Sunday, November 25, 2012

Breaking It Down- Which Bible do I Use?

I use the King James Version for most of my teaching.

I began with my oldest by using storybook Bibles. I have since come to believe that it is best to use a “real Bible.” 

The story book Bibles were human interpretations, simplifications and dumbing-downs. I found myself constantly telling my children that what I had just read was wrong (Jonah was NOT afraid of the Ninavites. He was a bigot! He wanted God to kill them all and he knew that if he preached to them they would repent and God would spare them.) 

The Word of God is capable of engaging even the youngest child. My four and five year olds understand and comment on what we read. God doesn’t need our help in the form of rewriting His Word in order to speak to our children. He only needs us to commit to reading the real thing to them.

            The King James Bible is the simplest, yes I said the simplest, to read. It only has about 8000 different words as opposed to the NIV which has over 14,000 different words.


In comparisons of different translations for grade level placement, one scholar came to the following assessment:

  • The King James averages grade level- 5.8 (fifth grade, eighth month)
  • New International Version- 8.4
  • New American Standard Bible- 6.1
  • The English Version-7.2
  • New KJV- 6.9
A comparison of words in the KJV and the NASB: (New Age Bible Versions, G.A.Riplinger, 1993 (690 pgs), This is only a small part of this chart.)

Matt.1:11, 1:17        
carried away
Matt.2:1, 2:7           
wise men
Mark. 2:21              
Matt. 2:16              
Luke 3:17, Matt.        
winnowing fork                  
Luke 11:33, Matt
Matt. 5:19              
Matt. 5:21              
Luke 5:29, Matt.        
recline at the table            
Matt. 8:32              
Be gone
Matt. 9:13, 12:7        
Matt. 9:17              
Matt. 9:18              
certain ruler
synagogue official              
Mark 5:25, Matt.        
issue of blood 

I am convinced the KJV is the most accurate English Bible around. It came from superior transcripts and had more scholarly translators who actually believed the Bible was true. Some other translation’s translators didn’t really believe the Bible was true, especially concerning Creation, before they started, and this has affected how they translated certain passages.

I know of people that have learned Greek and Hebrew to aid in their study of the Bible. They say that there is nothing like reading It in the original to get the full meaning, but the KJV comes closer than any of the other translations.

It also is written in the most beautiful form the English language has ever taken; Shakespearean English (No one actually spoke this way. It was a dialect used for artistic purposes). Not only is God’s Word worthy of being presented in the most beautiful form available, this near-poetic language is easier to memorize.

You tell me what sticks in the brain better;

 “First this: God created the Heavens and Earth--all you see, all you don't see. Earth was a soup of nothingness, a bottomless emptiness, an inky blackness. God's Spirit brooded like a bird above the watery abyss.” (The Message)


“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. And the earth was without form and void and darkness was upon the face of the deep.” (KJV) 

Though similar, the later has a poetic cadence that makes it easier to memorize.

The unfamiliar words (form, void, etc) give you a perfect opportunity to include a vocabulary lesson. And since it was used in real life, your child (and you) will remember them far better than if they had come from an abstract workbook page.

I do use other translations occasionally as study tools, to get a different perspective on a verse, but when there is a difference of translation, I go with the KJV.

Truth be told, though, God had His hand in the translating of His scripture and though I have nit-pics with most other translations, your get the essential message of salvation from them all.

“The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them (His Words), O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.” (Ps.12:6-7)
“Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Ma.24:35).
“Cling to the whole Bible, not a part of it.  A
man can not do much with a broken sword.”

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