Bible Questions and Answers: KJV
Q: Is the King James Version of the Bible the best translation?
A: The King James version (KJV) is a very good translation, quite possibly the best. It is the one I use throughout my web site and it is the primary one that I use for study. Since it was translated before most of the various protestant denominations were formed, it is less likely than the newer versions to contain words translated on a slant toward one belief or the other. Of course, there were different beliefs back in 1611 as well, so we have to be careful. I would never tell anyone that there is only one Bible translation that they should read. For serious Bible students, I suggest a Bible dictionary for Greek and Hebrew words, such as Strong's dictionary.
Q: Is the King James Version of the Bible a perfect translation?
A: All of God's Word is perfect in the original manuscripts in the original languages. But the scriptures never indicate that the KJV or any other translation would be perfect.
There are some who claim that the King James Version (KJV) is a perfect translation into English. But that belief is based upon flawed logic.
Psalms 119:89 says, "For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven." Likewise, Isaiah 40:8 says, "The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever." This is also echoed in 1 Peter 1:24-25. So God made it clear that His Word would endure forever.
But the question is: Did God specify seventeenth century English? No. There were English speaking people for thousands of years before the KJV was translated in 1611. So it is utterly obviously God never promised to have His written Word available to every English-speaking person for all times, much less, to everybody everywhere for all times in every language.
The notion that the King James Version is translated perfectly is not based upon scripture, but upon the traditions of men. To insist that the KJV is perfect is to put man's tradition above what the Word of God actually says.
All translations have at least a few errors introduced by the processes of translating languages making copies by hand. For some Greek and Hebrew words, there simply is no correct English translation, because there is no English word that means the same thing. Also, many Greek and Hebrew words are either more specific than or more general than the word to which they are translated in English.
The Greek word 'Hades' and Hebrew word 'Sheol' are examples of Biblical words for which there is no perfectly correct English translation. The article called Hell Part 2: The Differences between Hades and the Lake of Fire explains this particular example.
In rare cases, there are glaring mistakes in translation. For example, the Greek word "pashua" occurs in Acts 12:4. It is correctly translated "passover" in almost every Bible translation including NASV, NIV, and Amplified. But the KJV incorrectly translates it "Easter", which is actually the name of an ancient pagan sex goddess (same as Ishtar). Easter and passover do not even occur on the same day of the week and are frequently separated by many days on the calendar. So it behooves a Bible student to have both Greek and Hebrew Bible dictionaries and to do some digging.
The King James is a very good Bible translation for study, but don't let anybody tell you it's a perfect translation.
Copyright © 1999 Matthew McGee. All rights reserved.