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KJV only?

Submitted: 4/20/2005
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Question: Do you think the KJV is the only one we should read? Please let me know. Love in Jesus Name, T

Answer: The only version of the Bible that is the true Word of God is the original Hebrew and Greek writings. Every English language version is a translation. This means that every version has certain deficiencies, since it is not possible to translate perfectly from one language to another. The issue then becomes, which version is the most accurate?

Some esteem the King James Version (aka the Authorized Version, 1611) as the only English version which is the true Word of God. But any honest person who does some research will discover that even the KJV has some defects. In today's world, one weakness of the KJV is that the Old English style is hard for many people to understand (e.g. thee, thine, thou, etc.). We just do not talk the same way the people talked in England 400 years ago. All languages change over time. New words are added, old words fall into disuse.

The real question is, how can we understand the ideas that God wants to communicate to us? We have found the New King James Version to be effective, in that it follows the original closely but eliminates the Old English style. In some cases the translation itslef is more accurate than the original version. One reason for this is that scholars today have a better understanding of the meaning of some Greek and Hebrews terms than they did 400 years ago.

The New International Version is very popular today, but we have found many serious errors that make it a poor tool for doctrinal study. On the other hand, it has translated the book of Proverbs very effectively.

The answer to your questions is, each version has some weaknesses and some strengths. The KJV has certainly stood the test of time, and we regard it as an excellent translation that captures extremely well the majesty of the divine voice. Some of the newer translations are very readable and bring the ideas of the Bible into modern language that nearly any American can understand. But many have watered down some key verses that establish some important Christian doctrines.

Over all, we prefer the New King James Bible for general use for the reasons stated above.

This response only scratches the surface of this subject. There are some good books out on the various Bible versions, but you must be careful even with these books since many are promoting one particular version over another. In the end, any honest-hearted person can find the true biblical plan of salvation in nearly every version.