12 KJV Bible Verses to Compare to Your Version

In case you’re still on the fence about which Bible version to study, or if you’re wondering how different can the variations be anyway, this blog post is for you. I’m sharing 12 KJV Bible Verses to compare to the version you’re reading right now.

I recently stumbled upon some notes in my Bible from when I first starting reading the King James Bible, where I compared the words I found in the King James Bible with the NKJV, which claimed to be the same as the KJV except for minor updates.

At that time, I wasn’t sold on the idea the KJV was the perfect word of God, and, truth be told, I didn’t want to give up my New King James Version. So for many months, I read them side by side, making notes in the back of my Bible when I came across discrepancies between the two.

What I found was that the two Bible versions often disagreed with each other — in some cases saying the exact opposite! Since things that are different cannot be the same, I realized that only one could be true, and any version that was wrong in even one place couldn’t be trusted at all.

For the purposes of this blog post, I’ll show you not only how the NKJV compares to the KJV in these 12 verses, but also how the NASB and NIV line up too.

KJV Bible Verses to Compare, #1: Titus 3:10

“A man that is an heretic after the first and second admonition reject;” —Titus 3:10, KJV

Here are how the Bible versions measure up:
NKJV: “Reject a divisive man
NASB 1995: “Reject a factious man
NASB 2020: “Reject a divisive person
ESV: “As for a person who stirs up division, warn him once and then twice”
NIV: “Warn a divisive person

So when the New King James says to reject a divisive man, do they mean we are to reject Jesus? Because in Luke 12:51, Jesus himself said he comes to bring division.

How does you version measure up? Does it line up with the King James Bible, or does it tell you to reject Jesus?

Bible Verse #2 to Compare to the KJV: 2 Samuel 5:21

“And there they left their images, and David and his men burned them.” —2 Samuel 5:21

Here’s what some of the many Bible variations say:
NKJV: “carried them away”
NASB 1995 & 2020: “carried them away”
ESV: “carried them off”
NIV: “carted them away”

Carrying things away and burning them are two different things!

And when God says to burn something with fire, I’m pretty sure he means to burn it with fire.

In Deuteronomy 7:25, God commands, “The graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire: thou shalt not desire the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it unto thee, lest thou be snared therein: for it is an abomination to the LORD thy God.”

Verse #3 to Compare: Luke 16:23

“And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.” —Luke 16:23, KJV

Let’s take a look at the variations:
NKJV: “in Hades
NASB 1995: “In Hades
NASB 2020: “in Hades
ESV: “in Hades
NIV: “In Hades

Hades is the construct of man, the underworld (and the god of the underworld) of Greek mythology. Now tell me, why would God use this word in his word when he means hell?

He does not need the device of man to make his point, nor would he use the religious words of a false religious system in his Word! The versions all follow the same corrupt manuscripts here and weaken the truth.

“Forasmuch as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.” —Acts 17:29

Since Hades does not exist except in Greek mythology and its false religion, this word has no place in the Word of God.

And can I just take a moment to ask a question: If we find just one mistake like this in a book claiming to be a Bible, can we trust the rest of it to tell us the truth?

KJV Bible Verses to Compare #4: 1 Thessalonians 5:22

“Abstain from all appearance of evil.” —1 Thessalonians 5:22, KJV

Let’s compare to the versions that have been changed:
NKJV: “abstain from every form of evil
NASB 1995 + 2020:every form
ESV: every form
NIV:every kind

“Every form of evil” is evil and only evil. Of course we are to separate from that.

“All appearance of evil” may be evil but also may not be. God calls us to such a high standard of purity that we are not only to avoid evil but even the appearance of it. We are to be above reproof — and he will do it in us.

When you compare the new versions to KJV Bible verses, here’s what you’re going to find the truth always calls for more holiness, not less. It is stronger against sin and not more lenient, as the new versions are.

Bible Verse #5: 2 Timothy 3:12

“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” —2 Timothy 3:12

Now compare the KJV Bible verses to these versions:
NKJV: “all who desire to live godly”
NASB 2020: “all who want to live a godly way”
NASB 1995 + 1977: “all who desire to live godly”
ESV: “all who desire to live a godly life”
NIV: “everyone who wants to live a godly life”

First it was all that will live godly that shall suffer persecution. Then the modern versions said you only had to desire to live godly. And finally, the NIV degrades the verse even further, to wants to.

Again, which is the higher standard? Are we persecuted when we live godly, or only when we desire to?

(And by the way, if we only desire to, but no one knows it, how could anyone persecute us for that anyway? It doesn’t even make logical sense.)

It is the Holy Ghost living in us that enables us to live godly. God doesn’t reward good intentions (despite what our culture says) — instead he enables us to follow through with good works (Ephesians 2:10).

Faith without works is dead. But cultural Christianity tries to tell us it doesn’t matter how we live — that we can say a prayer, walk down an aisle, and then go on living in our sins. This verse in the modern versions fully supports that kind of thinking! But if we want God’s true words, we can know the truth.

KJV Bible Verses, #6: Acts 17:22

“Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious.” Acts 17:22

Let’s compare the modern and supposedly better variations:
NKJV:very religious
NASB 1977, 1995, + 2020:very religious
ESV: very religious
NIV:very religious

I’m going to ask the obvious question here: When did superstitious ever mean the same thing as religious? Except in our day when religion is considered so?

God defines religion in the Bible (James 1:27) and that’s not what Paul is saying here!

By the way, religion in the King James Bible is always a positive and a good thing! Don’t believe the culture of our day, or even what today’s version of Christianity says. We’ve heard so many pastors and even Christians parrot the line that they have “a relationship, not religion,” as if that’s a good thing … except I can’t find that statement anywhere in the Bible, can you? I believe you can have both! In fact, relationship begets religion.

And just in case you’re counting, religion or religious appear 7 times in the King James Bible. If you want to do a little Bible study, this is a great Bible word to look up.

King Jame Bible Verse #7 to Compare: 2 Timothy 2:15

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” —2 Timothy 2:15

Let’s compare the modern and supposedly better variations:
NKJV:be diligent to present yourself approved”
NASB 1977, 1995, + 2020:be diligent
ESV: do your best
NIV:do your best

It should go without saying that one can be diligent without studying — without even cracking open the Bible!

This is where we find life — in our study of God’s word! Jesus himself says his words are spirit and they are life (John 6:63). Studying them demonstrates that we are approved — not “doing our best,” which relies on human effort and strength, rather than on diligence and understanding given to us by God who indwells us.

As a side note, the NLT says to “work hard” (which is different than studying!). And the Amplified Bible says to “study AND do your best” — which is clearly adding to Gods words (Proverbs 30:6), which makes that version a liar. (The Lockman Foundation, authors of the NASB, put out this translation first, then wanted a “better” version so they created the NASB. Interesting, the NASB has been updated and changed 11 times, so doesn’t that mean they don’t have faith that the words they penned the first time were accurate?)

KJV Verses to Compare to Modern Versions, #8: Proverbs 26:22

“The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.” —Proverbs 26:22

Let’s compare the King James verse to its contemporary counterpart:
NKJV:tasty trifles
NASB 1977, 1995, + 2020:dainty morsels
ESV: delicious morsels
NIV:choice morsels

When I was reading the New King James Version and the King James Bible side-by-side and came across this verse, I was shocked. These two words are not even close to the same thing! Was I imagining it? Or was there some secret hidden meaning in the Greek that was keeping me from understanding the plain truth of the words?

Gossip is hurtful or delightful — pick one. Or better yet, let God tell us.

What is the truth God wants us to know here? As sinners, we already tend toward the temptation to gossip. But God tells us the truth: Ultimately it is as wounds in the deepest part of us — to the hearer, to the teller, and to the one gossiped about.

Bible Verse #10 to Compare: Psalm 139:23

“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:” —Psalm 139:23

I am pretty sure you’re getting the hang of this and have already looked it up in your version, but here is this verse again in these different variations:
NASB 1977, 1995, + 2020:anxious thoughts
ESV: thoughts
NIV:anxious thoughts

Thoughts can be good or bad, right? Anxieties can only be one thing. The NASB limits the prayer here, asking God to know the anxious thoughts only. What about all the rest?

Plus, anxieties is a psychology term today — and psychology is inherently at odds with the words of God. Psychology’s purpose is to help us understand and heal the soul, but isn’t that exactly one of the purposes of the Bible? Psychology treads on dangerous ground here, trying in the name of science to do something only God can do. And the modern versions are tripping over each other to validate the psychological term that God never used!

KJV Bible Verses to Compare, #11: Acts 12:4

“And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.” —Acts 12:4

Now let’s hear what the new versions have to say:
NASB 1977, 1995, + 2020: “Passover
ESV: Passover

Easter was the Gentile holiday referred to here. (Spoiler alert: Easter was never a Christian holiday.)

The versions cannot be correct when they say Passover here because of the timing: Peter was arrested during the days of unleavened bread, so the Passover (one night, a meal) had already occurred!

By the way, we can know this by comparing scripture with scripture — God’s word lays out the details in Leviticus 23:4-8.

12 Bible Verses to Compare, #12: 2 Corinthians 2:17

“For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.” —2 Corinthians 2:17

This verse is one that’s really interesting to compare in all the modern versions:
NKJV:peddle the Word of God”
NASB 1977, 1995, + 2020:peddling
ESV: peddle

To peddle is to sell something for profit, in this case, words. To corrupt something is not the same as to peddle it — they are two completely different things. And the more I study, the more I realize that things that are different are not the same.

In the verse, the new version writers are hiding their tracks. Because corrupting is no longer prohibited, they’re off the hook, right? Then, after they have corrupted, they peddle not the Word of God but their counterfeit.

As the NIV says, “We are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word” — and indeed they are not! What they are peddling is a counterfeit!

So which is it? God’s true words, or words that are different?

So there you have it — the twelve verses that got me thinking when I was still questioning which Bible version was God’s true words.

After all, God himself promised to preserve his words, so they must be somewhere where we can find them.

And since God cannot lie, even one error in a Bible should preclude it from being God’s true word. After all, if its wrong in one place, how do I know it’s not wrong somewhere else?

That’s when I knew I had to make a decision — to trust what God said, or to keep on searching and comparing.

How about you? Is it time to make that decision for yourself too, and believe that there is one true Bible that you don’t have to question or compare?

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Are you interested in studying the Bible but you aren’t sure which version to choose?

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