Written by: Richard Nickels
Why Are There Errors in the King James Version?
You have probably heard the joke about the bigoted Protestant fundamentalist who said, "If the King James Version was good enough for the apostles, it is good enough for me!" People sometimes forget that the KJV was published in 1611 A.D.
For centuries prior to 1611, Latin was the only scholarly language in Europe. The Latin Vulgate translation of Jerome, based upon a[n] . . . Alexandrian Text, was the "official" text of the powerful Roman Catholic Church.
Protestant translators sometimes did not have access to all of the Received Greek Official Text, and being familiar with the Vulgate, they sometimes put words into their translations based upon the Latin which were never there in the original Greek. Schaff points out that in about 80 places in the New Testament, the KJV adopts Latin readings not found in the Greek. Erasmus had a corrupt, incomplete text of Revelation to work from, and hence this book has many errors in the KJV.
The King James translators did a marvelous job with the materials they had. . . .
Here is a partial listing of King James Version translation errors:
Genesis 1:2 should read "And the earth became without form . . . ." The word translated "was" is hayah, and denotes a condition different than a former condition, as in Genesis 19:26.
Genesis 10:9 should read " . . . Nimrod the mighty hunter in place of [in opposition to] the LORD." The word "before" is incorrect and gives the connotation that Nimrod was a good guy, which is false.
Leviticus 16:8, 10, 26 in the KJV is "scapegoat" which today has the connotation of someone who is unjustly blamed for other's sins. The Hebrew is Azazel, which means "one removed or separated." The Azazel goal represents Satan, who is no scapegoat. He is guilty of his part in our sins.
Deuteronomy 24:1, "then let him" should be "and he." As the Savior explained in Matthew 19, Moses did not command divorcement. This statute is regulating the permission of divorce because of the hardness of their hearts.
II Kings 2:23, should be "young men", not "little children."
Isaiah 65:17 should be "I am creating [am about to create] new heavens and new earth . . . ."
Ezekiel 20:25 should read "Wherefore I permitted them, or gave them over to, [false] statutes that are not good, and judgments whereby they should not live." God's laws are good, perfect and right. This verse shows that since Israel rejected God's laws, He allowed them to hurt themselves by following false man made customs and laws.
Daniel 8:14 is correct in the margin, which substitutes "evening morning" for "days." Too bad William Miller didn't realize this.
Malachi 4:6 should read " . . . lest I
come and smite the earth with utter destruction.
Matthew 5:48 should be "Become ye therefore perfect" rather than "be ye therefore perfect." "Perfect" here means "spiritually mature." Sanctification is a process of overcoming with the aid of the Holy Spirit.
Matthew 24:22 needs an additional word to clarify the meaning. It should say "there should no flesh be saved alive."
Matthew 27:49 omits text which was in the original. Moffatt correctly adds it, while the RSV puts it in a footnote: "And another took a spear and pierced His side, and out came water and blood." The Savior's death came when a soldier pierced His side, Revelation 1:7.
Matthew 28:1, "In the end of the sabbath as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week . . ." should be translated literally, "Now late on Sabbath, as it was getting dusk toward the first day of the week . . . ." The Sabbath does not end at dawn but at dusk.
Luke 2:14 should say, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men of God's good pleasure or choosing." That is, there will be peace on earth among men who have God's good will in their hearts.
Luke 14:26 has the unfortunate translation of the Greek word miseo, Strong's #3404, as "hate", when it should be rendered "love less by comparison." We are not to hate our parents and family!
John 1:31, 33 should say "baptize" or "baptizing IN water" not with water. Pouring or sprinkling with water is not the scriptural method of baptism, but only thorough immersion in water.
John 1:17 is another instance of a poor preposition. "By" should be "through": "For the law was given by [through] Moses . . . ." Moses did not proclaim his law, but God's Law.
John 13:2 should be "And during supper" (RSV) rather than "And supper being ended" (KJV).
Acts 12:4 has the inaccurate word "Easter" which should be rendered "Passover." The Greek word is pascha which is translated correctly as Passover in Matthew 26:2, etc.
I Corinthians 1:18 should be: "For the preaching of the cross is to them that are perishing foolishness; but unto us which are being saved it is the power of God", rather than "perish" and "are saved." Likewise, II Thessalonians 2:10 should be "are perishing" rather than "perish."
I Corinthians 15:29 should be: "Else what shall they do which are baptized for the hope of the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the hope of the dead?"
II Corinthians 6:2 should be "a day of salvation", instead of "the day of salvation." This is a quote from Isaiah 49:8, which is correct. The day of salvation is not the same for each individual. The firstfruits have their day of salvation during this life. The rest in the second resurrection.
I Timothy 4:8 should say, "For bodily exercise profiteth for a little time: but godliness in profitable unto all things . . . ."
I Timothy 6:10 should be, "For the love of money is a [not the] root of all evil . . . ."
Hebrews 4:8 should be "Joshua" rather than "Jesus", although these two words are Hebrew and Greek equivalents.
Hebrews 4:9 should read, "There remaineth therefore a keeping of a sabbath to the people of God."
Hebrews 9:28 is out of proper order in the King James. It should be: "So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them without sin that look for him shall he appear the second time unto salvation."
I John 5:7-8 contains additional text which was added to the original. "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one." The italicized text was added to the original manuscripts. Most modern translations agree that this was an uninspired addition to the Latin Vulgate to support the unscriptural trinity doctrine.
Revelation 14:4 should be "a
20:4-5 in the KJV is
a little confusing until you realize that the sentence "This is the first
Revelation 20:10, "And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are [correction: should be 'were cast' because the beast and false prophet were mortal human beings who were burned up in the lake of fire 1,000 years previous to this time, Revelation 19:20], and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever." The point is that Satan will be cast into the same lake of fire into which the beast and false prophet were cast a thousand years previously.
Revelation 22:2 should be "health" rather than "healing."
Italics: Sometimes Helpful, Sometimes Wrong
No language can be translated word for word into another language. Hebrew and Greek idioms often do not come through clearly into literal English. Thus, beginning in 1560 with the Geneva Bible, translators initiated the practice of adding italicized clarifying words to make the original language more plain. The fifty-four King James translators did the same. Often, the added italicized words do help make the meaning clearer. At other times, the translators through their doctrinal misunderstandings added errors instead.
In Psalms 81:4, "was" is totally uncalled for and not in the original Hebrew. New Moons are still a statute of God.
We have shown how in Revelation 20:10 that the italicized "are" is incorrect and that "were cast" in italics would have been more appropriate. Another instance is John 8:28 where Jesus said (KJV), "I am he." The "he" is in italics and was not actually spoken by Jesus, completely obscuring the fact the Jesus was claiming to be the great "I AM" of the Old Testament, John 8:58 and Exodus 3:14.
In Luke 3:23-38, the italicized words "the son" are not in the original Greek. Actually, Luke gives the fleshly descent of the Savior through Mary, while Matthew gives the legal descent through Joseph.
Matthew 24:24 should not have the italicized words "it were". It IS possible for the elect to be deceived. We need to be on guard!
Romans 1:7 incorrectly has the italicized words "to be." The fact is, Christians are now saints.
I Corinthians 7:19 needs some italicized words to make the meaning clear. It should say: "Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but [the important thing is] the keeping of the commandments of God."
Colossians 2:16-17 can be properly understood only if the KJV italicized word "is" in verse 17 is left out, as it should be. The message of these verses is: don't let men judge you as doing wrong when you observe the holy days, new moons and sabbaths; let the body of Christ (the Church) do the judging.
I Timothy 3:11 has "their" in italics, which is not implied in the original.
II Peter 2:5 should not have "person, a." Noah was the eighth preacher of righteousness.
I John 2:23 has "[but] he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also" in italics. This is an addition based upon the Latin text and not in the original Greek.
Luke 23:43 has been erroneously used by some to claim that Jesus went straight to heaven at His death. The original Greek did not have punctuation marks as we do today. The KJV states, "And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise." The comma should not be after "thee", but "day." The believing malefactor would be with Christ in the paradise of the redeemed when he was resurrected far into the future.
Mark 16:9 does not say that Jesus was resurrected Sunday morning. There is a missing implied comma between "risen" and "early" and there should be no comma after week as the KJV has it: "Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene . . . ." Thus, it should say, "Now when Jesus was risen, early the first day of the week he appeared first to Mary Magdalene . . . ."
Another thing to keep in mind is the fact that the 1611 A.D. King James English is somewhat different than today's English language. The meaning of certain words has changed, and/or the King James sometimes uses words not familiar to most people today in their common speech. In addition, certain idioms in the original Hebrew and Greek are a little difficult to understand today. The Oxford Wide Margin KJV has excellent marginal references which often explain the correct meanings. Here is a partial listing of changed word meanings:
King James Phrase (on top)
Modern English (on bottom)
"the Kingdom of God" in which the redeemed will have an intimate relationship with father Abraham in sharing the eternal inheritance of the earth.
"sonship", as in Romans 8:23, 9:4, Ephesians 1:5.
"passions", as in Galatians 5:24, "mind" as in Colossians 3:2.
"fast" as in Leviticus 23:27, 32 (Psalms 35:13).
"judge against you", as in Colossians 2:18.
"early", as in Proverbs 13:24.
"blisters", as in Exodus 9:9.
bosom, in his
"have an intimate relationship with", as in II Samuel 12:3, 8, John 1:18.
"report, rumor", as in Jeremiah 10:22, Nahum 3:19.
"spiritual love", as in I Corinthians 13.
"right attitude", as in Psalms 51:10, 73:1.
"share", as in Hebrews 13:16.
"conduct", as in Philippians 2:27, I Peter 3:1, "citizenship" as in Philippians 3:20.
"convict", as in Titus 1:9, James 2:9.
"grain", as in Leviticus 23:14, Deuteronomy 23:25.
cover his feet
"go to the toilet", as in I Samuel 24:3.
"creation", as in Romans 8:20-21, II Corinthians 5:17, Galatians 6:15.
"judged", as in Mark 16:16.
"demons", as in I Timothy 4:1.
"hypocrisy", as in Galatians 2:13.
"different" places, persons or things as in Matthew 24:7 and Acts 19:9, Hebrews 1:1, James 1:2.
"expounding, dissecting", as in II Timothy 2:15.
"sick", as in I Timothy 6:4.
"sexual dues", as in I Corinthians 7:3.
"examples, types", as in I Corinthians 10:11.
"give up" as in Luke 18:1, Galatians 6:9.
"evil, wrong", as in Proverbs 2:12.
"expensive, costly", as in James 2:3.
"Holy Ghost" should be rendered "Holy Spirit."
"mirror", as in I Corinthians 13:12, James 1:23.
"blindness" a s in Mark 3:5.
In reference to the Holy Spirit, the KJV usage of "he" rather than "it" implies the false notion of the trinity. The Holy Spirit is not a separate person, but the mind of God the Father and God the Son. See John 14:16, 17, 26 and 16:7-8, 13-15.
"attitude of mind", as in Jeremiah 17:9.
There are three Greek words rendered "hell" in the New Testament: gehenna, hades (equivalent of Hebrew sheol used in the Old Testament), and tartaroo. Gehenna is the lake of fire, hades is the grave and tartaroo is the abyss, the place of restraint for Satan. For English speaking people during the time of King James, "hell" [hades] was a cellar to store potatoes, not a lake of burning brimstone. In Acts 2:27, "hell" is hades, meaning the grave, while in Matthew 10: 28 and Mark 9:43-48 "hell" means the lake of fire. The only place tartaroo is used is in II Peter 2:4.
"farmer, rancher", as in James 5:7.
"zealous", as in II Corinthians 11:2.
"had sexual relations with", as in Genesis 4:1.
"lying", as in Psalms 4:2, 5:6.
"restrains", as in II Thessalonians 2:7.
"earnestly desires" as in Deuteronomy 14:26.
"offices" as in John 14:2.
"meal offering", as in Leviticus 23:13, etc.
"fitting, proper", Matthew 3:8, Genesis 2:18.
"deceived", as in Galatians 6:7.
"angels", as in Job 38:7.
"lower", as in Deuteronomy 24:6.
"foreign", as in Nehemiah 13:26.
"spiritually mature", as in II Timothy 3:17, or "upright or sincere" as in Genesis 17:1.
"finish", as in Philippians 1:6.
him that "pisseth against the wall"
"males", as in II Kings 9:8, etc.
"the crowd", as in Luke 19:3.
"precede", Psalms 88:13, I Thessalonians 4:15.
"inspired preaching", as in I Corinthians 14.
"make alive", as in Romans 8:11.
"keep on", as in I Corinthians 16:13.
"teach", as in Hosea 10:12, Isaiah 2:3.
"distort", as in Jeremiah 4:30.
"offer support for", as in I Timothy 5:4.
rear guard" as in I Samuel 29:2.
"elements", as in Colossians 2:8.
those who "seemed to be somewhat"
"boasters", as in Galatians 2:6.
"slave", as in Philippians 2:7.
"harmless", as in Romans 16:19.
slept with his fathers
"died", as in II Kings 13:9, II Chronicles 16:12.
sons of God
"angels", as in Job 1:6.
"wicked spirits", as in Ephesians 6:12.
"astonish, startle", as in Isaiah 52:15.
"newcomer, new convert", as in Deuteronomy 14:29.
"let, allow, permit" as in Mark 10:14, Revelation 11:9.
"wait", as in Luke 24:49, I Corinthians 16:8, which is explained in Acts 1:4.
"tried or tested", as in I Corinthians 10:13, James 1:13.
"intent or purpose", as in Exodus 34:27.
"foreign languages", Mark 16:17, I Corinthians 14.
"power" as in Mark 5:30.
Additions to the KJV
These additions should be omitted from the KJV:
"that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots." This verse appears properly in John 19:24.
Delete: "being convicted by their own conscience . . . unto the last . . . alone . . . and saw none but the woman . . . those thine accusers."
The Greek properly reads: "But when they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the eldest, and Jesus was left with the woman being before him. Jesus lifted himself up and said to her, 'Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?'"
"it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him . . . ."
"he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do"
"which were sent unto him from Cornelius"
"that were of Paul's company"
"Thou shalt not bear false witness"
"through his blood"
"and didst set him over the works of thy hands"
"and were persuaded of them and embraced them"
"or with a dart shot through"
I John 2:23
"(but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also" is placed in italics in the KJV. The Greek Text omits this portion entirely.
I John 5:7-8
"in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit: and these thee are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth" As previously explained, this is not part of the original Greek text.
"the beginning and the ending"
"I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and . . . which are in Asia"
"which thou sawest"
"to eat of"
"and to read"
"four and twenty . . . him that lives forever and ever"
"and the angel stood"
"the inhabiters of"
"before the throne of God"
"over his mark"
"another out of"
"of the earth and"
"and be their God"
Misplaced Verses in the KJV
In Matthew 23:13-14, the proper order is: "But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretense make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in."
Romans 16:25-27 belongs after Romans 14:23, not at the end of the book.
Substituted or Left Out of the KJV,
"And another took a spear and pierced his side and out came water and blood."
[The Orthodox Church says this was part of the Greek Text until mistakenly deleted in 511 A.D.]
". . . for his is not against you."
This verse should read: "And Jesus said to him, Forbid him not, for he is not against you. For whoever is not against you is for you."
"And having turned to the disciples, he said:"
"Bethany" instead of "Bethabara", which was a corrupt Egyptian reading.
Should read, "Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at the time in Damascus."
Should read, " . . . the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to feed the church of the Lord and God, which He purchased with His own blood."
Should be "serve in (the) Spirit of God" rather than "serve God in the spirit."
Should have added "and is growing" after "bringeth forth fruits."
Should read, "And you--being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh--you hath He quickened together with him, having forgiven us all the trespasses . . . "
I Thess. 5:21
Should read, "Despise not prophesyings, but prove all things . . . ."
II Timothy 2:19
"of (the) Lord" rather than "of Christ."
"To them", not "with them."
"Carried away", not "carried about."
Should be "into hypocrisy" instead of "under judgment."
I Peter 2:2
End of verse should have added: "unto salvation."
be " . . . and she wills not to repent of her fornication.
Should be " . . . and the whole moon became blood . . . ."
Should be " . . . and the third part of the land was burnt up, and the third part of the trees . . . ."
"eagle" rather than "angel."
"nations" instead of "dead."
Should read, "And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has there a place prepared of God . . . ."
Should read, " . . . and power was given it to make war forty-two months . . . ."
Should read, "having His name and the name of His Father written on their foreheads . . . ."
"nations" instead of "saints."
Should read, " . . . when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and shall be present . . . ."
Should read, " . . . everyone who sails to any place . . . " instead of "and all the company in ships."
Should read, " . . . ye holy saints and apostles and prophets."
Should read, " . . . and on his head were many crowns, having names written, and a name written that no man knew . . . ."
Should read, " . . . gather yourselves together unto the great supper of God . . . ", not "supper of the great God."
Should read, "And the nations shall walk by means of its light."
Should read, "tree of life" instead of "book of life."
Should close with "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with all of the saints. Amen."
The King James
Version is a word-for-word translation. Other translations, such as the New
International Version (NIV), are meaning-for-
... In spite of its imperfections, the King James Version remains a masterpiece. . . .