Keeping Your Sword Sharp
The Word of God is the Sword of the Spirit (see Ephesians 6:17-18). It’s the greatest offensive weapon we have. I’m a firm believer in keeping a sharp sword through biblical literacy and accuracy. And although the Word of God is infallible, we are not. Man has done much to dull its edges.
You may be wondering why I have chosen the Authorized King James which has been commonly replaced by so many other modern translations. And I’m more than happy to share with you.
Why the King James?
As a new believer I initially read the New International Version. It was my ‘milk’. I had a thirst for God and His word that was insatiable. However, as time passed, I realized rather quickly that the NIV was errant in its translation, omitting certain scriptures. Also, it was a paraphrase, which I did not want. As I began serious study nearly twenty years ago with the intention of teaching and writing, I asked the Lord which version I should use, completely relinquishing the NIV altogether. I prayed about this for months. God’s word is inerrant and eternal. And in many of the recent translations the fear of God toward His word has sadly been lost. Man has taken the word of God and created translations to suit their own tastes for the sake of ease and convenience. Some scriptures have been entirely omitted, and others have been so poorly translated, the inherent meaning has been lost altogether. This has left the Body of Christ with a dull sword that is ineffective.
Finding the strictest adherence to the original Greek, Hebrew, and Chaldean texts was my goal. I wanted a word-for-word translation of the sixty-six canonized books. With this being said, I do believe there are many other texts that are useful in studying God’s word, such as the Apocrypha, which are not canonized, and with good reason. I respect those works with regard to their authorship.
The LORD showed me two translations: The Authorized King James Version and the New American Standard. At that time these were the best to be found. Both are word-for-word translations. After much prayer regarding each, the Lord made it clear that the Authorized King James was indeed the most accurate text. Therefore, this is the one I chose, and for the past twenty years it has been the one I’ve faithfully studied.
Translations, Linguistics & the Importance of Accuracy
Understand that no version is perfect. Accomplishing transliteration between languages altogether unrelated, bridging the ancient with the new, is a daunting task. Always consult the original Greek, Hebrew and Chaldean texts when you have questions. The Authorized King James version does this for the reader in its margins, providing original words and their meanings. This was something I deeply appreciated. The Authorized King James is a translation heralded worldwide by scholars and theologians for its accuracy, being upheld as tried and true against all others, having been meticulously transliterated from the original tongues and texts. To this day, it is still considered the standard among all English translations.
It is in our nature to cling to what is familiar. However, as you study the Word of God for yourself, understand that His word is indeed inerrant, but certain versions are not. The influence of man has gone reprehensibly too far and been much too liberal, with certain versions being adulterated completely. Whatever version you should use, I wholeheartedly encourage you to choose a version that is as accurate as possible.
Respect for God’s word is at the heart of every true disciple, with the understanding that God and His Word are one and the same.
Acceptable Alternatives to the King James Version
If you feel the King James Version (KJV) is not right for you, I’d like to suggest that you consider the Geneva Bible or the Lexham English Bible.
The Geneva Bible was translated fifty-one years prior to the KJV and was the text to which the Puritans strictly adhered. The Geneva bible turned the world upside down and its success was explosive. For the first time, lay people had a version of God’s holy word translated from the original Greek and Hebrew texts within their very own hands which they could read for themselves. The Geneva quite literally unleashed the Word of God to the masses. Once the Word of God was discovered among lay people, the power of its truth spread like wildfire, hence the Reformation and its subsequent and vehement persecution. Although its content was accurate, the spelling was akin to the illiterate, being entirely phonetic. Despite the painstaking measures taken to translate it, certain original words were still erroneous. The Authorized King James Version sought to correct these errors with a version for the lay people that was both accurate in content and linguistically correct as a modern English translation established for the Reformed Church. The fear of God with which the Authorized King James was translated is unsurpassed. The process was meticulous and tedious. Once the KJV was officially released the Geneva was eventually ‘shelved’ due to the King’s edict, hence the term ‘authorized’. However recently, the Geneva Bible has been pulled from that proverbial ‘shelf’ in an attempt to rediscover the Word of God in its authenticity and restore an accurate bible translation that is reliable. The Geneva is, absolutely and without question, most worthy of serious consideration. Regardless of your choice, both the Geneva and King James are word-for-word translations that can be used for serious study, and both are reliable texts that scholars uphold worldwide.
The Lexham English Bible is a new version recently released which is also translated word-for-word from the Greek, Hebrew and Chaldean texts. This version is unique in that it reveals how the text was translated. This is a wonderful insight for those who are seeking deeper study. I wholeheartedly endorse the Lexham English Bible, and would recommend it for those who feel they need an easier version to read without compromising biblical accuracy.
God who is the Word
God is the Creator of words and every language known to man. I am a firm believer that every disciple of Christ should study the Word of God in their native tongue, being assisted by other resources to provide accuracy as needed. With this in mind, you may also want to consider study companions in the Greek and Hebrew, which are most certainly helpful.
In your search for truth and accuracy, you will currently find many literary liberties being taken in the publishing of God’s Word, indicative of the last days. You will find there has been flagrant compromise at the whim and desire of many. This is not surprising, considering the final age in which we are living, wherein men want their itching ears tickled. In the fear of God, I encourage you not to bend or compromise God’s Word in any measure. There are strict judgments reserved for those who do so. Take the greatest of care when handling His Word. It is HOLY. God takes His word very, very seriously, and if He should regard it as such, how much more should we? Let us fear God. He does not pitch words without purpose. For Jesus said, not even one jot or tittle shall pass away until all has been fulfilled. Therefore, regardless of the version you should choose for yourself, may your sword always be found sharp and unsheathed, ready for the day at hand.
I hope this information is helpful to you in your personal search. And I pray it has addressed the proposed question successfully. For more information on Bible versions and study resources that will assist you, please visit THE TOOLBOX.