I am wondering what are the differences between the King James Version and New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition bible (this is almost the other question about NKJV and KJV Bible)

From the articles I can see that:

  • NRSV-CE has more books included.
  • Time written
  • Language type

More than this I could not get from the articles.

What other prominent differences are there (in the remaining books) concerning the story? Thus in short, if you have read both, what were the differences (if any) that stood out?

  • KJV and NKJV comparison is something that every Bible reader would want to know because they look very similar but KJV and NRSVCE comparison seems a bit irrelevant. Any specific reason why you pick this particular version out of many other versions?
    – Mawia
    Commented Apr 17, 2015 at 11:52
  • OK. You said "NRSVCE has more books". So, actually, your question is about Catholic and Protestant Bible.
    – Mawia
    Commented Apr 17, 2015 at 12:04
  • @Mawia basically yes, I want to know if there are any prominent differences between the Catholic and Protestant bible. (I can guess that there can be a lot of minor differences) I chose these since it seems as they are the most respected bibles by the majority of each denomination.
    – Barnstokkr
    Commented Apr 17, 2015 at 12:51
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    The main difference is that Catholic Bible has apocrypha but Protestant doesn't have. I don't think there is anymore major difference then this.
    – Mawia
    Commented Apr 17, 2015 at 13:05
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    The apocryphal books 1 and 2 Esdras, the Prayer of Manasseh, and 3 and 4 Maccabees, as well as Psalm 151, are not included in the NRSV-CE because they're considered apocryphal by the Catholic Church. The books of Tobit, Judith, 1 and 2 Maccabees, Wisdom, and Sirach, as well as portions of Esther and Daniel, are included, because these are considered apocryphal by Protestant churches generally but not by the Catholic Church. Commented Apr 17, 2015 at 14:53

2 Answers 2


The NSRV-CE differs from the KJV in three separate ways: the source text, the translation method, and by the addition of "gender-neutral" language.

The biggest difference is the same difference that most KJV advocates use to criticize other texts. The NRSVE-CE primarily uses the Nestle-Aland text, while the King James primarily uses the Textus Receptus text. This would be the most contended difference, and while this may not be the place to discuss the full arguments, it may suffice to understand that the KJV advocates will typically quote the superiority of their text, which is no currently used for modern English translations. They would cite the superior number of copies in agreement, and also with the concept of Divine Preservation of the Word, which they believe is applied through all times, and not just something that would happen one day. Modern advocates of the Critical, Alexandrian type texts, such as the NRSVE-CE, would argue that we have recently found some older texts, that while they are fewer in number, are more accurate. Therefore, this is one large difference in these texts.

Although I cannot cite a source regarding the translation method, from what I am seeing when I read the text, it seems that the NSRV-CE uses more of a dynamic equivalence method, rather than the formal equivalent, plenary verbal translation method of the KJV. This means that the NSRV-CE would have words or phrases made to appear more modern, and some words translated with the beliefs and understanding of the translators, rather than translating the words directly, leaving the reader to imply their intention. This also is a very common difference between translations like the KVJ compared to other modern versions.

Finally, the last difference is the inclusion of "gender-neutral" language in the NRSV-CE, which attempts to remove the gender biases of English, and possibly of the source languages. This is such as using "people" for "mankind". There are strong feelings about this change even from those who would approve of other modern translation methods as well as KJV advocates.

I did leave a couple of things out. First, I have left out the removal of the "thee/thou" pronouns, which I found mentioned in some articles talking about it. This is rather minor overall, and it seems to be tied into the translation method debate. But most noticeably, I did not mention the fact that the NRSV-CE contains the Apocrypha or Deuterocanon. That is because I feel that this is not as much of a difference as some people would imagine. The original KJV included those same books. It would be up to the reader to determine whether they accept them as canon. Both provide them in the translations, and can be read or not read. That would be a different debate.

Personally, I am much more in favor of the KJV, and I would not rely on the NRSV-CE because of these differences. I imagine that most proponents of the NRSV-CE would reject the KJV for the same reasons. The contention from the KJV side is that if a document is not completely pure, it may contain the word of God, but it is not the word of God, which for us, is a very important distinction, as we choose to stake our souls on its accuracy. However, if one took a step back, and if they considered the Bible as they consider any other written work before the creation of the printing press, these differences are still relatively minor. If you read the full text, with all the redundancy that God built into it, it is likely that you would still come out with the same basic doctrines. Ultimately, the question of difference comes down to how accurate you need the translation to be.


There is a big difference between the KJV and all other English Bibles. The KJV was translated from the Byzantine Manuscript (also called the Majority or Syrian Text). We have about 5,000 manuscripts or fragments of text. It is a very reliable manuscript with very few changes recorded (none of the changes are major). The oldest fragments date back to somewhere around the 380's AD.

The KJV was translated by 47 of the top scholars in England, including Puritans and Anglican clergy.

The modern Bible Versions come from the other major Manuscript. It is called the Alexandrian Manuscript, from Alexandria, Egypt. We have only about 300 fragments of these, but they are even older than the Byzantine Manuscript. There are two versions of the Alexandrian Manuscript: the Vaticanus, found in the Vatican Library in 1481, and the Sinaiticus, found in the trash pile of a monastery near Mt Sinai in 1844. There are many errors, omissions and changes in both of these versions (which is why the Reformers of the 16th Century rejected the Vaticanus. They did not have the Sinaiticus available at that time, of course. However John Burgon, another Anglican clergyman, studied and rejected the Sinaiticus as well, because of the "carelessness" and "gross blunders"). These versions also had many missing texts that are found in the Byzantium version.

However, most - if not all - modern English Bible versions are translated from the Alexandrian, using a combination of the Vaticanus and the Sinaiticus.


In the 1880's two Anglican scholars named Westcott & Hort published a new Greek New Testament using the Alexandrian Manuscripts on the grounds that it was older and therefore must be more reliable. They were concerned mostly with textual criticism. They did not believe that the Bible is special. Even today, most publishers tend to use the Alexandrian on the same grounds that it is older so it must be more reliable. They ignore the fact that the text is full of errors, changes and missing text and that some of those most brilliant scholars in earlier times rejected it.

Also any Catholic Bible will include the Apocrypha (Greek for Secret or Hidden) which was not accepted as authentic by the early church or by Protestants today. The Catholic Bibles keep the Apocrypha in the Bible in order to support their specific beliefs (such as Purgatory), rather than basing their beliefs on the traditional, ancient manuscripts. In other words, they have their beliefs and publish their version of the Bible to back up their beliefs, while Protestants have their Bible and base their beliefs on the Bible, or at least try to.

For more information please see my own webpage http://www.sarahhodgins.com/why-king-james-version-only.html


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    How exactly do you know that The Majority Text is so reliable and that the others are the ones with the mistakes?
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Apr 18, 2015 at 3:13
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    I can only go by what I have found out by research... I suppose to be 100% sure I would have to become fluent in ancient Greek and get my hands on the ancient manuscripts. For now, however, I accept the fact that both Erasmus and Burgon rejected the Alexandrian as having far too many errors and missing pieces..
    – Sarah812
    Commented Apr 19, 2015 at 4:49
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    But it's just as theoretically possible that the Majority Text has additions. Just because there are more copies doesn't mean they're good copies.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Apr 20, 2015 at 3:10

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