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Question:

"Why do you use that bloodless and corrupt NIV instead of the Authorized 1611 King James Version?"

Answer:

Is the NIV "bloodless" or "corrupt"? This is an important issue because we need to know which translations of the Bible are trustworthy.

Some people believe that the "Authorized" King James Version of 1611 (the "AV 1611") is the only English version of the Bible which contains the true words of God, and therefore they believe that all modern translations of the Bible are corrupt (such as the NIV). This debate concerning the King James Version vs. the modern translations of the Bible is often referred to as the "KJV-Only Controversy." Some people in the "KJV-Only" group say that God re-inspired the Bible in 1611, and that the AV 1611 is therefore infallible and inerrant. They sometimes even say that the ancient Greek manuscripts should be thrown out or should be changed to reflect what the KJV says (see for example Which Bible? Offsite Link).

In this article we will carefully examine the King James Only controversy in order to determine whether or not the NIV and other modern translations of the Bible are "bloodless" or "corrupt."


A Brief History

First we'll look at some Bible translations throughout history, and we'll see that this type of controversy is nothing new. Sometime around 250 B.C., the Hebrew Scriptures (basically the same as our Old Testament) were translated into Greek. This Greek version of the Old Testament is known as the "Septuagint" because 70 translators worked on this project, and stories began to circulate that there had been divine providence and miraculous inspiration in the creation of the Septuagint. For example, one website says that the Septuagint is "A version of the Bible that is translated into Greek in Alexandria by 70 authors. The authors did not compare their work but produced 70 identical versions." (see Septuagint Offsite Link). Another article says that "The legend was that seventy-two translators worked in individual cells, and when they came together to compare their work, their translations were exactly the same! Many thought that the Septuagint (or LXX for the 70 elders) was divinely inspired" (see Feisty Jerome; His Bible Legacy Lasted Over 1,000 Years Offsite Link). So the Septuagint was a new translation of the Bible which some people felt was inspired by God, which is exactly how the AV 1611 is viewed by many people in the KJV-Only group today. As we can see, this type of controversy is nothing new.

In the early fifth century A.D., a man named Jerome translated the Bible into Latin. His new version of the Bible nearly caused a riot, but it was not because anyone felt that his version was inaccurate, it was simply because his version was different and unfamiliar (The King James Only Controversy, James R. White, p.11-12). For example, one author says that "Jerome was often criticized for using the Hebrew text rather than the Septuagint as the basis for his translation, but he rightly argued that the Septuagint was not inspired and that a better translation could be made from the Hebrew, the original language of the Old Testament." (see Feisty Jerome; His Bible Legacy Lasted Over 1,000 Years Offsite Link). Jerome was accused of "changing" the Word of God, which is exactly the accusation that the KJV-Only group makes against the modern Bible translations today. The Christians of Jerome's day were not taking the ancient Hebrew manuscripts as the standard, but instead they were taking the Septuagint translation as the standard. The "Septuagint-Only" group (so to speak) believed that the Septuagint translation was the Word of God, just like the KJV-Only group believes that the AV 1611 translation is the Word of God today. So this type of controversy is nothing new.

A thousand years later, Jerome's translation of the Bible had become known as the Latin Vulgate, and it was "accepted as the authorized Latin version of the Western church" (The History of Christianity, Dr. Tim Dowley, p.196.). Then along came a man named Erasmus, who published the first printed edition of the Greek New Testament in 1516 (The History of Christianity, Dr. Tim Dowley, p.365). His New Testament had the Greek text side-by-side with his own Latin translation. Erasmus used the ancient Greek manuscripts to try to create a more accurate Latin translation than the Latin Vulgate, since the Vulgate had been copied and re-copied so many times that copying errors had crept into it. Since the Latin Vulgate was now considered by many people to be the Word of God, Erasmus was labeled as a heretic by the "Vulgate-Only" group (so to speak) for "tampering" with the Word of God (see The King James Only Controversy, James R. White, p.16-17). So again, this type of controversy is nothing new.

Notice the progression here. The Septuagint translation was considered by many people to be divinely inspired, just as the KJV is considered to be divinely inspired by many people in the KJV-Only group today. Then Jerome made a new translation of the Bible, and the Septuagint-Only group accused him of "changing" the Word of God. Eventually, Jerome's version (the Latin Vulgate) became the standard Bible. Then Erasmus made a new translation of the New Testament directly from the Greek manuscripts, and the Vulgate-Only group accused Erasmus of "changing" the Word of God. Then Erasmus' version was used in creating the King James Version, which is now considered to be the divinely inspired Word of God by some people. So today, if anyone makes a new translation of the Bible directly from the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts then the KJV-Only group tends to accuse them of "changing" the Word of God. So this whole controversy is nothing new. History keeps repeating itself.


What Did the KJV Translators Believe?

As we have seen, some people in the KJV-Only group believe that the KJV was re-inspired by God in 1611, and therefore they believe that the KJV is infallible and inerrant. But is that what the KJV translators believed?

Let's go back to Erasmus, whose Greek texts were used in creating the KJV. Many of the arguments which modern translators use when defending their work against KJV-Only attacks are the very same arguments which Erasmus used to defend his work (which became the KJV) against Vulgate-Only attacks. For example, the KJV-Only group often criticizes modern scholars for using the ancient Hebrew and Greek manuscripts, arguing that this implies we must learn Hebrew and Greek in order to understand what the Bible says. Erasmus received the very same criticisms when he published the Greek texts which were used in creating the KJV. He replied that with the help of the ancient Greek manuscripts, many corrupt passages in the Latin Vulgate had been restored, and many passages had been clarified that were being misinterpreted (The King James Only Controversy, James R. White, p.56). One of Erasmus' critics went so far as to say that if the ancient Greek texts differ from the Latin Vulgate, then he would bid the Greeks goodbye and stick to the Latin (The King James Only Controversy, James R. White, p.56). Ironically, some people in the modern KJV-Only group say the same thing about the KJV! Erasmus answered this with a simple question: "What will you do with the errors of the copyists?" Erasmus understood that hand-written copies can contain human errors, which is why he tried to compare all of the Greek manuscripts that he could find in order to determine the most accurate wording. Yet some people in the KJV-Only group claim that the KJV (which was based on Erasmus' work) was divinely inspired. Erasmus went on to say, "Does it not happen frequently that from several faulty manuscripts - though not faulty in the same way - the true and genuine reading is found?" (The King James Only Controversy, James R. White, p.57). Erasmus and others whose work became the basis for the KJV never claimed divine inspiration. In fact, they did exactly what the modern translators have done by comparing as many manuscripts as possible in order to determine the best and most accurate wording. So it turns out that Erasmus (whose Greek texts were used in creating the KJV) refuted many of the arguments which are made by the KJV-Only group.

The KJV translators did not use just one Greek text, but they mainly used the text that Erasmus created, plus the revisions of that text which were done by Stephanus and then Beza (The King James Only Controversy, James R. White, p.62). All three of these men made annotations or margin notes to explain various textual differences that they found in the ancient manuscripts. They made their best judgments during the translation process, and they made a number of revisions and corrections of their work. When there were differences in these sources, the KJV translators had to choose between the different editions made by these men. After the AV 1611 was published, new and corrected versions of the KJV came out in 1612, 1613, 1616, 1629, 1727, and so on (see for example The English Bible from KJV to NIV Offsite Link). It is not likely that any of the KJV translators would have agreed with the KJV-Only group that any edition of the KJV was inerrant or divinely inspired by God.

Also, it is interesting that the KJV-Only group argues against modern translations by saying, "Isn't the KJV good enough for you?", because the very same type of argument was originally made against the KJV itself. In the preface to the AV 1611, the KJV translators replied to this charge by saying that they wanted to make something even better out of that which was already good. Here's a quote from the original preface in the AV 1611:
"Yet for all that, as nothing is begun and perfected at the same time, and the later thoughts are thought to be the wiser: so, if we building upon their foundation that went before us, and being holpen by their labours, do endeavour to make that better which they left so good, no man, we are sure, hath cause to mislike us; they, we persuade ourselves, if they were alive, would thank us" (see point #12:6 in A Reprint of the Original Preface to the King James (Authorized) Version 1611 Offsite Link)
So the people who created the original KJV felt that it is good to build upon earlier foundations in order to make a better translation of the Bible. Notice that if this is true for the KJV then it is also true for the NIV and other modern translations of the Bible. For more on what the KJV translators believed, and how their views contradict the views of the KJV-Only group, see Were the King James Translators KJV Only? Offsite Link.

In addition, the KJV-Only group tends to condemn the modern Bible translations for having footnotes which give alternate wordings for various passages, as if this forces the reader to choose what he wants the Bible to say. Yet the KJV translators themselves included alternate wordings in the margin notes of the KJV, just as the modern translations do. As we have seen, the KJV-Only viewpoint is directly opposite to the viewpoint of the KJV translators, and the KJV translators had to defend themselves against the very same types of attacks that the KJV-Only group makes against the modern translations.


Issues Involved in Making New Translations of the Bible

In order to understand why there are differences between the KJV and the modern translations of the Bible, we need to understand some things about how Bible translations are made. This will help us determine if the KJV-Only group is right in accusing the modern translations of "deleting" doctrines and "changing" the Word of God.

First of all, in some translations Psalms 12:6-7 (which we'll examine in more detail later) says that God will preserve His words, but notice that it does not say that God was specifically referring to the KJV. In a way, God preserved His Word through the explosion of hand-written copies which appeared all across the known world in the centuries after the cross. This prevented any single person or group from having control over the text of Scripture, which would have allowed them to tamper with the text (whether consciously or unconsciously). The fact that copies of Greek manuscripts are nearly identical even though they were made a thousand years apart is a testimony to the overall purity of the New Testament text (see The King James Only Controversy, James R. White, p.47-48).

Now, have you ever wondered why there are differences between Bible translations, and which translation is the most accurate? The differences between the modern translations are due to the different Hebrew and Greek manuscripts that were used, or else they are due to differences in the way that the Hebrew and Greek words were translated into English. Translating from one language into another language is not as straightforward as it might seem. For example, in France they have an expression which says, "j'ai le cafard." As any French-speaking person can tell you, the literal word-for-word translation of that expression is "I have the cockroach." However, the thought-for-thought translation (in other words, the meaning of this expression) is "I am feeling gloomy." You can easily verify this for yourself by going to Yahoo's translation page Offsite Link and selecting "French to English," then typing in "je ai" (which is "j'ai" without the contraction) and clicking the Translate button. You'll see that "je ai" means "I have." Do the same thing with "le cafard" and you'll see that it means "the cockroach." Now do the same thing with "je ai le cafard" and you'll see that this expression translates into English as "I am feeling gloomy." The literal, word-for-word translation of "j'ai le cafard" is "I have the cockroach," but the meaning is "I am feeling gloomy." To give you an example in English, notice that when we say, "Wow, that's cool!", we don't literally mean, "Wow, that has a very low temperature!" The meaning of that expression is something like, "Wow, that's amazing!"

So when people translate something from one language to another, they have to decide whether to use a word-for-word translation or whether to use a thought-for-thought translation. In the case of "j'ai le cafard," should we translate this expression literally as "I have the cockroach," or should we try to interpret it by translating it as "I am feeling gloomy"? We can see that Bible translators often have to choose whether to make a word-for-word translation of a passage or whether to make a thought-for-thought translation. The KJV is more of a word-for-word translation of the Bible, and the NIV is more of a thought-for-thought translation (although sometimes it is considered to be a combination of word-for-word and thought-for-thought). See for example Best Known Translations Offsite Link.

Here's an example from the Bible. In Luke 9:44 the KJV says, "Let these sayings sink down into your ears." That's the literal translation of the Greek into English, but that's not the normal way that we would express this thought. This is why the NIV says, "Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you." The NIV has interpreted the Greek in order to make it easier for modern readers to understand what the Bible says, but the danger is that the interpretation might not be accurate. Therefore, it is usually best to study the Bible by reading several different translations so that you can get a more complete picture of what the original authors said. Fortunately, many modern translations include footnotes to help us understand why the translators chose certain words or phrases, and to give us alternate words or phrases which might be more accurate.

Another issue when translating the ancient manuscripts is that they were hand-copied over and over, and various copying errors crept into them. For example, if you ask ten people to make handwritten copies of a book of the Bible, someone will skip a word or a phrase that everyone else did not skip, or someone will misspell that one word that they always misspell. But all ten people are not likely to make the same mistakes at the same places, so by comparing all ten copies it is easy to recreate the original text. In a similar way, scholars can get close to the original readings of the New Testament by comparing the thousands of ancient Greek manuscripts that are in existence today.

As you can imagine, ancient scribes had poor lighting, and they used writing materials that were not up to today's standards, and their lives were often at risk from those who hated Christians, and they often worked in the cold or the heat, and so on. Sometimes they misspelled words, or left out words, or added words. Consider that if a scribe left out a sentence or two and then realized his mistake, he couldn't just go to his computer and edit his document. Instead, he had to write the missing sentences in the margin so that the next scribe will know that he should add those sentences back into the text of Scripture. However, sometimes scribes would also put little comments in the margins to explain certain passages of Scripture, so the next scribe often didn't know whether those comments should be inserted into the text or not. It seems that they sometimes chose to play it safe by simply adding all of the previous scribe's margin notes into the text of Scripture (The King James Only Controversy, James R. White, p.50). Some people suggest that this is possibly how John 5:4 ended up in many Greek manuscripts, because a scribe might have added a margin note about the angel stirring up the water, and then that note was added into the text by later scribes (see the footnote for John 5:3-4 in the NIV). Again, these textual differences often stand out clearly when thousands of ancient manuscripts are compared.


Attacks Against the Modern Translations by the KJV-Only Group

Have you ever wondered why some people think that the modern translations of the Bible have "deleted" important doctrinal concepts from Scripture? It is simply because those people have compared the modern translations of the Bible against the KJV, and they have found that the wording is different.

Consider that if a modern version of the Bible was made directly from the King James Version, then it would make sense to compare that new version against the KJV to check its accuracy. But the modern translations of the Bible were not made from the KJV (with the partial exception of the New King James Version), so it makes no sense to compare other Bibles against the KJV and then accuse them of "deleting" things from the KJV. Since the KJV is a translation, it must be held to the same standards as all other translations. The KJV is not the absolute standard against which all other translations should be compared. The only question we should ask is, "What did the original author of Scripture say in this verse?" Some of the KJV-Only believers will disagree here, but the words of the KJV do not have priority over the words of the original authors of Scripture.

Since I was asked why I use the "corrupt" NIV, I did a thorough study of this "King James Only" controversy. In explaining why I use the NIV and other modern translations of the Bible, it's necessary to demonstrate why I disagree with the views of the KJV-Only group, and no offense is intended. But if we understand the accusations that the KJV-Only group makes against the modern translations of the Bible, and if we determine that these accusations are not true, then we can be confident about using the modern translations in our Bible studies. Therefore, here are some representative accusations that the KJV-Only group makes against the modern translations of the Bible, and why I believe that these accusations are flawed:

  • The KJV-Only group often uses Colossians 1:2 to accuse the modern translations of "hiding" the Lordship of Jesus. Compare this verse in the KJV and the NIV:
    Colossians 1:2 (KJV): "To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ."

    Colossians 1:2 (NIV): "To the holy and faithful brothers in Christ at Colosse: Grace and peace to you from God our Father."
    The KJV-Only group often claims that the modern translations of the Bible have deleted the phrase, "and the Lord Jesus Christ," in this verse, and they say that this is a conspiracy to "hide" the Lordship of Jesus Christ in the modern translations of the Bible. But many KJV-Only believers might not realize (or they might fail to mention) that the NIV has a footnote at this verse which explains that some of the Greek manuscripts do contain the phrase, "and the Lord Jesus Christ," in this verse:
    "Some manuscripts Father and the Lord Jesus Christ" (NIV footnote at Colossians 1:2)
    If the NIV is trying to "hide" the Lordship of Jesus in this verse, then why does the NIV have this footnote? The truth is that the greatest weight of manuscript evidence shows that this phrase was probably not originally in Colossians 1:2 (see The King James Only Controversy, James R. White, p.37-38), and that's why the modern translations of the Bible do not have this phrase here (except in a footnote). There is no conspiracy to "hide" the Lordship of Jesus in the NIV, because that same phrase (or a variation of it) appears at the beginning of most of Paul's letters in the NIV:
    Romans 1:7 (NIV): "Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ."

    1 Corinthians 1:3 (NIV): "Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ."

    2 Corinthians 1:2 (NIV): "Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ."

    Galatians 1:3 (NIV): "Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ"

    Ephesians 1:2 (NIV): "Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ."

    Philippians 1:2 (NIV): "Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ."

    2 Thessalonians 1:2 (NIV): "Grace and peace to you from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ."

    1 Timothy 1:2 (NIV): "Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord."

    2 Timothy 1:2 (NIV): "Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord."

    Titus 1:4 (NIV): "Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior."

    Philemon 1:3 (NIV): "Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ."
    Many well-meaning KJV-Only believers might not realize that this phrase (or a variation of it) appears so often in the NIV. Instead, they tend to pluck out Colossians 1:2 and use it to accuse the modern translations of "hiding" the Lordship of Christ. We can see in the above passages that Paul always used this type of greeting in his letters, and we can see that he did not always use the same wording every time. According to the greatest weight of manuscript evidence, Paul did not use his full greeting in Colossians 1:2 (The King James Only Controversy, James R. White, p.37-38).

    Now, imagine that you are an ancient scribe, and you are familiar with many of Paul's letters. As you are hand-copying Colossians 1:2, it would be very easy to mistakenly write out the full greeting that Paul normally used, without noticing that Paul did not use his full greeting here. Or, you might assume that the previous scribe had accidentally left out the last part of Paul's greeting, so you might simply add it back in. When books of the Bible are hand-copied, it is easy to see how certain phrases can be "borrowed" from one place in Scripture and inserted into a similar passage of Scripture (whether knowingly or unknowingly). This occurs quite a bit in the ancient Greek manuscripts, and it is referred to as "harmonization" (i.e. making one passage "harmonize" or sound the same as another passage, whether consciously or unconsciously). Again, these errors often stand out clearly when thousands of ancient manuscripts are compared.

    Instead of recognizing these simple human copying errors, the KJV-Only group tends to accuse the modern translations of trying to "downgrade" the Lordship of Jesus Christ, as if there is some kind of conspiracy going on. But if there were a conspiracy to "hide" the Lordship of Jesus in the modern translations of the Bible, then they did a poor job of it because Jesus is described as Lord all throughout the New Testament in the modern translations (as in the above passages). For example, that same phrase "Lord Jesus Christ" occurs 60 times in the NIV, and the phrase "Lord Jesus" occurs another 43 times. Yet many well-meaning Christians mistakenly believe that the modern translations have "deleted" this important doctrinal concept from Scripture.
  • Here's another example of "harmonization." Compare Colossians 1:14 in the KJV and the NIV:
    Colossians 1:14 (KJV): "In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins"

    Colossians 1:14 (NIV): "in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."
    KJV-Only believers often claim that the modern translations (such as the NIV) have deleted the phrase, "through his blood," in this verse, and they say that this is a conspiracy to "hide" the blood of Jesus. But what they might not realize (or what they fail to mention) is that the NIV has a footnote at this verse which explains that some of the Greek manuscripts do contain that phrase:
    "A few late manuscripts redemption through his blood" (NIV footnote at Colossians 1:14)
    If the NIV is trying to "hide" the blood of Jesus in this verse, then why does the NIV have this footnote? The truth is that the majority of Greek manuscripts do not have the phrase, "through his blood," in Colossians 1:14, and the earliest manuscript which contains this phrase is from the ninth century A.D. (The King James Only Controversy, James R. White, p.162-163). The NIV shows us that according to the best evidence this phrase was not originally in Colossians 1:14, but the NIV footnote lets us know that a few recent manuscripts do contain this phrase. The NIV has given us all of the available information here, it is not trying to hide anything.

    Now notice the similarity between Colossians 1:14 (above) in the NIV and Ephesians 1:7 in the NIV:
    Colossians 1:14 (NIV): "in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."

    Ephesians 1:7 (NIV): "In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins"
    When passages are similar like this in the Greek manuscripts, "harmonization" can occur. This happens when a scribe consciously or unconsciously inserts part of a phrase where it doesn't belong, simply because that is the familiar way that he's used to hearing the phrase. It is a very simple error to make. We can clearly see in Ephesians 1:7 (above) that the NIV has the phrase, "redemption through his blood," and it's easy to see how an ancient scribe might have "harmonized" Colossians 1:14 with the similar phrase in Ephesians 1:7 (whether knowingly or unknowingly). This explains why some Greek manuscripts such as the ones used in creating the KJV have the phrase, "through his blood," in Colossians 1:14.

    What many KJV-Only believers might not have considered is that if the NIV translators were trying to hide this important doctrinal concept, then why does the NIV have so many references to the blood of Jesus? (see Matthew 26:28, 1 Corinthians 10:16, Ephesians 1:7, 2:13, Hebrews 9:12, 14, 10:19, 12:24, 13:12, 20, 1 Peter 1:2, 19, 1 John 1:7, 5:6, and Revelation 1:5, for example). That's not what people do if they're trying to hide a doctrine! Yet on the basis of this one verse (Colossians 1:14), the KJV-Only group often refers to the NIV as the "bloodless" Bible.
  • Another phenomenon that often occurs in the Greek manuscripts is called "expansion of piety" (see The King James Only Controversy, James R. White, p.46). For example, some people are not comfortable when they hear the name "Jesus," because they prefer for Him to be called "the Lord Jesus Christ." This sounds more reverent than simply calling Him "Jesus." Some of the early scribes apparently felt the same way, which is why some Greek manuscripts contain expanded titles for the Lord. For instance, the majority of Greek manuscripts simply have "Jesus" in Acts 19:4, but some Greek manuscripts have "Jesus Christ" because of the "expansion of piety" on the part of an early scribe (see The King James Only Controversy, James R. White, p.45-46). In order to remain true to what the original author most likely wrote (based on the manuscript evidence), the modern translations have "Jesus" in Acts 19:4 rather than "Jesus Christ."

    Since the KJV has the expanded title "Jesus Christ" in Acts 19:4, the KJV-Only group often accuses the modern translations of "downgrading" Jesus by deleting the word "Christ" in this verse. KJV-Only believers have charts with hundreds of examples of these "deletions" in the modern translations, and therefore they claim that the modern translations are corrupt. However, the KJV-Only group is assuming that these "deleted" words are supposed to be there (even though these expanded titles for the Lord do not appear in the majority of the Greek manuscripts). Remember, the modern translations of the Bible were not made from the KJV, so they should not be judged against the KJV in this way. By comparing the thousands of existing Greek manuscripts, scholars have determined that these "expanded titles" for the Lord only occur in a relatively small number of manuscripts. Therefore, the modern translations of the Bible have tried to use the wording that the original authors of Scripture most likely used. The modern translations of the Bible have not "deleted" any titles of reverence for the Lord.

    What many KJV-Only believers don't realize (or what they fail to mention) is that in Revelation 1:8, for example, the KJV refers to Jesus as "the Lord," but the NIV calls Him "the Lord God" in that verse. Therefore, if the NIV is accused of being corrupt for "deleting" references to the deity of Christ, then the KJV should also be accused of being corrupt for doing that exact same thing.
  • Another phenomenon is called "conflated citation" (see The King James Only Controversy, James R. White, p.166-169). When the New Testament was written, it was common to list only the name of the most important prophet when quoting from several different Old Testament prophets. For example, Mark 1:2-3 quotes from both Malachi 3:1 and Isaiah 40:3, but the modern translations of the Bible only list the name of Isaiah for this quote. This is an example of a "conflated citation." The KJV does not list the name of Isaiah in this passage, but rather it simply attributes these quotes to "the prophets." Many KJV-Only believers use this verse as an example of how "corrupt" the modern translations are, without trying to understand the way in which references were quoted in Biblical times.

    Another example of a "conflated citation" is in Matthew 27:9-10, where Matthew says that a quotation is from Jeremiah when in reality it mostly comes from Zechariah. What's interesting is that the KJV also says that these quotes are from Jeremiah:
    Matthew 27:9 (KJV): "Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel did value;"
    Matthew 27:10 (KJV): "And gave them for the potter's field, as the Lord appointed me."

    Zechariah 11:12 (KJV): "And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver."
    Zechariah 11:13 (KJV): "And the LORD said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the LORD."

    Jeremiah 32:6 (KJV): "And Jeremiah said, The word of the LORD came unto me, saying,"
    Jeremiah 32:7 (KJV): "Behold, Hanameel the son of Shallum thine uncle shall come unto thee, saying, Buy thee my field that is in Anathoth: for the right of redemption is thine to buy it."
    These verses in Zechariah and Jeremiah are the ones which are mentioned by various Bible commentaries as being the verses that Matthew 27:9 (above) is most likely referring to. Notice that the main verse which corresponds to Matthew's quote is the one in Zechariah, yet Matthew attributed this quote to Jeremiah, even in the KJV! Therefore, if the NIV is accused of being corrupt for listing several quotes by different people as if they were all by the same person, then the KJV should also be accused of being corrupt for doing that exact same thing.
  • The KJV-Only group also claims that the modern translations of the Bible are "denying" the essential doctrine that Jesus came in the flesh. Compare this verse in the KJV and the NIV:
    1 John 4:3 (KJV): "And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God"

    1 John 4:3 (NIV): "but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God."
    The KJV-Only group claims that the NIV has "deleted" the fact that Jesus came in the flesh (in order to "hide" this doctrine). However, the greatest weight of manuscript evidence shows that the phrase, "is come in the flesh," is a later addition by a scribe and was not in the apostle John's original letter (see The King James Only Controversy, James R. White, p.184-185).

    This is another example of "harmonizing" a verse with a similar verse (whether knowingly or unknowingly). For instance, notice the similarities between 1 John 4:2 and 4:3 in the KJV:
    1 John 4:2 (KJV): "Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God"
    1 John 4:3 (KJV): "And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God"
    In most Greek manuscripts, 1 John 4:3 (above) does not contain the phrase, "is come in the flesh." However, the similarity between verses 2 and 3 (above) could easily have caused an early scribe to think that the previous scribe had accidentally left out "is come in the flesh" in verse 3, so this scribe added it back in. Or it could simply be that a scribe's eyes caught verse 2 as he was copying verse 3, since they are so similar, and that's how "is come in the flesh" ended up in verse 3 in a few manuscripts. In fact, this very thing happened to me as I was typing these verses in from my KJV Bible. As I glanced back and forth between my computer and my hardcopy Bible, my eyes kept landing on the wrong verse (because verses 2 and 3 are so similar), and therefore I had to check very carefully which verse I was typing in. It's a very simple error to make, both then and now.

    However, many KJV-Only believers use 1 John 4:3 (above) to "prove" that the modern translations have "deleted" the essential doctrine that Jesus came in the flesh. But what they perhaps don't realize (or what they fail to mention) is that 1 John 4:3 is the second half of a sentence, and the first half of that sentence specifically says that Jesus Christ came in the flesh. Here are those two verses in the NIV:
    1 John 4:2 (NIV): "Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God,"
    1 John 4:3 (NIV): "but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God."
    Even though 1 John 4:3 in the NIV does not say "has come in the flesh" (based on the manuscript evidence), the verse just before it does have that phrase in the NIV. No doctrines have been "deleted" here.
  • In Revelation 1:11, the KJV-Only group accuses the modern translations of "denying" the deity of Christ because they do not have "I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last." Compare this verse in the KJV and the NIV:
    Revelation 1:11 (KJV): "Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, what seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia"

    Revelation 1:11 (NIV): "which said: "Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches""
    Are the modern translations of the Bible really denying or "hiding" the deity of Christ? No, of course not. The phrase in question, "I am the Alpha and the Omega," is found in several places in the NIV:
    Revelation 1:8 (NIV): ""I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.""

    Revelation 21:6 (NIV): "He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.""

    Revelation 22:13 (NIV): "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End."
    In Revelation 1:8-11, the phrase, "I am the Alpha and the Omega," occurs one time in the NIV and two times in the KJV. Yet the KJV-Only group has taken Revelation 1:11 out of its context in order to accuse the modern translations of "deleting" this phrase for the purpose of "hiding" the deity of Christ.
  • We can see a similar situation in John 6:47 when we compare the KJV with the NIV:
    John 6:47 (KJV): "He that believeth on me hath everlasting life"

    John 6:47 (NIV): "he who believes has eternal life"
    The KJV-Only group uses this as an example of how the modern translations of the Bible are trying to downgrade an important doctrine by deleting the phrase, "on me." Is the NIV really saying that you can believe anything you want to believe and still go to heaven? That's what the KJV-Only group accuses the NIV of doing. But many KJV-Only believers might not have considered (or they fail to mention) that we can't read John 6:47 in its context without knowing exactly whom we must believe in. For example, from John 6:35 up to John 6:47, Jesus used phrases such as "I am the bread of life," "he who comes to me," "he who believes in me," "you have seen me," "I have come down from heaven," and so on, at least a dozen times in the NIV. Therefore, it is not possible to honestly read John 6:47 in context without knowing exactly whom to believe in. Furthermore, if the NIV is trying to hide the deity of Christ in John 6:47 by not saying "believes in me," then why does the NIV use this exact phrase elsewhere? Here are some examples:
    John 7:38 (NIV): "Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him."

    John 11:25 (NIV): "Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies;"
    John 11:26 (NIV): "and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?""

    John 12:44 (NIV): "Then Jesus cried out, "When a man believes in me, he does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me.""

    John 12:46 (NIV): "I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness."
    Clearly the modern translations of the Bible are not trying to obscure whom we must believe in. Furthermore, many KJV-Only believers might not realize (or they fail to mention) that the KJV itself sometimes tells us to "believe" without specifically telling us whom to believe in, as in the following examples:
    Mark 9:23 (KJV): "Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth."

    Romans 1:16 (KJV): "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth"

    Romans 10:4 (KJV): "For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth."

    1 Corinthians 7:12 (KJV): "But to the rest I speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not"
    Therefore, if the NIV is accused of being corrupt for not specifically telling us whom to believe in (in some verses), then the KJV should also be accused of being corrupt for doing that exact same thing in the above verses.
  • Sometimes the KJV-Only group accuses the modern translations of removing "Lucifer" from the Bible. However, the word "Lucifer" in the KJV comes from the fifth-century Latin Vulgate Bible, not from the ancient Hebrew manuscripts. The Hebrew word is heylel, which means "morning star," and this Hebrew word only occurs in Isaiah 14:12. Compare this verse in the KJV and the NIV:
    Isaiah 14:12 (KJV): "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer [heylel], son of the morning!"

    Isaiah 14:12 (NIV): "How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star [heylel], son of the dawn!"
    Some people in the KJV-Only group have accused the modern translations of identifying Jesus with Lucifer in this verse, since Jesus calls Himself the "Morning Star" in Revelation 22:16. However, what the modern translations of the Bible are trying to do is to translate the Hebrew and Greek as accurately as possible in order to determine what the original authors of Scripture actually wrote. Furthermore, it is quite clear from the context that Isaiah 14:12 does not refer to Jesus, and that Revelation 22:16 does refer to Jesus. The modern translations have not "removed" the devil from the Bible, they have simply translated the Hebrew word heylel with its normal meaning in Isaiah 14:12.

    In the Latin Vulgate version of the Bible from the fifth century A.D., the Hebrew word heylel in Isaiah 14:12 (above) is translated into Latin as "lucifer," which in the fifth century was a Latin name for the planet Venus as the day star or morning star (the word "lucifer" comes from "lux ferre," meaning "light bearer"). The Latin word "lucifer" is also used in the Latin Vulgate Bible to mean "day star" in Job 11:17 (Latin Vulgate: Job 11 Offsite Link) and 2 Peter 1:19 (Latin Vulgate: 2 Peter 1 Offsite Link), which have nothing to do with the devil. "Lucifer" was never the devil's name. For more information, see "Lucifer" in Isaiah 14:12-17 Offsite Link and these Google search results Offsite Link.
  • The KJV-Only group often attacks the modern translations of the Bible for having margin notes or footnotes which tell us that some of the ancient manuscripts are different than others, yet the KJV-Only group never attacks the KJV for having the same type of margin notes. It turns out that the original AV 1611 contained a total of 8,422 margin notes (see The King James Only Controversy, James R. White, p.77). For example, at Luke 17:36 the AV 1611 said, "This 36. verse is wanting in most of the Greek copies." (In other words, most of the ancient Greek manuscripts don't have that 36th verse, which is why the NIV only has that 36th verse as a footnote). At Acts 25:6 the AV 1611 margin note says, "Or, as some copies read, no more than eight or ten days." Therefore, if the NIV is attacked for containing margin notes, then the AV 1611 should also be attacked for doing that exact same thing.
  • Many KJV-Only believers also attack the modern translations of the Bible for trying to copyright God's Word. What they don't realize (or what they fail to mention) is that when the AV 1611 was published, it had a form of copyright which said that no-one but the royal printer could print the KJV for one hundred years (see The King James Only Controversy, James R. White, p.244). That copyright has now expired, but it's a double standard to attack the modern translations of the Bible for having a copyright, but not to attack the KJV for doing the same thing.
  • It is common for the KJV-Only group to personally attack anyone who was involved with a modern translation of the Bible. They like to say that modern translators have been "struck dumb" or have died, and they say that this was divine wrath against the modern translators for "tampering" with the KJV. What they don't realize (or what they fail to mention) is that a number of the original KJV translators died during the translation process (see The King James Only Controversy, James R. White, p.72). So according to their own argument, the KJV-Only group should assume that God's wrath was on the KJV translators as well, otherwise this is a double standard.

    Many KJV-Only believers also allege that one of the men involved in the modern translations (a man named Westcott) was an occultist because he was involved in a club called the "Ghostlie Guild." What they don't realize (or what they fail to mention) is that this club was formed to investigate strange phenomena, not to participate in it (see The King James Only Controversy, James R. White, p.244-245).

    The KJV-Only group also likes to charge that there were homosexuals on the NIV translation committee. The truth is that in the early stages of translation work on the NIV, a lady was consulted briefly on minor matters of English style because she had a reputation of being a committed evangelical Christian with expertise in the contemporary English language. Years later, her lesbian views began to come out in her writings, and if these views had been known during the NIV translation process then she would not have been consulted (see The King James Only Controversy, James R. White, p.245-246). What the KJV-Only group doesn't usually mention is that a number of scholars say that there are many facts which indicate that King James I of England (who commissioned the King James Version of the Bible in 1604) was a homosexual (see The King James Only Controversy, James R. White, p.246).
  • Compare 1 John 5:7-8 in the KJV and the NIV:
    1 John 5:7 (KJV): "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one."
    1 John 5:8 (KJV): "And there are three that bear witness in earth, the spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one."

    1 John 5:7 (NIV): "For there are three that testify:"
    1 John 5:8 (NIV): "the Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement."
    Notice that 1 John 5:7 is different between the KJV and the NIV. The words that appear to be "missing" in the NIV, which Bible scholars refer to as the Comma Johanneum, are not found in any ancient Greek manuscripts (see The King James Only Controversy, James R. White, p.60-62). The disputed words are only found in a few manuscripts which are very recent, and half of these recent manuscripts only have the disputed words as a margin note. For example, here is the NIV footnote for this verse:
    "Late manuscripts of the Vulgate testify in heaven: the Father, the Word and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one. And there are three that testify on earth: the (not found in any Greek manuscript before the sixteenth century)" (NIV footnote for 1 John 5:7)
    Even though the disputed words in 1 John 5:7 in the KJV are not found in any Greek manuscripts before the sixteenth century, they are vigorously defended by the KJV-Only group simply because they appear in the KJV. But notice that the "missing" words usually appear in the footnotes for this verse in the modern translations of the Bible, which is something that Bible translators wouldn't do if they were trying to "hide" a doctrine. The question we should ask is not, "Why did the modern translations 'delete' this verse?", but rather we should ask, "What did the original authors of Scripture actually write?" According to the manuscript evidence, many scholars believe that the version of 1 John 5:7 in the KJV was probably not in the original text of the apostle John's letter. This is why it doesn't appear in the modern translations of the Bible, except as a footnote.
  • The KJV-Only group also alleges that there is a conspiracy to "remove" the doctrine of the virgin birth from the modern translations of the Bible because they don't have the word "firstborn" in Matthew 1:25. Compare this verse in the KJV and the NIV:
    Matthew 1:25 (KJV): "And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS."

    Matthew 1:25 (NIV): "But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus."
    However, this is simply an example of "harmonization" from Luke 2:7:
    Luke 2:7 (NIV): "and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son."
    If the modern translations of the Bible had deleted the word "firstborn" in Matthew 1:25 because of some kind of conspiracy to hide the doctrine of the virgin birth, then they should have removed this word from Luke 2:7 as well. But there was no conspiracy here. The reason why the modern translations of the Bible don't have the word "firstborn" in Matthew 1:25 is simply because of the manuscript evidence. By comparing the thousands of manuscript copies, the translators determined that the word "firstborn" in Matthew 1:25 was a later addition by a scribe. That scribe was undoubtedly familiar with the parallel passage in Luke 2:7 (above), and he might have added the word "firstborn" automatically in Matthew 1:25 without noticing that it didn't really occur in Matthew's gospel. Or a zealous scribe might have added the word "firstborn" in Matthew 1:25 in order to clarify the doctrine of the virgin birth. There are numerous examples of this type of "harmonization" in the New Testament.
  • The KJV-Only group also likes to point to Luke 2:33 and attack the modern translations of the Bible for calling Joseph the "father" of Jesus (which they claim denies the virgin birth). Compare this verse in the KJV and the NIV:
    Luke 2:33 (KJV): "And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him."

    Luke 2:33 (NIV): "The child's father and mother marveled at what was said about him."
    Many KJV-Only believers say that if Joseph is called the father of Jesus then this denies the doctrine of the virgin birth of Christ. But what they don't realize (or what they fail to mention) is that the modern translations of the Bible clearly confirm the virgin birth:
    Luke 1:30 (NIV): "But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God."
    Luke 1:31 (NIV): "You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus."
    Luke 1:32 (NIV): "He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David,"
    Luke 1:33 (NIV): "and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.""
    Luke 1:34 (NIV): ""How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?""
    Luke 1:35 (NIV): "The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God."
    Many KJV-Only believers also don't realize (or they fail to mention) that the KJV itself calls Joseph the "parent" and the "father" of Jesus:
    Luke 2:41 (KJV): "Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover."

    Luke 2:48 (KJV): "And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing."
    The KJV itself refers to Mary and Joseph as the parents of Jesus, and the KJV calls Joseph the father of Jesus. Therefore, if the NIV is accused of heresy for denying the virgin birth by calling Joseph the "father" of Jesus, then the KJV should also be accused of heresy for doing that exact same thing.
  • Another issue concerns Psalms 12:6-7. Compare this passage in the KJV and the NIV:
    Psalms 12:6 (KJV): "The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times."
    Psalms 12:7 (KJV): "Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation forever."

    Psalms 12:6 (NIV): "And the words of the LORD are flawless, like silver refined in a furnace of clay, purified seven times."
    Psalms 12:7 (NIV): "O LORD, you will keep us safe and protect us from such people forever."
    In the KJV, Psalms 12:6 (above) says that the words of the Lord are pure, and then verse 7 says that the Lord will preserve "them" forever. Some people argue that verse 7 is saying that the Lord will preserve His words forever (according to the KJV), and they argue that the NIV has corrupted verse 7 because it doesn't say that the Lord will preserve His words, but rather it says that the Lord will "protect us." The KJV-Only argument is that this proves that the devil has caused the NIV to corrupt the words of God.

    In order to determine whether or not the NIV has improperly translated Psalms 12:7, let's look at Psalms 12 in its entirety in the KJV and in the NIV:
    Psalms 12:1 (KJV): "To the chief Musician upon Sheminith, A Psalm of David. Help, LORD; for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men."
    Psalms 12:2 (KJV): "They speak vanity every one with his neighbor: with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak."
    Psalms 12:3 (KJV): "The LORD shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaketh proud things:"
    Psalms 12:4 (KJV): "Who have said, With our tongue will we prevail; our lips are our own: who is lord over us?"
    Psalms 12:5 (KJV): "For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now will I arise, saith the LORD; I will set him in safety from him that puffeth at him."
    Psalms 12:6 (KJV): "The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times."
    Psalms 12:7 (KJV): "Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation forever."
    Psalms 12:8 (KJV): "The wicked walk on every side, when the vilest men are exalted."

    Psalms 12:1 (NIV): "For the director of music. According to sheminith. A psalm of David. Help, LORD, for the godly are no more; the faithful have vanished from among men."
    Psalms 12:2 (NIV): "Everyone lies to his neighbor; their flattering lips speak with deception."
    Psalms 12:3 (NIV): "May the LORD cut off all flattering lips and every boastful tongue"
    Psalms 12:4 (NIV): "that says, "We will triumph with our tongues; we own our lips --who is our master?""
    Psalms 12:5 (NIV): ""Because of the oppression of the weak and the groaning of the needy, I will now arise," says the LORD. "I will protect them from those who malign them.""
    Psalms 12:6 (NIV): "And the words of the LORD are flawless, like silver refined in a furnace of clay, purified seven times."
    Psalms 12:7 (NIV): "O LORD, you will keep us safe and protect us from such people forever."
    Psalms 12:8 (NIV): "The wicked freely strut about when what is vile is honored among men."
    In both versions, notice that David starts off by talking directly to the Lord concerning Godly, faithful people (verse 1, above), then he speaks of flattering, deceiving people (verse 2), and then he refers to the pridefulness and boastfulness of people (verses 3-4). Next, the Lord says that He will protect the poor and needy (verse 5), and then David says that the words of the Lord are pure or flawless (verse 6). Skipping verse 7 for a moment, we see that David once again refers to wicked people in verse 8. So Psalms 12 concerns the evil which is done by wicked people, and David is pleading for God's help for the faithful people. Therefore, in verse 7 it is perfectly reasonable for David to speak directly to God again (as he did in verse 1) and say, "O LORD, you will keep us safe and protect us from such people forever," which is a grateful response to verse 5 in which God said, "I will protect them from those who malign them." In addition, the NIV translation of verse 7 also ties in with verse 8, which says that "The wicked freely strut about when what is vile is honored among men." So the NIV translation of Psalms 12:6-7 makes perfect sense in context, as a number of Bible scholars have pointed out. Here are some examples:
    "Psa 12:7 - "Thou shalt keep them That is, the persons referred to in Psa_12:5 - the poor and the needy who were suffering from the wrongs inflicted on them. The idea is, that God would guard and defend them. They were safe in his hands. Compare Psa_37:3-7." (Barnes, from http://www.e-sword.net/commentaries.html Offsite Link, Psalms 12:7)

    "the sense is, that God will keep the poor and needy, and such as he sets in safety, as Kimchi rightly observes: they are not their own keepers, but God is the keeper of them; he keeps them by his power, and in his Son, in whose hands they are, and who is able to keep them from falling; they are kept by him from a total and final falling away; from the dominion and damning power of sin, and from being devoured by Satan, and from the evil of the world: and this the psalmist had good reason to believe, because of the love of God to them, his covenant with them, and the promises of safety and salvation he has made unto them" (Gill's Exposition of the Bible, from http://www.e-sword.net/commentaries.html Offsite Link, Psalms 12:7)

    "Psa 12:7 - Thou shalt keep them - thou shalt preserve them - Instead of the pronoun them in these clauses, several MSS., with the Septuagint, the Vulgate, and the Arabic, have us. The sense is equally good in both readings. God did bring forth the Israelites from Babylon, according to his word; he separated them from that generation. and reinstated them in their own land, according to his word; and most certainly he has preserved them from generation to generation to the present day, in a most remarkable manner." (Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible, from http://www.e-sword.net/commentaries.html Offsite Link, Psalms 12:7)
    So based on the full context of Psalms 12, we can see that the NIV translation of Psalms 12:7 is perfectly valid.
  • The KJV-Only group accuses the modern translations of heresy for "deleting" a reference to Christ in Romans 1:16. Compare this verse in the KJV and the NIV:
    Romans 1:16 (KJV): "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ"

    Romans 1:16 (NIV): "I am not ashamed of the gospel"
    Is the NIV saying that we can believe any gospel that we want to believe? That's what many KJV-Only believers accuse the NIV (and other modern translations) of doing. But what these KJV-Only believers don't realize (or what they fail to mention) is that there are a number of other places where the NIV has that exact same phrase, "the gospel of Christ." Here are some examples:
    Romans 15:18 (NIV): "I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done--"
    Romans 15:19 (NIV): "by the power of signs and miracles, through the power of the Spirit. So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ."

    1 Corinthians 9:12 (NIV): "If others have this right of support from you, shouldn't we have it all the more? But we did not use this right. On the contrary, we put up with anything rather than hinder the gospel of Christ."

    2 Corinthians 2:12 (NIV): "Now when I went to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ and found that the Lord had opened a door for me"

    2 Corinthians 9:13 (NIV): "Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else."

    2 Corinthians 10:14 (NIV): "We are not going too far in our boasting, as would be the case if we had not come to you, for we did get as far as you with the gospel of Christ."

    Galatians 1:7 (NIV): "which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ."

    Philippians 1:27 (NIV): "Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel"

    1 Thessalonians 3:2 (NIV): "We sent Timothy, who is our brother and God's fellow worker in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith,"
    So the NIV talks about "the gospel of Christ" in a number of places. No doctrines are being "hidden" here.

    Many KJV-Only believers also don't realize (or they fail to mention) that there are literally dozens of passages in the KJV that refer to the "gospel" without telling us which gospel. Here are some examples:
    Romans 1:15 (KJV): "So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also."

    Romans 2:16 (KJV): "In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel."

    Romans 10:16 (KJV): "But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?"

    Romans 11:28 (KJV): "As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the father's sakes."

    Romans 15:20 (KJV): "Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man's foundation"

    Romans 16:25 (KJV): "Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began"
    There are dozens more examples where the KJV simply has the word "gospel." Therefore, if the NIV is accused of heresy for not being specific about what gospel we must believe (in some verses), then the KJV should also be accused of heresy for doing that exact same thing.
  • Some translations of the Bible place certain words in italics in order to indicate that those words don't appear in the ancient Greek manuscripts. For example, in 1 Corinthians 16:2 the KJV says, "as God hath prospered him." The word "God" is in italics in the KJV in that verse because "God" doesn't appear here in the Greek manuscripts. Compare this verse in the KJV and the NIV:
    1 Corinthians 16:2 (KJV): "Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come."

    1 Corinthians 16:2 (NIV): "On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made."
    The word "God" in this verse is in italics in the KJV because the KJV translators wanted to show that "God" does not appear in the ancient Greek manuscripts in this verse. Yet the KJV-Only group sometimes attacks the modern versions of the Bible for "deleting" the word "God" here.

More Things To Consider

Here are some more things to take into consideration:

  • In Acts 16:7, many KJV-Only believers don't realize (or they fail to mention) that the KJV seems to have "deleted" a reference to Jesus. Compare this verse in the KJV and the NIV:
    "Acts 16:7 (KJV): After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not."

    Acts 16:7 (NIV): "When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to."
    If the situation were reversed, the KJV-Only group would accuse the NIV of heresy for "deleting" a reference to Jesus in order to "hide" His divinity. So why don't they accuse the KJV of heresy for doing that exact same thing?
  • In Romans 8:34, many KJV-Only believers don't realize (or they fail to mention) that the KJV seems to have "deleted" another reference to Jesus. Compare this verse in the KJV and the NIV:
    Romans 8:34 (KJV): "Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died"

    Romans 8:34 (NIV): "Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died"
    If the situation were reversed, the KJV-Only group would accuse the NIV of heresy for "deleting" a reference to Jesus in order to "hide" His divinity. So why don't they accuse the KJV of heresy for doing that exact same thing?
  • In Acts 4:25, many KJV-Only believers don't realize (or they fail to mention) that the KJV seems to have "deleted" a reference to the Holy Spirit. Compare this verse in the KJV and the NIV:
    Acts 4:25 (KJV): "Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said"

    Acts 4:25 (NIV): "You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David"
    If the situation were reversed, the KJV-Only group would accuse the NIV of heresy for "deleting" a reference to the Holy Spirit. So why don't they accuse the KJV of heresy for doing that exact same thing?
  • The modern translations of the Bible refer to Jesus as "our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ" in Titus 2:13. However, many KJV-Only believers don't realize (or they fail to mention) that the KJV obscures the fact that Jesus is God by saying "the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ." Compare this verse in the KJV and the NIV:
    Titus 2:13 (KJV): "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ"

    Titus 2:13 (NIV): "while we wait for the blessed hope--the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ"
    We can see the same thing in 2 Peter 1:1. Compare this verse in the KJV and the NIV:
    2 Peter 1:1 (KJV): "Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ"

    2 Peter 1:1 (NIV): "Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours"
    The KJV-Only group often attacks the modern translations of the Bible for attempting to hide or obscure the deity of Christ. Yet in the above passages we can see that the NIV is very clear that Jesus Christ is God, but the KJV has obscured that fact. Therefore, if the NIV is accused of being corrupt for "obscuring" the deity of Christ, then the KJV should also be accused of being corrupt for doing that exact same thing.
  • Here is another place where the modern translations of the Bible indicate that Jesus is God. In John 14:14, the NIV says "If you ask Me anything in My name." However, the KJV does not have "Me" in this verse. Compare this verse in the KJV and the NIV:
    John 14:14 (KJV): "If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

    John 14:14 (NIV): "You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it."
    Prayer is reserved for God alone, so the NIV confirms that Jesus is God. However, the KJV is not as clear that Jesus is God in this verse. Therefore, if the NIV is accused of being corrupt for deleting words in order to "obscure" the deity of Christ, then the KJV should also be accused of being corrupt for doing that exact same thing.
  • Here is yet another place where the modern translations of the Bible indicate that Jesus is God. In 1 Peter 3:15, the NIV refers to Christ as "Lord." However, the KJV does not tell us that Christ is Lord in this verse. Compare this verse in the KJV and the NIV:
    1 Peter 3:15 (KJV): "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts"

    1 Peter 3:15 (NIV): "But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord."
    The NIV confirms that Christ is Lord in this verse, but the KJV appears to have "deleted" this reference to Christ. Therefore, if the NIV is accused of being corrupt for deleting words in order to "obscure" the deity of Christ, then the KJV should also be accused of being corrupt for doing that exact same thing.
  • Here is yet another place where the modern translations of the Bible indicate that Jesus is God. In Jude 1:4, the NIV says "Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord." However, the KJV makes a distinction between God and Jesus in this verse. Compare this verse in the KJV and the NIV:
    Jude 1:4 (KJV): "For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ."

    Jude 1:4 (NIV): "For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord."
    In this verse, the NIV confirms that Jesus Christ is our only Sovereign and Lord. However, the KJV makes it seem as if Jesus Christ is not the Lord God. Therefore, if the NIV is accused of being corrupt for "obscuring" the deity of Christ, then the KJV should also be accused of being corrupt for doing that exact same thing.
  • Another way that the KJV-Only group attacks the modern translations of the Bible is because they have "the Son of Man" instead of "the Son of God" in John 9:35. Compare this verse in the KJV and the NIV:
    John 9:35 (KJV): "Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God?"

    John 9:35 (NIV): "Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?""
    The KJV-Only group accuses the modern translations of trying to "hide" the deity of Christ in this verse. What many KJV-Only believers don't realize (or what they fail to mention) is that "Son of Man" was Jesus' favorite title for Himself (which He used 82 times throughout the Gospels), and that "Son of Man" is clearly a reference to Jesus as Lord (as in the following passages in the NIV):
    Matthew 9:6 (NIV): "But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins. . . ." Then he said to the paralytic, "Get up, take your mat and go home.""

    Matthew 12:8 (NIV): "For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath."

    John 3:13 (NIV): "No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven--the Son of Man."

    John 13:31 (NIV): "When he was gone, Jesus said, "Now is the Son of Man glorified and God is glorified in him.""
    In the NIV, the above passages clearly use the title, "Son of Man," in reference to the deity of Christ. In fact, many KJV-Only believers don't realize (or they fail to mention) that the KJV itself has "Son of Man" in these same passages:
    Matthew 9:6 (KJV): "But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house."

    Matthew 12:8 (KJV): "For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day."

    John 3:13 (KJV): "And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven."

    John 13:31 (KJV): "Therefore, when he was gone out, Jesus said, Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him."
    Therefore, if the NIV is accused of heresy for having "Son of Man" in John 9:35, then the KJV should also be accused of heresy for using that exact same phrase in the verses above.

Is the KJV Inerrant, As Some People Claim?

So far we have seen that the KJV was translated from the Greek manuscript which was based on the work of Erasmus, Stephanus, and Beza. We saw that these men made a number of revisions and corrections of their own work, and they included many margin notes to describe various textual differences and the reasons for the readings that they chose. They did not consider their Greek texts to be inspired and infallible. We also saw that the KJV translators included margin notes to explain the choices that they made between various textual differences, and we saw that they believed that new translations of the Bible should always be made directly from the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts. They did not consider the KJV to be inspired and infallible.

In spite of what the KJV translators said, some people in the KJV-Only group believe that the KJV was directly inspired by God and is therefore infallible and inerrant.

But this brings up a problem for them. The KJV has had significant errors in it (some of which are listed below), and it was revised and corrected in 1612, 1613, 1616, 1629, 1727, and so on (see for example The English Bible from KJV to NIV Offsite Link). In 1659, an article was written which described 20,000 errors that had been found in six editions of the KJV which were printed in the 1650s (see The King James Only Controversy, James R. White, p.78-79). If the KJV is supposed to be infallible and inerrant, then the KJV-Only group has a sticky problem: Which KJV is the infallible standard? This is not a problem for the rest of us, because we can understand that there are copying errors and printing errors that can creep into any book (including the Bible). Since we don't hold a particular translation of the Bible as being infallible or inerrant, we can understand the benefit of scholars using the Greek and Hebrew manuscripts to try to provide the most accurate translations possible. Even today, if you compare several copies of the KJV you will find differences between them. So which one is the infallible standard?

The errors in the KJV demonstrate that it is not inerrant at all. Here are some glaring examples:

  • In Exodus 20:14, a 1631 version of the KJV had "Thou shalt commit adultery" instead of "Thou shalt not commit adultery" (see for example Some Questions for King James Fans Offsite Link). Therefore, this edition of the KJV (which is known as the "Wicked Bible") was commanding people to violate one of the Ten Commandments.
  • In Matthew 26:36, some KJV Bibles had "Then cometh Judas" instead of "Then cometh Jesus" (see for example The English Bible from KJV to NIV Offsite Link). There is a big difference between Judas and Jesus!
  • In 1 Corinthians 6:9, the 1653 edition of the KJV had "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall inherit the kingdom of God" instead of "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God" (see for example Printing errors in the Bible Offsite Link). Therefore, this edition of the KJV (known as the "Unrighteous Bible") had "changed" this essential doctrine.
  • In John 5:14, a 1716 version of the KJV had "sin on more" instead of "sin no more" (see for example The "Wicked" Bibles Offsite Link). Therefore, this KJV was urging people to sin.
These are major doctrinal errors, and the KJV-Only group would have a field day if these errors were in the modern translations of the Bible. Since different KJVs do not all say the same things, how are we supposed to know which one is the "infallible" KJV? The answer of course is that none of them are infallible, just as none of the modern versions of the Bible are infallible.

Here are some translational problems in modern KJV Bibles:

  • In Luke 18:12, should people have tithed on all that they "possess" (KJV) or on all that they "get" (NIV)? It's a significant difference! Compare this verse in the KJV and the NIV:
    Luke 18:12 (KJV): "I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess."

    Luke 18:12 (NIV): "I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get."
    Under the Law of Moses people tithed on their increase, so in this verse the KJV has altered the doctrine of tithing.
  • In Acts 5:30, did the Jews slay Jesus and hang Him on a tree (KJV), or did they put Him to death by hanging Him on a tree (NIV)? The difference is significant! Compare this verse in the KJV and the NIV:
    Acts 5:30 (KJV): "The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree."

    Acts 5:30 (NIV): "The God of our fathers raised Jesus from the dead--whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree."
    In this verse, the KJV has altered the doctrine that Jesus died on the cross.
  • In Isaiah 65:11, what do "that troop" and "unto that number" mean in the KJV? The Hebrew words are "Gad" and "Meni," respectively, which were specifically the Babylonian or Syrian gods of fortune and destiny (see for example The Bible Knowledge Commentary (Old Testament edition), Walvoord and Zuck, Dallas Theological Seminary, p.1119). Compare this verse in the KJV and the NIV:
    Isaiah 65:11 (KJV): "But ye are they that forsake the LORD, that forget my holy mountain, that prepare a table for that troop, and that furnish the drink offering unto that number."

    Isaiah 65:11 (NIV): "But as for you who forsake the LORD and forget my holy mountain, who spread a table for Fortune and fill bowls of mixed wine for Destiny"
    Apparently the KJV translators were unaware that the Hebrew words "Gad" and "Meni" are proper names, so they translated these words in a way which makes little sense and which obscures the meaning of the verse. God was chastising the Israelites for forsaking Him and for following after the pagan gods of "Fortune" and "Destiny," as the modern translations make clear.
  • The KJV often provides several different versions of people's names, sometimes giving the Hebrew form of the name, sometimes the Greek form, and sometimes even the Latin form (Jeremiah, Jeremias, and Jeremie; Enos and Enosh; Jonah, Jona, and Jonas; Isaiah, Esaias, and Esay; Zechariah and Zecharias, and so on). For example, the KJV uses both "Elijah" and "Elias" to refer to the prophet Elijah:
    1 Kings 17:1 (KJV): "And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word."

    James 5:17 (KJV): "Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months."
    This inconsistency in translating names has erroneously caused people to think that the KJV is referring to different people. For example, since the KJV has the name of Elijah in two different ways ("Elijah" and "Elias"), this led the Mormon prophet Joseph Smith to think that those were two different people. Joseph Smith claimed to have had visions of "both" people, as recorded in Mormon "scripture"! (See The King James Only Controversy, James R. White, p.241).
  • In Acts 9:7, the KJV says that some men were able to hear a voice from heaven. But in another description of that same event, the KJV says that these men could not hear the voice from heaven:
    Acts 9:7 (KJV): "And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man."

    Acts 22:9 (KJV): "And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me."
    Here the KJV has created a contradiction in Scripture. The modern versions of the Bible have the correct understanding of Acts 22:9 (above):
    Acts 22:9 (NIV): "My companions saw the light, but they did not understand the voice of him who was speaking to me."

What this all boils down to is that the KJV is imperfect, just as the other translations of the Bible are all imperfect. In spite of these clear problems in the KJV, some people claim that it is infallible and inerrant.


Conclusion

It's important to know which translations of the Bible are trustworthy. If the King James Version is the only trustworthy version of the Bible in English, then we need to know that.

What we have seen, however, is that some people have taken certain verses from the NIV (and other modern translations of the Bible) out of context and have mistakenly decided that the modern versions of the Bible are "corrupt." Many well-meaning Christians have made this error by comparing the modern translations of the Bible against the KJV and by assuming that the KJV should be the standard against which all Bibles need to be compared. However, Bible translations should be compared for accuracy against the ancient Hebrew and Greek manuscripts, not against the KJV.

We have also seen that many of the accusations which are made against the modern translations of the Bible can also be made against the KJV itself. It's a double standard to accuse other Bible translations of being corrupt, but not to accuse the KJV of being corrupt when it does the exact same things as the other translations!

Although the KJV is not perfect, it is still a decent translation of the Bible, and many pastors and Bible teachers prefer to use it when they teach and preach. But it is not inerrant because we have seen a number of doctrinal and translational problems in various editions of the KJV. Consider that modern scholars are able to study Greek manuscripts which were found after the King James translation was made (e.g. the Dead Sea Scrolls), and the accuracy of the modern translations of the Bible has benefited from this newer evidence.

If you prefer to use the KJV then I totally support your right to do so. If you prefer to use the NIV or some other modern translations of the Bible, then I totally support your right to do so. Neither the KJV nor the NIV is perfect (nor is any other version of the Bible that is available to us), but based on the evidence that we have examined in this article I believe that both the KJV and the NIV (and certain other versions) are worthy to be used in Bible study, teaching, preaching, devotions, and so on.


All for Your glory, Lord Jesus!
 
 
 
  Modification History  
 
 

  • 07/29/2009 - Added some information which indicates that "Lucifer" was never the devil's name.
  • 05/27/2003 - Fixed an error in which I had said that 1 John 5:7 does not appear in the NIV. What I had intended to say is that most of what the KJV has in 1 John 5:7 does not appear in the NIV.
  • 03/19/2003 - Revised the wording in all of the sections. Added some links. Added a discussion of Psalms 12:6-7.
  • 05/22/2001 - Modified some of the wording.