Although very popular and widely used, the King James Version of the Bible is by no means “the standard and the perfect word of God.” Where the Old Testament is concerned many translations are comparable in accuracy. The 1611 version of the King James Bible, however, contained the Apocrypha, which are 14 additional books deemed not inspired. These were removed by 1826 due to pressure from the Puritans and the Presbyterians on the British and Foreign Bible Society (BFBS) to omit them.
In the case of the New Testament, the Rotherham version wins over the others. The KJV translated from the Textus Receptus which was based on only 10 Greek manuscripts, none older than the 10th century and, therefore, not as reliable as most older manuscripts. This Textus Receptus from which the KJV New Testament translates is not flawless, and contains spurious (added) passages. The passage in I John 5:7: “the Father, the Word, and the holy Ghost; and these three are one” does not appear in older manuscripts. Another such spurious passage is found in the 16th chapter of Mark: verses 9 – 20 were added to later manuscripts and do not appear in the ancient ones. One would be leery to follow the advice in v. 18 which states: “They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them”. In other cases inaccuracy is created by religious bias as in Philippians 2: 6: “Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal to God”. Can one even imagine our Lord Jesus debating as to whether being equal to God would be robbery or not? The Greek text actually states: “who, although He existed in the form of God [as a spirit], did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped” (ASV). This humility on the part of our Lord far more befits his character.
A recent version of the Bible, available easily on the Internet at present and soon to be produced in written Bible format, is the RVIC-2000, the Revised Version (American Edition) Improved and Corrected This version attempts to reach the highest level of accuracy and contains numerous explanatory footnotes and references to biblical manuscripts. We recommend it to avid readers of the Bible.
Although not entirely accurate, the KJV remains a popular translation and is not surpassed in the beauty of its language. It is up to the reader to decide whether poetry or precision is to be preferred.