Arkiv

Examples of KJV verses which could be better translated

I certainly couldnt be a ”KJV-onlyist” because I prefer to read the Bible in my own tongue which is Swedish. I can’t even recall if I’ve ever held a King James Bible in my hands at any time, so I wouldn’t be able to ”qualify” as a KJV-onlyist. Whenever I do need to express myself with English Bible verses, I prefer using the KJV since I believe it’s the best (or one of the best) translation available in English, but it’s still not the ”original” and I wouldn’t call it ”perfect”. If the KJV was ”perfect” then you would never have to go back to the Greek/Hebrew/Aramaic at any time for references and to get a more clear view, because the KJV is supposed to stand on its own legs and able to solve all queries. But also KJV-onlyists sometimes go back to the Greek when they want to see the more ”original” meaning of a passage, and this is evidence in itself that KJV is inferior and not ”perfect”. Sometimes it’s hard also for native English speakers to understand some of the words in the King James Bible. They may have to look up the meaning of words and there are also words which have changed meanings over the years. If the KJV was ”perfect”, the language used should always be up to date, but this is an impossible demand for any Bible translation.

Some suggest that people who don’t have English as their native tongue could still use their own Bible version of ”Textus Receptus”, and be a onlyist” when it comes to this particular version, but not all languages have a translation based on Textus Receptus. Since the year 2003, there is a Swedish translation rather close to the ”KJV” because Textus Receptus is used as a source (or the main source), but only the New Testament is translated, and this book is also sold out and not accessible any more (although another edition is on the way in the future). Besides, I’ve seen examples of errors in this translation, like adding question marks where there are none in the original Greek. Neither can we conclude that ”the very first Bible translation” from the original language to another language is the superior one for that language. This simply isn’t always the case.

Why would God select the King James Bible of all versions to be supernaturally preserved? Because he likes English speakers the best? If KJV was superior than all other versions, then all those who are not English native speakers would have to sit by the feet of those who are, to learn the ”real” truth. As soon as there is a differences of opinions concerning a Bible passage, then the person who is a native English speaker could claim to be more accurate since he is basing his understanding on the KJV whereas the other person uses a translation in another language. This doesn’t make sense. There are many examples of where a particular expression can be better captured in Spanish, Swedish, or some other language, rather than in English. (In other cases it might be the other way around.) It’s the original Greek, Hebrew and Arameic which should correct us and not a secondary translation. As soon as you translate a sentence from one language to another, there is always a risk that the perfect nuance of the original language gets lost. Not so that it will change the meaning, but there might still be nuances which are hard to express perfectly in another language.

Anyway, here are some examples where KJV has an inferior translation than other versions in English. (Note, that I still feel the KJV is the best translation overall in English.)

Titus 2:13 
looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus;
The New American Standard Bible 

Titus 2:13 
Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;  
The King James Version 

In the NASB ”our great God and Savior”refers to one person, Jesus Christ Himself. This makes the deity of Christ clear, by calling Him ”our great God.” The KJV opens up for the possibility that ”the great God” and ”our Saviour Jesus Christ” may refer to two distinct persons.

Romans 9:5 
Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised!
The New International Version 

Romans 9:5 
Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever.
The King James Version 

Whereas the NIV proclaims that Christ ”is God over all,” the KJV avoids this claim to Christ’s deity, stating only that Christ is ”over all.”

John 5:18 
For this cause therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.
The New American Standard Bible

John 5:18 
Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God. 
The King James Version

The deity of Christ is better shown in the NASB, because only Jesus had a completely unique relationship with God, where God is His ”own” Father. God was no one else’s Father in this unique way. If we all had God as our Father in this unique way, then we would also be making ourselves equal to God.

Matthew 26:63-64 
But Jesus remained silent.  The high priest said to him, ”I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.”  64 ”Yes, it is as you say,” Jesus replied.
The New International Version 

Matthew 26:63-64 
But Jesus held his peace.  And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God.  64 Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said.
The King James Version

The NIV makes it clear that Jesus’ response to the high priest, literally ”you say,” is a Greek idiom meaning ”yes, it is as you say,” (i.e. ”what you have said is true”).  Therefore, Jesus’ response is an indication of that He claimed to be the Christ, the Son of God. The KJV, fails to translate this idiom into its full meaning for modern readers, and consequently leaves doubt as to whether Jesus actually claimed to be the Son of God.

Revelation 1:8 
”I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God . . .
The New American Standard Bible

Revelation 1:8 
I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord . . .
The King James Version

The KJV omits the word ”God” (Greek theos), supplying instead only the word ”Lord,” which by itself does not necessarily denote deity.

Hebrews 1:3 
And He [Jesus] is the radiance of His [God’s] glory and the exact representation of His
nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power.  When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high;
The New American Standard Bible

Hebrews 1:3 
Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;  
The King James Version

The NASB makes it clear that the nature of Jesus is precisely identical to the nature of God Himself (”the exact representation of His nature”). The KJV diminishes this expression to merely the ”image” of God.  Given that all human beings are said elsewhere to be made in the image of God (Genesis 2), it becomes difficult to establish from the KJV rendering of this passage anything more than the humanity of Jesus.

Another evidence that the KJV is not ”perfect” is the below verse.

Hebr. 6:4For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. 

The word IF is not in the Greek in verse 6!

Yet, this word is what many theologians base their understanding of when it comes to this verse.  Consider what Adam Clarke wrote about this and the aorist tense:

”And having fallen away” I can express my own mind on this translation nearly in the words of Dr. Macknight: ‘The participles who were enlightened, have tasted, and were made partakers, being aorists, are properly rendered by our translators in the past time; wherefore parapesontas, being an aorist, ought likewise to have been translated in the past time, ”HAVE fallen away”. Never­theless, our translators, following Beza, who with­out any authority from ancient MSS. has inserted in his version the word ”if” have rendered this clause, IF they fall away, that this text might not appear to contradict the doctrine of the perse­verance of the saints. But as no translator should take upon him to add to or alter the Scriptures, for the sake of any favourite doctrine, I have trans­lated parapesontas in the past time, ”have fallen away” according to the true import of the word, as standing in connection with the other aorists in the preceding verses.

(Theodore Beza is John Calvin’s successor.) Young’s literal translation reads:

”And having fallen away, again to renew them to reformation, having crucified again to themselves the Son of God, and exposed to public shame” (v. 6).

More articles concerning errors in the KJV can be read here and here.