NPG 548, King James I of England and VI of Scotland

        Is the King James Version the Only

        Bible that a Christian Should Read?

           by Rich Deem

This page is not an exhaustive look at the King James only controversy. However, I have been confronted with the "error" of my ways by a few web visitors who insist that the King James English Bible is the only version a Christian should read. This page mostly consists of a series of links to other (more thorough) pages.

A few introductory comments are in order. The Bible was written over a period of approximately 1500 years in three languages – Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. Therefore, English (King James or other) is not one of the original languages of the Bible. Therefore, all English translations of the Bible will suffer somewhat from differences in languages, differences in idiomatic expressions, etc. Different translations tend to aim for either word for word (more difficult to understand) or thought for thought (less "accurate") representation of the original language. Most translations (including the King James version) substitute "inaccurate" translations of certain words so that the thought will be understandable to our culture. For example, Revelation 2:23 contains the Greek word nephros, which literally means "kidneys." However, the English sounds pretty weird when Jesus says, "…I am He who searches the kidneys and hearts…" The word refers to the deepest emotions and affections of man,2 and is more understandable in our culture when translated as "thoughts" or "mind."

Why did the translators of the King James Bible translate it into the common English of the time? They said that they wanted to make a version that everyday common folks (of the time) could understand. Obviously, King James English no longer qualifies as being the common language of our time, and would probably be rejected by those very translators if they were alive today…


          Is the King James Version the Only Bible that a Christian Should Read?