To KJV or not to KJV?

Should Christians use the King James Version of the Bible exclusively as the only correct translation?  Some believers assert the only version or translation that should be used by Christians is the King James Version.  They call it the “Authorized Version,” as if God authorized it.  Many of them don’t realize that God did not authorize it.  King James authorized it as a response to the Geneva Bible which undermined the doctrine “that kings had been ordained by God to rule the nations of the world, to promote justice, and to dispense wisdom.  It was, therefore, imperative that kings should be respected and obeyed unconditionally and in all circumstances. The ample notes provided by the Geneva Bible taught otherwise. Tyrannical kings should not be obeyed; indeed, there were excellent reasons for suggesting that they should be overthrown.”[1] 


The King James Version is certainly not without error. 



Some issues with the King James Version

Resurrection FROM the Dead

In the case of Philippians 3:11, the NIV comes closer to the original meaning of the Greek:

Philippians 3:11 and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. NIV


The King James Version says:

Philippians 3:11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. KJV

This is incorrect and leads to a common misunderstanding of the resurrection.



If Christ is coming to raise the righteous 1000 years before the unrighteous, it would be natural and imperative that the former should be called a resurrection from the dead, or out of the dead, —the rest of the dead are left.


W. E. Blackstone relates that the resurrection nekron or ton nekron (of the dead) is applied to both classes because all will be raised.  But the resurrection ek nekron (out of the dead) is not once applied to the ungodly.  The latter phrase is used 49 times, always with the idea of out of the dead.


Philippians 3:11 is used in a remarkably significant manner.  The NIV renders it ‘resurrection from the dead,’ which is closer to the meaning than the KJV which renders it ‘resurrection of the dead.”  The Greek preposition ek is used in duplicate form.  The phrase is teen exanastasin teen ek nekron, and the literal translation is “the out resurrection from among the dead.  This particular construction gives special emphasis that this is the resurrection “out from among the dead.”[2]



“From the dead” agrees with Jesus’ statement in Luke 20:35.

“But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: ”




The King James Version misses the same opportunity as almost all other versions in Mt.14:27:

But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.


It should read “I AM”.


The Greek is the same as in Jn.8:58

Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.


“I AM” is a claim to deity.  It is the name for God the Jews would not say.  It is the same as the tetragrammaton: YHWH.


In 2021, on GAB, I encountered a group of false teachers who say Jesus is NOT God, and that in this verse, there should be no comma.  They try to say Jesus was saying that before Abraham existed, God existed.  That’s nonsense on its face as that concept was never in question by Jesus’ audience. 


If you remove the comma, grammatically, you have an incomplete sentence.  “Before Abraham was I am…” A what?  Abraham was a what before he was I am?  If you then say the “I am” is YHWH, you’re saying, “Before Abraham was YHWH.” The sentence is incomplete. Without the comma the sentence stops abruptly before a complete statement is made.  Commas are important. 


For example:

“Let’s eat Grandma.”  versus

“Let’s eat, Grandma.”


“I love cooking my family and my pets.” versus

“I love cooking, my family, and my pets.”


“Rachel Ray finds inspiration in cooking her family and her dog.” versus

“Rachel Ray finds inspiration in cooking, her family, and her dog.”




Strong’s number 3438.  μονή monē; from 3306; an abiding, an abode:—abode(1), dwelling places(1).


John 14:2

[2] In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

This is one of the aberrations of the King James Version that was inserted for the same reason King James authorized the King James Version to be written.  As a response to the newly released Geneva Bible which cast doubt on the “Divine Right of Kings,” the word Mansion was likely used to diffuse the anger of the people in that the king is wealthy on the poverty of the people.  The thought being that in Heaven you will receive your reward, including a mansion, so don’t begrudge the wealth God has given your king in this world. 


There is no other reason to have translated this Greek word as “mansion.”  The word means “abode” or “dwelling place.”  The idea Jesus is presenting is that there is room for all in His Father’s house.




Strong’s number 371.  ἀναξίως  anaxiōs; adv. from 370; in an unworthy manner:—unworthy manner(1).


1 Corinthians 11:27 and 29

[27] Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

[29] For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.


This is either our misunderstanding of 1611/1789 English or an egregious error on the part of the King James Version Translators.  None of us is worthy of the Lord Jesus Christ and what He has done for us.  But we can hold his memory in proper regard and examine our lives accordingly.

An Inn?

Were Mary and Joseph sent away from an Inn? 


Strong’s number 2646.  κατάλυμα   kataluma; from 2647 (in the sense of to lodge); a lodging place:—guest room(2), inn(1).


Luke 2:7

[7] And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.


Mary and Joseph didn’t seek a room at an Inn. The taxation decree required Joseph to travel to the town of his lineage. They would likely have gone to a relative’s house in Bethlehem. The word translated as “Inn” should be “guest room,” the upper room of the house.


Most versions make this error also.  This is one case where translators have consistently failed us, being biased by their own preconceived ideas.  It is possible the King James Version placed the incorrect notion in subsequent translators’ minds, and most were not willing to challenge it.  The word is the same word Jesus used in Mark 14:14 and Luke 22:11 when He instructed His disciples to find a “guest room” to eat the Passover.

Mark 14:14

[14] Say to the owner of the house he enters, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?' [15] He will show you a large upper room, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.”


Luke 22:11-12

[11] and say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?' [12] He will show you a large upper room, all furnished. Make preparations there.”

This guest room (or upper room) is where family guests would stay when they arrived from out of town. This was the cultural norm of the time. So, they weren’t turned away from an Inn and Jesus wasn’t born in a stable.

See Answers in Genesis: “Born in a Barn?”




Isa.14:29 Rejoice not thou, whole Palestina, because the rod of him that smote thee is broken: for out of the serpent's root shall come forth a cockatrice, and his fruit shall be a fiery flying serpent.


Palestina is incorrect: Should have either been Phillistia or “pelesheth” which means “rolling in dust”.




The word “whale” should not appear in the Bible.  It appears in the King James Version four times.  Three times in the Old Testament (Hebrew) and one time in the New Testament (Greek).  Each time, the word should have been translated “sea monster.”

8577. תַּנִּין  tannin (1072c); from the same as 8565 ; serpent, dragon, sea monster :—dragon(2), monster(3), sea monster(1), sea monsters(3), serpent(3), serpents(2).


Some translators used “huge fish,” or “great fish,” which is at least more acceptable than “whale.”  There was no reason for the KJV translators to use “whale,” except perhaps that they rejected the idea of sea monsters.


Genesis 7:12

[21] And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.


The correct translation should be “sea monsters.”

Ezekiel 32:2

[2] Son of man, take up a lamentation for Pharaoh king of Egypt, and say unto him, Thou art like a young lion of the nations, and thou art as a whale in the seas: and thou camest forth with thy rivers, and troubledst the waters with thy feet, and fouledst their rivers.


The correct translation should be “monster in the sea.”


Job 7:12

[12] Am I a sea, or a whale, that thou settest a watch over me?


The correct translation should be “sea monster.”


[40] For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

2785. κῆτος   kētos ; a prim. word; a huge fish :—sea monster(1).


The correct translation should be “sea monster,” “huge fish,” or “great fish.”




Coat of Many Colours

Genesis 37:3

[3] Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours. (KJV)


[3] Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made a richly ornamented robe or him. (NIV)



[3] Now Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his sons, because he was the son of his old age. And he made him a robe of many colors.

*[See Septuagint, Vulgate; or (with Syriac) a robe with long sleeves. The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain; also verses 23, 32][See Septuagint, Vulgate; or (with Syriac) a robe with long sleeves. The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain; also verses 23,32] (ESV)


[3] And Israel hath loved Joseph more than any of his sons, for he is a son of his old age, and hath made for him a long coat; (YLT)


[3] Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children because he was the son of his old age, and he made him a [distinctive] long tunic with sleeves. (AMP)

Most misunderstand this verse to mean a coat of different hues.  However, in the 17th century, “colours” meant features or folds.



There are other discrepancies with the King James Version.  I hope to add to this document as God permits.


The biggest problem I see with the King James Version is that it is a foreign language.  What’s the point of having a translation if it’s not in your language?  We don’t speak 18th Century English, and since that is the case, we misunderstand many things that were translated correctly and easily understood for the people of that age.  However, much of the King James Version requires translation for our understanding today.


The best choice is to keep several versions open whenever you study the Bible, as well as a Greek and Hebrew dictionary nearby.   I use Pocket Bible: Multiple versions simultaneously and Strong’s Hebrew and Greek dictionaries.  It runs on Windows, Android, and iOS.


“The extent to which the Word of God is incoherent to us is the extent to which it is no use to us.”

God of the Possible, Dr. Gregory A. Boyd, Baker Books, Second Printing July 2000, p.92


In the Fiery Furnace

After Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were thrown into the fiery furnace, they looked in, and saw four men inside.



[25] He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.



[25] He said, “Look. I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.”


None of the many other versions I have seen say “Son of God” in this passage.  What’s more, The Persians were not likely to know anything about the Son of God, but King James’ scholars did.  So, this is yet another place where the King James Version is suspect. 

Other Versions are not Without Error

I’d like to mention that no versions are without errors or anomalies.  For example, comparing the 1995 New American Standard Bible (NASB) with the 1961 New American Standard Version (NASV), we see a few issues right off the bat.

(Note: the NASB is not the NASV.)


The NASB does not contain the “vile footnotes” regarding “oldest and best manuscripts” which refer to Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus which are both corrupt documents.  They are very old.  However, the only reason they survived in their old state is because the monks who transcribed manuscripts rejected them because they were corrupt.  Unfortunately, the manuscripts they preferred became worn out through use in making more manuscripts.  Vaticanus was found in a back room of a monastery, away from the other manuscripts and Sinaiticus was found in a trash pile in preparation for burning.  So while Vaticanus and Sinaiticus are indeed two of the oldest manuscripts that have been found, they are by far two of the worst manuscripts to cite, having visible alterations and deleted passages.


Jn.9:38 The NASV has a footnote: worship of creature or creator


Another footnote in the NASV seems to reject Jesus’ eternal existence:

John 1:30 NASV - "After me cometh a man who has a higher rank than I, for he existed before me." A footnote reads, "lit. has become before me."


The KJV seems to be more correct in Rom.14:10

“…we shall all stand before the judgement seat of Christ.

Compare that with 2Cor.5:10, which is consistent.


In the NASV Matthew 27:54 says “a son of God.”  The newer NASB does not have this questionable phrasing.  Even so, this statement was made by the centurion, so it doesn’t really detract from Jesus’ deity.


[2] From The Pemillennial Position of the Primitive Church, J. R. Clark, The Word and Work, 1958