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KJV Only, Really?

Updated on July 20, 2011

Recently I felt Prayerfully led to read the King James Version of the Bible, I gotta admit, I wasn't thrilled, but sought to be obedient. So I did it, it's not that I've never read it, nor that I dislike it, some of the language is beautiful! When I first gave my life to Christ in '92 my first Bible was a paperback KJV and I ate it up! But heres the thing, since about '93 or '94 I've been in other versions, up till about 3 years ago mostly NASB & NIV. I'm taking some courses that require I use the KJV and it's been a labor of love, labor being the emphasized word.

Then it hit me, in 1992 when I'd read it some things were different. I mean as to "me", I should be wiser if not smarter now than I was almost 2 decades ago, surely I've grown since than, right? Why would it seem tougher now? I believe it's societal, look at the technology onslaught since then, I didn't even have a pager until '93 or '94, much less a cell, FB, etc... Were in an age of text, not talk and abreviation not anunciation. Surely the KJ seems a struggle compared to what I daily read.

But going even a step further, what makes the KJV so accepted as accurate? The truth is a couple of the other newer versions have been written with a greater knowledge and understanding of Scripture and language then wehad 400 years ago when the KJV was introduced (1611). So, can we honestly say that the KJV version is better or more accurate than a newer one? I'm not talking about the "paraphrases" either. The HCSB, NASB and the ESV are both very accepted and highly touted for their accuracy, also, many use and accpt the NIV (1984) although not the TNIV or the NIV (2011).

Think about this from a point of our cultural change(s). I'll grant you, I'm not a genius, but neither am I a total bafoon. I'm not a big "techie" kind of person, so if I notice the trend at my 45 years of age and NOT being a big user of modern electronic media mediums, what might the average 20 something year old feel as a response to attempting to read the KJV? I'll readily admit that God can make anything happen, but is this where we want to hope that He answers the Prayer? Some people and organizations are KJV only, I can see of you want that "preferance", but ONLY, could be tough on younger people, unless like the Catholic Church of old, you want people to have to look to you to read and interpet the Bible tthem and for them. Hopefully thats not ANY organizations end game. It is a personal relationship with God in Christ after all.

The whole point of the Reformation was personalizing the Faith and removing it from "the Church" as an oversight board, ruling elite. Putting Gods Word in all persons hands that they may read it themselves. We wouldn't talk to people about God in Christ in a language or manner they couldn't understand, so why ask them to grow in one? I'm not knocking those who choose to use the KJV, thats your right and privelege, some don't even like the NKJV, much less anything else. Heres the real tough question though, "why" the KJV? There were other versions before that, so why not the Pilgrims Bible, or the Geneva Bible, what about Wycliffs? If your using a reall old Bible (in any version) it may be lacking discoveries made as of late, the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in the '40's.

The research should be done for whatever one chooses to use either way, search out the process of establishing the version you like, is it word for word or meaning for meaning from original text?. Who or what team did the translation? How much time went into it? Things like that, I've found things ranging from 20 -100 member panels of theologians, Pastors, teachers, etc.. and almost all are a good cross section of denomination(s). If really unsure or in doubt, get an Interlinear and have direct translation. I use several versions and have found that to be a huge blessing, really opening Gods Word up to me in a plethorah of ways and deepening my understanding.

A final point, brought up while discussing this writing with a friend was what grade / reading level different versions were written at. The KJV is written at an 11th Grade reading level, while the NIV is done at a 5th grade reading level. Illiteracy is at an all time high in this country, and the typical High School graduate reads at an average of an 8th grade level (this is the median) this would strongly reinforce the need for "letting up" on KJV insistency, especially with younger Christians.


In Christ

Jimm Bacon


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