Some Mormons play guitar. I saw a few of them doing just that at a park a few months back. It does not, however, follow that all people who play the guitar are Mormons. The logical fallacy I’m addressing here is quite common today, so I want to start off by making sure everyone is aware of it.
There are also a lot of people who prefer the King James Bible who are absolute nutters—people who couldn’t tell the difference between a Nestle-Aland New Testament and a Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia Old Testament. They say and really believe things like, “If it was good for Paul, it’s good enough for me.” But just because someone—say, the author of this post—prefers the Authorized Version (KJV) doesn’t mean he is a nutter—or at least that kind of nutter.
With that out of the way, let me make four brief arguments for why you should make an effort to ensure your King James Bible doesn’t get too dusty on your shelf.
- Its Age – Not everything that came out of the year 1611 was great, but neither is everything that came out of the year 2011. The King James was translated by men who were plagued by the errors of a different era. The translators of the ESV are plagued by many of the same generational errors that influence you and I. Reading an old translation is a good way to become aware of the faulty presuppositions of our age.
- Its Manuscripts – The King James Version was translated from a different set of manuscripts than your modern translation. Many argue that these are inferior to the manuscripts we have now. The difficulty is that the philosophy behind how our modern manuscripts were assembled was heavily influenced by secularist thought—and secularism’s method for finding and assessing truth is quite different from the church’s. I certainly agree with some of the things the United Bible Society has done in the Nestle-Aland 28, but I disagree with other things they’ve done. This is why I read modern translations alongside the Authorized Version.
- Its Translators – The King James Version was translated mostly by pastors and theologians who were accountable to elders. This is the case for many (but not all) translators of modern translators, but the final product is often ultimately determined by the publishers. Publishers can easily become more concerned with what will sell than what is an accurate translation of God’s Word. The King James Version had its own political gamut to maneuver through, but it was very different situation compared to what we see today.
- Its Language – The King James Bible effectively shaped the way we speak English today. It is an unrivaled literary masterpiece. Anyone interested in writing should be in the habit of devouring the King James Bible, commonplace book in-hand.
These arguments are briefly stated and some of the issues I’ve mentioned are a bit more complicated when you start to examine them, but the points still stand. I’m not trying to get you to throw out your other translations, but I would strongly advise that you not neglect the King James Version as you read and study the Scriptures.