For Christians Posted March 10, 2021

This KJV Bible is the oldest thing I have. It was published in 1858!

They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.

And I agree – a book should be judged by its opposition. There’s something about the King James Bible that makes even my closest Christian friends and mentors uncomfortable. I could preach from the NIV, NLT, ESV, or even the "New" King James Bible, and nobody would bat an eye. But the KJV? Oh no, not that one!

I've been observing this strange phenomenon for years. The arguments usually start with the archaic words. It's true that the KJV has a lot of them, but they are sometimes accompanied by a verse to explain what they are now called. Other times, they make sense in the context of the situation. I initially didn't know what a haft was, but it didn't take me long to figure out it's the other part of a knife. Even for the few remaining obscure words, it's better to take the time to learn what they mean instead of replacing them. It may seem trivial and it may be tempting to switch to an "easier to read" version, but "easier to read" doesn't always mean "easier to understand."

You can probably see where I'm going with this, but I really wouldn't mind another translation if it simply modernized the language. But Satan has a very long history of attacking God's Word and making us doubt it. God's Word is perfect, but by replacing His words we end up with a book that doesn't quite teach the same thing. One example is Jesus' first commandment: Repent. This is also reflected by Apostle Paul, at least in the KJV. But other translations may say "do penance" or "change your life." It implies that we were never completely powerless to do so. It implies that trusting the Lord Jesus and His shed blood is not enough to save us or forgive our sin. You'd be surprised how many people I've invited to church say "I can't go now, I have to clean up my life first." That's not how grace works.

It gets much worse. In an effort to "improve" our copies of God's words, many publishers have actually abandoned them. There's hundreds of words, phrases, and even entire verses removed from many other translations. Not even Jesus' own words are exempt from this. It is God who said that man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. And it is God who repeatedly said not to mess with His words. Alas, there are legions of people who are all too willing to defend this. Even the most well-meaning pastors I know are constantly trying to correct God's Word, and will often say stuff like "In the original greek, this verse should read like this." I stopped using my Nelson KJV Study Bible at one point because it is stuffed with commentary on how some verses are "not found in the best manuscripts" and have "unfortunate choice of wording."

This brings up the issue of where the manuscripts even came from. There are two different streams of Bible history. The KJV was translated from the Greek "Textus Receptus" or "Received Text." These manuscripts come straight from the Apostles. They largely agree with each other and have been passed down for centuries by many persecuted Christians. Nearly every other translation out there, however, depends on the Alexandrian manuscripts. These manuscripts seldomly agree on anything, but because these manuscripts are the oldest, many modern translators blindly regard them as the best. The irony is that, despite the Bible saying nothing good comes out of Egypt, many Christians believe that whatever Bible that comes out of Egypt is any good. The average person will look at these editors and their alphabet soup of accreditations and trust what they say instead of what God says. That is how easily one can be deceived. That is how even the "New" King James Bible downgrades Jesus from 'Son' of God to a mere 'servant'. So when I read about how more than one-third of those who call themselves Christians don't even believe Jesus is God, and how one-half say certain sins are permissible... I'm really not surprised. Our light here is fading fast.

With all that said, even a "kinda-sorta" Bible can still lead people to Christ. My tipping point came just after watching an anime cartoon, so it just goes to show what God can use to get our attention. But another reason I love the KJV is how poetic and passionate it reads. We clearly weren't meant to have a "kinda-sorta" relationship with God here. There's a great fulfilling life to be had from advancing God's Kingdom, and for that you will need something that is sharper than any two-edged sword and can thwart Satan's attacks. Jesus said those who love Him will "keep my words".

Make sure that what you have are His words.