Is the King James Version the Best English Translation?

7 Factors to Consider when Comparing the KJV with Modern Translations.

There is a powerful faction of well-meaning Christians who believe and teach that the King James Version is the only uncorrupted English translation of Scripture. 

Their explanations are very convincing to the average Christian who has not studied the historical and linguistic background of Scripture translation.

I will let the authorities in the links below explain the details because they are experts in these areas, but let me summarize some important background:

1. The original texts of Scripture (those Moses, Paul, and others wrote under the anointing of the Spirit) are called autographs, and none have survived. If it were important that we have those autographs, God would have protected them. He didn’t.

2. What we have are copies of the autographs, written by human scribes who sometimes made mistakes when copying the original text. The newer the copy, the more scribal errors it contains because it was a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy, etc. instead of a copy of the original.

7 Factors to Consider when Comparing the KJV with Modern Translations.3. Most of these scribal errors are insignificant and don't change the meaning of the text. By comparing multiple manuscripts and relying on the accuracy of the older manuscripts, we can be confident that our present Bible accurately represents the autographs.

4. When KJV was written, some of the older copies of Scripture had not yet been discovered. So the King James translators used the newer copies of Scripture with more scribal additions (words and phrases added to the text). None of these additions detract from the message. But they are not Scripture even though they are part of the KJV text. 

5. That’s why King James Only teachers are able to compare texts and claim that modern translations have omitted words. In truth, the KJV includes words not found in the older, more accurate manuscripts. This doesn’t make the KJV corrupted. It simply means that certain details of its wording are based on scribal changes and errors, not Scripture. Since God allowed the newer manuscripts to be our only source for years, I'm sure He was not concerned about these insignificant differences in them. But He also allowed the older manuscripts to be found so we could make our translations more accurate. 

6. To claim that an English translation of the Bible written in the 1600’s is the most accurate version for modern Christians means:

     A. God is limited in His ability to communicate. He is stuck in time, only able to express Himself in archaic words that no longer have the same meaning to modern readers.

     B. God anointed the translators of the KJV but refuses to anoint any other translators even though it would make His Word more understandable to the modern reader.

Neither A. nor B. is true.


7 Factors to Consider when Comparing the KJV with Modern Translations.
7. Translations use different methods, but each major English translation seeks to transmit the message accurately. One of my professors in seminary was Dr. William J. Larkin who translated Acts in the New Living Translation. I have never met a more humble, godly man who knew Scripture so intimately and accurately. He read from the Greek New Testament in our classes, translating as he spoke. He would never have been part of any translation team that did not seek to accurately represent God’s Word.

Note: Paraphrases of the Bible are not translations. Translations are made by a team of Bible scholars. Paraphrases are written by a single author who is attempting to put the Bible into words that he feels a particular group will easily understand. He may or may not consult the original languages of Scripture. Paraphrases should not be studied as your main source of Scripture and everything in them should be tested against a genuine translation because sometimes the author has an agenda. Popular paraphrases include The Message, The Living Bible (not the same as the New Living Translation), and The Passion Translation (not really a translation).

I regularly see  comments on social media from KJVO believers claiming that anyone who posts in modern translations is seeking to pervert the gospel. I have no desire to debate anyone. My goal is to inform those who are confused, those who are open to researching the evidence of God-fearing Bible scholars. 

I don’t think KJVO teachers are intentionally trying to be divisive. I believe most of them are well-meaning and sincere. But they are also misinformed. 

For those who are willing, please read the articles linked below. I have included a short excerpt from each:

Is Your Modern Translation Corrupt? Institute for Christian Research

"The importance of the topic should not be underestimated. While the vast majority of conservative Christian scholars completely reject the KJV Only position, the emotionally charged rhetoric of KJV Only advocates causes unnecessary concerns among many believers."

Is the King James Bible the Only Reliable Bible? By Billy Graham

7 Factors to Consider when Comparing the KJV with Modern Translations."Some people prefer the King James translation because they have been familiar with it, often from childhood. Others prefer modern translations because they are more easily understood. Also, modern translators have the advantage of using many older Greek manuscripts of the New Testament discovered since the King James translation was made. Most scholars consider these older manuscripts more reliable than the few later manuscripts available to those who translated the King James Bible."

What is the King James Only Movement? Got Questions

"Our loyalties are to the original manuscripts of the Old and New Testaments, written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. Only the original languages are the Word of God as He inspired it. A translation is only an attempt to take what is said in one language and communicate it in another. The modern translations are superb in taking the meaning of the original languages and communicating it in a way that we can understand in English."

Why I Do Not Think the KJV is the Best Translation Available Today - Bible.org 

"Those who vilify the modern translations and the Greek texts behind them have evidently never really investigated the data. Their appeals are based largely on emotion, not evidence. As such, they do an injustice to historic Christianity as well as to the men who stood behind the King James Bible. These scholars, who admitted that their work was provisional and not final (as can be seen by their preface and by their more than 8000 marginal notes indicating alternate renderings), would wholeheartedly welcome the great finds in MSS [Greek Manuscripts] that have occurred in the past one hundred and fifty years."

The King James Only Controversy – The Gospel Coalition

Regarding the KJV Only claim that modern translations delete verses from the Bible: "Based on the older and more reliable manuscripts, the modern translations have simply sought to reflect what was contained in the original manuscripts. It is just as serious to add to Scripture, as it is to take away from Scripture."

Is the King James Version the Only Good Translation? - Eternal Perspectives Ministries (Randy Alcorn)  

This article addresses the fact that all translations have verses or phrases that could be better translated, but the translation teams of the modern translations are seeking to share Scripture accurately. KJV Only teachers claim that modern translation teams purposely mistranslate. 

"Such comparisons are not becoming nor loving, especially to those translators that are Christian brothers. I choose to think the best of why a translator seemingly mistranslates. For example, why did the translators of the KJV translate “Easter” in Ac. 12:4 (the word is lit. “Passover” and is in every other place in the KJV “Passover” Strongs number 3957)? Was it because that translator was a secret worshiper of the fertility god “Oster” (cf. “Easter” was a fertility goddess similar to the Biblical Ashtar)? Or was it more likely that the translator was trying to now give a Christian context for the time of year such a festival is held? Think the best of the translators and spend your energy trying to discover WHY they translated something different."


For a video explaining all of our English translations: Can I Trust Bible Translations?


Bible Love Notes

3 comments:

  1. I am not a KJV only individual. I am a King James primarily person. I do not think that older necessarily means better. Most modern translations are based on the work of Westcott and Hort in the 1800's--two men who did not believe in the inerrancy of scripture nor the redemptive power of Christ's blood, but did believe in Charles Darwin's work. Codex Vaticanus had been gathering dust in the Vatican's library for several centuries; Codex Sinaiticus, whether it was found in the trash at St. Catherine's or stolen (more likely), was riddled with copious errors. Whatever flaws the KJV scholars may have had, they were certainly Christian. I respectfully submit that it is entirely reasonable to be suspicious of most modern translations in light of the well-documented "beliefs" of Westcott and Hort.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Carole.
      I'm sure you are sincere, but despite your right motives, you are passing along errors, not historically accurate facts.

      The King James is a good translation, but it is not the most accurate translation.

      I pray that whoever convinced you of this Charles Darwin connection will be convicted of his slanderous accusations against the hundreds of godly men who have translated modern translations, and I pray he will stop passing along historically inaccurate information.

      I pray that those who prefer the KJV will enjoy it without unjustly criticizing other translations.

      I'm sad that Satan is using this controversy to weaken God's people, cause confusion and fear.

      Delete
    2. Please read these accurate facts, Carole. I am reprinting them from GotQuestions.org:

      Question: "Who were Westcott and Hort and what did they have to do with the text of the Bible?"

      Answer: Brooke Westcott and Fenton Hort were 19th-century theologians and Bible scholars. Together, they produced The New Testament in the Original Greek, one of the earliest examples of modern textual criticism. Since its publication in 1881, Westcott and Hort’s work has proved to be impressively accurate, though far from perfect. Their approach not only advanced the science of textual criticism, but it added considerable weight to the claim that the Bible had been preserved from tampering and corruption.

      The goal of textual criticism is removing changes, errors, and additions to a text in order to determine the original words. The King James translators, for example, generated their work from a series of manuscripts, none of which exactly matches their final product. They chose between variant readings or spellings, deciding what was most likely original through various techniques. Recognizing the need to use prior scholarship combined with new discoveries, the KJV translators made a good faith effort to improve upon what had already been done. This process continues today, albeit with a much greater number of manuscripts available. The differences between the various texts are trivial, amounting to less than one half of one percent of the words in the New Testament.

      Not all textual critics use the same methods or give the same weight to certain manuscript families. The specific methods used by Westcott and Hort are no longer held as ideal by Bible scholars. Modern research considers their approach overly reliant on two manuscripts, Sinaiticus and Vaticanus, as well as the principle of “shorter is earlier.” For these reasons, though the effective differences are minimal, The New Testament in the Original Greek is not the basis for any modern translation of the Bible. Rather, the United Bible Societies and Nestle-Aland critical texts are typically sourced for English translations today.

      Unfortunately, Westcott and Hort are still infamous names with respect to the Bible, despite their text not being the basis of any major modern translations. Most mentions of the pair today are from detractors of their work, particularly those supporting the King James Only movement (KJVO). Such critics tend to focus entirely on Westcott’s and Hort’s non-orthodox spiritual beliefs. In truth, both men held to several ideas that modern conservative Christianity would consider heretical. Then again, the same can be said for church fathers such as Origen, Jerome, and Augustine. And, it’s worth noting that the King James translators themselves were, variously, supporters of Anglicanism, infant baptism, and so forth.

      One of the great strengths of the Bible as a sacred text is its manuscript evidence. Even compared to secular works, the Bible exists in more early, preserved copies than any other ancient text. Westcott and Hort’s work is valuable precisely because it can be examined, tested, and corrected where evidence supports that correction. As other Bible scholars such as Erasmus, Wycliffe, and Tyndale had done, Westcott and Hort advanced the work of their predecessors and produced a scholarly resource for the study of the Bible. (https://www.gotquestions.org/Westcott-and-Hort.html)

      Delete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...