A treatise on why I read the Authorised Version (KJV) of the Holy Bible


There are many Bible versions in the English language today and many of them claim themselves to be the most accurate translation.

Greg Gilbert in his article published on the website of Crossway (the copyright holder of ESV), listed the benefits of a multitude of versions before concluding that the different versions are meant for different people with different motivations and approaches towards Bible study. Gilbert’s conclusion is commonly used by many to justify the need for a multitude of versions. However, I absolutely disagree with Gilbert.

The Authorised Version (KJV) was the only English Bible read by Christians between 1611 and 1885, and continued to be the Bible read and preached in many English-speaking churches until after the Second World War. The vast majority of modern versions only appeared recently, some in the last quarter of a century. Therefore, Gilbert’s conclusion about the need for a multitude of versions cannot be reasonably nor historically justified.

Opponents of the KJV commonly claim changes to the English language and the availability of better manuscripts to modern scholars as reasons that justify a need for a new translation. However, the first claim about English cannot be justified. The KJV revolutionised the English language in the seventeenth century, transforming mediaeval English into modern English. If the modern man could read Shakespeare and sing eighteenth century Wesleyan songs such as And can it be? That I should gain, then he would certainly understand the English of the KJV. Furthermore, many non-White people like myself read the KJV and this fact absolutely smashes the popular misconception that the old English of the KJV hinders missionary work.

Concerning the second claim about better manuscripts, are the manuscripts available to modern scholars really better than those used for the translations of the KJV, Geneva Bible, William Tyndale’s New Testament, and other Reformation era Bibles? Do you know that many modern versions actually use a totally different Greek text for their New Testament translation? Do you know that many of the scholars who edit and promote this different Greek text used by many modern versions, are the same people who do not believe in the Divine Preservation, the truth, and the infallibility of the Bible?

The Greek New Testament text used as the basis for translation of the KJV and other Reformation era Bibles is the Traditional Text (Textus Receptus). This is the text faithfully passed down by Christians from generation to generation throughout the centuries. This is also the text read and accepted by the Reformers and Puritans. The truth of the Divine Preservation of the Word of God and the faith of the Christians throughout the centuries, prove that the Traditional Text is the Word of God and the true representative of the original New Testament text. The doctrine of the Divine Preservation of the Word of God is taught in the first chapter of both the 1646 Westminster Confession of Faith and the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith.

On the other hand, the Greek text used for the translation of nearly all modern versions is called the Modern Critical Text. This text is primarily based on the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus, two fourth century manuscripts that were lost for 1,400 years only to be discovered in the nineteenth century. Sinaiticus and Vaticanus displayed a so-called Alexandrian text that is significantly different from the Traditional Text. The Alexandrian text was used in ancient Egypt before the fifth century (the time and place of the Arian heresy), was rejected by ancient Christians, and effectively disappeared for 1,400 years before it was promoted by modern scholars who deny the Divine Preservation, the truth, and the infallibility of Scriptures. Remember, it is also modern scholars who question if St. Peter was the author of 2 Peter and who claim that six of the Pauline Epistles were not written by St. Paul. This is despite authorship is clear in the very first verse of these Epistles.

Sinaiticus and Vaticanus have missing verses (examples include Mark 16:9-20, John 5:4, John 7:53-8:11, Acts 8:37) and readings (different from the Traditional Text) that obscure the truth of the divinity of Christ (examples include Romans 14:10, 1 Timothy 3:16). This is the reason you see in many modern versions, notes and brackets with questionable comments that introduce doubts to the reader such as ‘the most reliable and best manuscripts do not contain these verses’ and ‘some manuscripts have [a certain reading]’.

Are Sinaiticus and Vaticanus the best and most reliable manuscripts as the modern scholars claim? Clearly not. Both manuscripts have different readings even from each other. It is estimated that Sinaiticus and Vaticanus have 3,000 differences between them in the Gospels. At the same time, they also show signs of corrections. For example, the reading of Hebrews 1:3 in Vaticanus has been changed at least twice. There is also an unusual blank space between Mark 16:8 and Luke 1:1 in Vaticanus, clearly proving that the scribe was aware of the twelve concluding verses of St. Mark’s Gospel. Although the same verses are also missing in Sinaiticus, the original pages of the manuscript containing the conclusion of St. Mark’s Gospel and the beginning of St. Luke’s Gospel have been replaced. The present pages display an unusual font size that clearly show a scribal attempt to fill all the blank space created by the absence of the twelve verses. There is also a scribal note at the end of the Book of Esther in Sinaiticus that testify of Sinaiticus’ suspicious origin.

How is the truth of the divinity of Christ obscured in the Modern Critical Text and therefore, in modern versions? An example is shown in the reading of part of 1 Timothy 3:16. The Traditional Text reads ‘God (θεος) was manifest in the flesh’, the Modern Critical Text however, reads ‘He (ος) was manifest in the flesh’ instead. Who is ‘he (ος)’? Clearly, Christ was manifest in the flesh because He is a man. The Traditional Text very clearly without doubt proclaims that Christ is God (θεος) manifest in the flesh and therefore, the divinity of Christ. This is the confession made by generations of faithful Christians. On the other hand, the Modern Critical Text unfortunately, does not show this truth.

Meanwhile, there are two translation philosophies, namely word-for-word and thought-for-thought. The KJV is a very accurate word-for-word translation. I absolutely reject the thought-for-thought translation philosophy because meanings would be lost and subjected to the interpretations of the translators.

Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Deuteronomy 8:3 and Matthew 4:4). The inspiration of Scriptures is verbal and plenary and therefore, every word and alphabet is important. A difference between the Traditional Text and the Modern Critical Text that show the importance of every single word and alphabet is shown in the account of Christ calling St. Peter as recorded in the fifth chapter of St. Luke’s Gospel. According to the Traditional Text, Christ commanded St. Peter to lay down the nets (δικτυα), however, St. Peter only lay down one net (δικτυον), indicating that not only did St. Peter doubted, he did not completely fulfil the command of Christ. This in my opinion, explains the reason St. Peter fell before Christ after the miraculous catch of fish. However, according to the Modern Critical Text, St. Peter lay down multiple nets (δικτυα) and therefore, the reader would instead have mistakenly thought that while St. Peter doubted, he still completely obeyed the command of Christ.

There is a common claim that no doctrine is affected by using the Modern Critical Text (and by extension, the multitude of versions based on it) as important doctrines are still taught in other parts of the Bible. For example, while Romans 14:10 and 1 Timothy 3:16 in the Modern Critical Text do not show the divinity of Christ, Modern Critical Text supporters say a man could still learn this truth from other verses in the Scriptures.

The mentioned common claim is false. The doctrines of the Divine Preservation and infallibility of the Word of God are immediately affected. By supporting the Modern Critical Text, you are in fact accepting the false idea that God has hidden His Word for 1,400 years and during those years Christians had no access to the Word of God. It is ridiculous to think that man has to use his own methods based on his own understanding to figure out the true New Testament text. The effective disappearance of the Alexandrian text for 1,400 years clearly shows that the Modern Critical Text is not the Word of God and is rejected by ancient Christians.

Furthermore, outright denial or complete absence of important doctrines are not necessarily required for a text or a version to be invalid and rejected. Eve did not outrightly deny the Word of God, she simply produced the world’s very first revised version of the Word of God before she fell in the Garden of Eden.

Some thoughts to add here, von Tischendorf discovered pages of Sinaiticus in a wastebasket in the Sinai monastery in 1844. Some pages were said to have been burnt. Do the actions of the Orthodox monks show that Sinaiticus is a rejected manuscript because of a rejected Alexandrian text that happened to survive for 1,400 years? Erasmus might be aware of Vaticanus (it was in the papal library since at least the fifteenth century) but he did not use it for the Traditional Text he published. The Alexandrian text shows Arian inclination and is unsurprisingly accepted and used by the self-claimed Witnesses who are the modern Arians.

In conclusion, it is my position that the KJV is the most accurate English translation of the Word of God. This is supported by both history and the faith of the Reformers. I do not recognise the Modern Critical Text and all versions translated from it to be the Word of God. In my opinion, the Modern Critical text is an Arian text that must be absolutely rejected. The science of textual criticism does not shield supporters of the Modern Critical Text from criticism and opposition. The expertise of those unbelieving modern scholars who reject the Traditional Text through unbelief does not mean that the same scholars must be correct nor their work has any value at all.

The Word of God is the only rule of life and faith. We need to ensure the Bible we are reading is the Word of God. Therefore, I read only the Hebrew Masoretic Text of the Old Testament, the Greek Traditional Text of the New Testament, and word-for-word translations like the KJV that are based only on them.     

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