Which Bible Version?

by Rayola Kelley

     Q: I know you have dealt with this subject before, but why do you prefer the King James Version of the Bible? I have tried to read it but I get caught up with the “thee’s” and “thou’s” of it. It seems outdated to me.   

      I can understand why the King James Version seems outdated, but if you do a study of how this Bible came to be, you would understand why there are those who consider it the most reliable version. In fact, I just recently obtained information about it that simply confirmed why I trust it. The King James Version of the Bible came about due to the various versions of the Bible that inundated the British people in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, causing much confusion as to what was the proper translation. Due to self-serving rulers some of the versions had been tainted to serve immoral and dishonorable purposes.

      It was King James’ first royal act as king to push a draft through Parliament that would support a translation of the Bible that not only lined up to the original version used by bishops, but would ensure the intent of it. Fifty-four Bible Scholars and linguists were chosen to do the task, but only 47 were known to participate.

      Fifteen stringent rules were set down in which to ensure the integrity of the work. For instance, if there was confusion about a matter, the translators were to take the high road as to the meaning or intent of it and not the easy, acceptable, or biased road. They were to remain true to the pronunciation and meaning of the names of the books of the Bible and the people of the Bible. There were not to be any marginal notes where opinions or personal judgments would confuse or sway a person to a particular belief or interpretation.

      As I considered the many versions that exist today, I cannot help but note the same environment exists that required a king and a nation to step in and bring God’s Word back to the center of truth. I have handled some of these versions and they leave out basic truths that change the intent of Scripture. I have considered paraphrases that clearly speak of wicked agendas that appeal to carnal attitudes. Today there are bibles being written according to cultural preferences such as the environmental or green bible that exalts creation over the reality of a holy, just God, the politically correct bible that exalts tolerance over righteousness, the gender-acceptable bible that deifies gender over truth, and the morally inept bibles that redefine what constitutes sin, confirming that the Word of God has been clearly tainted. Today many of the Bibles are being written according to cultural indoctrination. Depending on taste and preference, people can pick and choose which version will best soothe their religious conscience. The result is that bibles are being interpreted according to political, cultural, and moral preferences, as well as being adjusted according to religious emphasis.

      Each version that is coming forth today seems to be a “dumbed down” presentation of the latest moves and preferences of society. Each “dumbed down,” tainted version is simply desensitizing the reader as to what is true. It takes away the “black and white” from God’s truth, holiness, and redemption and renders such subjects as being gray or obsolete, causing confusion and inconsistencies.

      The question is what version is trustworthy? The real test of the Bible is not whether it is understandable enough that one can skim over it, palatable enough that it does not leave any “bad taste,” or comfortable enough that it is unable to challenge one’s present state. Rather, the real test is whether purity and intent of truth is being upheld and maintained in it.  I, for one, do not want to wade through a particular version of the Bible to see if it is valid enough to believe it as truth; rather, I want to be able to read the Bible knowing it is trustworthy. I don’t approach the Bible to test, debate, or negate it; instead, I approach it to believe it as being truth with the intent of obeying it.

      The one translation I can approach in faith is the KJV. I value it because I can trust its witness and credibility. My advice to people is that if you do not have a KJV you better buy one. And, for those who own one, make sure it is not collecting dust. Begin to break it in. Seek its truths and counsels. I say this because in the near future, this version will most likely be outlawed for the unpopular truths it speaks about the character of God, the reality of sin, and the immovable, unchangeable boundaries of truth contained within its pages.