The King James Bible – Review

King James BibleThis is not a review of the actual King James Bible but of the book, The King James Bible: Do You Know the King James Version? by Edward D. Andrews. I should note that I was given a copy of the book by the author for review purposes.

I went into this book assuming that it was about King James Onlyism, the belief that the King James Bible is not only the best translation, but the only appropriate English translation. This was a reasonable assumption, as “KING JAMES VERSION ONLYISM” appears at the top of the book cover. But that is not what the book is really about.

Edward Andrew’s book is really a history of the putting together of a critical Greek New Testament and the history of the English Bible. That is a worthwhile topic, as the Bible is the most important book ever written. Many people have no idea how the English Bible came about.

It is true that Andrews does deal with the Textus Receptus (the Greek New Testament used in the KJV) and the process by which the KJV was translated. He demonstrates how much the KJV relies, not just on the inaccurate TR, but also on the earlier English translations.

But if Andrews is critical of the KJV, he is just as critical of dynamic equivalence translations. In fact, Andrew appreciates the translation philosophy of the KJV more than that of the NIV or many other newer translations.

I do have some issues with this book. I feel like the title of the book is not a very honest description of the contents. I also have much more appreciation for dynamic equivalence translations than Andrews does.

One of the biggest problems is that the book comes across as a series of independent articles rather than as a systematic treatment of the subject. The same stories and the same quotes appear over and over again in each chapter. There is no chronological sequence, as Andrews goes back and forth along the timeline with no obvious logic.

Much of this book is just building the foundation for a different project that Edward Andrews is working on, a new translation called the Updated American Standard Version. There are numerous contributions by Leland Ryken, in which he argues for the English Standard Version as the best translation. Andrews then adds a comment of how much better the UASV is than even the ESV.

The King James Bible (the book, not the translation) has a number of issues. It is far from a perfect book. But you will find some helpful information about the English Bible. He hits all of the big events and most important concepts. You will learn something.

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