10 Myths About the King James Version
Myth 1. The KJV is not copyrighted.
Actually this is partially true, but not completely. Technically in the US anything prior to 1922 is free of copyrights. This is simply because of the lack of copyright laws at that time. If that were the only issue then the KJV would not have a copyright. The problem, however, is that the KJV is not a work produced by an American citizen. The KJV is actually copyrighted under the Crown Copyright of England therefore the copyright of the KJV falls under the jurisdiction of England. Since the Crown Copyright is a perpetual copyright it will never end. The US has agreed to honor copyright laws of other countries. As a result the KJV is actually copyrighted here in the US as well. It is rarely enforced simply because of logistical issues – its just not practical. But the KJV is under copyright here in the US.
Myth 2. The KJV is not copyrighted therefore there is no sinister motivation and thus more reliable than other translations that are copyrighted.
First of all, even if the KJV weren’t copyrighted, which we established above that it indeed is, that doesn’t mean that there is no malicious intent for producing the KJV. As stated above, the KJV was actually rushed through production for political reasons rather than religious reasons. Secondly, not having a copyright doesn’t mean that it is more accurate or reliable. A copyright is nothing more than a legal issue that prevents the copying of a work. It is not an endorsement of perfection.
Myth 3. The KJV is based on the textus receptus or the Received Text which is the most accurate original manuscripts.
As noted above, the textus receptus is a family of manuscripts known as the Byzantine Family and were nothing more than a collection of copies of the original. It is a succession of printed Greek texts of the New Testament which constituted the translation base for the original German Luther Bible, for the translation of the New Testament into English by William Tyndale and eventually the King James Version.
The Byzantine manuscripts are far from the most accurate. Scholars generally agree that the Alexandrian manuscripts are much more accurate and reliable.
Myth 4. The KJV is the Preserved Word of God for the English speaking world – Matthew 5:18
The IFB use Matthew 5:18 to teach that the KJV is the “Preserved Word of God” because verse 18 reads: For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled (KJV). I was taught growing up that this verse means that the Lord will preserve His Word in the form of the KJV. The message was that other versions of the Bible added or subtracted or changed things in the Word of God and since the Lord tells us that “one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law” then the KJV MUST be the only version we are to use.
This is completely false and nothing more than the twisting of scripture. First of all this verse is talking about the law, NOT versions of the Bible. Secondly, it isn’t our responsibility to preserve God’s Word. The Lord said that He would take care of that. Finally, as noted above, we know that the KJV has gone through many changes because of poor translations. Even if Matthew 5:18 did apply to Bible versions the KJV wouldn’t be the preserved version since it has errors.
Myth 5. All versions of the Bible other than the KJV are “perversions”
The IFB is infamous for using this silly little play on words. It’s nothing more than a straw man fallacy, however, and is little more than an attempt at manipulation. IFB leaders want you to think that you are reading a “perverted” form of God’s Word if you read from any version of the Bible than the KJV. Perverting the Word of God by translating it into forms other than the KJV is false and is not founded on Scripture. There is absolutely no Biblical basis for calling other translations “perversions”.
Myth 6. Versions of the Bible other than the KJV are just translations of the KJV and thus not as accurate.
The KJV New Testament (and all editions since Tyndale) was compiled primarily from the Byzantine family of manuscripts (AD 500 – 1000) frequently referred to as the Textus Receptus. Modern translations such as the NIV are compiled primarily from the Alexandrian Family of manuscripts which are believed to be closer to the original than the Textus Receptus manuscripts, which is why they have been chosen by the translators of the modern versions. As a result the exact opposite of this Myth is true. Some of the more modern translations are actually more accurate and reliable.
Myth 7. The KJV is a literal translation and all other versions are figurative translations.
The IFB taught me that since the KJV is a word-for-word or literal translation it is most accurate. The IFB believes that all other versions are just figurative translations or translations that capture the message/thought of the author rather than the actual words. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The KJV is not completely a literal translation. It is next to impossible to completely translate the Bible into English using only literal or word-for-word translation. We simply wouldn’t be able to understand it. The culture then had idioms just like we do today that would make it impossible to translate the text word-for-word. Also, there are several modern translations that are based on a literal or word-for-word methodology such as the NAS, RSV and the YLT. The KJV is not the only version that makes an attempt at literal translation.
Myth 8. Because the KJV is a literal translation it is more accurate.
This is simply false. As I’ve already explained, it is impossible to capture cultural idioms with a literal translation. Some of the text in other version that rely on thought-for-thought translation are more accurate than the KJV.
Myth 9. The earliest manuscripts (the Alexandrian manuscripts) were produced by heretics.
The only evidence that KJV advocates use to support this is that the Alexandrian manuscripts disagree with the Byzantine manuscripts and their view. It’s just a biased view based on their beliefs. There is absolutely no evidence to support this myth.
Myth 10. Modern version delete verses and phrases from their translations.
Actually the opposite is true. Scholars generally agree that the translators actually added passages and verses to earlier versions of the Bible including the KJV. Dr. Charles Taylor in Bible with Holes reminds us that when translating and copying the Scriptures, the translators and copyists tended to add explanations rather than remove words. “This is because the words are considered Holy and therefore must never be removed (cf Rev 22:19), though adding words of explanation was often considered acceptable.”  Careful inspection of the verses claimed to be “missing” from modern translations will yield the conclusion that the missing verses were actually additions made by earlier translators to explain the previous verse. As a result we can rest assured that those “missing” verses were added earlier and later dropped when new, more accurate manuscripts became available.