The 400-year-old translation of King James Bible still has loyal following

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  • brokenclay Scottsdale, AZ
    May 16, 2011 11:12 a.m.

    The KJV is not a perfect translation. Nor is any other translation. To ascribe divine perfection to a man-made translation is at the very least highly presumptuous. It is telling people that God said something that he never did, which is dangerous (Joseph Smith is in the same boat). Dr. James D. Price's book, King James Onlyism: A New Sect, is a great corrective to KJO thinking. To any of my KJO brothers or sisters out there who read this, I would implore you to look into what the "other side" of the controversy is saying. This is a heresy in the truest sense of the word: it is dividing the Body and destroying faith.

    Historic fundamentalists were not KJO. The Reformers were great promoters of varied translation work. KJO promoters have denied this heritage and come full circle back to the Roman Catholic teaching -- only back then, it was the Vulgate that was absolutely perfect and all the other translations were perversions, including the KJV. The same thing happened in the early church with the Septuagint. Please recognize that you are repeating the mistakes of history!

  • my2bits Morgan, UT
    May 16, 2011 10:23 a.m.

    Whats interesting is that whether its a rope or a camel, we can learn something and apply it in our own lives. The Lord works in mysterious ways. What we need to avoid is the contention.

  • Andermart Pullman, WA
    May 15, 2011 8:05 a.m.

    And one more thing about William Tyndale; though burned at the stake in 1536 and unavailable to assist in the KJV, he had an incredible influence upon the KJV. His phrases and sentence construction are what gives the KJV it's unique feel. Over 83% of William Tyndale's translations (he published three successively improved versions) are preserved in the KJV, and he did his translations while hiding from and dodging authorities intent on silencing him. He didn't have scores of scholars assisting him or a King interested in making his way easier, but he performed most of his translation work alone while on the run. I admire his spunk and tenacity, his knowledge and his courage, but especially his faith. Mankind must have the scriptures for themselves. I am just glad he thought it worthwhile to make the Bible accessible to commoners like myself.

  • Andermart Pullman, WA
    May 15, 2011 8:05 a.m.

    What I like about the KJV is it's phrase construction. No modern Bible translation comes close to that, in my opinion. I don't want a Bible that reads like a modern novel. I want to read one that feels different from modern books, one that edifies and ennobles. I especially love how the New Testament rolls off the tongue like honey. When I read the words and phrases of the KJV I feel more like I am reading the words of God, and much of that has to do with the contribution and genius of William Tyndale. I enjoy the mental stretching I sometimes have to do to explore additional meanings and layered nuances in the KJV that are lacking in more modern deliveries.

  • greenman108 Petaluma, CA
    May 14, 2011 6:14 p.m.

    I love this part of the DN story: " this 400-year-old translation "preserves the very words of God in the form in which He wished them to be represented in the universal language of these last days: English.""
    This is some of kind of English-centric interpretation which apparently presumes both "last days" ie end times, for us all, & the supremacy of English in the view of the Divine Person. The quoted man bypasses the fact that the source materials that were the sources of the KJV were in other languages - as if the Divine Person scorns those. Wow!

  • greenman108 Petaluma, CA
    May 14, 2011 6:05 p.m.

    poster wrote It is not true that we do not possess the original text of the Bible. What we do not possess are the original manuscripts. We have accurate well- preserved copies of the original text. There are some 5,700 early N.T. MS, and they contain all or nearly all of the original text.
    Original text? Not. We have a lot of books in 4 languages OTHER than the spoken dialect used by the central figures in the story. therefore they are all translations, at best.
    Worse, I have seen computer analysis published by the Church of Christ in the late 1960's which claimed that only 1/4th of the N.T. was consistent. Another 1/4 was close. The rest appears to computer analysis to have been creative inventions. Some of the key material in people's faith may be creative inventions, written by teams of collaborators.

  • Idaho Coug Meridian, Idaho
    May 14, 2011 5:44 p.m.

    Thanks for your feedback Sharrona. I would be interested in your opinion of the scholarly belief that some of the original NT texts are believed to have been written not by any of the original 12 apostles but by people who heard the apostles tell stories of their experiences with Jesus many years after Jesus' death?

    There is a lot of criticism about Joseph Smith's versions of the first vision because they contradict each other (like some NT books do) and were written several years after the alleged event (like NT books were). But at least it is JS himself claiming to recall what occurred to him rather than someone like Brigham Young's scribe writing what he claims Brigham Young recalled JS say about the first vision (which is my understanding how some of the NY books came to be). I personally wish JS would have come up with one story and stuck with it but I thought this was at least a comparison.

    It just seems like there are a lot of historical questions around just how accurately the NT (I think the OT is a whole different story) reflects the words/actions of Jesus.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    May 14, 2011 1:54 p.m.

    Idaho coug: Bart D. Ehrman's,"Misquoting Jesus. There are Christian scholars like Daniel B Wallace who debate Dr. Ehrmans. The Bible Manuscripts are like a 10,000 piece puzzle and we have and extra 50 pieces,said James White, while debating Bart Ehrmans.
    It is not true that we do not possess the original text of the Bible. What we do not possess are the original manuscripts. We have accurate well- preserved copies of the original text. There are some 5,700 early N.T. MS, and they contain all or nearly all of the original text . The original text can be reconstructed 99+% accuracy. There is a distinction between the text and the truth of the text. While we have 99% of the original text,100 % of the truth comes through. Over 26,000 N.T. quotes from the disciples of the apostles and early church fathers can reconstruct the N.T. less 8 verses. Example, If the original triangle was burned in a museum we have enough copies to reconstruct it.
    Jeff,the JST helps and I appreciate that? How about some texual examples. Actually Lower criticism refutes the inspired version.

  • Jeff Temple City, CA
    May 14, 2011 12:43 p.m.

    I acknowledge that there are translation errors in the KJV. Chaim Potok, who helped in the translation of the new Jewish edition of the Bible talked about some of those (including the beloved 23rd Psalm).

    The Book of Mormon, the Joseph Smith translation, and modern revelation help Latter-day Saints with their approach to the KJV, and I appreciate that.

    But more than all that, like so many said in the article, I love the poetry of the KJV. I remember when astronauts quoted from a different translation during a Christmas Day broadcast in the early 70s, and it seemed so cold and matter-of-fact to me after the poetry of Luke 2 in the KJV. I don't think it's hyperbole at all to suggest that all modern English is rooted so deeply in Shakespeare and the King James Bible that it's impossible to go a day without feeling refreshed by one of the two.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    May 14, 2011 10:47 a.m.

    The translators of the King James did their best to make an accurate translation. Since then many errors and suboptimal translations have been identified.

    I like the King James because the language is more poetic than the other translations. Take 23 Psalms and Luke chapter 2 as examples of this.

    I would like to see a modified King James version where the identified translation errors and suboptimal translations are fixed.

  • Idaho Coug Meridian, Idaho
    May 14, 2011 9:43 a.m.

    We don't actually have the original writings of the Bible. What we have are copies of these writing, made years later - in most cases, many years later. None of these copies is completely accurate, since the scribes who produced them inadvertently and/or intentionially changed them in places. All scribes did this. So rather than actually having the inspired words of the original writings, what we have are the error-ridden copies of the original manuscripts.

    This from Bart D. Ehrman's, "Misquoting Jesus - The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why"

    Just started reading it. I have always been very interested in how and why the Bible became what it is today. Arguments have raged for years over single words and phrases in the Bible. And yet it can be hard to actually say whether those words were actually spoken by Jesus, Moses or others that the Bible attributes them to.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    May 14, 2011 8:44 a.m.

    greenman 108 said, The original Greek tells not of a camel, but a rope (kamilos ). When it was translated into Latin, kamilos was confused with kamelos ( camel).
    Wrong, (Kamelos,#2574) from a Hebrew word signifying a bearer,carrier (Mt 19:24). Rope( schoinion,#4979) a small cords or ropes of a boat. Google Strongs Greek concordance #s.

    John Harrison,It turns out that there is no evidence either archeological or textual of such a gate. This idea is an 11th century invention. Wrong, Codex Vaticanus and Sinaiticus 4th century MS support,Mt 19:24 and others prior to the 11th century.
    Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life foe us(1John 3:16 KJV). God on the cross. One of my favorite KJV translations,Can you explain this translation?

  • John Harrison Sandy, UT
    May 14, 2011 12:05 a.m.


    I suggest you read up on the camel thing. It turns out that there is no evidence either archeological or textual of such a gate. This idea is an 11th century invention.

    greenman's point about the rope is pretty widely accepted, though there are other biblical examples of phrasings involving shoving animals through small holes (elephant through the eye of a needle) that leave some room for doubt.

    In any case, while the KJV is lovely deserves to be recognized for its very significant contributions, it is a pretty poor translation, especially for modern readers.

    If people want to understand what they are reading they should pick up a modern translation such as the NSRV and compare.

    Moses and Jesus didn't use 400 year old terminology and phrasing when they were on the earth. They used the language of their times. We do ourselves a disservice by reading their words doubly masked both by translation and by grammar, usage, and vocabulary that is 400 years old.

    At some point understanding should trump misguided nostalgia.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    May 13, 2011 11:04 p.m.

    To greenman: In some ways I agree but there is also in the following pertaining to "The eye of the needle" which can be applied as follows: "to a small door or wicket set in or alongside the great gates in the walls of cities; and the assumption has been raised that Jesus had such a wicket in mine when He spoke of the seeming impossibility of a camel passing through a needle's eye. It would be possible though very difficult for a came to squeeze in its way through the little gate, and it could in no wise do so except when relieved of its load and stripped of its harness." Jesus the Christ, page 451.

    Talmadge also brings forth that as the rich man must give all he has and then follow the Savior, one must relieve the burdens and all for the camel to enter the EYE OF THE NEEDLE. The meaning is completely different when put in this perspective thus the KJV would be correctly translated and the so called Greek word to be substituted to be wrong.

  • greenman108 Petaluma, CA
    May 13, 2011 9:41 p.m.

    At the time the King James version was produced, the scholars did not have all the versions of books of the Bible available as are available now. I have read 17 different versions of books of the Bible. About half of them were not found at the time of the KJ version. They conflict each other in important ways. Further, its certain that there are a few trivial mistranslations in the KJ, "camel through the eye of a needle" being my favorite.The original Greek tells not of a camel, but a rope (kamilos ). When it was translated into Latin, kamilos was confused with kamelos ( camel).

    The notion that any given version is the only Divinely Written one is interesting when you observe that the various versions in use by various sects differ, some in important ways.