Which Translation of the Bible Should We Use and Why?
Pastor David Green
Prepared for the Bible Conference at King's Addition Baptist Church
(South Shore KY)

Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” (Genesis 3:1)

But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” (II Corinthians 11:3)

Having failed in overthrowing the WORD INCRNATE, Satan next directed his subtle malice against THE WORD WRITTEN. The subject which has been assigned to me for this Bible Conference is “Which Translation of the Bible Should We Use and Why?” I want to thank the Pastor for the subject. This subject is a very serious one, especially in our day when we see a great “falling away” among our Baptist brethren. This morning, I would like to examine the subject as best we can in 30 minutes.

First of all, let me say that I am only concerning my sermon with English Translations. Also I am only concerning myself with our time period. (I hope this takes care of the ridiculous straw man arguments that come up in this debate before they can ever be brought up.)

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” (II Timothy 3:16-17)

For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” (II Peter 1:21)

The Bible is not like any other ancient book, nor is this subject to be treated like any modern book. It has been given to us by inspiration of the Holy Spirit. There is absolutely no reason to believe that the same God who gave to mankind His Word, immediately took no further care of His Word that He abandoned these precious writings. The fact is, the Scriptures themselves testify that is not the case! “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.” (Isaiah 40:8).

Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.” (John 16:13)

There are two sources from which the world has seen the New Testament. From one source, we have the Received Text, Textus Receptus, Majority Text and the Preserved Text. I'll use the term “MAJORITY TEXT” when referencing this stream.

From the other source, we find the Alexandrian Text (discovered in a waste basket in 1844 where monks had thrown it to be burned), Codex Vaticanus (kept in the Pope's library for centuries) Wescott and Hort Texts, Nestle-Aland Text, Critical Text, etc.

History tells us that all Anabaptist churches used the Majority Text. It was used by the Greek Orthodox Church, and all of the Protestant churches used it. It was indeed the majority text because it was used by the majority of Christianity.

If the received text is indeed the text in the majority of these cases, why would we try to imply it is the inferior text? Would the Holy Spirit use an inferior truth? No, no! A thousand times no!

During the Protestant Revolution when men rebelled against the teachings of Catholicism, translations of the Bible became available to the people. These were mostly all from the Received Text.

Even in our present day, the Lord's churches use the King James Version, which is translated from the Received Text. (The previous translation which was used before the King James, the Geneva was also translated from the Received Text). The more “conservative” people and the Lord's churches of today use the KJV while the liberals usually use versions that come from the other texts.

There is a connection.... That connection is that all the Spirit has led His people to use the Received Text because it is His preserved Word! The liberal preachers who use perverted Scripture are either not listening to the Spirit or they have no Spirit to guide them.

The King James Bible is the translation we use because it is superior to all other translations available. It is the only “modern translation” which comes from the MAJORITY TEXT. All the other translations have come from the corrupted texts.

As a Five Pointer, I believe that God has the power to preserve His people.

As Landmarker, I believe that God has the power to preserve His church. Indeed I believe that the Lord's churches have a continual existence dating back to Jerusalem and our Lord's earthly ministry. I believe it is the Lord's church which is the “pillar and ground of the truth” and that the Lord's churches have faithfully upheld and proclaimed the Word of God since the very beginning.

But when it comes to the text of God's Word, the critics would have us abandon our faith and lay it aside believing instead that God's Word was lost for over 1500 years. Let me tell you something if God's Word was lost for 15 centuries, what makes you sure we have it now?

Think about it – who but those with Catholic sympathies would really be pleased with the notion that God preserved his word by hiding it from the masses – including the true churches – for over 1000 years? Certainly no Baptist would!

Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” (Matthew 24:35)

I can no more show you on paper my personal ancestry all the way back to Adam than I could show you the chain link succession from SGBC in Mansfield all the way back to Jerusalem. Yet I believe both to be true. And so it is with the “original texts.” They do not exist!

IF His words only existed in the original, then our Lord is a failure. But I am here to tell you God's Word has not failed, and He has been true to this promise. His Word has been copied and recopied and translated into many languages and used by the churches of the Lord Jesus Christ, and passed on today so when I get into the pulpit and preach from my KJV I can honestly say I am preaching from the WORD OF GOD.

Some preachers are switching to the newer versions saying that there is no harm in doing so, that essentially they are in agreement with the King James Version. In this sermon, we shall examine the two most popular:

THE NEW KING JAMES – More than just updating a few words. In fact, by their own admission the NKJV, “were free to consult an available Greek text, and they did so” What they produced was more than simply a “King James Version” without any “thees” or “thous” but in many places totally different or weakened passages. Here are but a few examples:

John 1:3
KJV: “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.”
NKJV “All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.”

I Corinthians 1:21
KJV: “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by t
he foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.”
NKJV: “For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through
the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.”

(NOTE: There's nothing foolish about the gospel of Jesus Christ, unless you aren't saved! 1 Corinthians 1:18 says: "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish FOOLISHNESS. . .")

I Corinthians 15:45
KJV: “
And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam [was made] a quickening spirit.”
Thus it is written, The first man Adam became a living being; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.”

II Corinthians 2:17
KJV: “
For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.”
NKJV: : "For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ."

(I checked the dictionary – these two words have totally different meanings, and also checked the thesaurus and they are not synonymous!)

II Timothy 2:15
KJV: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
NKJV: “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

Throughout the translation, the NKJV has footnotes mentioning where there are differences between the Majority Text and the corrupted texts. (Although the NKJV does not call them corrupted....in fact, there is no explination from Thomas Nelson publishers about the supierority of the majority text or the errors to be found in the other texts, just this note: “The textual notes in the New King James Version make no evaluation, but objectively present the facts about variant readings.” Everytime I read one of their footnotes I can hear Satan in the Garden asking the question, “Yea hath God said...” and I when I hear one of the Lord's churches teaching/correcting the Word of God, or questioning it, I

ENGLISH STANDARD VERSION is being sold as “a highly accurate translation that retains the literary impact of the KJV but that still speaks powerfully for today.” 

Matthew 5:22
KJV: “But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.”
ESV: “But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, 'You fool!' will be liable to the hell of fire.”

NOTE: By removing the phrase without a cause, the ESV makes our Lord Jesus Christ (who got angry in Mark 3:5 and other places) in danger of the judgment.

Matthew 18:11
KJV: “For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.”

Luke 2:33
KJV: “And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him.”
ESV: “
And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him.”

Luke 9:55-56
KJV: “But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.”
ESV: “But he turned and rebuked them. And they went on to another village.”

Acts 8:36-38
KJV: “And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. ”
ESV: “And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, "See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?" And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him.” (Verse 37 is missing altogether!)

Acts 9:5
KJV: “And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: [it is] hard for thee to kick against the pricks.”
ESV: And he said, "Who are you, Lord?" And he said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.

Philippians 2:5-7
KJV: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God,
thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men”
ESV: “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God,
did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.”

What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.” (Deuteronomy 12:32)

Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.” (Proverbs 30:5-6)

For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” (Revelation 22:18-19)

As we can see by comparing two of the “modern versions” that more has happened than just a change to more modern reading. Fact is very little of the King James Bible is “archaic”anyways. It can be read and understood by something like a 6th grade reading level. Words that might be hard to understand can be found in all versions.

The King James Version is the absolute only translation that I preach from or read from. It is currently the only version which has stayed true to the Majority Text and has not been corrupted by the other texts.

Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it.” (Psalm 119:140 KJV)

Let us remain true to the Word of God as preserved in the King James Version. It is God's Word. And let us refrain from following the blind guides who would have us to go back to the perverted manuscripts which were previously rejected by the Lord's people and His churches.