About Jesus Steve Sweetman
Is The King James Bible The Real Bible?
The question has been asked, "is the King James Version of the Bible (KJV) the real Bible"? Of course this question implies that other translations of the Bible aren't real, and not worth reading. I know we all have our favourite versions of the Bible, and in many cases that depends on how we were raised, or what Bible we read when we first came to Jesus.
My father was very dogmatic on this point. He thought that the KJV was the only real Bible because it was older and therefore closer to the first century Biblical writers. With all respect to my father, I am sorry to say that this is poor logic. The KJV was translated from manuscripts just as any modern translation is today. These manuscripts are all copies of the original writings, not the originals themselves. So just because the KJV is old does not make it more accurate. In my thinking, the opposite is true.
When the KJV was translated no one understood what "Koine Greek" meant. The New Testament was written in what you might call "street level Greek", or "Koine Greek", not in Classical Greek as was other contemporary writings of that day. It wasn't until the 20th century with the discovery of old manuscripts in Egypt that we understood the difference between these 2 writing styles.
The discovery of these scrolls show that the normal language of an ordinary person was not spoken in Classical Greek, like formal writings would have been written in. This informal Greek is known as "Koine Greek". The Greek word "koinonia" means common, thus "Koine Greek" was the common language of the ordinary man. This is significant because this tells me that the Lord, when inspiring the New Testament writers, wanted His Word to be understood by the ordinary person, something that was not held by church fathers in the Dark Ages when they refused to allow the ordinary person to have a Bible. The usage of common Greek was not understood when the King James Bible was first published in 1611. This is an example of something we know now, that the KJV translators did not know. Thus older is not better.
You might want to ask this question as well. If the KJV is the "only authorized" version, what revision of the KJV is more authorized? Since 1611 there has been many revisions to the original KJV. Many probably don't realize that the KJV version they read today is not exactly the same version that King James commissioned. Therefore there is no logic in saying that your KJV is the only authorized version, because within this version are many sub-versions.
Another thought to point out is that the KJV is written in English. If the English KJV is the only real Bible, what about all of those poor souls who can't read English. They have missed out on reading the real Bible.
Really, when it comes right down to it, the "only authorized version" is the original writings themselves, and they are nowhere to be found. The orthodox view of "inspiration of Scripture" has always stated that inspiration only applies to the original documents, not any copies or translations. So how could you say that the KJV is the real Bible.
One more thought before closing. When it comes to translating from one language to another there are a number of obstacles to climb over. Each translator may have a different method of climbing over these obstacles and therefore the result of their work differs from translator to translator. Thus we have our different versions of God's Word. Not one version is perfectly right in its translation, but close enough for us to be able to understand what our Lord wants us to know.
This is a very large subject to speak about and these words have not done the topic justice. The bottom line is that there is no real authorized version. There are various translations, and paraphrased versions of the Bible. We all have our preferences for one reason or another, yet the debate over the KJV being the only authorized version should have ended decades ago.