The 1611 KJV Bible is not the Protestant Bible

That title is pretty eye-catching, huh? While doing research for a slightly different project, I just learned something that blew my mind. The 1611 King James Bible is the work of Anglican Christians not Protestants. The Geneva Bible was the Bible of the reformers and it is also the Bible that was used here when the New World was settled by Europeans fleeing religious persecution. The KJV was commissioned by King James of England to be the Bible of the Church of England, which continued to persecute Protestants throughout the 1600s. The 1611 KJV translation was commissioned with 15 specific rules, one of which was that they were to remove the notes from the Geneva Bible that identified the Pope and the Catholic Church as the, shall we say, the unfavorable characters of the Book of Revelation. It was not a Protestant project but rather one of an ecumenical nature, making nice with the church that was still very much killing dissenters at the time.

This is remarkable because the few strident Protestants left in the west cling to the 1611 KJV like their lives depend on it. The whole “KJV-only” movement should really be the “Geneva Bible-only”. Somehow the Protestants lost their way much earlier than I thought just a couple of days ago

The fact that the “KJV-only” movement still lives is rather striking in light of the volumes of free reference materials available to us today. The concordances show pretty undeniably that the KJV has some issues. I suppose if a person believes the KJV is infallible, perhaps they wouldn’t ever use a concordance, though. The biggest error for me is in John 5:20-29. When you see the words “judgment” , “condemnation”, and “damnation” in the KJV in this portion, they are all translated from the exact same Greek word “krisis” G2920. An interesting thing to note here is that the Geneva Bible (and most modern translations) don’t use the word “damnation” at John 5:29 but use either “condemnation” or “judgment”, with “judgment” being the more accurate if one studies the other areas of the NT where the two resurrections are referenced.

How they decided to translate the same word into three different words within the span of 9 verses is not much of a mystery. The people who translated the KJV and Christians of that era in general believed in the concept of damnation and eternal hell. So, they decided to make sure that their doctrines were preserved by enshrining them in a little thing we call “eisegesis”, which means to interpret a belief into the scriptures rather than allowing the scriptures to simply say what they say. This, also, is provable because the KJV translators were commissioned specifically to do this. Check this out:

1. The ordinary Bible read in the Church, commonly called the Bishops Bible, to be followed, and as little altered as the Truth of the original will permit.

2. The names of the Prophets, and the Holy Writers, with the other Names of the Text, to be retained, as nigh as may be, accordingly as they were vulgarly used.

3. The Old Ecclesiastical Words to be kept, viz. the Word Church not to be translated Congregation &c.

4. When a Word hath divers Significations, that to be kept which hath been most commonly used by the most of the Ancient Fathers, being agreeable to the Propriety of the Place, and the Analogy of the Faith. 

The four items above are the first four of the fifteen rules the KJV translators had to follow. This is absolutely amazing to me. I read this for the first time last night and am still flabbergasted. They were commissioned to make a translation of the bible that had to reflect what everybody already believed. So why even make the thing? I’ve learned other remarkable things in my research that I will share as time permits. Thanks so much for reading! Here’s another link to a brief history of the 1611 KJV