Reasons I adore the KJV #11: It comes from the pure stream

When it comes to Bible versions, every Bible comes from one of two streams: the pure stream, or the polluted stream.

Some people thing the most important thing when it comes to Bible versions is how accurate that translation is. And that’s true! But even an accurate translation is going to be off-base if it’s translated from the polluted stream of manuscripts.

Why the pure stream matters

Have you ever heard the saying, “Always drink upstream from the herd”?

There is great practical wisdom in that saying! My daughter found that out the hard way when she drank from a polluted stream during Girl Scout camp. I’ll spare you the details, but believe me when I say that giardia is worse than it sounds! 

We can apply the same practical wisdom to the Word of God.

From the early 1600s up until the last century or so, there was only one Bible in English. When people spoke of The Holy Bible, they meant one book — The Book. And it came from the pure stream.

In this day and age, though, there are multiple English translations and variations to choose from. And when I say multiple, I mean hundreds — with more being published every year.

That’s why now it’s more important than ever to take a few minutes to check upstream. With so many versions at our disposal, it’s up to us to determine the source of any Bible we choose to read. 

That might sound like a daunting task, but trust me — it’s easy.

The pure stream and the polluted stream

Though there are hundreds of Bible versions available today, all can be traced back to one of two manuscript streams:

1. the pure stream, and
2. the polluted stream.

Yes, it really is that simple.

If you do the research, you’ll find that all of today’s modern translations can be traced back to the polluted stream. Yes, every single one.

Of all the Bible versions we have today in English, only the Authorized Version (with its companion Bibles in other languages) can be traced back to the pure stream.

Here are the highlights of these two streams of manuscripts in just a few bullet points:

The pure Bible manuscript stream:

  • We can trace the pure stream of God’s words back to Syria, where the church of true believers began. Jesus Christ’s disciples “were called Christians first in Antioch” (Acts 11:26).
  • This pure stream is also called the Majority Text. It contains 99% of all the manuscripts ever found (over 5,300 pieces of manuscript evidence). These manuscripts are all happily in agreement with each other.
  • These words were passed down through church history. They were committed in each generation to faithful believers who were entrusted to keep them and pass them on.
  • It is from this stream that we get the Authorized or King James Bible.

The polluted Bible manuscript stream:

  • The polluted stream of manuscripts, also known as the Critical Text, can be traced back to Egypt. In Alexandria, men practiced and idolized education in worldly philosophies.
  • Following the law of first mention, we can see throughout the Bible exactly what God thinks of Egypt! God’s people are told to return there no more and to avoid it (Isaiah 30:2, 31:1). In fact, Egypt and its adulterated philosophies are in the Bible repeatedly equated with “the world.”
  • There are primarily two manuscripts that make up the polluted stream. The first is the Vaticanus, retained by the Catholic Church. The second is and the Sinaiticus, discovered in a trash can in a monastery at the base of Mt. Sanai.

    These two manuscripts make up only a tiny percentage of all of the manuscript evidence we have. And these two (unreliable) “witnesses” disagree with each other in over 3,000 places in the gospels alone!
  • Nevertheless, two men named Westcott and Hort succeeded in convincing the world that these polluted manuscripts were better. After all, they were older and in better condition than the well-worn manuscripts actually used by true believers.

    More on “oldest-and-best” manuscripts trickery in another article. But suffice it to say that a true believer’s Bible will be worn out by years of daily use. (Ask your grandma to see hers.) And an unbeliever’s Bible will look pristine after years of sitting untouched on a shelf.
  • It might surprise you to know that the two men responsible for promoting these manuscripts were not believers at all. Rather, they were wolves in sheep’s clothing. By their own admission, they did not believe in the saving blood of Jesus. Nor in the literal creation, the virgin birth, or a host of other doctrines that true believers hold dear.
  • These two men were also heavily involved in the occult. They practiced paranormal experiments, seances, and even necromancy (communicating with the dead) — all of which God prohibits in his Word!
  • With the exception of the KJV, all modern English Bible versions today can be traced back to these polluted manuscripts.

Which Bible? A question of faith…

When my daughter drank water from a polluted stream, she found out pretty quickly that the water had been contaminated. But with Bible manuscripts, it is possible to drink from a polluted stream for years without realizing it.

I drank from the polluted stream for 18 years before I realized there was a pure stream within reach! It was only after I drank the pure, refreshing water of the KJV that I realized what I’d been missing!

The world is full of voices trying to tell us which manuscripts are best. Or which Bible version is easiest to understand. Or which stream is pure and which is merely potable. But ultimately, it comes down to faith.

Where do I place my trust?

Do I have faith in the scholars to find God’s words, or in God to keep them? 

Do I really trust God’s promises to preserve his words, to pass them along to every generation, including mine? 

“For the words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O Lord, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.”

—Psalm 12:6-7

If I take God at his word, by faith, then I should be able to find those pure words today.

And I do believe we have those words. They live on in the pure stream of the Majority Text. Which is found today in the Authorized Version of the Bible, the KJV.

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  1. Paul Woollard says:

    That was helpful, to hear the background of the critical text
    Thank you



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