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 Hasn't the KJV gone through thousands of revisions?

One of the questions that is continually asked during any discussion about Bible versions is “Hasn’t the KJV gone through thousands of changes?”. I think the following article by David Cloud is an excellent response to that questions. Also, be sure to read the final paragraph. Contrary to popular belief (propoganda), most KJV advocates do NOT believe the KJV as a translation was inspired by God.

By the way, I am on a quasi hiatus at this point. Limiting my time on here as necessary. If I don’t immediately respond to anyone… I’m not ignoring you.

Anyway… enjoy! We haven’t had a good Bible version thread in awhile.



A question that comes up frequently in the Bible Version debate is this: "If you believe that the KJV is the preserved Word of God in English, which edition do you use, seeing that it has been revised many times and in thousands of places?"

Speaking on the "History and Heritage of the English Bible" at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary on March 22-23, 2006, Charles Ryrie stated that there have been some 24,000 variations of the King James Version since its original publication in 1611, and "it's just something you might have in the back of your mind to help somebody who thinks King James is the only thing that we should use" ("Christians Are Wasting Heritage of English Bible," Baptist Press, April 4).


I will answer this question under the following five headings:

1. There were corrections of printing errors, typographical changes, and spelling updates.

These were done by the British publishers of the KJV and can be grouped into two time periods.

There were updates made between 1613 and 1639 for the purpose of correcting printing errors. The revisers included Samuel Ward and John Bois, two of the original translators. "Some errors of the press having crept into the first edition, and others into later reprints, King Charles the First, in 1638, had another edition printed at Cambridge, which was revised by Dr. Ward and Mr. Bois, two of the original Translators who still survived, assisted by Dr. Thomas Goad, Mr. Mede, and other learned men" (Alexander McClure, The Translators Revived, 1855).

An update was made between 1762-69 to correct any lingering printing errors and to update the spelling, enlarge and standardize the italics, and increase the number of cross references and marginal notes. The revision was begun in 1762 by Dr. F.S. Paris of Cambridge University and completed in 1769 by Dr. Benjamin Blayney of Hertford College, Oxford University. "The edition in folio and quarto, revised and corrected with very great care by Benjamin Blayney, D.D., under the direction of the Vice-Chancellor of Oxford, and the Delegates of The Clarendon Press, in 1769" (McClure, The Revision Revised). The revision was made by collating the then current editions of Oxford and Cambridge with those of 1611 and 1701.

2. All of the changes were of a minor nature, such as the following:

** Printing errors were corrected. This was almost exclusively the nature of the corrections made in the 28 years following the first printing. Consider some examples:

Psalm 69:32 -- "seek good" was a printing error in the 1611 that was corrected to "seek God" in 1617

Ecclesiastes 1:5 -- "the place" was a printing error in the 1611 that was corrected to "his place" in 1638.

Matthew 6:3 -- "thy right doeth" was a printing error in the 1611 that was corrected to "thy right hand doeth" in 1613.

Consider some famous printing errors that have appeared in printings of the King James Bible:

The Wicked Bible (1631) omitted "not" in "Thou shalt not commit adultery" in Exodus 20:14.

The Printer's Bible (1702) read "printers have persecuted me" instead of "princes" in Psalm 119:161

The Vinegar Bible (1717) read "The Parable of the Vinegar" instead of Vineyard.

The Ears to Ear Bible (1810) read "who hath ears to ear let him hear" in Mat. 14:43.

The Rebekah's Camel's Bible (1823) read "And Rebekah arose, and her camels [should be damsels]" in Gen. 24:61.

** The use of italics was more standardized and its use was expanded.

Spelling and punctuation were updated. For example, old English had an "e" after the verb (i.e., feare, blinde, sinne, borne), used an "f" for the "s" except at the end of words (alfo instead of also) and "u" for the "v" (euil instead of evil). Consider how 1 Corinthians 14:9 was written in 1611: "So likewise you, except ye vtter by the tongue words easie to be vnderstood, how shall it be knowen what is spoken? For ye shall speak into the aire." Or Genesis 1:1-2: "In the beginning God created the Heauen, and the Earth. And the earth was without forme, and voyd, and darkenesse was vpon the face of the deepe: and the Spirit of God mooued vpon the face of the waters."

** A large number of new marginal notes and cross-references were added.

3. Donald Waite of Bible for Today compared every word of the 1611 KJV with a standard KJV in publication today (the 1917 Scofield which uses an Oxford text).

Dr. Waite's study is entitled "KJB of 1611 Compared to the KJB of the 1917 Old Scofield" (BFT1294) and can be obtained from Bible for Today, 900 Park Ave., Collingswood, NJ 08108, He counted all of the changes that could be heard. The largest number of changes were spelling (e.g., "blinde" to "blind"), but as these have no real significance he did not count them. Waite says: "The purpose of my study was to show that when the New King James Version (NKJV) editors believed that 'the King James Bible should once more be sensitively revised' (p. 2). THE IMPLICATION IS THAT THE NKJV WAS 'JUST ONE MORE REVISION.' Yet the NKJV made upwards of 100,000 changes in the English words. I wished to show that the changes from the 1611 to the 1769 KJB were MINOR compared with the MAJOR numbers of changes in the NKJV. ... The 1,095 figure would be only about 0.14% changes which would be even more minor. Compared with the NKJV, if there are 100,000 changes (and there are probably many more), this would be about 12.6% changes which would show that the NKJV was a far different kind of a revision than that of the 1769 Old King James Bible which we now have. The NKJV is not "just one more 'revision' of the KJB. It is a new translation."

Waite found only 1,095 changes* that affect the sound throughout the entire 791,328 words in the King James Bible. Of these, the vast majority are minor changes of form, such as "towards" changed to "toward," "burnt" changed to "burned," "amongst" changed to "among," "lift up" changed to "lifted up," and "you" changed to "ye." Obviously these are not real changes of any translational significance. [* Waite's original report stated that he found 421 changes that affect the sound, but he later revised that to 1,095 changes.]

Dr. Waite found ONLY 136 SUBSTANTIAL CHANGES (out of 791,328 words) between the original KJV of 1611 and the contemporary Oxford edition. Most of these changes were made within 28 years after the original publication of the KJV and were the simple correction of printer's errors. Following are some of the 136 substantial changes:

1 Samuel 16:12 -- "requite good" changed to "requite me good"
Esther 1:8 -- "for the king" changed to "for so the king"
Isaiah 47:6 -- "the" changed to "thy"
Isaiah 49:13 -- "God" changed to "Lord"
Isaiah 57:8 "made a" changed to "made thee a"
Ezekiel 3:11 -- "the people" changed to "the children of thy people"
Naham 3:17 -- "the crowned" changed to "thy crowned"
Acts 8:32 -- "shearer" changed to "his shearer"
Acts 16:1 -- "which was a Jew" changed to "which was a Jewess"
1 Peter 2:5 -- "sacrifice" changed to "sacrifices"
Jude 25 -- "now and ever" changed to "both now and ever"

Further, there are a few differences between the Oxford and the Cambridge corrected editions that can still be found in current editions of the KJV. Following is one example:

Jeremiah 34:16 -- Cambridge has "whom YE had set at liberty" while Oxford has "whom HE had set at liberty"

4. The most thorough study ever done on the various editions of the King James Bible was by Frederick Scrivener in the late 19th century.

He was the author of the Cambridge Paragraph Bible, which was an "elaborate attempt to publish a trustworthy text of King James' version." It first appeared in 1873 and was republished in 1884 accompanied by Scrivener's valuable Introduction and Appendices as The Authorized Edition of the English Bible (1611): Its Subsequent Reprints and Modern Representatives (Cambridge: University Press, 1884). One of the Appendices is a "List of original readings of the Bible of 1611 examined and arranged" and another is a "List of wrong readings of the Bible of 1611 amended in later editions." Scrivener also analyzed the KJV's underlying Greek text and tabulated the number of times that it varied from the Stephens and the Beza editions of the Received Text. A reprint of Scrivener's important book is available from Bible for Today. It is also available on CD from Sola Scriptura Publishing, 1118 SW Orleans St., Topeka, KS 66604.,

5. What is the significance of these facts?

First, we see that the KJV has gone through such a strenuous purification process that the reader can have complete confidence in its accuracy.

[i](Please take special note of this last paragraph, lest anyone think that I believe the KJV is an “inspired” version – Krispy)[/i]

Also, any idea that the KJV was "given by inspiration" is disproved. If it were "given by inspiration" in 1611 it would not have needed any sort of correction or refinement, because it would have been infallible in every detail. Those who teach that the KJV is more than an accurate translation, that it is given by inspiration and perfect and inerrant in itself and advanced revelation and such must show us exactly which edition they are referring to.

 2008/1/10 8:44

Joined: 2003/10/30
Posts: 1554

 Re: Hasn't the KJV gone through thousands of revisions?

Hello Krispy,

Anyway… enjoy!

In what to enjoy? Are you taking pleasure in this kind of discussions?

We haven’t had a good Bible version thread in awhile.

Do you feel need of it and why? From where this hunger for such threads is coming from?

 2008/1/10 9:08Profile


In what to enjoy? Are you taking pleasure in this kind of discussions?

First off, you're assuming I am looking for a fight. I am not. Yea, I do enjoy this discussion and here's why: the last few discussion we've had on here about Bible versions has been very cordial and friendly, as well as informative. It's how we get to know and understand each other.

I also do derive a certain amount of pleasure enlightening folks to the fact that not all "KJV-Only" folks are kooks. That yes, there is some balance to it all, and that many times people have based their opinions on myths, and not facts.

Do you feel need of it and why? From where this hunger for such threads is coming from?

Again, you assuming I'm looking for a fight. Again... I am not.

I do feel the need to post this particular article because this question has been asked [b]many[/b] times, yet I do not feel that I or anyone else has ever adequaltely answered the question. When I read this article this morning my first thought was "I need to share this... it will hopefully answer some questions for some folks."

So let me ask you, Tears... why do you assume the worst about me?

Also, why do you assume that this topic can never be discussed without a fight breaking out? (Especially since the last few times it came up it was extremely civil)

If we're never going to discuss anything that might be controversial, then lets all just find a seeker sensitive church somewhere... and never preach on hell... and never preach the blood... and never take a stand on anything.

To be perfectly honest with you, I think a discussion on the very Word of God itself is [b]very[/b] important, and worthy of much discussion.


 2008/1/10 9:55


In what to enjoy? Are you taking pleasure in this kind of discussions?

If I may speak of Krispy, Tears of Joy. Proverbs 27:2

Krispy can be grieved at times over this subject, so he is not eagerly willing to discuss this unless he has some valuable information to share with the forum regarding the subject. We have locked threads to prove that discussing bible translations can be quite a heated debate. In saying that, he likes to avoid confrontation over the subject. So you see, he's not looking for a fight.

He is zealous for any translation that is based upon the Textus Receptus (Which gave us the KJV, Geneva etc). It is his conviction that the Textus Receptus which means "Received Text" is the divine choice that has been handed down to us, all other manuscripts are steeped in error and some have deleted several verses in a chapter. I have to agree with him.

However, if your preferred choice is the NIV lets say, he won't condemn you for reading it, but he will let you know how he feels about it.

My preferred choice is the KJV, and I have used the Living Bible from time to time.
Romans 14:22 Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.

 2008/1/10 10:59


Compliments... thank you. I am blessed that you would explain my position, and my heart. You are right on the mark with everything you said.

What a great friend and brother you are.

Now... it would be great if we could all move on and discuss the article I posted. Thats what this thread was meant to be about.



 2008/1/10 12:16

Joined: 2003/10/30
Posts: 1554


Hello Compliments and Krispy, thanks for the replies.

If we're never going to discuss anything that might be controversial, then lets all just find a seeker sensitive church somewhere... and never preach on hell... and never preach the blood... and never take a stand on anything.

You know that I never said that.

Krispy, let me say firstly, I prefer KJV, when I am reading (the English) and quoting and comparing I am using KJV, barely other translation, because I think some of the modern versions are corrupted. Also to say that my main reading is not in English, but in my mother tongue.

I appreciate your zeal of defending the KJV.
But the reason why I asked you those questions were not that this will produce fight, but I hoped that you will look something deeper in them. Let me clarify.

I was also affected from the thread [url=]KJV - yes, thats the version for me![/url], when you raised it after some distractions in the forum, then you said:

I am finding myself quickly losing interest in this forum lately... it's becoming a place where people come in and want to beat us over the head with political agendas, protests against this social problem, or that movement over there...

I long for the good ol' days when we actually addressed matters of substance. Theological issues. Stuff like that.

So I thought I would remind you all that I am still solidly 100% in favor of the KJV.

I asked myself, what were 'the good ol' days'? Were the days when we talked about the spoon and the plate, or were when we talked about the barbecue, and what that food produced in us? What an enjoyment and pleasure!

Now I am not saying that there is no place for a discussion of the versions, yes there is a place, but I addressed the questions to you as a 'veteran' on the forum. I asked you particularly, is this your main food?

Weren't the good old days when we talked about personal revival, personal holiness, experiences with the Lord, searching and meditating the Scriptures looking for meat, public repentance, drinking from the living water, exhorting one another, encouraging in the narrow way, learning discipleship, encouraging unto self denial, detaching from the earthly things and attaching to the heavenly things etc.

I am wondering this:

What will happen if all of us, just stand up and DO what we know already? DO what have learned so far.

"Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and [b]doeth them[/b]..."

"And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and [b]doeth them not[/b]..."

The Word of God is not to make us smarter, but to make us more humble to obey and [b]do[/b] what the Lord says. Otherwise...

To be perfectly honest with you, I think a discussion on the very Word of God itself is very important, and worthy of much discussion.

What means 'a discussions on the very Word of God'? I hope you don't mean the discussion of versions. I absolutely agree that studying, meditating and digging the word of God (not the differences of the versions) is something essential! But even that is not our goal! This is just instrument of how to get and know our Lord more. What about WE to be the BEST translation? As this example:

I once heard a story about four pastors who were discussing their favorite translations of the Bible. One liked the King James Version, and another liked the New American Standard Bible. Yet another liked The New Living Translation.

When the conversation came around the fourth pastor, he said that he liked his mother's translation the best. Acting surprised, the other three men said they hadn't realized his mother had translated the Bible. "Oh yes," he responded. "She translated the Bible into life, and it was the most convicting translation ever I ever saw."
-[url=]New Translation of the Bible![/url]

I will let also other brother to finish, that are my thoughts also:

There is today no lack of Bible teachers to set forth correctly the principles of the doctrines of Christ, but too many of these seem satisfied to teach the fundamentals oft he faith year after year, strangely unaware that there is in their ministry no manifest Presence, nor anything unusual in their personal lives. They minister constantly to believers who feel within their breasts a longing which their teaching simply does not satisfy. I trust I speak in charity, but the lack in our pulpits is real. Milton's terrible sentence applies to our day as accurately as it did to his: [b]`The hungry sheep look up, and are not fed.'[/b]

It is a solemn thing, and no small scandal in the Kingdom, to see [b]God's children starving[/b] while actually seated at the Father's table. The truth of Wesley's words is established before our eyes: `Orthodoxy, or right opinion, is, at best, a very slender part of religion. Though right tempers cannot subsist without right opinions,yet right opinions may subsist without right tempers. [b]There may be a right opinion of God without either love or one right temper toward Him.[/b] Satan is proof of this.'

Thanks to our splendid Bible societies and to other effective agencies for the dissemination of the Word, there are today many millions of people who hold `right opinions,' probably more than ever before in the history of the Church.Yet I wonder if there was ever a time when true spiritual worship was ever a time when true spiritual worship was at a lower ebb. To great sections of the Church the art of worship has been lost entirely, and in its place has come that strange and foreign thing called the `program.' This word has been borrowed from the stage and applied with sad wisdom to the type of public service which now passes for worship among us.

[b]Sound Bible exposition is an imperative must in the Church of the living God. Without it no church can be a New Testament church in any strict meaning of that term. But exposition may be carried on in such way as to leave the hearers devoid of any true spiritual nourishment whatever. For it is not mere words that nourish the soul, but God Himself, and unless and until the hearers find God in personal experience, they are not the better for having heard the truth. The Bible is not an end in itself, but a means to bring men to an intimate and satisfying knowledge of God, that they may enter into Him, that they may delight in His Presence, may taste and know the inner sweetness of the very God Himself in the core and center of their hearts. [/b]

I hope that in the light of this, you will find why I asked you these questions (I will say again, as a veteran on the forums).

In Christ,

 2008/1/10 13:01Profile


Tears... I posted an article answering the often asked question about the revisions to the KJV. If you wish to discuss that on this thread I would love to engage you.

Instead, you have effectively hi-jacked this thread to discuss the controversy surrounding discussions about Bible versions.

You know I love you, my friend and brother... but I find it a bit irritating that I posted what I posted in order to have some discussion of the [b]original[/b] issue. I havent even gotten one response about it, probably because at this point no one wants to get in the middle of this rabbit trail you've taken us down.

If you want to discuss how controversial it is to discuss Bible versions, then start a new thread about it... dont ruin other threads.

In your effort to prevent an argument, I am afraid you're provoking one.

If you dont want to discuss Bible versions... then dont. But I think secretly you do. :-) Thats why you're posting on this thread.


 2008/1/10 13:14


I've said all I'm going to say about that... so lets move on.

Has anyone [i]else[/i] read the original article I posted at the beginning of thread? Does this answer any questions? Does anyone have anything they would like to discuss about this?

Do you have an opposing view point?

Lets get this thread back on track.


 2008/1/10 13:17


Krispy, Compliments and others.

I know absolutely nothing about Bible translations and the original texts/manuscripts that are available to be translated into different languages, but I'm very interested in the whole subject. I currently use the NIV for home and church use, I've used the KJV in the past but sometimes struggle with the language that it occassionally uses.

Have you got any information or articles/websites, maybe books or anything like that regarding the whole issue of original Bible manuscripts and translations that are available today? I really am ignorant on the whole subject.

However if, for example, I did some reading/research etc. with the help of the stuff you give me and decided that, say, the KJV was the most reliable translation to the most reliable manuscript, then I'd happily put up with the language because I'd at least know it was the best.

Any help would be appreciated!

 2008/1/10 13:32

Joined: 2003/11/23
Posts: 4489


Hi Krispy…

I enjoyed your initial post. I really pity the individuals who embrace the KJV as though it was the language and manner used when God inspired the various scribes who penned the Word of God. It has certainly gone through numerous revisions (between 1611 and 1850), but most of the revisions were undoubtedly minor. However, there were some grammatical errors that were corrected. In addition, there were some errors of names. Your report cited the work of a Dr. Donald Waite, who found 136 “substantial” revisions of the KJV (between the 1611 and 1769 editions). This, coupled with the 1095 changes in “sound,” should be proof enough that the original 1611 version was not the linguistically “perfect” translation as so often claimed by the most ardent KJV-only adherents.

As you know, I've studied this topic in depth. I’m still embracing the KJV as the best translation taken primarily from the Textus Receptus, while I still embrace the NIV (1978) as the best translation taken from the other sources.

Thanks for the post!



 2008/1/10 13:59Profile

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