“Those who feel they can escape the problem of translations by retreating into the citadel of the KJV have a zeal for God that is not in accord with knowledge. The same sort of attacks that are now made on the new translations were made on the KJV when it was new. If the same kind of fine-tooth combing that is expended on the new translations is used on the KJV, we see that the problems of the KJV are as numerous and as serious as those of the new translations. The need for new translations lies in the inadequacies of the KJV. Though shortcomings of the KJV complicate the task of learning, they have not kept the person who is willing to expend the effort from learning what God would have him do. At the same time, there are no valid reasons for one to insist fanatically that everyone should read only the KJV; to declare that it is a mark of orthodoxy to use the KJV as a standard, consulting other translations only for comparisons; and to look with suspicion on the person who calls attention to the shortcomings of the KJV or who has other preferences in his readings[…] Continue reading →
The KJV: Is it THE Bible? Part 11: “Which Translation Do You Prefer, if Not the KJV Only?”
Both the Old Testament (Deut. 4:2) and the New Testament (Rev. 22:18-19) forbid intentionally tampering with God’s word. Therefore, translating the Bible into any language is a serious matter. The English language (like any language) constantly changes, therefore it is dangerous to assume that one version shall always remain the preferred, most accurate, most approachable. New translations come and go. Continue reading →
The KJV: Is it THE Bible? Part 10: Divided Verses; Divided Minds
“A man dissatisfied with his life decided to consult the Bible for guidance. Closing his eyes, he flipped the book open and pointed to a spot on the page. Opening his eyes, he read the verse under his finger. It read, ‘Then Judas went away and hanged himself‘ (Matthew 27:5b) Closing his eyes again, the man randomly selected another verse. This one read, ‘Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”‘ (Luke 10:37b)”
-a common preacher story, adapted Continue reading →
The KJV: Is it THE Bible? Part 9: Paraphrases and Biased Renderings
In the last post we looked at textual errors in the KJV over the years. This post is a kind of “part 2” in which we examine paraphrases.
In many ways, the KJV is a very accurate translation, especially considering the limited knowledge of ancient language and access to manuscripts the translators had. But it is not free from paraphrase. It is not a fully literal translation, though many people are under the assumption that it is. For example, the KJV renders Gen. 25:8 as “Abraham gave up the ghost,” whereas every other translation more literally renders it “Abraham breathed his last“. Paraphrases like this one may harmless, but they do remind us that nobody can rightfully claim the KJV is a literal translation. Every translation—and I mean every translation—has passages that are paraphrased. Jack Lewis affirms that “no translator would argue for a completely literal translation, but the degree of paraphrase is always under dispute” (1). Continue reading →
The KJV: Is it THE Bible?Part 8: Textual Errors and Inconsistencies?
In our last post we saw that there have been multiple versions of the KJV over time. Now let us look at textual errors that have come about, and still persist in the KJV.
Despite what common King James enthusiasts argue, the King James contains a number of mistranslations and errors. “Printing errors plagued all of the early editions”, says Lewis (1). This is important to note, because many extreme KJV-only advocates suppose that because the KJV is special, it contains no errors, or that because it contains no errors, it is special. They never really explain this circular reasoning. A lot of the differences can be identified by looking these passages up in an online source like Biblesuite. These mishaps can be a stumbling block if we read under the impression that the KJV is a textually flawless delivery of God’s word unmatched by any other version. Here are some examples of these errors in the KJV, (some of which may or may not be correct in the edition you have on your shelf) that cast serious doubt on this “perfect translation” myth: Continue reading →
The KJV: Is it THE Bible? Part 7: Which KJV Are We Talking About?
“Few people seem conscious of the fact that a currently circulating King James Bible differs in significant details (though not in general content) from the one issued in 1611; they assume that the King James is a fixed phenomenon like ‘the faith which was once for all delivered unto the saints’ (Jude 3; ASV).”
The KJV: Is it THE Bible? Part 5: Linguistic Prejudice, or “Ritzy Writ? Or Beautiful Word?”
William Tyndale, of the renowned Tyndale Bible, was once challenged by a papal cleric on his belief that the common man should have true access to God’s word, not just priests. Ironically, many of the clergy did not know much Bible, though they knew papal law like the backs of their bejeweled hands. To the clergy he said, “If God spares mylife, before many years pass I will make it possible for the boy who drives the plow to know more of the Scriptures than you do.” Continue reading →
The KJV: Is it THE Bible? Part 4: Jacobean English, or “Have It Thine Way”
“Some sentences in the KJV will not be understood without the help of a commentary. Champions of the use of the KJV forget that they have been conditioned to its oddities by a lifetime of study. The new reader and the uneducated reader have not had that conditioning.”
-Jack P. Lewis (1)
In our last post we discussed the language issues in translating the King James to English. The King James Bible is known and used throughout the world, even in foreign-language speaking countries. However, we must understand that the day will come when Jacobian English, the language of the King James Version, will be unreadable to an audience that speaks a language that changes so quickly. Continue reading →