Why do we use the King James Bible?

Pastor Bob Hammond

At Long Hill Baptist Church, we praise God for equipping us with His words!  We're aware that the debate around Bible versions has, at times, been less than gracious.  Our desire is to graciously communicate the rationale for a our decision to make exclusive use of the King James Bible.   We recognize at least four key reasons for using the King James Bible:

The Kings James Bible is an accurate translation of the correct version of the Hebrew Old Testament and Greek New Testament. 

It uses the Hebrew and Greek texts that have been received by God’s people throughout history.  These underlying texts are commonly known as the Textus Receptus – which simply means “received text.” All of the other modern Bible translations used a different underlying Greek New Testament.    They made this decision because, during the 19th century, additional Greek manuscripts were discovered.  These newly-discovered manuscripts were judged to be “older and therefore better” than the words of God that have been traditionally received by God’s people.  Consequently, the newly-discovered manuscripts were used by academicians to produce a new version of the Greek New Testament (the so-called Critical Text).  This is the Greek that underlies all modern translations, including the New Internal Version (NIV), New American Standard Version (NASB), New Living Translation (NLT), The Message, New Revised Standard Version (NRSV), and the New Living Translation (NLT).

At Long Hill Baptist Church, we reject the notion that God could have hid his true words from his people until the 19th Century. 

To do so would have made it impossible for God’s people to live according to His words – as required by Matthew 4:4.  In Matthew 4:4, Jesus taught that we are responsible to live according to his words:

“…It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4

Furthermore, the clear Biblical teaching that God promised to preserve His words obliges us to reject the idea that His true words would need to be restored by man through an academic process.  In Matthew 24:35, Jesus said that his words would never pass away.

"Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” (Matthew 24:35) 

In the Old Testament, the Book of Psalms teaches:

“The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.  7Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.” (Psalm 12:6-7)

We recognize that some of the modern Bible versions used an undesirable approach to Bible translation.

The so-called dynamic equivalence (or paraphrase) technique was used to produce many of the modern Bible translations, including the New International Version (NIV) and the New Living Translation (NLT).  This approach to translation attempts to preserve the basic ideas of each scriptural passage – without attempting to make a word-for-word translation.  While this approach produces translations that are generally easy to understand, it necessarily denies readers access to “every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (Matt 4:4).   Thankfully, our King James Bible uses a more rigorous technique – formal equivalence.  This approach attempts to preserve the meaning of each individual word and phrase – and therefore results in a translation that is closer to the original Greek and Hebrew.

The King James Bible reflects a level of grammatical precision that can’t easily be achieved with contemporary English.

In John 3:7, Jesus told a man named Nicodemus, “Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.”  The pronoun “ye” is the second-person plural form of “you.”  Jesus used the plural form to make it clear that all men must be “born again” by repenting and placing their faith in him alone.  He desired for people to understand that it wasn’t just Nicodemus that needed to be born again.  However, most modern translations read, “You must be born again.”  By choosing to use more contemporary English, modern translations cloud the true meaning of the words that Christ spoke.

What’s the Best Way to Begin Learning the Bible? 

  • Recognize that the Holy Spirit helps our understanding.  Pray and ask Him to help you understand God’s words;
  • Be baptized and join a local church.  Never forget that “the house of God, … is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. (1 Timothy 3:15)
  • Attend Sunday School and worship services. Also, make every effort to attend the Wednesday night Bible Study and prayer meeting.  These are our primary times for teaching and preaching the words of God.
  • Get involved in one-on-one study with a mature believer.  We call that  "discipleship."  Benefit from those who have gone before you! 
  • Be sure to take time to inquire about and to learn the meaning of unfamiliar words used in the King James Bible, e.g. ye, thee, thou.  These aren’t just “old words.”  Rather, they represent very precise translations of the underlying Greek and Hebrew – a level of prevision that would be nearly impossible in modern English.
  • Read good books that introduce the Bible in simple, easy-to-understand language.  See the Pastor for recommendations.
  • Read the Bible!  If you're new to the Bible, you may wish to begin in the Gospel of John and the Old Testament book of Proverbs.  Begin by reading one chapter of each book daily.