The “King James Version” Or Else?

(This is a guest post from my good friend and brother in Christ, Keith Baker. Enjoy!)

I remember back in my college days before I became a believer, I was involved in a morning Bible Study with a guy across the hall. A few weeks into it he asked me if I wanted a Bible so that I could start reading on my own. The first words out of my mouth were “I don’t understand the KJV.” In my mind it was the only version that existed and that would be my excuse to not have to read. The next day my friend showed up with a paper back version of the NIV….Wow! I could actually understand the words. That next year (Senior Year) God spoke to my heart and I was saved. Soon after my conversion my Discipleship Leader gave me the NIV Bible that I still read to this day.

I thank God for my Discipleship Leader because he recognized the short amount of time that we had left together so he stressed the important things and stayed away from the non essentials. Because of that, little did I know, there were some serious issues waiting for me once I entered the “real world”. Heck! I thought all Christian’s believed the same way.

Fast track to 1994: I met “The” girl. She is the daughter of an Independent Baptist Preacher. They are an awesome family but needless to say, I found out how wrong I was in thinking that we all see through the same theological lenses. I remember that my first gift to her was an NIV. I bought it so that when we studied together we would be reading the same thing. Innocent right? It was shortly after then that I found out that the KJV was more than just a Bible to them but was THE “Inspired Version”.

On April 8,1995 I married the woman of my dreams. Five years and two wonderful boys later my wife and I began to experience marital issues. We fought a lot, to the point that she started going to her Dad’s church. I remember one occasion where I showed up unannounced. He was preaching a message and like a light switch he began ranting about the Inspired KJV and the deception of other versions. I’m not saying that the inserted message was just for me…but it was very “coincidental.” For several months in our marriage this was a huge issue. I remember one night my wife coming home from church telling me that I would not be having Bible time with my kids using an NIV or any other version but the KJV. She would bring me goofy literature on how the KJV was the Only True version and how everything else was of “The Devil”. It was me vs. the family. It got so bad that we seriously talked about divorce. Before you think badly of either one of us keep in mind; the divorce talk was only a bi product of our failed relationship together in Jesus Christ. Because of God’s grace we have been married almost 17 years and now have three wonderful kids and are far beyond this issue.

During that time, I found my self digging and researching for information on how the KJV originated. It was very interesting. For those that are not aware:

The Old Testament was written mostly in the Hebrew Language and the New Testament in Greek. The first attempt to translate from one language to another was about 200 years BC where the Old Testament was translated to Greek (The Septuagint). From that point until the late 1300’s, scripture was only translated to Latin, Coptic (Egypt) and Syriac (Syria), and portions to Anglo-Saxon (Old English). It was not until 1382 that the first English version was completed and known as the Wycliffe Bible. This naming was in honor of John Wycliffe, a priest that wanted all common folks to be able to read the Bible in the English language. Not long after that, the English government banned, then burned, and by 1408 made it illegal for citizens to translate or read from an English version without the permission from a bishop. The invention of the printing press in 1455 only intensified the pressure to print the Bible, the first being the Gutenberg Bible (Latin). As we say in America, “It was on like Donkey Kong” after that. Martin Luther translated the New Testament into German in 1522 and William Tyndale known as the “Father of the English Version”, translated the NT into English in1525 but had to print it in Germany because England would not allow it. Tyndale was later strangled and burned at the stake for this act of heresy. Again, around 1540 England’s Queen Mary had John Rogers and Thomas Creamer burned at the stake along with around 300 men, women and children for placing the English Bible version in many churches. In 1611, the KJV translation was created by six teams of scholars by using the Bishop’s Bible and Tyndale’s Bible, as well as available Greek and Hebrew manuscripts.

As the rational and realistic person whom God created me to be, several thoughts come to my mind for those who are apart of the “KJV Only” crowd:

1. The KJV (English Version) had to be translated from Greek and Hebrew. So, why is it hard to believe that the Bible can’t be translated from middle English to modern day English?
2. Men, women and children were murdered over the English translation because many of the Church leaders and Rulers did not want its people to understand scripture. Truth will set you free (John 8:32).
3. The “cry” of heresy that arose from the crowds of yesterday are likened to today. The difference being, their fight was over Power whereas today’s fight is due to a weird form of Idol Worship or stubborn ignorance…or both?
4. What side would the KJV Only crowd have been on during the days when the Men of God were trying to liberate their people due to this barrier. Would they have been burned at the stake or would they have been the persecutors?
5. My favorite question’s for those who subscribe to Onlyism: By what power is a person saved? Is it only by the KJV that man might be saved? Is “The Word” in the Gospel of John referring to the “Word” version or “The Word” Jesus? How do any of us come to the knowledge of Truth…is it through the reading of the KJV or the enabling from the Father (John 6:6)?

This subject is very near and dear to me because it could have, in part, destroyed my close personal relationships. But God, the Author and Perfecter of our Faith, stepped in and saved what looked to be hopeless. Today, my in-laws no longer hold this position. My wife and I are in love and are trying our best to raise three kids in a way that is pleasing to God. It is ironic though, how Satan uses even our own “Sword” as a weapon against us. How can this be?

I love the story of how the KJV was conceived, but more than that, I love the “Word” that the Father through His Spirit engraved upon my heart.

In closing, I would like to thank my friend Bryan Daniels for allowing me to contribute to this conversation. Thanks brother!

Keep Pressing on! Phil. 3:14

Keith Baker

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Author: Bryan Daniels

I am a follower of Jesus, a husband to Jessica, and a father of three boys: Josiah, Gideon and Judah. I teach high school math as a job, read reformed theology as a hobby, and write this blog just for kicks. With the rest of my time I coach football and track.

120 thoughts on “The “King James Version” Or Else?”

  1. It is true to say that I met the Lord before I knew His word by letter. I was around 18 years old. I had a military upbringing with my parents. My father a soldier in the British army for 22 years. I was told to go to church only once as a child and only the one time did i ever go. I was pursued by a born again Christian man at the age of 15 by the name of Spike. I was witnessed to again approximately 3 years later by another man now known as Peter. I had never read the bible properly. I was given a small Gideon’s new testament at school and only glanced at it. I was converted by the Spirit of the Lord continually thereafter my first enquiry on a English country road, alone, around 7.20 am whilst on my way waliking to work. Since then I have found the most wonderful treasures of life in the written word of God and watched as time has gone by many incomparable truths unfold. I have not loved Him as He has loved me and as the word unfolds I find myself to be in an ever more impossible place to please God which in turning granted has over the years drawn me to a deeper and more sacrificial friendship with His Son, Jesus. I have found the good news version often shunned as a cheap tabloid rag in comparison to the KJV, an easier read, but why? Is it just the English or is it ambition? After all are not the hearts of men most playfull at times and even subtle in their endeavours. With the Grace we have From the Father we have the freedom by His will to be able to have every version at hand. Personally I would like to see a new version of the king James but maticulasly nieghboured to the authorised version in modern English. It can be done without the faults of the present versions, even the present new King James which has differences in word. It is God who decides who is saved not the written bible or the Church. The thief on the cross was saved without any scholarly knowledge but He knew the man hanging next to him was the author Himself and believed. Jesus/Father/Holy Spirit also said that people would find Him unawares meaning not through reading the word or searching Him out through it. I certainly understand that the Lord is not going to lose his sheep through one or two errors in the translation of His word as they will have His voice regardless. After all it is not as if He was unprepared for arguments such as these. I sometimes think to myself that the bible could be reduced to just one verse at times and at times just one verse is satisfying enough to have in your mind and soul and to obey it accordingly. One particular verse is Romans 10 verse 9: That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus and shalt believe in thine heart that God has raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. Divine Promise. There is only six words in that verse that I may modify. I would not write it as thus, If you will confess.. because it is the Fathers will that you should confess first , I would write it thus, If you shall… you see that has the Fathers freedom and His Glory to be seen in the drawing power of His irresistible Grace, not ours, if we should by our own will confess the Fathers only begotten Son we would be proud. Look at this with Jesus in mind when He said not my will be done Father, but yours. No small task is it. With Gods grace I am grateful for the King James version and would prefer the Spirit to speak to me thus but I am not greater than my Master and so at this point would confess say that to rule out the NIV or even the Good News version without a genuine spirit of correction may lead to pride. The Lord continues to draw His children unto His bosom today and I personally have the privalidge of owning two Bibles and I read only one of them, the King James version, (Study version with Matthew Henry footnotes) it is pure joy.

  2. Good job Keith! Loved your honesty! We are blessed beyond measure for all the amazing sacrifices that happened long before we got here. So how much harder should we work due to how easy we have it to share Christ!

      1. I cannot believe that Christians argue for KJV only. What’s worse is that they all use the same defenses from the same pamphlet that was proven obselete and wrong about 40 years ago… To argue that and English translation should be the standard is laughable…

    1. I was raised on the KJV (10 years of Church of England boarding school) and, despite my atheism, I still enjoy it. I’ve never heard “If the King ain’t on it,” etc, before, but I’ll happily steal it. Unless someone is claiming authorship?

  3. You could well be right there. But before we start pointing our fingers at the devil we should look at the reasons why there are mistakes and is it just grammatical error as the core of the message is still translated accurately Love the Lord you God with all your heart….and your neighbour as yourself. Repent and believe. Still, I would also advise that the KJV should be 1st choice and possibly your only choice.

  4. Did you know that the Christian Bible was translated through eight languages before modern English and that there are over 100 English versions of the testament? Of course, each is “perfect and without error.”

    All praise His Noodleness!

  5. Bryan, thank you for liking my posts. I began reading the KJV shortly after I got saved in the 70’s and have never gone back to anything else. Good post. Yet I feel that the most accurate translation from the original is the New American Standard Version with the KJV a close second.

    1. Thank you for the kind words Citvnet! Yes, this (written by my friend, Keith) post was not meant to downplay or insult the importance of the KJV in Christian history. God has gripped many people with his word and thankfully the KJV has been a part of that. I personally rotate between the ESV and NASB versions. I also believe the NASB to be the closest translation to the original we have available.

    2. It depends on the translation philosophy that you use. Really it’s only possible to say that a translation accurately achieves its purpose, or doesn’t.

      Is a translation accurate if it preserves Greek syntax but can’t be understood by its readers, for example? I would think not, because who is a translation for if not its reader?

      Is an idiom more accurately translated by using the same words as the original (even if the idiom is unknown to the reader) or an equivalent idiom in the receptor language that the reader understands?

      Accuracy can’t merely depend on being as literal as possible, because it is rare that the meaning of words across languages overlap perfectly. Every translation is trying to preserve the accuracy of one thing at the expense of another.

  6. I just want to say one thing, the reason why Church leaders suppressed English versions of the Bible was NOT because they didn’t want them to understand it. Indeed the Catholic Church came out with an English Bible before the King James, called a Duay-Rheims Bible.

    The real reason they suppressed the different translations and unfortunately killed people (not saying its right) was because the translations left many things out (like 7 books of the Old Testament) and were very poorly done. i have heard Wycliff’s Bible for instance was a very shoddy translation.

    It was also NOT because they wanted to hide any truth. The Latin Bible was made after all when Latin was the common language of the people hence why it was called “Vulgata” meaning “common” There were up to seven Scripture readings per Catholic Mass and nowadays there is an average of 4 readings.

    Just clarifying the history here- and the reality.

    1. Thanks for the provoking thought hno3burns! The “history” and “reality” you are sharing has a very Catholic slant to it. If you honestly believe the vast majority of uneducated peasants in Europe knew Latin you are just sadly mistaken. WyCliffe’s “shoddy” translation (I don’t necessarily trust what you’ve “heard”) is better than the translation the common man never had, especially when anti-gospel doctrines such as indulgences and relic worship were being propagated by the Church at that time. The Apocrypha omission is another issue altogether, but there has been tons of scholarly debate on that we could appeal to. Namely, I have to say this: Having a priest read mechanically to you seven times a day in Mass means nothing if you cannot understand it (most couldn’t sir, it is a fact). By this continued practice the RCC did choose to suppress the biblical gospel and the only hope of salvation to those uneducated masses: justification by faith through the grace of the person and work of Jesus Christ on the cross.

      1. Having been raised Catholic and now a Baptist preacher, the Duay-Rheims, was only read by the priests. The common man was not originally allowed to even touch them. The same was true when the Anglican Church had a translation in the common language of the day. The Bishops Bibles were placed on the altars and you had to go into the church to read it, copies were not given out. It was only when Tyndale made his translation available by smuggling them into England, did the common man have a Bible. Much of his translation, about 90%, was used by KJV authors, many years later (100). We see this because of the archaic English that the KJV just copied, but was not used in 1611.

    2. Duay-Rheims Bible was published in 1582. It was based off of the Latin Vulgate.
      Tyndale’s was first printed in 1526. It was based off the Greek and Hebrew. The people who translated the KJV translated 90% of the texts the same as Tyndale did. That doesn’t sound too “shoddy” or “poorly done.” What does sound “shoddy” and “poorly done” are the practices of the Catholic church of the time. If i was making so much money off of indulgences I wouldn’t want anyone to know the truth either.

  7. I have known many people who have this KJV only hang-up. It is deception, in my opinion. Estus Pirkle has written an excellent book on the subject: “The 1611 King James Bible”. I think it is so well written and explanatory that most people who are saved will be able to understand the truth. My daughter’s soon-to-be ex-husband would not listen to any preacher or teacher who read from a version other than King James. I think he used this to keep from hearing many truths that he needed to hear or perhaps it would be more accurate to say Satan used this to keep him from hearing truth. Anyway, I liked your post.

  8. An honest and heartfelt post – thank you. Apart from the autographs – all the rest are translations. Those that have been seriously translated should be used to gain understanding. Those who say KJV or nothing have little understanding of how that translation came about. In part it was a reaction against the English expatriates in Geneva who had created the Geneva Bible. In other words – there was heavy dose of politics at work. Thanks again

  9. I just finished reading about the King James Only. I really enjoyed it. I was a new born again christian in 1976. The guy’s I fellow-shipped with were all in our 20’s with families. The reason that I to comment is one night “The Jesus Freaks” (that’s how we were referred to and it fit), were meeting.for prayer and one of the brothers brought an NASB version to the meeting. Until then I didn’t know there were any versions besides the KJV. A big discussion started about this NASB Version came out. The general position was there are only two versions of the bible. The KJV or the perversion. I’ll never forget what one of the brothers blurted out; “If the KJV was good enough for the Disciples it’s good enough for me.” Thanks for the memories.

    God Bless You,
    Brother Mike

  10. WOW. Just WOW.

    I cannot thank you enough for this post, brother. Having brought up in a Baptist church (and not just Baptist, but Fundamental baptists) here in the Philippines, for the most part of my life, I have heard people celebrating and praising to the point of – dare I say it – idolizing the KJV.

    Now, what I could not understand was why everyone promoted the KJV, a Bible written in a language that very few of us understood. I mean, yes, we Filipinos generally understand English, but the archaic way it is written just prevents most of the Filipino masses to understand it. I remember going through my KJV Bible and just slogging through it, and I couldn’t help thinking, if someone like me, who has, by general standards, a very good English comprehension (I grew up exposed to Western literature) has difficulty understanding it, how much more the average or less than average Filipino?

    And of course this brings up the inevitable question: If KJV is THE only inspired version, then what about the Bibles written in Filipino, or in any other language? Is there any way to translate the Bible into a language the “KJV way”? And if there is none, then must everyone who does not know English therefore suffer from not knowing scriptures? I couldn’t help thinking how racist that is.

    1. Excellent points TheExpressionaire. Those who advocate for KJV Onlyism seem to have a very ethnocentric (or Englishcentric?) view of the world and Scripture. Translating from strict Middle English only muddles the translation for other languages. That is why you should go straight to the available Greek and Hebrew manuscripts (like the NASB does) and find the most ordinary accurate meaning in modern vernacular.

      We have a couple large Filipino families in our church and they are some precious passionate Christian brothers and sisters!

  11. Great Post.

    Seeking to Understand the nature of the KJV only dispute leads one to the debate concerning the nature of scripture. But this leads to deeper issues.

    Let me see if I can pull this off.

    The debates concerning the doctrine of inspiration are going to be never-ending, because they are built upon words which aren’t usually applied in this manner.

    Our language is in general insufficient, and our words often technically point to one thing, but in common usage tend to point in other directions.

    When the need naturally arose to analyze the essence and nature of these texts which were and are being presented as messages from somewhere else, about an invisible reality, pre imminently concerned with the content of day to day life, but at times also concerned with the effects day to day life will have in a future beyond life.

    So you see that this is tricky stuff, to speak of these things means we step in and out of worlds, and there is a mixing of authorities, depending on the perspective which comes from the voice of the speaker.

    As a civilization we’ve historically failed to structure our language systems in a way that will protect the integrity of the internal message.

    We use secular words for sacred things, and sacred words for secular. Not to say there isn’t a place for shades of both, but when one wants to speak with authority on things Sacred, it would benefit us if a whole branch of language developed which was specific to the sacred.

    Not just a technical language like the sciences, and not just a language using words derived from the ancient sources, but an alive, relevant and laboriously crafted language written from the ardent search for spiritual truths, over time, and with the intention to produce a language of God.

    We have a language that we think is that, but it still is mixed with the secular language, and has a history of misuse, and of being taken not too seriously that it doesn’t help.

    The problem is there is a bar to this.

    This would require a level of honesty, deep inner honesty, and care in writing that I dont think any of us are able to do for any length of time.

    And besides, before this would happen, there would need to be a general and overall simplification, and “making it right again” period within the hearts and minds of people who want to be religious.

    We’ve inherited, been born into, a history of a superficial hypocritical tendency within the religious communities.

    When we dont know, or when we fall short, we claim that we do not, so as to not be seen as not having perfect faith.

    We have misapplied the concept of faith, and throw its injunction out too easily.

    To repair from error one must, or a community must be able to admit to its error, and rationally work to repair that error.

    When we throw out things to placate or make things easier like “just have faith, we’ll figure it out”, or “every things possible with god” etc, often we are basically telling god we aren’t willing to work rationally on the issue.

    This sort of thing compounds with the greatest issue of them all, internal dishonesty which manifests as an external expression of integrity of action, belief, and value, but internally we know that we have and will continue to DO things contrary to what we say we do, BELIEVE things contrary to what we believe, and are actions and beliefs testify that we VALUE things contrary to what we claim we value.

    Tricky stuff..

  12. I would also argue that most modern translations have a far more solid scholarly basis that the KJV did. The KJV relied heavily on the Textus Receptus, in conjunction with other available manuscripts in the original Greek and Hebrew. Today, we have an unprecedented number of manuscripts in the original languages. Additionally, due to these manuscripts (many of which date back to within a few decades of the original writing) we now know with near certainty what was contained within the NT. The OT has also been demonstrated to have been transmitted to within 99% accuracy over the course of centuries, when compared with the dead sea scrolls which can be dated to several centuries BC. Our modern english translations are translated from these manuscripts, which means that what we find within their pages are founded upon a far more scholarly foundation. Functionally, however, there is little enough difference between translations to make elevating one over another something of spiritual significance.

    and @David_Rosman … before you begin invoking the Flying Spaghetti Monster, it would be good to verify your information. Modern English translations are translated DIRECTLY from the original languages – that is, Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek – without the additional intermediary languages you claim. What I think you are referring to is the hundreds of languages Scripture had been translated into, not the languages they are translated FROM.

    1. Excellent points TE Hanna! It is amazing the meticulous standard of accuracy the manuscripts (and their early copiers) have held over the centuries. Yes, it is ridiculous to defend KJV Onlyism when the reality is that the wealth of manuscripts we have now completely owns the limited number the KJV interpreters had. Thanks for stopping by!

  13. This type of discussion always amazes me and frustrates me immensely. I am a Greek major, and, although by no means a scholar, am quite interested in translations. I fall on the side of dynamic translation, because the NT was written in the language of the man of the street and commerce. Its Greek is far less sophisticated than classical Greek (it is much harder, more complex, and much wider vocabulary). The language of the people changes a lot over very few years. Translations are to communicate God’s love and will – in the language of the people. That means words change meaning and need a newer translation to communicate more accurately.

    To impose a foreign language on a people as their means of understanding God’s wonderful message is wrong, i.e. KJV on the Philippine people, Spanish on indigenous tribesmen in S. America, even KJV of modern Americans.

    Sure some of the dynamic translations miss some technical points, but the more literal, such as NASB, really sound stilted and don’t communicate well to the average American reader. Only those trained and taught in the NASB or KJV understand them well. They are not “koine”.

    I have seen adults who pick up a newer translation have sparkle come to their eyes as they understand the words so much better than when they were struggling with an older, more “literal” translation. I put that in quotes because anyone who says a translation can be made word for word is ignorant of the translation process.

    Let’s not fight about words when the message is so glorious, life-changing, and exciting. Don’t let words – or translations – stand between people and the Gospel message.

  14. I went down the same road back in the 70’s and early 80’s after I’d been first saved. I was completely unsettled about this for several years. I know now that the quandary exists due to our “babyhood” in Jesus…for those who drink milk and not meat. It’s completely normal and shows our God that we want to obey and be perfect ‘kids’. I know, beyond doubt, that as long as God speaks to your heart that He is real and as long as you embrace our Lord in the amazing way He needs to be loved & honored, you’re good to go. All that is important is that we comprehend God’s Word and learn to know how to walk.

    1. I think this is why we need to approach those who do believe KJV only with care. Some are truly trying to obey the Lord. Others are using it for their own purposes. Thankfully, God knows our hearts and knowing Him is what is important.

  15. I am not a fan of the KJV version. I find trying to perceive the understanding in it difficult. I do not think that God speaks to me in old english. He might have in the old days if I had lived then. To be honest I do not like reading William Shakespeare because of the old english that it is written in. I like reading the Good News version I have a large print version this is better on my eyes. I have come across KJV version extremists in the past and find such people are not my cup of tea in relating to. Usually someone who takes an extremist line is called a fundamentalist. I was even called one in the past but I have wisened up – hopefully. Fundamentalists resort to control through one man or woman or a book say the KJV. Jesus sure was one man but he ascended in to the above. God made us humans sapients. Sapient is to think. I love reflection/meditation. I get very inspired in my reflections.
    Regards; Lester John Murray.

    1. A few years back our pastor changed our pew Bibles from the NIV to the NLT. I was confused by the change and wondered why – until I saw the reaction of people who said it spoke to them even better than the NIV, let alone the KJV. Yeah, there are some nuances and occasional phrasing that are helped by comparing translations, but it seems to speak with a message that communicates – especially to those new to the the Gospel. Even some of the older folks (that is my area of experience and ministry) have said they never understood some of the passages until they read them in the NLT. Boy, those words will likely drive the KJV and literal translation folks up a wall.

  16. Great post! I am a pastor who ministers to a wide variety of people, to whom English is not their first language. They have a hard enough time with modern English, they would never grow in the faith if they had to use Old English. Actually, the KJV puts it quite nicely:

    1 Corinthians 14:9
    So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air.
    (KJV)

    I give this verse to those who only use KJV to get them to think about it. I don’t know if it helps them, but at least I feel good about it.

    Thanks for the post!

  17. Brother, am I sorry to hear your experience. I got hassled a couple of times for the same thing, but nothing like this.

    I haven’t read all the Replies, but some other thoughts:

    1. The Puritans, who are the heroes of many today, rejected the King James Bible of 1611, because it sounded too “Catholic”, calling church leaders “bishops”, for example. They continued to use the Geneva Bible for some time.

    2. The KJV was published with the Anglican Canon of Scriptures, that is, with the Deuterocanonical Books (the “Apocrypha”) in a separate section between the Old and New Testaments.

    3. The KJV was not a “virgin” translation from the original languages, but was a revision of the Bishop’s Bible which also took into account all other English versions.

    4. The KJV that people use today is NOT the 1611 version. I’m not talking about the NKJV, etc., but the fact that the KJV was regularly updated. I believe that the version of the KJV used today is from the 1780s, but am not sure of that. Anyway, beyond a certain point the KJV version “froze in time” and its English was not kept up to date as it had been for nearly two centuries. That’s why it seems so badly out of date today.

    5. A common argument when people are promoting one view or another is to appeal to some great authority. In this case, Erasmus is elevated to sainthood (although he rejected the Reformation) and the KJV editors are said to be the best the world has ever assembled. Nonsense, they were great, but hardly the best of all time.

    6. I deal a lot with textual criticism, teach my students to read Greek manuscripts, etc. I can assure you that the so-called Alexandrian Text was not some conspiracy to delete the Trinity, the Lordship of Christ, salvation by faith, etc., etc., from our Bible. Conspiracy theorists such as Jack Chick are long on speculation and short on actual facts. “A conspiracy asserted is not a conspiracy proven.”

    I interact occasionally with people from the Bible Society, and you would not believe the things they are accused of by Textus Receptus-only followers. It’s a dirty business.

    I sure hope things work out for you, will pray for you later on today.

  18. For the brother who warned against “pointing fingers”, absolutely. On the other hand, it wasn’t Keith who pointed fingers, it was people who told him his Bible was a product of Satan.

    I wouldn’t know how to begin to put a label on what kind of sin this is, to point at my Bible and call it Satan’s message, because it is not one version or another. What must God think?

    The single best book I know on this topic is by D. A. Carson, The KJV-Only Debate, http://www.amazon.com/King-James-Version-Debate-Realism/dp/0801024277/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1328895690&sr=8-1

    Also, by the way, I mentioned that the KJV originally contained the “Catholic” books of the Apocrypha. It was also partly based on the Douay Rheims Catholic translation from the Vulgate to English.

  19. First, thank you for stopping and liking my post. Secondly, excellent thoughts on this Bible issue. You have addressed it quite well. I own a KJV. I read from it occasionally and it is among the Bibles I study (I happen to be partial toward the NASB). I think it is a fine Bible. However, what you will find is that when one argues for the exclusivity of the KJV there is an ignorance of its history, and when one argues for its preeminence over other versions there is an ignorance of it’s textual background. Great post!

  20. I tried Liking this post but it wouldn’t take, so consider yourself Liked. 🙂

    Thank you for dropping by The Biblical Apologist and Liking “Who Are We? (Part 3 of 6)” at https://thebiblicalapologist.wordpress.com/

    Feel free to read parts 1 and 2 as well. 🙂
    They set up part 3, but be warned: They’re pretty strong and not for the feint of heart. 😉

  21. The thing is that the NT was translated from Aramaic to Greek to English! Ever hear of the telephone game? There’s a small but upcoming movement to get back to translating to English directly from the Aramaic. There will be those who like to intellectualize and break apart God’s Word into itty bitty pieces in order to have that “aha” revelation that no one else knows about or to begin a new “group” or just plainly and simply – REBEL!!! (Oh yeh, that’s how Adam & Eve got us into all these problems – by REBELLION.) For me and my house, we come to God as “children” who need a Father and Savior. We pray and we read the NKJV because we enjoy it and it speaks to our hearts and helps us walk in righteousness. We have a ministry and my hubby is a pastor; we tell everyone to read the Bible version that best speaks to their hearts and which gets them through this life here on earth, God’s Way. I think people need to quit picking apart what is perfect. Be aware that the apostasy is growing like a cancer; I believe that trying to prove the Bible is in error is part of the last days apostasy Jesus told us about. The saying, “Don’t fix what isn’t broken” goes a long way.

    1. There is zero proof, no manuscripts, no historical references (with one remotely possible exception, Matthew) that the NT was written in Aramaic. The movement to translate the NT into Aramaic exists precisely for that reason, because there is no Aramaic NT in existence.

      There are plays on words in the NT that work only in Greek.

      People who haven’t studied the languages often confuse Biblical Aramaic with Syriac, and the Syriac Peshitta version. There does exist a translation into Syriac of both Testaments, but it is secondary. No-one in Palestine in Jesus’ day spoke Syriac, for the reason that it did not yet exist.

      What would a Greek-speaking Gentile Christian from, say, Thessalonians do with a letter written in Aramaic?

  22. I didn’t mention this above but, we deal with a parallel movement in Latin America. There are people who argue that one edition or another of the Reina-Valera Version, usually 1960, based on the Textus Receptus, is God’s inspired Word. They use Chick publications, translated into Spanish. The Spanish New International Version (NV) is supposedly a homosexual Bible, the Good News is part of a papal plot, you name it.

    The Reina-Valera 1960 version is fine, by the way, although it’s not written in colloquial Spanish and is hard to understand.

  23. Gary…Just a FYI…I got that info at http://www.aent.org/ Personally, I could care less. I snuggle up with God’s Word and am at peace. To intellectualize & research all of this would be to take too much time away from my ministry, my own walk and my family. I’m not one of those ‘wannabe right” people. I just “wannabe” doing God’s calling for my life.

    1. Not sure if this is Bill or Dina, nor is this really the forum to mention this, but – I checked out the AENT website, and they might be weirder than you think, combining their own Bible version with astrology, etc. Just a thought, do with it what you will.

      1. It’s Dina. WOW! Thanks for the info. This is exactly why I don’t search for further perfection of what is already perfect. Someone had directed me to that site and I just skimmed over it without really taking too much note. God speaks in1 Cor 13:12, “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” I’m sticking my old beaten up and very tired NKJV and for clarification for study, I also use the Amplified.

  24. Sad to see how the Church becomes divided over such a bizarre notion (i.e. KJV only). The important thing to consider when comparing translations is commitment of the translator(s) to literal fidelity. By this I mean that they don’t take too much latitude in paraphrasing or opting for less than true translations (e.g. Today’s New International Version which profits from the reputation of the excellent NIV, but employs a “politically correct” hermeneutic).

  25. I think alot of the church (or the mainline church) are settled about the KJV in that most Christians are ok about reading other versions. When I was a young growing Christian I came among some KJV extremists but this was when I flirted with Pentecostalism. In that area I also across the keep the Sabbath people. I think now alot of Christians do not worry about this Sabbath issue either though most Christians who go to church go on a Sunday me included. Two issues that have not yet been solved by the Church. This is the area of homosexuality and woman Pastors. Woman pastors re – woman should not teach or have authority over men. Hopefully the church will mature more and more. Pentecostals seem to embrace woman pastors but on a whole denigrate homosexuality. Personally I am trying to find my own way on these 2 contentious issues but I am not one to just cow tow to someone just quoting the KJV on these 2 issues; or for that matter any version of the bible. I want to find out the truth myself and if it takes my whole life then let it be so. We always come back to – is the bible error free. Fundamentalists (I think fundamentalism is spiritual immaturity – I “was” one so it took one to know one) take the bible wholey literal. I think there is alot of literal in the bible but as with all humans (when humans are involved) there is error. Also the bible is full of metaphors and analogy. Lets not forget the evolution versus creation debate. Again I do not like “young” Pentecostal preachers preaching to me on this subject. To be honest I get very little or nil inspirations when sitting in these modern churches. I sit in a catholic church and often after a while my spirit soars and I get lovely reflections. I love reflecting. In reflecting I think is it in my head I get wonderful insights. In reflecting I get answers. When I raise my thinking (in refecting) to my head I have thoughts as precious as gold; well I think they are.
    Regards; Lester John Murray.

  26. I grew up using the KJV, but I often cross reference it against some of the other popular versions. Clarity is very important and I find that the KJV is not always clear.

    Thanks for sharing. God bless

    1. Amen, jlue. I remember hating it at first until I figured out that it was great for clarification and noted all possible meanings for each verse. Now, I memorize verses with my NKJV but study with the Amplified. It does what the name says…it amplifies. I sure hope that believers all around the world “get” that whatever Bible version speaks to your heart and understanding is good. People love to beat themselves up on what they need not devote time to. Human nature is our sin nature and separates people from our God.

    2. The weakness of the Amplified is precisely this, that it gives all possible meanings for each word. BUT in a given context, a word does not haver all the meanings that it could possibly have in whatever context, but only the meaning it has in this one context.

      For example, if I said “What does this email mean?” the Amplified would say: “Mean” = signify; ill-tempered; average; cause; result in; intend. One or maybe two of those definitions would be relevant to my hypothetical question whereas the rest would be mistaken and actually misleading.

      People who work with the original languages typically regard the Amplified as a source of disorientation rather than illumination.

  27. There’s a story behind the quote from John that was cited (concerning the Truth). You see the Bible is not the word of God, but the word of man about God which is precisely the reason why one has to search for the Truth (as opposed to just looking in the Bible for it). The Kingdom of God is within each of us and we can connect with God through our consciousness.

  28. One of the members of my church went through a similar and painful KJV event in his life. He has done extensive research on the subject and we have used him as a means to teach the heresy of KJV only. I call it heresy because anything that calls itself “Christian” and yet so drastically divides fellow believers over something so trivial is. Kind of like premillennial dispensationalism. ;>) Those who adhere to its doctrine often refuse to listen to the truth and many actually believe you cannot know God’s truth without a KJV. His parents and family members ostracized him and his wife for many years until they came out of the church they were part of that taught this.

  29. Enjoyed your post, and how many here have read the book Misquoting Jesus by scholar Bart Ehrmann, a former evangelical and bible scholar who documents the many errors of translation, both intentional and unintentional, that riddle all versions of the bible. This entire enterprise of advocating King James over all other is based on a naive view in which the apparent holiness and habit of language circumvents the issue: That we don’t have the original documents from which to work with, and all translations are our best assemblage, but hardly inerrant, infallible or perfect.

  30. I love to listen to Dr. Chuck Misler, when I can. He only uses the KJV. Why? Because the problems with it are known.
    I have about thirty two on my computer. I happen to carry around a Dake’s KJV lately because I like the cross references, and I am quite adept at translating thees and thous without missing a beat.

    The amazing thing is that God somehow manages to speak to people, even through “the Message.”
    God Bless
    Ozzie

  31. This has been a most interesting discussion so far! I ‘d like to pick up on this last thought of remso. God can and does speak to people through various translations. He speaks to whoever will listen through events in nature, accidents, etc. He longs to get His message across to a world badly in need of His healing touch, if perchance some will listen. And He warns us to avoid contentions. “The servant of the Lord shall not strive, but be gentle, patient, apt to teach.” If we could get that down pat, the rest would take care of itself.

    When we first became Christians the “Bible” our group used was a paraphrase, The Living Bible by Kenneth Taylor. Later,, comparing his with other translations, we realized he took a lot of liberty to explain things from his own perspective.

    One problem we have found with newer versions is that they are copyright. it seems to us very unusual for anyone to copyright the word of God. Neither can you quote them, theoretically, without permission from the publisher.

  32. This is a great post. You’re out in the open with some tough stuff, and hopefully it will lead people to love people rather than “a position”. I like the KJV, but just because the King authorised it to be read in churches doesn’t mean it stands above other translations – and yes, I have heard people who argue that point, without comprehending the authorisation came from a man not God.

    The delusion of any believer who stakes more on what the pastor says, or what he “feels more comfortable with” above what the word of God says is in dire need of help.

    We can get help from all versions, and whilst I can’t stand “The Message” sometimes it really carries weight, whilst bringing in a freshness which doesn’t need unpacking.

    I’m glad you stuck with the wife, and family rifts are healed.

  33. I do believe that you can use other versions of the Bible besides KJV, but I see the preference in using KJV especially since a Hebrew or Greek Word has many more meanings than an English Word. I prefer the NKJV which was the revised version which put it into modern English. The problem with the NIV version, is they take certain words and make it have a different meaning and different connotation than what was originally intended. I would suggest not being dependent on only one translation but to read more than one. I personally like KJV, NKJV, Amplified, The Message, the NLT. I thought the NIV was ok until I saw a youtube video about it and now when I go to Biblegateway and see the NIV I cross reference it with NKJV to see if it has the same meaning.

  34. Well, I’ll guess I will put in my 2 cents worth as well. While I love my KJV I am by no means a “KJVO” enthusiast. I love the poetic language the face it calls sin what it is and does not soft pedal anything but it has it errors. Just one example is the translation of fill as replenish in Genesis 1:28 that has caused much confusion.

    But there are faults in any translation so it is not just a matter of choice but using wisdom to pick out a Bible that is not only readable but accurate. Remember this is IMHO.
    1) Translations are better than paraphrases. These are one man’s opinion on what the Bible actually says (like Eugene Peterson and the Message or Phillips and The Living Bible)

    2) Not all translations are equal. Like I said I like my KJV and can live with the limited number of errors found there (there are only 2 at this point that I know of) and to me the next best is the English Standard Version. At the bottom of the list is the NIV with its numerous errors (for a good accounting of them, visit 1611.com and read their article http://av1611.com/kjbp/articles/bacon-niv1.html

    Anyway, that is just my opinion on the matter..

    1. So you know, Tom, I’ve spent plenty of time on the 1611.com site, and their list of “errors” is highly tendentious – most of the “errors” are those verses where the NIV is not strictly in agreement with the 1611 KJV.

      If we were in agreement that the KJV was the standard by which all other translations should be judged, that would be legitimate – but I for one cannot accept their basic premise.

  35. Fantastic! I really enjoyed this. I too was raised in this setting, but from a Wesleyan point of view. This has inspired me to write some of my own stories and journeys through these belief systems. Thank you for this.

  36. Great post and great discussion!

    Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

    Does that sound like it needs a particular human language translation?

    1 Corinthians 2:13 says, “This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.”

    This isn’t about “tongues”. The Bible is of the Spirit of God. Human language simply helps to convey it to our level of understanding. In the words of the KJV, now we see through a glass darkly.

    When we hear Jesus “knocking” at the “door” and we “receive” him and “eat” with him, it isn’t because language has made it clear to us, because what does all that mean? It means the greatest communication ever has just occurred between the Creator of the universe and one sin-laden human being.

    Thank you LORD for speaking your truth to us, despite our meager comprehension!

  37. I come from a KVJ only background. A church that I worked at before was a strict KJV only church – I understood their arguments for KJVO, but never fully bought into it. I enjoy versions such as the NIV(2011), the ESV, and the NASB, however I still memorize, study from, and teach from the KJV, partly due to the fact that I’ve used it for so long and it does have a very poetic sense to it.

    There are some negatives in my opinion to non-KJ versions of the Bible – look for Acts 8:37, Matthew 18:11 (“For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost), and Matthew 23:14 in the NIV or others. These are just three of countless verses that have been deleted entirely or moved to the footnotes.

    Deuteronomy 4:2, Proverbs 30:6, and Revelation 22:18-19 are verses that lay heavy on my heart concerning versions that remove scripture or alter it beyond recognition (i.e. the Message).

    I’ve known people that think the KJV is old and “fuddy duddy” and I’ve met some on the other extreme that think one cannot know true salvation if they were saved using the gospel from any other version. Both sides are too extreme for my taste and I find myself somewhere in the middle. In my conclusion, I use the KJV for my basis of study and Christian walk, and, on occasion, use other versions to enhance my beliefs. I fully respect those who use other versions, and, in fact, now we go to a church that primarily uses the NASB.

    cheifofleast, this was a great post with some great discussion! I hope you will join some discussions with us at http://www.prodigalchildren.com sometime!

    God Bless!
    prodigalchild

  38. And now the NIV will be replaced with an updated translation. As a teacher at a Lutheran Elementary School this is a hot button issue. my thoughts are at the very basic here there. You can change the wording so it is easier to understand as long as the meaning of the wording does not change. God’s Word is God Word as long as we are translating and not adding or subtracting. It is funny how our synod has to put together several comitees to decide if we should use this new translation. I do appreciate the caution though, however I hope we don’t flip this around and say that the NIV 1984 is the only valid translation. At the very least the comitee reported that the translators had no intentions of adding or taking away from God’s word. The message of Jesus as our one and only salvation from sin and death is the key though and we must always remember that.

    1. It took 25 years to go from one version of the NIV to the next. The ESV, on the one – which many criticized as being hastily assembled in 2001 – was revised partially in 2007 and fully in 2011.

  39. The new NIV has already been published in 2011. It replaced all NIV84 versions sold new. The only way you can tell the difference is to look inside the front cover at the copyright information. Between the NIV84 and the new NIV (sometimes referred to as the NNIV to avoid confusion) was the NIVi (New International Version Inclusive language edition in Britain) and the TNIV (Today’s New International Version which lasted from 2005 to 2009), which did cause much controversy over their gender-neutralness and translation philosophies. However, the NIV (2011) version has attempted to find a middle ground between the TNIV and the NIV84. Instead of diving into the changes here, I found this website by Robert Slowley at http://www.slowley.com/niv2011_comparison/ that covers in detail the differences between the NIV84, TNIV, and the NNIV.

    God Bless!
    http://www.prodigalchildren.com

  40. This was a great post, brother. There is more about the King James that are about to come out, and I am still researching before I put all my information out there for all to see. I came across all that while preparing for a radio interview during the time that Tebow 316 was hot. Keep your marriage strong by staying close to God. We cannot afford anything less than holiness. I am new in the community of wordpress bloggers. Thank you for your “like” of encouragement.

  41. Ahh, the old King James Version Only argument. How fondly I remember my days with the Dean Burgon Society, arguing against all the modern “perversions”. Been there, done that, burned the t-shirt.

    I stirred up quite a bit of trouble a couple of years ago when I wrote this post on “Is KJV-Onlyism rooted in Imperialism?”

    Since I grew up using the KJV, I have no problem reading and comprehending it. I left the KJVO camp after reading the Scriptures in several English translations, as well as doing some original language research. The KJVO position became untenable under the weight of evidence.

    But after leaving that camp behind, it became pretty obvious to me that there were social and cultural forces at work that stretched far beyond the arguments made by the KJVO people. Their allegiance to the translation had very little to do with the translation itself and much more to do with the culture in which it had become dominant.

  42. Have you noticed how many of the onlyist’s are made about something, KJV, Calvinism. What are they so angry about? Thanks for the article.
    Dwight

  43. In 1997, I was trying to get sober, and I believe GOD to told me to read His Word. For three days I asked people if they knew what GOD’s Word was. On the third day, a person said, people at his grandmothers church used to call the Bible, “GOD’s Word”. You can not buy a Bible in any of the 3 book stores on Miami Beach. I found a KJV New Testament in Miami. I read it about three times a year for four years before I bought a full Bible. My first full Bible was the New Living Translation. I read it once a year for 4 years. Then I bought a NKJV Bible and read it once a year for 5 years. Then I bought a KJV Bible, and I am in my 13 reading of the Bible. I like the poetry of the KJV, but sometimes I look up things in the NLT, to get a better understanding of what GOD is saying.

  44. As a KJV only person, let me say that it is unfortunate that some people who hold this position do so in a hateful way. That is not necessary. It certainly should not be the reason to jeopardize a marriage. I’m glad you got things worked out!

    Secondarily, I’m happy for anyone who trusts Christ from any version.

    Third, I’m glad that you have done some research on the history of translation. You appear to be very knowledgeable. Some issues you may want to research more are people like Westcott and Hort who established a new line of textual criticism which completely changed the text that modern bibles are translated from. The real foundational argument goes back to this: Do you trust the Alexandrian Text or the Byzantine, The Majority or the Minority?

    Fourth, The next issue is translation style. Do we rely on dynamic equivalence which requires a heavy dose of man’s interpretation or formal equivalence which strives to be as true as possible when translating from the donor language to the receptor.

    Finally, catch phrases don’t make for good doctrine. Phrases such as “If the King ain’t on it; the King ain’t in it.” is hardly a good argument for what I believe. But neither is the accusation of James’ homosexuality a productive argument for the other side. Nor the one word “unicorn.” Some elementary research will reveal that the unicorn of the bible isn’t the fairy tale pony little girls play with. It is actually a rhinoceros and they do exist! 🙂

    There are some great theological doctrines that are at the heart of this debate. It is unfortunate that people from both sides have a tendency to reduce this discussion to the level of junior high girls with name calling and catch phrases. In the end, it makes us all look ridiculous. True born again believers who love Christ should be able to discuss and enlighten one another in a Spirit filled manner.

    Thanks for sharing your article. It was well written.

    1. All readers of the Bible ought to read the following book with an open mind. It’s a fascinating read.

      “Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why” by Bart D. Ehrman

      A lot of people don’t like to read this book because it says things they don’t want to hear. Yet, if I remember correctly, the book is very well documented. Truth is truth, like it or not. Burying one’s head in the sand does not obliterate the truth.

  45. What I see is a lot of confusion. Which version is easiest to read seems to be the main focus for most people. But do all the versions always say the same thing in every passage of scripture? No. My experience as been that often they do not agree with one another which only causes confusion and more often than not words and whole verses are left out in versions besides the KJV. Is the KJV the only Bible a person can get saved with? I highly doubt that. But is it the best version to really grow and get grounded in scriptures? I think so. Is it hard to read? Not really. I’ve seen verses in other translations that are “hard to read” because they use bigger more complex words than the KJV. Should believers fight over this? No. Let each to his own. We all have differences of opinions about something but we don’t need to let that come between us. That is the crux of the matter. To get people fighting with one another trying to prove who is right is definitely what the devil would like to see us do. When we need to be united in brotherly love and witnessing to the lost.

  46. Hi Cris, I teach students on a graduate level how to read digitized copies of the very oldest New Testament manuscripts. All the way back from the NT we use to the earliest witnesses, it’s most definitely the same Bible, same Christ, same gospel. Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, of course, but I can report that Ehrman’s work, though documented, is highly tendentious and not taken as convincing research by many, incl many.liberal scholars. My impression is, he’s regarded as a showman.

    1. Thanks Gary. I appreciate your views on the subject.

      While Ehrman may or may not be a showman, his views ought to be at least listened to with an open mind precisely because his work IS well documented. I’m not interested in his personality, only in the information he has to offer.

      I don’t say I agree with others of his works, but over the years, I’ve pretty much come to the same conclusion as he has regarding this particular subject, only without the documentation.

      There are numerous books out there dealing with how we got our Bible. Remember, King James ordered the clergy to come up with a new translation. It was done by religious scholars with agendas to please the king, not by prophets who wrote only to please the Lord.

      It was prophets who originally gave us our scriptures and prophets only who can tell us what they originally said and/or meant. And they’re just not around anymore. And for some reason, prophets were just not that popular among the populace in their day.

      I suspect they would meet the same fate today as they met millennia ago, were prophets here today, and for the same reasons. People just don’t like to be told what to do. People don’t like to be told they’re wrong, especially if they’re wrong.

      It’s one thing to read it in a book (i.e., Bible). You can always put the book down and walk away and go on to other stuff. Hearing with one’s ears the words of the prophets from actual prophets tends to rile, especially when told things they don’t want to hear. That’s the nature of prideful man.

      And that’s traditionally what prophets of the Bible were called to do, to tell the people they were wrong and needed to straighten up.

      As to the old documents we have of the scriptures, I seriously doubt that any of them were actually written by the prophets themselves. In short, we have no originals.

      I think, however, for the most part, what we do have kept pretty much to what was originally given, but we have no idea what differences they may be between the originals and what we have. And just making honest mistakes when copying text is only one of the ways change could enter into the scriptures.

      Remember, Paul warned of the wolves in sheeps’ clothing (maybe not his exact words) that would enter and, in fact, had already entered into the church. And wolves in the church are never up to any good, no matter how good the intents of the true believers are or were.

      So, anyway, I’ve rambled on a lot more than I originally had intended to. Sorry about that.

      1. Hi Cris, Ehrman’s book IS often well-documented when it comes to a description of textual criticism. But he has few data to back up his central point, that, “Scribes who were associated with the ‘orthodox’ tradition not infrequently changed their texts, sometimes in order to eliminate the possibility of their ‘misuse’ by Christians affirming heretical beliefs and sometimes to make them more amenable to the doctrines being expoused by Christians of their own persuasion.”

        This wide-ranging claim is an hypothesis that he cannot demonstrate, as shown by the weasle words “not infrequently”. I suppose one could point to a couple of passages: off the top of my head I’d mention that some scribe added “and fasting” to Mark 9:29, “This kind [of demon] can come out only through prayer.” The copyist probably slipped it in unconsciously, since in his time, the church exorcised after fasting. It’s this sort of addition that comprises the vast majority of textual variants, and which Ehrman inflates into an ecclesiastical conspiracy to rewrite the BIble.

        I read the NT from a critical edition (NA-27), and so I see all the variants which are worth mentioning, that is, things beyond spelling variations, etc. My (admittedly, subjective) impression is that the NT text, across the entire manuscript edition, is coherent to an almost preposterous level. Someone with an NIV or NRSV, who reads the “other manuscripts have” footnotes, will pick up all the major variants and get a feel for how few serious ones there are.

        There are much better books on the topic, including the Metzger-Erhrman’s, Text of the New Testament (4th ed.).

  47. Hi garyclic, first, I really appreciate your tone, etc. In fact, one of the arguments I keep running into about the NIV is that it supposedly was translated by a lesbian and that it has a gay agenda. It doesn’t, as a cursory reading will show.

    WH did advance textual critism, but a century earlier it was the evangelical J A Bengel who got the ball rolling, when it was starting to be perceived that there were new and better manuscripts.

    KJVO people tend to focus on Westcott and Hort, in part because a lot of their arguments are re-workings of material written by Dean Burgon, a bitter enemy of WH in the 19th century. The discussion has moved way past Alexandrian versus Byzantine. The current critical text uses readings from all sorts of manuscripts, although favoring the Alexandrian ones, since they tend to be older.

    1. Gary, just wanted to say “thank you” for continuing to answer many objections and questions for this post. I appreciate your insight and am a bit surprised (and pleased) at the involvement of so many diverse backgrounds. Never had a blog post take off like this before!

  48. Hi everyone, Since Cris brought up the Ehrman book, thought I’d post the debate that he recently had with Daniel Wallace, who perhaps is the top scholar who is collecting Greek New Testament manuscripts and digitizing them for all to use.

  49. I tend to rarely look at KJV or NKJV after researching how some of the Greek in the New Testament got twisted to support particular doctrines like how they completely redid I John 5:6-7:

    6This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.

    7For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

    And I have found written in several footnotes in other translations that this text was NOT in the Greek SOURCE language before the 1600’s. I checked that out and indeed, it isn’t.

    There is NO perfect English version because Hebrew and Greek does NOT translate word for word into English. That is a fact. The only thing I have found that is kept intact is the Path of Salvation. That is consistent in most translations. It is just like Paul wrote to the Corinthians.

    1 Corinthians 2

    1And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.

    2For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

    3And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.

    4And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:

    5That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

    Everything else is trivial. The Message of the Cross is all that matters. The Gospel, Good News. Why complicate things? Why lean on your own wisdom? Seek the kingdom first, that’s it.

    1. ΙΩΑΝΝΟΥ Α΄ 5:6-7 (I John 5:6-7)
      6 Οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ ἐλθὼν δι’ ὕδατος καὶ αἵματος, Ἰησοῦς Χριστός· οὐκ ἐν τῷ ὕδατι μόνον ἀλλ’ ἐν τῷ ὕδατι καὶ [d]ἐν τῷ αἵματι· καὶ τὸ πνεῦμά ἐστιν τὸ μαρτυροῦν, ὅτι τὸ πνεῦμά ἐστιν ἡ ἀλήθεια. 7 ὅτι τρεῖς εἰσιν οἱ μαρτυροῦντες,

      Do a check on that. It is from the Greek New Testament. And if you can find the Koine Greek of it you won’t find the KJV version of those verses there as well. It’s funny how people act like the English came before the Greek, hehe. Rather ignorant it seems.

      1. I’m not sure I follow your point, Jeffrey, but the KJV translators, like all Bible translators of the day, followed the available Greek text of the day, the Textus Receptus. 1 John 5:7b is in the TR, hence in the KJV, but I don’t think the KJV editors were in a conspiracy or anything to add it in.

  50. Thanks for posting this. I was raised in a narrow-minded independent Baptist church that, to this day, will only use the KJV. I often think about how sad that is because, like you, I couldn’t understand it. I understand you want to be uniform when memorizing Scripture as a group but come on, do some research and get a good modern translation. They do exist!

    My first Bible that I read and soaked up like a sponge because I could totally understand it was the New American Standard Version. I fell in love with God all over again with this version and it kindled a fire in me that has grown monstrous—I want to know Him more.

    1. Sheila,

      I’m a little disappointed in your characterization of “narrow-minded independent Baptist churches….that will only use the KJV.”

      I hear phrases like that all too frequently. I’m glad that you are in love with God but shouldn’t you be in love with your brothers in Christ as well? (1 John 3:14) Why is it that if someone’s conclusion is different that yours they are narrow-minded and haven’t done their research?

      I’m not trying to be difficult but I do want to challenge you a little. There is no evidence that you are more open minded in your view than a kjv only person. In fact, you appear to be narrow minded against the kjv and independent baptist churches. Now I do understand that not all IFB or KJV pastors and churches are the same. Sometimes the reason for their convictions is not clearly taught. And, yes, sometime they too can be uncharitable. I concede all of those points.

      But is it now safe to say that you have done some independent research? Have you read materials pro and con? Can you give a reasonable explanation of the KJV position whether you agree or not? Although you may not agree with the conclusions, the KJV position is very scholarly and well thought out. It has been thoroughly researched by well educated men. They have researched and understand the theories of modern textual criticism that has produced the modern versions and have rejected them for what I believe are more compelling arguments for the majority text very accurately represented in the TR.

      Honestly, I’m not very prone to engage in online debates and I know this kind of post can generate many responses. So let me plainly explain my point. You are free to draw whatever conclusions you wish on bible versions or on the merits of independent Baptist churches. However, you should be a little more charitable in your arguments and certainly have done some independent, unbiased research. And certainly don’t demonize those who have come to different conclusions.

      God bless.

      1. Garyclick,

        I feel compelled to note that Sheila965 was speaking in the singular, and you turned her words into plural.

        She was speaking about ONE “narrow-minded independent baptist church that, to this day, will only use the KJV.”

        But you transmuted her words into “narrow-minded independent Baptist churches…that will only use the KJV.”

        I don’t think Sheila965 was pronouncing judgment in a class of congregations but rather on a single one which, since she spent years there, she is free to have an opinion about.

        There are many good churches that use the KJV exclusively, and there are some intelligent scholars who hold to the KJV position, but she wasn’t writing about them. She was writing about her home church, one for which she has strong feelings. Whether her feelings should be tempered or not, we must be cautious not to turn her personal experience -which is very clearly what she was talking about- into a ubiquitous declaration.

        And this goes both ways. In my own experience in the KJVO camp, I have seen many ministers make ubiquitous declarations about believers who do not share their position, and even more recently a friend of mine posted a video on Facebook that slandered anyone who might disagree with the KJVO position. On all sides, charity should be expressed.

        I am not accusing you of being uncharitable. You have been consistently direct but courteous in your comments. I only wish to clarify Sheila965’s actual words. As we all know, words matter.

        1. Erik,

          Thanks for your clarification on Sheila’s behalf. Certainly no ill feelings were intended on my part. However, there is the suggestion contained in her comment that if one does a little research, they will give up their KJV stance. I merely wanted to clarify that the KJVO position is not based on the lack of “research,” but rather different conclusions thoroughly based on research.

          The one thing I think you and I both may agree on is that these discussions often generate more heat than light. We should attempt to stick to the facts rather than attempting to disparage one another as ungodly or unlearned.

          Personally, the more I have examined the facts as presented from both sides the more convinced I am that the KJV is an accurate “representation” of the originals in the English language and that the critical text behind the modern versions has been corrupted. What many critics of the KJV don’t seem to comprehend is that KJV only position isn’t really about the KJV but rather the underlying issues of textual transmission, early textual corruption, the historical and biblical basis of preservation, and translation issues such as dynamic vs. formal equivalence. In fact, if W/H had not exceeded their mandate and overstepped their bounds, the Revised Version might have been acceptable and this would likely be a non issue today.

          Its just easier to say KJVO than to give a long explanation of all the problems underlying the modern versions. The KJV is essentially the “Last of the Breed” when it comes to conservative principles of translation based upon the preserved texts. Begining with the RV, an entirely new philosophy took over. It just happens that the KJV was the dividing line. If the change had taken place a translation earlier or later we might be Geneva Only or RV Only. LOL. The point is that it is not based on tradition or ignorance but on a conservative and spiritual principle (preservation).

          Well, I’ve already said more than I intended and honestly am not looking for a prolonged debate. Most people who will view this are very likely settled in their ways, whichever that may be.

          Once again, though I wished to challenge Sheila a little, no ill feelings were intended.

          1. I once held your position, taught classes on preservation and strongly supported KJVO groups. Obviously, my views have changed – but I am not a wholesale “critical text” supporter. My position is probably closer to Maurice Robinson’s majority text.

            But I digress.

            I agree that this debate can go on endlessly. I just wanted to make that one clarification for her.

      2. Gary,
        I appreciate your input. As far as “research,” I was raised in an independent Baptist church, the self-same one I spoke of. I even went to school there. We were told the KJV was the ONLY, divinely inspired Word, which is untrue. It was a legalistic environment. It is no longer a legalistic environment but they still only use the KJV. I find that sad because a lot of people today won’t read the Bible if that’s all they have. My son is an example. He didn’t understand it. It was in a language and culture that was unfamiliar to him.

        My thought is that if you don’t understand the language, how is it beneficial?

        There are many versions out there that have been translated from the original Greek and Hebrew that are equally as good but are in our current vernacular that makes more sense to the reader. That was my point.

  51. Strikes me that the smartest way to grasp the Word of God as written (besides learning Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic) is to read a great variety of translations. I read: Wycliffe, KJV, NKJV, NIV, NIV-1984, NEB, HCSB, ESV, The Message (which is NOT a translation but a paraphrase). The insights which come while reading more than one translation are many! God bless! Excellent post, btw.

  52. I studied both NIV and KJV and I prefer NIV. I am able to easily explain to my children God’s word and how it relates to their lives using NIV. My daughter has both versions and she has not stepped into a full connection with our Heavenly Father until she began to study NIV. It’s in terminology she understands.

    To all the KJV only-ers…did you know William Sheakspeare shared a part in it? He added the “drama” in order to enforce the religious acts “Christians” hold dearly today. The goal was to help convert people from their current pagan beliefs.

    As children of God we are to seek GOD first. All we have to do is ask God to reveal to us only HIS truth in the word and he will. Not only that but God will show us His truth in everything. We are supposed to be like Christ. Did Christ read KJV? I don’t think he did. So to hold KJV as the only word of GOD is just ridiculous…in my opinion. I agree with lambskinny – study it all but pray everytime you read any version and ask God for the spirit of discernment. If God reveals his word to me in NIV why would I turn away from it because “you” don’t believe it’s God’s word?

    When Jesus walked the earth he asked the Pharisees why do their vioulate direct commandments of God by their traditions? Jesus went on to explain that they cancel the word of God for the sake of their own traditions. He called them “hypocrites” and stated Isaiah was right when he prophesied people worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God. Do you think God commanded us to only read and study KJV?

    God said put no GOD before Him. God’s word lives within us through the Holy Spirit. The Bible is informative but there are also deliberate books left out of the bible by man. Therefore I stand on my point, study whichever version you choose but seek God first and pray for God to show you his truth ONLY. Ask God to let only his truth resonate within your heart and soul.

  53. We visited the Bible Museum that is touring and in Atlanta now. It is great. The artifacts are owned by the Green family who own Hobby Lobby. I was very impressed and blessed! It will be in Atlanta through May.

  54. Keith, whenever I encounter one of the family who is KJO, I ask what that means for the billions of believers who do not speak English in any dialect. I have yet to receive a satisfactory answer.

    I believe God’s truth has universal application. It cannot be for just a select language group.

    1. Melanie,

      I hate to see you go without an answer! : )

      I discussed this a little earlier, but if you are like me, you have not read all the entries.

      KJO is a simple designation that covers a much broader territory and is an oversimplification of a more logical and complex set of biblical principles. Furthermore, there are many brands of KJVO from the radical and ridiculous to the reasoned and rational. I like to think I belong to the later.

      While there are a few (very few) who would say KJVO is for every language most are not that ignorant. KJVO represents an under girding conservative and Scriptural philosophy that believes in the preserved texts as represented in the Textus Receptus and values the translation techniques incorporated by the KJV translators. A vast majority of KJVO people would simply hold to the view that translations into any language should be based on the TR and use formal equivalency.

      Typically, the KJVO position holds only for English speaking people while the values that support it should be applied to any translation in any language.

      I hope that you can see that our position isn’t as primitive and unlearned as some people try to portray it and that you now have a satisfactory answer.

      God bless.

      1. I understand and respect the well-reasoned stand many people take in favor of the King James Bible.

        Even when I read the NIV regularly, I thought the translators description of manuscripts as “the most reliable” was an expression of opinion, not a statement of fact. I set my NIV aside the day I realized that “fasting” had been relegated to a footnote in Mark 9:29.

        I personally love the language of the KJV, and the NJKV is my version of choice because it retains the structure of that language.

        I have talked with and listened to people all over the broad territory you described. But when I think of KJO, that is exactly what I mean. Not a position like yours that is really TRO which makes sense to me.

        It is also a position that allows for reasonable discussion and I thank you for that.

  55. I enjoy reading my favorite verses in multiple translations…the KJV, the NIV, and the ESV. They’re each different, but they all share the same message! I, personally, have trouble understanding the KJV on its own, and I prefer the NIV. Thanks for a great post!

  56. I like the NKJV also. We visited the Bible Museum which is in Atlanta through May thanks to the Green family who own Hobby Lobby. This wonderful museum tells how marvelously God has preserved his word down through the ages. It did not begin with King James, but King James did have a hand in the versions we read today. There were those who mutilated themselves in protest of what King James did. Very interesting, the history of our Holy Bible. I believe God has kept His hand on His words for us throughout the ages.

  57. People who can understand and prefer the KJV, they are free to read the KJV, but they should not force all people to only read the KJV. What would they say if they are forced to read only the original Hebrew or Greek Scriptures !

    The purpose of reading the Bible is to understand God’s Word, it does not matter what version it is as long as it is a recognized correctly translated version.

  58. What an enlightening and honest writing! I always love the history of the church and your account of how we received the translations is excellent. We do not realize in modern worship how the martyred of the church played a part. As you may have read some of my Lent writings on suffering that is addressed.

    Now as to the narrow views we as a Christian community often hold, I would like to add to that. Having attended many denominations in my early years as a Christian, I remember when I chose to attend the Episcopal church. This was mainly because I love the emphasis on the Holy Scriptures and the taking of communion rather than on the preacher. The atmosphere was one of worship and prayer rather than social in nature. Some of my Christian friends challenged this and pointed to some of the political problems within the church at large and a more liberal view of some things. In fact, it was a Christian judging another Christian to how I felt led of God. Isn’t this so typical? We put God in a box. I am also quick to say that for those who worship in a more contemporary setting, this is their decision before God.

    He reminds us,however, in the Scriptures ” .“And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” (John 10:16)

    Thank you for reminding us that God works in different ways for different circumstances. Had your friend not given you the translation you would read, you may not have known what you know today. Your marriage had a happy result as well.
    Blessings from Nancy at Boyer Writes http://www.boyerwrites.wordpress.com

  59. Debates like this always make me smile ruefully to myself. Is it any wonder there are over 22,000 different Christian sects (cults?)
    You lot can’t even agree on which is the correct ‘handbook’ to use.

    Did you know…
    The first print run of the KJV had to be withdrawn as the printers had erred over the 10 commandments.
    They omitted the word ‘NOT’ and the commandment read “thou shall commit adultery”
    They were heavily fined.
    Brilliant. You gotta love the Christians. Silly people.

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