It is instructive to note that Jesus, when He was tempted in the wilderness by Satan, declared unequivocally, “…It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). Now, how can we obey this injunction to live by every word of God that “proceedeth out of the mouth of God” unless we have all of God’s revealed words (kept intact) available to us? And as Dr D. A. Waite in his book, Defending the King James Bible, puts it: we who speak English and who may not know the original languages in which the Holy Scriptures were first given by inspiration of God, “how will we know God’s Word unless He has preserved it … and then we have it accurately and faithfully translated … into (in our case) English”? Undeniably, this intimates God’s preservation of His inspired words.
Thus, the crucial question, which is the crux of the matter, is: “which English Bible truly is the very Word of God?” The answer to this question can spell the difference between life and death, nay, between eternal life and eternal death!
Hebrews 1:1-2b tell us that “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son …” Truly, God has spoken to His chosen people, the Jews, through chosen holy men, namely the prophets (“Thus saith the LORD”) throughout the Old Testament (that is, “in time past”). Such progressively given revelation has been preserved through writing; hence giving rise to the law, the prophets, and the psalms (cf. Luke 24:44). We see the culmination of all these revelations in the incarnation of Christ “when the fullness of the time was come” (Galatians 4:4). Together with the New Testament writings [referring to the NT books written under inspiration of God during the course of the first century, shortly after Jesus’ resurrection and ascension (cf. John 16:13-15)], “We have also a more sure word of prophecy” (2 Peter 1:19a), namely the Bible, which is God’s special revelation to us.
The Bible reveals to us the mind of the infinite, eternal, unchangeable God, whose “ways (are) past finding out” (Romans 11:33b). While “The secret things belong unto the LORD our God … those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever” (Deuteronomy 29:29). Indeed, in the Bible is contained all that we need to know to gain salvation into God’s kingdom, all the godly principles to live a victorious Christian life in this sin-darkened, trouble-filled world, as well as all that we need to know to “occupy” ourselves as we await Christ’s second coming. All these precious truths – and more – have been revealed to us through God’s Word being recorded in the Bible. Our eternal destiny hangs in the balance, depending on how we respond to its sacred contents. Thus, it is imperative to know which Bible is God’s Word kept intact in English. God has spoken, and His words have been recorded in the original languages, i.e. “the Old Testament in Hebrew (which was the native language of God’s people of old), and the New Testament in Greek (which at the time of writing, was most generally known to the nations)” (Westminster Confession of Faith I:VIII).
These original texts, being “by (God’s) singular care and providence, kept pure in all ages”, were used and recognised by the New Testament churches down through the ages. As copies of the Scriptures were carefully made and faithfully transmitted from church to church and from generation to generation (being widely used by the church community), “the pure Scripture texts were preserved, and only a small minority (of corrupted text) would have escaped detection. Thus the majority text came to be acknowledged as the accepted text to be received by the churches … therefore acquir(ing) the names Textus Receptus, Majority Text and Traditional Text” (Jeffrey Khoo). These providentially preserved traditional texts had been identified and accepted by the Reformers and the Puritans as the very Word of God, infallible and inerrant. They came to be known as the Hebrew Masoretic Text and the Greek Textus Receptus, which would be the very texts underlying the King James Version (KJV), the latter being commissioned in 1604 and published in 1611. As opposed to the modern English versions, the KJV is the only translation of the Bible that accurately preserves the original Hebrew / Aramaic and Greek words in English. This is due to its superiority not only in the texts underlying it, but also in its translators, techniques of translation, and theology.
Besides its being translated from the Hebrew Masoretic Text and the Greek Textus Receptus, the KJV is superior in that it was undertaken by faithful, scholarly, godly translators – a total of about fifty of them who worked in six companies. These men were the best biblical scholars and linguists of their day, with exceptional ability in their various fields of knowledge. One was conversant in 15 languages; another was an eminent scholar in Oriental studies; another an expert in Aramaic who had Hebrew at his fingertips; yet another was so distinguished in Greek and Hebrew that he read through the whole Old Testament in Hebrew at the age of 5. Among the rest were several King’s Professors of Hebrew and of Greek respectively, a university chief examiner of Hebrew / Greek professors, a renowned textualist, as well as one whose “memory and reading were near to a miracle”.
Above all, they were godly men with a deep reverence for God’s Word. They were not wont to criticise God’s Word; they were men with a mission, committed to the awesome task of providing a good and faithful English translation that could be trusted as the very Word of God. One would probably never find another devout group as gifted and elite as these, whom God – in the early 17th century, by His appointment and providence – had assembled for His higher purpose and plan. By logic of argument, there will never again be a Bible like that of the KJV!
The KJV was given the best translation from the godly collaboration of the best minds available (in an age untainted by rationalism, deism and evolutionism, which only reared their ugly heads in the 18th and 19th centuries). This team technique is unequalled by any modern translation method. Every translator of each company (there were 6 companies as mentioned) was to translate every chapter and verse of the biblical books assigned to his particular company, after which all the fellow translators of each company would gather and decide among themselves which translation was the best. Then they would pass that translation to the other 5 companies respectively for another round of vetting / translation. A joint committee (made up of two members from each company) would be formed to arrive at a final translation! This most meticulous team effort sought to produce the best translation ever to the glory of God.
Furthermore, the KJV translators adhered strictly to the “verbal equivalence” or word-for-word technique, which ensured an exact and faithful translation, free from the corruption of men’s fallible, prejudiced thoughts. This is opposed to “dynamic equivalence”, the technique used by modern versions, which is thought-for-thought translation that allows translators to rephrase God’s Word according to their, at best, imperfect understanding. In so doing, they take liberty to add to, subtract from and change God’s revealed words, which God specifically warns against (cf. Revelation 22:18-19). The verbally inspired nature of Scripture demands “verbal equivalence” to be the only acceptable method in Bible translation. KJV is superior because of its correspondence with the Hebrew / Aramaic and Greek words, not just thoughts or concepts, thanks to its faithful, rigorous and thorough techniques of translation.
The faithful and sound theology of the KJV is plain for all to see, reflective of the God-fearing translators who were all contenders of God’s Word. The KJV gives pre-eminence to the Lord Jesus Christ by faithfully translating key words which declare the incommunicable attributes of Christ, such as His omnipresence, His omnipotence, His sinlessness, and His eternality, while eschewing textual changes that might effectively attack Christ’s Deity, among other things.
This is in contrast to the liberal changes to and even deletions from the underlying texts that modern versions make at will, whereby a number of vital doctrines are affected, such as the Virgin Birth and the Blood Atonement of Christ, which have been undermined by the preclusion of some (doctrinally rich) word/s. Truth be told, the modern versions all use as their source texts, the corrupt Westcott and Hort Greek Text – the fruit of 20 years’ collaborative doctoring by the said diabolical duo. By their evil genius of textual criticism (which manipulatively cuts out many parts of God’s Word affecting theology), Westcott and Hort displaced the traditional Textus Receptus with their doctored Greek Text (which heavily relied on the Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus, two of the “most scandalously corrupt” and “shamefully mutilated” extant manuscripts, according to Dean Burgon). Whereas the modern versions attack fundamental doctrines, the KJV gives evidence of its superiority in its preserving of these Biblical truths, thereby upholding the authority of God’s Word.
There simply is no good alternative to the KJV. The proliferation of modern English versions of the Bible (arisen purportedly due to perceived obsolete words and grammatical errors in the KJV), as well as the growing universal desire to replace the KJV with them, is not simply a matter of linguistic preference. This label of “language and readability” masks a real hidden agenda. Deeper issues are at stake. In the light of long-held biblical truths now being systematically distorted, ridiculed and misrepresented by all these versions, it is very unsafe to turn to any of them for an accurate understanding of the words of the Bible.
Incidentally, the different modern Bible versions do not read the same. The unmistakable consensus among the modern versions seems to be that “God preserves His message and doctrines, but not necessarily the words, and certainly not every word.” But as has been pointed out, words do affect how the doctrines are perceived. Moreover, this does not square with Matthew 4:4 and Matthew 5:18, among other key Bible verses. Such an equivocal stand allows the different English versions to be embraced, variations notwithstanding. But Scripture warns us to “believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God” (I John 4:1). The conscientious Bible-reader must not continue to “sit on the fence” and think sentimentally of the insidious modern versions. There is no neutral ground; our most holy faith is at stake (cf. Jude 1:20)!
One more point is worthy of mention. The KJV had the benefit of the fruits of the translation works of the Reformation, including the works of Tyndale, Erasmus, as well as the Coverdale Bible, Matthew Bible, Geneva Bible and Bishops Bible. These Reformation Bibles, in effect, served as useful “forerunners” of the KJV in providing “a wealth of refined texts”, all reliable translations based on the providentially preserved traditional texts. We would rather have the KJV with all its archaic words (which are not that many nor difficult to understand really) than the modern English versions with their diluted and adulterated doctrines. Why settle for “second-best” (which is a far “second”) when we can have the best, namely the KJV?
As a parting shot, the Bible is God’s special revelation to man; in it contains the way of salvation and the doom of sinners. It goes without saying that all who trifle with its sacred contents stand to be divinely condemned. May the discerning Christian beware of the pernicious modern versions which, through their irreverent “trifling” with the texts and their consequent liberal, unfaithful translations, “privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them”, and “by reason of (which) the way of truth shall be evil spoken of” (2 Peter 2:1b, 2b). These have the effect of subverting our precious faith, no less! In contrast, we have the very words of God (kept intact) in the King James Version, which is the most accurate and faithful English translation of the Bible, thanks to its fourfold superiority in its texts, translators, techniques and theology.