Saturday, November 20, 2010

King James Version: The Only Valid Bible Translation?

I admire people that want to ensure people study God's Word, that they are studying a Bible that has not been corrupted, and that they do so correctly (properly applying sound hermeneutic principles).  Indeed we're warned that in the last days, apostasy will be rampant.  Consequently, we need "watchmen" to keep an eye out for any Bible translations that truly mislead people by either introducing false doctrine or removing sound doctrine from God's Word.

Indeed there are probably some translations that exist today that are corrupt, wherein a major doctrine such as "repentance" or "Christ being the only way to heaven" is removed, or they consistently add and subtract verses to support some other false teaching.  I believe someone would do the Christian community a great service to focus on exposing those Bible versions if that were their calling.

It's very frustrating, however, to see people claim that some modern translations, otherwise widely accepted by many Christians (to include those with sound biblical doctrine) are corrupt.  Particularly when they attack the New International Version (NIV) or New American Standard Bible (NASB), claiming they are evil aberrations of God's Word.   In my experience, they are always ones that claim the “Authorized” King James Version (KJV) of the Bible is the only inspired translation.


Without a doubt modern translations of the Bible (many millions of which have been printed and sold) have helped lead many people to Christ.  I am very sure that many people that never read the KJV, but did read an NIV or NASB translation were touched by the Holy Spirit and came to a full knowledge of Christ: believing and accepting Christ, repenting of their sins, and being baptized in His name .

I am equally sure that those translations have assisted many spirit-filled men of God to prepare sermons, write books, and generally minister to people.  Without exaggerating, very likely millions of people will be in heaven as a direct result of those translations being used to bring forth the gospel.  Consequently, I can't help but be reminded of what we read in Matthew 12:22-32 where Jesus was accused of casting out devils in the name of Beelzebub.  In essence Jesus points out that a kingdom would not last if it were divided against itself; thus He could not have been empowered with the strength of Satan if the result of His actions was furthering God's Kingdom.

A similar example is given in Mark 9:38-41, where we read that the disciples told a man that was not one of Jesus' original chosen disciples who was casting out demons in Jesus' name to stop doing so.  Jesus responded by saying, "Do not stop him.  No one who does a  miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us." (emphasis added)  Using the same logic as Jesus, the modern translations that have been used to lead so many to the kingdom can not be evil or from Satan!


While it could be asserted that one or two people with biases or evil intent could have corrupted the translation (intentionally or unintentionally), that concern is removed when we recognize that a committee of respected scholars (not from any one denomination, political affiliation, etc.) are the ones that examined the text and made the translation.  It is not only a real stretch to say they had evil intentions and were somehow trying to undermine the Word of God, but it's especially sad to see men of God who have dedicated themselves to bringing forth the gospel attacked in such a way as to consider them influenced by Satan.

Moreover, and this concept is crucial, it defies common sense to think that translators of all the various translations — many of whom never knew each other and worked completely independent of one another — had the same common sinister  background and motive!  Particularly when, as we examine their respective translations, they match up closely with one another.  Otherwise, the only conclusion would be that Satan influenced all those men of God and, therefore, has much more power over God's people and how His Word stands the test of being preserved!  It also really gives considerable more credit to Satan than God about the matter.

If there was some type of "evil thread" in the modern translations, then one would find major doctrinal apostasy throughout the entire translation.  For example, if a translation omitted all references to the fact one must repent in order to be saved, then it could — and should — be exposed as utterly false.  However, if no such conclusions can be made and, by far, the text aligns with other reputable sources (such as, but not limited to, the KJV) and, more importantly, aligns with manuscripts that precede even the KJV, then lobbing accusations that those translations have some diabolical motive is dangerous and misleading to many people.

Put another way, it would do little good to have some doctrinal concept taken out in one verse (and keep in mind the discrepancies cited are less than 1% of the text) and then it be left elsewhere for someone to easily read and understand.  I have not ever seen any important theological concept absent from or added to the NIV or NASB.  If someone were to show me that, then I too would assert the translation is not valid.  To this date, I have not been shown that for the NIV or NASB.


Opponents of the NIV and NASB (and many other good translations) claim that they contain missing verses, or that the verses are "not correctly translated".  However, one must realize the verses are not actually missing from the NIV or NASB; but, rather, were added to the KJV (which means they were not actually from the original inspired writers!).  That isn't to say the KJV is corrupt or a bad translation, but that the discrepancies noted between the translations are not due to some evil decision to remove a verse or change the meaning of the Bible within the modern translations.

As for the substitutions, as one begins to better understand the modern translations, you actually begin to understand that some words that opponents contend were “substituted” as part of some evil conspiracy are actually the more precise translation.  A good example is where “Hades” is used in more modern translations where the word “hell” exists in the KJV.  It is also done in the New King James Version (NKJV) and, thus, people that attack modern translations are usually prone to attack the NKJV with equal vigor.  Those that think Satan was trying to remove “hell” from the Bible must understand that Hades and hell are, indeed, two different places and certainly the concept of an eternal place of torment is not removed from those modern translations.

Without going into too much detail beyond the scope of this article, Hades is merely a temporary place where spirits of people went upon their physical death.  Hades had two compartments: One was called "Paradise" (a.k.a. "Abraham's Bosom") and the other "Torments" (their difference obviously contained in their name).  Knowing about that helps explain the story of Lazarus and the rich man, wherein we learn they were able to see each other and communicate after their mutual deaths, but they could not cross the chasm.

The understanding of "Hades" also explains why we read how Jesus descended to Hades and preached to the spirits.  We are not given the text of the sermon, but one can imagine He might have been explaining to the Old Testament saints in Paradise that their sins had been forgiven once and for all: not with their blood sacrifices of animals, but with the perfect sacrifice of Jesus.  We read in Revelation 19:14-15 that eventually, at the end of the millenium (just before "eternity"), death and Hades will be thrown into the "lake of fire" (hell).  So, while the KJV uses the word "hell", the modern translations distinguish it further by using the more precise word "Hades".

One must also recognize the KJV has other errors which have been corrected in modern translations.  For example, we see a problem in the KJV of Acts 5:30, "The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree."  If one were to be hypercritical and use the same accusatory pattern as those that attack the NIV or NASB, it could be said that verse in the KJV must have some underlying evil influence that exposes a debate about whether Christ was actually crucified on the cross.

If that were the case, then it would nullify Old Testament prophecy and make it so that Jesus did not actually fulfill prophecies about the Messiah as foretold; which would then raise a very crucial question of whether Jesus was the Messiah at all.  For in Psalm 22:16 we read, "The assembly of the wicked have enclosed me. They have pierced my hands and my feet."  Without a doubt it's another amazing prophecy: written before the birth of Jesus it points to His future crucifixion before crucifixion was even invented.  Even understanding that the archaic phrase "hanged on a tree" really is the same thing as crucifixion and not the death penalty of "hanging", the verse suggests he was first "slew" and then afterward was put on the cross!   Modern translations (to include the NKJV) have since corrected that error.

Another place we can see evidence that the KJV is not infallible is Hosea 5:15.  Rendered in the KJV the text says, "I will go [and] return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early."  The more modern translations (to include the NKJV) correct the word "early" to be "earnestly", which also make more sense within the context.  Or we can consider Psalm 88:13 which reads, "But unto thee have I cried, O LORD; and in the morning shall my prayer prevent thee."  In that case the word "prevent" misrepresents how we would say "go before".  The NIV reads, "But I cry to you for help, O Lord; in the morning my prayer comes before you."

Of course, we know that when studying the KJV as a whole, one would not come to the conclusion that any evil was intended: which can be the same defenses concerning the so-called problems with the NIV and NASB.  In fact, the arguments against the NIV and NASB can best be defended by understanding that they are actually translating older manuscripts (that is, manuscripts that could be considered more reliable because they are closer to the source of the originals than the KJV had available).  Also, the modern translations have more manuscripts which have been discovered in the past few centuries from which to examine and cross-reference as they make the translation as close to the originals as possible.


Here are some common attacks on the NIV and/or NASB and why those accusations are simply unfounded.  Note the following list is far from exhaustive, as the attacks are copious and often extremely petty if not just outright misleading.  I will provide some related links to this article further below so that you may do some additional exploration of the supposed "errors" in the modern translations if you would like.  For the purpose of this article, however, I include a few examples:

And Joseph and his mother marveled at those things which were spoken of him.  (Luke 2:33) 

ATTACK: New versions remove the virgin birth by telling us that Joseph was Christ's father:

NIV:    The child's father
NASB: His father

RESPONSE: If we were to continue with that kind of contention, then we would have to examine places in the KJV that seemingly attack the virgin birth too.  For example, in Luke 2:48 Mary refers to Joseph as Jesus’ father, in John 6:42 the verse calls Jesus “son of Joseph” and in Luke 2:27 and 2:41 it talks of Jesus’ “parents”.   Of course, we clearly understand that Joseph, while not the biological father of Jesus, did fill the important role of father in the family Jesus grew up in.  Other places in the NIV clearly support Jesus was born of a virgin (e.g. Matthew 1:23-25).

How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!  (Isaiah 14:12)

ATTACK: Revelation 22:16 tells us that Jesus Christ is the "Morning Star". The King James Bible never gives this title to anyone else.  However, in some new versions, Jesus Christ and Satan are the same, because some versions have taken the liberty to call Satan the "morning star" in Isaiah 14:12. Although some versions do not go so far as to call Satan the "morning star," they still throw out the name "Lucifer".

NIV:    morning star
NASB: star of the morning

RESPONSE: The Hebrew word used here is heylel, which means, “shining one, morning star.”  The word/name “Lucifer” did not appear until Jerome put it in the Vulgate.  Thus, the NIV and NASB present a more literal translation of this verse than the KJV.  Unless the verses were read completely out of context, one would not confuse the person described in Isaiah 14:12 with the One in Revelation 22:16.  Common sense and sound hermeneutics can see there is not some conspiracy to make Satan and Christ the same.  There are also just too many places throughout scripture where the distinction clearly exists.

In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins (Colossians 1:14)

ATTACK: Satan hates the Atoning Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, so we shouldn't be surprised to find the blood missing in modern translations:

NIV:    redemption, the forgiveness of sins
NASB: redemption, the forgiveness of sins

RESPONSE: The oldest Greek has been correctly translated and simply did not have "through his blood".  However, this verse is similar to Ephesians 1:7, which in the NIV reads, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace.”  As noted before, there is no conspiracy here to remove, as in this example, redemption through Jesus’ blood. In fact, it appears that since the oldest Greek did not have "through his blood" in this particular case, the KJV translators simply added it since it was in a parallel verse found elsewhere (which, it seems, they often did).

But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. (Romans 14:10-12)

ATTACK: A careful reading of the above magnifies Jesus Christ. Verse 10 explains we will stand before the Judgment Seat of CHRIST, and verse 12 says that when we do we will give account to GOD. When we stand before Jesus Christ we will be standing before God, which supports the Deity of Christ.  Now watch as the new versions throw Jesus Christ clear out of the passage by replacing the word "Christ" in verse 10 with "God:"

NIV: God's judgment seat
NASB: Judgment seat of God

RESPONSE: This is another case where the argument could be reversed, for in Acts 16:7 the NIV says, “…but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to,” and yet the KJV omits the name of Jesus.  If we were to follow the logic, we would accuse the KJV of denying the deity of Jesus in Acts 16.  We understand, of course, that the KJV, as a whole, does no such thing.  As for the verse above, we simply have differences in the Greek text used in the KJV versus the modern translations.  The oldest texts have the word Theos, which means “God,” whereas the texts used by the KJV have Christos, which means “Christ.”  The modern translators chose to use the oldest texts to be as close to the source as possible.

And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Acts 8:37)

ATTACK: This verse is very important because it places a definite condition upon water baptism: one must first BELIEVE ON CHRIST. Many modern versions throw the entire verse out of the Bible.

NIV: entire verse missing

RESPONSE: The NIV translators chose to put this verse as a textual footnote because it can only be found in a few Greek manuscripts (and none earlier than the 6th century).  If it were a conspiracy, it would not have been put in a footnote either.  Other verses clearly support one must believe in Jesus.  The most famous of which is John 3:16.   John 14:6 also supports Jesus is the only way to the Father in heaven.

For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.  (II Corinthians 2:17)

ATTACK: You can imagine how this verse must be a thorn in the flesh to the modern translators who are busy CORRUPTING the word of God day and night. So, do they repent of their sins and get right with God? Of course not:

NIV: peddle
NASB: peddling

RESPONSE: The Greek word kapeleuo used here literally means “to be a retailer, to peddle, to sell anything for a profit.”; thus, the more accurate translation is in the NIV and NASB (not surprising since both translation teams came to the same conclusion).  The argument could be reversed, wherein a contentious person would suggest the KJV wants us to believe it is okay to peddle the Word of God, but just as long as it is not corrupted.

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (II Timothy 2:15)

This is the one command in the New Testament to "study" and "rightly divide" God's word, and the Devil does NOT appreciate it:

NIV: Do your best...correctly handles
NASB: Be diligent...handling accurately

RESPONSE: Once again, both translations teams for the NIV and NASB simply update the language, but most reasonable people come away with the same understanding that we must do our best, be diligent, and correctly handle the task of studying God's Word.

O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called (I Timothy 6:20)

ATTACK: Many lies are being propagated today in the name of "science" (evolution for example), but I Timothy 6:20 has been warning us about it all along - except in the new perversions:

NIV: knowledge
NASB: knowledge

RESPONSE: The Greek word being questioned here is gnosis, which is used 29 times in the KJV: 28 times of which the KJV translators correctly translated it as “knowledge.”  This is the single instance where it was translated as “science.”  Thus, it somewhat suggests they failed to be consistent in the translation and may have been trying to "force" some point, which the modern translators chose not to do.  Moreover, knowledge does not always mean hard science, yet science must always include knowledge, so the modern translations actually helps us guard ourselves against the misuse of knowledge, be it knowledge within a hard science discipline or some other field of study (sociology, philosophy, etc.)

As we can see, there are many substantial holes in the attacks, which are often extremely petty and contentious.  Another important consideration is that thinking the KJV is somehow an "anointed" version suggests that translations in other languages are invalid.  It's as if the old Queen's English is God's only choice to convey His Word to us.  Also, centuries passed between the time it all was originally written and the Authorized King James Version was released in 1611.  It's yet another area where fanaticism overrules wisdom and common sense.   Ironically, when the KJV came out, many church leaders opposed it: claiming it was too easy to read.  Of course, the point was it was being given in the language of the time so that it would be easy for the masses to read.  That is essentially the same reason we now have modern translations of the Bible.


While some contend it is for copyright/monetary purposes, that simply isn't true, as some minor changes to update the language could have been made to the uncopyrighted KJV, and then copyrightable notes, commentary, and articles provided therein if the purpose was to simply provide a copyrightable edition of the Bible.  Yet what really happened (at least for the NIV and NASB translations) was that a committee of scholars was asked to carefully review all the manuscripts available and come up with a translation that was as accurate as possible and written closer to the language we speaketh today.


Of course, it is extremely important we point out apostasy and wrongful teachings within the church, and we should definitely ensure God's word is preserved; but arguing over minor translation issues is dangerous — and, ironically, not biblical.  For one, non-Christians that see us arguing over things of that nature may conclude "it's all corrupt".  Yet anyone that has ever studied the Bible can only be in more awe of it's authority because the more you learn, the more you understand how incredibly profound it all is!  The amount of prophetic foreshadowing, consistent cross references, authenticity of the prophecy, etc. could not have been done by anything other than an omniscient, omnipotent Creator.  The Christian Bible represents 66 books written by 40 different authors (many who did not even know each other) spanning centuries of time, and yet when pieced together and diligently studied, it becomes more, not less, harmonious!

Sadly, some people claim the Bible is fallible because it is either man made to begin with or was later polluted by man.  By doing so, they are then able to justify discarding the verses they do not agree with.  Unfortunately, attacks that suggest major, popular translations of the Bible are corrupt only feed  those that take such an erroneous position.  It also feeds the scoffers who, in turn, mislead people that may be close to at least examining Christianity; but then turn away because it can so easily be pointed out that even Christians argue with each other about, of all things, the Bible!  Romans 14 explains we must be careful not to engage in "disputable matters".  In other words, the Apostle Paul recognized that some issues are "disputable" and not something that should cause believers to argue amongst themselves.

There's just way too many legitimate issues and apostasies for devoted Christians to worry about.  In fact, it can be said that it would be just like Satan to divert the attention of God's people to petty internal bickering: as every measure of time and energy doing so is that much less that could be used to help proclaim the gospel to people that need to hear it.  Unfortunately, when people attack the modern translations with the fervor in which they do, creating doubt and confusion amongst people less strong in their faith, it requires some people to step up and provide calm, gentle words about that matter.  I hope I have done so and that it is pleasing to God.  With that said, I will conclude this article with James 3:17-18:

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.  Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.


  1. This was indeed a very toughtful and well written article. I am making some research on John 3:16, and it appears that for one reason or another, the translators of the KJV were trying to force a point through the translation of that verse too.

  2. The KJV I own has a 2002 copyright I think, my main and practically only problem I can see, is grammatical so you cant be entirely sure who is talking, He (God) will be written as "he" not a proper noun, strange if you're really referring to God.