KJV VS. NIV Are the differences significant?

I’ve been a proponent of the KJV for years. I’ve done quite a bit of study on the different versions and I know there are hundreds of differences between the two, some minor, but others major. I have read books and commentaries on the subject but have not had a lot of input from everyday Christians who read and study to make God’s word a part of their daily life. I am going to list some differences, if the thread progresses and would like your opinions. Do the differences matter? Why or why not? I will list the KJV first, then the NIV.

First: (KJV)John 6:47 " …He that believeth on me hath everlasting life."

(NIV) John 6:47 " … He who believes has everlasting life."

This may seem minor. It may be obvious what Jesus is talking about in the context of John 6, but why omit ON ME in the NIV? Does it diminish the specific belief in Christ in the passage for belief in something vague or unspecified?

I would think the reader would understand the intended context based on the subject of the chapter. The two read the same to me; you just have to know the context.

When I was deeply religious I preferred the NKJV or NIV over the KJV.

Context is absolutely important and here the difference seems small. You say when you were deeply religious. Are you no more? Why the other two over the KJV?

OP needs to look into textual criticism.

I’m more of a deist now.

I simply preferred the language used.

The King’s English, written in the 1600s, didn’t enthrall me.

If I remember correctly, the oldest manuscripts do not have “in me” or “on me”; that was added to the newer ones. So…perhaps the better question is, “Why add it?”

Slipping back to John 6:44, we read that no one comes to Jesus unless the One who sent Jesus draws that person to Jesus. In other words, the teachings of God Himself–God’s own instructions–are what draws someone to Jesus. Belief in Jesus stems from belief in God–nowhere else.

Each translation has difference sourcing, Subtle differences between the KJV & NKJV. Major differences between those and the NIV. NIV also incorporates partial dynamic equivalence in its translation style.

The differences between the KJV & NKJV are relatively trivial. Obviously, the differences between those and the NIV are substantial.

I do remember with amusement KJV advocates referring to the NIV as the Non Inspired Version. :smile:


OT: Masoretic Text, some LXX and Vulgate influence.
NT: Textus Receptus, similar to the Byzantine text-type; some readings derived from the Vulgate.
Apocrypha: Greek Septuagint and Latin Vulgate.

Formal equivalence


Textual basis NT: Textus Receptus, derived from the Byzantine text-type. OT: Masoretic Text with Septuagint influence

Formal equivalence


Textual basis NT: Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament. OT: Biblia Hebraica Masoretic Hebrew Text, Dead Sea Scrolls, Samaritan Pentateuch, Aquila, Symmachus and Theodotion, Latin Vulgate, Syriac ■■■■■■■■, Aramaic Targums, for Psalms Juxta Hebraica of Jerome.

Mix of formal and dynamic equivalence

Jesus also said that no one knew the Father but by him and we learn in the NT that Jesus was God in the OT. It seems they each draw people to them.

There is differing opinions on the texts and their veracity. Different versions are based on different texts. Which texts do you believe are the most accurate?

I think Thomas Jefferson was a deist. How do they differ from mainstream views of Christianity?

That’s the essence of deciding which Bible is most accurate. It’s been awhile since I’ve studied the issue, I know I’ve forgotten a lot of what I learned. There are also other issues to consider though, the scholarship of the translators and what was their agenda…

Thanks, some of this I wasn’t aware of. My understanding of the KJV and NKJV though is that they aren’t based on the same texts either and there’s some big differences between the two. I used the NKJV for a few years until some if these were shown to me. It’s been years now, so I can’t recall off the top of my head what they were.

One thing that bothers me is that the NIV is copyrighted. Rather than ask the questions that come to my mind on this, some of you may be able to provide answers. I’d like to not lead to answers I’ve heard, just hear opinions from other Christians on this.

Both the KJV and the NKJV use the Masoretic for the Old Testament and the Textus Receptus for the New Testament.

They are if you need them to be.

A more worthy comparison would be the NASB and the NIV which were almost contemporaries. The NASB (updated lately to the NASV) is more word-by-word literal, while the NIV translation was an attempt to interpret sentence by sentence or phrase by phase.

As I have worked in language translation, I see the value of both approaches; I take a NASB/V with me to Bible study.

What texts are they based on?

:thinking: That’s an interesting way to look at it. Do you believe most Christians give the matter enough thought to seek to fulfill that need?

Both use the NA critical text.

Most do not.

Most (if they read the bible at all) read for the overall message.

My point was a stab at discussions that hinge on nuances and differing translations to hammer the other side.

Then the differences are “significant” because the participants need them to be different.

I believe God made the most important doctrine, that of salvation, easy enough for anyone to understand. But there is a lot of debate on biblical doctrines. Many have been debated in this forum off and on for years. For example the issue of eternal salvation or the consuming of alcohol etc. I’m interested in the differences in the versions, and I picked the KJV and NIV because I know they are from two very different sets of texts and because the NIV is probably the most popular today in use. It’s a fairly new thing, the using of newer translations over the KJV and I’m curious as to how it’s shaping Christian thought. AND, does it matter…