Bible versions

SERMON TOPIC: Bible versions

Speaker: Gavin Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 6 February 2021


Sermon synopsis: Which version of the Bible should I use?
English speakers are in a fortunate position that we can even ask this question. Over the centuries around 450 different versions of the Bible in English have been produced. Presently, there are more than 25 English translations available.

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English speakers are in a fortunate position that we can even ask this question. Around 450 different versions of the Bible in English have been produced. Presently, there are more than 25 English translations available. 1

What criteria do you use when choosing a translation of the Bible?

Accuracy (for study)

Readability (easy to understand)

Underlying text

1 In sharp contrast by 2008 there were 200 million people worldwide without the Bible in their mother tongue (3% of the world population then). It is a pity that more effort isn’t applied into closing this gap, than is given to translating more English versions. We already have a wide array to choose from.


Fæder ure þu þe eart on heofonum, si þin nama gehalgod. To becume þin rice, gewurþe ðin willa, on eorðan swa swa on heofonum. Urne gedæghwamlican hlaf syle us todæg, and forgyf us ure gyltas, swa swa we forgyfað urum gyltendum. And ne gelæd þu us on costnunge, ac alys us of yfele. Soþlice.



Matthew 6:9-13

Old English (Wessex Gospels in 990)

Fæder ure þu þe eart on heofonum, si þin nama gehalgod. To becume þin rice, gewurþe ðin willa, on eorðan swa swa on heofonum. Urne gedæghwamlican hlaf syle us todæg, and forgyf us ure gyltas, swa swa we forgyfað urum gyltendum. And ne gelæd þu us on costnunge, ac alys us of yfele. Soþlice.

Middle English (Wycliffe Bible in 1382)

And thus ye schulen preye, Oure fadir that art in heuenes, halewid be thi name; thi kyngdoom come to; be thi wille don `in erthe as in heuene; yyue to vs this dai oure `breed ouer othir substaunce; and foryyue to vs oure dettis, as we foryyuen to oure dettouris; and lede vs not in to temptacioun, but delyuere vs fro yuel.

There are partial translations of the Bible into Old English and Middle English dating from as far back as the 7th century. As the focus of this study is understandability we are only going to look at versions in Early Modern English and Modern English.


William Tyndale (c. 1494-1536) was a gifted scholar and linguist who was the first to translate the NT into English directly from the original Greek (rather than from the Latin Vulgate which was itself a translation), and most of the OT from Hebrew. Tyndale’s was the first Bible to be printed in English.

Tyndale was arrested and imprisoned, and later strangled and burnt at the stake.


Much of Tyndale’s work eventually found its way into the KJV. The NT of the KJV is drawn 84% word for word from Tyndale and more than 75% of the OT books. The quality of his translations has stood the test of time, coming relatively intact even into modern Bible versions.


Anglo-Saxon Proto-English Manuscripts (995 AD)

God lufode middan-eard swa, dat he seade his an-cennedan sunu, dat nan ne forweorde de on hine gely ac habbe dat ece lif

Wycliff (1380)

for god loued so the world; that he gaf his oon bigetun sone, that eche man that bileueth in him perisch not: but haue euerlastynge liif

Tyndale (1534)

For God so loveth the worlde, that he hath geven his only sonne, that none that beleve in him, shuld perisshe: but shuld have everlastinge lyfe.

JOHN 3:16


Great Bible (1539)

For God so loued the worlde, that he gaue his only begotten sonne, that whosoeuer beleueth in him, shulde not perisshe, but haue euerlasting lyfe.

Geneva Bible (1560)

For God so loueth the world, that he hath geuen his only begotten Sonne: that none that beleue in him, should peryshe, but haue euerlasting lyfe.

JOHN 3:16

When King James I ascended the English throne, each faction in England had its own preferred version of the English Bible:

Puritans: Geneva Bible – Calvinist marginal notes.

Anglican: Bishop’s Bible – poor scholarship.

Catholics: Douay-Rheims – a translation from Latin.

The desire was to have a single English Bible acceptable to both the Puritans and the Church of England. James agreed to sponsor a new English Bible translation but wanted no biased notes as in the Geneva Bible. The translation was done by 47 scholars, although 54 were originally approved. All of the translators were members of the Church of England, although about a quarter belonged to the Puritan faction.


It took over 250 years before a revision of the KJV was attempted with the English Revised Version. Some have referred to the KJV as, “the single greatest monument to the English language.” The Elizabethan English is very elegant, poetic and reminiscent of Shakespeare’s work which came from the same era.

But as the English language changed, the KJV has become difficult to understand due to the archaic language. Subsequently there have been several translations of the Bible into modern English, which is defined as the form of English in use after 1800.

Estimates of KJV sales run into hundreds of millions. It was the most popular English Bible translation for over 3 centuries until being surpassed in the late 20th century by the NIV.




When translating the Bible, a translator determines how literal the translation should be. English Bibles are translated using to one of 3 methods: 1


1 NOTE: There is disagreement over these definitions and in some cases about which Bible falls into each category.

Formal or complete equivalence is generally a word-for-word translation, within the grammatical constraints of the receptor language.


It is the most objective type of translation as it endeavours to follow the syntax of original language, without adding the translators’ ideas and thoughts into the translation.

The idea is that the more literal the translation is, the less danger there is of corrupting the original message.


DISADVANTAGE: Sometimes this may not be the most readable in the receptor language, especially when idioms (which are not relevant in the language) are translated directly, rather than the idea or concept.

One of the most literal English translations is the aptly named Young’s Literal Translation (published 1862). It renders John 3:16 as follows:

For God did so love the world, that His Son - the only begotten - He gave, that every one who is believing in him may not perish, but may have life age-during.

Although it maintains more of the original tense and word order of the original Greek than other versions, it is very awkward and ungrammatical in English. (It is useful however for reference purposes.)


Examples (to varying degrees)

Young’s Literal Translation - YLT

American Standard Version - ASV

New American Standard Bible - NASB

King James Version – KJV

Revised Standard Version - RSV

English Revised Version - ERV

New Revised Standard Version – NRSV

New King James Version – NKJV

English Standard Version - ESV

World English Bible - WEB


In the late 20th century, Bibles increasingly appeared that were much less literal in their approach to translation. 1

A dynamic equivalence translation attempts to translate “thought for thought” rather than “word for word”. What is believed to be the meaning of the original passage is translated into what translator feels is an equivalent thought in the receptor language.

1 In 1946, the New English Bible was initiated in the UK, intended to enable readers to better understand the King James Bible. In 1958, J. B. Phillips (1906–1982) produced an edition of the NT letters in paraphrase, the Letters to Young Churches, so that members of his youth group could understand what the NT authors had written. In 1966, The Good News for Modern Man, a paraphrase of the NT was released to wide acceptance. Others followed suit. The Living Bible, released in 1971, was published by its author Kenneth N. Taylor, based on the literal ASV of 1901. - http:// wiki/ Modern-English-Bible_translations 2 http:// wiki/ Good-News-Bible


A figure of speech is an expression implying an idea other than what is actually stated.

The French have a saying, “j’ ai le cafard,” of which the most literal English translation would be, “I have the cockroach.” 1

“J’ ai le cafard” is an idiomatic expression, one that has special meaning not evident by the words themselves. Specifically, it means, “I am depressed”, or “I have the blues.” If someone wanted to provide a French-to-English translation that accurately reflects the meaning of the French, one would not render it “I have the cockroach” but “I am depressed.” 1

1 “The King James Only Controversy” by James White


In English we use idioms – or figures of speech that don’t make sense literally, like: “It’s raining cats and dogs” actually means, “It’s raining very hard.”

The Bible also at times uses figures of speech, as do all languages. In a similar fashion to our use of English idioms, we should expect that the Bible sometimes contains idioms that don’t make literal sense in English.


Some believe that Jesus was using a Hebraic idiom by contrasting a “good eye” and an “evil eye.” Some Jewish commentators say that a “good eye” means a person who is generous, and an “evil eye” a greedy person. 1

Thus Jesus’ meaning about have a good (or single) eye may be that if a man is generous, rather than being stingy - he will be blessed and righteous in all areas of life (i.e. his whole body is filled with light).

In Proverbs 28:22 an “evil eye” refers to a stingy man.

He that hasteth to be rich [hath] an evil eye … (KJV)

A stingy man is eager to get rich … (NIV)

1 What does ayin tova (a good eye) really mean? It means a generosity of spirit and a generosity of dealing with people…” www.


The Hebrew phrase ‘good eye’ used in Proverbs 22:9 means “a generous man”.

He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor. (KJV)

A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor. (NIV)

There is a great debate today as to whether dynamic equivalents should be used in Bible translations i.e. when an idiom that is not understood in a particular culture is substituted with an equivalent cultural idiom. E.g. In a particular culture which was unfamiliar with snow, the United Bible Societies translated Isaiah 1:18, “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as the inside of a coconut” instead of “they shall be white as snow”.


While the KJV is generally a very literal version, there are a few cases where it too uses dynamic equivalents. E.g.

“God save the King” (1 Sam 10:24, 2 Sam 16:16, 1 Kings 1:25) is literally “May the king live”. The word “God” is not in the Hebrew, but the term “God save the King” reflects 17th century British culture).

“God Forbid” (Rom 3:4,6,31; 6:2,15; 7:7,13; 9:14; 11:1,11; 1 Cor 6:15; Gal 2:17; 3:21; 6:14) is literally “may it not be” or “let it not be.” The KJV adds the word “God” where it is absent in the Greek because “God Forbid” was a common expression in the 17th century.


Note that the KJV is actually using some dynamic equivalence here that was a 17th century idiom for “insult”. The literal Greek is actually “insulted him”.

Matt 27:44 The thieves also… cast the same in his teeth (KJV-1769)

Matt 27:44 The robbers … were also insulting Him with the same words. (NASB)



Good News Translation

New Living Translation

God’s Word Translation

New English Bible


Living Bible

The Message Bible - makes extremely extensive use of Dynamic Equivalence, much more than its counterparts.



A literal translation, it is argued, may obscure the intention of the original author. A free translator attempts to convey the subtleties of context and subtext in the work, so that the reader is presented with both a translation of the language and the context. 1

Dynamic Equivalents put the basic message of the Bible into language which could be readily understood by readers without a theological or linguistic background. The ease of understanding makes it useful for younger readers, or readers who do not have English as their first language.

1 http:// wiki/ Bible-version-debate



Critics say that this leaves room for translators to transfer their own biases into the translation.

Paraphrases are aimed more at readability rather than strict literal accuracy. As such they are not suited for in-depth study.

Sometimes the paraphrasers use too much license and the essence of the original text is changed rather than expanded.


A paraphrase is “a restatement of the meaning of a text or passage using other words” i.e. much the same meaning as Dynamic Equivalence. But in some Christian circles this term came to be associated with Bibles like the Living Bible which didn’t use the original language as a base, but rephrased the wording of an existing English translation, in this case the ASV.

To escape the stigma of the term “paraphrase”, the Living Bible was revised as the New Living Translation after a process where the original languages were consulted.

In 2001 the Good News was renamed the Good News Translation because of misconceptions that it was merely a paraphrase and not a genuine translation.


The Assemblies of God (US) cautions:

Another concern is a tendency by some to equate paraphrased Bible translations as scholarly and accurate. Such versions do have a place in comparative study. They are attempts to make meaning clearer by adding explanatory comments into the text. Paraphrases include The Contemporary English Version (CEV), The New Living Bible (NLB) with 4th grade reading level, and The Message: the Bible in Contemporary Language. These versions can be helpful, but they also present the risk of personal interpretation seeming to be part of the original text. Paraphrased Bible translations should always be used along with one or more of the more literal translations for comparison. 1

1 http://


The New International Version (NIV) is a Mediating Translation attempting to strike a balance between dynamic and formal equivalence. In parts it is extremely literal but at times it makes use of Dynamic Equivalence.

Despite its many critics, the NIV has displaced the KJV as the most popular modern English translation of the Bible, selling more than 215 million copies worldwide.


Holman Christian Standard Bible

The Common English Bible (which includes the deuterocanonical books or apocrypha included in Catholic Church and Orthodox Church canons)



Paul makes it clear that it is pointless speaking to an audience that doesn’t understand your language:

1 Cor 14:9-20 (NIV) So it is with you. Unless you speak intelligible words with your tongue, how will anyone know what you are saying? You will just be speaking into the air. Undoubtedly there are all sorts of languages in the world, yet none of them is without meaning. If then I do not grasp the meaning of what someone is saying, I am a foreigner to the speaker, and he is a foreigner to me… But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue. Brothers, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults.


Bear in mind that most of the writers of the New testament spoke Hebrew and Aramaic as their first and second languages. Yet they chose to write in Koine Greek because it was the language most commonly spoken and understood at that time by ordinary people in the Roman Empire.

They had a message they wanted to communicate and it was pointless using a language that was foreign to most people to achieve that task.

Here’s an example using Romans 3:25. Imagine explaining the way of salvation to people with varying degrees of proficiency in English using three different versions.



Romans 3:25

KJV (1769) – LITERAL

Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;


God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished-


For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past

The New International Reader’s Version (NIrV) is an English language translation of the Christian Bible. Translated by the International Bible Society on the same philosophy as the New International Version, but written in a simpler form of English, the NIRV seeks to make the Bible more accessible for people who have difficulty reading English, for example because they are non-native English speakers. 1

Here is a comparison of a passage (1 Timothy 3:16 in the King James Version, the New International Version, and the New International Reader’s Version:

1 http:// wiki/ New-International-Reader%27s-Version



1 Timothy 3:16

KJV (1769)

And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.


Beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great: He appeared in the flesh, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory.


There is no doubt that godliness is a great mystery. Jesus appeared in a body. The Holy Spirit proved that he was the Son of God. He was seen by angels. He was preached among the nations. People in the world believed in him. He was taken up to heaven in glory.

Remember that at the time the KJV was written, it used the contemporary English of the period. It was understood by all, because it used the common language of the time. But in the 21st century, the modern English reader will find several types of archaic language in the KJV:

“Thee”, “thou”, “ye”, “thy” and “thine” pronouns.

Verbs endings with “-st”, “-est” and “-eth” e.g. “hadst”, “doest”, “giveth”.

Archaic words that have lost meaning.

Archaic words that have changed meaning.

Archaic idioms and phrases.

COMMON LANGUAGE dictionary/ kjvwords.html - This link explains 330 archaic or obscure word meanings in the KJV including:

Abase, Abated, Abjects, Acceptation, Adjure, Ado, Affright, Ague, Alamoth, Ambassage, Ambushment, Amerce, Ariel, Artificer, Asp, Basilisk, Beeves, Bestead, Blains, Brigandine, Buckler, Calkers, Canker, Carbuncle, Casement, Caul, Chambering, Chamois, Chapiter, Churl, Cockatrice, Cockle, Coffer, Cogitations, Concision, Cornet, Cotes, Coulter, Cruse, Cummin, Daysman, Dearth, Distaff, Dram, Ensign, Eschew, Euroclydon, Feller, Firkin, Firmament, Fitches, Flagon, Fowler, Frontlets, Froward, Girt, Glede, Graving, Greaves, Habergeon, Haft, Harrow, Hart, Inkhorn, Kine, Knop, Lascivious, Laver, Leasing, Lees, Lucre, Mitre, Mote, Murrain, Nitre, Obeisance, Ouches, Parbar, Pommels, Pottage, Psaltery, Quaternion, Railer, Sackbut, Scrip, Servitor, Sop, Stomacher, Taches, Verily, Wimple and Winefat


The Douay-Rheims was a Catholic translation of the Bible into English released in 1609, two years before the KJV. The KJV translators criticized it because of its use of obscure words:

We have shunned the obscurity of the Papists, in their {use of words like} AZIMES, TUNIKE, RATIONAL, HOLOCAUSTS, PRAEPUCE, PASCHE, and a number of such like {words}, whereof their late Translation is full …


Following are just a few examples of some archaic terms used in the current 1769 KJV (the 1611 KJV has many additional archaic spellings).

1 Sam 30:31 …and to all the places where David himself and his men were wont to haunt. (KJV-1769)

1 Sam 30:31 … in all the other places where David and his men had roamed. (NIV)

James 1:21 Wherefore lay apart all… superfluity of naughtiness… (KJV-1769)

James 1:21 Therefore, get rid of … the evil that is so prevalent… (NIV)


Ex 30:25 And thou shalt make it an oil of holy ointment, an ointment compound after the art of the apothecary: it shall be an holy anointing oil.

Apothecary is an archaic name for someone who prepares and sells medicinal drugs. However, the Hebrew word here actually means “perfumer.” Both the NIV and the NASB use “perfumer.”

Isa 14:23 I will also make it a possession for the bittern, and pools of water: and I will sweep it with the besom of destruction, saith the LORD of hosts. (KJV-1769)

Besom is an outdated word for broom.

Ex 30:25 “I will turn her into a place for owls and into swampland; I will sweep her with the broom of destruction,” declares the LORD Almighty. (NIV)


Exodus 9:31 …the flax was bolled. (KJV-1769)

Ex 9:31 …the flax was in bloom. (NIV)

Matt 26:73 … for thy speech bewrayeth thee. (KJV-1769)

Matt 26:73 …for your accent gives you away. (NIV)

Dan 8:7 … he was moved with choler against him … (KJV-1769)

Dan 8:7 … he was enraged at him … (NASB)

Deut 28:27 … The LORD will smite thee with the botch of Egypt, and with the emerod… (KJV-1769)

Deut 28:27 … The LORD will afflict you with the boils of Egypt and with tumours… (NIV)


Rom 7:8 But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence… (KJV-1769)

“Concupiscence” meant “evil desires” but I doubt that many today would know that:

Rom 7:8 But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. (NKJV)

2 Sam 5:23 …but fetch a compass behind them… (KJV-1769)

2 Sam 5:23 … circle around behind them… (NKJV)


There are cases where the actual meaning of English words have changed over time.

1 Cor 13:13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these [is] charity. (KJV-1769)

Even Tyndale translated the Greek word “agape” as “love.” While charity used to mean “Christian love” today it means helping the under-privileged or giving donations and doesn’t have the broad meaning that “love” has.

1 Cor 13:13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. (NKJV)

1 Cor 13:13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (NIV)


Certain words in the KJV mean something quite different today. Are we “peculiar” in the sense of the word used today? Hopefully not! Today it means “odd” or “strange”.

Titus 2:14 … that he might … purify unto himself a peculiar people… (KJV–1769)

Titus 2:14 … that He might … purify for Himself His own special people… (NKJV)

“Gay” clearly had quite a different meaning in the KJV compared to its current usage today.

James 2:3 And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing… (KJV-1769)

James 2:3 and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes… (NKJV)


Read 2 Cor 6:11-13 in the KJV. What does this mean?

‘‘our mouth is open unto you, our heart is enlarged. Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowels. Now for a recompense in the same (I speak as unto my children) be ye also enlarged ’’

Today it sounds like Paul is discussing medical problems; “enlarged hearts” and “straitened bowels”. But “bowels” used to refer to “affection”. Read the same passage in the NIV:

We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians, and opened wide our hearts to you. We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us. As a fair exchange—I speak as to my children—open wide your hearts also. (NIV)


They are other cases where the KJV uses the word “bowels” for feelings and emotions:

Lam 1:20… I am in distress: my bowels are troubled

Song of Songs 5:4 … my bowels were moved for him.

Gen 43:30 And Joseph made haste; for his bowels did yearn upon his brother…

The word “bowels” was acceptable in the 17th century, but today people might recommend medication if you said, “My bowels are troubled”. Contrast the passages in the NKJV:

Lam 1:20… I am in distress; My soul is troubled

Song of Sol 5:4 … my heart yearned for him.

Gen 43:30 Now his heart yearned for his brother…


1 Kings 16:11 (KJV) It came to pass, when [Zimri] began to reign, as soon as he sat on his throne, that he slew all the house of Baasha: he left him not one that pisseth against a wall, neither of his kinsfolks, nor of his friends” [cf. 1 Sam 25:22, 2 Kings 9:8]

To piss is to urinate, so the verses … could read “urinates against the wall.” We should note that the word piss is considered vulgar today, and modern Bible translations replace the reference to pissing with something else … It refers to males, who are the only ones who can urinate against walls. When someone in the Bible refers to someone else pissing against a wall, it’s understood that the person urinating is a male and not a female. 1

1 https://


The NKJV translators have sought to follow the principles of translation used in the original King James Version, which the NKJV revisers call “complete equivalence” in contrast to “dynamic equivalence” used by many other modern translations. The task of updating the English of the KJV involved significant changes in word order, grammar, vocabulary, and spelling. 1

One of the most significant features of the NKJV was its abandonment of the historic second person pronouns “thou”, “thee”, “ye”, “thy”, and “thine”. Verb forms were also modernized in the NKJV (for example, “speaks” rather than “speaketh”). 1

1 http:// wiki/ New-King-James-Version



Matthew 6:9

KJV (1769)

After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name.


In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.


Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.’”


This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name’”

Notice how at times the NKJV, although it replaces the archaic words, still sounds awkward compared to the way we speak today, because it follows the word order of the KJV. In contrast, the NASB and in particular the NIV sound more contemporary.


As a child I could never understand why Psalm 23 said:

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. (KJV-1769)

I wondered why you would not want the Lord as your shepherd. It would have been clear if I had read:

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. (NIV)

The NKJV, NASB and ESV still use “I shall not want” here.

Despite some of its critics dubbing it the Nearly Inspired Version, it was when my father gave me a NIV Bible as a child that for the first I fully understood God’s plan of salvation as I read the book of Romans. Many have been converted through the use of Modern English translations despite the accusations of New Age, Satanic and Catholic conspiracies proposed by the KJV Only camp.


In fact, although much is made of the 1611 KJV version by KJV Only adherents, most of them do not realise that the KJV they use is the 1769 Baskerville Birmingham spelling and wording revision of the 1611 KJV. The 1611 version has even more archaic spelling.

THE 1611 OR 1769 KJV?


Matthew 6:9

1st Ed. King James (1611)

For God so loued the world, that he gaue his only begotten Sonne: that whosoeuer beleeueth in him, should not perish, but haue euerlasting life.

KJV (1769)

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Most assume that because the current KJV Bibles contain the 1611 preface, that they are the 1611 translation.


The flip side of the coin is:

A Bible translation also needs to be accurate and true to what the author (inspired by God) intended it to say – and what the original readers would have understood it to mean.

Sometimes paraphrases are taken too far where it can be argued that the meaning of the text is changed to say something different.

Obviously more literal translations are less prone to this issue.


PSALM 23:3-4

For the sake of comparison let’s compare Psalm 23:3-4 in different versions to the literal Hebrew in the Biblos Interlinear Bible (Note: Hebrew reads right to left)

Literal Translations compensate for grammar:

PSALM 23:3-4



my soul restores

He restores my soul;

guides the paths of righteousness

He guides me in the paths of righteousness

sake his name’s

For His name’s sake.

even though walk the valley of the death-shadow

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

no fear evil

I fear no evil,

(for) you (with) me

for You are with me;

your rod and your staff

Your rod and Your staff,

they comfort

they comfort me.

The KJV is very literal albeit that the language is archaic:

PSALM 23:3-4


KJV (1769)

He restores my soul;

He restoreth my soul:

He guides me in the paths of righteousness

he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness

For His name’s sake.

for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I fear no evil,

I will fear no evil:

for You are with me;

for thou art with me;

Your rod and Your staff,

thy rod and thy staff

they comfort me.

they comfort me.

Note how literally the NIV renders this passage:

PSALM 23:3-4



He restores my soul;

He restores my soul.

He guides me in the paths of righteousness

He guides me in paths of righteousness

For His name’s sake.

for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I fear no evil,

I will fear no evil,

for You are with me;

for you are with me;

Your rod and Your staff,

your rod and your staff,

they comfort me.

they comfort me.

The NLT clearly paraphrases the passage.

PSALM 23:3-4


New Living Translation

He restores my soul;

He renews my strength.

He guides me in the paths of righteousness

He guides me along right paths,

For His name’s sake.

bringing honor to his name.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

Even when I walk through the darkest 1 valley,

I fear no evil,

I will not be afraid,

for You are with me;

for you are close beside me.

Your rod and Your staff,

Your rod and your staff

they comfort me.

protect and comfort me.

1 can be translated death-shadow, shadow of death, deep shadow, darkness

The GNT is also paraphrasing the passage.

PSALM 23:3-4


Good News Translation

He restores my soul;

He gives me new strength.

He guides me in the paths of righteousness

He guides me in the right paths,

For His name’s sake.

as he has promised.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

Even if I go through the deepest darkness, 1

I fear no evil,

I will not be afraid,

for You are with me;

Lord, for you are with me.

Your rod and Your staff,

Your shepherd's rod and staff

they comfort me.

protect me.

1 can be translated death-shadow, shadow of death, deep shadow, darkness

And The Message is an extremely free paraphrase:

PSALM 23:3-4


The Message

He restores my soul;

True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction.

He guides me in the paths of righteousness

For His name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

Even when the way goes through Death Valley,

I fear no evil,

I'm not afraid

for You are with me;

when you walk at my side.

Your rod and Your staff,

Your trusty shepherd's crook

they comfort me.

makes me feel secure.

The example below shows how a paraphrase can sometimes deviate from the original meaning:


A man of many friends comes to ruin, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. (NASB)


There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother. (NLT)


Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family. (The Message)




For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

The Message

This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life.

JOHN 3:16

Is “a whole and lasting life” the same as “eternal life”? It sounds more like a reference to having a good life on earth.

The Message is not really a true paraphrase as it does not simply restate the meaning in different words – it changes or adds to what is said.

Sometimes in paraphrases the meaning of the text doesn’t really change – it is simply restated (paraphrased) in other simpler language. But at times there might be unwarranted paraphrasing – too much license – which changes the meaning of the text.

In Matthew 3:7 the NASB (literal translation) reads:

You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?

The Message leaves out all reference to the coming judgement and adds a whole lot of invented dialogue.

Brood of snakes! What do you think you’re doing slithering down here to the river? Do you think a little water on your snakeskins is going to make any difference?


The NASB (literal translation) reads:

in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.

The Message (paraphrase) leaves out all references to the spiritual entities referred to:

It wasn’t so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience.


(NASB) Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.

(The Message) Those who use and abuse each other, use and abuse sex, use and abuse the earth and everything in it don’t qualify as citizens in God’s kingdom.

The 10 categories of sinners who won’t inherit the Kingdom of God is reduced to those “who use and abuse each other,” “use and abuse sex” (but removing the clarification of what that is), and “use and abuse the earth and everything in it” (what does this verse have to do with environmentalism?)


(NASB) Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body.

(The Message) Since we want to become spiritually one with the Master, we must not pursue the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy leaving us more lonely than ever – the kind of sex that can never “become one”.

Sexual immorality is reduced to “the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy”. So presumably sex with commitment and intimacy is okay, whether or not it is within or outside of marriage or whether it is heterosexual or homosexual?


(NKJV) It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

In The Message) the warning is watered down to: “nobody’s getting by with anything, believe me.”

According to GotQuestions:

…The Message has engendered more criticism for its lack of serious scholarship and outright bizarre renderings than just about any other Bible version to date. One common complaint from many who read The Message or hear it read aloud is “I didn’t recognize it as the Bible.” Other critics declare The Message to be not a paraphrase of what the Bible says, but more of a rendering of what Eugene Peterson would like it to say. 1

1 https:// The-Message-MSG.html





Often in examining the KJV-Only issue, you will see tables like the following that attempt to show that the newer versions like the NIV are “taking away” the name of Jesus, and replacing it with a pronoun like “he” or “him”. These versions are then considered terrible because they are removing the name of Jesus. Some KJV-Onlies go as far as saying that Satan is responsible for these removals of the name of Jesus and thus the entire translation, because Satan hates that name. The following table is complete, comparing all verses in the KJV that have “Jesus” where the corresponding verse in the NIV does not have “Jesus” in the verse: 1

Such charts give examples of where the KJV has “Jesus” but the NIV doesn’t. The logic is that the NIV must have the name of “Jesus” less often than the KJV, and is therefore less reverent or evil in some way, and even that Satan is responsible for the removal because Satan hates the name. However, anyone who would look into the matter for themselves would find that the NASB has “Jesus” just as often as the KJV, and also that the NIV has the name of “Jesus” approximately 300 times MORE often than the KJV does! (give or take a few depending on where you get the numbers from.) Does having “Jesus” show up more often sound like something Satan would do? The logic used by KJV-Onlies is that Satan wants to remove the name of “Jesus”! 1

Another silly claim is that phrases like “Holy Ghost,” “Calvary” and “Jehovah” have been removed from the NIV.

“Holy Ghost” is found 89 times in the KJV, while the NIV translates this as Holy Spirit – hardly a conspiracy.

The word “Calvary” in the KJV is translated “the place called the Skull” in the NIV. Calvary means “the place called the Skull” so all the NIV does here is make the reading of this verse more understandable.

One of the names of God, Jehovah, is mentioned 7 times in the KJV but is translated as ‘THE LORD’ in the NIV. Most modern translations interpret this word as ‘The Lord’ – which is quite appropriate as even the Jews would say Adonai (Lord) instead of Yahweh because they thought the name too holy to pronounce.



Many KJV-Only adherents claim a “new age” conspiracy on the part of the translators of modern Bibles to remove references to the deity of Jesus.

G. A. Riplinger makes the following claim, “Working 12 hours a day for nine months, comparing every single word in the New Testament, left me shocked and horrified at the blatant and gross omissions and perversions in new versions. I found the deity of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ had been deleted at every turn.” 1

In reality the NIV is actually even clearer than the KJV with regards to the deity of Jesus, as indicated in the following comparison chart.

1 G. A. Riplinger, ‘Why I Wrote the Book: New Age Bible Versions,” The End Times and Victorious Living, Jan./Feb., 1994


Here are some verses from the NIV which are just as explicit as the KJV on the deity of Jesus:

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 20:28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

Acts 20:28 Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.

Col 1:15-17 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.

Heb 1:8 But about the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever, and righteousness will be the sceptre of your kingdom.”


1 Tim 3:16 is the one case where the KJV gives a clear indication of Jesus’ deity which is absent in the NIV and NASB.

NIV: Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great: He appeared in a body, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory.

KJV: And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.


However there are cases where the NIV presents a clearer statement of Christ deity than the KJV.

John 1:18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. (KJV)

John 1:18 No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known. (NIV)

Note this is not a translational issue but related to the source Greek text. We’ll cover this aspect in more detail in a future study., B, C, L, P75 as well as many of the early versions and patristic writers contain the reading “God” instead of the reading “Son.”


And in Colossians 2:9 we read:

For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily (KJV)

For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form (NIV)

The pronoun “him” is in the original Greek text. However, the Greek text also has verses 8-10 as one sentence. Because English doesn’t handle long sentences well, often it is better to break them up to make them clearer. To ensure that readers understood that the pronoun “him” referred to Christ the NIV translators used “Christ” explicitly in verse 9 as well. This is hardly what you’d expect from people who allegedly deny the deity of Jesus.


In Romans 9:5 the NIV makes an explicit reference to Jesus’ deity while the KJV is ambiguous.

Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen. (KJV)

Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen. (NIV)

While “God blessed for ever” in the KJV rendering could be seen as referring to Christ, it can also be seen as a phrase standing on its own, depending upon the force given to the comma. The NIV rendering explicitly applies the phrase “God over all” to Christ.


Due to ignorance of the ‘Granville Sharp Rule’, 1 which was not defined until the late 1700’s, in Titus 2:13 the KJV reads, ‘‘the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ’’, rather than the correct ‘‘our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ.’’ (NIV) The KJV reading implies that “God” is not referring to Jesus. Likewise 2 Peter 1:1:

… through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ (KJV)

… through the righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ … (NIV)

1 Basically, Granville Sharp’s rule states that when you have two nouns, which are not proper names (such as Cephas, or Paul, or Timothy), which are describing a person, and the two nouns are connected by the word “and”, and the first noun has the article (“the”) while the second does not, both nouns are referring to the same person. - Dr James White



A typical claim of KJV-Only adherents is that all new English versions are part of a “Catholic conspiracy.” One KJVO website claims “The corrupted bible versions are essentially Roman Catholic bible versions.” 1

This claim is strange considering that the Bible versions under attack were actually produced by Protestant committees.

The rationale is based on the fact that modern versions use a Greek text that consulted additional Greek manuscripts that were not available at the time of the KJV translation. Two of these are the Codex Vaticanus and the Codex Sinaiticus.

1 HTML%20Pages/ Which-Bible-Version-is-God%27s-Word.htm


Vaticanus is attacked on the basis of its being found in the Vatican library while Sinaiticus was discovered in a monastery. Both use the older Alexandrian text- type. The KJV uses a Greek text based on Byzantine text-types.

Of course, the fact that the vast majority of “Byzantine” manuscripts were copied by Roman Catholic monks in the centuries prior to the Reformation seems to be overlooked. 1

1 The King James Only controversy: James R. White


Desiderius Erasmus (c.1466 – 1536)


The KJV uses the Greek “Textus Receptus” which was compiled by Erasmus who, although critical of the Catholic church, remained a Catholic all his life and even had some heated exchanges with Luther in terms of his views of salvation by grace.

Erasmus even dedicated his Greek New Testament to Pope Leo X, the very same pope who excommunicated Martin Luther.

KJV-Only advocates practice a double standard by defending Erasmus in spite of his Roman Catholic doctrinal errors.

Concerning other editors, textual critics, or translators, KJV-Only advocates have claimed that if their theology is wrong that some of their produced works will contain error. In like manner, would they claim that because the theology of Erasmus was wrong, that some of his produced work will contain error or that his treatment of the text should not be trusted? According to the claimed principles of KJV-Only advocates, Erasmus would not be a good, superior, or final authority for determining the best text of the Greek New Testament. 1



So the Greek text for the KJV was compiled by Erasmus, who was a Catholic.

The translation of the KJV was done by Anglicans who believed in infant baptism, an Episcopal form of church governance and sacramental worship. Some don’t consider the Church of England as part of the mainstream Reformation because their breakaway from the Catholic church was not based on doctrinal issues, but on the desire for Henry VIII to get church approval for his divorce.


In contrast the NIV involved a team of up to 100 scholars which included many Protestant different denominations including Baptists, Methodists, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Reformed, Brethren and the Assemblies of God. 1

So the NIV translation - with Protestant translators and a Greek text produced by Protestants - is a Catholic conspiracy but the KJV - which used Anglican translators and a Greek text produced by a Catholic - isn’t?

1 In particular: American Baptist, Assemblies of God, Baptist, Bible Presbyterian, Brethren, Christian Brethren, Christian Reformed, Church of Christ, Church of England, Conservative Baptist, Evangelical Free, Grace Brethren, Lutheran, Lutheran Church in America, Mennonite, Mennonite Brethren, Nazarene, Open Brethren, Orthodox Presbyterian, Orthodox Presbyterian, Plymouth Brethren, Presbyterian, Reformed Episcopal, Reformed Presbyterian, Southern Baptist, United Methodist, United Presbyterian and Wesleyan Methodist. cf. and http:// wiki/ New-International-Version


The KJV translators use book headings like “The Gospel according to S. Matthew” (i.e. “Saint Matthew”) when the Greek merely says “The Gospel According to Matthew”. In a doctrine which is typically anti-Protestant, the Catholic church regards Matthew as a saint whereas the NT teaches that the term “saint” applies to all believers.


The Catholic Church today includes the Apocrypha in their Bibles, while Protestant Bibles exclude it. The KJV was printed originally with 80 books including the Apocrypha as a separate section. In fact the Apocrypha was only removed from King James Versions in 1885 when the English Revised Version was printed and in 1901 when the American Standard Version was printed.


The original 1611 KJV with the Apocrypha

The KJV includes 7 cross references to the Apocrypha:

Daniel 8:25 - 2 Macc. 6:9 i.e. 2 Maccabees

Matthew 6:7 - Ecclus. 7:16 i.e. book of Ecclesiasticus

Matthew 23:37 - Wisd. 2:15,16 i.e. book of Wisdom

Matthew 27:43 - 4 Esd. 1:30 i.e. 4 Esdra

Luke 14:13 - Tob. 4:7 i.e. book of Tobit

John 10:22 - 1 Macc. 4:59 i.e. 1 Maccabees

Hebrews 11:35 - 2 Macc. 7:7 i.e. 2 Maccabees


The list of holy days in the 1611 KJV includes “the Purification of the blessed Virgin” and “the Annunciation of the blessed Virgin”.

Mary is also referred to as “the Virgin Mary”. These terms are typical, not of Protestants, but of Catholics.


The list of holy days includes the “Annunciation of our Lady”, a term used by Catholics of Mary.


The 1611 KJV lists “All Saints’ Day” as one of the holy days to be observed. In addition it lists “saints” days (e.g. Saint Michael, Saint Peter etc) and designated fast days. Saints’ days and fast days are considered “popish” and Catholic even by most KJV-Only advocates.



Some claim that the following verse is a denial of the virgin birth by calling Joseph the father of Jesus.

Luke 2:27 The child’s father and mother marvelled at what was said about him. (NIV)

Luke 2:27 And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him. (KJV)

But look at John 1:45 in the KJV:

… We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.

So is the KJV denying the virgin birth here? The reality is that Joseph was Jesus’ legal father – this doesn’t detract from the fact of the virgin birth.


And if there was a conspiracy to remove the references to the virgin birth from new versions, the conspirators did a poor job:

Matt 1:21-23 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” —which means, “God with us.” (NIV)

Luke 1:34-35 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.” (NIV)


What makes claims like these even more stupid is that the same people who accuse new versions of allegedly removing references to the virgin birth, will call new versions a “Catholic conspiracy”.

Everyone knows that Catholics are devout believers in the virgin birth, in fact taking the belief beyond what the Scripture teaches. While Scriptures teach that after the birth of Jesus, Mary and Joseph had a normal married life and had four sons besides daughters, Catholics believe in the “perpetual virginity” of Mary i.e. she remained a virgin even after Jesus’ birth.

So their own contrived conspiracy theories are in conflict with each other.



In the NT ‘episkopos’ and ‘presbuteros’ (presbyter or elder) were used interchangeably, e.g. Titus 1:5 & 7, where both words refer to the same office. Only later when hierarchical systems developed in the church did the idea of the office of a bishop as superior to the elder arise.

Miles Smith, final Editor of the KJV with Thomas Bilson, “protested that after he and Bilson had finished, Bishop Bancroft made fourteen more changes”. Henry Jessey, a Baptist pastor in the early 1600’s, said of the KJV saying that Bancroft, “who was supervisor of the present translation, altered it in 14 places to make it speak the language of prelacy”). “Prelacy” refers to a system of episcopal church government by Archbishops and Bishops set over more than one local church.


“Bishop” in the KJV was loosely transliterated from the ‘episkopos’ – a Greek word that simply meant ‘overseer’.

But “bishop” is a hierarchical term associated today with Catholic, Anglican, Orthodox and Lutheran churches.

King James wanted to breach the divide between the Puritans and Anglicans and arranged a a conference between the two parties in 1604. When the Puritan John Reynolds used the word “presbytery” when proposing changes to Church governance, this provoked an outburst from the king who opposed the Presbyterian form of governance which would effectively prevent the king from being the ultimate head of the church. Hence he cried “No bishop, no king!”


King James gave the KJV translators instructions intended to guarantee that the new version would conform to the ecclesiology and reflect the episcopal structure of the Church of England and its belief in an ordained clergy. 1

1 http:// wiki/ Authorized-King-James-Version



Phil 1:1


Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:


Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons:


The NIV has been accused of being ‘soft’ on the sin of homosexuality.

KJVO adherents point out that Dr Virginia Mollenkott (a literary critic on the NIV translation) is a self-confessed lesbian. This allegation is true, but a public letter distributed in the early 1990’s and written by Kenneth Barker, Executive Director of the International Bible Society, says that they were unaware of Mollenkott’s homosexuality in the early 1970s and that she was consulted only in a minor way in matters of English style.


Virginia Mollenkott author of The Divine Feminine: The Biblical Imagery of God as Female (1983)

A more serious claim that has subsequently emerged is that the late Dr Marten Woudstra (who headed up the NIV Old Testament Committee) was a homosexual or at least sympathetic to their cause. Marten Woudstra was a lifelong bachelor but did not openly profess to be a homosexual. Michael J. Penfold writes:

Dr Woudstra… was a long-time friend of Evangelicals Concerned Inc. This organisation was founded in 1976 by New York psychologist, Dr Ralph Blair, as a nation-wide task force and fellowship for gay and lesbian ‘evangelical Christians’ and their friends… 1



Dr Marten Woudstra (1922–1991)

However there have also been allegations that King James was a homosexual. But these claims were made by an enemy and - like Woudstra - after his death. Anthony Weldon, a disgruntled member of the royal court who had been dismissed by James is alleged to have authored a scandalous tract (The Court and Character of King James I) 25 years after James’ death and originated this claim.

Personally I am wary of accusations made when the person in question is not around to refute them. So I disregard both the claims regarding Woudstra and King James. 1

1 In any event King James fathered several children by Anne of Denmark, so these allegations should rather accuse him of being bisexual. And while attention has been drawn to his close friendships with a number of men – that hardly makes a man a homosexual!


Attention has been drawn to the fact that the term “sodomite” in the KJV has been rendered “shrine prostitute” in the NIV and in most modern versions.

1 Kings 14:24 And there were also sodomites in the land: and they did according to all the abominations of the nations which the Lord cast out before the children of Israel. (KJV)

1 Kings 14:24 There were even male shrine prostitutes in the land; the people engaged in all the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites. (NIV)

Jerome rendered the word “effeminati” in The Vulgate and hence the Catholic Douay-Rheims translates it as “effeminate”.


The Strong’s says of the Hebrew word “qadesh” used in 1 Kings 14:24, 15:12, 22:46 and 2 Kings 23:7 that it is a masculine noun referring to a temple prostitute. The word is derived from ‘qadash’ - a (quasi) sacred person, i.e. (technically) a (male) devotee (by prostitution) to licentious idolatry.

So technically the Hebrew word ‘qadesh’ refers to a male temple prostitute and is not a Hebrew derivative of the word ‘Sodom’ (Cedom). Possibly because of the reference to a male prostitute, homosexual activity was assumed. But while homosexual behaviour is possible, it is not definite, when referring to a male prostitute. So the NIVs “male shrine prostitutes” is a more accurate rendering.


But one can make a very clear case against homosexuality using both the OT and NT of the 1976/1984 NIV:

Gen 19:4-7 Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house. They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.” Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him and said, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing. (NIV)

1 Cor 6:9-10 … Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders … will inherit the kingdom of God. (NIV)


The NIV underwent a revision released in 2011. The Committee on Bible Translation was chaired by Dr Douglas J. Moo, who also served as Wessner Chair of Biblical Studies at Wheaton College. In an interview with Dr Moo the Christian Post related how the NIV translators responded to criticism about their passages on homosexuality not being “strong” enough:

The latest version of the popular NIV Bible translation has had its verses on homosexuality reworded, making them clearer in denouncing the practice, a theologian who helped with the translation says. 1



Moo explained the problem with the previous translation for a verse like the one in 1 Corinthians 6:9.

“The 1984 NIV rendering … did not make clear whether homosexual activity per se was being condemned or whether only certain kinds of ‘offensive’ homosexual activity was being condemned.” 1

The updated NIV makes clear that the Greek words here indicate any kind of homosexual activity. 1

Where the 1984 NIV version uses the phrase “homosexual offenders,” the 2011 translation changes the phrase to “men who have sex with men.”

1 Ibid


According to Moo, other verses that were altered due to scholarship and to make the message clearer included Romans 1:26-27 and Leviticus 18:22. 1

In Romans 1:26 “even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones,” was changed to, “even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones.”

In Leviticus 18:22 “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman,” was changed to, “Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman.”

1 Ibid


In 1 Tim 1:10 the NASB was the most clear on denouncing homosexuality, while the 1973/1984 NIV was totally unclear:

For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind… and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; (KJV)

and immoral men and homosexuals… and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching, (NASB)

for adulterers and perverts… and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine (NIV - 1973/1984)

But the NIV 2011 has made a change in this passage as well, where the word “perverts” was changed to “those practicing homosexuality.”



Hi. I’m Satan and I endorse these Bible translations.

Another claim of some KJVO adherents is that all new English versions are Satanically inspired. Here’s an attack on the NKJV:

In accordance with the aforementioned conspiracy, Satan and his minions now offer people a whole assortment of different bible versions, which change and twist God’s word. God’s word is with us today in the Authorized (King James) Version (referred to as AV or KJV). All other bible versions are tainted by the hands of Satan and his minions, including the New King James Version (NKJV)… Sadly, most of the so called church leaders of today have accepted Satan’s counterfeit bibles. 1

1 antichristconspiracy. com/ HTML%20Pages/ Which-Bible-Version-is-God%27s-Word.htm


Jesus said, “If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand?” (Matt 12:6, NIV) So if Satan inspired modern English Bible translations, why would he attack his own kingdom?

It seems like a glaring oversight on Satan’s part that he forgot to remove verses like:

Luke 10:18 He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” (NIV).

Rom 16:20 And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. (NKJV)

Acts 26:18 … and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins… (NIV)


A social media post which tries to discredit the NIV - while promoting the KJV - claims:

I’m sure you know that New International Version (NIV) was published by Zondervan but is now OWNED by Harper Collins, who also publishes the Satanic Bible and The Joy of Gay Sex.

That’s completely true. But Harper Collins / Zondervan ALSO publishes a KJV Bible.


Harper Collins bought the NIV Bible’s original publishing house, Zondervan, in 1988. They then bought Thomas Nelson Publishing in 2011 and combined it with Zondervan to form the Christian arm of its publishing empire. Harper Collins publishes an enormous variety of books but their three main categories are Kids & Teens, Christian and Romance. It’s the world’s largest publisher and distributes books of every kind of genre, even genres that people of faith may find offensive.

But many people will buy a Bible from CNA which also sells books on homosexuality. I buy my Christian audio books from Amazon which also sells books on Islam, Satanism, homosexuality etc.


The presence of “Easter” in the KJV is one of the most-discussed “translation error” in KJV-only discussions.

Acts 12:4 (KJV) … intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.

Acts 12:4 (NKJV) … intending to bring him before the people after Passover.

The Greek work translated “Easter” in the KJV is “pascha” which is a transliterated word from the Aramaic word for Passover. But at that time Christians thought of the Jewish “Passover” and the Christian “Easter” as synonyms.

It is only a problem for many of the KJV-only crowd who are often the same folks who will tell you that Easter is Satanic.


The list of Holy Days in the 1611 KJV includes Christmas and Easter which are regarded by some KJV-Onlies as pagan holidays not to be observed and celebrated by Christians.



Most agree that Isaiah 14:12 refers to the fall of Satan, but the KJV uses the title “Lucifer” in this passage:

Isaiah 14:12 (KJV) How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

However modern English translations render this as “morning star”:

Isaiah 14:12 (NIV) How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!

Isaiah 14:12 (NASB) How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, You who have weakened the nations!


Some KJV-Only supporters make the ridiculous claim that other English versions suggest that Jesus and Satan are one and the same (and thus Satan is responsible for inspiring these translations). This is because Jesus calls himself the “morning star” in Revelation 22:16.

Rev 22:16 (KJV) “I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.”

But the Hebrew word translated “Lucifer” in the KJV’s rendering of Isaiah 14:12 is heylel (hay-lale), and literally means “shining one”, “morning star” or “light bearer”. (Strong’s #1966)


It was the Latin Vulgate that was responsible for the widespread use of the word Lucifer. The Vulgate was produced by Jerome (c. 347-420) by translating from Greek and Hebrew manuscripts into Latin.

Jerome correctly translated the Hebrew word “heylel” as “lucifer”, the Latin word meaning “light bearer”.

Isaiah 14:12 (Latin Vulgate) quomodo cecidisti de caelo lucifer qui mane oriebaris corruisti in terram qui vulnerabas gentes

As many felt the passage in Isaiah 14 referred to Satan’s fall, over time the word “lucifer” became used as a proper name for Satan before his fall.


But Jerome didn’t only use “lucifer” to refer to Satan but used it often in the Vulgate. Here is just one example where it is used in a positive context:

2 Peter 1:19 (Latin Vulgate) et habemus firmiorem propheticum sermonem cui bene facitis adtendentes quasi lucernae lucenti in caliginoso loco donec dies inlucescat et lucifer oriatur in cordibus vestris

2 Peter 1:19 (KJV) We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts

So the name “Lucifer” in the KJV is a transliteration (a new word derived from a foreign word), but not from the original Hebrew text, but instead from the Latin Vulgate.


In fact the original 1611 edition of the KJV has a marginal note for the words “O Lucifer” which reads :

Or, O daystarre

So the KJV translators themselves acknowledged ‘day star’ as an alternate translation.


It is preferable to use more than one translation and to even consult paraphrases at times for readability.

The KJV is a good literal translation BUT:

It is not inerrant (like the Hebrew / Greek scripture) and neither is it the exclusive word of God.

It is difficult to understand especially for children and people who don’t use English as a first language. If you like the literary style of the KJV, consider using a NKJV especially if it’s for public use.

The NIV is great for a balance between readability and literal rendering BUT:

Use it with caution for study. In places, it is not a literal rendering.


Accuracy (for study)

Literal translations are better (ESV, NASB, NKJV, KJV)

Cross reference more than one translation

Use original languages or refer to Hebrew and Greek lexicons especially when a passage seems obscure.

Easy to understand

Dynamic Equivalents (or Mediating) are better here when they truly paraphrase rather than change the meaning of the text.

Underlying text

More about this in the next study


AUTHOR: Gavin Paynter


Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations are taken from the NIV: THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. (

Scripture quotations are taken from the ESV: Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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