Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The KJV . . . is it the perfect and preserved word of God?

Recently I had both a good conversation and a correspondence with two different individuals who each hold to KJV-onlyism (one is a sweet friend, and the topic came up during a phone conversation.) It was interesting timing as both of these happened nearly simultaneously!

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with KJV-onlyism, it can be summarized in one sentence as: the belief that the King James Version Bible is itself the perfect, inspired, preserved word of God, and the only Bible that should be used as the other translations are corruptions or perversions of God's Word.

Since one of these conversations/discussions was an e-mail correspondence, I decided to compile several of my responses into one and share it here. While it only covers some aspects of KJV-onlyism, I hope that it will be enough to at the least, provide good food for thought.

For further reading and study, there are a number of links included at the end to a couple of reference books and a video series on KJV-onlyism as well which are all very good.

In the below 'article', most of the personal references have been removed, and I divided it up into sections with headers to make it easier to read and follow . . .



I had shared your e-mail with my parents, we talked about it together, and many thoughts and questions came to mind. Simply as a sister in the Lord, I would like to ask/mention a few of them. It is not at all with the intent to (as you wisely want to avoid) “force” you to see it 'our way', but it is truly coming from a heart that loves the Lord, loves His Word, wants to discuss His truth, and to have the “iron sharpening iron” so to speak.

This area of Bible translation and KJV-onlyism is one that my family and I have done intensive study on covering the space of many years. This included verse by verse comparisons of most of the New Testament using the KJV, all the other major Bible translations, and the three major Greek Texts (Textus Receptus, Majority Text, and Novum Testamentum Graece.)

My Dad especially has studied this extensively, and he and I had a lot of discussion about it again before I wrote this e-mail to you. Much of what will be shared here is fruit from primarily his studies and what he shared with us years ago and then encouraged us to study. He has also read this and given me some advice as to what to share, etc.

I and my family so agree with what you said that we have to let Scripture interpret Scripture (we use that phrase all the time :) and let Scripture speak for itself. Many years ago (maybe 15?) our family adopted kind of a 'theme verse' . . . Acts 17:11. 1 Thessalonians 5:21 is another . . . "But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good;"

It is our earnest heart and desire to be as the Bereans in Acts 17:11 and examine everything in the light of Scripture, including KJV-only. And to then be continually examining and reexamining (as we will make mistakes) and to be always seeking to mature in faith, gain better understandings, and follow our Lord more closely. It is an exciting journey!

So that's a tiny bit of how we approach Scripture (with my Dad as the spiritual leader.)

Translation of the 1611 King James Version Bible

You had said you were open to any questions or comments, and I do have some :) . . . .

We have a facsimile of the original 1611, and as you may know, it is very different from the KJV used today. Since that first translation, many revisions and updates were made to correct numerous errors, including some significant errors. Also to update the spelling and language for the 'modern' reader ('modern' for the mid-1700's that is!)

I'll be sharing more about the revisions in just a bit, though first, would like to share a bit about the foundation of the translation of the KJV . . . .

In the front of the original 1611 KJV, there is a lengthy letter from the translators to the reader in which they communicate that the KJV was simply another, yet better, translation. (Just like Tyndale's, Matthews, the Geneva, etc.) Contrast that with the biblical prophets, apostles, etc. who transcribed the original inspired Old and New Testaments who knew they were actually writing God's inspired words.

In the facsimile we have, there is also a really interesting and lengthy historical document (not included with the original 1611, but added into the facsimile) titled Bibliographical Introduction by Alfred W. Pollard. It goes through the history of the English translations up to 1611, “The Bible of 1611”, and “Later History of the Bible of 1611”.

It also includes a list of 15 “Rules to be observed in the Translation of the Bible” (pg 39) that the translators of the KJV were to abide by as they translated this new version. Number one was this:

“1. The ordinary Bible read in the Church, commonly called the Bishops Bible, to be followed, and as little altered as the Truth of the original will permit.” (pg. 39)

The translators were all from the Church of England (which broke from the Catholic church and became the mother of the Anglican church), and when translating the KJV, they were instructed to follow the Bishops Bible as closely as possible, except if the Greek manuscript (The Textus Receptus) differed significantly enough to warrant a change.

Another interesting rule is number 14:

“These translations are to be used when they agree better with the Text [The Textus Receptus] than the Bishops Bible: Tindoll's. Matthews. Coverdale's. Whitechurch's. Geneva. [sic](pg. 39)

Each of the six different versions mentioned above, including the Bishops Bible, are English translations which preceded the KJV and which were instrumental in the translation of the KJV. And they each have many differences from one another.

The Textus Receptus mentioned in Rule 14 is the Greek text that was foundational in the translation of the KJV. Erasmus, a Catholic priest, was responsible for producing that text. (Erasmus and how he produced The Textus Receptus is a fascinating and applicable area of study in and of itself!)

When translating the New Testament, he used various, though very limited, Greek manuscripts of different parts of the New Testament and one partial manuscript of Revelation. This was Johannes Reuchlin's copy which was missing the last six verses of chapter 22. Erasmus used The Latin Vulgate to add those verses in, back-translating them from the Latin into Greek. (The Latin Vulgate was a translation done by St. Jerome by order of Pope Damascus.)

With all of this, the question that comes to mind is, would each of the six different Bible versions mentioned above, The Latin Vulgate, The Textus Receptus, and each of the manuscripts used to develop The Textus Receptus also be inspired? (all were used to translate the KJV.)

The Revisions of the King James Version

If the KJV was inspired and God's perfect word, the question must then be asked, why did it have to be revised to correct errors?

The first revision took place the same year it was published, 1611. The 1629 revision corrected many of the errors which had occurred in the previous versions. It was again revised in 1638, 1653, 1762, and 1769.

Yes, as you wrote, there is a “difference between editions and revisions.”

An edition is: “the form or version in which a text is published; the whole number of copies published at one time”

A revision is: “1. a change or a set of changes that corrects or improves something 2. a new version of something; something (such as a piece of writing or a song) that has been corrected or changed”

(Definitions taken from the Merriam Webster Dictionary)

So yes, according to the definitions, the 1611 did indeed have revisions made prior to the RSV (which was a new translation) in 1881.

Again, the first revision was done in 1611 with five more that followed (1629, 1638, 1653, 1762, and 1769.)

There were nearly 24,000 revisional changes made to the original 1611 KJV to correct errors, etc. A revision by definition is a change or changes made to the text to correct or improve. Yes many were grammatical and spelling errors, but a great many (hundreds if not thousands) were not.

Here is a very, very tiny sampling of the more significant errors and revisions (not spelling or grammatical) that were made which can change/alter the meaning. It includes words that were added in; words that were removed; words changed to a different one with a similar meaning, etc. The first word/phrase is the 1611 edition, the second is current editions:

I put some of the more significant ones first . . .

1 John 5:12 – he that hath not the Son, hath not life. - he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.
2 Thessalonians 2:14 - the Lord Jesus Christ – our Lord Jesus Christ
Jeremiah 38:16 – So the king – So Zedekiah the king
Deuteronomy 5:29 – keep my commandments – keep all my commandments
2 Kings 11:10 – in the temple. - in the temple of the LORD
Matthew 16:16 – Thou art Christ – Thou art the Christ
Nehemiah 2:12 – what God had put – what my God had put
Ezra 4:24 – of the house of the God – of the house of God
Ephesians 6:24 – them that love our Lord Jesus in sincerity – them that love our Lord Jesus in sincerity. Amen
1 Timothy 1:4 – rather than edifying – rather than godly edifying
Matthew 9:34 – He casteth out the devils – He casteth out devils
Psalm 69:32 – god – God
Jeremiah 49:1 - God – Gad
Exodus 15:25 – he made a statute – he made for them a statute
Exodus 21:32 – thirty shekels – thirty shekels of silver
Exodus 26:8 – the eleven shall be – the eleven curtains shall be
Leviticus 19:34 – shall be as one born – shall be unto you as one born
Numbers 6:14 – lamb – ram
Joshua 3:15 – at – all
Ezra 2:22 – children – mentioned
Job 30:3 – flying – fleeing
Ezekiel 1:17 – returned – turned
Ezekiel 46:23 – new – row of
Mark 5:6 – he came – he ran
Acts 24:24 – Jew – Jewess
1 Corinthians 4:9 – approved – appointed
Genesis 39:16 – her lord – his lord
Ruth 3:15 – he – she
Ezekiel 24:5 – him – them
Joel 1:16 - your – our
Leviticus 11:10 – nor – and
Psalm 24:3 and – or
1 Chronicles 11:15 – of David – to David
Mark 11:8 – of the trees – off the trees
Joel 3:13 – the wickedness – their wickedness
John 15:20 – the Lord – his lord
Numbers 3:13 – they shall be – shall they be
Job 4:6 – this book of the covenant confidence: the uprightness of thy ways and thy hope? - the book of this covenant confidence, thy hope, and the uprightness of thy ways?
Daniel 6:13 – the captivity of the children – the children of the captivity
Matthew 27:52 – bodies of saints – bodies of the saints
1 Corinthians 14:15 – pray with understanding – pray with the understanding
2 Samuel 16:12 – Lord will requite good – Lord will requite me good
1 Kings 13:8 – restored again – restored him again
Jeremiah 13:14 – be satisfied with goodness – be satisfied with my goodness
Ezekiel 24:7 – poured it upon the ground – poured it not upon the ground
Matthew 12:23 – is this the son of David? - Is this not the son of David?
Leviticus 20:11 – shall be put to death – shall surely be put to death
Leviticus 26:23 – be reformed by these things – be reformed by me by these things
Leviticus 26:40 – the iniquity of their father – their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers
1 Chronicles 7:5 – were men of might – were valiant men of might
Ezekiel 3:11 – unto thy people – unto the children of thy people
Daniel 3:15 – the midst of a fiery furnace – the midst of a burning fiery furnace
Luke 1:3 – understanding of things – understanding of all things
John 7:16 – Jesus answered them, My doctrine – Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine
2 Chronicles 16:6 – Baasha was a building – Baasha was building

Changes were also made to the names of God which came from four different Hebrew words translated as: LORD, Lord, God and GOD. Capitalization of the first letter is always reserved for names referring to the one true God (again this is a sampling) . . .

Exodus 23:15 - LORD God – Lord GOD
2 Samuel 12:22 – God – GOD
2 Chronicles 13:6 – his LORD – his lord
2 Chronicles 28:11 - God – LORD
Isaiah 49:13 – God – the LORD
Zechariah 6:4 – LORD – lord

Spelling was also changed of words referring to deity. If it is capitalized it refers to the one true God, if it is not capitalized, it does not. Again this is only a sampling:

Genesis 6:3 – Spirit – spirit (this change is also in at least 23 other places)
Joshua 4:15 – my Lord – my lord
Deuteronomy 32:6 – Father – father
Exodus 33:2 – an Angel – an angel
1 Samuel 2:25 – Judge – judge
Job 19:25 – Redeemer – redeemer
Isaiah 43:15 – Creator – creator
Luke 23:2 – king – King
John 15:20 – the Lord – his lord
Acts 11:12 – spirit – Spirit (Oxford edition)
Isaiah 54:5 – maker – Maker
Psalm 106:21 – Saviour - saviour

If the KJV was inspired by God, there should have been no revisions needed, no mistakes made that had to be corrected as God does not make mistakes (even spelling and grammatical ones.) Just one mistake or error in the 1611 KJV would disprove that God inspired the KJV Bible.

Significant Revisional Changes - An Example from 1 John 5:12

Let's look at the very first example I had listed and see how significant just this one error, and the revision that followed, is:

The 1611 KJV reads:

Hee that hath the Sonne, hath life; and hee that hath not the Sonne, hath not life.

The current KJV reads:

He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” (emphasis added.)

The 1611 is missing the words “of God”. This is a very significant absence! If God inspired “every word” of the KJV, yet left this very important phrase out, what does that say about God?

The literal translation of The Textus Receptus (which was the foundation for the 1611 KJV) correctly includes “Son of God”:

The (one) having the Son has life, he not having the Son of God, life not has.”

And just for interest's sake, here is the NASB translation which also correctly has “Son of God” where the 1611 KJV does not:

He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.”

This one example in 1 John 5:12 cannot be dismissed just as a “translation error” (nor can all the others I listed.) It is one of many, many significant changes that were made to the 1611 KJV. And this one was to improve it.

Also, a “translation error” still is an error.

Can God, who is perfect and is Truth, inspire error?

You shared that: “Matthew 4:4 where Jesus tells us that man does not live on bread alone but one [sic] every word that comes from the mouth of God . . . Jesus himself said every word that comes out of God's mouth is for us to live on. We need it daily. If a Christian does not believe that every word of God is perfect, pure, preserved, and can be in a copy or translation of a Bible version today, it's impossible for them to be obedient to the teaching of this verse.”

So in each of the changes above (and the nearly 24,000 total), is the 1611 edition's rendition or the 1769 edition's rendition God's “every word”?

If it is true that “every word” of the 1611 KJV was inspired by God, then the modern KJV which made thousands of word changes, word additions, and word subtractions, etc. runs into a serious problem:

For I [the apostle John] testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things written in this book.” (Revelation 22:18-19 KJV)

With these many revisions, it would be difficult to defend that the most recent KJV is inspired and preserved and the others aren't. On the other hand, if the first translation and the following revisions aren't inspired, how could the last, the KJV used today, be the one that is inspired? Is such a claim biblically supported?

Psalm 12:7 - What is 'preserved'?

You had asked: “Are you saying that if we don't see the words King James Version in the Bible that we can't say the King James is the inspired and preserved word of God?”

That is kind of, sort of along the lines of what I was asking, but not really. :) What I was asking is basically: from the Bible alone, how do you know without doubt based upon the word of God that the KJV is the one version that is inspired? And which one: the 1611, 1769 or one of revisions in between?

From the Bible alone, can you prove that the NASB isn't the inspired, preserved word of God? Or that the NKJV (which is based on exactly the same texts as the KJV) isn't the inspired, preserved word of God?

Psalm 12:7 is one of the main verses used to support KJV-onlyism. If it does indeed mean that God was going to preserve His written Word in absolute perfection through the ages, the absolute, unchanged perfect text would have to transcend the ages and be passed down through every time period. If this is so, where was God's preserved word prior to the KJV? For example in 1272 AD, or 974 AD, or 1610 AD, etc.

Though is that what Psalm 12:7 means? In the verse, God does state that He will preserve forever 'them.' I would like to share a bit about that . . . . The 1611 KJV reads:

"Thou shalt keepe them, (O LORD,) thou shalt preserve them, from this generation forever."

In the original 1611 KJV, the second “them” has a symbol directing to the margin. There it says: “Heb. Him. Euery one of them.” This is the literal Hebrew meaning of the word. For whatever reason, the translators translated it as "them" instead of "him" even though the Hebrew reads "him."

In context, according to the original Hebrew and the 1611 KJV the phrase “thou shalt preserve them” is referring to the afflicted/poor and needy in verse 5. Even with using “them”, in context, it can be seen to refer back to those in verse 5.

I would imagine you would disagree with that statement, though please bear with me and consider all of this:

Other Psalms agree with that literal translation of Psalm 12:7. Consider this sampling:

the LORD . . . forsaketh not his saints: they are preserved forever.” (Psalm 37:28 KJV)

he preserveth the souls of his saints” (Psalm 97:10 KJV)

The LORD will preserve him, and keep him” (Psalm 41:2 KJV)

The LORD shall preserve thee” (Psalm 121:7 KJV)

The Hebrew word used in Psalm 12:7 from which preserve is translated is natsar (Strongs 5341) which literally means “to guard.” This is important to remember as the meaning of "to guard" is fairly different than "to preserve" in the way that KJV-only advocates define it.

Natsar - to guard - is used 11 times in the KJV. Besides the use in Psalm 12:7, the 10 other times all refer to people, except for one which refers to God preserving (lit. “guarding”) knowledge (Proverbs 22:12.)

All 38 of the other uses in the KJV of the words 'preserve', 'preserved', 'preserver', 'preservest', and 'preserveth' also all refer to people, with only four exceptions: preserving Jerusalem (Isaiah 31:5), creation (Nehemiah 9:6), and wine and bottles (Matthew 9:17, Luke 5:38).

Not once is the word 'preserve' or its derivatives ever used to refer to preserving God's Word. It overwhelmingly refers to God preserving people.

So the literal Hebrew word used in Psalm 12:7 and the context of Scripture and how it uses 'preserving', supports that Psalm 12:7 means: God preserving men (and not His written Word . . . contrary to the KJV-only interpretation of 12:7.)

There is something else quite interesting in Psalm 12:7-8. It reads in the KJV . . .

Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve [lit. guard] them [Hebrew: him, every one of them] from this generation forever. The wicked walk on every side, when the vilest of men are exalted.

Note the 'from' in verse 7.

This Psalm speaks mostly of the wicked and then the “oppression of the poor” and the “sighing of the needy” because of the wicked. The Lord then arises to their aid and declares “I will set him in safety from him that puffeth at him.” (vs. 5)

Verse 6 says that the “words of the LORD” are pure and purified, which follows immediately after the promise that God verbally declared to set the afflicted in safety. It is an assurance that this promise is pure, true, and will be accomplished (as well as all His other promises.)

Immediately following this, God says He will preserve (lit. guard) them/him (the poor and needy) from this generation . . . the wicked and vile in verse 8 (as well as in verse 2-4.)

It is an explanation of how His promise of verse 5 will be fulfilled.

And what they are being 'preserved [lit. guarded] from' is very specific - "this generation" of wicked men.

'Missing' words in the other Bible Versions

You had said that there are 60,000 words missing or relegated to footnotes in all the other versions compared to the KJV. It would be quite interesting to see that number fact checked and to one-by-one examine those 'missing words.' But that's a lot beyond what we could ever do here. :) (or even over many years!)

The translation of languages is so interesting, and any time a language is translated into another, the word count likely will change, and sometimes significantly. For example, English translated into many other languages results in fewer words as other languages often have one word for what would be a whole phrase in the English language. Old English, compared to middle English, compared to our modern English, likely would have that as well.

(And actually, as we saw earlier, there are many, many 'missing' words between the 1611 KJV and the modern KJV.)

One thought to consider is that the “60,000 missing words” may not have all been left out of the other versions as is claimed, but it could instead be that the translators of the KJV (or the texts it was based off of) added some, most, or all of them in.

Consider one example of 1 John 5:7-8 in which the KJV has the following phrase and most other translations do not: “. . . in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth

This phrase has been labeled: Comma Johanneum. The first edition of Erasmus' work (which became The Textus Receptus – the foundation for the KJV) came out in 1516, and the Comma Johanneum was absent from it. It was also absent in the second edition.

The reason why it was 'missing' is that it wasn't in any of the Greek manuscripts that Erasmus examined. There was only one place it was found: The Latin Vulgate. (Which as mentioned before, was a translation done by St. Jerome by order of Pope Damascus.)

Today, there are eight Greek manuscripts that contain the Comma Johanneum, though all are quite recent, and in half of them, the verse isn't in the main text, but is in the margin.

After his first edition came out, the reason Erasmus decided to add the Comma Johanneum into the third edition was that he was pressured by two men (and consequently the Catholic Church.) In response, he said he would include it if just one Greek manuscript could be found that had it in it.

One manuscript (Codex 61 – dated no earlier than the second decade of the 16th century) was found and produced by a Franciscan (a member of a Roman Catholic order founded by St. Francis of Assisi.)

With that one recent manuscript, Erasmus revised the text and added in the phrase in the third edition.

But there is no sure evidence of Comma Johanneum being in any Greek manuscript until the 16th century. It appears that it was originally in the marginal note of a Latin manuscript, then eventually was added into the text of Latin manuscripts during the Medieval Ages, and was then eventually added into recent Greek manuscripts.

The following link is to a factual article by a Ph.D. Greek scholar who teaches Greek, and shares more which is historically and biblically insightful: https://bible.org/article/textual-problem-1-john-57-8

More on the Comma Johanneum

Regarding the Greek Manuscripts not having the Comma Johanneum . . . perhaps I misread what you wrote, but the ones that you listed as being prior to the 16th century and having the Comma are actually not dates, but are the manuscript numbers:

88 – Codex Regis - (from the 12th century; the Comma Johanneum was not in the text, but was in a marginal note and wasn't added into the text until the 16th century)

221 (from the 10th century; but again the Comma Johanneum was in a marginal note and wasn't added into the text until the 15th or 16th century.)

429 - Codex Wolfenb├╝ttel - (from the 14th century; again, the Comma Johanneum was in a marginal note and wasn't added into the text until the 16th century. Dr. Bruce Metzger says that 429 is from the 16th century [Textual Commentary2, 647])

629 - Codex Ottobonianus (located at the Vatican) - (14th century – originally a Latin text alongside the Greek text. The Greek text was revised to conform to the Latin and hence, the Greek then included the Comma. The Comma was translated and copied back into the Greek from the Latin – it wasn't originally Greek.)

635 (from the 11th century – the Comma wasn't in the text, but again was in the margin; and from what I understand, it was never added into the text.)

636 (15th century; once again, the Comma Johanneum was in a marginal note and wasn't added to the text until later. Dr. Bruce Metzger says that 636 is from the 16th century [Textual Commentary2, 648])

So yes, each of these few Greek manuscripts did eventually contain the Comma Johanneum and some had it in the margin . . . but there is not one Greek Manuscript text that included it that is dated earlier than the 16th century (save for possibly one in the 15th century.)

There are four other Greek manuscript (918, 2318, 2473, and 177) that contain the Comma in their text or in the margin and they are the same as the above – they are dated no earlier than the 16th century (with two being from the 18th century; and 177 being from the 11th century with the Comma added late in the 16th century.)

Even though the Comma Johanneum was in some of the early Bible versions that you mentioned (Wycliffe's, Geneva, etc.), it still wasn't in any Greek Manuscripts at the time period those versions were translated.

You had shared regarding God's preserving His Words and specifically the Comma Johanneum: “We know they were somewhere. They would have been preserved through versions and manuscripts that followed the Hebrew and Traditional Greek texts that the KJV did.”

Except, for example, Wycliffe's Bible was not translated from any Greek or Hebrew manuscripts at all, but solely from The Latin Vulgate (which did have the Comma Johanneum in it.)

Again, The Latin Vulgate was a translation done by St. Jerome by order of Pope Damascus. (As a little side note, despite its shortcomings and errors, the Wycliffe Bible for its time was a wonderful blessing and a huge improvement from what the people had at the time! Which for those who weren't of the religious heirarchy, was pretty much no Bible at all.)

Each of those versions you mentioned could not have gotten the Comma Johanneum from a Greek Manuscript as historical evidences show there were none that included it during the time periods those versions were written.

If, however, contrary to all historical evidence, the Comma Johanneum was indeed in the original Greek manuscript and part of 1 John 5:7-8, and if God preserved His written Words perfectly down through all the ages, how could the Comma Johanneum have been absent from all the many Greek manuscripts up until those dated in the 16th century or later? Existing evidence indicates that it also was not quoted or referenced by the earliest 'church fathers.'

Scripture as the Foundation

There are many more historical and textual evidences that could be explored and talked about, though this is getting quite long! One foundational thought comes to mind, though: with letting Scripture interpret Scripture and speak for itself, it would seem that God would have been clear in His Word that He was preserving the Scriptures in the way KJV-only advocates describe. If it is absent from Scripture, it can only be conjecture. And the Bible is indeed silent regarding it.

It would seem also that He would have given some indication that this “preservation” would be for only a specific language group (English speaking people) and none others (which would be curious since the originals were written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek.)

If it was only for the English speaking people, consequently, all other language groups could never have God's true Word. In 2009, there were an estimated 6,909 distinct languages – all would be forever without God's true Word unless they learned to read English.

And if Psalm 12:7 means what KJV-only advocates say it does, it would only be true for English speaking people and would not be true for every other language group, or even the Hebrew people to whom it was originally written.

As a little conclusion, we do believe that God preserved His word in the sense that there are so many Greek and Hebrew manuscripts over a vast number of years which are in harmony with one another. There are several major Bible translations (including the KJV) that hold very closely to the Greek and Hebrew manuscripts and are also very similar to one another (which was specifically seen in my family's verse by verse comparison of much of the New Testament.)

Harmony Between the Versions

As a little more food for thought related to this, you had shared that: “There were significance [sic] doctrines that could be affected such as the Lord's Prayer, the deity of Jesus Christ, Jesus being born of a virgin, divorce and remarriage are a few that come to mind off the top of my head.”

Forgive me if I am misreading what you shared, but it seems by this that you are indicating that the other translations may not teach these doctrines, or lessens them, corrupts them, etc. The below, though, was taken from a study done by James D. Price which addresses some of these:

-Words/phrases which support the Deity of Christ: KJV=80; NKJV=81; NASB=80
-Words/phrases which support the virgin birth of Christ: KJV=3; NKJV=3; NASB=3
-Words/phrases supporting atonement by Christ's blood: KJV=30; NKJV=30; NASB=28
-Words/phrases supporting justification, etc.: KJV=18; NKJV=18; NASB=18
-Words/phrases supporting Christ's bodily resurrection: KJV=81; NKJV=81; NASB=81
-Words/phrases supporting Christ's second coming: KJV=53; NKJV=53; NASB=53
-Words/phrases supporting salvation by grace through faith: KJV=11; NKJV=11; NASB=11

Totals of the words/phrases: KJV=276; NKJV=277; NASB=274

They are almost identical when compared.

We certainly appreciate and utilize the KJV as it is a good translation, though we cannot see scriptural evidence or historical evidence that it is specifically inspired and preserved by God, that it is the only version that communicates God's Word correctly, or that it is the only version that should be used.

As with any translation done by men, some errors will be made, which is the reason why the nearly 24,000 revisions were made to the 1611 KJV, improving it and bringing it to the version that is used today. Even with the translation and scribal errors, though, these major versions are still very close to the original manuscripts.

Recommended Resources


King James Onlyism: A New Sect by James D. Price

This book is excellent! It is full of simply facts, a great deal of history, manuscript evidence (including regarding the "two lines" of manuscripts), comparisons between the KJV revisions, comparisons between the Majority Text and The Textus Receptus, and much more.


The Translators to the Readers (the original lengthy document included by the translators in the original 1611 KJV. It is really insightful.)


The King James Only Controversy by James White


A video series by James White which includes a great deal regarding the two "lines" of manuscripts

- Posted by Sarah


  1. Sarah I find the arguments about the Bible fascinating. I believe the that the Lord wants us to have access to his word and that it is up to the reader to prayerfully read and learn. One advantage of the many different versions is that those with less education or poor language skills have access to version more comfortable for them and they grow on their journey there is much to explore. I was given a King James as my first Bible and I still have it. Now I have access to some different versions as well.

    As an aside I love those 'Ah hah' moments that hit me when I am revisiting the Word. Some days a whole new understanding opens up to me.

    Thank you for this blog. It is insightful and I am sure many careful hours were taken to write such a fantastic piece.

    1. Thanks so much for your comment, Suze! I appreciated all you shared. Like you, I also find discussions about the Bible fascinating. I am so thankful that God did give us access to His Word! Having different versions and the Greek and Hebrew texts to compare with one another, also really help to gain a deeper and more accurate understanding.

      As you shared, another advantage is for those who have difficulty understanding the language of the KJV. It is important, though, to still be careful which version you use as many modern versions are sadly not accurate translations. Some of the ones that hold the closest to the Greek and Hebrew manuscripts are the NASB, NKJV, and the KJV. I think the ESV does as well, but I am not as familiar with that translation.

      How neat that you have your first Bible! I still have mind as well. :)

      Oh yes, I so know what you mean about having 'ah hah' moments when you read God's Word! There is so much in it and depth to it that no matter how many times we read it, there will always be something more to learn.

      You're welcome for sharing! And thank you for the encouragement. :)

  2. Hello Sarah,

    What a terrific article. Two thumbs up!


  3. Wow! I applaud how much work you've put into this! It's a little humbling.
    As a new believer, I was into KJV-onlyism for a while, but it had more to do with following my elder's opinions and my feelings than evidence.
    Sadly, that house church disintegrated and my family topped going to church all together. To obey God about not neglecting fellowship, I set out find a church I could call home. I remember trying to share what I'd been learning from a KJV in Bible study. Nobody could understand the verses I was trying to share! It made me think of how the Bible was originally translated to make it accessible to the common people. For many nowadays who don't regularly read the KJV, it's not accessible. (Especially for people like my hubby who loves his Bible, but has a hard time understanding the more complicated translations.) That's what convinced me.

    I like your thought about foreign languages translations. I have a Christian friend who Philappino. Her Bible has only 4 translations version total, all of them way newer than the KJV! It always made me wonder that if KJV-onlyism were true, than where did that leave foreign language speakers.

    Either way, KJV has a special place in my heart, even though I rarely. It was my first Bible as a believer, and I appreciated the language of it, even though it's more difficult to understand. God used it to encourage me, teach me, and help me through so much!

    Thanks for writing! It was really cool reading all that your family has studied!

    1. Thank you, Christina, for your kind words and all you shared! Including your journey. I appreciated it! It's wonderful to see how God led you through that to where you are today. I think what you shared is important to remember: the KJV was made to improve upon the older English versions and to update it to the 'modern' language of the people. Just like the major 'modern' versions of today (NASB and NKJV for example.)

      That is a really good example and point with your Philappino friend! Thanks for sharing that.

      I can well understand your sentiments about the KJV Bible. :) I like it as well, and prefer it in some instances. I still love my NASB the best, though. :)

      You're welcome for sharing!

  4. Well-documented and thorough article, Sarah! Have you considered submitting it for publication somewhere? I too have my KJV Bible--in Spanish:-)--from my childhood days, but have for many years now studied God's word in the NASB translation.

    If you don't mind my asking, how did you become such a Biblical scholar? I believe you could run circles around many who have received doctoral degrees in Biblical studies!


    1. Thank you, Betsy! No, I hadn't thought of that. I'm not sure where I'd submit it to if I wanted to!

      How neat that you still have your Spanish KJV Bible from your childhood. What a keepsake! Like you, we use the NASB as well. I love that translation!

      Your question and comment made me smile . . . thanks! I guess I never thought of myself as being a Bible scholar. :) I just love God's Word and love learning and studying it (and writing about what is learned, too.) Growing up, my Dad also really encouraged us to study and learn Scripture, to study about different doctrinal beliefs, and more. We also talk about things like this a lot, and I have learned so much from my Dad's wisdom and studies!

  5. Hi Sarah! Thanks for this! I read your "As Lilies" blog from time to time and was intrigued when you posted about this. I used to be KJV only as a young girl as I was in a KJV only church but as I grew older my parents helped me see that there are other versions just as good and I have investigated for myself a lot as well. I still love the KJV because its what I grew up with and am familiar with but I also love the ESV and my current church uses that one. One argument I hear is that the KJV has the Acts 8:37 verse (If you believe with your all you heart you shall be saved etc) whilst other versions dont and that the Bible says not to take away from the Word of God! My reply is that this verse was actually *added in* later on (probably as a bit of an explanation verse) just like your comma johaneum and the Bible also says not to add to the Word of God either which kind of invalidates their argument... That aside, whilst I enjoy a good robust debate,the main thing is that Christians are glorifying God and living for Him no matter what translation they read :D Thanks again for the post!

    - The Elf -

    1. Thank you for commenting here, The Elf! It was good to hear from you, and I appreciated all you shared and hearing a bit of your history regarding the KJV-onlyism. It was wonderful to hear how your parents helped you with this, how you investigated it lot as well, and the conclusion you came to. It was encouraging to read!

      Thank you for what you shared about Acts 8:37 and glorifying God and living for Him! All of those are very good and applicable points.

      You're welcome for sharing!

  6. This article was quite fascinating for me! I am not an English native speaker, so KJV-onlyism kind of misses the point for me. And now I'm so glad about what you shared.
    To me KJV-onlyism just can't be right, since there are billions of Christians around the world - and just part of them do speak English. If KJV would be God's only inspired word, that would make English speaking Christians an elite - and that is really not what the Bible teaches us! Christianity is all about humility, not about elitism!

    1. Thank you for your comment, Grace, and for sharing all that you did! You make some really good and applicable points. Very true!

  7. Wow, thank you for taking the time to type all this up Sarah! I never grew up with KJV-Only but about 5 years ago my family were members of a KJV-Only church that had sound teaching (besides holding to KJV-Only). We eventually left the church because we were not allowed to the Bible there unless it was from the KJV. That was something that went against our convictions...especially teaching from it to children that have a hard time underatanding the Bible enough without having the barrier of the old english. Both my dad and I both have the gift of and desire to the Bible so that was the deciding factor to leave as we could not use our gifts and serve the Body of Christ at that church. We had some civil conversation with the pastor about our concerns before leaving and I brought up many of the points you did (but you and your family have done much more research on this than I have). One thing that our pastor mentioned that perhaps your friends didn’t as it wasn’t mentioned in this article, is he said he believes God had an inspired “authorized” version for each language and the the KJV is just the inspired version for the English language.