The following is a research paper that I did as a requirement for an English Composition class at the University of West Florida. The topic was:
Why the King James Bible is better than any other translation.
So here is my argument.
THE AUTHORIZED VERSION OF 1611
The Authorized Version of 1611, commonly called the "King James Version" or KJV, is the best translation of the Bible in English compared to the other modern English translations since 1881. The Majority text, upon which the KJV is based, has the strongest claim possible to be regarded as an authentic representation of the original text based on its dominance in the transmissional history of the New Testament text.
There are two types of Greek texts that make up the New Testament. The first is the Byzantine or Syrian, known as the "Textus Receptus" or "Received Text." It is also called the Majority text because it was taken from the majority of Greek manuscripts that agree with each other and have been accepted by Bible-believing Christians down through the centuries.
In 1455 Johann Gutenberg printed the first book ever produced mechanically, a German Bible which was translated from the Textus Receptus. This is also the text that Martin Luther and the Prostestants of the Reformation knew to be the Word of God. In 1611 King James authorized the translation of an English version of the majority text, from which the King James Bible was created.
The second type of Greek manuscripts is the Hesychian or "Alexandrian" family of manuscripts, which consist of Aleph, B, Vaticanus, and Sinaitcus. These manuscripts originated in Egypt and were the work of several professional philosophers at the world famous university in Alexandria. Origen(184-254) became head of this university and rewrote these manuscripts with his own philosophical interpretations. Scholars there had no obligation to the church of God, so they felt free to translate these manuscripts liberally. This type of text, called the Minority text, was used by Jerome to translate the "Vulgate," and is the basis of all the corrupted versions.
These Greek manuscripts many times do not even agree with each other. The Vaticanus and Siniaticus manuscripts are part of this group. Vaticanus, or "Aleph," was written on fine vellum (animal skin), not usual of Christian literature which was generally written on papyrus paper. It was found in the Vatican library in 1481 A.D. In spite of being in excellent condition, it leaves out Genesis 1:1-Gen. 46:28, Psalms 106-138, Matt. 16:2 3, Hebrews 9:14-13,25, The epistles of Paul and all of Revelation (Burton p. 60). The Vaticanus also contains the Apocrypha.
The Siniaticus or "B" is a manuscript which was found in 1844 (after the KJV had been in existence for 233 years) in a trash pile in St. Catherine's Monestary near Mt. Sinai, by a Mr. Tischendorf. It contains nearly all of the New Testament plus the "Shepard of Hermes" and the "Epistle of Barnabas." However, it omits 10, 20, 30, even 40 words frequently. Whole letters, and sentences are left out. The Vaticanus and Siniaticus both leave out the last 12 verses of Mark concerning the resurrection of Christ, but there are 618 other Greek manuscripts that do not. The Vaticanus and Siniaticus even disagree with each other over 3,000 times in the Gospels alone. Most translators erroneously accepted the Vaticanus and Siniaticus simply because they believed them to be old.
The modern versions had to mainly translate from the Textus Receptus, since it contains the majority of the surviving Greek. But whenever the Textus Receptus disagrees with the Vaticanus or Siniaticus, the 19th and 20th century translators preferred these corrupt manuscripts over the "Received Text" (58).
There are 5,309 surviving Greek manuscripts that contain all or part of the New Testament. These agree together 95% of the time. The other 5% accounts for the difference between the KJV and other versions. Of the four uncials, Aleph (Siniaticus), B (Vaticanus), C, and D. Burgon writes: "All four are discovered on careful scrutiny to differ essentially, not only from the 99 out of 100 of the whole body of extant, but even from one another (Burgon 120). Riplinger calls this the 1% minority text, which supplanted the Majority Text with it's almost two millennia standing (Riplinger 475). Two professors, Brooke Foss Westcott and Fenton John Anthony Hort, at Cambridge University did not agree with the King James Bible, so they wrote their own revised text using these 1% of the manuscripts in addition to the Textus Receptus to form a "New" Greek Text which has been used for all subsequent English American versions since 1881. Biblical scholars of the time called Westcott and Hort's Greek Version:
"strongly radical and revolutionary," and "deviating the farthest possible from the Received Text" (432). Half of the Church of England at the time scorned Westcott and Hort's work, as did the American branch of the Episcopal Church (435). John Burgon, the Dean of Westminster, and the pre-eminent Greek textual scholar of the day, said: ...the Greek Text which they have invented proves to be hopelessly depraved throughout...It was deliberately invented...The underlying Greek is an entirely new thing, is a manufactured article throughout...The new Greek Text...is utterly inadmissible...Proposing to enquire [sic] into the merits of the recent revision of the Bible, we speedily became aware that...the underlying Greek had been completely refashioned throughout. It was not so much a new version as [it was a] New Greek Text [which] was full of errors from beginning to end...Shame on...those most incompetent men who finding themselves in an evil hour occupied themselves...with falsifying the inspired Greek Text...Who will venture to predict the amount of mischief which must follow, if the New Greek Text...should become used (Burton 114).
Hort and Westcott are more liberal than most bible scholars. Hort admits: "...I perhaps have more in common with the liberal party than with others...I look upon freedom and a wide toleration as indispensable (Riplinger 628). Hort and Westcott gave a more liberal translation, while the scribes and monks that worked on the King James Version translated it with more scrutiny.
Hort's heir was Eberhard Nestle, who continued the liberal translations from the New Greek Text. In 1898 Nestle cloned the text for a new generation of bible critics when he published his Nestle-Aland Text. Riplinger claims it would shock even the most liberal reader with all of its deletions and could not be sold as a "New Testament" (493). Nestle's own statement in the preface of the Nestle-Aland Text cautions readers that it is not the Traditional Greek Text, but rather a "Kind of New Textus Receptus" (493). Almost all the modern versions are based on the Nestle-Aland, such as the NASB (New American Standard Bible), NIV, NKJV, etc.. Clarence Larkin suggests there are three ways to read the Bible: figuratively, symbolically, and literally (Larkin 2). But, writers of the modern versions translate the bible liberally, and have no respect for Christian doctrines. So they feel freer to change, add to, and subtract words, phrases, or sentences.
The transition from the King James Bible to recent versions is based on the assumption that the KJV is old and difficult to understand. Advertisers of the new bibles often call the KJV "obscure, confusing, and sometimes incomprehensible (Riplinger 195). But, actually the KJV is easier to read than other versions. The KJV uses one or two syllable words, while new versions substitute complex multi-syllable words or phrases. One new version editor shows his problem with proper English when he says about his version "It is much more clear than the King James Version" (Foster 94). Riplinger replies "Anyone who would say more clear instead of "clearer" can be counted on to continue this terrible grammar in their translations" (Riplinger 212). The Flesch-Kincaid research company uses a Grade Level Indicator. They use the formula .39 x average number of words per sentence + 11.8 x average number of syllables per word - 15.59 = grade level (Riplinger 196). According to this formula, the King James Version is the easiest to read compared to the modern versions. The following chart compares the first chapter of the first and last books of both the Old and New Testament:
Gen. 1 Mal. 1 Matt. 1 Rev. 1 Average Grade Level
KJV 4.4 4.6 6.7 7.5 5.8
NASB 4.7 5.1 6.8 7.7 6.1
NKJV 5.2 4.6 10.3 7.7 6.9
TEV 5.1 5.4 11.8 6.4 7.2
NIV 5.1 4.8 6.4 7.1 8.4
By this chart, the King James Bible is definitely the easiest bible to read. Even a fifth grader can read it! In the King James Bible, Revelation 22:18,19 says: For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. Modern versions not only add to the King James Bible and the Textus Receptus, but they also take away from them. For example, most modern versions leave out this before mentioned passage (Revelation 22:18,19).
One of the strongest pieces of evidence is John 18:36. In this verse all modern versions leave out the word "now," whereas it is in the King James Version and in every known Greek manuscript. A Wheaton professor, Dr. Gordon Fee agrees: "The contemporary translations, as a group, have one thing in common: they tend to agree against the KJV...in omitting hundreds of words, phrases, and verses" (Riplinger 28). Some of these words or phrases don't have much value, yet, many versions also take out words that do have a lot of meaning and sometimes even whole doctrines. The introduction to the Catholic edition warns: This translation cannot be used as a basis for Doctrinal or traditional disputes...People from various doctrinal traditions may...be chagrined at the particular translations found within this volume (Kohlenberger 89). Not only do modern versions take away from and add to the KJV and Textus Receptus, but they also do it in a sanctimonious way. The Living Bible is a good example:
KJV: "thou wast altogether born in sins."
The Living Bible : You illegitimate bastard."
KJV: "Thou son of a perverse rebellious woman."
The Living Bible: "You son of a bitch."
Good News for Modern Man says in Acts 8:20:
"May you and your money go to Hell."
KJV: "Thy money perish with thee."
This language by the modern versions is very unbecoming for a book that is supposed to represent the Church.
The KJV has the greatest claim to be the best translation. The New Greek Text differs from the Textus Receptus in over 5,337 places. The KJV comes from the purest set of manuscripts and was translated by scholars (under the authority of King James), not by liberal university professors with no conviction to translate it accurately. The King James Bible has sold over 809,000,000 copies in 300 languages since 1611, and is the only Bible that is not copyrighted. All modern versions written by men are copyrighted and require the author's permission in writing for one to copy it at length.
Foster, Lewis. Selecting a Translation of the Bible.
Cinncinnati, Ohio: Standard Publishing Co., 1976.
Riplinger, G.A. New Age Bible Versions.
Munroe Falls, Ohio: A.V. Publications, 1993.
Burton, Barry. Let's Weigh The Evidence.
Chino, CA: Chick Publications, 1983.
Burgon, John William. The Revision Revised.
Collingwood, NewJersey: The Bible for Today Inc., 1981.
Larkin, Clarence. Dispensational Truth.
Glendale, PA: Rev. Clarence Larkin Est., 1918.
Kohlenberger, John. Words About the Word.: Reference Grand Rapids, Michigan Library, 1987.
King James Bible. 1611.