Why the KJV Bible part two
Proverbs 22:28 says, “Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.”
In the spirit of the fifth commandment, we are to honor the traditions given to us by the
previous generations of our people. Of course, if such tradition contradicts Scripture, we
are to reject it in favor of what the Bible says.
“Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?” – Matthew 15:3
We never elevate tradition to the same level of authority as Scripture. But we should give
our forefathers “the benefit of the doubt.” We should also be careful to preserve all we
can that is truly Christian about our culture.
The King James Version of the Bible has played an important and unique role in the
development of American culture. It can be said that the foundation of our society is the
Holy Scriptures. The theology of the Bible influenced the ideas behind our Constitution.
The language of the King James Bible was scattered throughout our early literature.
The revivals that formed and changed our culture resulted from the preaching of Bible
For many years, Americans knew a certain amount of Scripture by heart. Many or most
could quote at least the Twenty-Third Psalm, and recognize the Beatitudes, Ten
Commandments, and parts of the Sermon on the Mount when quoted. But now the
influence of the Bible was waned significantly. One reason for the decline of Biblical
influence has been the loss of a standard version of the Bible.
For the first two hundred years as a nation, the King James Version was the Bible to
most Americans. Even after so-called “modern” versions became popular, the King
James Bible continued to be the version memorized, quoted, and publicly read most
often. With the demise of the old Bible, our country has been left without a standard text
of Scripture. Who can quote the Twenty-Third Psalm anymore? Who knows how to
repeat the Christmas story? The question always arises: “Which version?” Everybody
realizes that our nation’s spiritual and moral foundations have been crumbling, but few
have understood how the multiplication of Bible versions has contributed to the decay.
We will stick with the King James Version out of concern for our country’s future, if for no
other reason! Why should conservative Christians join in the mad movement to throw
away the standards that made our county good? Our Constitution is jealously guarded
against change by an elaborate and difficult amendment process. If it takes two-thirds
of Congress and three-fourths of the states to change one sentence in the Constitution,
why should the churches be so willing to accept great changes in the Bible without
serious and extensive “due process”?
Believe it or not, some of the features most criticized in the King James Bible are
among the best reasons to keep it! For example, consider the “thee’s” and “thou’s.” The
King James Version was not written in the everyday language of people on the street in
1611. It was written in high English, a very precise form of our language. In modern
English, the second person pronoun is expressed with one word, whether in singular
or the plural. The word is “you.” Most other European languages have both a singular
and a plural pronoun in the second, as well as the first and third person. The first
person singular pronoun in the nominative case, for example, is “I,” while the plural is
“we.” The third person singular pronoun (also the nominative case) is “he,” while the
plural is “they.” Modern English, however, has only “you” for its entire second person
pronoun uses. High English uses “thou” for the second person singular, and “you” for
the plural! In this way, the King James Version lets us know whether the scripture
means a singular “you” or a plural “you.” “Thou” or “thee” mean one persons being
addressed, and “ye” or “you” mean several. This feature often helps us interpret a
“Thou” - designates the subject of a verb
“Thee” - designates the object of a verb
“Ye” - designates the subject of a verb
“You” - designates the object of a verb
A personal pronoun beginning with “t” is a singular pronoun. (Thou, thee, thy thine)
“Est” - indicates the second person singular. (The one spoken to)
“Eth” - indicates the third person singular. (The one spoken about)
“Shall” - refers to the first person in the future tense
“Will” - refers to the second or third person in the future tense.
We also find the italics in the old Bible a great help. The translators italicized words they
put into the text that do not appear in the original language. The new translations do not
do this. We appreciate the integrity of the ancient scholars in letting us know what was
added and what was original, and are disappointed that modern translators have let us
down in this area.
The matter of quotation marks is also a question of importance. The King James
Version does not use them, because the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts do not have
them. The reader determines where a quotation begins and where it ends by the
context, and by other means of interpretation at his disposal. The new versions do not
give us the luxury of deciding the extent of quotations ourselves because they have
inserted quotation marks according to the translator’s interpretations of the various
passages. John 1:15-18 and John 3:27-36 present examples of places in the Bible
where the length of the quotation is a matter if interpretation.
Such features make the King James Version the most helpful translation of the Bible in
English for the serious reader. Even the “New King James,” which is partially translated
from the traditional texts, denies us the practical help of high English, italicized
additions, and the absence of quotation marks.
Many publishers claim that the new translations are easier to understand, misleading
people into thinking that they will be able to better understand the Word of God but the
derivative copyright law insist that:
“To be copyrightable, a derivative work must be different enough from the original to be
regarded as a ‘new work’ or must contain a substantial amount of material. Making
minor changes or additions of little substance to a pre-existing work will not qualify the
work as a new version for copyright purposes.”
Therefore, all new Bible versions must change the simple one or two syllable Anglo-
Saxon words of the King James Version into complex, multi-syllable Latinized words.
Consequently, the King James Version reads at the 5th grade level and the N.K.J.V.
reads at the 7th grade level. Because of copyright law, there will never be an easier to
read Bible than the King James Version.
Here are a few examples, (there are hundreds) of where the New King James Version
(NKJV) uses the more difficult words than the King James Version(KJV).
Going from left to right first you have the Bible verse, then you have the word(s) the NKJV
uses and then you have what the KJV uses. As you examine this chart you will notice
that the KJV surpsisingly uses the easier words
Amos 5:21 savor - smell
2 Corinthians 5:2 habitation - house
Ecclesiastics 2:3 gratify - give
Isaiah 28:1,4 verdant - fat
Isaiah 34:6 overflowing - fat
Deuteronomy 28:50 elderly - old
Romans 3:25 sins that were previously committed - sins that are
Romans 7:7 covetousness - lust
For all of these reasons, it just makes good sense for conservative, Bible-believing
churches to keep the old King James Bible as their standard text. The new versions
present too many problems and simply are not fit to replace the English version we
have trusted for so long. Let’s stick with the King James! The movement to abandon it
will move us from clarity to confusion, from authority to anarchy, from faith to doubt. We
ought not to make such a move!
For more on this subject see: