The King James Version Today

Last Saturday, August 25, I volunteered at the National Bible Bee.  The Bible Bee is a program designed to help disciple families through Scripture memorization and book study.  The program is done in a professional way in all details.  During the summer months many children stop memorizing Bible verses due to the fact that many church-run programs that minister to children, stop during the summer months.  Attendance is down and sporadic due to family vacations and it is challenging to find volunteers to run a summer program.  The Bible Bee fills in the gap.

My friend and I began volunteering in the kitchen.  For some reason, I moved out of the kitchen into either listening to contestants recite verses and verse passages or as this year, controlling the written test area.  The Bee was held in a city about a two-hour drive from me.  I approached a family in my area about hosting closer and more central in Indiana.  Paul took the challenge and ran a very good Bible Bee just 40 minutes away this year.

When I first approached him about it, he replied that he did not have a place to meet.  My frown must have asked a non-verbal question.  He went on to say that his church would not allow him to host the Bible Bee because the Bee allows four different versions for the contestants.  The choice is theirs.  I shrugged my shoulders and named a church possibility and left it at that.

All the church has to do is allow the use of the facilities.  The Bible Bee volunteers leave the building clean—sometimes cleaner than they found it.  Now, KJV only followers, I ask this question:  Does it make sense to discourage the memorization of God’s Word?  I say, not.  The family chooses to use the version they most often use at home.  The bottom line is that they are reading and incorporating the Word of God in daily life.  The Apostle Paul, in Philippians 1:12-18 gives us an example in regard to this issue.  News was coming to him in prison that some were not preaching Christ in the right way.  Paul’s reply is “spot on” in my opinion.  He said, “What then?  Notwithstanding every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; I do therein rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.”                                                                                                            

So, I am not a KJV only holder.  I took Greek as my foreign language in college so that I could better understand original New Testament documents.  It was then that I became aware of the fact that the King James Version had added words (for clarity) and kindly, those words are in italics.  The Geneva Bible is closer to the original Tyndale and Coverdale translations, in fact.

What do I prefer?  The King James Bible, only because I have memorized so many verses and passages, it is difficult to surrender.  Do I use other versions in study?  Absolutely.

What’s important here is–read the Bible.  Make it the dearest book you own.  If possible, read the King James or Geneva Bible along with other versions.  It will give you a wider prospective.  Above all, ask the Holy Spirit to be your teacher as you read.

If you carry the Bible to church, whatever version, and open it only for the morning service, then put it on a shelf the rest of the week, you are not going to thrive in the Christian walk.  Set a goal.  Try to meet the goal.  If you miss, start again.   Just read the Book.



Post script:  to answer your question that may be lingering, the accepted versions are the KJV, NKJV, NIV, NASB.  I’d say that typically, English speaking people use those versions most often. Of those versions, I like the NIV least.  It tends to dilute passages in an effort to make them more understandable.



  1. The question for me is always, “What did the people do for all the centuries BEFORE my beloved KJV? Didn’t they have the “real” Bible. I do love my KJV. I grew up with it, have so much of it memorized; I love the beautiful, poetic language of the Elizabethan era. But I’m with you, Karyl. Not a KJV-Only advocate. There MUST be more important things to fuss over!

  2. Glenda

    Thank you for this post! While I do not normally use any other versions besides the KJV, I can appreciate the effectiveness of those you have mentioned. Like you, I dislike the “watering down” in the NIV, particularly when some passages seek to change the Deity of Christ and make Him merely a servant rather than the Son of God. I suppose I can understand why some folks, who were not blessed by being brought up with the Bible being studied at home daily, would like another version, with simpler language; however, I LOVE the tone of the KJV and the unapologetic way it presents the Word. I am happy to see other people on my FB friends list also posting Scripture, even if it is from a different version that I may not prefer. I agree with Linda—there must be more important things to fuss over! 🙂

  3. >The bottom line is that they are reading and incorporating the Word of God in daily life.< I'm with you, too!

  4. Mandy Ferguson

    The church we attend is a church plant from the church we were attending before we were married. We use the ESV. Because we were a new church with no “established” version yet, it was a simple thing for most of the members. The church we formerly attended switched to the ESV shortly after we were planted. As you can imagine this caused some grumbling among those who dislike change. One of the elders explained in his Sunday School class that in a day and age when young people are graduating from high school and can barely understand a newspaper, it is a travesty to make reading the Bible so hard for them that they give up. The point of Scripture if for everyone to be able to read and understand, if the language of the KJV makes that impossible then we have missed the point.
    I know what you are saying about the memorized verses and passages though. 🙂 My daughter memorizes Scripture for church in the ESV, but the school she attends uses the NKJV, so she memorizes that too. So far we have avoided overlap that might cause confusion. Hopefully, her teachers, both at church and at school, will be understanding if the verse she quotes is a mixture of the two. 🙂

    • Mandy, I have both the KJV and the ESV on my Kindle. Just to be non compliant I guess, I use the ESV in church. It amuses me when my pastor will give a clearer interpretation and use what is already written in the ESV. My mom had a life application Bible so I use that too in study although the print is so very tiny it takes a lot of magnification. It is NIV. Thanks for being one of my readers! I have a couple of blogs on my favorites bar too rather than have it clutter up my e mail. Whatever works.

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