The Christ in Prophecy Journal

Celebrating 400 Years of the KJV: Modern Translations


The King James Bible remained supreme for a peak period of 250 years, from 1700 to 1950. During that time it became the only book in the world to exceed one billion copies.23

The first serious challenge to the King James Version appeared in 1885 when the English Revised Version was published in England. Its stated purpose was “to adapt the King James Version to the present state of the English language… and to the present standards of biblical scholarship.”24

The English Revised Version was noted for being the first Bible to ever be published without the Apocrypha (14 intertestament books). Until that time, all Bibles, both Protestant and Catholic — including the King James Bible — had been published with the Apocrypha.

American scholars followed suit in 1901 with the publication of the American Standard Version. It was nearly identical to the English Revised Version except for the much more frequent use of the term Jehovah in the Old Testament.25

By the mid-20th Century the wording of the King James Version had become antiquated to the point that many words were unintelligible and others actually meant the opposite of their original meaning. This serious problem prompted an explosion of new translations and paraphrases during the second half of the century.

Recent American Translations

The Revised Standard Version of the New Testament appeared in 1946. The Old Testament text came out in 1952.26 This version was denounced by conservatives as a “liberal translation.” Particularly controversial was its translation of Isaiah 7:14 where the word previously translated as “virgin” was changed to “young woman.” This Bible was quickly adopted by most of the mainline denominations.

In 1971 the complete New American Standard Bible was published.27 It constituted an extensive revision of the American Standard Bible of 1901. It was quickly adopted by Evangelicals because it is considered by many to be the most accurate word-for-word translation that has been produced in the English language. It was updated in 1995 to make it more readable.

The New International Version was published in full in 1973.28 It offered a “dynamic equivalent” conservative translation, meaning it sought thought-for-thought accuracy rather than word-for-word. It was also aimed at a junior high school reading level. It was ridiculed by Fundamentalists as the “Nearly Inspired Version,” but it has quickly become the best-selling modern-English translation.

The New King James Version appeared in 1982.29 It attempted to keep the basic wording of the old King James Version in order to appeal to King James loyalists. It replaced most of the obscure words and the Elizabethan “thee, thy, and thou” pronouns. There was also an attempt to update grammar, spelling, and word order.

The dawn of the 21st Century saw the publication of the English Standard Version in 2002.30 It represents a major attempt to bridge the gap between simple readability and the precise accuracy of the New American Standard Bible. And like the old Geneva Bible, the English Standard Version has been issued in the form of a phenomenal Study Bible (2008) that is full of charts, maps, diagrams, and explanations that run 2,750 pages in length!

In the final segment, we’ll continue celebrating 400 years of the King James Bible by responding to those who believe this version is the only viable translation.


23) Jeffcoat, “English Bible History,” page 7.

24) Wikipedia, “Revised Version,”, page 1.

25) Ibid., page 2.

26) Wikipedia, “Revised Standard Version,”

27) Wikipedia, “New American Standard Bible,”

28) Wikipedia, “New International Version,” http://en.wikipedia/wiki/New_International_Version.

29) Wikipedia, “New King James Version,” http://en.wikipedia/wiki/New_King_James_Version.

30) Jeffcoat, “English Bible History,” page 9.

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ABOUT AUTHOR View all posts Author Website

Dr. David Reagan

Dr. David Reagan is the Founder and Evangelist Emeritus of Lamb & Lion Ministries. He is a life-long Bible student, teacher, and preacher and he led over 45 pilgrimages to Israel. Dr. Reagan was the host of the radio then television program Christ in Prophecy for nearly 40 years.

15 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • The Apocrypha was not used by the ancient Church. No one 'left it out', it wasn't recognised as legitimate or inspired by God (canon) by the Apostles or their disciples. It wasn't even accepted by the Jews as historical. Its on a par with the Koran, the tales of Robin Hood and Arthur Pendragon.

    The recent N.I.V. interpretation is under severe criticiam for changing words to the point of even ignoring Christ's Divinity and generally de-sexing the text.


  • Dr. David Hocking. ‘Which Bible is the Best’ No.7

    IMO This is a ‘must watch’in spite of its rather ‘slow start’. It is a startling revelation of a money making scam using the English Bible begun by British Liberal ‘theologians’ Westcott and Hort using later, but unfinished, faulty manuscripts.

    They were recognised as heretics at the founding of the ‘Dead Sea Scrolls’ which confirmed the accuracy of Textus Receptus used by the KJV.

    It would appear enough time has elapsed since their exposure to enable Editors to reap another harvest from a fresh batch of uninformed customers.


  • Re: Obama and the 1967 Israeli border proclomation:

    Obama may not be THE antichrist but he is absolutely AN antichrist!

    C'mon Jews in the U.S. Wake up! If you vote for this guy again you are NUTS!

  • P.S.
    No I am not 'King James only'! BUT the ONLY totally reliable Bible is the original Hebrew and Greek IF you can read it?

  • It comes of no shock that the NIV carries many notable features. One of them is Virginia Mollenkott.
    she was a stylistic consultant for the New International Version of the Bible for the American Bible Society from 1970-1978. In 1992 Dr. Mollenkott received the New Jersey Lesbian and Gay Achievement Award, and in 1999 was the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from SAGE (Senior Action in a Gay Environment). A Democrat and trans-religious Christian, Dr. Mollenkott lives with her domestic partner Judith Suzannah Tilton at Cedar Crest Retirement Village; together they co-grandmother Virginia's three granddaughters. Dr. Mollenkott's archives are available at The Center for Gay and Lesbian Studies at the Pacific School of Religion (taken from Wikopedia but readily available elsewhere).

    I am kinda shocked that little was said of Wescott and Hort and the real difference in translations. There are two text types which most bibles are based on.
    Dave which text do you think is the more accurate and why? Please write on it.

  • DrNofog said…
    Well, it's 10:45pm in Israel [that's after sunset and a new day , the 22nd, by Jewish reckoning] and since Jerusalem is the center of the world, and if the rapture was gonna happen on the 21st, then it's over by now. I guess we dun missed it…

  • DrNofog said…
    I am also trying to find out who & why I can't put up some info on what happened a couple of nites ago & "they" gave me da_boot out of my eemale…

  • Anonymous

    Do ya meanz the i4matshun abaht all t lectric trans~4~mers that went splosive 4 abhat 30 orf 60 mins?
    Wuz it Aft u zent ei da eemale in panicstashuns; ei bean ferin an all?

    eis stil avin stops with reggolb, ei finks eis a sus pect 2!


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