August 19, 2022

3 Weak Arguments Not To Use To Support the KJV

KJV of 1611 (Psalms 23:1,2): Occurrence of &qu...
KJV of 1611 (Psalms 23:1,2): Occurrence of “L ORD ” (and “God” in the heading) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The King James Version is a majestic translation of the Bible—one that has spanned hundreds of years and still finds many faithful readers today.  The reasons for that are multiple:

  • The prose’s age and grandeur gives the KJV a majestic feel.
  • The scholarship was great such that very few changes have been needed over the years.
  • Many have grown up memorizing portions of Scripture from the KJV, and that makes other translations sound strange.

Given all of these positive things, many that attempt to defend it as the only translation that is the Word of God resort to all sorts of arguments to either tear down other translations or build up the KJV.  Among them are some weak arguments—arguments I suggest KJV proponents avoid because they don’t help their cause.


Anyone can tell you that reading a language that’s over 100 years old is different than reading the same language today.  Pick up a work written by the Founders of the United States and you will see word choice, formality and grammar differences.  You’ll also find words that they chose to use for things are different than words today.  One of my favorites is “Providence” which could be an unseen force, could be God or could be a city in Rhode Island.

The further back you go in a living language, the more of this you’re going to see.  For example, yesterday, I had a post titled Earthquakes in Divers Places which could be a reference to earthquakes underwater, but in that context “Divers” means “Diverse”.

When the language of a work requires you to look up words you don’t know, you consider it something that broadens your vocabulary.  When the dictionary definition doesn’t suffice and you have to dig further to find what a word used to mean, then it’s hard to read.  There’s a reason that many in Christian schools are trained in what words l like “Beseech”, “Verily”, “Comeliness” and the alternate readings of “Conversation”.

This is not a strong argument for the KJV proponent, because it’s easy to grab a passage and a non-Christian and prove just how inaccessible the KJV is in some places.  Which is amusing in some ways, since part of the point of the KJV1 was to provide a standard English version that was readable by the people.

The KJV just isn’t that readable or accessible to the modern American/English reader.


In the United States, all original works are copyright by default.  This blog post is copyright, and that’s why on many copyrighted works the phrase “All rights reserved” or different rights that are granted/reserved.

Many have used “copyright” to defend the KJV because it is currently in the public domain in the United States.  This is due not to the fact that the publishers wanted it open and free, but to the fact that the copyright law in the United States only protects a work for 120 years.  It is said that most works earlier than 1920 are now in the public domain.

Derivative works must be different to a certain extent in order to be considered new.  Therefore, if someone wanted to have a Bible that was copyrighted and not available for free, they would have to make it different enough in word usage to meet the criteria for uniqueness.  This is the same as the patent process.

The interesting thing is that the KJV is still under copyright in the UK, and will be until 2035.  This means that only the Queen’s printer can print it.

So, if the NASB, NKJV, NIV or ESV was declared to be the same as the KJV, they would not be able to print or distribute their work in the UK because of copyright infringement.  This would be a marketing problem, but would also deny people the chance to read a modern version.

This argument is weak because regardless of what people think about whether “the Bible should be free,” people pay money for Bibles all the time, and copyright also allows for control and preservation of the original work—and ways to file litigation should someone claim to have a work that is the ESV when it really isn’t.

Revisions vs. Versions

It won’t take you long into a discussion on the KJV to come to the argument about revisions vs. versions.  The argument usually goes along the line about the number of revisions compared to the fact that the KJV has no revisions, only versions—the latest being done in the 1769.

The funny thing is that if you read the changes that were made to the 1769 version, you find that there were things that were changed because the authors of the new versions believed that the judgments of the KJV 1611 translation was faulty.  Hence the whole disagreement in the King James Only movement between the Authorized version and the 1611 version.  And there are many defects to be found in the KJV.

Here’s one of my biggest problems with this whole argument. I’ve read the argument that the NKJV was supposed to just take out the “thee’s and thou’s” and that would have been fine, but because of copyright, they decided to change other things to.

So, if the KJV is so pure because it it has a single version—why isn’t there a new version with more modern words so as to clear up the ambiguity of the more ancient word usage and fix the defects?

To me, this argument is worthless because it leaves people wondering why they just don’t take the 1769 and catch it up to the 2000s.


This post is not to say that you shouldn’t read and love the KJV.  It’s not to take away from the way God has used it in this country and the world.  It’s not even attempting to address the stronger arguments—which there are some good ones.

However, there are weak arguments—arguments that should be avoided.  And these are three of them.

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  1. Other than to provide a work for the Anglican church that would justify the divine order of kings and remove the anti-royalty notes in the Geneva Bible. []

9 thoughts on “3 Weak Arguments Not To Use To Support the KJV

  1. You have a link in this post to a site that lists several “defects” of the KJV. Most of them are easily solved with a little common sense. Some others are more challenging. Here’s a few things to consider concerning those:

    1 Cor. 4:4–“For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord.” The link you gave has a problem with how this is written. They feel that Paul is saying in effect, that he “knows nothing originally or independently.”

    In light of 1 Cor. 11:31 where Paul told the believer to judge himself (“For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.”) it does seem strange to see him say “Yea, I judge not mine own self,” and then add that he knows “nothing” by himself. However…there are two factors to consider: 1) Christians are to judge sin in their lives before taking the Lord’s supper (context of 1 Cor. 11:31) and 2) is that Paul has already examined himself on the matter of stewardship or he would not have said that he knew “nothing by himself.” After examining his own heart Paul couldn’t find, to his knowledge, any place where he had been unfaithful in preaching the mysteries. He is saying that he doesn’t have a final judgement to make on it as the final judgement is left up to the Lord (vs 4-5). In the meantime, he does the best he can with the mysteries that God has revealed (see 1 Tim. 3:16, Col 1:27, 1 Cor. 15:49-51, etc.) and he is not going to be concerned with what men think about his faithfulness in those matters. The problem that arises with the new versions rendering this as somehow Paul’s conscience being involved, is that it erases a great truth of the KJV when Paul says “I know nothing by myself,” he is stating the truth. As far as the mysteries regarding the church, six out of the seven were REVEALED to Paul: he did not know them “by himself,” for they were direct revelations from God! (Acts 26:16, “But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee;”) If you want more information on these six mysteries revealed to Paul, read Rom. 11:25, 1 Tim. 3:16, Col 1:27, Eph. 5:32, 2 Thess. 2:7, and 1 Cor. 15:51 in the KJV. Btw, the seventh mystery was recorded by John in Rev. 17:5. Modern Bible versions seem to forget that the CONTEXT of 1 Cor. 4:1-4 is the MYSTERIES…so they limit verse 4 to Paul’s knowledge of his “fellowship with God.”

    Mark 6:22–the phrase “By and By” is perfectly acceptable:

    Romans 4:19–“And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara’s womb:” The supposed KJV defect is that Paul should have left out the second use of the word “not” in this verse, because in Gen. 17 Abraham laughed at the thought of having a child in his old age…so in essence, they are also calling Paul a liar because in Romans 4:20 we see Paul saying, “He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;” Matthew Henry commentary on this is as follows: “But Abraham did not consider this, sy katenoeµse—he did not dwell in his thoughts upon it. He said indeed, Shall a child be born to him that is a hundred years old? Gen. 17. But that was the language of his admiration and his desire to be further satisfied, not of his doubting and distrust; his faith passed by that consideration, and thought of nothing but the faithfulness of the promise, with the contemplation whereof he was swallowed up, and this kept up his faith. Being not weak in faith, he considered not.”

    Malachi 3:1–This is that pesky “prophets” quote that the KJV translators got right in Mark 1:2-3, “As it is written in the *prophets*, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” By using “prophets” rather than the modern versions “As it is written in *Isaiah* the prophet” we correctly cross-reference back to BOTH Isaiah 40:3 (Mark 1:3) and Malachi 3:1 (Mark 1:2), “Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.”

    In several cases at this site, the author said that certain phrases “should have been left untranslated”? My thoughts on that are, if God put it in there, there must be a good reason to include it in translation. Many of the other instances are merely gnat-straining, in what I believe is an elementary school attempt at payback to the KJV advocates who know that their Bibles do not have the doctrinally eroded problems of their modern version counterparts.

    I enjoy perusing the lists of so-called KJV errors, because so far, (and I’ve seen a lot more challenging errors than any listed at this particular site you linked to), there is always a meaty answer that grounds my stance on God’s word more strongly than ever before. I wish I had more time to rebutt the rest of them on here for it is always enlightening…but it’s past my bedtime!

  2. First, I want to let you know that I appreciate the time that you took to comment on all of those verses. I know how much time it takes, and that time is precious– for both of us.

    However, by doing so I think you missed the point of the argument. By having multiple versions that, among other things corrected defects, the authors of those versions admitted that there were things that needed fixing.

    Nowhere am I saying that there are doctrinal problems with the KJV, in fact, just the opposite. I attested to its worth and I stated that things could be worded better, consistent with the translation, so that it could be more accessible to the modern reader.

    I would say that words that should and shouldn’t be translated are exactly the kind of defects that should be corrected. Are you really arguing that a city name that had a meaning should be taken as the meaning instead of the location name if the text supports the name of a location?

    Why isn’t there a more modern version of the KJV available– regardless of how the 1611 advocated feel about one? Are you claiming the 1769 version is perfect and requires no future updating?

  3. Yes, I believe the KJV is perfect and needs no updating. You are assuming that the modern versions are correcting errors, while they themselves are filled with errors, and are not even based on the same manuscripts as the KJV.

    God applied meaning to everything in the Bible, numbers, names, cities…

  4. Which version is perfect? Since there was a version of the KJV that promoted adultery, and the version that we have today has words that were changed from the 1611– where does it end?

    If the original KJV translators created a perfect version, what Parris, Blayney, Baskerville and their disagreements about what should be placed in the updated versions?

    Blanley’s edition differed from the 1611 edition in 24,000 places. Was it perfect in 1611, or perfect today?

    And my argument here still stands. If godly men believed that the KJV of 1611 should be updated up until 1769 to keep it readable, then why not another update?

    If an update to the KJV that remains faithful to the text of the TR and the AV, but fixes things like “Esais” for Isaiah, “Elias” for Elijah, “conversation” for lifestyle and everything else in the book you carry around to make sure you translate the middle English right, would you support it, or would it be bad because it’s not the 1769 AV?

  5. But you failed to explain that it was an unintentional printing press error that produced the so-called “Wicked Bible” that “promoted adultery”…when the word not was accidentally omitted from “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” Do you really want your readership to believe that God would promote adultery in the Bible? It compromises nothing of the KJV’s integrity that printing errors were introduced into the text, considering the printing press was relatively new on the scene and that each individual type was handset by candlelight. If my memory serves me correctly, the printers who were responsible for that particular error were each fined heavily and had their printing licenses taken away! Was their mishap the fault of the KJV Bible or translators? No, of course not.

    The only revisions the King James Bible has gone through are the changes in format from the Gothic type to the Roman, the modernization of certain words like Sonne to Son, sinne to sin, and the correction of various minor printing errors that have occurred and continue to occur in ALL printings of the Bible or any book even in modern times. This applies to all four revisions (in 400 years), counting Blayney’s.

    Even the American Bible Society, no friend to the King James Bible, had this to say about the “revisions” of the King James Bible. The American Bible Society wrote, “The English Bible, as left by the translators (of 1611), has come down to us unaltered in respect to its text…” They further stated, “With the exception of typographical errors and changes required by the progress of orthography in the English language, the text of our present Bibles remains unchanged, and without variation from the original copy as left by the translators” (Committee on Versions to the Board of Managers, American Bible Society, 1852).

    Do you believe there now exists any Bible in any language that is the complete and pure words of God? If you don’t, and it seems fairly obvious that you don’t, then you have a lot in common with the rest of the world. This article might be of interest.;topic=4143.0

    You and I have had the above conversation before…it is not my intention to generate your hostility, as it seems my comment did. But I do believe in a perfectly inspired, inerrant word of God for English speaking people…and you are free, likewise, to believe there is no such thing.

  6. The point of this post is not to say that your belief system/worldview does not have merit, but to suggest that there are weak arguments that should be avoided. I guess that my assertion is right, because you refuse to actually address my arguments, and instead take me back to your stronger arguments.

    Answer the questions:

    Which version is perfect? Is it the 1611– the one by the original translators? The one with modernized words (even though, through this process there were disagreements in rendering, etc.)

    Why do you not support another update– or would you? If updates were acceptable until 1769, would you support an update to 2011 so that people didn’t have to carry around translation guides, guess at names of prophets, etc.?

    Until you answer these two, I don’t see our discussion as going anywhere.

  7. MIn, I *have* answered your questions. Who said that any of the KJV’s four editions from 1611-1769 were for readability? Perhaps the change from Gothic type to Roman type was for readability, I wouldn’t argue. But as the Roman type is still easily read by modern English people today, we hardly have reason to update the KJV for readability in that particular arena. The other changes were to correct printing press errors, and to standardize the spelling that was not near a uniform standard in the 1600’s when the KJV was first printed. The translated text itself, as given by the KJV translators, has not been changed, so there is no point to pinpointing which edition is the “perfect” edition. As far as perfection goes, it’s the translation itself, and the manuscripts it is based upon that matter…grace is given for typos where necessary that have been fixed.

    As for question #2, I personally don’t see a need for an update to the 1769 KJV, no. I explained one reason in my other comment to your Esaias post. We have not yet had a successfully pure *modern update* to the KJV, one in which only the supposed archaic words were made more readable. But the bigger reason is that every letter is important in the Bible, as the KJV translators carefully analyzed a wealth of ancient, rare Bibles and manuscripts word-by-word, letter-by-letter, syllable by syllable, keeping the preservation of God’s holy words as unbroken as possible…I would not want to miss any of the rich depth of this kind of transmission, by messing with letters, syllables, words per sentence, etc in order to “update” it. This particular sword of the spirit is polished brilliantly enough as it is.

    I really don’t think there is as big of an issue as you claim, on new believers needing to overcome the hurdle of the KJV to grow in their walk with the Lord. What is the Holy Spirit for anyway? To guide us into all truth. Perhaps a new believer will decide to figure out more about Elias/Elijah, and will learn deeper truth by questioning, in the process of growing in his knowledge and understanding. This is a matter for God to decide, as He is the author and designer of the Bible, and of humanity.

  8. #1 and #2 are indelibly linked, and yet you ignore the linkage because it defeats your argument.

    In #1 you state that you don’t think it matters that there were different versions with different spellings.

    In #2 you state you don’t want anyone messing with the “rich depth of this kind of transmission, by messing with letters, syllables, words per sentence, etc in order to “update” it.

    In one case, change is fine, in another it’s not. You’re bigoted in favor of the version that you have, with no reason to feel that it is superior to the 1611, or would be superior to one that replace Esais with Isaiah and Verily for truly.

    And you commit the error of the Roman Catholic, believing that it’s more important to stay true to an archaic text than to make the Bible accessible to the modern man.

    How long should the 1769 version of the KJV be without an update? 1000 years should the Lord tarry?

    According to your position, it should never be updated, people should always rely on the Holy Spirit to translate a language that has grown past the meanings contained in said work.

    Does that help you to understand how foolish this argument is?

  9. Did you even read my answer? How do printing press errors, that have since been corrected, affect the translation text? And standardizing the spelling, is different than substituting different words, which would change the syllables, words, and meanings. As far as updating “sinne” to “sin”, the word is still “sin”, it is still one syllable, and it still sounds the same. There was no uniformity in spelling back then…people would spell the same word half a dozen different ways…it’s things like these that were fixed, nothing that affects the KJV translators’ accuracy.

    God has a plan for His word, who am I to deny that? If His plans include an “update” for the KJV then it’s in His hands.

    I am wasting my time commenting here, trying to be kind, and getting called all kinds of names, and having you misunderstand and put rude spins on my commentary. I am sorry we can’t just have an “iron sharpeneth iron” back and forth on this subject. If you believe I am bigoted, then I will do you a favor and back off from this discussion.

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