The King James Version was originally published in 1611 and it has remained popular even since its original publication. The King James Version is the second best-selling version of the Bible, only behind the New International Version.
There are many reasons why Christians hold the King James Version in such high regard. In this article, we are going to uncover the reasons why.
The main reason why some Christians hold the King James Version in such high regard is because of tradition. Many Christians grew up with the King James Version, thus, they have a special connection to this translation of the Bible.
Growing up in my home as a child, the only version of the Bible that we had was the King James Version. I did not know there were other versions of the Bible until a person from the church that we were attending a Vacation Bible School gifted my two sisters and me with a new Bible.
The new Bible that the person gave each of us was the New International Version. I have used this Bible so much over the years that the binding has fallen apart and the blue coloring on the front has faded.
Even though my Bible has grown older throughout the years and is not as pretty as when I first got it, it will forever be my favorite Bible. It has gone with me across the world and back again.
Having the New International Version helped me better understand the Bible and what God was teaching me through His Word.
The King James Version is beautifully written; however, many passages are hard to understand because the wordage is out-of-date.
Therefore, it made reading the Bible extremely difficult for me. Once I had a copy of the New International Version, I was better at understanding the Bible because it was written in words I could understand.
Now, this does not mean there is anything wrong with reading the King James Version out of tradition because there is nothing wrong with reading it. What is wrong is trying to say the King James Version is superior to other Bibles because that is not true.
As Christians, we need to read all sorts of different versions of the Bible to help us learn about God better. There is absolutely nothing wrong with reading different versions of the Bible because they are all the inspired Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16-17). No single version is superior to others.
2. Textual Criticism
Many Christians hold the King James Version in high regard because of textual criticism. The King James Version only followers insist that newer translations of the Bible do not align with the original manuscripts of the Old and New Testaments.
They believe many words are taken away or added into newer translations. Due to this reason, they are extremely skeptical of newer versions of the Bible.
Those who have always grown up with the King James Version of the Bible may feel newer translations do not keep to the original language and flow of the Bible because of updating its words, phrases, and chapters.
The King James Version is translated directly from the Greek Textus Receptus, in which individuals feel this is a more reliable translation of the Bible. It is worth mentioning that the King James Version is not the only Bible version that utilizes the Greek Textus Receptus.
Many modern versions utilize the Textus Receptus as one of their sources when translating the Bible. Even though many people hold the King James Version in high regard because of textual criticism does not mean it is the “superior” version of the Bible.
Rather, all versions of the Bible, such as the New International Version, Christian Standard Bible, and the English Standard Version, to name a few, can all benefit a Christian and provide the same infallible text of the Bible.
Even though translators use different words in the text does not mean it changes the meaning of the text. Most of the words used in the King James Version are not utilized anymore in the present day, which is why newer translations omit these words.
Words such as “thou” and “saith” might sound poetic; however, it does not mean we cannot update them into modern words for modern readers, which leads me to my next point.
3. Poetic Language
A third reason why some Christians hold the King James Version in high regard is because of its poetic language. The King James Version is written beautifully, eloquently, and poetically; however, sometimes this type of language is hard to understand.
It can feel as if you are reading Shakespeare at times, which can be quite difficult for some people — myself included. In college, we were required to memorize a chapter out of the Bible, but it had to be from the King James Version.
I will say that it was easier to memorize the King James Version because the poetic language acts almost like a song at times, and somehow it is easier to remember.
Even though it might be beautifully sounding or easier to remember, it does not mean that it is easy to understand because, for most people, it is not.
Due to the poetic language of the King James Version, many individuals give up reading the Bible because the wording and writing are too difficult.
Granted, the poetic language of the King James Version is beautiful; however, it is more important that we understand what the passages say and mean rather than merely “sounding pretty.”
Is the KJV Superior?
No, the King James Version is not superior to other Bible translations. All Bibles are equal because they are the Word of God. Whichever version you choose to use is a great choice.
There is nothing wrong with reading different translations, such as the New International Version, the English Standard Version, the New King James Version, the King James Version, or any other version of the Bible.
It is important that when we study the Bible, we read multiple different versions of the Bible instead of just one. When we do this, we will obtain a better overall meaning of the scriptures.
It is also helpful to be familiar with many different versions because not everyone we know will use the same version that we do.
It is good to be well-equipped with many versions in order to help others understand and know the truths of the scriptures. If we only use one version of the Bible, it can give that certain version a perceived superiority complex because it is the only version we use.
It is important for us to utilize many different versions of the Bible throughout our lives to help us in our walk with the Lord. Thus, some Christians hold the King James Version in high regard because of tradition, textual criticism, and its poetic language.
There is nothing wrong with reading and utilizing the King James Version; however, it should not be seen as superior to other versions of the Bible. The King James Version is a good translation of the Bible, but it should be held in high regard over other Bible translations.
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Vivian Bricker loves Jesus, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master's degree in Christian Ministry with a deep academic emphasis in theology. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, reading, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, she is embarking on other adventures.
The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of Salem Web Network and Salem Media Group.
These verses serve as a source of renewal for the mind and restoration for the heart by reinforcing the notion that, while human weakness is inevitable, God's strength is always available to uplift, guide, and empower us.
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