Bible College

Way of Life Literature

Publisher of Bible Study Materials

Way of Life Literature

Publisher of Bible Study Materials

Way of Life Bible College
21st Century King James Bible
September 8, 2021
David Cloud, Way of Life Literature, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061
Deuel Enterprises of Gary, South Dakota, in 1994 published The 21st Century King James Version. It is a allegedly an attempt to retain the text of the King James Bible while modernizing antiquated words and updating punctuation, and in some ways it is better than some other attempts to update the KJV, such as the New King James Version. Since many have asked us about this version, we are issuing the following review:

First, no textual changes were made. Whereas the New King James Version, though professing to follow the exact text of the KJV actually makes a number of departures from the text used by the AV translators, I could not find any textual changes in the 21st Century KJV (KJ21). There might be some, of course. I did not look through the entire Bible, but every key passage that I checked retained the proper reading.

thee, thy, thou, thine, etc. are retained. The publisher gives this reason: "because they are readily understood and have remained an eloquent and beautiful part of our traditional language of worship and prayer. In addition, by retaining these words, we have preserved distinctions in meaning found in the King James Version, but abandoned in contemporary versions."

This, of course, is very important. The King James Bible distinguishes the second person singular and plural pronouns by employing
you, ye, yours for plural and thee, thou, thine for singular.

Third, the great doctrinal terms were not changed. Examples are judgment, justification, sanctification, propitiation, righteousness, and atonement.

Fourth, on the whole it appears that fewer changes were made than in other attempts to modernize the King James Bible.

This is not to say that we recommend the 21st Century King James Version. There are a number of problems with it which we will now list:

First, it is copyrighted in such a way that forbids reprinting it royalty free as can be done outside the United Kingdom with the King James Bible. The copyright notice grants permission to quote or reprint selections of not more than 200 verses, only insofar as the verses quoted do not comprise more than 40% of the work in which quoted, and only insofar as the verses quoted do not comprise an entire book of the Bible when quoted.

Second, typographically it is set in a manner that is confusing and unpleasant to the eye. There is a basic style, plus three variations which indicate familiar passages, less familiar passages, and the sayings of Christ. The idea is interesting, but I found the result to be confusing and unpleasant.

Third, and most serious, many unnecessary changes are made. It is one thing to update a few words in the KJV which have totally changed or lost meaning today, such as "we do you to wit" or "bewray." (Of course, this can be done in the margin without changing the text.) The 21st Century King James Bible goes far beyond this, though.

Consider the KJ21 reading of 2 Timothy 4:1-4 as an example. I will note the changes with uppercase type.

Verse 1-I charge thee therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at His appearing and His Kingdom:
Verse 2-preach the Word. Be instant in season AND out of season. Reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine.
Verse 3-For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but HAVING ITCHING EARS, THEY SHALL HEAP TO THEMSELVES TEACHERS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THEIR OWN LUSTS.
Verse 4-And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall TURN TOWARD fables.

There is absolutely no need for any of these changes.

This type of unnecessary change is found throughout the 21st Century King James Version.

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Goal:Distributed by Way of Life Literature Inc., the Fundamental Baptist Information Service is an e-mail posting for Bible-believing Christians. Established in 1974, Way of Life Literature is a fundamental Baptist preaching and publishing ministry based in Bethel Baptist Church, London, Ontario, of which Wilbert Unger is the founding Pastor. Brother Cloud lives in South Asia where he has been a church planting missionary since 1979. Our primary goal with the FBIS is to provide material to assist preachers in the edification and protection of the churches.

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