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Religious liberals, in their attempts to nullify the Word of God, have always preferred a “modern version” of the Bible. That is to say, they have always wanted a Bible that reads the way they want it to read. But, in recent years it has become very common for people in conservative congregations to lay aside their old, King James translation, because someone has told them that it is out of date. How often have you heard, “No one talks in that language today. It is archaic and difficult for the average person to understand.”
So, many have purchased a modern translation. In fact, most who have done so, have purchased many modern translations, trying to find one that is easy to read and understand, moving from the RSV, to the NASV, to the NIV. Some have even chosen to use one of the many paraphrases available. Then, at last, the New King James Version arrived. I have personally seen all the versions just mentioned carried by different people in a single worship service. Those of us who choose to continue using the Authorized Version, the King James, are oddities today. In fact, you might be hard pressed to even find a copy in your local religious bookstore.
Please do not misunderstand the purpose of this article. I do not suggest that our friends are doing something evil by using modern translations of Holy Scripture. I have many dear and highly esteemed friends and fellow pastors who choose to do so. And I do not mean to suggest that the original King James translators were inspired.
However, I do fear that the rush for something new, particularly when it comes to the translation of Holy Scripture, is a very dangerous thing; and I am fully convinced that it is a needless thing. I contend that more modern translations are needless for two reasons.
1. There have been no improvements. Without question, there are a few phrases, here and there, that have been slightly improved by modern translations. However, as a whole, none are improvements, or even as accurate as your old King James Bible.
2. And, thus far, I have not found anyone who finds any modern translation of the Bible easier to read or understand than the King James. Many have been led to expect that would be the case. But I do not know of any who have found that it was so.
However, my determination to stick with the King James is not simply a matter of preference. I see some very great dangers and nothing beneficial in the flood of Bible translations in modern times.
Who are the translators? I do not question the learning and scholasticism of the men chosen to do the work. But do they believe God? Are they men who believe the gospel of God’s free and sovereign grace in Christ? Sadly, those chosen to do the work are chosen from various denominations to make sure the work is acceptable. I do not suggest that modern translators are unbelievers, that they do not know the gospel of Christ; but I do know that men in such a position, if they are not born again and taught of God, could and would corrupt the Scriptures. Those who are dead in trespasses and in sins cannot be trusted to translate the Book of God. They are not capable of understanding that which is inspired of God.
Once a second translation is accepted (let alone a half dozen), the question must be asked (and often is) — “Which is the Word of God?” What confusion this has caused! The multitude of translations has, almost by necessity, caused the average person to look to “trained” religious leaders to decide for them what is and what is not the Word of God, thinking of themselves as ignorant “laymen” and treating preachers and Bible teachers as priests!