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Joined: 2007/6/26
Posts: 2037
Whittier CA USA

 Errors In The King James Version?

I decided to post the following article for a few primary reasons. One, because I thought it presented a strong case against the KJV-only movement. Two, in hopes that believers who do not hold to KJV-only will be encouraged in knowing that they are not in sin by using other translations. And three, in hopes that believers who are KJV-only advocates will be open to reasoning and understanding that there are strong arguments that challenge their view, thus the need to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace when it comes to this issue of Bible translations.

by William W. Combs

"For those of us who believe in the inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture,the subject of errors in the Bible is not something that is normally confronted head on. That is, one does not generally preach a sermon or teach a class entitled “The Errors in the Bible.” We normally associate
that kind of language with liberals who reject the authority of Scripture. But notice the doctrinal statement of Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary on the issue of the Bible:

“We believe in the verbal, plenary inspiration of the Bible, the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testament canon, which, being inerrant in the original manuscripts, is
the final authority on all matters of faith and practice and any other subject on which it touches.” This statement is explained more fully in an amplification of the Seminary’s doctrinal statement entitled “Inspiration & Preservation of Scripture,” a pamphlet published in 1996.

There we say that
"It is the original text (words, script, autograph—graphe, 2 Tim 3:16) that partakes of inspiration proper. All other texts, copies, reproductions, translations, and versions partake of inspiration in an indirect, linear fashion
from previous copies and translations to the extent that they reproduce the text of the original manuscripts. We hold that only the autographs of Scripture are inerrant and that copies and translations of Scripture are inerrant
insofar as they are true to the inerrant autographs. Thus any translation or version of Scripture in any language is the Word of God if it accurately reproduces what is in the original manuscripts."

Thus, our Seminary statement limits inspiration primarily to the original manuscripts. We go on to say in that same pamphlet: “We do not hold that the Word of God is to be found exclusively in one English translation or any one translation in any other language since all such have mistranslations, miscopying, or misprinting, however minor, and are not therefore inerrant.” Thus, translations can be said to be inspired in a limited, derivative sense, but they cannot be said to be inerrant in any full sense. The theological truth that drives us to these conclusions is
something that is said earlier in the pamphlet: “We hold that inspiration is a direct miracle of God by which human authors and human languages were employed by God to give human beings His revelation in written form (2 Tim 3:16; 2 Pet 1:21).”

Thus we are saying that a miracle of inspiration is necessary in order to produce a written document that one can say with absolute certainty is without errors, and that miracle only occurred when the authors of Scripture penned the autographs. Therefore, translations, being not directly inspired, cannot be said to be without error. Though preachers do not normally tell their congregations that their particular translation of the Bible has errors in it, neither should they tell them that their translation of the Bible has no errors in it. No such guarantee is possible. Nevertheless, we find that todaythere are those who teach that one Bible, the KJV, has no errors.

Certainly, no one is arguing, or has apparently ever argued, that any other English translation is without error. Those individuals who argue for the inerrancy of the KJV are part of the KJV-only movement, which insists that the KJV is the only English version that should be used today and that it is the only one that can truly be called the Word of God. Donald Waite, a leading advocate of the
KJV-only position, is at least somewhat cautious when describing the character of the KJV: “I don’t like to use the word ‘inerrant’ of any English (or other language) translation of the Bible because the word ‘inerrant’
is implied from the Greek word, theopneustos (2 Timothy 3:16) which means literally, ‘God-breathed.’”1

However, Waite is quick to add that he has “not found any translation errors in the King James Bible.”2 Waite makes an even stronger statement when he notes that “the King
James Bible is ‘God’s Word Kept Intact.’”3 What does “intact” mean? Waite explains: “It means ‘not harmed.’ Nothing harms or defiles it…. The King James Bible—in my studied opinion—is the only translation that completely and accurately reflects, in English, the original Hebrew/
Aramaic and Greek.”4 Clearly, Waite believes the KJV is inerrant, even if he chooses not to use the word.

David Cloud, who has been heavily influenced by Waite, does not use the word inerrant itself to describe the KJV, but he does say it is “perfect.”5 “I believe the King James Bible is an accurate and lovely translation of the preserved Greek and Hebrew text of Scripture. I do not believe the King James Bible contains any errors.”6 In a similar vein, Thomas Strouse writes: “The KJV is the Word of God in the English language. It has no errors in it because it carefully reflects the original language texts closest to the autographa.”7 Again, a Bible that contains
no errors and is perfect would appear to be an inerrant Bible. Some defenders of the KJV are more forthright in their stance that
the KJV is inerrant. Wallace Miller, for instance, insists that the “Authorized 1611 Version is the preserved, inerrant, inspired, and perfect word of God in the English language.”8 Charles Perkins says that “there are no mistakes in it [KJV] and not one word, comma, period,
chapter heading, or verse number needs to be changed.”9
After reading these kinds of statements, we might wonder about the data itself. Does the evidence actually demonstrate that the KJV is really without error, or are there, in fact, indisputable errors in the KJV? We will now turn to that question.


We might begin by looking at the dictionary’s definition of error: “(1a) an act or condition of ignorant or imprudent deviation from a code of behavior; (1b) an act involving an unintentional deviation from truth or accuracy; (1c) an act that through ignorance, deficiency, or accident departs from or fails to achieve what should be done.”10 As far as
Bible translation is concerned, we might simplify by saying that “an error is any failure to convey accurately the meaning of the autographs.” If a translation does not accurately convey the meaning of the autographs, it must be in error. For example, any translation that fails at any point to convey accurately what Paul said in his epistle to the Romans is in error at that point. The kinds of errors a translation might contain can beroughly grouped into three areas: (1) errors originating from the Hebrew/Aramaic and Greek texts used by the translators; (2) errors produced by a faulty translation; and (3) errors generated in the transmission of a translation. We will now examine each of these areas.


By textual errors I mean those where the reading found in the translation is not in agreement with that of the autographs. One might wonder how these errors can be detected since we are not in possession of the original manuscript of any biblical book. In fact, some KJV-only
advocates point to the passing of the autographs in order to criticize anyone who would say that the KJV contains errors.

For example, Jack Hyles says: "It bothers me when people say, “We believe that the Bible, in the original
manuscripts, is the Word of God.” If that’s true, we have no Bible. Did you hear what I said? We have no Bible. One day they did, but WE don’t. Dr. Ed Hindson of Liberty Baptist College said concerning 1 John 5:7, “Thus, according to John’s account here, ‘there are three that bear record in heaven.’ The rest of verse 7 and the first nine words of verse 8 are not in the original and are not to be considered as part of the Word of God.” I’d like to ask Mr. Hindson a question: “When did you see the original?” How does he know they are not in the original? Look at me now. How does he know? The only way an honest man can say they are not in the original manuscripts is to have seen them, and they are not available.11

While Hyles is correct in saying the autographs are not available, this does not mean that we cannot determine what was in them, and determine it with a great deal of precision. Clearly, the original scrolls and codices have long since perished, but that does not mean we do not
have access to the original words themselves. It does not mean we are in doubt about every word in the Hebrew/Aramaic and Greek texts we do have. And while there is disagreement over which printed Hebrew/Aramaic and Greek texts are closest to the autographs, most reasonable people would be willing to concede that where all extant manuscripts are in agreement, we can safely conclude that we do have the text of the autographs. Based on this criterion, the KJV does contain indisputable errors, since, in a number of instances, it contains readings that have no basis in any manuscript.

In the OT it is universally agreed, even by KJV-only advocates,12that the KJV was based on the Second Bomberg Edition of 1525 edited by Jacob ben Chayyim. However, on occasion the translators did not follow the Hebrew/Aramaic text before them.13 For instance, in Isaiah 13:15 the KJV reads “joined” (“every one that is joined unto them shall
fall by the sword”). There is no support for this reading in any Hebrew manuscript, text, ancient version, or rabbinic tradition. Instead, the correct reading is “captured” (“anyone who is captured will fall by the
sword,” NASB). Possibly, the KJV translators misread one Hebrew letter for another, mistaking the word såpåh (hp;s;), “capture,” for såpa˙ (jp's;), “join.” Whatever the case, the reading of the KJV is not the reading of the autographs and is thus an indisputable error.

In the NT the translators of the KJV used a Greek text commonly called the Textus Receptus. Its origins go back to the various editions produced by the Roman Catholic scholar Erasmus beginning in 1516.14 There is no one edition of the TR, but a number of editions with some differences among them. It is generally agreed that the edition used by
the translators of the KJV was the fifth edition (1598) of Theodore Beza.15 All editions of the TR have some readings that are clearly erroneous, but have remained in the KJV. For example, in Revelation 17:8 the KJV reads: "The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and
yet is.

The final words in the verse, “and yet is,” should actually read “and shall come”—“the beast that was, and is not, and shall come.” No Greek manuscript reads “and yet is”; all have “and shall come.” This error, and a few others, derive from the circumstances surrounding the production of Eramsus’ Greek NT (1516). For the book of Revelation, Erasmus hadaccess to only one manuscript (1r). However, this was not really a separate manuscript of the text of Revelation but was actually imbedded in a commentary on Revelation by Andreas of Caesarea. As such it was difficult
for the printer to read the text itself, so Erasmus had a fresh copy of the text made. The copyist himself misread the original at places, and thus a number of errors were introduced into Erasmus’ printed text. In Rev 17:8 the copyist mistakenly wrote kaivper e[stin (“and yet is”) instead of kai; parevstai (“and shall come”). This is an indisputable error in the KJV and the Greek text (TR) that underlies it. Interestingly, Edward F. Hills, who was one of the leading exponents of the KJV, admitted that this is an error.16 He observes: “Admittedly the King James
Version is not ideally perfect. No translation ever can be. But it is the product of such God-guided scholarship that it is practically perfect. Its errors are few and very minor.”17

Another error is found in Revelation 16:5, where the KJV reads: "And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus." The words “shalt be,” should actually read “holy one”—“Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, the holy one….” This error came into the KJV because, as we noted earlier, the translators mainly used Beza’s Greek NT (1598). Beza simply speculated (guessed), without any evidence whatsoever, that the correct reading was “shall be” (ejsovmeno") instead of
“holy one” (o{sio"). All previous editions of the TR (i.e., Erasmus, Stephanus) and all previous English Bibles (i.e., Wycliffe, Tyndale, Coverdale, Matthew’s Bible, Great Bible, Geneva Bible, Bishops’ Bible) read “holy one” (o{sio"). There is no manuscript evidence whatsoever for the KJV’s “shalt be.” It is an indisputable error. Again, Hills admits this error.18

Another error, which comes from Beza, is found in Romans 7:6. The KJV reads: "But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter."
In the KJV the phrase “that being dead” (genitive ajpoqanovto") refers to “the law” (genitive novmou). There is no manuscript evidence whatsoever for the phrase “that being dead” to modify “the law.” Instead, thereading of all Greek manuscripts has “that being dead” (nominative
ajpoqanovnte") modifying “we” (“we are delivered,” kathrghvqhmen). Thus, Paul is not saying that the law is dead but that we died to law—“we being dead wherein we were held are delivered from the law.” Here is another indisputable error, one that is also conceded by Hills.19

Another textual error is found in Acts 9:6, where the KJV reads: "And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do." The words “And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him” (trevmwn te kai; qambw'n ei\pe, kuvrie, tiv me qevlei" poih'sai… kai; oJ kuvrio" pro;" aujtovn) are not found in any Greek manuscript. They are found in the KJV because they were inserted by Erasmus into his Greek NT (1516),
which became the basis for future editions of the TR like the one used by translators of the KJV. Erasmus frankly admitted that he took the words from the parallel passage in Acts 26:14 and inserted them at this point in the Greek text. He did so because they are in the Latin Vulgate at Acts 9:6, and he thought his Greek manuscripts were defective at this point. Unfortunately, Erasmus was wrong. These words have no Greek manuscript support whatsoever, and thus constitute an indisputable error in the KJV.


Identifying errors in the translation process is not as clear-cut as in the previous category. Exactly how far off does a translation have to be in order to qualify as erroneous? If we hold strictly to my previous definition
of error—“any failure to convey accurately the meaning of the autographs”—then it would seem to be difficult to find any translation without some error. That is why in the Seminary’s statement on “Inspiration
& Preservation of Scripture” we say: “We do not hold that the Word of God is to be found exclusively in one English translation or any one translation in any other language since all such have mistranslations, miscopying, or misprinting, however minor, and are not therefore inerrant.”
However, no matter how many of these problems with the KJV
one points out, those in the KJV-only movement are usually quick to defend the translators. I will therefore attempt to point out a few translation problems in the KJV that would appear to be clear errors, which no amount of finessing can mitigate.20

Probably the most indisputable translation error in the KJV is found Hebrews 10:23, "Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)" The phrase “profession of our faith” should be “profession of our hope.” Everyone concedes that the actual Greek word is hope (ejlpiv"), not faith (pivsti"); hope is found in all manuscripts and all editions of the TR.
Hope and faith are two entirely different words, so one cannot sincerely argue that the translators simply decided on “faith” as the correct translation at this point. Besides, the Greek word for hope (ejlpiv") is used 52
others times in the NT and in every case the translators of the KJV rendered it “hope,” not “faith.” How this error slipped past the translators is unclear; nevertheless, it is an indisputable error in the KJV.

Another problem is found in Acts 19:37, where the KJV says:
"For ye have brought hither these men, which are neither robbers of churches, nor yet blasphemers of your goddess."
The word translated “robbers of churches” should be “robbers of temples.” The Greek word, which is found in all manuscripts and all editions of the TR, describes someone who robs temples (iJerovsulo"), not churches. In the context of Acts 19, Paul and his companions at Ephesus
find themselves in the midst of a riot instigated by Demetrius (v. 24) and his fellow silvermiths, who are upset that Paul’s preaching against idolatry will diminish their profits from the “silver shrines for Diana” (v.24) they sell for a living. In trying to quiet the riot, the “townclerk” (v.35) argues that Demetrius and his friends have no basis for the commotion they are causing since the two Christians they have detained, Gaius
and Aristarchus (v. 29), are “neither robbers of churches, nor yet blasphemers of your goddess.” The townclerk’s point is that these men must be released since they have obviously not robbed the temple of Diana; besides, there were no church buildings to rob in Ephesus. “Robbers of
churches” is simply an erroneous translation.21

Another clear example is found in Acts 12:4, "And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered
him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people." Again, no one questions that the word translated “Easter” is actually
“Passover” (pavsca) since it is found in all manuscripts and all editions of the TR. It is used 28 other times in the NT, and in every other instance the translators of the KJV rendered it “Passover.” In the context of Acts 12, Herod has just put James to death (v. 2), and when he saw that it “pleased the Jews,” he proceeded to arrest Peter and kill him also (v.3). However, because this happened during the Passover season,22 Herod decided to hold him in prison since he did not wish to pollute the Jewish feast. All of this has nothing to do with Easter, the Christian
celebration of Christ’s resurrection. We are told that “the term Easter was derived from the Anglo-Saxon ‘Eostre,’ the name of the goddess of spring. In her honor sacrifices were offered at the time of the vernal equinox. By the 8th cent. the term came to be applied to the anniversary of Christ’s resurrection.”23 “Easter” in Acts 12:4 is an erroneous translation.


There have been a number of well-known printing errors in various editions of the KJV over the years. A 1631 edition omitted the word “not” from the seventh commandment (Exod 20:14), yielding “Thou shalt commit adultery.” For this error the king’s printers were fined £300 and the offending edition was commonly known as the “Wicked Bible.” A 1795 Oxford edition became known as the “Murderer’s Bible”
because Mark 7:27 read “Let the children first be killed,” instead of “filled.” It may be unfair to include these examples of transmission errors in our discussion since it is almost certainly true that most all those who argue that the KJV is without error would naturally exclude printing errors. I only bring this up to demonstrate the fundamental distinction between the autographs and all subsequent copies of the autographs and translations of those copies. The miracle of inspiration produced autographs that contained no errors of any kind. That cannot be said forcopies of the autographs and translations. Preservation is not a direct miracle; thus, it cannot be errorless. This is easily demonstrated from the evidence. For instance, we presently possess over 5,000 copies, or partial copies, of the Greek NT, and no two of these manuscripts agree exactly.

The KJV has had its own transmission problems. There has never been one KJV, even in 1611. When the KJV was published in 1611, there were actually two printed editions, with 216 variations in the biblical
text.24 These are commonly called the “He” and “She” Bibles, from their respective readings in Ruth 3:15 (“he went into the city” and “she went into the city”). So if the 1611 KJV is without error, which one is it?

Since 1611 the KJV has gone through many changes. The following table will help illustrate the point."

Me: For the rest of the article, click on this link:


 2011/7/15 18:57Profile

Joined: 2011/4/7
Posts: 255

 Re: Errors In The King James Version?

a miracle of inspiration is necessary in order to produce a written document that one can say with absolute certainty is without errors, and that miracle only occurred when the authors of Scripture penned the autographs.

Says who?? Who has the authority to decide that the miracle of inspiration only happened when it was penned down??

 2011/7/15 20:50Profile

Joined: 2007/8/22
Posts: 116

 Re: Errors In The King James Version?

I'm a man. A very flawed man. I am well capable of seeing to it that any thoughts I have on a subject, should I choose to put it in writing, are recorded accurately. My,what a little God you have, that He is not sovereign enough to make His wish's for us written with out mistake's. And you would tell a sinner to trust his eternal salvation to such a God?????
No wonder they don't heed us.


 2011/7/15 21:16Profile

 Re: Errors In The King James Version?

Well, one could give heed to this nonsense, but if one will look at all the Revivals since the time of the Great Reformation, the bible that was used with all it's so called errors and mistranslations etc.. seemed to work in getting souls saved.

I think that is a good track record.

 2011/7/15 23:18

Joined: 2010/5/17
Posts: 1175


Well, one could give heed to this nonsense, but if one will look at all the Revivals since the time of the Great Reformation, the bible that was used with all it's so called errors and mistranslations etc.. seemed to work in getting souls saved.

God also worked mightily without it, both before it's time, and in non-English speaking locals. It's funny, that most (actually all) other people I've met who have ever done/ are doing overseas missions work find the KJV Only stance rather....

Maybe it's best to leave it at that.

 2011/7/16 0:56Profile

Joined: 2008/1/11
Posts: 375
Minnesota, USA


The debate over errors in the different translations of scripture has been going on forever, in history as well as on SermonIndex. For the life of me, I can't figure out why.

Is our faith, trust, hope and salvation in the Bible or in Christ? God is mighty and has protected His word for thousands of years. He gave us the Holy Spirit to be our Guide and our Teacher. Surely, this is enough. God is fully able to protect, guide and teach His children who love and seek Him in His word, no matter which translation they end up with.

People are fallible and make errors. God is not subject to our errors or our thoughts of them. I trust God completely. That includes trusting Him to protect me from possible errors in bible translations. Why? Because I'm seeking Him and revere Him, not the book. God is bigger than any translation of scripture as well as any errors any of the translations may contain.

I will be bold and say that this discussion has no eternal or edifying value for God or His children. It's a discussion I would expect to hear Pharisees having because THEY argued over things like this.

Even if you don't agree with that statement, then I'm sure you can agree with Colossians 4:6, no matter WHICH translation you hear it from. To prove the point, here it is from the MESSAGE Bible:

"Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out."


 2011/7/16 1:17Profile

Joined: 2011/4/7
Posts: 255


Enoch, that's not what I was saying at all. I wholeheartedly believe that scripture was inspired when it was penned down. My question is what is it that gives you the authority and stamina to say that translations and copies cannot be inspired?? Where does scripture itself support such a claim?

You're the one making God small by limiting Him so.

 2011/7/16 7:23Profile

Joined: 2011/4/7
Posts: 255


Simple living, you're trying to separate Christ from the Bible and it will never ever work. You can't have one without the other.

I can't figure out why everyone assumes that a discussion like this must be filled with hate and hard feelings. We're not trying to bring out anyone's good or bad, just trying to discuss what the truth is.

 2011/7/16 7:32Profile


"Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out."

KJV Colossians 4:6 Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

I will be bold and say that this discussion has no eternal or edifying value for God or His children. It's a discussion I would expect to hear Pharisees having because THEY argued over things like this.

Your mistaken. The sect of the Pharisees were NOT representatives of the law and Jesus made that clear, what they were protecting was the Tradition of the Elders which was a collection of writings that they attached to the law of God making the word of God void. They made their traditions as if God wrote it on tables of stone.

The same is happening today. Men are taking the bible which was painstakingly translated from the Greek even in blood and definitely by sacrifice of their own lives, so that everyone can read it for themselves and not have a priest interpret for them.

Line up twenty people and tell them to repeat a sentence to the person behind them and so on till you get to the end of the line. When you hear back what you had originally said, it's an entirely different message. The LXX is as close as one is going to get to the words of men who were inspired to write them, isn't that worth savouring?

When a parent dies, we hold unto things that they left behind. It may be something that they had worn, some writings they had penned, and to you and I they are sacred. Then someone takes it upon themselves to correct the penned text that your Mother or Father wrote and they re write it to what they think should be written and they throw out the original and give you the fresh copy of an edited work. I don't know about you, but I would be furious. It would be as if they died all over again. All good intention, they thought that I would be happy with something that made more sense and neatly put together. But because this is now the only copy left, this new version, I am forced to keep it.

Churches force their congregations to read what everyone else is reading especially what the Pastor is using.

I am not a KJV only man, I do understand that because of illiteracy some may need to read something that they can comprehend wording wise. However, it's a shame and a disgrace to see those that can read opt for something that is so watered down, and even full verses removed because Westcott and Hort don't agree with the Textus Receptus.

 2011/7/16 9:47


No lover of God's Word can take the Message Bible seriously.

 2011/7/16 9:59

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