural about using a version of the Bible other than the KJV (if there is please show me). Those who say otherwise, without Biblical evidence, are either severely mistaken or trying to push personal conviction and preference on others which is nothing short of manipulative.
Secondly, and I’m assuming here that you are using a modern version of the KJV, if you are using a modern version of the KJV you are doing the very thing that you warn against. You are using an easier to read version of the KJV. If you were to do what you say is important then why would you be using a modern version of the KJV? Why wouldn’t you use the KJV 1611, or the Geneva Bible? Shouldn’t you be using those versions and rely on the leading of the Holy Spirit to help you understand it? In other words, if you are His, then it shouldn’t matter how “old” the translation is, HE will make it understood to you. See, it works both ways. You’re doing the same thing I’m doing (reading an easier to understand version of the Bible), you’re just doing that with the KJV and I’m doing that with a different version. To me there’s very little difference.
Third, it doesn’t follow from your premise that using the KJV, despite not being able to understand Shakespearean era English, is the best option for the simple reason that it is in English. What does the rest of the non-English speaking world do? What about versions translated into Spanish, German, Russian, or a thousand other languages? Should those who don’t speak English try to read your KJV and simply rely on the Holy Spirit to guide them? If not, since they don’t have the KJV and are using a version of the Bible that’s easier for them to understand, then why is it wrong for me to do so? I hope you see the futility in that line of thinking.
Fourth, yes you can make the argument that even though you are reading a modern version of the KJV you are still using the KJV, however, your premise is inherently flawed. You’ve bought into the lie that the KJV is the most accurate, which it isn’t (which I discuss very carefully in my articles about the KJV). Sticking to your logic, you really should be using any one of a number of translations (the Interlinear, NASB, AMP, ESV or RSV that are more accurate versions based on formal equivalence of the original language than the KJV. This idea that the KJV is the best translation is based on misinformation and myth (and perhaps tradition). Yes the KJV is a literal word-for-word translation, but that doesn’t make it more accurate or more trustworthy. As I stated in the article, a literal translation misses the mark on many cultural and language idioms. For example, if we were to take an English, North American idiom such as “he made it by the skin of his teeth” and try to translate that literally (word-for-word) into another language, the point would be misunderstood and misapplied. Many would wonder why this person has skin on his teeth and what that has to do with being on time. A translator would have no choice but to translate that using a dynamic equivalence interpretation. The translator would have to translate “he made it by the skin of his teeth” into “he made it just before the deadline”. Sometimes a word-for-word translation misses the message and that is very dangerous. Scriptural examples of this can be found in several articles throughout my site. As a result, there are certain instances where a dynamic equivalence translation reflects a more accurate translation of the original language and intent. A version of the Bible that’s based entirely on formal equivalence thus would contain errors (or at least what seems like errors to the typical non-seminary trained reader). It’s not only important to simply translate the words, but to translate the meanings of idioms, euphemisms, culturally significant meanings of words and phrases, etc.
Fifth, I will answer your question about caring for God’s very words… Yes I do. Just because I use a translation that has a dynamic equivalence process of translation doesn’t mean I don’t care about God’s very words. In fact, making the claim that the KJV is the only translation that accurately reflects “God’s very words” is a very silly argument – especially if you’ve spent the time to “study both sides of the issue” as you claim. The KJV is nothing more than an English translation in a LONG line of translations.
Finally, I resent the implication that I’m somehow not His simply because I choose to read a version of the Bible other than the KJV or because I don’t understand with the best accuracy the Old English style of writing in the KJV. Reading or even understanding the KJV isn’t a requirement for salvation. To think so, is to elevate the KJV to the status of a fourth member of the trinity – and that is blasphemous. To think this way is to tread on very thin ice as you come to rely on the KJV for salvation rather than the atoning work of Christ on the cross. I hope you can see the danger in that line of thinking.
Please understand that I have no problem with the KJV or with people reading the KJV. What I have a problem with is the KJV being promoted as a better translation then the others when it clearly isn’t.
Thanks again for your question.
Bible Love Notes article:
There is a powerful faction of well-meaning Christians who believe and teach that the King James Version is the only uncorrupted English translation of Scripture.
Their explanations are very convincing to the average Christian who has not studied the historical and linguistic background of Scripture translation.
I will let the authorities in the links below explain the details because they are experts in these areas, but let me summarize some important background:
1. The original texts of Scripture (those Moses, Paul, and others wrote under the anointing of the Spirit) are called autographs, and none have survived. If it were important that we have those autographs, God would have protected them. He didn’t.
2. What we have are copies of the autographs, written by human scribes who sometimes made mistakes when copying the original text. The newer the copy, the more scribal errors it contains because it was a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy, etc. instead of a copy of the original.
3. Most of these scribal errors are insignificant and don’t change the meaning of the text. By comparing multiple manuscripts and relying on the accuracy of the older manuscripts, we can be confident that our present Bible accurately represents the autographs.
4. When KJV was written, some of the older copies of Scripture had not yet been discovered. So the King James translators used the newer copies of Scripture with more scribal additions (words and phrases added to the text). None of these additions detract from the message. But they are not Scripture even though they are part of the KJV text.
5. That’s why King James Only teachers are able to compare texts and claim that modern translations have omitted words. In truth, the KJV includes words not found in the older, more accurate manuscripts. This doesn’t make the KJV corrupted. It simply means that certain details of its wording are based on scribal changes and errors, not Scripture. Since God allowed the newer manuscripts to be our only source for years, I’m sure He was not concerned about these insignificant differences in them. But He also allowed the older manuscripts to be found so we could make our translations more accurate.
6. To claim that an English translation of the Bible written in the 1600’s is the most accurate version for modern Christians means:A. God is limited in His ability to communicate. He is stuck in time, only able to express Himself in archaic words that no longer have the same meaning to modern readers.B. God anointed the translators of the KJV but refuses to anoint any other translators even though it would make His Word more understandable to the modern reader.Neither A. nor B. is true.
7. Translations use different methods, but each major English translation seeks to transmit the message accurately. One of my professors in seminary was Dr. William J. Larkin who translated Acts in the New Living Translation. I have never met a more humble, godly man who knew Scripture so intimately and accurately. He read from the Greek New Testament in our classes, translating as he spoke. He would never have been part of any translation team that did not seek to accurately represent God’s Word.
Note: Paraphrases of the Bible are not translations. Translations are made by a team of Bible scholars. Paraphrases are written by a single author who is attempting to put the Bible into words that he feels a particular group will easily understand. He may or may not consult the original languages of Scripture. Paraphrases should not be studied as your main source of Scripture and everything in them should be tested against a genuine translation because sometimes the author has an agenda. Popular paraphrases include The Message, The Living Bible (not the same as the New Living Translation), and The Passion Translation (not really a translation).(1)
I regularly see comments on social media from KJVO believers claiming that anyone who posts in modern translations is seeking to pervert the gospel. I have no desire to debate anyone. My goal is to inform those who are confused, those who are open to researching the evidence of God-fearing Bible scholars.
I don’t think KJVO teachers are intentionally trying to be divisive. I believe most of them are well-meaning and sincere. But they are also misinformed.
For those who are willing, please read the articles linked below. I have included a short excerpt from each:
Changes to the KJV since 1611, Bible.org
Regarding the KJV: “(1) its underlying text is farther from the original than is the text used in modern translations; (2) its translation is archaic, with now over 300 words that no longer mean what they did in 1611; (3) four hundred years of increased knowledge of the biblical world and languages have rendered many of the KJV renderings obsolete. All this is not to say that the KJV is a bad translation; I still think it stands as the greatest literary monument in the English language. And one can come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ reading the KJV just as one can get saved reading the NIV. But if one is seeking clarity and accuracy, a modern translation is much preferred.”
Is Your Modern Translation Corrupt? Institute for Christian Research
“The importance of the topic should not be underestimated. While the vast majority of conservative Christian scholars completely reject the KJV Only position, the emotionally charged rhetoric of KJV Only advocates causes unnecessary concerns among many believers.”
Is the King James Bible the Only Reliable Bible? By Billy Graham
“Some people prefer the King James translation because they have been familiar with it, often from childhood. Others prefer modern translations because they are more easily understood. Also, modern translators have the advantage of using many older Greek manuscripts of the New Testament discovered since the King James translation was made. Most scholars consider these older manuscripts more reliable than the few later manuscripts available to those who translated the King James Bible.”
What is the King James Only Movement? Got Questions
“Our loyalties are to the original manuscripts of the Old and New Testaments, written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. Only the original languages are the Word of God as He inspired it. A translation is only an attempt to take what is said in one language and communicate it in another. The modern translations are superb in taking the meaning of the original languages and communicating it in a way that we can understand in English.”
“Those who vilify the modern translations and the Greek texts behind them have evidently never really investigated the data. Their appeals are based largely on emotion, not evidence. As such, they do an injustice to historic Christianity as well as to the men who stood behind the King James Bible. These scholars, who admitted that their work was provisional and not final (as can be seen by their preface and by their more than 8000 marginal notes indicating alternate renderings), would wholeheartedly welcome the great finds in MSS [Greek Manuscripts] that have occurred in the past one hundred and fifty years.”
The King James Only Controversy – The Gospel Coalition
Regarding the KJV Only claim that modern translations delete verses from the Bible: “Based on the older and more reliable manuscripts, the modern translations have simply sought to reflect what was contained in the original manuscripts. It is just as serious to add to Scripture, as it is to take away from Scripture.”
Is the King James Version the Only Good Translation? – Eternal Perspectives Ministries (Randy Alcorn)
This article addresses the fact that all translations have verses or phrases that could be better translated, but the translation teams of the modern translations are seeking to share Scripture accurately. KJV Only teachers claim that modern translation teams purposely mistranslate.
“Such comparisons are not becoming nor loving, especially to those translators that are Christian brothers. I choose to think the best of why a translator seemingly mistranslates. For example, why did the translators of the KJV translate “Easter” in Ac. 12:4 (the word is lit. “Passover” and is in every other place in the KJV “Passover” Strongs number 3957)? Was it because that translator was a secret worshiper of the fertility god “Oster” (cf. “Easter” was a fertility goddess similar to the Biblical Ashtar)? Or was it more likely that the translator was trying to now give a Christian context for the time of year such a festival is held? Think the best of the translators and spend your energy trying to discover WHY they translated something different.”
For a video explaining all of our English translations: Can I Trust Bible Translations?
(1) Concerns with The Message and The Passion “Translation.”
More on The Message Paraphrase:
In 2017, Eugene Peterson publicly shared ideas that were not Scriptural in regard to homosexuality. He later retracted his statements when Lifeway Publishers prepared to stop selling his books (source, source). However, Peterson’s attitudes toward homosexuality are reflected in passages about homosexuality in The Message. This is perhaps the most damaging area where Peterson’s opinions are reflected in The Message paraphrase, but not the only place. I do not recommend using The Message unless you are extremely careful to compare it with legitimate translations.
More on The Passion Translation:
I have concerns with someone who titles their paraphrase a “translation” when it is not one, but that is only one of many concerns associated with the The Passion paraphrase and with the author Brian Simmons. I recommend this video for a full explanation of concerns: My Concerns About The Passion Translation and Brian Simmons. I do not recommend using The Passion “Translation.”