The King James Bible debate has become such an emotionally driven battle that the core issue of the debate is often overlooked and sometimes completely lost. Hidden behind all the pride, arrogancy, apostasy and name-calling lies the real issue that Satan hopes to keep hidden: the issue of final authority.
Stripped down to its core, the whole Bible translation debate comes down to the question of WHO will be the final authority in your life? Will it be God, or will it be Satan? That might not seem like the real issue at first glance, but when analyzed to its fullest and most scriptural conclusion, that’s where the road ends.
If one settles on an authority for his life, and that authority is God’s word, then he can rest assured that God is the final authority for his life. But what if a man does not settle on a final authority? What if he decides that no single volume is the preserved word of God, but that numerous translations and texts must be consulted regularly before determining what the word of God is? Does this not make the one doing the determining his own final authority since he gets to choose which reading to believe at any given time? If a man says, “I read several translations and then decide what I think is right,” then he reserves the right to choose preferred readings for himself, and he does this as a continual way of life. The longer he does this the more convenient he finds it, and the less desire he has for settling on a single final authority. He has become his own final authority.
But not really. Ultimately, his final authority is Satan. Having rejected the King James Bible as his final authority, the man who plays the “decide for myself” translation game is leaning to his own understanding (Prov. 3:5), and that’s exactly what Satan wants, because no one totally leans to their own understanding. They merely think it’s their own understanding when it’s really the devil himself waging spiritual warfare in their unbelieving hearts and minds: “ . . . according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.” (Eph. 2:2)
Satan is alive and well, working in the hearts of men, and a great many men give place to him (Eph. 4:27). He was working in Peter’s heart when Jesus turned to Peter and said, “Get thee behind me, Satan” (Mat. 16:23). He works in religious circles regularly, leading people to worship “ye know not what” (John 4:22), “THE UNKNOWN GOD” (Acts 17:23), and actual “devils” as well (I Cor. 10:20). No one fully leans to his own understanding. People lean as God directs or as Satan directs, and Satan directs most people away from God’s word. What they call it or how they feel about it is irrelevant. In reality, Satan has millions of people turned away from God’s truth and worshiping at his own throne instead (Isa. 14:13). Being the deceiver that he is (Rev. 12:9), he keeps all this subtly hidden behind the smokescreen of “Biblical scholarship” while leading millions astray who “decide for themselves” what to believe.
If you are wise, you will reject all self-reliance and settle on a tried and proven final authority for your life. The next 9,000 words are written to help you see why that authority should be the King James Authorized Version. May God light your path.
What's wrong with the modern Bible translations?
Entire books have been written on this very subject, but the bottom line is that the modern translations are based on corrupt manuscripts, and this leads to corrupt readings in the translations.
The modern translations are based on the work of two nineteenth century Greek scholars from England, B. F. Westcott and F. J. A. Hort. Westcott and Hort were deeply involved in the occult and hated the received text from which the King James Bible was translated. So they conjured up their own Greek text, one that was based primarily on two very corrupt manuscripts: Codex Vaticanus (discovered in the Pope's library in 1481) and Sinaiticus (discovered in 1859 in a trash can on the traditional Mt. Sinai). These are usually the "older" and "better" manuscripts that we keep hearing so much about, and these manuscripts support most of the attacks in the new versions.
Vaticanus is considered to be the most authoritative, although it is responsible for over thirty-six thousand changes that appear today in the new translations. This perverted manuscript contains the books of the pagan Apocrypha, which are not scripture, and it also omits the pastoral epistles (I Timothy through Titus), the Book of Revelation, and it cuts off the Book of Hebrews at Hebrews 9:14 (a very convenient stopping point for the Catholic Church, since God forbids their priesthood in Hebrews 10).
The attacks on the word of God found in these manuscripts originated in Alexandria, Egypt with the deceitful work of such pagan Greek "scholars" as Origen and Clement of Alexandria. Then in 313 A.D. the Roman emperor Constantine ordered fifty copies of scripture from Eusebius, the Bishop of Caesaria. Eusebius, being a devout student of Origen's work, chose to send him manuscripts filled with Alexandrian corruption, rather than sending him the true word of God in the Syrian text from Antioch, Syria. So the corrupt Alexandrian text (also called the "Egyptian" or "Hesychian" type text) found its way into the Vatican manuscript, then eventually into the Westcott and Hort Greek Text, and finally into the new translations in your local Christian bookstore. Therefore, when you hear or read of someone "correcting" the King James Bible with "older" or "more authoritative" manuscripts, you are simply hearing someone trying to use a corrupt Roman Catholic text to overthrow the God-honored text of the Protestant Reformation and the great revivals. God has never honored this text, and it isn't likely that He ever will.
After all, why would God honor a text that throws "God" out of I Timothy 3:16?
Why would God honor a text that changes "the Son of God" to "a son of the gods" in Daniel 3:25?
Why would God honor a text that changes "Lucifer" into the "morning star" in Isaiah 14:12, a title that belongs to Jesus Christ alone, according to Revelation 22:16?
Why would God honor a text that omits the word "study" from II Timothy 2:15, one of the greatest Bible study admonitions in all of God’s word?
Why would God honor a text that says that Mary was only a "young woman" in Isaiah 7:14 and not a "virgin"?
Why would God honor a text that implies that Jesus Christ is not "from everlasting" in Micah 5:2?
Why would God honor a text that robs Him of His own "kingdom," "power" and "glory" in Matthew 6:13?
Why would God honor a text that causes readers to question the last twelve verses of the gospel of Mark, verses which include the resurrection of Christ?
Why would God honor a text that says Joseph is Christ's "father" in Luke 2:33?
Why would God honor a text that removes the word "Lord" from the lips of the repentant thief in Luke 23:42?
Why would God honor a text that omits the word "infallible" from Acts 1:3 and helps to raise doubt about the resurrection of Christ?
Why would God honor a text that completely erases Acts 8:37 from the Bible and helps to promote the damnable doctrine of baptismal regeneration?
Why would God honor a text that removes the "blood" of Christ from Ephesians 1:7, Colossians 1:14, Revelation 1:5 and Revelation 5:9?
Why would God honor a text that destroys the Holy Spirit's warning against "science” falsely so called in I Timothy 6:20?
Why would God honor a text that attacks the Holy Trinity by suggesting that I John 5:7 be removed from the Bible?
There are many other cases that could be presented, but surely you see the real damage that is being done in the various new translations. No single translation does all the damage, but a certain degree of damage is found in each new version so that Satan's broad attack plan is fulfilled. This is the result of relying on corrupt manuscripts rather than relying on the God-honored text of our spiritual forefathers. While claiming to help readers understand God’s word, the devil is using the new translations to attack, weaken, and corrupt the holy scriptures.
Aren't the modern translations an effort to be true to the original manuscripts?
Sometimes, yes, and sometimes, no, but an "effort" is not always a successful effort, even when fueled by the very best of motives.
Over the past several decades, publishers have learned that the Bible translation business can be quite lucrative, so it would be naive to assume that all Bible translation efforts are driven by the pure motive of being true to the originals. There are over one hundred Bible translations in English alone, most of which have surfaced in the past fifty years, yet there has not been a proportional amount of new manuscript discoveries. So, manuscript evidence clearly is not the only motivation. Since I Timothy 6:10 says that "the love of money is the root of all evil", we should not be surprised at the suggestion that some Bible publishers might be more interested in dollars than in doctrine.
Also, we must remember that the devil is not dead. In fact, was it not the devil himself who first questioned the word of God in Genesis 3:1 ("Yea, hath God said . . .?) and then flatly denied the word of God in Genesis 3:4 ("Ye shall not surely die.")? Are we to believe that he is not still at work when we are told over and over in the word of God that Satan attacks and perverts scripture (Gen. 3:1-4; Deu. 4:2; Prov. 30:5-6; Jer. 23:36; Mat. 15:6; Mark 4:15; II Cor. 2:17; Rev. 22:18-19)? So even when the revisionists and the publishers do have pure motives, the devil does not, and he will seize every opportunity to fulfill his will at their hands.
But regardless of the motives involved, be they good or bad, there is no way that any publisher can know that their translation is true to the originals. The original autographs have not existed for many centuries, and some of them not for thousands of years, so being "true to the originals" is more of a sales pitch than reality. No person living today has ever seen the original manuscripts, so no one knows for sure that their translation is true to the originals. It just isn't possible.
Should we improve on the archaic words in the King James Bible?
While it is true that the King James Bible contains some archaic words, the issue is terribly exaggerated by the proponents and publishers of the new translations.
An archaic word is a word that is outdated and no longer used in common speech. This doesn't mean that it can't be understood. It only means that a little extra effort might be required. Making this extra effort can be very educational, and, in the long run, it can add greatly to our understanding of not only the Bible, but the English language itself. We are robbed of this opportunity in the new translations.
Most archaic words do not hinder the reader from understanding the message of the text in which it is found, so there is usually no immediate need to define an archaic word. For example, the verse below contains an archaic word, yet the meaning of the verse is not confused at all:
I will also make it a possession for the bittern, and pools of water: and I will sweep it with the besom of destruction, saith the LORD of hosts. (Isa. 14:23)
You might not know what a "besom" is, but the context clearly shows that it is something with which one sweeps, so you still get the point of the text: God is going to destroy with a sweeping motion. Then if you desire to know the exact meaning of the word, dictionaries are more accessible today than at any other time in history, including online dictionaries. A quick Google search with a smart phone will reveal that a "besom" is simply a "broom." Now you've learned something, something that the readers of the new translations will not learn. Now you won't be in the dark if you hear someone singing about “the besom maker” or if you happen to read a bit of Shakespeare: "I am the Beesome that must sweepe the Court cleane of such filth." (Henry VI, Part II). Come to think of it, we could use a few besoms in our nation’s capital, and in some of our churches.
There are great advantages to having to do a little research along the way, and you can do it just as well as anyone else. The notion that you cannot cope with the archaic words in the Bible is false, and it's also an insult to your intelligence and your heart motivation. If you read "the messenger of Satan to buffet me" in II Corinthians 12:7, you have the common sense to know that Paul was not making reference to an all-you-can-eat chow-down at Golden Coral. Then a thirty second word search will reveal that "buffet" means to "blow," to "afflict," or to "knock over or off course." Pretty simple, and you didn't need a new translation.
Most archaic Bible words are not as archaic as people think, and of the ones that are, the context usually helps with the meaning. When a more precise definition is needed, dictionaries and thesauruses are readily accessible. Archaic words should be viewed as an advantage as they afford us the opportunity to slow down and spend more time with God's word and even learn a thing or two in the process.
Aren't the older manuscripts the better manuscripts?
Not neccesarily. Scholars, revisionists, commentators, Bible college professors, and even preachers often "correct" the King James Bible on the basis of readings found in what they believe to be "older and better manuscripts." It hasn't been provem that Vaticanus and Sinaiticus are older, but even if they were older, this reasoning is flawed.
Suppose you find a very old coin and your friends start telling you that it must be very valuable since it's so old. Then you have it inspected by a coin dealer, and he informs you that the coin is worthless, even illegal, since it is a counterfeit. Would you keep buying into the notion that your coin is valuable just because it's old?
As already pointed out, the modern translations are based on counterfeit and corrupt manuscripts. Appealing to their age for authority is a very weak and often deceptive argument. After all, the devil is old, but does that make him better and more reliable?
Shouldn't the italicized words be omitted from the King James Bible?
No, they should not be omitted. The italicized words in the King James Bible are words that the translators added for clarity. The fact that they italicized the words shows that they were honest and were not trying to mislead anyone. As for removing the italics, that would not be wise, as the following examples will show. The words printed in bold underlined italic are from selected Old Testament verses that contain an italicized word or words, while the scripture that follows is the New Testament quote of that passage without the word or words being italicized:
I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. (Psa. 16:8)
. . . I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: (Acts 2:25)
Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn. (Deu. 25:4)
. . . Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? (I Cor. 9:9)
. . . that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live. (Deu. 8:3)
But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. (Mat. 4:4)
I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High. (Psa. 82:6)
Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? (John 10:34)
Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste. (Isa. 28:16)
Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. (I Pet. 2:6)
Please understand what you just read: The New Testament writers quoted the words that were in italics! This means that they counted them to be scripture. So why should we want to remove them? When Jesus said, "It is written..." (Mat. 4:4), He was saying that the word "word" was also written, even if the King James translators didn't have it in the Hebrew Old Testament text that they were using. The Holy Spirit led them to use the word anyway. If He didn't, then why did Jesus quote it? It is said that the italic words are words that were not in the originals, but who knows this for certain since no one has the originals, and why did Jesus and the New Testament writers quote them, if they weren’t scripture?
Also, we have the case of who killed Goliath? II Samuel 21:19 in the KJV says: "And there was again a battle in Gob with the Philistines, where Elhanan the son of Jaareoregim, a Bethlehemite, slew the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the staff of whose spear was like a weaver's beam." The words "the brother of" are in italics. If these words were omitted, then the Bible would say that Elhanan slew Goliath, which would contradict the fact that David killed Goliath. If you'll check I Chronicles 20:5, you'll see that the italics of II Samuel 21:19 are well justified. Removing the italics would only cause confusion.
The italics in the King James Bible are not causing any harm or confusion, and they often promote clarity. They are the marks of an honest translation, and there is no good reason to remove them or even doubt them.
Where was the word of God before the King James Bible was published in the year 1611?
The word of God has always been preserved and attacked, so there have always been pure manuscripts and corrupt manuscripts. As we saw earlier, the new translations are based on corrupt manuscripts that have connections to Rome and Alexandria, Egypt. The pure manuscripts have connections to Antioch, Syria, the actual headquarters of the early church and the home of much spiritual activity among true believers (Acts 11:20-30; 13:1-3; 14:19-26; 15:19-23, 35). So, before the year 1611, the word of God was preserved in the pure manuscript line stemming from Antioch, Syria, as opposed to the corrupt manuscripts from Rome and Alexandria. The King James Bible, completed in 1611, is God's grand masterpiece that came at the end of a long line of preserved scripture that had been used and copied by believers for many centuries. Where was the word of God before 1611? It was everywhere, being used and preserved at the hands of Bible-believing Christians who were often persecuted or martyred for their scriptural convictions.
Can a translation be inspired?
This really isn’t a good question since inspiration has more to do with what is spoken rather than what is written or translated (II Pet. 1:21; II Tim. 3:16). The question is usually asked with the implied answer being "No." It is reasoned that the King James Bible is only a translation, and since a translation cannot be inspired, the King James Bible cannot be inspired. If this is true, then no other translations are inspired either, so we are left with the unfortunate reality of not having access to God's inspired words. How does this help anyone or solve anything?
The much better question is, "Can a translation be providentially directed by God?" The answer to that question is a most definite "Yes."
The words "translate" and "translated" occur three times in the Bible, and GOD is the Translator each time. The scholars insist that the KJV cannot be infallible or inspired because it is "only a translation," but do you suppose that such scholars have checked II Samuel 3:10, Colossians 1:13, and Hebrews 11:5 to see what GOD has to say about translating?
In II Samuel 3:10 we are told that it was God who translated Saul's kingdom to David. We are told in Colossians 1:13 that Christians have been translated into the kingdom of Jesus Christ, and Hebrews 11:5 tells us that God translated Enoch that he should not see death. God was the one doing the translating each time. So, a translation CAN be infallible, if God is directing the translating and seeing to it that His will is accomplished. When the New Testament writers would quote the Old Testament (Mt. 1:23; Mk. 1:2; Lk. 4:4; Jn. 15:25; Acts 1:20; 7:42; I Cor. 2:9; Gal. 3:13, etc.), they had to translate from Hebrew to Greek, because the Old Testament was written in Hebrew, but they wrote in Greek. So, if a translation cannot be infallible, then even the New Testament in the original Greek manuscripts is not infallible since much of it was translated from the Hebrew text.
Obviously, God assisted them in their translating by the leadership of the Holy Spirit, and He assisted the King James translators as well. The issue is not the possible or impossible "inspiration" of the King James Bible, but rather the preservation that God promised concerning His words that had already been inspired:
The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever. (Psa. 12:6-7)
Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. (Mat. 24:35)
The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever. (Isa. 40:8)
If God's word was inspired and then God preserved those inspired words, then, yes, we can still have an inspired copy, not because it was "inspired" in 1611, but rather because it was originally inspired and then divinely preserved as God promised.
The Holy Spirit Who inspired the word of God through "holy men of God" (II Pet. 1:21) is quite capable of guiding His servants to keep the words which Jesus told us to keep (John 14:23). In essence, the KJV translators were merely "instruments" which God used in translating and preserving His words. In fact, they said this themselves in the Dedicatory to the Authorized Version: “. . . because we are poor instruments to make God's holy truth to be yet more and more known to the people. . . "
If they were only "instruments," then who was the actual translator? Would it not be God Himself, the perfect Translator of II Samuel 3:10, Colossians 1:13, and Hebrews 11:5? God can inspire, translate, and preserve His words as He chooses, and if He can't, then we have no final authority to believe in at all.
Can a translation or a copy be superior to the originals?
The very notion of this might seem absurd at first, but what saith the scripture? We are given such a case in the word of God itself. Please note these verses from Jeremiah chapter 36:
And it came to pass, that when Jehudi had read three or four leaves, he cut it with the penknife, and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the roll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth . . . Then the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, after that the king had burned the roll, and the words which Baruch wrote at the mouth of Jeremiah, saying, Take thee again another roll, and write in it all the former words that were in the first roll, which Jehoiakim the king of Judah hath burned…Then took Jeremiah another roll, and gave it to Baruch the scribe, the son of Neriah; who wrote therein from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the book which Jehoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire: and there were added besides unto them many like words. (Jer. 36:23, 27-28, 32)
Notice that "all the words" were preserved. The second writing was just as inspired as the original. In fact, in light of the added words in verse thirty, one could even make the argument that it was better. There is simply no Biblical precedent for claiming that the “original autographs” are superior to the King James Bible. In fact, Jeremiah 36 gives us reason to believe just the opposite. It’s true that our human reasoning tells us otherwise, but we are commanded in the scriptures to live by faith and to not lean to our own understanding (Prov. 3:5).
When Paul stated that Timothy had known the "holy scriptures" since his childhood (II Tim. 3:15), he was not referring to the original manuscripts which no longer existed. He was referring to the copies that Timothy had seen and been taught from, trusting that God had preserved His words in those copies. When Phillip preached to the eunuch from "scripture" (Acts 8:32, 35), he was preaching from a copy of the scripture, not the original manuscripts, yet God still chooses to call it scripture, not merely a copy or a translation. When Jesus told us to "search the scriptures" in John 5:39, He was not referring to original manuscripts which no longer existed. He was referring to accurate copies that existed, as a result of God preserving His words as He had promised. So, this modern reasoning that a translation or a copy must be inferior to the original is flawed since we are told otherwise in God's word. God is still very much alive and on His throne, so His promise of preservation is still very much in place.
Don't the modern translations still contain the fundamental truths and messages of God's word?
Yes, they often do, but we are commanded to keep and obey "every word," not just the fundamental truths and messages. Jesus rebuked Satan in Matthew 4:4 by saying, "It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." He said every word, not merely the general message. It should be up to God to determine how much scripture we need, not up to us to determine how much is enough. The Father knows best, and He knows that there is much more for us to glean from His words than general truths and messages.
For instance, in I Corinthians 12:3, the New International Version has Paul writing to the Corinthians and saying, " . . . no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit." Yet, the King James weighs in with the stronger reading by saying that no man can say that Jesus is "the" Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. The erroneous Charismatics regularly claim that "Jesus is Lord", but is it not better to say and believe that Jesus is "the" Lord? God wants us to feed on every word, not just general truths. If someone omitted select words from something that YOU said, would that not trouble you? If "every" word of God is pure (Prov. 30:5), what right have we to remove ANY of them?
Why did the original King James Bible contain the Apocrypha?
It's true that the original King James Bible included the Apocrypha, but it was not included as scripture, only as a historical document.
The Apocrypha is a collection of several pagan writings which the Roman Catholic Church accepts as inspired scripture. In fact, the Council of Trent (1546) pronounced a curse upon anyone who denies that these books were inspired. The King James translators did not consider the books to be inspired scripture, nor did they include them in the canon as such. They merely placed the Apocryphal books between the Old and New Testaments as a historical document, not as scripture. Their reasons for not accepting the Apocrypha as scripture are listed on page 185-186 of the book Translators Revived, by Alexander McClure. The seven reasons are basically as follows:
(1) Not one of them is in the Hebrew language like the rest of the Old Testament books.
(2) Not one of the writers lays any claim to inspiration.
(3) These books were never acknowledged as sacred Scriptures by the Jewish church, and therefore were never sanctioned by our Lord.
(4) They were not allowed a place among the sacred books, during the first four centuries of the Christian church.
(5) They contain fabulous statements, and statements which contradict not only the canonical Scriptures, but themselves. For example, in the Books of Maccabees alone, Antiochus Epiphanes dies three times in three places.
(6) It inculcates doctrines at variance with the Bible, such as prayers for the dead and sinless perfection.
(7) It teaches immoral practices, such as lying, suicide, assassination and magical incantation.
The KJV translators placed the Apocrypha after Malachi and before Matthew, not blending it in with the other Old Testament books. They called its whole section "Apocrypha," not respecting each of its individual books as scripture, as was done with each of the Old Testament books. Furthermore, after the end of Malachi, the KJV translators printed the words, "The end of the prophets," a clear indication that the Apocrypha which followed is something very different than the inspired prophets.
But it really doesn't matter. God, in His providence, has seen to it that the corrupt Apocrypha no longer has a home between the covers of the King James Bible, nor has it had one in well over a century.
Can't a sinner still be saved from believing scripture in the modern translations?
Yes, but doesn't the question suggest that the only thing that really matters is personal salvation? Far too many Christians view salvation as their “finish line” when the Bible presents salvation as the starting line for the race that is set before us (Heb. 12:1-2; I Cor. 9:24-27). Sure, a sinner can be saved with the words of a new translation, so long as the true gospel of Christ is presented, but can he also grow from feeding on every word of God? Salvation is only the beginning of the believer's life, and the word of God is given to accomplish far more in our lives than just salvation.
Isn't the King James Bible harder to understand than the new translations?
I'm “supposed” to give you the data from the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level Indicator and say that it has been proved that the King James Bible is on a sixth grade reading level and it's easier to understand than the new translations, but I'm not going to do that.
The truth is that, on average, the King James Bible is probably easier to understand than some translations and harder than others. Due to its Old English language, Satan has been able to use the "hard to understand" talking point convincingly and discourage people from even giving the King James a serious try. The reality is that anyone can understand the language of the King James Bible, if they want to understand it. It might be true that some translations are easier to understand than the King James Bible, but is that really the point? Even in the King James Bible, the book of Jonah is easier to understand than the book of Zechariah, but this only means that Zechariah requires more prayer and study. Winter is more challenging than fall, December is more expensive than May, and college is harder than high school, but these are realities that we face and adjust to rather than looking for easier ways. Jesus commanded us to take up our cross and follow Him (Luke 9:23). Sticking with the King James Bible is part of that cross. Sometimes the King James Bible is harder, but like many other fine things in life, it's worth it.
It's very hypocritical to speak of "no pain, no gain" in so many other aspects of life only to look for the easy way when it comes to the word of God. The word of God is more important than your athletic endeavors, your education, or your career, so looking for an "easier" translation should be considered cheating and dishonorable by any serious Christian, especially when we add the fact that modern translations are based on corrupted manuscripts. The issue isn't "is the KJV easier or harder?" but rather is it the preserved word of God?
The issue is should Daniel 3:25 read "the Son of God" or only "a son of the gods," as in the new versions? The issue is should Isaiah 7:14 say that Mary was a "virgin," or just a "young woman," as in the New Life Version? The issue is should II Timothy 2:15 command Christians to "study," or should they just "concentrate on winning," as stated in the Phillips translation? Should we endure sound "doctrine" (mentioned fifty times in the KJV), or should we ignore doctrine, since it's not mentioned at all in the New Life Version? The issue is should I Timothy 3:16 say that "God" was manifest in the flesh, or should it just say that "he" was manifest in the flesh, like most new translations?
The real issue is not what is easier or harder, but what is true? The King James might not always be the easiest, but it's easy enough, it gets easier with use, and it’s always true.
What about the numerous errors in the King James Bible?
The so-called "errors" in the King James Bible have been explained many times by many authors. It's a shame that this is even an issue today, but until the devil is finally sentenced to his eternal home, the earth will continue to suffer a truth shortage. There isn't enough space in a booklet of this size to deal at length with this issue; however, for the sake of showing the reader the nature of the so-called "errors" in the KJV, we will take the time to briefly deal with just a few.
According to the critics, the word "Easter" in Acts 12:4 is a mistranslation, because the Greek word is "pascha," and it is translated "passover" twenty-eight times in the New Testament, and it should be translated likewise in Acts 12:4.
The word should NOT be translated "passover" because the Passover had already passed. The "days of unleavened bread" had already begun (vs. 3), which means the Passover was over (Num. 28:16-18; Exo. 12:13-18). The Passover was always the fourteenth day of the first month, while the days of unleavened bread ran from the fifteenth through the twenty-first. Herod could not have been waiting for the Passover. Besides, why would a Gentile king like Herod be concerned about a Jewish feast day? "Easter" is from the pagan "Ishtar", the goddess that the pagans worshipped, Rome included. Herod probably wanted to wait until his pagan Ishtar holiday was over before bringing Peter out to the people.
I John 5:7 is also the subject of much debate. It is argued that the verse lacks manuscript evidence and does not belong in the Bible. Being one of the greatest verses in the Bible on the Trinity, we should be suspicious of any oppositions to it. The verse should not be omitted from the Bible. It is found in Greek manuscript 61, which probably forced Erasmus to include it in his third edition Greek text of 1522. I John 5:7 is also found in Codex Ravianus, and in the margins of 88 and 629. It is also found in Old Latin manuscripts r and Speculum. It was quoted by Cyprian around A.D. 250, and two Spanish Bishops quoted it in the fourth century (Priscillkian and Idacius Clarus). Several African writers quote it in the fifth century, and Cassiodorus quotes it in the sixth century in Italy. The fact that Siniaticus and Vaticanus do not include the verse means nothing to a true Bible believer, since we know the truth about these corrupt manuscripts. Vaticanus even omits the entire book of Revelation while keeping the Apocrypha, so are we to trust its judgment on I John 5:7?
Many argue that the KJV is in error with its use of the word "devils" instead of "demons". Again, this is due to an over emphasis on "the Greek" as well as a lack of faith in God's ability to preserve His words in English. While protesting that "daimon" should be translated "demon", many have overlooked a great truth which the Holy Spirit has preserved in the King's English. There is one true "Son of God", but many "sons of God". There is one true "church", the bride of Christ, but many local "churches". Likewise, there is one "devil", but many "devils" under his control. Using the word "demons" would destroy this match and lose the cross references.
Besides, the word "demon" itself does not necessarily imply an evil spirit, at least not by some definitions. Even Webster's 1828 dictionary states that "the ancients believed that there were good and evil demons...", and New Agers of today believe likewise. Therefore, God led the KJV translators to translate "devils" instead of "demons" because every "daimon" in the Bible IS an evil spirit. The word "devil" makes that clear. Every "devil" in the Bible is under the authority of their father "the devil".
Then we have "contradictions" like Exodus 24:10 and John 1:18. Exodus says the Israelites saw God, while Jesus said in John that "no man hath seen God at any time". This is no contradiction, just a matter of rightly dividing the word of truth. God is a trinity, just like you. You have a spirit, a soul, and a body (I Ths. 5:23). The Israelites saw a physical manifestation of God, but not the soul of God, just as people have seen you, but not your soul.
For a final sampling, Numbers 25:9 says that 24,000 people died in a plague, but I Corinthians 10:8 says that only 23,000 died. Read I Corinthians 10:8 again and notice that 23,000 fell "in one day". The 24,000 died altogether in a few days. There is no contradiction.
These are the kinds of "errors" that skeptics find in the King James Bible. These are the reasons given for you to throw away your Bible and buy a new one from them. Don't fall for it. Always give God the benefit of a doubt and always be suspicious of anyone pointing out "errors" in the King James Bible.
Why should we even make an issue of Bible translations?
Actually, we aren't "making" an issue of it. The issue has already been made by the devil. We are simply enlisting as soldiers of truth and fighting for the word of God that is being attacked.
We must never forget that when Satan first appeared in the Bible, he questioned and then denied the word of God (Gen. 3:1, 4). Then throughout the Bible Satan opposes and attacks God's word. Jeremiah 23:36 even says that "ye have perverted the words of the living God," and II Corinthians 2:17 says that "we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God." Satan declared war on the word of God in the very beginning, and that war rages until this very hour. King James Bible believers didn't start the war. We are just Christians who love the word of God and hate to see it attacked. We are soldiers of truth who refuse to sit idle while the father of lies wages war and gains ground against the word of God. We aren't making an issue; we are responding to a very critical issue that far too many are ignoring. It is not our fault that most Christians today are blind to the issue and unconcerned with the damage being done by the devil, but it will most definitely be our fault if we ignore the issue and refuse to fight back. It isn't your fault that a thief breaks into your home and threatens the well-being of your family, but it is your fault if you do nothing about it. You didn't create the issue, but you will definitely respond to it.
Shouldn't we trust the opinions of highly educated scholars and theologians?
Not unless they earn our trust and prove to be right. The Jews of Jesus' day blindly trusted the highly educated Pharisees and Sadducees, yet these were the very people who opposed Jesus and eventually had Him crucified. Credentials have their place, and they might even prepare a man for greatness, but they do not guarantee that he will be great or that he will remain great. We are commanded to "prove all things" (I Ths. 5:21), not to merely trust what others tell us.
Most scholars today have bought into the reliability of flawed manuscripts, so their judgment is also flawed. Their educations and reputations are irrelevant where truth is concerned. If the weatherman says the sky is green, he is wrong. His reputation and credentials do not matter. He might be a reputable meteorologist, but he's also color blind or deceitful. The sky is blue, not green. Truth rules; credentials do not.
Shouldn't we trust translations recommended by good men of God?
No, not necessarily. We must always "prove all things," as we've been commanded. A preacher can be very spiritual and still err where truth is concerned. He can have the best of intentions, yet still be misled. It can happen to any of us. This is why the Bible says "the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine" (II Tim. 4:3). A man doesn't automatically stay sound in the faith. He must endure, being forever vigilant, knowing always that Satan is on the prowl (I Pet. 5:8). Even the great Micaiah acknowledged that it was possible for him to err and speak falsely (I Kgs. 22:28). Peter was a fine man of God, but Paul still had to set him straight on circumcision (Gal. 2:11). Moses was a man of God, but he erred greatly in hitting the rock (Num. 20:11-12). Satan hates the word of God, and he will use anyone and anything in his efforts to attack it. The issue is truth, not what people think and say about it.
For instance, Clarence Larkin (1850-1924) was one of the best Bible teachers of all time. His "Dispensational Truth" is probably the single most important doctrinal book ever written, apart from the Bible itself, yet Larkin was wrong when he occasionally "corrected" the KJV with readings from the Revised Version. Clarence Larkin lived at a time when very little was known about manuscript evidence, so he simply erred in ignorance. He was still a great teacher, and his books are still the best, but he was wrong on that particular point. It would be a huge mistake for one to never read Larkin because of this, but it would also be a huge mistake for one to say, "I trust Larkin, and I'll believe anything he says." If God wanted us to place our trust in men, then He would have never told us to study for ourselves and prove all things. Psalms 118:8 says, "It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man." Thank God for good men, but the word of God is our final authority, not good men.
King James and his translators had their faults, so how can the King James Bible be so special?
It is often argued that the King James Bible cannot be trusted because some of the translators were Calvinists and baby sprinklers, and King James himself even allowed Baptists to be burned at the stake, including anabaptist Edward Wightman during the year following the publication of the King James Bible. While such claims are often exaggerated and filled with misrepresentations, it stands true that King James and his selected translators were not flawless. But does it really matter?
The "holy men of God" (II Pet. 1:21) who were moved by the Holy Ghost to give us the scriptures were not flawless, yet God used them as instruments of inspiration and preservation. If being sinless were a requirement for handling the word of God, then there would be no scripture at all, since no one is sinless. God used Moses to give man the first five books of the Bible, including the Ten Commandments, yet Moses had killed an Egyptian and hid him in the sand (Exo. 2:12). David committed adultery and murder (II Sam. 11), yet God still used his prayers to make up half the book of Psalms. Peter denied the Lord three times in one night, yet our Bible still includes Peter's epistles. The argument that God only uses flawless people is just false. The very genealogy of Jesus is far less than flawless as it includes a fornicator, an adulterer, a murderer, a harlot, a polygamist and a few idolators (Mat. 1). Samson made it into God's hall of faith (Heb. 11:32), yet one would never guess that based on his reckless conduct in the book of Judges. The heathen king Nebuchadnezzar is even called God's "servant" in Jeremiah ("Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, my servant" - Jer. 25:9; 27:6). So, God does not need or require sinless people to get His work done. God is sovereign, and He uses whom He chooses.
This does not mean that we shouldn't live holy lives and be led by the Holy Spirit, for we certainly should, but we err greatly when we think that God can't use certain people. God can use anyone He chooses, including the devil (I Kgs. 22:22).
From God's perspective, the issue is more the product than the producers. In 1611, God got the product that He wanted, in spite of any flaws with the producers. He has done this for thousands of years, and He will continue to do it because He is God, and God does as He pleases. "Where the word of a king is, there is power: and who may say unto him, What doest thou?" (Ecc. 8:4)
What is the difference between a King James Version, a King James Authorized Version, and a King James 1611 Version?
I could be technical and point out the strict differences (British printings vs. American printings, then vs. now, etc.), but the truth is that the terms are commonly used interchangeably, at least among believers. As far as practical day-to-day communication is concerned, there is no difference. The Old English spelling and typeface of the original 1611 version is very different from what we see today in King James Bibles, but the actual words are the same, so the term "King James 1611 Version" is often used in reference to modern King James Bibles. The date 1611 is used to honor the date of publication, just as one would say "Established 1963," "Since 1963," or something similar. Using the date also helps to distinguish the King James Bible as a very old and time-tested Bible, in distinction from all the modern translations.
Although the word "Authorized" was not actually printed on the original 1611 Bible, it was clearly authorized by King James, and the record of history shows that it has also been authorized by the Holy Spirit as the Bible of choice among Bible-believing people who have made and are making the most serious efforts to endure sound doctrine and fulfill our Lord's Great Commission. You might say that the Book has earned the "Authorized" title. So, do not be confused by the terms "King James Bible," "King James Version," "King James Authorized Version" and "King James 1611 Authorized Version." The terms are used interchangeably among believers and mean the same thing. The only exception is if someone refers to an actual copy of the original 1611 publication with the original type and spelling. But most people use the 1611 date only to honor the date when referring to any standard King James Bible. In other words, for all practical purposes, all "King James Version" Bibles are "Authorized" versions and are all "1611" versions.
What's the difference between an edition and a revision?
If someone decides to produce a new Bible translation, then they must also convince Christians that there is a need and a justifiable cause for the new version. One of the deceitful excuses being used today for producing new versions is that the King James Bible has been revised several times since 1611 and that a new revision is needed once again. This is not true.
The many revisions that have occurred since 1881, based on flawed manuscripts, bear no resemblance to the various editions of the KJV prior to 1881. Satan hopes to confuse you about revisions and editions. Don't fall for it.
There were only four actual editions (not "revisions" or "translations") of the King James Bible produced after 1611: 1629, 1638, 1762, and 1769. These were not translations (like the new versions since 1881), and they really weren't even "revisions".
The 1629 edition was simply an effort to correct printing errors, and two of the original King James translators assisted in the work.
The 1638 edition of the KJV also dealt with printing errors, especially words and clauses overlooked by the printers. About 72% of the textual corrections in the KJV were done by 1638, only 27 years after the first printing.
Please bear in mind the fact that printing was a very laborious task prior to 1800. Publishing a flawless work was almost impossible. Even today, with computers and advanced word processors, printing errors are still frequently made. Imagine what it was like in the 1600's!
Then, in 1762 and 1769, two final editions of the KJV were published. Both of these involved spelling changes, which became necessary as the English language became more stabilized and spelling rules were established.
There were no new translations, and there were really no new revisions published in 1629, 1638, 1762, or 1769. These were simply editions of the 1611 KJV, which corrected printing errors and spelling. Those who try to equate these editions with the modern translations (since 1881) are just being deceitful or ignorant, or both. The many other so-called "revisions" of the KJV that occurred in 1613, 1616, 1617, and 1743 are nothing more than running changes and touch-up work at the printers. The real revisions and corrupt translations did not start appearing until 1881 (RV) and 1901 (ASV).
So, in most cases, if you purchase a King James Bible, you will be purchasing a 1769 edition of the King James 1611 Authorized Version.
What should I do since I personally have trouble understanding the King James Bible?
Keep reading and studying, and you will find yourself becoming more comfortable with the King's English. Millions of people have read and understood the King James Bible for over four hundred years. The notion that you are somehow inferior to them is just a lie from Satan. If you are saved through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and you want to live for God, then you have already met two of the most important requirements for understanding God’s word. The past four centuries are filled with people from all walks of life who grew to understand and love the King James Bible, and many of them had very little education. Like anything else, practice makes perfect. If you will read the King James Bible every day with an honest and seeking heart, you will grow to love it and understand it. You will eventually reach the point to where you will not want to read other translations at all, because you will have grown to love the uniqueness and beauty of the King James Bible. The term "the King's English" will take on a whole new meaning as you become grounded in the fundamental fact that God's word should read differently than the words of men, and that's one of the reasons for God giving us the King James Bible.
Friend, despite the countless evils of this present world, imagine, if you will, a world that never saw a King James Bible, a world that was never graced with a Livingstone, a William Carey, a Hudson Taylor, an Amy Carmichael or a Mary Slessor. Imagine a world that never knew George Whitfield, the Wesley brothers, John Newton, Isaac Watts, John Bunyan, Matthew Henry, William Booth or Charles Spurgeon. Imagine a world that never enjoyed the sixty-four year reign of the Bible-believing queen Victoria. Imagine a world with an idolatrous, Roman Catholic America with no Great Awakenings, no First Amendment rights, no Bible belt, and no preachers like Moody, Sunday, Edwards, Norris, Talmadge, Ham, Fuller, Ruckman or Bob Jones, Sr. If not for the King James Bible, we might very well have inherited such a world.
The King James Bible is king, and it will not be dethroned. It is here to stay, and it is here to rule. If you are wise, you will trust God and allow the King of books to do the work in you that it has done in the hearts and lives of millions of people.
For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe. (I Thessalonians 2:13)
Copyright © 2023 James L. Melton