Au Revoir, KJV

While growing up, many of the people in my local church primarily read from and studied the King James version of the Bible. I memorized many verses in the KJV as a child and still default to quoting from this translation to this day. However, over time, I was introduced to more modern translations and realized that the King James was not the only (or the best) option for me.

Now, there is one primary reason I have said, “goodbye” to the KJV. It’s the same reason I don’t read a French Bible: I don’t understand the language.

Please don’t misunderstand: I really appreciate the historical significance of the KJV. This version of the Bible has done so much for the English-speaking population of prior generations (and even some in our current generation)! It made an otherwise incomprehensible book (and message of salvation through faith the Lord Jesus Christ) accessible to the common English-speaking man. Unfortunately, the language of the 21st century is so different from that of 1611 that I do not comprehend many phrases in the KJV.

For example, in Luke 2:49 KJV Jesus is quoted as having said:

wist ye not…?

This verse in the CSB reads:

Didn’t you know…?

Now that’s more like it! That’s the language I speak.

Unless I were to go back and learn the English of the 1600’s (or read it side-by-side with a translation I do understand) I would be at a loss while reading the KJV. And while that may be a good exercise, it is not something I wish to do regularly. Especially since there are other, great, understandable translations available. For this reason I choose to read and study updated versions of the English Bible.

So, what do you think? Does the KJV still have a place in your library?


  1. I like the New Living Translation. The thoughts just flow so much easier for me even though I grew up reading and memorizing verses from the KJV.


      1. I actually think it was mostly your example from the King James (wist), and maybe my mood at the time. 🙂 In all seriousness, though, growing up I used the NIV, but I’ve come to appreciate the NASB bc it’s more literal. By the way, you might find that you could understand French surprisingly well, since it’s root words are so similar to Spanish.


      2. I see! I tried to keep my tone from becoming elitist. I’ve read a few articles by people on the superiority of the KJV that are very condescending, so I wanted to keep my rebuttal light. I don’t know if you remember but I referenced a Spanish Bible when I gave a message on Ephesians 2. Many foreign languages make a much more understandable distinction between “you” and “you all.” (Which is actually an argument in favor of the KJV (Thou and Ye)). All that to say that I might understand French, but I’ll probably stick with English for now 🙂

        On Fri, Oct 23, 2015 at 10:44 AM, Wills Osborn wrote:



      3. You definitely didn’t sound elitist! I think I remember that message and, yes, that’s interesting–in French, for example, the singular form of “you” is “tu” and the plural form is “vous” (although you can also use the plural as singular formal). Still, I think I’ll probably stick to English, too, for now. 🙂


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