21 Glaring Differences Between the King James Version and the New Versions of the Bible

“…Words will always retain their power. Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth.” –V, in V for Vendetta

Many sincere Christians these days read the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible, or they read the New Living Translation (NLT). However, these Christians are largely unaware of the massive changes that have been made from the original 1611 King James Version (KJV). If you truly care about the words of Jesus Christ, the writings of Moses, the Prophets, King David and King Solomon, and the Disciples, you should take the time to study the differences in Bible versions and to study just what, exactly, has been changed from the KJV. Here is just a short list of the many changes.

1. Daniel 3:25

KJV: He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.

NIV: He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.”

NLT: “Look!” Nebuchadnezzar shouted. “I see four men, unbound, walking around in the fire unharmed! And the fourth looks like a god!”

This is a subtle but major difference. To say the mysterious fourth person who appears with the three, who were thrown into the fire, looks like the Son of God, implies that a son of God exists and that there is one God. “A son of the gods” and looking “like a god” implies multiple gods, or polytheism. As Christians, we must not believe in polytheism, but in only one true God.

2. Acts 26:28

KJV: “Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.”

NIV: Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?”

NLT: Agrippa interrupted him. “Do you think you can persuade me to become a Christian so quickly?”

The KJV here, in a statement and not a question, reveals that Agrippa was almost persuaded to become a Christian by Paul’s amazing and inspiring speech. The new versions change this to Agrippa not being influenced at all by Paul’s speech and mocking the fact that he even tried. This diminishes the power of Paul’s speech and the power of the truth that he spoke.

3. Revelation 13:16

KJV: And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:

NIV: It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads,

NLT: He required everyone–small and great, rich and poor, free and slave–to be given a mark on the right hand or on the forehead.

Changing “in” to “on” changes the theories of what the mark could be. For example, an implanted microchip in the KJV becomes a tattoo in the newer versions.

4. Isaiah 14:12

KJV: How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

NIV: How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!

NLT: “How you are fallen from heaven, O shining star, son of the morning! You have been thrown down to the earth, you who destroyed the nations of the world.

Why take out the name Lucifer altogether? And why replace it with “morning star”, which is a title claimed by Jesus in Revelation 22:16? This arguably makes Lucifer and Jesus equals, truly an evil distortion.

5. Revelation 22:14

KJV: Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

NIV: “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.

NLT: Blessed are those who wash their robes. They will be permitted to enter through the gates of the city and eat the fruit from the tree of life.

Replacing doing God’s commandments with washing your robes makes absolutely no sense unless you are trying to obliterate the importance of the commandments.

6. Matthew 6:13

KJV: And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

NIV: And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

NLT: And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one.

How can they possibly just remove “for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen”? That line declares to God that his is the Power, not any earthly king or earthly oligarchy. To remove that is to leave the reader open to an earthly power or king to have all the glory and control.

7. 1 John 5:7-8

KJV: For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.

NIV: For there are three that testify: the Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement.

NLT: So we have these three witnesses– the Spirit, the water, and the blood–and all three agree.

Taking out the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, the three that “bear record in heaven”, and only leaving the three that bear witness in earth, removes the spiritual aspect of life. Taking out the spiritual and leaving in or replacing it with the physical is a common theme in these new Bible versions. It is important to remember the spiritual side of life because that is the rewarding and true reality of our existence.

8. Luke 2:33

KJV: And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him.

NIV: The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him.

NLT: Jesus’ parents were amazed at what was being said about him.

This one should be pretty obvious to true Christians. Jesus is the son of God, therefore the KJV had it right in saying “Joseph and his mother”. The newer versions call Joseph Jesus’s father, rather than God.

9. Genesis 3:1

KJV: Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

NIV: Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

NLT: The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the LORD God had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?”

“Subtle” has a different meaning than “crafty” or “shrewdest”. The serpent being subtle, his plans are difficult to perceive and hidden. Changing this word changes the character of the serpent. In addition to this alteration, the very first question in the Bible is altered as well. The serpent did not say, “Did God really say you must not eat from any tree?” he said, “Did God really say you must not eat from every tree”. If he asked the former, Eve could have simply responded, “no he didn’t, we’ve been eating from these trees ever since we were created… Have a nice day”. They had approval to eat from the trees, just not every tree.

10. Psalm 23:4

KJV: Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

NIV: Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

NLT: Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.

The “darkest valley” has a lot less intensity than the original “valley of the shadow of death”. Being surrounded by death but not being afraid because God is with you is much more of a statement of the hope God provides than simply being in a dark valley. And notice the NLT even removes the word evil, again taking away the importance of good versus evil.

11. Ephesians 6:12

KJV: For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

NIV: For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

NLT: For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

“Heavenly realms” has a different meaning than “high places”. Why change the original? What I get from “high places” is that there is spiritual wickedness in high places in earthly government that directly affects us and that we should be aware of. The wickedness is not in heaven.

12. Philippians 4:12-13

KJV: I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

NIV: I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

NLT: I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.

“I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation”… This sounds like the beginning of the movie The Secret, about the law of attraction, which is totally devoid of anything related to Jesus, Christianity and the Bible. Also, why write, “through him who gives me strength”, rather than “through Christ”? Who is “him”?

13. Psalm 70:2

KJV: Let them be ashamed and confounded that seek after my soul: let them be turned backward, and put to confusion, that desire my hurt.

NIV: May those who want to take my life be put to shame and confusion; may all who desire my ruin be turned back in disgrace.

NLT: May those who try to kill me be humiliated and put to shame. May those who take delight in my trouble be turned back in disgrace.

Again, the newer versions remove the reference to the “soul”, hence removing the spiritual side of life. The newer versions are materialistic, and earthly.

14. Psalm 71:10

KJV: For mine enemies speak against me; and they that lay wait for my soul take counsel together,

NIV: For my enemies speak against me; those who wait to kill me conspire together.

NLT: For my enemies are whispering against me. They are plotting together to kill me.

In the new versions, instead of King David’s enemies seeking after his soul as in the KJV, they are seeking to kill him. Once again removing the spiritual.

15. Psalm 73:12

KJV: Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches.

NIV: This is what the wicked are like– always free of care, they go on amassing wealth.

NLT: Look at these wicked people–enjoying a life of ease while their riches multiply.

In this one, the new versions replace “ungodly” with simply “wicked”. Why? Ungodly is specific, wicked dilutes the meaning.

16. 2 Samuel 19:35

KJV: I am this day fourscore years old: and can I discern between good and evil? can thy servant taste what I eat or what I drink? can I hear any more the voice of singing men and singing women? wherefore then should thy servant be yet a burden unto my lord the king?

NIV: I am now eighty years old. Can I tell the difference between what is enjoyable and what is not? Can your servant taste what he eats and drinks? Can I still hear the voices of male and female singers? Why should your servant be an added burden to my lord the king?

NLT: I am eighty years old today, and I can no longer enjoy anything. Food and wine are no longer tasty, and I cannot hear the singers as they sing. I would only be a burden to my lord the king.

How can the new versions possibly change discerning between “good and evil” to discerning between “what is enjoyable and what is not”? And the NLT simply says the man isn’t able to enjoy anything. Again, good and evil is taken completely out of the Bible.

17. 2 Samuel 22:5-6

KJV: When the waves of death compassed me, the floods of ungodly men made me afraid; The sorrows of hell compassed me about; the snares of death prevented me;

NIV: The waves of death swirled about me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me. The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me.

NLT: “The waves of death overwhelmed me; floods of destruction swept over me. The grave wrapped its ropes around me; death laid a trap in my path.

“Ungodly” is once again removed in the newer versions, and “hell” is changed to “grave”. So once again there is no afterlife, just death. This is materialistic and atheistic.

18. Proverbs 15:11

KJV: Hell and destruction are before the LORD: how much more then the hearts of the children of men?

NIV: Death and Destruction lie open before the LORD– how much more do human hearts!

NLT: Even Death and Destruction hold no secrets from the LORD. How much more does he know the human heart!

Here, “hell” is replaced with “death”. Notice a pattern?

19. Isaiah 14:9

KJV: Hell from beneath is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming: it stirreth up the dead for thee, even all the chief ones of the earth; it hath raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations.

NIV: The realm of the dead below is all astir to meet you at your coming; it rouses the spirits of the departed to greet you– all those who were leaders in the world; it makes them rise from their thrones– all those who were kings over the nations.

NLT: “In the place of the dead there is excitement over your arrival. The spirits of world leaders and mighty kings long dead stand up to see you.

“Hell” is replaced with “the realm of the dead”. Yet again, no afterlife.

20. Isaiah 55:3

KJV: Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.

NIV: Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David.

NLT: “Come to me with your ears wide open. Listen, and you will find life. I will make an everlasting covenant with you. I will give you all the unfailing love I promised to David.

Here, “soul” is completely taken out of the new versions.

21. Ephesians 5:9

KJV: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)

NIV: (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth)

NLT: For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true.

Finally, in this one, “Spirit”, the Holy Spirit, in the KJV is replaced with “light” in the new versions. So again, no spiritual realm, and a removed reference to the Holy Spirit.

This was just a small glimpse into how very altered the new Bible versions are from the original, under the justification of making it easier to read. The website for the NIV says that it “combines ease of reading with uncompromising accuracy”, and that the NIV is “one of the most faithful translations of the Bible ever made”. The website for the NLT says it “is exegetically accurate”. However, rather than striving for accuracy, these versions instead strove for a Bible that has no reference to good and evil, to the spiritual realm or to the afterlife, one in which Jesus is the son of Joseph rather than of God, and one that has no Lucifer and only a “morning star” equal to Christ. I choose the King James Version as my Bible. Do you care enough to make a choice and take a stand?

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2 Responses

  1. Watching some videos on youtube and then becoming curious myself. I decided to check some of my personal favorite KJV verses and compare them to the new versions, mainly using an NIV I own and the website biblehub.com, which compares the versions. I am hoping to make it more clear to good Christians how different these version are. Thank you so much for reading!

  2. Dianne says:

    I agree with you that the differences are glaring. How did you come to learn of these?

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