Reason #12 I adore the KJV: Men died for it

Here’s reason #12 I adore the KJV: Men died for it.

When you trace the Bible back through history, you’ll find an amazing thing: God used faithful believers keep his words pure throughout every generation, just as he promised!

“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

And those believers who preserved and translated the very words we now have in the King James Bible often paid for their faithfulness with their very lives.

Men died for translating the true scriptures

The true version of the Bible has always been accompanied by persecution — sometimes persecution even unto death.

“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.” —2 Timothy 3:12-13

—2 Timothy 3:12-13

The men who were first translating the Bible into English often died for the work they did to get it into the lay people’s hands. In fact, did you know that at one time, you could be killed for even owning a copy of the Bible that you could read?

For example, the Lollards, who faithfully read and kept the first translation of the Bible into English by John Wycliff, were hunted down and killed — all because they dared to possess the true words of God in their language.

“(Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.”

—Hebrews 11:38

To my own shame, the crime of many of these Bible-believing Christians was not only that they had in their possession an English Bible, but that, if their physical Bible was taken away, they knew it by heart!

In this post, I’m going to briefly mention only a few of those who died for their faithfulness to God’s true words — the words that we have today in English in our King James Bible.

I don’t pretend to even scratch the surface of this topic, but I’ll leave a few mentions of books below where you can learn more about these brave and faithful men and women who paid with their lives rather than change one word of the God’s holy scriptures.

Men who died for the pure words of God

In a recent article, I talked about the two different manuscript streams — the pure stream and the polluted stream. The Bible makes it clear many have been polluting the pure words of God — all the way back to the time of the apostles, even before the canon of scripture was closed:

“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

If you follow the manuscripts back to the time when they were first being written, the pure textual stream has always been accompanied by persecution and the death of many who would stand for it, fight for it, and even die for it.

The more I read about the men and women who were martyred for standing firm for the true words of God, the more I believe we can know which Bible is the true Bible by seeing which one men died for.

Martyrs for the Word — and the words

I’m going to mention just two of the men who died translating and defending the pure words of God so that we could have the King James Bible we have today. While each of these men is worth of a blog post of his own, right now I’m just going to mention them by name so you can, along with a few of their words, hear for yourself their commitment to preserving God’s true words.

William Tyndale

Where do I even start? This man was used by God in such a powerful way — he deserves an entire article, or even a book! I am, in fact, just starting to read a lengthy biography about him — I’ll report back and perhaps write a longer article later. But for now, here are just a few bullet point of how this man suffered for the true words of God with such grace and conviction:

  • William Tyndale’s lifelong goal was to give the words and hope of Jesus Christ to his countrymen, who were still in at that time in bondage to Rome, by giving the people the truth of the scriptures in their native tongue.
  • Under heavy persecution, Tyndale fled from England to Belgium, where he translated a large percentage of the Bible into English. In fact, nearly 80% of the Authorized Version of the Bible can be attributed to the work of Tyndale.
  • So precise was Tyndale in his translation work — and so great his fear of God — that he did not dream of changing even one of God’s words: “I call God to record against the day we shall appear before our Lord Jesus Christ, to give our reckoning of our doings, that I never altered one syllable of God’s Word against my conscience, nor would do this day, if all that is in earth, whether it be honor, pleasure, or riches, might be given me.”
  • After being betrayed by someone he though was a friend, William Tyndale was burned at the stake in October of 1536. His last words, as the flames engulfed him, were, “Lord, open the King of England’s eyes.”
  • It was that very year that the English New Testament was printed in England, and that prayer was answered two-fold when King James I of England called together a committee of the country’s most learned men to translate as accurately as possible what we now hold in our hands as the King James Bible today.
  • Tyndale’s passion in translating was to bring liberty and freedom to anyone who wanted to read the Bible in their native tongue. Prior to Tyndale’s work, the Catholic church kept the people in darkness since few could read Latin. Yet Tyndale promised: “I defy the Pope, and all his laws; and if God spare my life, ere many years, I will cause a boy that driveth the plough to know more of the scripture than thou doest!”

John Rogers

Can you imagine following your husband to the stake to be burned, with ten of your eleven children in tow? Can you picture your husband singing Psalms as he is led to his death? And you and your children encourage him to stand strong in the faith, even as you watch him burn? Oh, and by the way, as you stand at the side of the road, you’re holding your one-year-old baby in your arms — the one your husband has never met, because he was imprisoned when you gave birth.

I can scarcely imagine the strength of this woman and her children! But this is what happened when translator John Rogers was put to his death.

Here are a few details about this faith-filled man, and how he died for the true words of God:

  • John Rogers was first a Catholic, but then, through reading the scriptures for himself, he became convinced that salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.
  • After William Tyndale helped bring him out of the Catholic church, John Rogers married and had eleven children. He translated and published under a pseudonym what became know as the Matthew Bible, because his name was so closely associated with Tyndale’s. This was the first time Tyndale’s “dungeon works” (Joshua through 2 Chronicles) appeared in print.
  • John Rogers was declared a heretic and was the first martyr to be burned under Queen Mary’s rule. As a Catholic, Queen Mary Tudor in her three years as ruler of England was responsible for killing over 300 Christians, which earned her the nickname Bloody Mary.
  • The morning of Rogers’ death, he had to be quite loudly awakened because he had been sleeping so soundly!
  • Rogers sang Psalm 51 as he walked calmly to the stake, to applause from those who watched, for they had never known anyone who would give their body to be burned for their faith! One dignitary described Rogers as walking to his death “as if he was walking to his wedding.”
  • At the stake, he was told that he could be pardoned if he would return to the Catholic Church. But he knew the truth of God’s true words, and he refused. According to Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, “The fire was lit and Rogers washed his hands in the flames as though he did not feel them.”

Who are the persecutors?

If you’ve read this far, I’m going to share with you something else you’ll find shocking, but true:

When you follow the trail of those God used to preserve and keep his words for all generations, you’ll discover that the ones persecuting faithful believers were also the ones who embraced the false manuscripts that are behind all modern translations!

Those who take a stand for the true words of Jesus Christ have always been hated by the world — and hated by false Christianity.

“And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.”

—Revelation 17:6a

As Dr. William Grady so pointedly asked, “Beloved, these brother and sisters laid down their lives for the readings contained in the King James Bible! How can we forget them? … Are we to abandon their Bible to embrace the readings of their murderers?”

Faithful or unfaithful translators?

Throughout history, translators of the Bible have done one of two things: Either they speak as Jesus Christ speaks, or they corrupt the word of God, either unknowingly or purposely. There is no in between.

Once those words have been counterfeited and pass off as originals, those who hold fast to God’s true words are mocked, slandered, spit upon, and treated with derision. Just as Jesus was.

“Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.”

—John 15:20

Reading about William Tyndale and John Rogers, I can’t help but wonder what today’s translators of modern versions would do in this situation? No one hates or persecutes those who translate today with latte in hand. No one imprisons and sends them to the dungeon, where they complete their work.

And the ones who translate today have no backbone to stand for truth, no loyalty to faithfully preserve every syllable. Rather, many of today’s translators go on without conviction from one translation to another! How can this be? If they got the words exactly right on one version, what could entice them to move on to the next copyrighted version just a few years later?

A conviction, not a preference

And while none of us in America today have died for believing this Bible, I can’t help but notice that the King James Bible is the only Bible I’ve read that people don’t seem to want me to read. I’ve had well-meaning friends and even pastors tell me that when I get done reading the King James Bible, I should try such-and-such a version.

Guess what? I’ve already read those versions, and I can tell you I will never go back to reading them. Why? Because once I realized I have actually heard, touched, and handled the very words of God, the words of man do not satisfy, nor do they give the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

For me, reading the King James Bible is a conviction, not a preference.

And because the KJB is God’s Word to us today in English, it will always be accompanied by mocking and ridicule — and perhaps one day even persecution and death.

Which Bible would you die for?

So here’s the question: Would you die for the Bible?

If you would, which Bible would you die for? The NIV? The NASB? The ESV? The NKJV? Because I can tell you those are not the words that William Tyndale and John Rogers died for. They are the words of the harlot church, which persecuted and killed faithful men of God.

Like the martyrs, I will happily be persecuted for clinging to this one Book. And, like the martyrs, I would rather die than change even one syllable.


Additional recommended reading:

Dr. William Grady, Final Authority, Chapter 9, “Bathed in Blood”

David Daniels, Did the Catholic Church Give Us the Bible?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join the conversation

  1. […] Reason #12 — Men died for it […]



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

Have you ever wanted to read the King James Bible, but someone told you it was too difficult?

My name is Michele, and I’ve had those same questions too. 

In my 23 years as a Christian, I’ve read many of the modern Bible versions. But once I started reading the King James version, I discovered it was unlike anything I had ever read before, and I want to share that joy with you.

I’m here to dispel the myth that the KJV is hard to read. To give you tools and tips to get started. And to encourage you as you begin reading the greatest book that’s ever been written!

Thank You

Thanks for reaching out! I'll be in touch shortly.

All content ©michele blake, 2020