While locating the original source of the cartoon below, I came across a post discussing the accuracy of the King James Version of the Bible, in which the author consults a biblical scholar, Dr. David Bosworth, Assistant Professor of Theology and resident Old Testament scholar at Barry University in Miami, Florida, who gives a lengthy, but excellent, explanation of why the King James isn’t the best bible to read.
I remember learning this same basic explanation back in religion class back in college, but re-reading it was definitely worth it. A short section of the letter:
Your correspondent is deeply confused. The KJV has a long history in the English language and many Protestant Christians are deeply attached to that translation because of its beauty and long established use. It is not, however, the most accurate translation available. The New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) and the NAB are both better.
The problem with the KJV is basically that it is an okay translation of a bad text. By “bad text,” I mean that when the KJV translators worked, they had very few Greek and Hebrew manuscripts to work with, and most of them were late. Since then (1611), scholars have made a tremendous effort to uncover older, more reliable manuscripts that have been hidden in monasteries all over Europe and the Near East. Great progress was made in the 19th and 20th centuries, and we now have several thousand manuscripts of the New Testament alone (the KJV translators had a mere handful). All these manuscripts have been carefully compared with one another and, through a process known as “textual criticism,” scholars have determined which are the more reliable texts and reconstructed as closely as possible what the biblical writers originally wrote.