Posted in My Messianic Musings

The King James Bible

Why is virtually any new Bible version looked upon as a worthy scholarly work and yet the King James Bible is relegated to the roll of antiquated inferiority?

I’ve been around long enough to see many of the new translations roll off the production lines. My personal experience started with the Revised Standard Version at age 12. I only read a few verses in Matthew and put it down. I never touched a Bible again until I was saved at age 19 in 1973 (New Scofield Bible).

Below is a sampling of translations with which I’ve had contact. These primarily and predominantly choose to follow the Alexandrian family of manuscripts. They will, in certain incidents, follow the Dead Sea Scrolls and also the supposed Septuagint.

Revised Version 1885 (Westcott and Hort influence begins)
American Standard Version 1901
Revised Standard Version 1952 {not accepted by conservative Christian’s when it came out}
Amplified Bible 1965
The Living Bible 1971
New American Standard Bible 1971
Good News Bible 1976
New International Version 1978
New King James Version — Masoretic Text Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, 1983, Textus Receptus — {not faithful to the TR}
New Revised Standard Version 1989
The Scriptures 1993 — Masoretic Text Biblia Hebraica, Textus Receptus Greek text — {not faithful to the TR}
New Living Translation 1996
Complete Jewish Bible 1998
English Standard Version 2001 {reworked Revised Standard Version}
The Message 2002
Holman Christian Standard Bible 2004 {Revision of the Christian Standard Bible}
New English Translation 2005 {The NET Bible}
(I’ve chosen not to keep up with the new versions still coming out. Nor is this a complete list of the myriad of translations that have come out.)

The New Testament translations in the above Bibles are, at times, significantly different from the ones listed below.

The following Bibles are based on the Textus Receptus (Antioch family of manuscripts).
Wycliffe Bible 1832
Tyndale Bible 1534
Coverdale Bible 1535
Matthew’s Bible 1537
The Great Bible 1539
Geneva Bible 1560 (The Bible of the Reformers)
Bishops Bible 1568
King James Bible 1611
Young’s Literal Translation 1862 — Masoretic Text OT, Textus Receptus NT — {is faithful to TR}

Reflecting upon the issue of Bible translations, I noticed Bibles prior to the Revised Version of 1885 were based upon a different family of New Testament manuscripts. Also, with the change of attitude toward the OT Masoretic text along with the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, there are countless opportunities for Critical Text scholars to constantly find “older and better” readings.

The New Testament translations prior to the Revised Version were based upon the Antioch family of manuscripts. Those after Young’s Literal Translation were based upon the Alexandrian family of manuscripts (Westcott/Hort).

I was fascinated by that discovery. Why the division of two manuscript families? Why the change in the translation mind-set since the 1800’s? Why are the Bibles primarily used in most churches not the KJV? Why not use the KJV exclusively as once was the case?

I know the arguments: The KJV scholars weren’t actually that scholarly; the language is too archaic and out of date; there are so many mistakes and mistranslations; older and better manuscripts have been found shedding new light on textual criticism; I know what I was taught in Bible college.

Allow me to pose some thoughts for you to consider, as I did.

If the King James Bible is (as many scholars, teachers and pastors claim) such an inferior translation:

Would God actually allow the KJV to remain in use all over the English speaking world for over 400 years knowing it would be THE major representation of His name and character?

Would God really have used such a poor translation to bring about all the major Revivals that occurred?

Would God use such a poor translation to be the vessel that produced the greatest world-wide missions outreach around the world?

Would God really keep from His people the oldest and best manuscripts until the 1880’s and Westcott and Hort?

Would God allow all the martyrs to die basing their eternal destiny on manuscripts that weren’t the oldest and best? ————

Is that the God you serve? It’s not mine. But yet, this is what we are left with to believe.

So, what’s up with all this? Does it make sense to you? Have you ever looked into any of this? Why such a chasm between the two groupings of manuscript families?

I maintain it’s vitally important that all Bible believers look into this issue — laying aside all preconceived opinions. You might think it’s no big deal.

But … I assure you it’s a bigger and more important issue than you imagine.  There is definitely an agenda behind it all.

There really is nothing new under the sun in relation to the issue of God’s preserved Word.

“Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said …?” Gen. 3:1

Paul warned in II Corinthians 2:17 — “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.”

If Satan was corrupting the Word of God in the Garden; and, if Paul was concerned about many corrupting the Word of God in his day — could it still be going on in our day?

It’s worth considering.

Author:

Biblically Hebraic/Messianic Congregation of believers following Messiah Yeshua, keeping the Torah.