In the world today there are many different versions of the Bible. Some try to make the Bible more “interesting,” and others want it to be easier to understand. I believe that the King James Version stands to be the most superior Bible even now, when it is almost 400 years old.
In 1604 there was a meeting between four Puritans and fourteen representatives of the Church of England. The Puritans had objections to some of the practices of the English Church and were hoping that the new king, James I, would help them reform the church. But it wasn’t going very well for the Puritans, so one of them suddenly petitioned that a new translation of the Bible be made, since the present ones were corrupt and far from the truth of the original. It seems that the motion had not been planned, but was actually used to keep them from losing ground at the meeting. But God used this petition for His divine purpose. King James ordered the translation to begin, putting Bishop Bancraft in charge.
I’ve heard people say they think the King James Bible was translated by one man. How false! Bancraft appointed 54 intelligent men from all over the kingdom to help in the work. They were Puritans, Anglicans, scholars, and preachers, and were all male Protestants from within the Church of England. Most were fluent in many languages, including, of course, Hebrew and Greek. But most importantly, they were all godly men who knew that this was the inspired word of God, and that only by God’s grace would they get understanding.
These men were divided into six main groups for their work. The first group translated Genesis through II Kings, the next did I Chronicles through Ecclesiastes, and the third did Isaiah through Malachi. The four gospel accounts, Acts, and Revelations were done together, as were Romans through Jude. The last group translated the Apocrypha. (The Apocrypha was not considered to be part of the inspired Scriptures or equal with Holy Scripture, but was attached to the end of the Bible probably for historic reasons.)
Each man had to work on the section his group had to do. Then the translations were compared and discussed within the group, so that a final translation was made. This, then, was sent to the other five groups. If they found something questionable, they would report it back to the company. As you can see, this was a long process which created, in the end, the most true translation.
Many translations of the Bible have been translated in dynamic fashion, when one translates the ideas but not the words. These men of England translated word for word, so nothing would be missed or incorrectly written. If there was a Greek or Hebrew word that didn’t have a corresponding English word, they would write down what it seemed to mean in italics so everyone would be able to know. Also, they added 4,223 marginal notes with the literal meaning of the words, and 2,738 notes with alternate translations! Many Bible translators would not take the time to do that.
The best proof that the King James Bible is the truest translation, though, is verses in other translations which twist or eliminate important truths. The Revised Standard Version says in Isaiah 7:14, “A young woman shall conceive,” instead of, “A virgin shall conceive.” The miraculous truth of the virgin birth is taken away! In Micah 5:2, where the King James Version says that the coming Christ has been “from everlasting,” the RSV says, “from ancient days.” What a difference! It denies that Christ is eternal, just saying that He is from a long time ago. The New English Bible which appeared in 1970 also has some verses which I was appalled to find. John 1:1 of the NEB says, “And what God was, the Word was.” The original clearly states, “and God was the Word,” while the KJV says, “the Word was God.” Isaiah 9:6 is a beautiful revelation of the Christ that was to come. But the NEB reads, “For a boy has been born for us…and he shall be called in purpose wonderful, in battle God-like, Father for all time…” Christ is made God-like, and not GOD. Romans 9:13 in the Living Bible states, “I chose to bless Jacob, but not Esau,” taking away from God’s holy righteous judgment, “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.”
Even the New International Version has some questionable verses and translations. The man who decided to translate the new Bible wanted to make the Bible easier to understand for his children and others. In doing that, he and the other translators changed many words which the Christian generations have understood for centuries. Some of these changes are the following: grace becomes favour (it makes God’s grace sound so mild), think becomes feel, and believe becomes trust. These may seem minor, but never is it right to change the Bible. The NIV also casts doubt on the Word of God. It sometimes includes footnotes where there is an omitted or changed verse, but they are often misleading. One example is a footnote that starts out, “Some late manuscripts…” That just confuses people, and causes them to not trust the Bible! Some words were left out in the NIV like the phrase “of Christ” in Romans 1:16, where the KJV says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ.” Those two words are important. In Luke 2:33 the Authorized (King James) Version says, “And Joseph and his mother marveled.” The NIV says, “The child’s father and mother marveled.” Of course Joseph was Jesus’ father in an adoptive sense, but this verse makes it sound like this special parentage was equally shared by this couple. It puts doubt on the virgin birth of Christ. In Matt. 27:35 the KJV says, “…that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet,” concerning the parting of Jesus’ garments. The NIV leaves out the quotation of the verse from the Psalms that the KJV quotes, but puts it in a footnote. As if it’s not important! When there are quotes of the Old Testament in the New Testament, that shows that the two testaments are joined together, and that God did what He said He would. The NIV makes the prophesy a vague footnote.
These are just some of the passages that show how many translations stray from the truth or become “lukewarm” instead of strong in the truth. We must remember what the Bible says, especially in its last verses, about adding to or taking from God’s Word. Only this will convince us which Bible is the truest.
The King James Bible remains strong and true. It was translated by men who had much knowledge and who realized that this was the Word of God. It is a word-for-word translation that reflects the original Hebrew and Greek, and its language is one of respect and reverence for the Almighty God. It contains beautiful and majestic words which are a privilege to be able to read and understand. This version has been recognized for four centuries to be the true Bible, and I pray that my church and others might stay true to this Bible God has blessed us with. ❖