Is the King James Version the only real version?

The KJV Bible holds a cherished place in the traditions of Christianity. I would caution, though, against completely discounting other versions simply due to their relative newness. The KJV was itself novel when it was released in 1611. Here are a few general points that may help you make a better decision.

Bibles come in two basic types. They are either translations or paraphrases.

A translated version comes from translating the Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic manuscripts, of which more than 20,000 exist, into the targeted modern language.

A paraphrased version is simply derived by rewriting a translation into simpler language. Some paraphrased versions are easily understood and enjoyable to read, but may fall short of translated versions in reflecting the original intent of the writers.

Notice that English was not the original language of the Bible, and that the KJV is a translation just like many other modern translations. Subsequent translations have served to reinforce the clarity, beauty and accuracy of the KJV.

Some would claim one translation over another. Reading and cross-referencing different, reliably translated versions, however, only deepens our understanding of God's Word.

Rather than promoting one version over another, I am simply thankful for the common, recurring theme of the various versions: Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, came to save a lost and dying world (John 3:16). On that note, there is not dispute.

Taken from Adrian Rogers' weekly newspaper column. Used by permission. © 2001, The Commercial Appeal.