The King James Version

John Pat Gibbons

The King James Version (hereafter identified as KJV) has been with us for almost four hundred years. It is still a very popular version, and one from which I did much of my study as well as memory work. It is still my favorite version, but it is not the only version I use or study. This may seem strange to many, but there are good reasons for my making that statement.

First of all, the original manuscripts were by inspired men in New Testament times. The original manuscripts had no mistakes - none: period. The KJV, made in 1611, was not made by inspired, God-chosen men. The reason I say that is because the KJV has a number of mistakes. In fact, there were four revisions made in the first 158 years. Now, some will yell loudly that these revisions were really not revisions: they were just "corrections" of errors. There were differences with new spelling, changes in punctuation, changes in wording, as well as the removal of the Old Testament Apocrypha (the so-called "lost books of the Bible.") The first edition of 1611 also had marginal notes and alternative readings. Now, if these men were inspired, God would have given them the correct renderings of the original language, and there would have been no need of "alternative renderings." So you can say the revisions or corrections made in 1629, 1638, 1762, and 1769 were not revisions, yet they were different, so why quibble over semantics (that which has to do with meaning). To call what was done a "correction of errors" seems to be an open admission of errors or mistakes. If not, why not?

A thought keeps coming to my mind as I ponder the importance of the KJV. I recently read this statement in a brotherhood paper: "The true doctrines of the English Authorized Version (KJB) are unsurpassed, given to us by the Holy Spirit's inspired guidance. These doctrines that are sound and fundamental to our salvation are written in sound words teaching all THE FAITH [capitalization and bolding in original] that was once for all revealed to the true saints of God."

Now, I wonder, was no one saved before 1611? Were people saved without the KJV before it was written? Can anyone who speaks some language other than English be saved today?

Note this truth also. The English language has changed so much over the years that we, today, would have difficulty reading the 1611 Edition of the KJV. Today we do not use the 1611 version, but we have the revision made in 1769 by a man named Dr. Benjamin Blaney. I, for one, am glad that Dr. Blaney revised the original of 1611, for I can read it easily. Now I wonder regarding those who argue that the 47 scholars who actually worked in the first KJV were inspired. Was Dr. Blaney inspired?

Another troubling thought is this. Many who are in the camp of "The KJV only" make a great to-do about the word "Authorized." History does not show that the original King James Version used the word "Authorized." No one seems to be certain when it was included on the title page of the KJV. It was probably put in the revision of 1769 which we use today. Question: Were the printers inspired to include the word "Authorized" on the title page?

In conclusion, let me say that I still love and use the KJV. I also use other versions, including the ASV, the NKJV, and the ESV (English Standard Version). I am not suggesting that we throw away the KJV. However, I know that there are no perfect translations. (When we have a correct translation we then have the infallible word).

All translations were made by men, and they all have mistakes, including the KJV. Here are just a few, listed in a general way. These are 1) mistakes in incorrect translations, 2) paraphrases in the text, 3) archeological inaccuracies, 4) doctrinal errors, and 5) the use of mythology. Above all else, let us strive to know the truth, and preach the truth, for Jesus said: "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:32 (KJV). "... and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." John 8:32 (ESV). -119 Holden Street, Rogersville, Alabama 35652.


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