KJV or NIV

KJV OR NIV?

(February 02, 2021) Dr Jim McClure, straight shooting theologian, shares…

Recently I was asked to give an evaluation of the KJV and NIV Bibles.

1. Reality
Firstly, we do not have a handwritten original portion of any part of the Bible.

At best we have handwritten copies of copies of copies (and so on) of the texts that have been handed down to us. Thus, neither the KJV nor the NIV nor any other translation is perfect as the underlying texts are not perfect for a variety of reasons.  The best translation is, at best, only a translation!

Nevertheless KJV-only proponents strongly argue that the only reliable translation of the Bible is the KJV and that all modern ones set out to deceive. However, there is no conspiracy among authentic Bible translators to delete words and phrases or to modify the test with the intention to dishonour God and corrupt his words or mislead Christians.

The translators of the NIV, for example, have attempted to express the original Hebrew and Greek of the Bible into contemporary English that accurately reflects the meaning of the original languages.

Furthermore, it must be recognised that the manuscripts used by the translators of the KJV were based on very late manuscripts.  For example, the KJV translators did not have the benefit of ancient copies of many Old Testament books.

Indeed, the earliest version of many of the Hebrew texts before the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in 1947, (which were written around the 2nd century BC), was the Masoretic Aleppo Codex dated A.D. 935 AD. Likewise the earliest Greek texts used to translate the New Testament were largely based on 12th century AD (and later) manuscripts.

  • Since the translation of the KJV took place in 1611, many thousands (and significantly older) manuscripts have been found which modern translators rightly have considered.
  • Also, since the first version of the KJV was published in 1611 it has been revised several times (eg 1629, 1638, 1657, 1762, 1769) and over 100,000 changes have been made to the 1611 version! So, one must question which KJV version  is considered the truly inspired version!

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