For 400 years, the King James Version (KJV) was the undisputed Bible translation of the English-speaking world. However, the Christian world today is flooded with a plethora of Modern English Versions (MEVs) that seeks to displace the KJV. Some MEVs include the New International Version (NIV), the English Standard Version (ESV), the New American Standard Bible (NASB), the Good News Bible (GNB) and the New King James Version (NKJV). Why then should Christians reject the MEVs and stick to the time-tested KJV?

In his book Defending the King James Bible, Dr. D. A. Waite lists a four-fold superiority of the KJV, namely, superior texts, superior translators, superior technique and superior theology. Similarly, the dangers of MEVs are also fourfold, namely:

1. Corrupted Texts
2. Inferior Translators
3. Faulty Technique
4. Erroneous Theology

Corrupted Texts

Corrupt Hebrew Text

The Hebrew Text used by the KJV translators was the Ben Chayyim Masoretic text. This is the standard Rabbinic Bible that was used by the He-brews since its publication in 1517, and is also the standard text from which all other Bibles were translated from for four hundred years. How-ever, in 1937, Kittel published the Biblica Hebraica which was based up-on the Ben Asher Masoretic Text. This text was corrected from the standard text due to the emergence of the Leningrad Manuscript which was dated to 1008 A.D. The Leningrad Manuscript did not follow strictly the standard Hebrew Bible. As a result, the footnotes of the Biblia Hebraica suggested approximately 20,000 changes throughout the whole Old Testament.

Today, many MEVs adopt the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (which is a revised edition of the Biblia Hebraica by Kittel), as the base text for the Old Testament. One example is the deceptively name New King James Version (NKJV). In the preface, the editors stated that the text used for the old testament was the 1967/77 Stuttgart edition of the Biblia Hebraica.

Corrupt Greek Text


The KJV translators used the Textus Receptus (TR) as their based text. These Greek words are the words traditionally received by the Christian Church, inspired by God, and preserved down through the ages and avail-able for God’s people (Ps. 12:6-7; Matt. 5:18; 24:35). These Greek words can now be found in the TR produced by Dr. Frederick H. A. Scrivener which was originally published by the Cambridge University Press in 1894. The Scrivener’s TR is now reprinted by the Trinitarian Bible Society (TBS) and the Dean Burgon Society (DBS), and can be directly purchased from these two societies.

On the other hand, MEVs are based upon the United Bible Society’s Nestle/Aland Greek New Testament (UBSGNT), which is now into its 28th edition. These texts are based upon Alexandrian Manuscripts which are rejected by the Christian Church until the late 1800s where they were popularised by Westcott and Hort. The Alexandrian manuscripts are so named because they originate from the Egyptian city of Alexandria. This city was the hotbed of false theology and heresy. One example is the heretic Arius (AD 250-336), which reject the 100% deity of the Lord Jesus Christ, claiming that Jesus Christ was only a god who was created by God the Father. The school of theology at Alexandria also promoted the allegorical method of Bible interpretation rather than the literal method. This method turns the Bible into “silly putty” (Quek S Y), leaving the interpreter to attach whatever meaning he desires to the Word of God rather than to submit to the intended message of God’s Word. With such proliferation of erroneous teaching and methods of interpreting the Bible, it should not come as a surprise that many of these manuscripts contain corruptions that are designed to suit the falsehoods of these false teachers. Alas, these texts are adopted to form the Critical Text of Westcott and Hort, which forms the basis of the UBSGNT.

Two such Alexandrian manuscripts which are highly adopted in the production of the Critical Text are Codex Sinaiticus (א) and Codex Vaticanus (B). Codex Sinaiticus (א) was about to be thrown into a basket of documents in the Convent of St. Catherine on Mount Sinai for burning before it was retrieved by a German scholar named Tischendorf. On the other hand, Codex Vaticanus (B) was kept in the Vatican. Tischendorf was allowed only to view it on a few occasions from which he produced a copy of the Codex. He spent a total of 42 hours examining the Codex. David Cloud rightly remarked that it would be impossible for a man to produce a satisfactory edition of the codex in just 42 hours! Burgon, having examined these two codices, noted in his work The Revision Revised that that the codices א and B are the “most scandalously corrupt copies extant”, “depositories of the largest amount of fabricated reading”, “ancient blunders”, and “intentional perversions of Truth”.

As a result of their rejection of the TR in favour of these corrupted Alexandrian Manuscripts, Westcott and Hort added, subtracted or changed 9,970 Greek Words from the TR. When the method adopted of Westcott and Hort was further applied by other scholars, it resulted in a Nestle/Aland text which was 2,886 words shorter than the TR. This amounts to the whole of 1 and 2 Peter being removed from the Bible! Should Christians not be concerned by this?


Psalm 11:3 says, “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3 KJV). It is impossible for a corrupt and poisonous source to produce a stream of untainted, hygienic and sweet drinking water. By adopting a corrupt textual base, MEVs have introduced much poison into their translations, which are readily drunk in by many unsuspecting Christians around the world. Dear brethren, let us not fall into the same trap!

(To be continued)

Lovingly in Christ,
Preacher Clement Chew