The King James Version has reached the milestone of the 400th anniversary of its first publication. Academic and religious conferences, museum displays, books and articles, and commemorative editions of the KJV have exploded in such quantity that 2011 can confidently be declared the year of the King James Bible.
The Hebrew text was like the Greek NT; it had accumulated copyist errors, a few intentional, a good number accidental, between the Malachi days of 440 BCE and Rabbi Judah ha-Nasi (135 to 217 CE). The same thing happened to the Greek New Testament from about 400 CE to 1550 CE, a period of copyist errors.
The King James Only movement asserts that the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible is superior to all other translations of the Bible.
THE PREFACE to the 1611 KJV by the translators says the KJV was a revision of the 16th-century translations of Coverdale, Tyndale, the Great Bibles, and others. The translators said they expect new revisions of their KJV translation when more manuscripts come to light, and if there was an improved understanding of Hebrew and Greek, there should be revisions. Were those translators wrong?
THERE are three great Book-religions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Other religions have their sacred writings, but they do not hold them in the same regard as do these three. Buddhism and Confucianism count their books rather records of their faith than rules for it, history rather than authoritative sources of belief. The three great Book-religions yield a measure of authority to their sacred books which would be utterly foreign to the thought of other faiths.
In Christianity, the term Textus Receptus (Latin for “received text”) refers to all printed editions of the Greek New Testament from Desiderius (1516) to the 1633 Elzevir edition. It was the most commonly used text type for Protestant denominations. The biblical Textus Receptus constituted the translation-base for the original German Luther Bible, the translation of the New Testament into English by William Tyndale, the King James Version, the Spanish Reina-Valera translation, the Czech Bible of Kralice, and most Reformation-era New Testament translations throughout Western and Central Europe.
The King James Only movement asserts that the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible is superior to all other translations of the Bible. Adherents of the King James Only movement believe that the KJV is the greatest English translation ever produced, needing no further improvements, and they also believe that all other English translations which were produced after the KJV are corrupt. Is this true?
The Majority Text is nearly synonymous with the Byzantine Text because it was in Byzantium (and surrounds) that the Lucian text was copied again and again until it was standardized in thousands of manuscripts. (Phillip Comfort)
Erasmus said of God's Word, "I WOULD have these words translated into all languages, so that not only Scots and Irish but Turks and Saracens too might read them . . . I long for the plowboy to sing them to himself as he follows his plow, the weaver to hum them to the tune of his shuttle, the traveler to beguile with them the dullness of his journey." (Clayton 2006, 230)
It is challenging to enter this next era of the English Bibles without talking about Desiderius Erasmus and the Textus Receptus (Received Text) that would impact English Translations for centuries to come. Erasmus is credited with saying, “When I get a little money, I buy books; and if any is left, I buy food and clothes.”