By Pastor Bruce K. Oyen
First Baptist Church
The purpose of this post is to consider a shallow objection to the King James Version. Besides being shallow, it is so common that it needs to be addressed. However, let me make one thing perfectly clear: I do not endorse what is known as “King James Bible-onlyism. ” “King James Bible for me-onlyism” is a legitimate view to hold because we are entitled to our own preference. But “King James Bible for everyone-onlyism” is not acceptable. I have read the King James Version many, many times from beginning to end, and continue to read it through at least once a year. Long-time familiarity with it, and confidence in its general reliability, has made it my preferred Bible translation. After reading the KJV in the first six months of each year, I then read other translations in the second half of the year. Moreover, I preach and teach from the New King James Version. When preparing sermons and Bible studies, I use a number of other translations, including the old King James Version, the New American Standard Bible (updated edition), the Holman Christian Standard Bible ,the English Standard Version, and the NIV. When teaching Bible classes, I sometimes ask those present to read to the rest of us how their translation words a given verse being studied. But, I believe we do best to make the New King Version and the King James Version our primary and most-trusted translations.
Now that it has been made clear that I am not promoting “King James Bible-onlyism,” it is time to get to my subject: a shallow objection to the King James Version. The common objection is that the KJV’s use of antiquated words makes it hard to read. The most common examples are the words ye, thee, thou, thine, and thy. Another common objection is the KJV’s use of antiquated word-endings, such as eth, est, as in “understandest.” and readeth.” Below is the entire eighth chapter of the New Testament’s Book of Acts. It can be read for its many examples of the antiquated words which so many readers object to.
Why is objection to these antiquated words in the King James Version shallow? It is because there are many other words in it, and in most other English Bible translations, that, though they are easier to pronounce, are very profound and sometimes complex in their meanings. To learn the definitions of these words takes a lot of mental effort, partly because some of them mean different things in different Biblical contexts. And yet, in my many years of ministry, not one person has told me they don’t like to read the King James Version because of these words. What words am I talking about? The great theological words of the Bible. Here are some of them:
- Born again.
- Inspiration (of the Bible).
My point is, if you don’t object to learning the meanings of the theological words listed above, you have no good reason to object to the King James Version because of its antiquated words whose meanings are usually quite simple, and whose pronunciations don’t take much effort to learn.
What follows is the eighth chapter of Acts from the King James Version. It was taken from this website: http://www.biblegateway.com.
Acts 8 King James Version (KJV)
And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.
2 And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.
3 As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.
4 Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.
5 Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.
6 And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.
7 For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed.
8 And there was great joy in that city.
9 But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one:
10 To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God.
11 And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries.
12 But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.
13 Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.
14 Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:
15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:
16 (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)
17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.
18 And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money,
19 Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.
20 But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.
21 Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.
22 Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.
23 For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.
24 Then answered Simon, and said, Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me.
25 And they, when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, returned to Jerusalem, and preached the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans.
26 And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.
27 And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship,
28 Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet.
29 Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.
30 And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?
31 And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.
32 The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth:
33 In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth.
34 And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?
35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.
36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?
37 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.
38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.
39 And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.
40 But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea.