Authorized: The Use and Misuse of the King James Bible

by Nov 1, 2017Books, KJV7 comments

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  1. Mrs. Sheila Ray T.

    Do people still use the KJV with as many odd and just weird errors it has? For example, John The Baptist has been changed to “John Baptist” in Luke 7:20 and Matthew 14:8. Jphn Baptist? Are you kidding me? It’s like his last name is “Baptist.” Matthew 1: 2 and 3 say that Jesus was of the tribe of Judas. Tribe of Judas: “Jacob begat Judas”? Is that a joke? How can you use a version with that just blatant of an error!? In Genesis 28:17 the KJV says how “dreadful” is this place when most other versions use “awesome.” How totally off base and opposite can a version be? And aside from these major oddities, how about just basic 2nd grade grammar? In the same verse (Genesis 28:17) the KJV editors couldn’t even get basic grammar correct by starting a sentence (this) with a capital letter. Some of these things are totally odd, but the Judas error is more than a typo, that’s blatant factual error. In Lamentations 4:3, all versions use jackals, a legitimate and well known animal. The KJV uses “sea monster.” What? Why do they use such a radically different term in this verse that has nothing in common with “jackal”?

  2. Grant Jones

    Have I just entered the bizarro world or the twilight zone? I saw the comments and at first thought the post was a joke. Then I looked it up and the comments are correct: “John Baptist” Huh??? Frankly, the Matthew 1 reference you made mention of is disturbing. Odd phrasing and grammatical errors are one thing, but to have outright wrong information is a whole other level. This is the genealogical line of Jesus we are talking about, not some lesser known Bible character. The fact that the KJV can’t even get basic information such as this straight is deeply disturbing. Haven’t people who use the KJV ever noticed that the Bible makes great mention of the Lion of Judah, not the Lion of Judas? (I include myself, as I have never noticed this before.) Why have no pastors made a big deal out of this?

    I really thought your post was a joke until I looked these up on my Bible program. I was pretty perplexed when I saw that you are correct. So of course I thought that this must be an electronic error and that the program I used was sloppily made. Nope, wrong again. This is what it says in the hard copy as well! Don’t you think that after 300 years that Thomas Nelson would have found out some of these basic grammar errors and corrected them? Who owns the Bible now, is it Thomas Nelson? Or is it Rupert Murdoch who bought them out? But the factual errors are worse.

    The video is about using a favorite Bible version, whether it be the KJV or another version. Why would anyone use the KJV with odd errors such as this? The weird thing is that in some of these examples all other versions agree and the KJV is the lone standout with grammar and factual errors. How in the world did the KJV-only people ever get started? If you’re going to believe that only one version is correct, why in the world did those people pick THAT particular version?

    I’m an older guy who is retired so I took the time to research some of this after I saw the post. It made me wonder if I was having a “senior moment,” or several of them. I found another oddity of the KJV this morning: Isaiah 44:8 It says that “there is no God.” When you look this up in other versions, most of them say there is no OTHER God, or something to that effect. That is just very strange.

  3. Mark Ward

    In my book I say not one negative word about the translation choices of the KJV translators. I believe they did an excellent job. There are good explanations for all of the supposed problems brought up by my two commenters. But one reason you’re having these questions, it appears to me, is that you don’t realize how language changes over time. It isn’t the KJV translators’ fault or ours that they spoke/wrote a different version of English than we do.

  4. Grant Jones

    Hi Mark. I see you are the owner of the blog. Thank you for the interaction. This is Grant. I am not saying that you made any disparaging remarks about the translation. I don’t think the previous poster did either. And I am not disparaging the Bible by any means! I am a Christian. That is a foolish thing to do. But I’ve got to be honest with you, some of the oddities about the KJV to me are just…..odd.

    It is correct that language changes over time. “Don’t go there.” Remember when that was a popular phrase in the 90’s or early 2000;s? (Thanks, I think, to a tv show.) Now that phrase is no longer in vogue. And in today’s world we no longer use thee and thou in our communications. I get all of that. What I disagree with you about is that the rules of grammar change that much over a 400 year period, within the same English language. For example, a new sentence began with a capital letter in 1611 and it still does today; this is not a change to the rules and structure of grammar. In Genesis 28:17 I do not see how that is anything but a grammatical error where “this” is not capitalized. Different word choices, different phraseology, etc. Those are all completely understandable. But I don’t see how you can explain this one as simply a language change.

    Speaking of grammar, verb tenses have not changed from 1611 in the English language. “The people is” is not correct: 2 Samuel 17:29. Of course, the correct working is “the people are,” as is used in all other versions once again except for the KJV. If that is not a grammar mistake, then why did the KJV use the phrase correctly in 2 Samuel 1:4 and Psalm 102:22. If the translators were just using the English language of the day I could understand this one, but this is not the case. How could they get it right in other spots, even in the same book, and not in others?

    And how do you explain 1 Samuel 23:22? Is “subtilly” even a word? How about “subtly” instead?

    What really baffles me is the Isaiah 44:8 reference. How can you deny that “there is no OTHER God” and “there is NO God” are not diametrically different phrases!?

    And I am completely baffled the most by Mathew 1: 2-3. How can you explain that one away and say that there is an explanation for it? Judas is not Judah! “The Lion of Judah” is only actually mentioned once in the Bible as far as I know, in Revelation. Even though only mentioned once, it is a well known and well beloved phrase and term of respect that is used in Christian literature. You never hear any mention of “The Lion of Judas.” And why did every other translation get it correct, but not the KJV? You never hear of the tribe of “Judas.”

    So no, I am not questioning the Bible by any means! What I am questioning is how these things could have slipped by the editors in this particular version of the Bible. I’m also questioning my own Bible knowledge. As a senior citizen, I am baffled that I never noticed the Judas passage in Matthew until now.

    • Mark Ward

      A few things:

      1) “Judas” can be “Judah”—spelling wasn’t regularized in 1611 the way it is now.

      2) Isa 44:8 is an elliptical expression, something English can certainly handle but (I’d say off to the top of my head) isn’t super common.

      3) Re: 2 Sam 17:29—even today “people” is a collective noun that can be either singular or plural. Think of, “These terrorists have no authority to act on behalf of any people, race or religion.” But what you’re probably dealing with here is a singular Hebrew word.

      No time now to answer your other questions, but there are answers. The KJV is not perfect; I’m not saying that. No translation is. (And I didn’t think you were attacking the Bible. =) But not every error people think they see in the KJV is really there. I’m convinced that very few people, even among the educated, realize just how much English has changed, and in what subtil (ahem) ways. We shouldn’t blame the KJV translators for not knowing our English, because we’re even: we don’t know theirs either.

  5. Martin Vickers

    Without getting into the other verses, regarding “Judas” in Matthew 1:2 and/or 1:3, if you look at the Greek, the name appears as (transliterated) “Ioudan” in verse 2 and “Ioudas” in verse 3. What modern versions do is make the Hebrew name consistent throughout the New Testament to avoid confusion, but they are not necessarily carrying the Greek over literally when they do that.

    Another example is in Matthew 11:14. Modern versions say “Elijah,” which is the person Jesus is referring to. But the Greek literally transliterated is “Elias,” as the KJV reads.

    So the King James translators were not wrong in referring to “Judas” or “Elias.” They were merely transliterating exactly what the Greek had rather than making the name consistent with the Hebrew of the Old Testament. Modern translations iron out the Greek to make it match the Hebrew referent. Neither way is wrong; it is just a choice as to whether to transliterate the Greek or translate/update it to parallel the Old Testament names.

  6. Donald Potter

    I have yet to read your book beyond the preview, but I am looking forward to getting a copy soon. I have read the Bible through in numerous versions: KJV many times, ESV, RV1960 Spanish, Dios lega al hombre, CEV, NT in Greek Orthodox, Majority Text, TR, LXX in the original. I must confess that I have not read the NIV through. Strange as it may seem, I much prefer the CEV over the NIV. Actually, what I want to mention here is the Nelson KJV Classic Reference Edition: center-column references, translation notes, and concordance. The “translation notes” as so complete that practically anyone should be able to read the KJV with their help.

    I read through Norton’s Cambridge Paragraph KJV three years ago. Curiously, the modern formatting and spelling caused me to forget it was the old KJV. The beautiful modern formatting alone gave it a modern flavor.

    Dan Wallace made a comment in his Textual Criticism class to the effect that the NIV 2011 was the best available translation, but not very good for memorization. He recommend the KJV, ESV and a few other versions for memory work.