Sadly many Christians today approach the Bible issue with a consumer mentality of finding which version is “right for them” instead of seeking which Bible is approved of God. The words of the LORD are declared in scripture to be “pure” words that He will preserve forever (Psa. 12:6,7). Where are those words to be found today? For the past several weeks on Wednesday nights at our home church I have taught a four-part series on the King James Version. Through the testimony of the vast majority of Hebrew and Greek manuscripts, early church ‘fathers’, lectionaries, and early translations, along with the linguistic and spiritual qualifications of the translators in 1611 and the time in which it was translated, I believe the King James Version is the inspired, inerrant, preserved word of God. The life-giving breath of God can be felt in this Book, and the fruit that it has produced in the 400 years since its publication is incalculable.
It amazes me how many Christians today accept modern bibles without considering their history, their underlying corrupt manuscripts, their omissions from scripture, nor the philosophies and motives of many who have sat on the translation committees of the over 120 versions published since 1901.
Last night we completed our series on the King James Version with a comparison of the Authorized Version (KJV) to several of the more popular versions of today. We compared over 50 verses. Below I will provide a very brief commentary of some of the verses we covered.
Is There a Difference in Bibles?
KJV: “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”
NKJV, NASV, NIV, : “…a living being.”
ESV: “… a living creature.”
The threefold nature of man is seen in this verse. Man is a body (formed out of the dust of the ground), a spirit (the breath of life), and a living soul. Countless times in dealing with individuals about salvation I have appealed to their being a living soul. There is a difference between the soul and the body which is just an outer shell.
KJV: “God will provide himself a lamb…”
NKJV, NASV: “God will provide for Himself the lamb…”
NIV: “God himself will provide the lamb…”
ESV: “God will provide for himself the lamb…”
It is true that God did provide FOR himself a sacrifice. However, that is only part of the story. The modern versions totally miss the deeper, and more amazing truth: prophetically GOD WAS the sacrifice! The KJV wording is perfect: “God will provide HIMSELF” (in the form of his Son Jesus Christ – the Lamb of God) as the sacrifice.
KJV: “I AM THAT I AM”
NKJV, NIV, NASV, ESV: “I AM WHO I AM”
God basically told Moses to say, “I AM hath sent me”. The meaning of the KJV is “I AM because I AM”. The modern versions provide a meaningless statement – “I AM WHO I AM”, alright, who are you? God would have told Moses nothing by such a definition. In effect, He would be saying “Go tell them I am who I am”.
KJV: “The wicked shall be turned into hell…”
NIV: “The wicked return to the grave…”
NASV: “The wicked will return to Sheol…”
ESV: “The wicked shall return to Sheol…”
The NKJV has removed the word “hell” in 22 of the 54 places (40%) it is found in the KJV. The NIV and ESV have removed the word hell in 40 out of the 54 places (75%) it is found in the KJV. The NASV has removed the word hell 41 out of the 54 places it is found in the KJV.
KJV: “Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.”
NIV: “O LORD, you will keep us safe and protect us from such people forever.”
NASV: You, O LORD, will keep them; You will preserve him from this generation forever.”
ESV: “You, O LORD, will keep them; you will guard us from this generation forever.”
Verse 6 is concerning “The words of the LORD”. On finding a promise that God would preserve His “words” (not merely the “fundamentals,” “thoughts,” or “message”), the NIV changes “them” to “us” and then has to convert “this generation” to “such people”. There is no manuscript in existence that reads in the first person plural (“us”). The Jews were certainly not protected from such people forever, e.g. Hitler wiped out nearly a quarter of their race.
KJV: “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!”
NIV: “How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn.”
NASV: “How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn!”
ESV: “How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn!”
The modern versions have removed the name of Lucifer, eliminating the only reference to him in the Bible. The ultimate blasphemy occurs when the “morning star” takes “Lucifer’s” place in Isaiah 14. Jesus Christ is the “morning star” and is identified as such in Revelation 22:16 and as the “day star” in 2 Peter 1:19. And the new versions do not present a different Christ?
KJV: “He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.”
NIV: “…and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.”
NASV: “…the fourth is like a son of the gods!”
ESV: “…the fourth is like a son of the gods.”
There is a big difference between “the Son of God” and a son of the gods (plural). The KJV shows Jesus Christ, the second person of the Trinity in a pre-incarnate appearance, testifying that He is eternal and existed long before He was born in Bethlehem.
KJV: “…he… whose going forth have been from of old, from everlasting.”
NIV: “…he… whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”
ESV: “…one… whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.”
The words “from everlasting” make Christ eternally existent (without a beginning) while the words “from ancient times” make Him very old – one whose origin we are left to speculate on. The modern versions translated the Hebrew word “olam” as “everlasting” when describing such things as joy, disgrace, shame, contempt, a possession, a sign, etc. Strangely though when the word was used to describe the name of our Redeemer in Isaiah 63:16, the NIV and ESV translated it this way, “Redeemer from of old is your name.” The KJV reads in Isaiah 63:16, “redeemer; thy name is from everlasting”.
KJV: “…she… brought forth her firstborn son…”
NIV: “…she gave birth to a son…”
Jesus Christ was Mary’s firstborn son – we know from Mark 6:3 that He had at least four brothers and two sisters. The NIV reading supports the Catholic lie that Mary was a perpetual virgin.
KJV: “whosoever is angry… without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment…”
NIV: “anyone who is angry… will be subject to judgment.”
ESV: “…everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment…”
Jesus Christ was angry when He turned over the tables of the money-changers in the temple but He had a cause. Who wants to subject Christ to judgment?
KJV: “… I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
NIV: “… I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
NASV: “…I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
ESV: “…I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
If you were lost and wanted to become saved, which of these versions would benefit you the most? What are the scriptures saying here without the words “to repentance?”
KJV: “…worshipping him…”
NKJV, NIV: “…kneeling down…”
NASV: “…bowing down…”
ESV: “…kneeling before him…”
In the four Gospels, eleven accounts are found of people worshipping Jesus. The KJV faithfully gives us all eleven, while the modern versions only give around six. The modern versions wording of the other accounts suggests something other than worship. There is a vast difference between “worshipped” and “knelt before.” One might kneel before a king but they do not worship him. It would appear that the authors of the modern versions had all kinds of difficulty translating the Greek word “proskuneo” (“worship”) nearly half of the time it was applied to Jesus. Yet, they had no difficulty at all translating the same word “worship” when it was used for worshipping a fellow servant (Rev. 19:10), an angel (Rev. 22:8), false religion (Jn. 4:20,22), idols (Acts 7:43), the image of the beast (Rev. 13:15; 16:2; 19:20), the beast (Rev. 13:4,8,12), the beast and the image (Rev. 14:9,11; 20:4), devils and idols (Rev. 9:20) and even “the dragon,” Satan (Rev. 13:4).
Pilate’s testimony concerning Jesus was…
KJV: “… I am innocent of the blood of this just person…”
NIV, ESV: “… I am innocent of this man’s blood…”
NASV: “… I am innocent of this Man’s blood…”
Just means “blameless or without guilt”.
KJV: “… the prophets…”
NIV, NASV, ESV: “…Isaiah the prophet…”
Isaiah did not write the quotation in Mark 1:2, Malachi did. Isaiah was quoted in verse 3.
KJV: “…them that are with child…”
NIV: “…pregnant women…”
NASV: “…those who are pregnant…”
ESV: “…women who are pregnant…”
The words “with child” are unmistakable about the life in the mother’s womb – the lenient “pregnant” does not conjure up the same images as “with child”. You can terminate a pregnancy – what's it called if you terminate a child?
KJV: “And Joseph and his mother marveled…”
NIV: “The child’s father and mother marveled…”
NASV: “And His father and mother were amazed…”
ESV: “And his father and his mother marveled…”
Replacing the word “Joseph” with the word “father” in this verse injures the doctrine of the virgin birth. The critic argues that the KJV calls Joseph and Mary his parents just the same as the modern versions. However, verse 43 of the KJV clarifies precisely what is meant by parents and the following verses clarify it much further. The translations of verse 43 presented by modern versions fail to clarify what is meant by father and the casual and shallow reader, of which there are many, may easily take a hold of any of the following renderings to argue that Jesus was no more than a man, as so many heretics, New Agers, Muslims and Jews have done in the past.
Critics point to the KJV also calling Joseph the father of Jesus in verse 48. However, it is Mary that called Joseph the father of Jesus in this verse. Jesus clarifies who His Father is in the following verse. The argument that we will hear most often concerning these verses is the assertion that it does not truly matter if one or two verses obscure the nature of the relationship of Jesus with Joseph when later verses clarify the relationship, as even the modern versions do in verse 49. This might be a valid argument if people knew their Bible as they should, or if the whole chapter was learned by heart by all, but that is not the case. Most people read the Bible in disconnected bits and pieces. Taking these verses out of context in the other versions allows for a strong, if not inevitable, opportunity for misinterpretation, or for an intentional one.
KJV: “…That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.”
NIV: “…Man does not live on bread alone.”
NASV: “…MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE.”
ESV: “…Man shall not live by bread alone.”
This is so important… not thoughts, not ideas, not concepts, not fundamentals, but His words!
KJV: “For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.”
NIV: “and they went to another village.”
ESV: “…And they went on to another village.”
Is it important to know that Christ came not to destroy men’s lives but to save them?
KJV: “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.”
NIV: “… but God the One and Only…”
NASV: “… the only begotten God…”
ESV: “…the only God…”
The NASV reads “only begotten God” thus presenting Jesus Christ as a created God. The NASV agrees with the NWT of the Jehovah’s Witnesses! The NIV translators knew the Alexandrian rendering “only begotten God” was unpopular so they invented the reading “the One and Only”.
KJV: “He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me…”
NIV: “He is the one who comes after me…”
NASV: “…He who comes after me…”
ESV: “…he who comes after me…”
Each little expression such as “is preferred before me,” like so many pieces in a puzzle, was designed to make its own contribution to the completed picture of Christ on the Bible page. Yet, they are systematically left out wherever possible in the modern versions.
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.”
NIV: “No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven – the Son of Man.”
NASV: “No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man”
ESV: “No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man
This is a regrettable omission since we have nothing left in scripture that reveals this unique and unexpected side of Christ’s omnipresence.
KJV: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son…”
NIV: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son…”
ESV: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son…”
The Greek word “monogenes” is a compound of “mono” meaning only or single and “genes”, from the verb genao, which means beget or cause to be produced. Modern Christians see this verse as saying Jesus is God’s unique Son in a very special way. Not only does the Greek word not mean unique, but it is a subjective term with little meaning. Is Jesus God’s unique son? Yes of course, but so is every other born again Christian – you are the only you, you are unique.
The law of first mention and the context of John 1:14,18 would lead anyone to note that the first use of “begat” (Gen. 4:18) and “begotten” (Gen. 5:4; Jn. 1:14) indicate it refers to flesh. The words “only begotten” are a very powerful description of the incarnation and the special relationship between God the Father and God the Son. The NIV reading cannot be correct according to Job 1:6, Luke 3:38, and John 1:12, which see.
KJV: “God is a Spirit…”
NKJV: “God is Spirit…”
NIV, NASV, ESV: “God is spirit…”
“God is spirit” is to infer that ALL spirits are God. The devil is spirit, angels are spirit, demons are spirit; God is “a” spirit, in distinction from other spirits.
KJV: “… He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.”
NIV: “… he who believes has everlasting life.”
NASV: “… he who believes has eternal life.”
ESV: “… whoever believes has eternal life.”
The key words in this text are “on me”. Without these words the verse tells us virtually nothing. Their removal not only closed the door to Jesus alone being the object of all faith, but also opened the door to many other possibilities.
KJV: “Jesus answered… but now is my kingdom not from hence.”
NASV: “Jesus answered… My kingdom is not of this realm.”
ESV: “Jesus answered… But my kingdom is not from the world.”
Removing one word (“now”) does damage to the millennial reign of Christ.
KJV: “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.”
NIV, ESV: omitted
The context is the Ethiopian eunuch asking Philip what prevents him from being baptized.
KJV: “…we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ… every one of us shall give account of himself to God.”
NIV: “…we will all stand before God’s judgment seat…”
NASV, ESV: “…we will all stand before the judgment seat of God…”
So “God,” who we will give an account to in verse 11 and 12, is clearly “Christ” who sits on the judgment seat of verse 10 in the KJV. By replacing the words “judgment seat of Christ” (KJV) with “God’s judgment seat”, modern version translators closed the door on this quiet yet valuable proof text of Christ’s deity. They also obscured the doctrine of the Judgment Seat of Christ.
1 Corinthians 1:18
KJV: “…unto us which are saved…”
NKJV, NIV, NASV, ESV: “…to us who are being saved…”
I once witnessed to a Roman Catholic lady and she used the NKJV to show that salvation is a process, never a one time event, e.g. mass each week, confessing to a priest, etc. The same thought is repeated in Acts 2:47; Acts 15:19; 2 Corinthians 2:15; 2 Corinthians 4:3; Colossians 3:10; and 1 John 2:8. Edwin Palmer, the coordinator of all the work on the NIV states, “This (his NIV) shows the great error that is so prevalent today in some orthodox Protestant circles, namely that regeneration depends on faith… and that in order to be born again man must first accept Jesus as his Saviour.”
1 Corinthians 5:7
KJV: “…For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us.”
NIV, ESV: “…For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.”
NASV: “…For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.”
Do you think it is important that Christ was sacrificed “for us?”
2 Corinthians 2:17
KJV: “For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God…”
NKJV, NASV: “… peddling the word of God…”
NIV: “… peddle the word of God…”
ESV: “… peddlers of God’s word…”
Someone is trying to cover their sins – they are Bible corrupters.
KJV: “I am crucified with Christ…”
NKJV, NIV, NASV, ESV: “I have been crucified with Christ…”
Our identity with Christ is present tense. This is our victory over sin. Romans 6:6 says, “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin”. Our old man is nailed to the cross spiritually – our new man is “alive unto God”. We have the resurrection power.
KJV: “Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.”
NIV: “… God has made you also an heir.”
NASV, ESV: “…an heir through God.”
Just two words are left out, “through Christ.” But where would redemption be without them?
KJV: “…which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ.”
NIV, NASV, ESV: “…God, who created all things.”
Who would want to take away from Christ as Creator?
KJV: “One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”
NIV, NASV, ESV: “one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”
The removal of the word “you” that has the purpose here of specifying that only the saints (those saved) are being addressed, does as much damage to the truth as it would to remove the word “again” from “Ye must be born again”. Its absence lends credibility to the heresy that advocates that all men are saved regardless of their relationship with Jesus.
KJB: “Christ Jesus… thought it not robbery to be equal with God”
NIV: “Christ Jesus… did not consider equality with God something to be grasped”
NASV: “Christ Jesus… did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped”
ESV: “Christ Jesus… did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped”
Christ professed equality with God when He was on earth. All His enemies thought He was a God-robber and so they hung Him between two thieves. The KJV shows that Christ did not consider He being God as taking anything away from God. Modern versions greatly weaken this statement by saying that equality was not something worth grasping or striving for, like He is a lesser “god”.
KJV: “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:”
NIV, NASV, ESV: “in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
How precious is that blood?
1 Timothy 3:16
KJB: “God was manifest in the flesh…”
NIV: “He appeared in a body…”
NASV: “…He who was revealed in the flesh…”
ESV: “… He was manifested in the flesh…”
Try using this verse in a modern version when dealing with a cult that denies the deity of Christ and see how the blade has been dulled.
2 Timothy 2:15
KJV: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God…”
NKJV, NASV: “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God…”
NIV, ESV: “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved…”
No one has to "study" in modern versions.
1 Peter 4:1
KJV: “Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh…”
NIV: “Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body…”
NASV: “Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh…”
ESV: “Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh…”
Observe how we are left out of the redemptive plan by eliminating the words “for us.”
2 Peter 2:17
KJV: “…to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever.”
NIV: “Blackest darkness is reserved for them.”
NASV: “…for whom the black darkness has been reserved.”
ESV: “For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved.”
How does the Holy Spirit leverage that word “forever” in dealing with eternal judgment?
1 John 1:7
KJV: “… and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”
NIV: “… and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”
NASV, ESV: “… and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.”
Sometimes a simple omission has profound impact. The difference seems small on the surface, but we must remember that John wrote this epistle to confront the heresy of Gnosticism. The Gnostics taught that Jesus and Christ were two separate entities. Jesus, they said, was born of Joseph and Mary and was physical. At his baptism the Christ, who was spiritual, was said to have entered into him. At this point, according to the Gnostics, Jesus became Jesus Christ. At his crucifixion, the Gnostics claimed that the Christ left, leaving only Jesus to die. At the resurrection, the disciples saw the spirit Christ, but the mortal Jesus remained dead. Once we understand the heresy John was confronting, the differences between the two readings becomes abundantly clear. If John had written “the blood of Jesus” he would have been making a statement that the Gnostics would have been in agreement with. After all, they believed that it was Jesus who shed his blood. But by writing “the blood of Jesus Christ,” John was making a direct assault on this Gnostic heresy.
1 John 5:7,8
KJV: “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water and the blood: and these three agree in one.”
NIV: “For there are three that testify: the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and the three are in agreement.”
ESV: "For there are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree.”
This verse not only substantiates Christ’s deity, but also it provides the strongest scriptural evidence of the Trinity. The Old Latin dating from 157 AD contains this verse.
KJV: “Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.”
What can wash away my sins?
KJV: “Saying, We give thee thanks, O LORD God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come…”
NIV: “We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was…”
NASV: “We give You thanks, O Lord God, the Almighty, who are and who were…”
ESV: “We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, who is and who was…”
Is Jesus coming back?
KJV: “And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it…”
NIV: “The nations will walk by its light…”
NASV: “The nations will walk by its light…”
ESV: “By its light will the nations walk…”
Is it important to note that only nations that are saved will walk in the light of New Jerusalem?