KJV Only: Does the Translation Matter?

If you've spent much time on this blog you know that I lean toward the King James Version (KJV). You might have also seen posts that talk about the controversy of the various English translations and question of which translation is best. While I've never declared an official side of the argument, I can see how people would assume I support the KJV only side. In a way, I did...

I grew up in a KJV only church; we used to beg to read the New KJV (NKJV) or New International Version (NIV), but that wasn't an option. The first time I saw an NIV in the back of a pew I was in shock. Despite having struggled to read the KJV as a child, by the time I was a teen, I had a preference for the KJV. The Bible I used in high school and college was an NKJV, but I still chose the KJV when looking up verses online. Naturally, when I replaced that Bible, I bought a KJV.

My New Bible With Journaling Margins
This weekend, I decided to buy a journaling Bible—basically a Bible with wide margins so you can take notes in your Bible. They had quite a few, most of which were more like coloring books or playgrounds for doodling than for taking notes. I only found two that were no-frills with wide margins ready for my notes. One was an NIV with microscopic print and the other a Christian Standard Bible (CSB). I'd never even heard of the CSB, but it looked like my only option. Overall, I really liked the design of the Bible and the devotionals spread throughout the pages. The only thing I had reservations about was the translation. I prayed about it and scoured the shelves for another 15 minutes; I just knew a KJV was buried in there somewhere. 30 minutes later, I ceded to the Spirit and made my way to the checkout register with this unknown translation.

Today, while working on a Bible study about the importance of the word and trusting in the scriptures, I reread a verse that really spoke to me.
9But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. 10But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. 11For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. 12Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 13Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.1 Corinthians 2:9-14 KJV

At the end of the day, the translation is only as pure as the heart who reads it. When we read of our own understanding and our own knowledge, we're bound to misinterpret things. We need the Holy Spirit to do the interpreting. Since the Holy Spirit wrote the text, the Holy Spirit can get us the message regardless of the translation. Obviously, I'm not telling you to go out and by a Chinese Bible if you don't speak Chinese (though all things are possible through Christ), and I do believe there are some texts that are severely flawed.[1] However, I think if you surrender to the Spirit every time you pick up your Bible to study, He will give you the right interpretation.

As for this new translation I'm reading, I don't hate it. There have been a few verses I thought didn't sound right that I cross-referenced with my KJV. I was still able to get the meaning of the text and the differences weren't too very drastic (so far). Cross-referencing verses with other translations is always a good idea, though—even for the KJV.
Another View

References

  1. Chenxin Jiang. "Rewriting the Biblical 'Curse' on Womankind. The Atlantic. November 20, 2016

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About

Author Image Author Image I love reading the Word of God. With prayer God's Word reveals so much: from comfort to temperance, from perspective to affirmation. Digging into the depths of the Word, cross-referencing history, language and time differences, is a passion of mine. In March of 2015 I decided to go back through the Bible doing an in depth study on each section I read. Eventually I decided to share my journal of notes as I partake in this journey. I hope you are blessed by God and inspired to pursue a deeper relationship with Him. I love reading and learning about God, nature, and science. I am interested in how it all connects. The Creator's fingerprints are all over his creation. We can learn so much about Him and how we came to be by exploring the world around us. Join me as I explore the world and draw closer to the One who created it all.
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