IS THE KING JAMES VERSION OF THE BIBLE INFALLIBLE?  Part II

By Robert A. Joyner

 

Ø Many people say the KJV is the preserved word of God in English. They believe it is without error. Christians have always believed it was the original Bible writers who were inspired, not the translators. It was the original writings that were perfect. The KJV translators believed this.

Ø There is no verse in the Bible that teaches translators are inspired. The KJV translators disclaimed inspiration for themselves.

Ø I want to point out some contradictions, mistakes and obsolete words in the KJV. Of course, if I can do that, it shows clearly the KJV is not infallible but it has some errors, like all other translations.

Ø I want to show that the NIV and NASB correct all these mistakes. Therefore other translations can be useful sometimes.

Ø Please understand I am not attacking the KJV. The things I point out will help you understand your KJV better. I am not saying that the KJV is inferior or that the NIV is superior. I am simply saying that it is silly to claim perfection for the KJV.

1.  In the KJV it says in I Kings 4:26 that Solomon had forty thousand stalls of horses and in II Chronicles 9:25 it says he had four thousand. These verses are an obvious contradiction. The NIV says four thousand in both places. Who would say the KJV is superior here?

2.  In the KJV it says in II Kings 8:26 that Ahaziah was twenty-two years old when he began to reign. In II Chronicles 22:2 it says he was forty-two years old when he began to reign. Of course, this is a contradiction. The NIV says he was twenty-two years old in both places. Everybody knows this is better.

3.  In the KJV it says in I John 3:9, "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin." This contradicts plain scriptures in many places. Ecclesiastes 7:20 says, "There is not a just man upon earth that doeth good and sinneth not." The NASB says in I John 3:9, "No one who is born of God practices sin." This translation is more in harmony with other scripture and with Christian experience. We sin but we do not practice sin. Our life is not characterized by sin.

4.  In Exodus 25:31-38 the KJV describes the making of the candlestick for the tabernacle, but no candles are mentioned in this passage. Verse 37 says, "make the lamps thereof." The description that is given to us is a lampstand with seven branches, a beautifully wrought stand for seven lamps. The oil which the lamp would burn is described in Exodus 27:20. Throughout the KJV, the translators call a lampstand a candlestick. Examples in the New Testament where "candlestick" should be "lampstand" are Matthew 5:15 and Revelation 1:20,13. The NASB always says lampstand. Certainly this is clearer. 

5.  In the KJV the word "quick" never means "fast." It means living or alive. In Hebrews 4:12 it says the word of God is "quick and powerful." The NASB says it is "living." The KJV says Christ will judge the "quick and the dead." (II Timothy 4:1) The NASB says the "living and the dead." It is easy to see which is more accurate.

6.  In the KJV the word "prevent" is used 15 times in the Old Testament and twice in the New. Today the word "prevent" means to hinder or to stop. The Psalmist said in Psalm 119:147, "I prevented the dawning of the morning." He does not mean he hindered the dawning. The NASB says, "I rise before dawn." In I Thessalonians 4:15, the KJV says when Jesus comes the living will not "prevent" them which are asleep. The NIV says they shall not "precede" them. The Bible teaching here is that the living Christians and those who are asleep will go up together. Seventeen times the KJV obscures the meaning of the scripture by using the word "prevent." In all these cases the NASB or the NIV is much clearer.

7.  In Matthew 19:9 and 5:32 the KJV gives "fornication" as the only grounds for divorce under the law. Today this word means premarital sex. These verses in the KJV say the only grounds for divorce is something you did before you married. This translation grossly confuses the Bible teaching about divorce. The Greek word used here is "porneia." Both STRONG'S CONCORDANCE and VINE'S word studies say the word is not confined to illicit sex between the unmarried but it covers all kinds of sexual immorality. It means harlotry, adultery, incest or idolatry. The NIV translates the word as "marital unfaithfulness." The NASB says "unchasity" or "immorality." Certainly this makes more sense.

8.  In the KJV the word "nephew" actually means "grandson." The Hebrew word means "sons of sons." In Judges 12:14 the "thirty nephews" are changed to "thirty grandsons" in the NASB. The word "nephews" in I Timothy 5:4 in the KJV means grandchildren in the Greek. The NIV says "grand-children." The KJV can bring confusion here be-cause it is telling us who is responsible to take care of the destitute widows in our family. The KJV says children and nephews are responsible. The NIV says children and grandchildren are to do it. It is easy to see which is right.

9.  In the KJV Paul says, "I know nothing by myself." (I Cor. 4:4) The NASB says "against myself." This translation agrees with the Greek and with the context where Paul is defending himself against the accusations of the Corinthians. He is telling them that they may accuse him but his conscience is clear.

10.  In the KJV Paul says, "Let your moderation be known to all men." (Phil. 4:5) People use this verse to justify mediocrity and use it to justify moderate drinking of alcoholic beverage. "Moderation" in the Greek means "gentle, kind, forbearing." The NASB says, "Let your forbearing spirit be known to all men." The NIV says, "Let your gentleness be evident to all." Either of these is closer to the true meaning than the KJV.

11.  The word "naughty" as used in the KJV can be misleading. The Hebrew and Greek words mean "very wicked." To us "naughty" means something trivial that a child or an adult might do. For example, "You naughty boy." In the KJV Jeremiah 24:2 says the figs were "so naughty" they could not be eaten. This shows the true meaning of the word by the context. The NASB says they were "very bad." The NIV and the NASB always use a better word than "naughty".

12.  Many people complain that the new versions leave out things that are in the KJV. The question is not whether something is in the KJV or some other version, but rather is it in the original Hebrew and Greek? Below are some examples of phrases and words that are left out of the KJV but are in the NIV.

  1. In Jude verse 25, the NIV says that God gets glory "through Jesus Christ our Lord." The KJV leaves this phrase out.

  2. In Acts 4:25, the KJV says that God spoke through the mouth of David. The NIV says that God "spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of David." The KJV leaves out the "Holy Spirit." 

  3. In Acts 16:7 the KJV says, "the Spirit suffered them not." The NIV says, "the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to." "Of Jesus" is left out of the KJV.

  4. In Philippians 1:14, "of God" is left out of the KJV. The NIV says the "word of God." The KJV simply says "word."

  5. In Colossians 2:9, the KJV says "in Him." The NIV says "in Christ."

When things are left out of the modern versions, some people claim there was a conspiracy or the translators were biased against the deity of Christ, etc. Why did the KJV leave these words and phrases out?

13.  Some people say the NIV and the NASB are weak on the deity of Christ. This is a lie. I will show you some key verses on the deity of Christ and anyone can clearly see the KJV is the weakest on this subject.

  1. Jude 4 in the KJV says, "denying the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ." By adding an "and," the KJV makes it appear like God and the Lord Jesus are different persons. The NIV says, "deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord." The KJV separates God and Christ. The NIV makes God and Christ one. Also, "Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord" is stronger than "our Lord Jesus Christ."
  2. In Titus 2:13, the KJV inserts the word "our" and makes it sound like God and Jesus are different. It says, "The great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ." The NIV and NASB both say, "Our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ." They make it clear that the great God is the same as the Saviour Jesus Christ. Three times in Titus the expression, "God our Saviour" is used. (Titus 1:3; 2:10; 3:4) In Titus 2:13 when he finally reveals who the "God and Saviour" is, the KJV obscures it. This mistake affects at least four verses about the Deity of Christ.
  3. The KJV adds "our" again in II Peter 1:1, "Righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ." The NIV says, "God and Saviour Jesus Christ." The KJV makes it appear like "God and Saviour" are two different persons. The NIV and NASB make it clear they are one and the same.
  4. In Colossians 2:9 the KJV says, "For in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily." The NIV says, "For in Christ all the fullness of deity lives in bodily form." The NIV is definitely clearer and stronger.
  5. In Philippians 2:6 the KJV says, "Who, being in the form of God." The NIV says, "Who, being in the very nature of God." The "very nature of God" is certainly better than "the form of God."
  6. In Romans 9:5 the KJV says, "of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed forever." The NIV says, "from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised." It is hard to see the deity of Christ in the KJV but it is crystal clear in the NIV.
  7. In John 1:18 the KJV says, "No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him." The NIV says, "No man has ever seen God, but God the one and only, who is at the Father's side, has made Him known." Certainly "God the one and only" is stronger and better than "only begotten Son." All Christians are "begotten" by God. (I John 5:1,18.) Christ alone is "God the one and only."

These examples were given to show anyone who is willing to see that the NIV is stronger than the KJV on the deity of Christ in many places. The KJV obscures the deity of Christ in some places. The NIV reinforces the teaching of the deity of Christ. There have been many lies told about this subject but now you know.

14. The KJV sometimes uses the word "charity" in the place of love. Most people probably think charity is old English for "love." That is not the case. William Tyndale, who translated the first English version in 1525, used only the word "love." So did the other versions that followed (Coverdale, Matthew, Great Bible and Geneva Bible). Only the second edition of the Bishops Bible and the KJV use the word "charity". The noun "agape" is used 114 times in the Greek. The KJV translates it "love" 87 times and "charity" 26 times. This shows they knew the Greek word means "love." Yet they purposely translated the word as "charity" in some places. "Charity" means giving and helping the needy. Love is described in I Corinthians 13. The KJV weakens this basic Christian doctrine about God and man by substituting "charity" for "love." They did it in about 18 other places. The modern versions undergird it by rightly translating agape as love.

Conclusion

Anyone who is not willingly ignorant and blind can see that the King James Version is not perfect and not infallible. It is a human translation. It is a good and accurate version in most places. But sometimes you will need the good modern translations. Other translations can really help you under-stand what God actually said in some verses. Don't let anyone deprive you of this help.

Please understand that I am not putting down the KJV. I am not saying it is inferior or that the NIV is superior. I am saying the KJV is not perfect. The NIV and the NASB can help you sometimes. The KJV translators themselves said, "A variety of translations is profitable for the finding out of the sense of the Scriptures…must needs do good, yea, is necessary, as we are persuaded." (TO THE READER section, 1611 KJV) 

Don't let anyone lie to you saying the KJV is God's perfectly preserved word without error, and don't listen to the slander against the NIV and the NASB.

Again let me say, I am not against the KJV. I am against the KJV Only extremism.

---Dr. Robert A. Joyner, D.B.S., Th.D., Ph.D.