Why We Use the King James
As a pastor, I write this for the people in our church. On
occasion, I have been asked why we, in our church, use the outdated King James
Version. To answer that, we must touch on some complex and technical subjects.
I, accordingly, have attempted to simplify the manner to a degree that most can
In Proverbs 22:28
the Bible says to "Remove not the ancient landmarks which thy fathers have
set." A landmark is a surveyor's term and refers to a benchmark or property
marker. Today, in most jurisdictions, it is against the law to move or alter a
Christianity has its foundations in an authorizing and governing document. That
document is the Bible. Any attorney will understand the critical nature of
altering an authorizing and governing document. Because the Bible is in every
sense the final and absolute foundation of what we as Christians believe and
practice, it only is prudent that we be concerned that the foundation is sure
and the benchmark has not been altered.
two millennia the Church of Jesus Christ accepted a set of Greek and Hebrew
texts that were received by virtually all gospel preaching, Bible believing
churches of whatever group. This text was called the Received Text (or Textus
Receptus in Latin). Down through the centuries biblical scholars and church
leaders had assembled the existing Greek and Hebrew manuscripts of the Bible.
From that compilation, the vast majority were in virtual agreement. These formed
the basis of the Received Text.
In the year
1611 A.D., King James I of England was influenced to provide a common Bible for
the English speaking world. Hence, he authorized a translation of the Bible into
English that came to be known as the Authorized Version or as it is more
commonly known, the King James Version. King James selected a committee of Greek
and Hebrew scholars from the Church of England. These men were "low church"
individuals with ties to the Puritans and later the Pilgrims who emigrated to
America. They worked from the text of the Greek and Hebrew testaments that had
been received" or accepted by virtually all branches of gospel preaching, Bible
believing Christians from the apostolic era to that time. Their product, the
King James Version of the Bible, has been, until just recently, the universal
standard for Bible believing Christians of the English speaking world.
criticism is an academic discipline in which scholars study existing Greek and
Hebrew biblical manuscripts. Prior to the advent of the moveable type printing
press in 1455 by Gutenberg, all copies of the Bible were hand copied by scribes
and were called manuscripts. Because they were individually produced by human
hands, they were prone to mistakes in manual copying.
critics study the various extant (existing) manuscripts and note any
discrepancies that may have occurred between different copies. Then, by
comparing them, a majority consensus is established. Should a misspelled word be
found, or should a word have been accidentally added or omitted from a given
manuscript, the textual critic endeavors to by consensus establish the correct
theory of textual criticism is that some later manuscripts were copied from
earlier ones, therefore, the earlier manuscripts are presumed to be a more
accurate source of the Scriptures. (The presumption is that scribal errors would
accumulate in later copies). Hence, textual critics give much more credence to
early manuscripts than to later copies even if the later be greater in number.
with this theory is that the early church had great reverence and respect for
their "accepted" or "received" manuscripts of the Scriptures. Accordingly, when
a given copy of the Scriptures became tattered and worn, it was carefully copied
and then burned Hence, there are virtually no copies of the earliest manuscripts
used by the churches.
there is evidence that certain cults and sects within early Christians followed
the opposite practice. They preserved their manuscripts regardless of condition.
Therefore, the crucial premise of textual criticism - that the oldest
manuscripts are always to be preferred to more recent copies is critically
Manuscripts Aleph and B
latter half of the 19th century when textual criticism perhaps was at its
zenith, two ancient manuscripts were found in the Mediterranean world that would
come to revolutionize the work of the textual critics. A manuscript was "found"
in a Roman Catholic monastery at the foot of Mt. Sinai in the Sinai desert. It
came to be known as Manuscript Aleph and it also was known as Codex Sinaticus
("codex" being a Latin word for a bound volume).
same time another ancient manuscript was "found" in the library of the Vatican.
It became known as Manuscript B or Codex Vaticanus. Both of these manuscripts
were determined to have come from the 4th century A.D. and are considered the
oldest basically complete copies of the New Testament to exist. Hence, they were
considered by the textual critics to be the mother lode of ancient Bible
noteworthy that both of these manuscripts were "found" in Roman Catholic
libraries. (The Roman Catholic Church historically has never given great
credence to the Scripture or its teachings). Moreover, the Codex Sinaticus had
been produced by scribes of the Alexandrian sect in early church history. The
Alexandrians were a heretical cult similar to the modern Jehovah Witnesses. They
held major doctrinal deviations pertaining to the person of Jesus Christ. Not
withstanding the questionable source of Codex Sinaticus, it became the premiere
source for future textual criticism.
Westcott and Hort
textual critics championed these newly found manuscripts. Their names were Dr.
B. F. Westcott and Dr. F. J. A. Hort. They represented a branch of the Church of
England which was enamored with the doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church.
Westcott and Hort in their writings showed a keen friendliness to Roman Catholic
theology, occult spiritism and German Rationalism otherwise known as modernism.
They, by no stretch of the imagination, could be considered fundamentalist's as
the term was later coined and used. Rather, if they lived today, their theology
and philosophy (as evidenced by their writings) would be called liberal,
humanistic, sacramental and even have occult overtones.
and Westcott together collated and Text of the New Testament. The "new" Greek
text was in contrast with and in distinction to the text format that had been
received by virtually all Bible believing churches for the preceding 19
centuries. In the last 100 years it has been re-edited by Nestle, Aland and
others, and today is generally referred in as the critical text. It represents
less than 1% of existing manuscripts.
critical text and its direct predecessor, the Westcott and Hort Text, virtually
all modern translations and versions of the Bible have been translated into
THAT THE CRITICAL TEXT IS CORRUPT! Not only are its origins and associations
suspect, the actual text itself is full of deletions and dilutions of the time
honored Scripture received by translations based upon the critical text have
diluted reference to the blood of Jesus Christ (e.g. Romans 3:25, Colossians
1:14, Revelation 1:11, Luke 22:20 et al), the Deity of Christ (e.g. Jude 4,
Revelation 1:11). the inspiration of the Scriptures (e.g. II Timothy 3:16), and
salvation by faith (e.g. John 3:36) to mention a few. Space does not allow us to
list the numerous instances of serious dilution or deletions of major doctrinal
truth in modern versions, but it is lengthy. There are thousands of textual
If a survey
benchmark has been moved or altered, all surveying after that point will be
distorted. And because the critical text is in our view corrupt, any version of
the Bible translated from it is suspect.
King James Version of the Bible is not copyrighted. It is considered a public
domain publication of the Word of God. However, virtually all modern versions
are copyrighted. As any author or publisher knows, a copyright is for protection
of commercial rights. It means that no one else may market their Bible without
paying the publisher or at the least receiving written permission to do so. Does
not the Apostle Peter refer to some in the last days "making merchandise of you"
regarding the things of God ? (II Peter 2:3)
number of the modem versions (based upon the critical text) have used less than
precise methods for translation. Some have used a literary device known as
"dynamic equivalence". This is a fancy term that essentially means some
translators have taken the liberty to come up with what they think are modern
equivalents for specific words in the manuscript text rather than precisely
translating the specific words of the text. In effect, this is a running
commentary on the part of the translators, injecting into the translation what
they think a given passage means, rather than rendering a precise translation of
what the scriptural writers actually wrote. There is nothing wrong with Bible
commentaries. However, to insert personal bias under the guise of translation is
not only Iess than a faithful rendering of the text,
it is deceptive.
In at least
one case, a popular version had the honesty to indicate in its subtitle that it
is a paraphrase. Unfortunately, unwary minds often look at such a Bible
paraphrase as the Bible nevertheless. Some versions have used vulgar and crude
terms in their translations They have seemed oblivious to the unique purity of
purpose of the Scripture.
mentioned above, cardinal New Testament doctrine such as the shed blood of Jesus
Christ, the Deity of Christ and the inspiration of Scripture is routinely
diluted in recent translations based upon the critical text. That should give
pause for concern!
Godly Heritage of the KJV
the distortions, deletions, corruptions, dilutions, changes and questionable
associations of the critical text and its resultant modernist translations, we
will stick to the venerable King lames Version of the Bible that our forebearers
so faithfully used. It is an ancient landmark
through the centuries, it has been the Bible used for every major revival to
sweep across portions of the English speaking world. It was the Bible of the
Pilgrim forefathers of this nation. And, it has been blessed by God wherever it
has been used. It is based upon the ancient text which has been, until just
recently, the universally accepted text of the Scriptures from the time of the
versions have been marketed extensively as being easier to read than the
archaic, old fashioned KJV Bible. However, recent computerized document analysis
programs have objectively revealed that the King James Version of the Bible is
in far easier to read than the NIV or the NASB. The Fleisch-Kincaid research
firm has, through computerized analysis, shown that the KJV vocabulary has fewer
syllables per word than the NIV or the NASB. Furthermore, the KJV has less
complex sentences than the NIV or NASB. In reality, the KJV is easier to read
than its modern counterparts in the manner of vocabulary and syntax.
undisputed eloquence and beauty in the King James Version. Moreover, the English
language was at its zenith in the early 17th century for poetic beauty and
eloquence. Interestingly, one of the major criticisms of the King James Version
is actually a strength. People unacquainted with proper English complain about
the use of "thee" and "thou" etc. in the King James text.
anyone who knows linguistics will attest, many languages have at one time had a
common level which was spoken on the street and a higher or formal level that
was used in reference to royalty and God. The usage of "thee" and "thou" etc. in
old English is a form of higher English that no longer is commonly used. It
originally was used in formal situations where deference and respect to
nobility, royalty and Deity were appropriate.
Unfortunately, our contemporary American English usage of "you" and "yours" etc.
makes no allowance for such deference and brings all of our Ianguage back to the
lower level. The King James Version respectfully and appropriately refers to God
and other notables as "tbee" or "thou" in accordance with their due respect.
Most modern language translations have diluted that deference.
Logsdon was the Co-founder of the New American Standard Bible (NASB). He since
has renounced any connection to it.
under God renounce every attachment to the New American Standard Version. I'm
afraid I'm in trouble with the Lord . . . We laid the groundwork; I wrote the
format; I helped interview some of the translators; I sat with the translator; I
wrote the preface . . . I'm in trouble; I can't refute these arguments; it's
wrong, terribly wrong . . . The deletions are absolutely frightening . . . there
are so many . . . Are we so naive that we do not suspect Satanic deception in
all of this?
investigation, I wrote my dear friend, Mr. Lockman, (editor's note: Mr. Lockman
was the benefactor through which the NASB was published) explaining that I was
forced to renounce all attachment to the NASV (editor's note: this is the same
as the NASB).
You can say
that the Authorized Version (KJV) is absolutely correct. How correct? 100%
correct . . ."
determined not to remove the ancient landmark in a matter so crucial as the
foundation of our faith . . . the Word of God. And what withal the deletions,
dilutions, and questionable origins of the modern versions, we will stick to the
King James Version!
Ministries, 1994 1820 W. Morgan Street Duluth, MN 55811
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