• David Lee Brown

Bible Versions



“And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” (Revelation 22:19) KJV

The above scripture was written specifically about the book of Revelation, but Revelation was also the last book of the Bible both literally and chronologically, so I believe it applies to the entire Bible. Within the myriad of Bible versions out there to choose from there are some that stand out, because they are better written and come from the best source.

My recommendations are the King James (KJV), New King James (NKJV) and the New American Standard (NASB), because the first 2 were derived from the Armenian manuscripts and the third used both the Armenian and Alexandrian manuscripts combined. I trust the Armenian or Textus Receptus (Majority Text) the most because they came from the very cradle of Christianity in what is now modern day Turkey and Greece. The Alexandrian (Minor Texts) manuscripts from Egypt leave out verses found in the Armenian manuscripts, which in some cases severely detract from the scripture. Unfortunately, the Alexandrian are the manuscripts used to translate most modern Bibles.

Does this mean (as some have said) “you aren’t saved if you weren’t saved by hearing or reading the King James Version”? No! That’s ridiculous and imposes a restriction on the power of the Holy Spirit to reach people. The Holy Spirit can reach out to a person using nothing more than a Gospel tract or one verse from any version of the Bible (ex. John 3:16). Don’t put limits on God, because his reach transcends everything!

Please also remember that our King James Version is only one of many English versions. There are versions in many other languages too, and they are translated from the manuscripts, not the King James Version of the English Bible. So, being dogmatic about only using the King James Version totally excludes any and all non-English speakers. The version and language are less important than opening your heart and mind to Christ and reading the Bible, regardless of the version or language. Again, for the English speakers/readers I recommend the King James, because it’s the most beautifully written and most trusted English version of the Bible, but being dogmatic about it is foolish. Don’t put limits on God’s saving power and grace.

The King James Version was written during the same time period that Shakespeare wrote his plays, at the very peek of the English language, so there will never be a Bible written more eloquently or beautifully in English. But, I’ve also heard, “it was the first Bible, so we don’t need any other version”. Well, sorry, but you’re wrong. There were several English versions of the Bible before the King James Version, the most popular being the Geneva Bible (1560), but the people of Great Britten also used the Bishop’s Bible version (1568). Most of the scripture quoted in the plays of Shakespeare were from the Geneva Bible. The Bible that came across the Atlantic Ocean with the first settlers on the Mayflower was the Geneva Bible and it was the dominant version of the Bible from about 1560-1700. The Geneva Bible was the principal English Bible initially brought to American soil, making it the Bible that shaped early America and greatly impacted Colonial culture. The King James Version 1611 was the first addition of the KJV, to be followed by the 1760 edition and the lesser known 1899 edition. The KJV started losing ground to the newer versions around 1950 with its dominance lasting from about 1700-1950 impacting our early American government, documents and laws. Even though it has lost ground to other versions – for its beauty, eloquence and accuracy – I will always recommend the King James Version. But, I’ll never be dogmatic (inflexible) about it.

You can read the 1599 version of the Geneva Bible (GNV) and the King James Version (KJV) side by side on: https://www.biblegateway.com/ .

“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.” (Revelation 22:21) KJV