by Shawn Brasseaux
“For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ” (2 Corinthians 2:17 KJV).
If you believe the King James Bible as the perfect and preserved Word of God in English, it is no surprise to learn that you have a lot of enemies and critics. If you take God’s side, God’s critics will become your critics. God’s Word has never been popular with sinful man. Is it really true that because you support the King James Bible, you are “old-fashioned?” No, for God’s Word never ages! What would the critics say about the original Bible manuscripts? (They were so “old-fashioned” they disintegrated and are non-extant today!)
Are you wrong for supporting the King James Bible as the preserved Word of God, seeing as to most professing Christians prefer a modern version like NIV, NASB, NKJV, NRSV, HCSB, or ESV? No, my friend, you are not wrong for supporting the King James Bible. Most people do not believe the Bible and most people are not even saved. Do you think the majority is right in either of these cases? Of course not. The majority is wrong in those cases, so why would it be any different with the Bible versions?
Many times, anyone who claims that the King James Bible is God’s preserved Word in the English language is labeled a “church splitter,” a “fanatic,” or a “heretic.” This is such a shame because the opposite is true! How can we be heretics, church splitters, and fanatics when we support God’s preserved Word in the King James Bible? When does a heretic ever support God’s Word? Since when do heretics hold to the Bible as the Final Authority?
The devil uses intimidation, attempting to pry God’s Word (the King James Bible) from your hands. If he can get you to feel bad for using the King James, then he will discourage you from using it!! Thankfully, you do not have to relinquish your good ol’ Authorized Version King James Bible. You do not have to trade off God’s infallible Word for man’s errant word (modern versions). Beloved, you can leave the modern Bible versions on the shelves, and you can leave your money in your pocket. Be not deceived by the modern Bible advertisements!
I devote this special Bible study to giving you basic information about the Bible versions debate. We cannot exhaust this topic, but we can give you vital information in order to introduce you to this issue so that you can make an informed decision as to which Bible you should use. I beseech you to keep these things in mind. I love you as a fellow Christian (if you are saved today), but it is my obligation to the Lord to preach and teach His Word and let it offend whomever it offends. If you happen to be a Christian who uses a modern Bible (such as NIV, NASB, NRSV, NKJV, ESV, HCSB, et cetera), please know that I do not want to attack you. I will not name-call or belittle, but I rather please God than man, and I must tell you the truth.
This is a lot of information, and while it may seem “too deep” for you at first, do not be alarmed or discouraged. It took me a while to get a working understanding of this material, but please read (and re-read) this and prayerfully consider this. Do further research into this matter. Please do not take my word for it. You need to understand that these modern versions are NOT reliable and are actually rather dangerous! I hope to show you the significance of the Bible versions debate, as well as provide you with a stronger faith in the AUTHORIZED VERSION KING JAMES BIBLE AS THE PRESERVED WORD OF GOD IN ENGLISH!
A BRIEF HISTORY OF BIBLE CORRUPTION
The Bible warns us in 1 Timothy 4:1-3 KJV:
“1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.”
Notice how there will be people abandoning the teachings of the Bible rightly divided for the sake of teaching denominational doctrine and feel-good messages. This is the apostasy we are seeing even today! Yet, this apostasy is nothing new—Paul warned Timothy to watch for it 2,000 years ago!!!
Just prior to the Apostle Paul being martyred, the Holy Spirit moved him to pen his last epistle: his second (and final) letter to Timothy. In chapter 3 and the opening verses of chapter 4, Paul urged Timothy to remain vigilant, cautious, keeping watch for false teachers and heresy. Notice what Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 4:1-4 KJV:
“1 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;
2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”
The instructions from God are clear. Satan’s goal is to deceive you by appearing to be an “angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15). Satan’s associates will have “the form of godliness, but deny the power thereof”: this is what these modern versions have done; they have come in the form of innocence, denied the power of God, and yes, sadly, people have turned to these modern versions, the “fables” the Bible spoke against in 2 Timothy! Instead of people TURNING AWAY from such “fables” like God instructed us to do, they are EMBRACING “fables.”
The Holy Spirit knew that the devil would continue to target the early churches, and poor Timothy needed to be ready for the deception that would only get worse. “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived” (2 Timothy 3:13 KJV). The devil hindered Paul’s work for the Lord throughout his ministry, so he certainly had no intention of allowing God’s Gospel of Grace to be promulgated after Paul’s demise.
Satan’s answer was to destroy God’s Word, to pollute it, to water it down, to do whatever he could to keep the Lord’s pure word out of the hands of lost mankind… the good news is that the old devil has not fully succeeded, as God’s Word has been preserved through the Byzantine/Antiochian Bible manuscripts, eventually bringing us the King James Bible (more on this later). God kept His Word to preserve His Word… He literally kept His Word! Still, the devil succeeded in bringing about his own “bibles,” counterfeit versions of God’s Holy Word!
With the apostolic age now gone and the Bible’s canons closed in the first century A.D., the corruption of the Scriptures expounded in a chain-like fashion.
- In the second century A.D., Justin Martyr (A.D. 100–165) combined the heretical idea of Gnosticism with Christianity.
- Following in his footsteps was his student Tatian (A.D. 120–180), who was just as guilty of adulterating the Scriptures. His most famous work, “Harmony of the Gospels,” was corrupt.
- One of Tatian’s adherents was Clement of Alexandria (A.D. 150–215), who founded his apostate theological school in Alexandria, Egypt.
- Adamantius Origen (A.D. 184–254) attended the school in Alexandria, and his corrupt Bible texts led to his follower Eusebius.
- Eusebius (A.D. 260–340), also a student at the Alexandrian school, and the editor of two heretical Bible manuscripts: Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus—the adulteration found in these manuscripts is astonishing, for they disagree over 3,000 times in just the Four Gospels alone!!
- Jerome (A.D. 347–420) took the corrupted Alexandrian Greek manuscripts and translated them into Latin (a second corruption), to assemble the “New Latin Vulgate,” a Roman Catholic Bible that true Christians avoided. The date at this point was approximately A.D. 380—just a little more than 300 years after Paul’s death! See, the devil is not wasting time corrupting the Scriptures, is he? What do you think he has done these past 2,000 years, let alone the first couple hundred years A.D.? You will be amazed as we continue….
From the fifth to the fifteenth century A.D., the Roman Catholic Church was corrupting the Scriptures. This led to the Inquisition, and burning of Christians at the stake (and their Bibles) who refused to submit to the heresy of Roman Catholicism. [By the way, the text used by the King James Bible translators in 1603-1611 was the same text used against the Catholic Church during the Protestant Reformation nearly a century earlier.]
Jumping up to the late 19th century, in 1859, a German Bible “scholar” Tischendorf discovers Codex Sinaiticus (Eusebius’ and Origen’s work) in a monastery trashcan! No more than two decades after Tischendorf, you find two additional Bible “scholars” named B. F. Westcott and F. J. A. Hort. These two men were unbelievably apostate, yet they are exalted as Bible “scholars” today. Using the already perverted Alexandrian manuscripts, they constructed their own Greek text. Eventually, the 1881 Westcott-Hort Greek text was submitted to the Committee to be used as the basis for the Revised Version. In 1881, the Revised New Testament was completed; the Old Testament was finished in 1885.
At the very end of the 19th century, a new face in Bible corruption appeared: Eberhard Nestle. Nestle’s work was first published in 1898, and it was based on the corrupt texts of Tischendorf, Weymouth, Westcott, and Hort! The “Nestle-Aland (NA) Text,” as it is currently known, is in its 27th edition. This Nestle-Aland text is the basis for most modern English Bible versions’ New Testaments! So, you can trace the corruption in modern Bibles back to the first century: from Nestle, to Westcott and Hort, then to Tischendorf, to Jerome, and to Eusebius, then to Origen, and to Clement of Alexandria, and then Tatian, and right up to Justin Martyr! See how the corruption trickled down? The devil attacked the Bible’s purity almost as soon as it was completed—first century A.D.!
By the dawn of the 20th century (see “A Century of Bible Versions” Timeline below), after the 1881 RV, the first in a series of new Bible translations was produced. As we noted earlier, Nestle’s text was based on the corrupt Westcott-Hort text, and Nestle’s text is the basis for most modern English Bibles even today. Currently in Christian bookstores, you can find over 100 paraphrased, watered-down, inferior, corrupt English Bible versions—pitiful!
In 2008, the most popular English Bible among evangelicals was certainly not the King James Bible, but rather the NIV—of course, the majority never flocks to God’s truth! Young adults and teenagers have been told the King James Bible is too “archaic” for them, so they need a modern version with slang, street-language that they can understand, and it looks like many young people have fallen into that devil’s trap. Shame! I am waiting for the day when we have another new translation filled with emoticons and “text-messaging language”…like “PTL” (Praise the Lord) replacing “Hallelujah.” Spiritually lazy people want an “easy-to-read translation,” and they refuse to think on the Scriptures and “STUDY” the Bible like 2 Timothy 2:15 says!
A CENTURY OF BIBLE VERSIONS
(Non-exhaustive; just a small sample of the over 100 modern English versions today). Dates indicate when complete Bible (OT & NT) was released.
- 1885. English Revised Version
- 1901. American Revised Version (later renamed ASV, American Standard Version)
- 1946. New Berkley Version
- 1952. Revised Standard Version (RSV)
- 1960. New American Standard Version (NASV)
- 1961. New World Translation (NWT) – Jehovah’s Witness bible
- 1965. Amplified Bible (AMP)
- 1966. Jerusalem Bible
- 1967. New Scofield Reference Bible (NSRB)
- 1970. New American Bible (NAB) – Roman Catholic bible
- 1971. Living Bible
- 1978. New International Version (NIV)
- 1982. New King James Version (NKJV)
- 1987. New Century Version (NCV)
- 1989. New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
- 1995. Contemporary English Version (CEV)
- 1995. God’s Word (GW)
- 1995. New American Standard 1995 Update (NASB95)
- 2001. English Standard Version (ESV)
- 2002. The Message (MSG)
- 2004. New Living Translation (NLT)
- 2004. Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
- 2005. Today’s New International Version (TNIV)
ARE ALL ENGLISH BIBLES REALLY EQUAL?
Like most of our poor Christian brethren, I used to think of the Bible versions debate as something minor. At one time, I also believed the myth that all English Bibles basically said the same thing. However, since researching the subject, I have found that the modern Bibles are guilty of removing MUCH, MUCH more than just the “KJV-isms” like the archaic verb endings like “-eth,” “-est,” and the “archaic” pronouns like “thee’s” and “ye’s.” Some of the modern Bible translators will even admit they have done much more than that too!
People do not realize the seriousness of the Bible versions issue. Major doctrines of the Christian faith are being questioned, watered down, twisted, or even omitted from these modern versions! If you think the blood of Christ, the Trinity, the deity of Christ, the eternality of hell, the sinlessness of Christ, and the virgin birth of Christ are minor doctrines that can be compromised, then a modern “bible” is for you! If you feel that these are important doctrines that cannot be compromised, then you need to stay with the King James Bible.
Now, I mentioned the Nestle-Aland text earlier. I want to show you the difference between the modern versions and the King James Bible. To give you an idea of just how far removed these modern versions are from the King James Bible, the table to the right is how the Nestle-Aland 27th edition (NA27) compares with this selection of English Bible versions. The higher the percentage, the more the version is identical to the corrupt NA27. So, you can see there is a substantial difference between the reliability of the NASB and the KJB, with 84% of the NASB agreeing with the corrupt NA27, and over half of the KJB not agreeing with the corrupt NA27:
Now, you tell me, after viewing this information about the NA27, are all English Bibles equal in authority? The King James Version is the most reliable of all because it is the LEAST identical to the corrupt NA27. And as you can see, the NKJV is not a King James Bible either. In fact, the NKJV is nothing like the KJV because the NKJV removes “God,” “blood,” “repent,” “Jesus,” “Lord,” and “heaven” several times! Even the word “hell” has been completely removed from the NKJV!
Facts do not lie; we can confidently say without doubt, “No, all English Bibles are not equal in authority because all English Bibles do not say the same thing.” The King James Bible is substantially different from modern bible versions because they are based on two separate families of Bible manuscripts. The modern Bibles are based on the adulterated Alexandrian (Roman Catholic) manuscripts, the corrupt manuscripts that underlie NA27. The King James Bible is based on the Byzantine/Antiochian manuscripts, the Textus Receptus, the reliable manuscripts, which is why over half of the King James Bible is NOT identical to the corrupt NA27. Which Bible should you be using? Obviously, the King James Bible!
The irony of it all is that you get pummeled with criticism when you expose the heresy behind these corrupt texts and the resulting modern English Bibles. I know that firsthand. The majority has abandoned the King James Bible for an NIV, an NASB, or an NKJV that is more “modern,” more “scholarly,” and more “popular.” A plain fact of Scripture is that when it comes to spiritual things, the majority is usually wrong! The Lord Jesus said in Matthew 7:13,14 that very few people will ever go to heaven, that few will ever believe His truth, and that few will ever embrace His Word. When God approves of what you are doing, man will feel the opposite toward you. So, are long as you support the King James Bible, be ready to get more criticism (and be ready to ignore it too)!
CONCLUSION – NINE QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER
- How is there unity in the Church the Body of Christ if everyone is using a different Bible version? If one Christian is using the King James Bible (based on the reliable Antiochian, Byzantine manuscripts), and another Christian is using a modern version (based on the unreliable, corrupt Alexandrian manuscripts), how is this unity in the Body of Christ? One totes heresy under his arm, the other holds God’s preserved Word (KJV) … oh, how sad.
- Is it not odd that you have professing Christians attacking you as a King James Bible-believing Christian because you support the infallible Word of God as the infallible Word of God? Sound ridiculous, but it is true!
- The Jehovah’s Witnesses can freely distribute their corrupt bible (New World Translation), and the Mormons can even produce a “sequel” to the Bible (Book of Mormon), but they will never get as much flak as the King James Bible users. Why? [Of course, you know why, heresy is all the rage in this day and age!]
- If Bible manuscripts produced by apostates are unreliable, what can we infer about the Bibles based on those manuscripts? Would they fare any better? Many of today’s Bible scholars look at apostates Origen, Westcott, and Hort, and defend them as being great “scholars!” Pitiful.
- How is it possible that God’s Word is preserved in every modern English Bible, seeing as to each and every modern Bible contains various omissions, additions, transpositions, paraphrases, slang terms, and mistranslations (remember the various percentages listed above)? Each modern Bible is copyrighted; they all say different things, or they would not be able to have a copyright. And considering the KJV and the modern versions have two separate sources, does the KJV really say the same thing as the modern versions?
- According to Psalm 12:6,7, God promised that He would preserve His WORDS, not just His thoughts! God’s WORDS will not pass away, which is what Jesus Christ said in Matthew 24:35, Mark 13:31, and Luke 21:33. Or, will people be guilty of unbelief in denying the infallibility of those verses? Interestingly, modern versions distort Psalm 12:6,7 so it reads that God will preserve the Jews—the King James Bible says God will preserve His words.
- Is it not sad to see professing Protestant Christians hold a Catholic Bible in their hands while getting on your case because you support a NON-Catholic Bible, THE preserved Word of God? Pitiful.
- The Apostles Peter and Paul gave clear warnings about “many people corrupting the Word of God” (2 Corinthians 2:17) and people “wresting [twisting] the Scriptures to their own destruction” (2 Peter 3:15,16). Why should we ignore these warnings from the Holy Spirit? Are we “wise in our own conceits” as Paul would say?
- In the fall of 2009, a 28th edition of the Nestle-Aland text is expected to be completed. Why another edition? Does it need more “correction?” Or does it need more “perversion?” Will a new translation based on this new NA28 be released as well? (As of the summer of 2011, the NA28 has yet to be published.)
You may also want to check out http://www.chick.com/information/bibleversions/ for more information on this subject.