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.