KJV the ONLY Correct Version??? (T)
“I have a friend who has a preacher giving them information about why King James Version is the only correct copy of the bible and even gives examples of certain verses being left out of other versions but they are at the bottom in footnotes. One is Acts 8:37 What is your take?”
I am asked this same sort of question often. So, since I thought an answer might benefit more than just this member, I have chosen to include my response in this format. I will be brief here and welcome any questions/feedback from any who choose to do so.
To begin, let me be the first to say that the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible is a REMARKABLE translation. It’s legacy is unmatched. Every single English speaking lover of the Word of God must give pause to thank the Lord for its existence. I love the KJV Bible and believe it to be a really good translation. [Being that this is the 400th anniversary of the KJV, I highly recommend Leland Ryken’s The Legacy of the King James Bible]
But we cannot forget that this is exactly what it is: A TRANSLATION. The Old Testament was originally written in the Hebrew language (with a bit of it written in Aramaic) and the New Testament was originally written in the Greek language. Thus, unless you know the Hebrew or Greek language, you and I are totally reliant on a TRANSLATION of the original. William Tyndale was one of the first to translate the Bible into English (and he did so from a Latin translation!). The group who translated the KJV used Tyndale’s translation (among others) to formulate theirs. Why do I share that? Simply because the KJV was and is a translation of the original…just like any other translation. Is it a real good translation? Yes. Is it perfect? No. No translation is. The Bible in its original languages (Hebrew and Greek) contain the perfect understanding. All others are translations where translators do their best to communicate what the original documents say.
I use the English Standard Version (ESV) of the Bible. Why? In short, because it is a solid translation that is easier to read for me than the KJV. Is it a perfect translation? No. Is it a good translation? I think so.
The problem I have with those who say that the KJV is the ONLY version is that, from my perspective, they fail to understand that the translators of the KJV did the same thing in 1611 as the translators of the ESV or the NASB are doing today: accuratelely translate the Word of God from the original languages in words, phrases, and vocabulary that English speaking humans can understand today. If you think about it, we should be leaping for joy that our language has so many translations of God’s Word to help us better understand.
Now. Why are some verses left out of more ‘modern’ translations (or put in footnotes at the bottom of the page)? Simply because the verses footnoted (or omitted) cannot be found in the original (Greek or Hebrew) manuscripts. For instance, Acts 8:37 is footnoted in the ESV translation. Why? Because it is found in the KJV translation but NOT in the original Greek. Does this mean that the KJV translators did something bad? No, not necessarily. It means (probably) that they simply wanted to more clearly convey the meaning implied in the verses – so they added a phrase or two to aid the flow of reading and underscore the meaning.
I would encourage any serious student of the Bible to have several translations handy (including the KJV!) and make it a habit to read and compare various translations of particular passages.