King James Verson: Original or Not?


Nothing annoys me more than to hear someone say "the King James Bible is the 'original' translation of the Bible." I’ve been in churches across the state and have seen a clinging to the KJV. People are almost afraid they’ve lost God if they deviate from the translation. Therefore, they are willing to kick, fight and bite to get the message across that it’s KJV or hell.
It's an argument that can carry on forever, especially for those fundamentally correct, KJV thumping, traditionalists. I've been in those debates. For the most part, they're not pretty. I can see nostrils flaring when I mention some other good translations of the Bible. Why would people be so bent on believing this fallacy? Well, I believe that there’s only one good explanation—people are not educated on the origin and perpetuation of the Scriptures.

People have sat in Sunday Schools for hours and listened to hours upon weeks of sermons, but do not understand some simple truths about the KJV. They have heard their mom’s Pastor, aunt’s pastor, and yes, their own Pastor share that you should try to stick with the ‘original’ translation—the KJV.

It took me some time to embrace change in the way I seek God in the Scriptures. I was one of those people that said KJV was the ‘original’ translation. However, upon studying throughout my walk with Christ and teaching others, I’ve found that I was in error about translations.

I think the biggest wake up call for me was when Rob Taylor (M.I.P Pastor) had me write a paper on translations. Of course I’m not a scholar, but God got my attention. Believe me, when God speaks truths, you listen. When I was writing the paper, I noticed that the King James was written in 1611. Then, I noticed that John Wycliffe, an Oxford University theologian, actually translated the Scriptures to English in 1384. God begin to speak to me about my translation. He said, “you’ve had the KJV for less that 400 years and your ancestors did without it for over 1600 years.” How can I argue that it’s the original translation? I mean, if we really wanted to have the original, we might need to learn Aramaic or Greek.

So, I’ve come to the conclusion that there are much better translations out there for people to study God’s word. As long as the message is the same, the translations wording can totally be at the discretion of those reading. Some people who have been raised with the KJV have been taught to understand it, or someone has interpreted the 1700th Century jargon. But, others who have not had any exposure to this type of writing, it becomes complicated and confusing to them.