Which Version of the Bible Should a Christian Read?

Before we answer the question “Which version of the Bible should a Christian use?” I want the reader to understand that I am not condemning you if you own or read a particular version of the Bible. This article is not written to preach at anyone or castigate anyone. It is written simply to inform. These notes are the results of hours of thorough research into the field of textual manuscript evidence and a comparison of the different texts and versions. I merely want to pass on what I have learned to you.

Because many Pastors and Christian bookstores disagree when recommending a particular Bible translation, the topic of Bible versions can be confusing. The general consensus, however, is that any translation is fine as long as the reader likes it and finds it easy to understand.

But I believe that a different, less widely accepted view is the biblically correct one. I believe all modern Bible versions are vastly inferior and even corrupt in numerous places when compared to the older King James Version.

The Bible was originally written in two primary languages – Hebrew (Old Testament) and Greek (New Testament).

Throughout history God preserved His word in several different languages, but His culmination was the English Authorized Version, more commonly called the King James Version. It has been the standard translation for nearly 400 years.

 

The Hebrew and Greek texts from which the King James Bible was translated come from the line of manuscripts connected with Bible believing Christianity. The Greek manuscripts behind the KJV New Testament come from Antioch of Syria. Antioch was a significant location for early Christianity.

Acts 11:26 And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.

 

These Byzantine (or Syrian) type texts compose the majority of all available Greek manuscripts. It is from these texts that the King James Bible was translated.

Modern versions base their New Testament translations from manuscripts that came out of Alexandria, Egypt. These texts are few in number and differ tremendously from those from Antioch. But because these Alexandrian manuscripts are older than the Byzantine copies, some scholars mistakenly think they are superior.

However, even though the manuscripts from the Egyptian line are undeniably older than those from the Byzantine group, evidence attests that those older Alexandrian manuscripts are corrupt.

 

The following points acutely point to the superiority of the King James Verison:

1. True Christians continually copied the pure word of God to pass it down to others. Those latest copies affirm this fact.

2. There are not many old Greek manuscripts that follow the Antioch line because Christians read and used these manuscripts, thus wearing them out.

3. There are manuscripts in Latin (150 A.D.) and Syriac (130 A.D.) that agree with the Antioch line, as well as writings from early Christians who quote the Antioch manuscripts. This evidence proves those readings are indeed authentic and not new additions.

4. God promised to preserve His word, but inspiration and infallibility are irrelevant without preservation. If we do not have the words of God today, then God has failed.

Ps 12:6-7

6 The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.

7 Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.

Even Jesus Himself affirmed that the word of God would be preserved for man to read and believe.

Matt 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

  1. The Alexandrian line of manuscripts contains many corruptions. These corruptions have been passed down in the modern versions of today.

Below are only a few of the many examples of the corruptions found in the modern versions. Compare them with the readings in the King James Bible.

KJV – 2 Sam 21:19 And there was again a battle in Gob with the Philistines, where Elhanan the son of Jaare-oregim, a Bethlehemite, slew the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the staff of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam.

ESV – 2 Sam 21:19  And there was again war with the Philistines at Gob, and Elhanan the son of Jaare-oregim, the Bethlehemite, struck down Goliath the Gittite, the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam.

It is obvious from the example above that there is an irreconcilable difference between the King James and the ESV. Even kids know that David, not Elhanan killed Goliath. By the way, the NIV used to contain this error. They corrected it in their 2011 edition.

KJV – Mark 1:2 As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.

NASB – Mark 1:2 As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, “Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, Who will prepare Your way;

If you compare the two readings you will see that the KJV says “prophets” and the modern versions say “Isaiah the prophet.” If you run the cross reference and locate the quotation you will find it, not in Isaiah, but in Malachi. Thus, the KJV reading is correct (the statement is found in the section of the Old Testament called “the prophets” – the Nahbim) and the modern versions are wrong – completely inaccurate.

KJV – Luke 2:33 And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him.

RSV – Luke 2:33 And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him;

In this example we see that Joseph is called “his father” by the modern versions. Joseph was not the biological father of Jesus. The deity of Jesus Christ is called in question by the new versions.

This important verse reaffirms that Joseph is NOT the father of the Lord Jesus Christ. Some, however, have assumed that the reading in modern versions is acceptable because Mary called Joseph “thy father” in Luke 2:48. This assumption is a great error. Mary was human and sinful and made a mistake (which Jesus corrected in verse 49), but the narrator is speaking in Luke 2:33. The narrator of the Bible is God Himself – and He never sins or makes a mistake!

KJV – Acts 8:37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

MODERN VERSIONS – Missing

There are several verses like the one above that are missing from modern versions. The following 17 verses are absent in the popular NIV: Matthew 17:21; 18:11; 23:14; Mark 7:16; 9:44,46; 11:26; 15:28; Luke 17:36; 23:17; John 5:4; Acts 8:37; 15:34; 24:7; 28:29; Romans 16:24; 1 John 5:7.

KJV – 1 John 5:7-8

7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

8 And there are three that bear witness in earth, the spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.

NIV – 1 John 5:7-8

7 For there are three that testify: 8 the Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement.

Being one of, if not the strongest verse in the entire Bible that affirms the Trinity, 1 John 5:7 is the subject of attack in all the modern versions. In addition, modern versions also corrupt passages about the Deity of Jesus Christ.

KJV – Isa 14:12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

NIV – Isa 14:12 How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!

RSV – Isa 14:12 “How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low!

Notice that in the King James Bible the word translated “Lucifer” is rendered “morning star” in the NIV and “Day Star” in the RSV. Now notice that Jesus, not Satan is called the “morning star,” and “day star” in the following verses:

Rev 22:16 I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.

2 Peter 1:19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:

According to Rev. 22:16 and 2 Peter 1:19, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself is the “morning star” and the “day star.” Yet both the NIV and the RSV attribute the Lord’s names to the devil!

So, “Which version of the Bible should a Christian use?” The King James Version. Which version can we say is without a doubt the word of God that we can believe and trust? The King James Version.

As I said, these are only a few of the many examples of the corruptions found in the texts of the modern versions. These differences are not minor or insignificant as some would have you to believe. They strike at the core of the very tenets of Christian doctrine. Would God want us to use a version of the Bible that contradicts itself or teaches false doctrine? I don’t think so. The King James Version is not out-dated or archaic to the point that you can’t understand it. There are thousands of people today that still read it and churches all across the world that still use it. I want to encourage you to use the Bible of God’s choice – the King James Version.

 

About the Author: Pastor David Walker