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Regarding "KJV-only" activism

(Garth D. Wiebe, Jan. 2014)

Updated Jan. 2015 (Luke 10:19 discussion and minor edits)

This post targets "KJV-only" activism and its associated conspiracy theories, all of which completely ignore the history of English Bible translations, what was going on in the Protestant Reformation, and the way the KJV actually came about.

If you are not in bondage to the KJV, but simply have a preference for it, perhaps because you "grew up on it" or are familiar with it, or you are fond of the now-poetic Elizabethan English language, and the archaic English neither bothers you nor hinders you in your reading of scriptures, and it works for you, then this post is not written for you. I am not trying to talk you out of your own favorite Bible translation. Again, this post addresses what has become known as "KJV-only" activism.

Let's start with the real 1611 "King James Bible."

I highly doubt that anyone reading this has ever read even a bit of the 1611 King James Bible. Yes, you heard me right. You've probably never read it or heard it quoted. What you have is actually the 1769 "Oxford" edition/revision by Benjamin Blayney, which was based on the "Cambridge" edition by Francis Sawyer Parris (1760), and includes some 24,000 changes and corrections to the original 1611 King James Bible.

Not only that, the 1611 King James Bible was not even an original translation, but a revision of a previous one: The Bishops' Bible. This was per the explicit decree of King James himself!

As head of the Church of England, King James imposed 15 rules on the translators of the original King James Bible, all but one of whom were clergy of the Church of England. Rule #1 was as follows:

"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."
Therefore, the King James Bible is mostly a revision of the 1572 revision of the Bishops' Bible of 1568, one of several English Bibles in circulation.

I should also mention that the 1611 King James Bible included the books of the Apocrypha (1 Esdras, 2 Esdras, Tobit, Judith, additions to Esther, Wisdom of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus, Baruch, Letter of Jeremiah, Prayer of Asariah, Susanna, Bel and the Dragon, Prayer of Manasseh, 1 Maccabees, 2 Maccabees.) In 1615, King James explicitly forbade any printing of the King James Bible without the Apocrypha, threatening heavy fines and imprisonment for anyone who would do so. The Apocrypha were not removed from the KJV until 1885.

Now, I want to make clear that I am not any fond advocate of modern translations, or their proponents and theologians, with their liberal, compromising attitudes, all the copyrighting and merchandizing and enterprising, and so on, all of which I consider scandalous. Nor am I particularly partial to their manuscript basis.

However, the King James Bible has far from an impeccable history, and could be considered as equally "scandalous" in a different way.

All but one of the translators were clergy of the Church of England, and the "chief overseer" of the translation, Richard Bancroft, was the Archbishop of Canterbury; for the Church of England, this was the equivalent office to the Roman Catholic pope.

The Church of England was a split from the Roman Catholic Church started by King Henry VIII in 1534-1536, instigated because the Roman Catholic Church would not endorse the king divorcing his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, who he was unhappy with, so that he could marry his mistress of choice, Anne Boleyn. So Henry VIII simply created another "Catholic" church and proclaimed himself the head of it. He was the new "pope" of the Church of England. This was a rift and a political split, not the Protestant Reformation! In fact, the betrayal, imprisonment, and eventual execution of William Tyndale for "heresy" and "treason" in 1536 was connected to Henry VIII and/or his clergy, all of whom were opposed to the Bible being in the hands of the common man, until Henry VIII changed his mind in 1539 and actually authorized the Miles Coverdale "Great Bible" for use in church services, although it was also called "The Chained Bible," since it was chained to the pulpit to prevent its removal from the church.

However, the Church of England retained most of the doctrines and institutional structure of the Roman Catholic Church, and in the 1550's the daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, Queen "Bloody" Mary I of England [this is Mary Tudor, not to be confused with Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots], would try to return England to Roman Catholicism. During the time of "Bloody" Mary's bloody reign, burning Protestants at the stake left and right (about 300 in all), many Protestants fled to Geneva, where they produced the Geneva Bible, published in 1560, which can legitimately be called the English translation of the Protestant Reformation.

In 1558, Queen "Bloody" Mary died and was succeeded by more moderate Queen Elizabeth I, the daughter of Henry VIII and his mistress-wife Anne Boleyn. However, Elizabeth was explicitly and publicly labeled as "illegitimate" by the Roman Catholic Church, and therefore considered by them to be an "illegitimate" monarch, a "pretended queen"; Elizabeth would not have been able to reconcile with the Roman Catholic Church even if she wanted to; the schism of the Roman Catholic Church vs. the Church of England was upheld during her 45 year reign.

During that time the Bishops' Bible was produced in 1568, meant to uphold the institutional authority of the Church of England, in response to the Geneva Bible, which was what we would now call a "study bible" with marginal notes, the Bible of the "Protestants." The Geneva Bible quickly became the most popular English translation in circulation, and its marginal notes did not support the doctrines and Roman Catholic-like institution of the Church of England. It was the Geneva Bible that was produced by, and embraced by the Protestant Reformers, not the Bishops' Bible, and not the King James Bible, which was just a revision of the Bishops' Bible of the Church of England.

Although the Geneva Bible reigned in popularity in the 1500's and 1600's, the pilgrims and puritans and other protestants did not have the clout of the Church of England or associated government control of the printing presses. Like the products of the Microsoft Corporation of the late 20th century, the King James Bible prevailed over the Geneva Bible. The Geneva Bible faded away and went out of print during the 1600's, and the various versions of the King James Bible continued to reign in the English speaking world for two whole centuries, from the late 1600's through the 1800's. Only in the 1900's would the KJV be significantly challenged.

The Church of England in the 1500's and 1600's was in many ways as oppressive of an institution as the Roman Catholic Church before it. King James, who succeeded Elizabeth, was the original author of the doctrine of the "Divine Right of Kings." The "puritan" and "pilgrim" non-conformists, although just a nuisance to King James at the time, were persecuted under King Charles I, who succeeded him, and also King Charles II. John Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress," for example, was written while John Bunyan, a self-styled lay preacher and common man, was in prison 13 years for preaching "in other manner than that sanctioned by His Majesty's Church," which was the Church of England under King Charles II. Pilgrims fled religious persecution by the Church of England under its "Bishops" at various times during the 1600's, many coming to "New England" here in America, taking with them the Geneva Bible, NOT the King James Bible! Meanwhile, during the English Civil War period, Oliver Cromwell, a Protestant and Puritan, supplied the soldiers of his parliamentary army with portions of the Geneva Bible; they were fighting the royalist army of King Charles I.

You can see from this history that the KJV is not even a "Protestant" Bible! It was the government-issued bible of the oppressive, Roman Catholic-like Church of England tied to its ruling political monarchy, an institution that did not originate from the Protestant Reformation at all, but originated as a rift with the Roman Catholic Church because the king of England wanted to divorce his wife and the Roman Catholic Church wouldn't let him, followed by the impossibility of reconciliation with "illegitimate" Queen Elizabeth on the throne!

Here's one of many examples of why the Church of England did not like the Geneva "study" Bible. In 1 Timothy 3:1, the 1611 KJV says:

"If a man desire the office of a Bishop, he desireth a good worke."
The Geneva Bible translation was similar, but included the following footnote for 1 Timothy 3:1:
"He speaketh not here of ambitious seeking, than the which there cannot be a worse fault in the Church, but general of the mind, and disposition of man, framed and disposed to help and edify the Church of God, when and wheresoever it shall please the Lord."
That's the sort of "protestant" commentary that the Church of England (or the Roman Catholic Church, for that matter) would want to eliminate.

Now, let's look at how the NIV 2011 translates it:

"Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task."
Now which is more accurate? The 1611 KJV, or the "politically correct" 2011 NIV of 21st century feminism and gender neutrality? Let's find out:

First of all, the word "office" is not in the Greek text.

Here is what the actual sequence of Greek words are for 1 Timothy 3:1:

ει τις επισκοπης ορεγεται καλου εργου επιθυμει
Transliterated from Greek to Roman character font,
"ei tis episkopes oregetai kalou ergou epithumei"
Translated, word for word,
"if, any, of-over-sight, is-craving, ideal, work, he-is-desiring"
That's exactly what the original text says, word for word. The word "office" is not in there.

The Greek word that the 1611 King James Bible translates "Bishop" with a capital "B" is "episkopes," from which we get the modern religious transliterated word "Episcopal." "Episkopes" comes from "epi," which means "over" or "upon" (like epidermis is the "overskin") and "skope," which means "look" or "peer," from which we get the word "scope" (like "microscope" or "telescope," etc.) Hence, "epi-skope" means "over-sight." Because the Greek case is genitive (possessive), you add the word "of": "of oversight."

So, 1 Timothy 3:1 talks about those having oversight. Okay, that's what "elders" are supposed to do. Compare 1 Timothy 3:1-7 with parallel Titus 1:5-8. Or, see 1 Peter 5:1-2. "Overseeing" is also what "pastors" do (the English religious term "pastor" is translated from the common Greek word for "shepherd", only ever translated "pastor" in Eph 4:11). See Acts 20:28. What is the official "office" then?

Now, to be fair, the KJV was certainly not the only English Bible to translate 1 Tim 3:1 that way. The English translations of that time period were far from original works, but mostly leveraged and built upon the works of Tyndale, and also Wycliffe before him. Also, most translators still would retain and assume the institutional mindset, as so many do even today.

Nor am I promoting or lauding the Geneva Bible translation, or its marginal notes. In fact, I do not recommend "marginal notes" or "study bibles" of any kind at all. In the case of the Geneva Bible, the Protestant Reformers had an ax to grind against both the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England. For better or for worse, that is still bias. My point is that the King James Bible was a state/government-church translation and the Geneva Bible was the English translation of the Protestant Reformers who were opposing both the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England.

Nor am I to be construed as particularly bashing the KJV as a translation. In its day and for its day, it was a reasonably good translation, mainly because it was well funded by the government-church institution, with a very large (by the standards of that day) translation committee (47 contributors). They certainly had the funding and resources to get the job done.

Nor am I recommending the NIV 2011. As far as I am concerned, if a translation like that can't tell the difference between a man and a woman, then I won't have it in my house, regardless of whatever else they happen to get right in the translation.

Next, let's examine a clear error in translation that can be proved by comparing the KJV against itself.

In Luke 10:19, the 1611 KJV says:

"Behold, I giue vntu you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and ouer all the power of the enemie: and nothing shall by any meanes hurt you."
The first word translated "power" is actually εξουσιαν (Strong's G1849, "exousia," inflected as accusative case), which is "authority," not "power." The second word that is translated "power" is δυναμιν (Strong's G1411, "dunamis," inflected as accusative case), which means "power" or "ability."

To prove that the KJV translators knew and made the distinction between "authority" and "power/ability" in the English language of that day, we can just turn back one chapter to Luke 9:1, which in the 1611 KJV says:

"Then he called his twelue disciples together, and gaue them power and authority ouer all deuils, and to cure diseases."
In the the above Greek text, the words again are δυναμιν and εξουσιαν, and they are translated correctly there. Of course, they would have had no choice, because it wouldn't make sense to say that he gave them "power and power."

The English word "authority" is used in a number of other places in the KJV as well, where it is translated correctly from the Greek, 35 times, to be exact, usually from the same Greek word. So, this shows that we are not dealing with an English language archaism; clearly "authority" meant authority and "power" meant power, back then as it does now.

Why the mistranslation in Luke 10:19? I would venture that since Luke 9:1 addresses the twelve "apostles," whereas Luke 10:19 addresses "seventy others," that the issue is one of "apostolic authority." Both the Roman Catholic Church and the "Anglican Catholic" Church of England believed in "apostolic authority," and not the authority of the believer in Christ. It was said that "apostolic authority" was handed down to the "Church" as an institution. The common believer, that is, the laity, had no such authority.

But, alas, that too is a conspiracy theory. The King James translators did not tell us why they mistranslated Luke 10:19. Perhaps it wasn't intentional, but just a case of incompetence, perhaps carelessness. One can now debate the reasons for the translation error, but the bottom line is that it is still an error, proven by comparing the KJV against itself.

Again, this translation is not peculiar to the 1611 KJV, but was common for translations of that era, prevalent from the time of St. Jerome's Roman Catholic translation until well after the protestant reformation. These translation errors were not corrected until the late 1800's. Nevertheless, the point is that the 1611 KJV was wrong in this instance, and all the modern translations are correct.

Also bear in mind that even the "protestant reformers" were only initially "protesting" certain doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England, attempting to "reform" it, not eliminate it. Even now, "Calvinists" elevate "apostolic authority" in such a way to deny the individual authority of the believer in Christ to "heal the sick, cast out devils, raise the dead," and so on. To the Calvinist, the "apostles" and their written scriptures have authority, and that is used to reason that the modern believer in Christ has no such authority. A correct reading of Luke 10:19 has bearing on this, whether it is just our power/ability against the devil's power/ability, or our authority in Christ as believers over the devil's non-existent authority as a renegade criminal who is now under our feet.

I picked the Luke 10:19 example on purpose to appeal to those of like mind about the authority of the believer in Christ. There are many, many other examples of KJV mistranslations.

Now, these are examples of translation differences. The other issue is that of manuscript basis.

By the mid-20th century, some 5600-5800 original Greek manuscripts of the New Testament were accumulated, in addition to many works of early "church fathers" who quoted them, and other sources. The manuscripts are all in 99.5% agreement. No major or even minor doctrine of the New Testament is affected when you read the whole thing, even taking into account the discrepancies. A discrepancy concerning one verse is made moot by a multitude of other verses and passages about it for which there is no discrepancy. The ever so slight discrepancies found between these manuscripts (the "0.5%," so to speak), gave rise to a whole new era of "textual criticism," where scholars would debate about which rendering of any particular discrepancy, or which manuscript as a whole, was more likely to be the original that was written by the original, inspired authors.

KJV-only advocates embrace the manuscripts used during the 1500's, which still represent the "majority manuscripts," and they decry the manuscripts of modern "textual criticism," which tend to favor a smaller minority of "older" manuscripts; the KJV-only camp labels these as corrupt and even demonizes them, as well as all translations based on them, and the translators.

We actually have no way of knowing what the original manuscript basis was for the King James Bible. In the late 1800s, Frederick Henry Ambrose Scrivener attempted to reverse engineer the KJV to figure out the manuscript basis and assembled and published what we now know as "Scrivener's Textus Receptus." That was in 1894. However, even this was not perfect, for he concluded that in a few places the KJV appeared to correspond to the Latin Vulgate translation, rather than any Greek manuscript.

Although KJV-only activists pretend that there was only ever one "Textus Receptus," the fact is that "Textus Receptus" itself was a manuscript tradition that cannot be pinned down. The King James Bible translation committee never published or cited their manuscript basis. Furthermore, in attempting to reverse-engineer the KJV's "Textus Receptus," Scrivener himself followed the very methods of "textual criticism" that KJV-only activists decry for the case of modern translations! By examining and picking and choosing and theorizing about what is "Textus Receptus" and what is not, and which English translation is closer to the original than others, KJV-only activists practice the same methods of textual criticism that they decry! This is extremely hypocritical!

Now, in the previous instances I cited, there is no discrepancy between the KJV-era manuscript basis and the manuscript basis of the modern translations. So, next let's consider another example, which should hit close to home for those of us like-minded in the subject of the believer's authority and who we are in Christ. I'll quote the KJV as representative of English Bibles produced in that era, and the NIV as representative of English Bibles produced today:

Matt 17:21 (KJV) "Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting"

Mark 9:29 (KJV) "And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting."

Let's see what a modern translation says:
Matt 17:21 (NIV 1978) ----
[Entire verse omitted! Footnote says "Some manuscripts: 'But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.'"]

Matt 17:21 (NIV 2011) ----
[Entire verse omitted! Footnote says: "Some manuscripts include here words similar to Mark 9:29"]

Mark 9:29 (NIV 1978/2011) "This kind can come out only by prayer." [Footnote says: "Some manuscripts: 'prayer and fasting'"]

Keep in mind that verse numbers weren't added to the Bible until the mid 1550's. Therefore, given that the verse numbers are not inspired, and the lack of a "verse 21" is meaningless, which version will you now favor, reading the above quotes? Will you suppose that the verse was deviously cut out of two places in the NIV (perhaps so as to discourage people from praying or fasting), or will you suppose it was craftily added to two places in the KJV (so that people wouldn't think that they could evict a demon without performing an act of religious piety)? Which conspiracy theory do you believe?

Likewise, every place that the KJV-only camp says scripture was "removed" from the modern translations, how do you know that the scripture was not, in reality, "added" to the KJV?

We could also check the Latin Vulgate, which is the translation by St. Jerome, who was commissioned by Pope Damasus I, and which was completed in 405 AD, the translation that reigned in the Roman Catholic Church until the Protestant Reformation:

Mark 17:21 "hoc autem genus non eicitur nisi per orationem et ieiunium"

Mark 9:29 "et dixit illis hoc genus in nullo potest exire nisi in oratione et ieiunio"

There we have "orationem/oratione" ("prayer") and "ieiunium/ieiunio" ("fasting") again.

Now what do we say? That the Latin Vulgate is not to be trusted, because it was a product of the Roman Catholic Church? Or that this supports that the "prayer and fasting" are in there, because Jerome's manuscript basis must predate the manuscript basis of the KJV-era translations by 1000 years, and is only about 300 years from the original autographs? Which conspiracy theory do you believe?

But wait! The Latin Vulgate was hand-copied all the way from 405 A.D. to the advent of the printing press, over a thousand years later. The Latin Vulgate translation itself underwent corruption and was well known to have had many variations among the available manuscripts. So now, how do we know that the "prayer and fasting" verses weren't added to the Latin Vulgate, perhaps from marginal notes in the translation, and possibly even translated back into Greek, inserted into some "original" Greek manuscripts? Which is the original Latin Vulgate of St. Jerome? Shall we leave that to the textual critics as well? Which conspiracy theory do you believe?

But, are we lost and without guidance on account of this significant discrepancy? That is not the case, since we have plenty of teaching to resolve the issue, even in the context of the passage in question. The context shows, prima facie, that Jesus didn't look at the boy that the disciples failed to evict the demon from and say "Now I must go off and pray and fast to get that demon out." He just kicked the demon out. We have ample other teaching to show that kicking demons out of people isn't accomplished by works or religious piety, such that you could "pray and fast" a demon out of someone, but we don't even need it in this case, because Jesus didn't pray and fast the demon out of that boy. Just read the account to find out what Jesus did and did not do before he allegedly made the statement about "prayer and fasting"! He just kicked the demon out! And, we know he wasn't expecting the disciples to fast, either, because he explicitly said so in Matt 9:15 and Mark 2:19 ("How can they fast while the bridegroom is here?")!

So, you can either say that the KJV is the most corrupt in this instance for having haplessly inserted two verses that weren't in the original text of the Bible, or you could maybe say they were in the original, but referred to something else (that "this kind" refers to this kind of "unbelief," not the demon), since Jesus obviously didn't fast and pray to make the demon leave the boy. Either way, the answer is resolved regardless of which translation you read: You don't "pray and fast" demons out of people.

I could go on and on with this, but will stop with just the "office of Bishop," "power" vs. "authority," and "not without prayer and fasting" examples to illustrate my points. The King James Bible (or 1769 KJV) does not deserve to be put on a throne or otherwise enshrined. Microsoft Windows ruled the consumer computer desktop for 25 years. So what? The editions of the King James Bible ruled the consumer desktop for 250 years. So what? Apple computer is having a come-back in the consumer world now. So what? The Geneva Bible is actually back in print, being promoted, and is having a bit of a come-back in the modern world. So what? Unix-turned-Linux-turned-Android is starting to prevail over both Microsoft and Apple, with its open-source crowd-contributed software trumping them both. So what? The modern Wescott-Hort, Nesle-Aland translations are prevailing over both the KJV and the Geneva Bible. So what?

To me, the preservation of God's Word throughout history is truly amazing, especially considering the biases and failings of men and what would be their agendas to corrupt it, or slant it towards their personal doctrinal biases.

Back to the subject of Bible conspiracy theories, watch out for them. They do not heal the sick or feed the poor. If an unbeliever or skeptic hears all the Bible translation/manuscript fuss, they will say, "See, you Christians can't even decide what the Bible is, and you say that most of the translations are corrupt," when in reality the preservation, accuracy, and consistency of the scriptures is nothing less than supernatural.

99.5% original manuscript agreement. That is amazing. No other work of antiquity comes anywhere near this, including even the manuscripts of Elizabethan-era Shakespeare.

So, now you can sit and listen to the rants of KJV-only fanatics, or you can do a little bit of research into history (easy to look into online) and get the facts straight.

You know, I carry a hardcopy NASB in my back pocket, and then on my Apple iPod Touch I have several translations, including historic English Protestant ones (Wycliffe, Tyndale, Geneva, etc.), Hebrew/Greek interlinears with parsings, Greek Septuagint, Hebrew/Greek lexicons, several versions of the Greek New Testament, and even the latest NA27/NA28 with parsings and critical apparatus in my shirt pocket, and I can't remember the last time I pulled any of this out on the street. These people get instantly healed of incurable diseases (including by my 7-year old and my 11 year-old laying hands on them), out of pain, and then they listen to me as I declare the goodness of God and pour into their lives, reciting God's Word by memory, but not necessarily word for word from any one particular translation, and especially not recited from a translation in Elizabethan-era English, which would make me sound "religious."

Here's a very relevant personal testimony to add to this:

In 1985 I was approached by Jehovah's Witnesses for the first time. Initially I did not know that they were a counterfeit Christian cult. They gave me a copy of their peculiar translation, the New World Translation (NWT). I read the entire NWT New Testament, because it was my first "modern" translation, a relief from all the archaic KJV language that made for difficult reading, yet the NWT did not sway me toward any of their doctrines, which the "anonymous" Watchtower "translators" had insidiously biased the translation toward, in a very obvious and targeted way. I remember that in a few cases it seemed awkward to read, but that was all. "Torture stake" instead of "cross," "holy spirit" instead of "Holy Spirit," "Jehovah" instead of "Lord" (where Greek κυριος "kurios" was clearly in the original), John 1:1 saying "and the word was a god," etc., etc. It was weird, but I just brushed anomalies like these aside.

In fact, within the space of couple of months, I became an aggressive counter-cult apologist, turning the tables on them, using their own NWT!

After that, I tossed the NWT onto the "cult" shelf and picked up a 1978 NIV (still in the bookstores, because the 1984 version had only just recently come out), and still I read from it today. For those few occasions where something doesn't sound right or sit right, I look it up in a Hebrew/Greek-English interlinear, rather than swearing allegiance to some English Bible translation, paraphrase, or commentary.

Whatever version you "grew up on" will likely be your favorite, especially if you read it when you were a child. I hardly read the Bible as a child, and didn't read it all the way through until the 1980's, when I was in my 20's. Then, for me it was the 1978 NIV that I "grew up on." So, guess which version I am most comfortable with? The 1978 NIV.

Many folks may find this hard to believe, but language has always been a struggle for me; I'm more naturally inclined to math, logic, science, and engineering. If anything, I am critical of the KJV, not because of any manuscript argument, not because of any comparative deficiency in the integrity of the translation or translators, but because of the archaic language, which was definitely a hindrance to clearly and easily understanding the Word of God to me, and continues to be to many people.

God's Word has ALWAYS been translated into the common language of the day. The Old Testament Hebrew and Aramaic was translated into Koine ("Common") Greek (called the "Septuagint," abbreviated "LXX"), and the latter was quoted in the New Testament. The New Testament was written in Koine Greek to begin with. Not Aramaic, the spoken language of the people only in the region of Judea, not Hebrew, the language of Jewish scholars and the religiously trained, and not Latin, the language of the ruling Romans. Koine Greek was the most universal language in place since the time of Alexander the Great, who caused it to become ubiquitous, and it remained so for over six centuries after that.

In Rome, it was then translated into the common language of the day in that region (Rome), which was Latin, by St. Jerome in 405 A.D. By that time Koine Greek was fading away as archaic, and the age of "Medieval Greek" had begun. But neither Koine nor Medieval Greek was what they spoke in Rome. They spoke Latin.

A thousand years later, it was translated by the Protestant Reformers into English and other common, modern languages of that day. They did so at the risk of their lives, because the Roman Catholic Church insisted that only the original Latin scriptures were to be read, even long after no one spoke, read, or understood Latin anymore. Anything else was declared anathema and heresy.

Today, ironically, some KJV-only fanatics insist that only the KJV is to be read, hundreds of years after no one spoke Elizabethan English anymore. The irony of this is lost on them.

The archaic English of the KJV is not only a hindrance to reading comprehension, but is becoming more so as academic standards in the schools and literacy levels have declined in the English speaking world. For every nit that a KJV-only fanatic picks at in the KJV vs. modern translations, there are a hundred more places where the archaic English fails to clearly communicate God's Word in the common language that we all understand. They are straining a gnat while swallowing a camel. They cannot see the "forest" for the "trees" of archaic words and archaic usage that make for a bad translation given today's modern English vocabulary and usage.

For that reason, I will never recommend the KJV to anyone new to reading the Bible. If the KJV suits you, and you do not find any difficulty reading it, because you grew up on it, or because you are naturally good with language, or you just like it, then that is fine. I will not criticize you or try to convert you, if it works for you. The Holy Spirit will bring to light errors and bias in the KJV, just like he will for the modern translations, if you believe he will. And again, we all can just look at the original manuscripts in the original languages, with the tools we have at our disposal now, and resolve any issues that we have.

No copyrightI grant this work to the public domain.