Sep 1 1992
Question: You always seem to use the King James Version of the Bible. Why not use the modern translations that are so much easier to understand?
Response: Most people think that the so-called "modern translations" (RSV, NIV, NASB, etc.) simply put the Bible into the language of today in place of the outdated English of the 1600s. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Different manuscripts are involved. The KJV comes from a family of manuscripts known as the Byzantine, Traditional, or Received Text (Textus Receptus). Since this group contains by far the largest number of manuscripts, it is also know as the Majority Text. Modern translations come from an entirely different and much smaller family, of which Codex Alexandrinus (A), Vaticanus (B), and Sinaiticus (Aleph) are the main representatives. That the latter are older has been the basis for saying they are better. In fact, the evidence is overwhelming that this family of manuscripts was badly corrupted. Their earlier date has two explanations: 1) Most came from Egypt, where the climate was conducive to their preservation; and 2) it is now generally agreed that when a new copy was made, the worn-out manuscript it replaced was destroyed. Thus it is probable that these older manuscripts had been abandoned or at least were not as well accepted by the church as a whole—whereas the Majority Text was the one in use. The differences between the KJV and modern translations are many (numbering more than 2,000) and are in many instances serious. Yet, where the differences are not critical I will, at times, quote a modern translation when it better communicates a biblical teaching.