Jovial (7 Sep 2014)
"The KJV, Other Translations, and Text Types"

There are some people who prefer the King James, but are not "King James Onlyists" Among the reasons for preferring the King James I have heard are;

  • They like the style;  a matter of personal preference.  For memorization, I prefer the KJV too where it is accurate. 
  • Accuracy. Despite the example errors I posted at , the King James is more accurate than most translations for MOST verses.  Where it goofs, it sometimes goofs bigger than other translations.  But in general, it is highly literal, and usually accurate.  I highlighted some of its errors to try to counter those who make ridiculous claims about its accuracy.  But for any random verse, it is usually more accurate than most modern translations.
  • The Byzantine Text Type Base.  That is a reasonable basis, but many people do not know that there are OTHER Byzantine Text Type translations available.

Many King James Only folks have presented two FALSE claims about Bible translations

  • That there are only 2 versions of the Greek New Testament; Textus Receptus and Alexandrian Text Type manuscripts.
  • The King James is the only translation from the Textus Receptus.

Both of these claims are false.   Among some of the other translations that were based on the Textus Receptus;

  • ISR's The Scriptures (modern language, 1998)
  • A Voice in the Wilderness Holy Scriptures (modern)
  • "A Literal Translation of the Bible" (1985)
  • Darby
  • Young's Literal
  • The Quaker Bible

The first 3 are modern, the last three were post King James.  Then there are numerous pre-KJV translations as well, such as the Geneva Bible, which you can still get.  So the King James is not the only choice when it comes to translations from the Textus Receptus.  Also, most of the others are truer to the Textus Receptus than the King James.

Another Byzantine translation, though not Textus Receptus, is the Eastern / Greek Orthodox Bible, translated from The Patriarchial Text. The Patriarchial Text was a critical reading of the Byzantine Text Types based mostly on miniscule 1495.  It is superior to the Textus Receptus in many respects.  It has few to no Greek grammar errors in it, something that cannot be said of the Textus Receptus.  Erasmus had some comments about the linguistic problems in the Greek NT he published that made it sound to some people he doubted a full Divine inspiration of the Text.  But The Patriarchial Text will not cause you any reason to doubt Divine Inspiration. It mostly matches the content of the Textis Receptus (TR) but with more ancient wording.  Its sentence structure is more semetic than the TR - a sign of more originality.  And it is also more Greek than the TR, because it does a better job of conforming to Greek grammar.  Usually if you get more of one you lose the other, but not in this case.

Many American Theologians don't want you to know about The Patriarchial Text.  The hide when it is mentioned.  Why?  Because it was put together by native Greek speakers from Greece.  And because they try to use THEIR credentials from an English speaking University as proof they know more than most people about Greek and the Greek manuscripts, they do not want to mention a text critically edited by people who's only claim to Greek linguistics is.....a little thing like speaking Greek all their life!

The Patriarchial Text is the standard for most branches of the Greek Orthodox Church.  A few offshoots have no significant preference of a particular text, but nearly everywhere they use some sort of Byzantine standard.

Most American Theologians debate whether the Alexandrian or Byzantine Text Type Manuscripts are more original.  Most Protestant Theologians in Western Europe favor the Western Greek manuscripts over the Alexandrian or Byzantine.  I have not really run into many people favoring the Cesarian set of Greek manuscripts. I found out about The Patriarchial Text when I asked myself , "What version do native Greek speakers like best?"  That seemed like a smart question to me.  But most American Theologians do NOT want you to ask yourself that question, and you therefore won't hear any mention of The Patriarchial Text in most American Theological circles.

Despite the propoganda from most KJV Onlyists, not only do other Byzantine based translations exist, but those translations do a better job of sticking with the Textus Receptus base text it was translated from than the King James. 

Scrivner recorded 23 places where the KJV differs from the Received text of both Stephens (1550) and Beza (1589). But he did not list them all. For example, Matt 24:35 says "ye gave me to eat (a verb)" in the TR, but the KJV says "ye gave me meat (a noun)". This also occurs in Matt 8:55, John 4:8, Acts 2:46, 9:19, Heb 5:12,14. It translates "table" (trapeza) as "meat" in Acts 16:34, but not of these were in the list recorded by Scrivner.

The KJV follows the Alexandrian reading that KJV proponents argue against so vehemenently, departing from the TR, in several places.

  • Rev 14:18 is one example where the phrase "of the vine" appears in the WH+ and KJV, but not the TR. It's not theologically significant, but does show the KJV did not follow any one text 100%.
  • The KJV includes the words "he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also" in 1 John/Yoch 2:23, which is found in the WH+, but not the TR.
  • The TR differs from the WH+ by containing "and men", but it's missing from the KJV, which reads like the WH+ instead of like the TR.
  • The KJV agrees with the WH+ (And Vulgate, and Aramaic texts) against the TR in John 18:14 saying Yeshua would "die" , where the TR says he would "be killed". Someone can (and usually does) "die" without "being killed". This may not be theologically significant, but does indicate that the KJV did not follow a single source as being 100% authoritative.
  • Other places where the KJV reads identical to the WH+ but disagrees with the TR include Luke 10:22 and reversing the order of Matt 23:13 and 23:14

Scrivner omits a lot of the above cases.

In John 13:5, the KJV translates "kai deipnou genomenou" (and supper having-begun) as "and supper being ended", which is OPPOSITE the Greek reading. "gignomenou" can be read as "born" or "grow", so this could indicate that perhaps the KJV was using THIS reading rather than what appears in the TR.

The King James translators claim they were using an imperfect Greek text. In the 1611 footnote to Acts 13:18, it says...

"Gr. etropoforsen, perhaps for, etroroforhsen as a nurse beareth or feedeth her childe."

So it is confessing that what is seen in the text, namely "etropoforsen" , isn't correct and is probably a mispelling of something else. The Textus Receptus reads "etropoforhsen", which means the KJV mispelled it in these notes. Also, some manuscripts read "etrofoforhsen" here.

But note that the King James translators left off one of the validly included letters, while identifying some of the incorrect ones.  So they committed an error while identifying an error in the original Greek text they were working from.  Yet the KJV Onlyists will still try to tell you that both texts were perfect.

Many modern translations such as the NIV, Amplified, etc., are ecclectic readings of the Byzantine and Alexandrian texts.  They took whichever version they thought more original for each verse translated.  They typically advertise the Alexandrian texts as their "basis", largely for credibility, because the vast majority of English speaking scholars prefer the Alexandrian text over the Byzantine.  But in reality, most of them are ecclectic readings.

The King James is also an ecclectic reading.  I have also documented a few of its departures from the TR to agree with the Alexandrian above.  That is only a start.  I have a long list that I get out sometimes when I run into KJV Onlyists and get into this debate.  There are a LOT more.

In fact, there are places where the King James disagrees with the TR as well as the Alexandrian and ALL KNOWN GREEK MANUSCRIPTS in order to agree with the Latin Vulgate.  That is a problem that most of the "other translations" KJV Onlyists want to knock don't have.  Among the places where the KJV disagrees with the Greek in order to agree with the Latin Vulgate are....

  • Gal 4:4 says the Son was "made" in the King James, which is how the Vulgate reads, but the Greek says "came". Thus it says Yeshua was "came of a woman" (Greek version), not that he was "made of a woman" (KJV = Vulgate).
  • Gal 6:12 KJV = "constrain" = Vulgate's "cogunt" <> Greek "compel". One can be compelled to do something without being constrained. And in the example given, if one constrained someone, he could not be compelled to be circumcized, so the KJV reading describes something impossible.
  • 2 Thess 2:8, KJV uses "destroy", as does the Vulgate, but the Greek says "katarghsei", meaning to annul or to make idle, but not necessarily to destroy. Of course, destruction certain results in idleness, but the converse is not necessarily true.
  • Gal 1:18. KJV says "I went up to Jeruslaem to see Peter." Here, the KJV agrees with the Vulgate, but the Greek reads "make aquaintance with" or "meet", which potentially could be done without using ones eyes. In Acts 9:17, Paul makes the aquaintance of Ananias before seeing him.
  • 2 Cor 8:23 - KJV calls Titus Paul's fellow "helper" as does the Vulgate (reading "adjutor"), but the Greek says "laborer". Help often involves labor, but doesn't have to. These are two different concepts, and not synonyms.
  • Eph 4:18 Greek reads "hardness" while KJV = Vulgate = "blindness".
  • In Matt 24:12, as well as numerous other places, the KJV reads "iniquity", agreeing with the Vulgate's "iniquitas", but disagreeing with the Greek's "lawlessness = anomian ". Other places where this occurs are Matt 7:23, 13:41, 23:28, as well as others.

The Latin influences on the King James did not always come from the Vulgate. In Col 1:22, we find...

  • unreproveable before Him" (Greek)
  • unreproveable in his sight" (KJV = Calvin's Latin reading of the New Testament)

There's other examples where the Vulgate influence does not produce something "erroneous" in English, but still produces something that does not sound natural in English. For example, the Greek word "dunamis" is translated as "power" over 60 times in the KJV, but it is translated "virtue" in 3 places, all of them being places where the Latin Vulgate uses "virtus" or equivalent. The English word evolved from the Latin word and it use to mean "force" or "power", but isn't really used that way today. Even in 1611, it's clear "power" was a more natural translation, but they occasionally chose "virtue" in order to read closer to the Latin tradition. Examples can be found in Mark 5:30, Luke 6:19, and Luke 8:46.

The influence of Latin can be seen in the KJV in several areas. Sometimes its in big ways, with unique Vulgate readings appearing, sometimes in smaller ways, with the traditional Latin text or thought or cultural understanding coloring the picture.