King James Versions??


It was Sunday morning in church and for the first time, a little first-grade girl got to sit in the adult service with her  parents.  And when the mom opened the Bible and set it on her lap, the daughter noticed the page.  She whispered to her mother, “Did God really write all of that?”  The mom replied affirmatively and the child said in wonder, “Wow, He really has neat handwriting!”

Recently, a very respected Greek scholar who is also a seminary professor said that we shouldn’t talk about the King James Version but King James Versions; since today’s KJV has over 100,000 changes in it compared to the original KJV first published in 1611.  (All this as an attack on the authorized version and in defense of the plethora of new translations.)  So the question  becomes: Is the professor right or wrong?  And the answer is:  He’s both!  The professor is right in that if you take your current KJV in one hand and a 1611 KJV in the other, there are over 100,000 changes.  But the professor is also wrong because he’s using smoke-and-mirrors to come up with the 100,000 figure.  Let me explain.  There have been two modifications (one minor, one major) made to the King James Version since it first came off the press  over four hundred years ago.

Minor Modification – The minor modification involved the correction of printing errors.  Johannes Gutenberg may have invented the printing press in 1440, but 171 years later the process was still the same – setting type one letter at a time.  And when you have 3,566,480 letters to do, there are going to be some mistakes and there were.   The total was 421, including the infamous Wicked Version, Thou shalt commit adultery.  However, in the years following, the minute number of errors (really a miraculously small amount) was corrected and has long been ever since.

Major Modification – The major modification involved the changing of the type font.  Because the printing press was invented in Germany, the German Gothic font-style was used for the first 1611 edition, as opposed to the current Roman English font-style.  And when you compare the two font-styles, there are definite differences in the way a number of the 791,328 words in the KJV are now printed out.  For instance (Lefus) in Gothic is (Jesus) in Roman – in the same way (colour) in Canada is (color) in America.  But apart from the different lettering of the same word, the meaning doesn’t change one iota.  However this is the switch that makes up the bogus claim of 100,000 changes.

The bottom line?  The first King James Version in 1611 was 17 inches tall, 15 inches wide, and weighed over 30 pounds.  Today, our KJV’s are shorter, thinner, and lighter; except when it comes to the translated words –  they are 99.99999% the same  as the original.