Why Do I Prefer The King James Version Of The Bible?
One can find books or websites that tout the King James Version (KJV) as being the Bible that people of all languages should learn to read, with some of them going so far as to say that the KJV is superior to the original Hebrew and Greek texts. I disagree with these assertions. However, I do believe that the KJV is superior to modern day English translations because of the text it was translated from (the Textus Receptus – while many of the differences are minor, there are major differences in some passages), because of the scholarship of the men who translated it, because it has stood the test of time, and because of its consistency. I affirm that the KJV might one day need to be updated by modernizing words (not changing words), but I do not believe it is absolutely necessary. In my estimation, the KJV, more so than any of the modern versions, is consistent and can be used to interpret itself.
I believe there are serious doctrinal errors in the modern versions, such as the claim that Psalms 139:16 is saying that in God’s book all of David’s days were written, when the KJV specifically says in God’s book all of his members were written, showing that he was speaking of development in the womb – not that God knew exactly how many days David was going to live. In yet another example, modern versions translate the Lord’s words concerning the mustard seed in such a way that he makes a false statement that it is the smallest seed. It is well known that the mustard seed is not the smallest seed. Interpretations are provided that show how he did not mean this literally, but I wonder what the point would be for the Lord to state a falsehood to proclaim truth. The KJV records the Lord as referring to the mustard seed as the “least” of all seeds, not the smallest (Matthew 13:32). This changes things. I read the following statement by a commenter on a discussion board:
“The mustard seed can rightly be understood as the least significant seed to be sown in a garden. Not only is there no harvest, it grows up to shelter birds who, based on the other parables, will be a detriment to the garden. From the perspective of planting a garden, the mustard seed ranks last among all seeds because there is no reason to want a mustard plant in the garden.”
It was not easy to find a source to back this up but considering the word “least” in other places in the KJV, it seems correct to accept that the Lord was speaking of the mustard seed being least in significance when compared to other seeds.
Compare this meaning with these verses:
He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.
Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest?
1 Corinthians 6:4
If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.
And he said unto him, Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house.
1 Corinthians 15:9
For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God.
Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. Isaiah 36:9
How then wilt thou turn away the face of one captain of the least of my master's servants, and put thy trust on Egypt for chariots and for horsemen?
So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.
There are others but I think the point is made. This explanation is not only plausible, it does not make the Lord out to be speaking a falsehood. I have also read that what the Lord said could have been true at the time, but due to the results of rapid speciation (the process of biological species formation), there possibly became a point when the mustard seed was no longer the smallest seed (click here to read more about this). This is certainly possible, and either could be true, but I think the first explanation fits the context better since the Lord was teaching the principle that the seemingly insignificant Kingdom of God (in the world’s eyes) with humble beginnings would grow and expand into something high and exalted in a way not unlike what Ezekiel described:
“Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will also take of the highest branch of the high cedar, and will set it; I will crop off from the top of his young twigs a tender one, and will plant it upon an high mountain and eminent: In the mountain of the height of Israel will I plant it: and it shall bring forth boughs, and bear fruit, and be a goodly cedar: and under it shall dwell all fowl of every wing; in the shadow of the branches thereof shall they dwell” (17:22-23).
There are other examples where the KJV, in my opinion, proves itself to be the most reliable and consistent translation and I will look at those in other posts. As in this post, I will not refer to the Hebrew or Greek in my explanations (not that I know these languages). Do I believe English to be superior to those languages? No, but I believe God has preserved his Word for English speaking people in the KJV, and that the majority of these people over the last four hundred years (that have read the Bible) know nothing about Hebrew or Greek. To be sure, I do not believe the KJV is for people that speak other languages, obviously, and it is a great work when people labor to translate the scriptures into other languages. The translations will not be perfect, just as the KJV is not a perfect translation of the Hebrew and Greek because it is impossible to perfectly translate a text from one language to another because of the differences in words, idioms, culture, and grammar. I do believe that there are poor translations in existence, and I believe the errors can be found by simply comparing scripture with scripture.