Why I use the King James Bible -- by Pastor George Shafer
If you need it explained how important the Bible is to your entire life as a Christian, you are already in trouble! To a believer, the Bible is everything. The Bible is our source of salvation; it is our only sure revelation of Jesus Christ; it is our only source of doctrine; it is our only source of prophecy; it is our only source of faith, strength, comfort, and hope. It is our daily bread, and only offensive weapon. It is a book for which many men have died (usually at the hands of other so-called religious men).
To use a Bible that has been tampered with by men -- corrupted, distorted or modified -- is as unthinkable as having someone make changes to a famous work of art, literature, or music. Men would not dream of making changes to a painting by Monet, Rembrandt, or Raphael. They would never revise words in the writing of Shakespeare, Dickens, or Poe. They would not change the notes in music written by Mozart, Beethoven, or Chopin. And yet, men flippantly change words, phrases, and entire verses in the Bible with casual arrogance, as if they can improve upon what God has written.
The justification for these changes is a combination of scholarship and ignorance. It began in the 1800's when men proposed the lie that God had not preserved His word. This, in spite of the incredible evidence that God's word is preserved, became the excuse for a heavily revised and very corrupt Greek text and then a revised Hebrew text. (And, for the record, I will be glad to stand before God one day and proclaim that I boldly said these words over and over in this life.) If you don't think God supernaturally and omnipotently preserved His word, how do you know that there are not entire books missing -- books with critical doctrines even to the extent of altering the gospel? Perhaps a courier with II Romans was captured and killed by thieves who destroyed the 67th book in the Bible. God wouldn't allow that, you say? If you don't think God preserved His word, how do you know?
God promised to preserve His word. He said it is incorruptible (1 Peter 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever). He promised to keep his words forever (Psalm 12:6-7 The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever). And, yes I know that some modern versions have changed Psalm 12:6-7. Doesn't that change tell you something? God said His word would stand forever (Isaiah 40:8 The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever). God promised that His words would never be lost (Isaiah 59:21 "... my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever). If you believe these verses, there is only one English translation you can elect to use.
But, just as Satan called God a liar in Genesis 3, men have done likewise. They have claimed that God's word was corrupted by careless scribes who did a poor job of making copies. They have claimed that only a scholar trained in Greek and/or Hebrew could make sense out of the myriad manuscripts that have been found. They have told the lie that only older manuscripts should be trusted, and then used only two manuscripts that were undiscovered until the very end of the middle ages, or later (again, doesn't that tell you something?). Few people realize that modern versions are based on only two Greek manuscripts, and that those two manuscripts are so obviously flawed that they don't even agree with each other.
We don't need to believe anything more than what the Bible says about itself for assurance of its preservation (but not out of just any translation because modern translations even change what the Bible says about itself). God promised to preserve His word. If you do not believe that God keeps His promises, you will have to stand before God one day and defend your position. The King James Bible is the preserved, inspired, inerrant, and infallible word of God in the English language. You can trust every word you read in that Bible, and should fear the wrath of God if you do not. We have seen indisputable evidence which proves that the Greek text used by modern versions such as the NIV and ESV is a train wreck of faulty theology, methodology, and motive. The men who produced that Greek text were apostates. Their work was motivated by an extreme hatred for the Greek text that had been in use from 250 AD (their date, not mine) until the late 1800's. I know that because I read the book they wrote which explains why and how they did their work. Have you? Do you care enough to look into this honestly, or do you just agree with people who soothe your conscience?
The translators of the King James Bible were guided by the hand of God, not as a matter of inspiration but of preservation. We can't prove that because we were not there, but we can prove that the translations that have been done since then are of such a horrible and dishonest quality that they hold no chance of being God's preserved word. For example, even the men who produced them said that they intentionally changed important doctrines like the deity of Christ. If the King James Bible is not God's word, then a pure copy of the word of God has not been in the hands of men for over 1,500 years. Why? Because the verses that are in the King James Bible, but have been removed, changed or questioned in the modern translations, are easy to trace through the ages back to the times of the apostles. For example, Acts 8:37 is easily found in a variety of Bibles in many languages throughout the ages. Then, suddenly, because of two Greek manuscripts, it was removed from the modern versions. If Acts 8:37 is the word of God, then the modern versions that exclude it are not.
Now we come to the one English translation which is the most subtle impostor of all -- the so called "New King James Version." There are at least two issues that make this translation unusable to me. The first is that the translators denied that God preserved His word, and almost half of them believed that the two aforementioned corrupt Greek manuscripts should be followed. But, in order to reach out to those who read the King James Bible, they leaned towards more accurate Greek texts but then added footnotes to insert questions about various verses like Acts 8:37. In other words, they want to sell you a so-called "King James Like" Bible, but they don't really believe that the Bible you had trusted, the KJB, is really accurate at all. How can men participate in a project which specifically says it intends to, "protect and preserve the purity and accuracy of the original King James Bible" when they don't believe that the King James Bible is translated from a pure and accurate Greek text? It sounds like somebody wanted to make a buck at the expense of their own integrity!
The second issue regarding the NKJV which is equally appalling is that they have changed thousands of English words in order to have something to sell. If they had only changed the few words that they think are "archaic" or "inaccurate" they would basically have a King James Bible with alterations. You can't call that a new translation. So, they changed thousands and thousands of words so they could be different and have a product. There are, for example, over a dozen silly changes in the last nine verses of Romans chapter one that do nothing but confuse and modify the meaning of the verses.
So, here is my position on the Bible. I believe that the King James Bible that can readily be purchased from a variety of sources is the pure, inerrant, infallible and inspired word of God. I realize that there are still a handful of questions about its individual words (i.e. the Jeremiah 34:16 "he" "ye" issue). I know of about three of them. I realize that there have been trivial changes to the words in the King James Bible that was originally printed in the early 1600's. There are about 75 of these. I believe in the concept of a synonym, and that two words with identical meaning can be exchanged without changing the translation. I NEVER read a word in the King James Bible and question its accuracy or inspiration. I trust God with that. I NEVER read a verse and wonder if it should be there or not. How silly! I NEVER think that I can provide a better translation of a word than what I see in my Bible, but I often get out my dictionary to find out what the word means and why God used that word instead of another.
If you use another version of the Bible, perhaps the NIV, NKJV, or even the ESV, I do not dislike you or oppose you. It is simply obvious to me that you need to learn more about this issue, more about the translation you are using (because if you do, you will stop using it), and that you are, sadly, one of those Christians who has been duped (lied to, deceived, tricked, mislead, etc.) by the devil and the translators of modern versions. This is not meant to be an insult to you, it is meant to be a strong enough statement to get your attention.
I have been on this earth for six decades, and began studying this issue more than half a life ago. I am not unwilling to learn what other men have said. I've read the book which they wrote explaining why they did what they did. I have used computers to collate the various Greek texts, and compared them to the translations they produced. But I have spent most of my time reading God's book. I love God's pure word and words. Please don't try to tell me that God told the Philippians to "beware of the mutilation" (Php 3:2, NKJV) or that Philip did not answer the Eunuch when he asked "what doth hinder me to be baptized?" (as in the ESV). Do you even know why those changes were made? Do you trust the men who made them? Do you trust God when He said He would preserve His words, and that every word is important? I do? And, I believe that standing before God one day and having to say otherwise would be one of the most shameful things any man could ever decide to do.
George Shafer, Pastor