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Some people believe the King James Version of the Bible is the only version English-speakers should be using, as it is the only inspired translation. (This is referred to as "KJV-onlyism.")

Basically, the KJV-only position is that:

  • The Bible is God's word

  • God promises to preserve His word

  • This preservation is accomplished via a perfect translation (one per language)

  • The KJV is His perfect, preserved translation in the English language

  • The reason other English Bibles differ from the KJV is because those other Bibles have been tainted by sin and error

What are the main counterarguments to this view?

I am specifically looking for answers which would be convincing to an English-speaking Protestant with a high view of Scripture.

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Some major problems with "KJV-onlyism" lies in the assumptions it makes and some of which you enumerated.

From an evangelical perspective, we accept the idea that the Bible is, indeed, the word of God. Specifically, "men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit."

20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. 2 Peter 1:20-21 ESV

20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any priuate Interpretation: 21 For the prophecie came not in olde time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moued by the holy Ghost. 2 Peter 1:20-21 KJV 1611

Preservation via a perfect translation

The problem starts with the third point you enumerated, specifically that the preservation is via a perfect translation, that is one for every language.

Why does the preservation have to be in a translation? Why can't the preservation be in the original languages and those manuscripts? How could we know that the KJV is the perfect translation into English? The KJV was certainly not even the first translation into English, as it was preceded by the Wycliffe, Tyndale, Bishop and Douay-Rheims translations, among others.

Does it follow that the first translation into any language is a perfect translation and should never be updated, no matter how much the language changes?

In fact, the KJV has been changed quite a few times since it's original release. No one reads out of the 1611 edition anymore, as our language has changed significantly since that time.

Also, the whole idea that there must be a preservation in each language at all times misses the point that most languages didn't have any translation until recently, and there are many that still don't.

So, this assumption has a hard time fitting reality and even logic.

Sin and error in other English translations

The assumption that only one translation can be accurate in any language for all times leads the KJV-only people to assert that any other translation into English must be somehow imperfect, and many even assert that sin is the reason. The translators of the KJV must have been the holiest of men, and all other people who ever attempt to translate Greek and Hebrew into English today must somehow be sinful.

That doesn't even make sense. The English language is different today than it was 400 years ago. Even if there were a perfect translation at that time, we don't speak that language anymore.

Also, why must experts in Hebrew and Greek today who translate the Scriptures into English be somehow tainted by sin? Is it not possible that they could also be men and women who fear God as much or more as the translators of the KJV? There are certainly men and women today who are translating the Scriptures into new languages. Is it holy and righteous to translate into new languages, but the same people who translate into English somehow introduce sin and error?

Conclusion

The KJV-only teaching is rife with assumptions that are just illogical. There certainly are poor translations into English. Translation is not an exact science all the time. Conveying meaning of one language into another is sometimes quite difficult. The KJV is an excellent translation, among several others. If you lived in the 1600's, there was nothing as good as that, even if you wanted to read the Apocrypha (which was in the initial printing). Today, the language of the KJV is no longer spoken. The NASB and ESV are probably two of the very best of the bunch, in my opinion. I also use the NIV.

There are quite a few other allegations from the KJV only crowd. It could be interesting to address each of these in separate question. I know James Melton has a booklet entitled "How I know the KJV is the Word of God", which has some statements that are absolutely ridiculous in it.

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  • Thanks for your post. (+1) It sounds like your main counterargument is that it is difficult to understand how KJV-only could be rational. However, I've heard some compelling arguments from the KJV-only camp, and I'm not sure this answer would be effective in dismantling (countering) their arguments. (But I do think this is helpful.) Out of curiosity, does the first part of your answer imply that all Scripture is "prophecy"?
    – Jas 3.1
    Jun 17 '12 at 21:11
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    @Jas3.1 The logic seems convincing until you start analyzing the assumptions and asking questions, like I have done here. The preservation of the Scriptures has been in the original manuscripts--not any particular translation of the text in any particular language.
    – Narnian
    Jun 18 '12 at 14:59
  • @Jas3.1 The "prophecy" may or may not be specific. Other Scriptures attest to divine authorship more explicitly.
    – Narnian
    Jun 18 '12 at 15:00
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    "The translators of the KJV must have been the holiest of men, and all other people who ever attempt to translate Greek and Hebrew into English today must somehow be sinful." Well that's debunked by Romans 3:10-18.
    – Devsman
    Mar 31 '16 at 14:50
  • Even though I come from a tradition that uses KJV but does not believe it to be a perfect translation, your argument against perfect translation is sophistry no better nor worse than the premise. After all, it's God's world, so why not a single, perfect translation? Without some scripture to say otherwise, neither position is inherently supportable - and since we're dealing with an issue of faith, that means neither position will change the belief of one who holds the other. A better argument stems from your first note: KJV has changed... why is it the only perfect translation? Nov 30 '20 at 16:14
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Opponents to the KJV-Only position generally don’t disparage the King James Version (KJV) or treat it as necessarily inferior to contemporary English translations, but instead point out that it faces many of the same challenges and errors that face any English translation. Depending on the opponent you ask, each will probably tell you one of any number of translations is their personal favorite, and some even prefer the KJV for its beautiful, memorable language and reverent tone, if not it’s decidedly literal-leaning and mostly non-dynamic translation. Here are some common responses to the points you listed.

1. On The Bible As God's Word

Virtually all of the notable opponents of the KJV-Only position who belong to mainline denominations agree that The Bible is indeed God’s word.

2. On God's Promise to Preserve His Word.

They also acknowledge that God does indeed promise to preserve His word. There is some disagreement as to how this preservation is manifested, however. KJV-Only Advocates claim that God actively preserves the exact wording of Scripture through translators to produce a perfect translation of the original Greek and Hebrew into each language. Opponents hold that God merely preserves the message and meaning of Scripture, and that the language is, by necessity, somewhat fluid. They further hold that God has preserved a wealth of ancient manuscripts (totaling 972 Old Testament and 5,686 New Testament fragments and copies) for translators to work from, which is another fulfillment of His promise of preservation.

3. On Preservation of God's Word via a perfect translation (one per language).

This is an assumption that opponents of the KJV-Only stance find illogical and difficult to support convincingly from scripture or any extra-biblical sources.

Dr. James White (one of the most outspoken and persistent opponents of KJV-Onlyism) asserts that the discovery and analysis of the Dead Sea scrolls (including comparison to the more modern manuscripts translators and scholars had previously been working from) confirms that God did preserve His word through the millennia. He often points to the fact that no significant doctrine hinges on the textual differences that do exist between the more ancient manuscripts and those used by the translators of the original 1604-1611 King James Bible.

There is no doctrine of the Christian faith that is based upon any single text; and no doctrine of the faith is changed or altered by any variation of the text. If one applies the same rules of exegesis to the TR and the NA 27th edition, the results will be the same. The variations do not change the message. ~James White, The KJV Only Controversy

White claims that “KJV-Onlyists” (his term) misinterpret God’s promise to mean that He will preserve not only His word’s precise text, but that He will also divinely inspire Bible translators to translate the text perfectly into languages other than Greek and Hebrew. Instead, White interprets God’s promise to mean that He will preserve His word’s precise meaning, if not every single syllable, and it is up to His church, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to accurately translate and preach the word to all nations. This means that all Biblical translations will encounter some translational issues and human errors. This includes the King James. White also takes issue with the notion that God only so inspires one translation in each language as the standard, citing pre-KJV English Translators:

The problem is, the KJV is not the standard, and cannot be the standard. Think about it for just a moment. Were there not translations before the KJV? Of course. Wycliffe, Tyndale, the Geneva Bible, the Bishops' Bible, and so forth, all served the needs of English speaking Christians prior to 1611. So why not choose one of these as the "standard"? ~James White, “A Response to a Brother in Christ”

Opponents also tend to argue that the KJV is no longer a perfect translation for modern English speakers, as it can be very difficult for modern English speakers to read, and sometimes even more difficult to derive the correct meaning from.

4. On The KJV as God's perfect, preserved translation in the English language.

This is a point that opponents of the KJV-Only position dispute. They point out that that KJV-Only Proponents ignore the fact that the KJV translators were working from a set of manuscripts known as the Textus Receptus (TR), which has its faults. The TR was created by Desiderius Erasmus, a Catholic Priest and scholar. He published the 1st edition of the Greek New Testament in 1516, and released subsequent editions, the 3rd being the most influential. After Erasmus’ death, the TR was edited by Stephanus in 1555 and Beza in 1598. Basically, the contention is that Erasmus rushed his first edition in order to beat Spanish scholars to print. He succeeded, but the haste resulted in a book riddled with errors. According to Wallace:

He was under pressure to get it to the press as soon as possible since (a) no edition of the Greek New Testament had yet been published, and (b) he had heard that Cardinal Ximenes (of Spain) and his associates were just about to publish an edition of the Greek New Testament and he was in a race to beat them. Consequently, his edition has been called the most poorly edited volume in all of literature! It is filled with hundreds of typographical errors which even Erasmus would acknowledge. ~Daniel B. Wallace, “Why I Do Not Think The King James Bible Is The Best Translation Available Today”

Opponents also question which revision the KJV-Only proponents have chosen as the infallible and preserved translation of God’s word and why:

…The King James Bible has undergone three revisions since its inception in 1611, incorporating more than 100,000 changes. Which King James Bible is inspired, therefore? ~Daniel B. Wallace, “Why I Do Not Think The King James Bible Is The Best Translation Available Today”

5. On Contemporary English Translations being tainted by sin and error.

Opponents of the KJV-Only position point to several different errors in the text of the KJV, like the following:

…the KJV includes one very definite error in translation, which even KJV advocates would admit. In Matthew 23:24 the KJV has ‘strain at a gnat and swallow a camel.’ But the Greek has ‘strain out a gnat and swallow a camel.’ In the least, this illustrates not only that no translation is infallible but also that scribal corruptions can and do take place-even in a volume which has been worked over by so many different hands (for the KJV was the product of a very large committee of over 50 scholars). ~Daniel B. Wallace, “Why I Do Not Think the King James Bible Is the Best Translation Available Today”

Most opponents of the KJV-Only stance point out that there is no conspiracy or occult influence that corrupted the Alexandrian Texts used as the basis for modern English Bible translations, and often refer back to the fact that the differences between the TR and Alexandrian/Westcott-Hort texts is minimal and has no effect on doctrine. They often point to the lack of examples of where the texts used for modern translations have been corrupted. They acknowledge that there were occultist sects in ancient Alexandria during the 1st and 2nd Centuries, but deny that they had any influence on the texts. They further point out that the allegations of key manuscripts and translations being edited and re-purposed by scholars who happen to be homosexual or believe in evolution are irrelevant unless it can be demonstrated that the resulting text lends itself to those ideas in ways that the manuscripts do not. In response to the assertion that Westcott, Hort, Nestle, and Aland shouldn’t be trusted with the word of God because they believe the theory of evolution, James White says this:

The issue is not the personal beliefs of the individuals but, did those beliefs materially impact the text? If Dr. Morris would like to provide examples of textual decisions in our modern Greek texts that he thinks are perversions of the truth, let him do so. I have yet to have a defender of KJV-Onlyism back up their allegations against modern texts from the original sources themselves. While a few have pointed to variations, they have never been able to demonstrate that any theological "bent" on the part of the editors resulted in a particular textual choice. ~James White, “A Response To A Brother in Christ”

In summary, the opponents of “KJV-Onlyism,” as White puts it, tend to argue in terms of the manuscripts, as that is the main difference between the modern English translations and the KJV. They posit that the KJV is one of many viable English translations of God’s Word, not the only infallible translation of God’s Word in English. They back this up by pointing out various translation issues and errors that the KJV faces and find that it is in no way superior to more modern translations, except possibly in terms of its rich language and its monumental importance to the development of the modern English language. They argue that, aside from its historical and linguistic significance, that it should not be treated as any more or less authoritative than any other Bible translation that is rooted in the ancient manuscripts currently available.

Related Readings and Links:

James White's AO Ministries List of Articles Related to KJV-Onlyism

White, James R. "The King James Only Controversy: Can You Trust Modern Translations?." (1995).

"Why I Do Not Think the King James Bible Is the Best Translation Available Today" by Daniel B. Wallace - Bible.org

Price, James D. "King James Onlyism: A New Sect." (2006).

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I fully believe in the Bible as the perfect word of God without any error whatsoever. I also like the KJV. However, there is no Biblical basis for believing in an inspired translation, from one language to another. This would put translators at the same level as prophets and apostles for they would need a special anointing that determines what scripture is.

The belief of inerrancy is that the 'original text' was without error, but even here insignificant trace errors have crept into copies of the original texts. I think God allows this partly to keep us from being so insecure about our faith in Him. Our security should rest in Him, in the ideas he has imparted to us through His word, not each syllable. If we are so insecure, that we need to put our faith in men, we will become worshipers of ink, not of God.

Translation from one language to another can be made by sinners without any inspiration. What matters is if the translation is technically honest to the original text, or no. God has not left the business of translation dependant upon the personal holiness of the translators, otherwise all translations would be fully corrupt.

Besides, there is no logical basis to believe that those who translated the KJV were holier than those who have made other English translations.

God will preserve many good translations to us in various languages. He himself has said:

18I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. 19And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. (Revelation 22:18-19 NIV)

As God has made this warning in the last book of our Bible, and will execute it, we can be confident God is interested enough to preserve the Bible for us. Therefore we do not have to rely on one small group of people who made one single translation.

Having said this, if a specific conflict arises between two translations, one must identify which is less honest to the original text, whether the weakness is in the KJV or other version, the test must be made for each instance. One cannot not just wildly assert for the whole Bible translation itself, that it is better than another. Each conflict must be argued specifically. It would not surprise me if the KJV is often the winner.

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    This didn't answer my question at all.
    – Jas 3.1
    Jun 17 '12 at 3:16
  • @Jas3.1 - I guess we see the KJV argument from different perspectives. I do not see a rational basis for it, so I cannot create an argument against it, other than denying that it has any validity. I see it as an emotion based assertion. My favorite version is the NIV, but I do not consider it better just because I like it. I do recommend it over the KJV though because it takes into account more recent language. I find the KJV difficult to read because I do not speak in that kind of language. It's really this simple for many of us, maybe even most of us.
    – Mike
    Jun 17 '12 at 5:58
  • I don't think you can apply the passage from Revelation you quoted as speaking of the NT (which wasn't in existence then) or even larger portions of the Bible. It's specifically speaking about Revelation ("this book" is referring to Revelation—the book that John is told to write down).
    – mojo
    Jun 26 '12 at 11:06
  • @mojo - I agree with you yet still think God implies with it the whole OT and NT. The book is a story with beginning, middle and end, at it is no coincidence that the end-piece of the Messiah puzzle is annexed with the warning. On this ground I sort of take it out of context within the greater context of the entire Bible. However I am not dogmatic about it. Just an opinion. Cheers
    – Mike
    Jun 26 '12 at 14:12
  • @Mike I'm with Mojo on this. The Bible is a collection of books. I do not see any basis for the warning to be applicable to any other book than The Revelation. Kind regards, Jun 9 '16 at 10:04
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The KJVO position is nonsensical. They claim that God MUST have a perfect translation in every language and that translation will not fail per that preservation. Where then, in the Hebrew or Greek, is the perfect word of God? How about the Latin? Surely the Church could have identified the perfect word of God in that respective language and with the same kind of veracity, insist on that translation to be used above all others? With so many textual variants in the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Koine Greek manuscripts, we must either admit that God failed to preserve His word in that language OR rethink our position on what it means for God to have preserved His word for future generations.

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The lack of logic to the KJV-Only position is already well answered by others.

More importantly the Scriptures are our only authority in matters of our beliefs and since the KJV-Only belief cannot be substantiated from Scripture then KJV-Only-ism actually undermines the Protestant idea that the Word of God is our sole authority in matters of faith and the practice of our faith.

Nor is it enough for followers of KJV-Only-ism to try to show that the KJV is better than other versions... that would be a dishonest ruse on their part seeing it is not the point at all, because it is not their main belief.
They must show the KJV is without error.

There is a truly excellent series of short articles on this subject. The argument that the translators of the KJV were not themselves KJV-Only-ers, as proved in their introductory Preface to the 1611 KJV, is found here:-

https://dbts.edu/2012/04/25/is-only-the-king-james-version-the-word-of-god/

The KJV translators themselves write in the Preface to the 1611 version:-

...we do not deny, nay [on the contrary], we affirm and avow, that the very meanest [worst] translation of the Bible in English set forth by men of our profession…containeth the word of God, nay, is the word of God: as the King’s speech which he uttered in Parliament, being translated into French, Dutch, Italian, and Latin, is still the King’s speech, though it be not interpreted by every translator with the like grace, nor peradventure so fitly for phrase, nor so expressly for sense, every where.…A man may be counted a virtuous man, though he have made many slips in his life, (else there were none virtuous, for in many things we offend all) also a comely man and lovely, though he have some warts upon his hand, yea, not only freckles upon his face, but also scars. No cause therefore why the word translated should be denied to be the word, or forbidden to be current, notwithstanding that some imperfections and blemishes may be noted in the setting forth of it.

The other articles are chained and can be reached from the article linked above.

The full text of the Preface to the 1611 KJV, written by the translators/editors, and containing much that wholeheartedly disagrees with the KJV-Only belief can be found here:-

http://www.bible-researcher.com/kjvpref.html

Examples of error or imperfection in the KJV

In the rest of this post I want to add some examples where the KJV is wrong or contains a wrong translation or not an optimal translation. It may be it is wrong because of some error in the text of the original language, or it may be a translation error.

Nomatter how the error arose, if the KJV is itself inspired it ought to contain no errors at all.

(Please note all I write is secondhand: I have no Hebrew or Greek.)

Psalm 145

The Hebrew alphabet contains 22 letters.

Psalm 145 contains one verse for every letter of the Hebrew Alphabet. The first letter of each verse/sentence is in alphabetical order, starting with Aleph. Unfortunately one verse is missing, there are only 21 verses. A verse is missing, which should be between verses 13 and 14.

It is not the fault of the KJV translators that there are only 21 verses, the verse was lost in the original language. But the point is, if the Word of God is preserved by one translation, and that translation in English is the KJV, then the KJV ought to have put the verse back in, even the correct verse, between verses 13 and 14. The only defence to this is that in the original deliberately missed out a verse, which seems a very weak argument.

Isaiah 30:33

It may be that the KJV and all other Bible translations get this wrong and it should read something like:

For Tophet is ordained of old; yea, for Molech it is prepared; he has made it deep and large: the pile thereof is fire and much wood; the breath of the LORD, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it

The Hebrew word "melek" can either be translated "Molech" or "king", Molech means "king", just as Baal means "lord". And Tophet in the valley of Gehennom at Jerusalem is that place where babies were sacrificed to Molech.

So the verse may be talking about hell, in a very similar way to Matthew 25:41, i.e. the "everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels".

Jeremiah 29:10

For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfil to you my promise and bring you back to this place. (Jeremiah 29:10, ESV)

Many modern bible translations have this rendering; the KJV does not & neither do the NKJV nor the New World Translation. They render it “when seventy years are completed at Babylon”. This is obviously quite a big difference. It should be noted, though, that even two versions of the JW New World Translation have changed it from “at Babylon” to “for Babylon”: the Swedish NWT, revised in 2003, and the Danish NWT. (http://kristenfrihet.se/vtsvar/vtsvar1.pdf page 5)

Of the Hebrew preposition translated “at” here in the KJV modern authorities on Hebrew agree that it means “to”, “for”, “with reference to”. They point out that it may also be used in a local or spatial sense (“in”, “at”), but only in certain adverbial expressions, and in any case not at Jeremiah 29:10, where the meaning is “for Babylon”.

The Swedish Hebraist Dr. Seth Erlandsson states that, “The spatial sense is impossible at Jer. 29:10”. Other Hebraists agree, including Professor Ernst Jenni, the leading authority on the Hebrew prepositions. His work on this preposition alone covers 350 pages! (http://kristenfrihet.se/vtsvar/vtsvar1.pdf page 5)

The idea is that the 70 years relate to the supremacy of Babylon as a super power not to the years of captivity.

Jeremiah 39:3

And all the princes of the king of Babylon came in, and sat in the middle gate, even Nergalsharezer, Samgarnebo, Sarsechim, Rabsaris, Nergalsharezer, Rabmag, with all the residue of the princes of the king of Babylon. (KJV)

In June 2007 the Nebo-Sarsekim Tablet was translated in the British Museum by Michael Jursa. See https://archive.archaeology.org/0801/topten/cuneiform.html

It is more than reasonable to suppose that the KJV has made an error of the names "Samgarnebo, Sarsechim": it should be translated "Samgar, Nebo-Sarsechim".

Also the KJV implies that "Rabsaris" and "Rabmag" are names of officials whereas "Rabsaris" means "Chief of the Eunuchs" and "Rabmag" (I think) means "Chief of the Wise Men". (The sequence is suggestive that "Samgar" is also a title.)

Jeremiah 52:31

And it came to pass in the seven and thirtieth year of the captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, in the five and twentieth day of the month, that Evilmerodach king of Babylon in the first year of his reign lifted up the head of Jehoiachin king of Judah, and brought him forth out of prison (KJV).

In the year that Evil-merodach became king of Babylonia, he showed kindness to King Jehoiachin of Judah by releasing him from prison. This happened on the twenty-fifth day of the twelfth month of the thirty-seventh year after Jehoiachin had been taken away as a prisoner. (GNB, Good News Bible)

This is a great verse to compare the different English translations using Biblehub because so many versions which I often hear disparaged/belittled, such as the GNB, get it right and several highly-praised translations, including the KJV, get it wrong.

The first year of the kings of Babylon is not the same year as the year in which they became king. The year a Babylonian king started to reign was his "accession year". The technical language for this seems to be used in Jeremiah 52:31 and should be translated "in the year of his becoming king", or something similar: it must not be translated "in the first year".

Explanation: The Babylonians, just like other kingdoms at the time, added one to the year of the king's reign on New Year's Day each year. Let us use January 1st as New Year's Day. Suppose a king ascends the throne on January the 5th: then according to the Babylonian Accession Year method the time from January 5th to December 31st is his "Year of Becoming King" or his "Accession Year", and the next year, starting 1st Jan, is his First Year. Similarly, if a king becomes king on December 28th, then the period from 28th Dec to Dec 31st is "the year of his becoming king" and from 1st January is his first year. It can be clearly seen from this that the year of his becoming king and his first year are different years.

So the versions on Biblehub which get the Hebrew of this aspect of the verse right are the NIV, New Living Translation, ESV, GNB, Brenton Septuagint Translation, Darby Bible Translation, Young's Literal Translation. In addition my hard copy of the New World Translation gets it right.

Daniel 11:9

The KJV is wrong in Daniel 11:9 which can be compared with other versions at Biblehub.com - the meaning in the NIV, for instance, is correct.

Words with changed meanings

"...but was let hitherto..." (Romans 1:13). What does that mean? It means "but was hindered up to now". "Let" has almost completely reversed its meaning in this verse since the time of the writing of the KJV. There are many other words in the KJV which are obsolete or which have new meanings.

Acts 7:45 "Jesus" should say "Joshua". Also in Hebrews 4:8.

Acts 12:4 "Intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people". This is a strange one, its hard to understand why the KJV translators should have used "Easter" when "Passover" is correct and easily understandable.

Acts 17:22 "I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious" - should read "very religious" as in the NKJV. Paul is hardly going to start his speech with an insult which is how it sounds to us today.

Acts 19:37 "which are neither robbers of churches" should read "robbers of temples".

In general much value is lost in the KJV in the translation of official titles in the Acts of the Apostles, such as proconsul (13:7,8 & 18:12 - "deputy"), politarchs (17:6 - "rulers"); duumvirs (16:20 & 35 - "magistrates" - "duumvirs" is a higher title than the official title of "praetor" and was undoubtedly used as a higher courtesy title in Philippi, just as it was proven by Sir William Ramsay to have been so used in the surrounding colonies); lictor (16:35 - "sergeants", lictors were typically teenage boys who carried the large symbol of their authority, the fasces lictoriae, when giving messages from the praetors/duumvirs); Asiarchs (19:31 - "chief of Asia"); scribe (19:35 - "townclerk" - see Vine's Dictionary on this and the other titles); temple keeper (19:35 - "worshipper" - the people of Ephesus may well all of them have been worshippers of Diana/Artemis, many others from other towns were too besides the Ephesians. This is not what it means: the city of Ephesus was the "temple keeper", and thus the citizens of Ephesus were the temple keepers (I guess "custodians") of the Temple of Artemis and of the image that fell from heaven); proconsuls (19:38 - "deputies").

Romans 3:3 "shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?" - should read "faithfulness of God".

Romans 5:11 "the atonement" - "reconciliation" (Vine's dictionary).

Romans 8:24 "For we are saved by hope" - "for we are saved in hope" (C.H. Spurgeon). Mere hope never saved anyone.

Romans 10:5 "For Moses describeth.." - "For Moses writes about..". "Describing" can nowadays be done either by writing or by speaking. The option of speaking should be taken away from the reader's mind in verse 5 to maintain the contrast between verses 5 and 6, of "writes" (v5) and "speaks" (v6). (Probably the idea of this contrast is of the nature of the dead letter written on stone and a living faith which therefore speaks.)

1 Cor 9:23 "partaker thereof with you"- "partaker of it" (ie a partaker of the gospel).

These are just a selection of what I think are errors for whatever reason in the KJV. Please could others add to this list with their own, I think it would be helpful to see off this KJV-only heresy which has actually done quite some damage in splitting fellowships, I hear in Singapore.

Oh, and another one to finish with Ezekiel 40:1 "in the beginning of the year, in the tenth day of the month" - though not actually an error it is more accurate to have "on New Year's Day, on the tenth day of the month" or to give the transliteration of "on Rosh Hashanah, on the tenth day of the month". Of course New Year's Day was always on the first day of the month, the day of the appearance of the new crescent moon... except in the Year of Jubilee every 49 years (Leviticus 25:9,10). What Ezekiel is saying is that the year mentioned was a Year of Jubilee. (And the Seder Olam says it was the 17th Year of Jubilee, meaning it was 833 years since the entry into the Promised Land under Joshua.)

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  • I query your statement about Zedekiah. My understanding was that he was given that name when made a puppet king by the Babylonians. That isnt an error.
    – Adam
    Apr 7 at 20:58
  • @Adam - thanks for that. I will look into it. Apr 8 at 12:31
  • :Adam - I've removed Jeremiah 27:1 Jehoiakim/Zedekiah altogether. It could be Jehoiakim in 27:1 and thus prophetic of the reign of Zedekiah. (By the way, Zedekiah's original name was Mattaniah (2 Kings 24:17).) Apr 9 at 12:58

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