The King James Version (KJV) of the Bible has now been around for 400 years. A New York Times editorial observed, “It’s barely possible to overstate the significance of this Bible. Hundreds of millions have been sold. … To Christians all around the world, it is still the ancestral language of faith.”
While the Bible has an undeniable majesty to it, it has also become the object of almost cultic devotion by some Christians who reject more accurate, contemporary translations and take pride in being “King James Only.” They ignore the contribution made by older and better original Greek and Hebrew manuscripts that have been unearthed over the last 400 years, and cling the translation authorized by King James. The KJV is often referred to as the “Authorized Version,” but it was only authorized by King James, not by God or any ecclesiastical group.
The KJV is a gem of Elizabethan English, but it’s syntax and vocabulary often confuses people unfamiliar with the style. Preachers using it must often explain the out-of-date vocabulary before they start explaining the biblical directives locked in the language.
The KJV, which is in the Public Domain with no royalties accruing, is still an inexpensive best seller. However, the New King James Bible (NKJB), the New International Version (NIV) are the choice of those seeking clarity in their reading and understanding of the Bible.