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I know that many people and churches prefer using translations other than the KJV. Why? What are the common criticisms against it?

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The usual criticism is readability. The KJV was originally translated in the 1600's, and even though it's been updated several times since then, there are still words that have different meanings now than they did in the English of the time. The literary style is clearly less modern than more recent translations.

Another criticism is based on the translation sources. The New Testament portion of the KJV is based on the Textus Receptus (Received Text), which has been subject to some criticism. This has resulted in some minor textual differences that can be traced back to the different source manuscripts.

I hesitate to answer more completely because the choice of a Bible version is personal, and I want to avoid stating that any version/translation is superior to others. There are those that feel very strongly about the superiority of their own version (KJV-only and those strongly opposed.) The textual differences mentioned above tend to fuel such arguments, which in my opinion, tend to be counter-productive.

Another criticism is the distinction between a translation of the original texts, and a paraphrase. The various Bible translations fall somewhere on a scale between word by word equivolence and thought for thought equivalence or paraphrase. The KJV is closer to the word-for-word end than many modern counterparts.

The KJV-only groups tend to prefer a direct translation of the original because it is less subject to be influenced by the views of the translator. They argue that an interpreted version is suspect, because the result is influenced by the translator's understanding of the meaning of the text. On the other side, the argument goes that the "paraphrase" versions are written so that the meaning is clearly understood, and it's therefore "easier to understand" than the "archaic" KJV.

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When it comes to the KJV-nly debate, I tend to agree with Woodrow Kroll from Back to the Bible: backtothebible.org/index.php/… I love my King James, but still say that the "best" Bible is one you can read and unbderstand. –  David Stratton Nov 21 '11 at 5:22
Conceptually this seems to make sense but it is also revisionist history. Today the KJV reads like what we call a "literal" translation but the translation philosophy at the time was actually to make an understandable paraphrase version! –  Caleb Nov 21 '11 at 6:58
@Caleb - Thank you! I edited the paragraph that I think raised the flag. Better? –  David Stratton Nov 21 '11 at 13:41
That update is much more accurate. I tweaked it a little bit more and fixed the link you started to add. I'd be happy to engage in a conversation about why your use of the phrase "true translation" doesn't really describe one end of the spectrum better than another. I tend to prefer as close to word-for-word as possible but that is a technical impossibility while still honoring the meaning of the text. "True" in the sense of faithful translation is always going to have to interpret the text in the translation process. –  Caleb Nov 21 '11 at 14:21
@Caleb - Thanks, but I already agree with you. My word choice was poor. I do appreciate you taking the time to point it out. –  David Stratton Nov 23 '11 at 5:14
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