IS THE KING JAMES
VERSION OF THE BIBLE INFALLIBLE? Part I
II Peter 1:15 - 21
By Robert A. Joyner
(In this article KJV means the King James Version. NASB means the New American Standard Bible. NIV stands for the New International Version.)
Ø Many people today say the KJV is the perfectly preserved Word of God in English and is the only Bible for us today.
Ø If I can show the KJV has many mistakes, statements that do not make sense, and verses that slander God, then obviously it is not perfect.
Ø Please understand that I am not attacking the Word of God, I am pointing out errors in a translation. God's Word is perfect but translations are not. God inspired the apostles and prophets when they wrote, but there is not one verse in the Bible that says translations are inspired.
Ø The things I point out will help you better understand your KJV. It is a very accurate translation in most places. However, it has a few places where the reader will need help to find out what God actually said.
1. In Hebrews 9:26 the KJV says, "But now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself." The end of the world has not come, yet Christ has already appeared. Therefore this is a false statement. The New American Standard Bible (NASB) says "but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested." It was at the end of the Old Testament ages that Christ appeared, not at the end of the world. The KJV mistranslates this Greek word aion as world. The word means age. The KJV does this about 40 times. Each time is a mistake and misleads the reader.
2. The KJV calls the Holy Spirit an "it" in Romans 8:16, 26. The NASB corrects this error and says the "Spirit Himself." The context of the whole Bible shows the Holy Spirit is not an "it." Can you, dear reader, feel comfortable calling the third person of the Trinity an "it"?
3. The KJV calls the Holy Spirit, "the Holy Ghost." The Bible says, "God is a Spirit." (John 4:24). Sometimes the KJV translates the same word as Ghost and sometimes Spirit. About 70 times they call the Holy Spirit a "Ghost" and about 250 times they translated it as "Spirit." An example is Acts 5:3,9. In verse 3 we read "Ghost" and in verse 9 we read "Spirit." It is the same word in the Greek. The NASB always translates the word as "Spirit." God is a Spirit, not a Ghost.
4. Acts 12:4 in the KJV says Herod was planning "after Easter" to bring Peter out. The KJV translates this same Greek word as "Passover" 28 times. This is the only time they translate this Greek word as "Easter." Either the translators were wrong 28 times or they are wrong in Acts 12:4. The NASB translates this Greek word as Passover all 29 times.
5. In James 5:11 the KJV says, "The Lord is very pitiful." This term is old English for God is full of pity. But still today the KJV says the Lord is "very pitiful." This is a slander against God which should be updated. The NASB says, "The Lord is full of compassion."
6. Philippians 4:6 in the KJV says, "Be careful for nothing." In every day English today this verse says "be careless about everything." The NASB correctly translates it, "Be anxious for nothing."
7. Philippians 3:20 in the KJV says, "Our conversation is in heaven." Obviously we are not talking to one another in Heaven. We are still on the earth. The NASB correctly says, "Our citizenship is in heaven."
8. In II Thessalonians 2:7 the KJV says, "Only he who now letteth will let." This is speaking of the Holy Spirit who hinders the forces of sin. The English word "let" once meant "to restrain" but today it has completely reversed in meaning. The NASB says, "He who now restrains will do so." This gives the meaning of what God actually said.
9. In modern English the word "meat" means the flesh of animals. In the KJV it means anything to eat. A "meat" offering is described in Leviticus chapter 2 but the contents contain no meat at all. In Leviticus 14:10 the KJV says, "Fine flour for a meat offering." The NASB calls it a grain offering. Many times the KJV uses the word "meat" to refer to food that has no meat in it whatsoever.
10. The word "corn" is used in the KJV 101 times. It never once means corn, as we know it today. It refers to any kind of grain. Genesis 42:1-3,5; Matthew 12:1 are examples. Remember it was the American Indians who gave us corn or "maize." The white man knew nothing about corn until after the discovery of America. Therefore, the original Bible writers could not have been referring to "corn" but rather to "grain."
11. Revelation 22:14 teaches salvation by works in the KJV. It says, "Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life." This is a verse taken from the Latin Vulgate and inserted by Erasmus because he did not have a complete Greek manuscript of the book of Revelation. The KJV translators continued this error. There is no Greek manuscript in existence that has the KJV reading. The NASB says, "Blessed are they who have washed their robes, that they may have right to the tree of life."
12. The KJV says, "The love of money is the root of all evil," (I Timothy 6:10). This statement is certainly false. Adam and Eve did not sin for the love of money. Satan's fall was because of pride, not love of money. The adulterer and the fornicator do not do it for money, neither does the rapist. What God actually said was that money can be a root of all sorts of evil. People will do any kind of sin for money. The NASB says, "The love of money is a root of all sorts of evil."
13. In Acts 5:30 the KJV says, "The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree." This verse says that they killed Jesus and then hung his corpse on a tree. Of course this contradicts all of the Gospel accounts. The NASB says, "Whom you put to death by hanging on a tree." It is easy to see which is right. The KJV makes the same mistake again in Acts 10:39, "Slew and hung on a tree."
14. In James 3:2, the KJV says we offend every-body. "In many things we offend all." The NASB says, "For we all stumble in many ways." I can agree with the NASB but not with the KJV.
15. In Acts 9:7 when Paul was converted, it says in the KJV the men "stood speechless hearing a voice, but seeing no man." In Acts 22:9 it says, "They heard not the voice of him that spake with me." Of course these verses make the Bible contradict itself. The NASB says, "Did not understand the voice of the one who spoke with me." The actual meaning of these verses is that the men heard but did not understand. The KJV makes the Bible contradict itself. The NASB does not.
16. In Acts 19:2 the KJV says, "Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?" Much false doctrine has been built on this verse. The NASB says, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" This translation is more accurate. It is more in line with the other Scripture teaching. The Bible clearly teaches you receive the Holy Spirit when you believe, not at some subsequent time. Ephesians 1:13 tells us, "having believed you were sealed."
17. In Song of Solomon 2:12 the KJV says, the "turtle" was singing. The NASB says the "turtle-dove." We all know that turtles do not sing but turtledoves do.
18. The KJV uses the word "charity" for love. This is confusing because charity today means giving to the poor or needy. In I Corinthians 13:3 the KJV says, "And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity." Actually giving to the poor is charity, so the statement is a paradox. The NASB uses the word love, which makes more sense.
19. The KJV uses the word conversation about 20 times, but it never means "people talking to one another" as we use the word today. I Peter 3:1-2 is a good example of the confusion this brings to the modern reader. Here the Bible is telling the wife with an unsaved husband not to talk to win her husband but to win him by her actions, her spirit and her obedience. However, the KJV tells her to win him by her conversation; just the opposite of what God actually said. The NASB says the wife is to win the unsaved husband with her "behavior."
20. In Genesis 8:1 the KJV, speaking of the flood waters of Noah, says the "waters asswaged." I do not believe you will find this word in any dictionary. The NASB says, "the waters subsided." I can understand the NASB but I am not sure about the KJV.
The KJV is a good translation. It is accurate in most places, but if you know about the mistranslations and obsolete words, it will help you to understand what God actually said in the Hebrew and Greek.
There is no valid reason to reject the other good English translations we have today. In many places they can be a great help.