Why should I use the King James Bible and not a more modern, updated version? After all, the archaic language of the KJV is so hard to understand? These are the questions that people ask me most often regarding bible versions. The real issue is not the reading level or the language but the authority of the inerrant, infallible, inspired and preserved Words of God. Since God promised that He would preserve “every jot and tittle,” then what version is the correct one to use, since they all differ in literally thousands of places?
KJV comes from the “Received Text” or the “Textus Receptus.” The NT manuscripts are what is at issue. Of the almost 5000 discovered, approximately 95% are in this grouping and are in agreement. This is the text that the reformers used in writing their Greek NT’s. These manuscripts largely come from the school at Antioch.
All other Modern Bible versions, except the NKJV, come from the Alexandrian Manuscripts. Some of these mss are quite old and are therefore regarded as more reliable. The two main mss are the Siniaticus and the Vaticanus which were discovered in RC institutions and kept from the world for over 1000 years. These two mss differ from each other in thousands of places. These were the two mss used by Wescott & Hort for their NT Greek text which they forced on the Revision Committee in 1881 whose mission was simply to update the “archaic” language of the KJV. Instead they used an entirely different source. This IS the main problem with ALL modern bible versions. They have a different foundation.
NKJV comes from the Received Text but was “corrected” by the Alexandrian text.
It most closely follows the KJV and is very similar in almost all regards. However, when you change the “words” you also change the meaning. The Trinitarian Bible Society documented 1500 word changes in the first eleven chapters of the Gospel of Matthew alone. Although these changes may seem to be, “no big deal” to most Christians, let me remind you that Satan attacked Eve with “subtlety” in Gen. 3:1-5. He questioned, added to and denied God’s word in his attack.
Most Christians believe that God “inspired” his word in the “original” writings. The problem lies with the doctrine of “preservation.” God did not promise just to preserve His “thoughts” and intentions but the very “words” that were inspired. This is called “verbal-plenary inspiration. The KJV is a word for word translation carefully and consistently constructed to fulfill its mission of presenting the very WORD of God to the English speaking peoples. That is why the words that are “understood” in the Greek have the English “equivalent” in Italics so that the translation would be accurate and honest.
Mt. 4:4 – We are to live by “every word.”
Rev. 22:18-19 – warns us not to mess with His words.
The following scriptures claim that the words were preserved by God for us:
I Peter 1:23-25
If you take the time to compare the KJV with say, the NIV you will notice that the words are different. Using different words gives a different meaning and changes some important doctrines in the Bible. The NIV also has 64,000 less words! The original editions were missing important passages like Mark 16:9-20.
Here are just a quick sampling of the changes and omissions that you don’t need to be a Greek scholar to understand. These changes affect the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ.
II Sam 21:19 – who killed Goliath?
Psalm 12:6&7 – preservation of the words
Isaiah 7:14 – born of a virgin or a young damsel?
Daniel 3:25 – a son of the gods or the Son of God?
Acts 8:37 – modern bibles omit or footnote this passage as not belonging, teaching salvation by baptism.
Colossians 1:14 – BLOOD is missing
I Timothy 3:16 – GOD was manifest in the flesh
I John 5:7&8 – teaching on TRINITY. Verse 8 missing and verse 7 changed into two verses.
Acts 12:4 – KJV is the only Bible that CORRECTLY translates “pascha” as Easter.
Cf: Ex 12:12-18 & Lev 23:5&6 (Passover is the 14th day and the Feast of Unleavened Bread starts on the 15 day so it had already taken place!)
There are a few main issues at hand:
Modern bibles come from a different source than the KJV
Inspiration is not just the thoughts and ideas but the words
Preservation is the key doctrine
Compare just a few key verses and see for yourself!