KJV Words: Then and Now

KJV Has Not Changed?

A common argument from the KJV Onlyists is that that the KJV is as easy as or easier to read than any other modern version. They discard any claims that the meaning of words have changed and that today the meaning is archaic. Some of the words have fallen completely out of use, while others have changed so drastically that they give a completely different understanding of the text being read.

Words that do not mean what they used to mean

In the movie The Princess Bride Inigo Montoya says, “You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means”. As one reads through the KJV it is tempting to quote this line in reference to words that appear in the text. They simply do not mean what they used to mean and therefore, when someone uses them we can echo Inigo Montoya’s line, “…I do not think it means what you think it means.”


One example is the word, “gay”. It appears only once in the KJV, but it very well could confuse today’s reader.

And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool:

James 2:3 KJV

What does the average young person in America understand the word “gay” to mean? In addition, if they do not have an education in Classical English, Middle English, or KJV Bible reading, how would they read this verse?

What did the word “gay” mean 50 years ago? For example, Nat King Cole sang in the song Lush Life:

I used to visit all the very gay places
Those come what may places
Where one relaxes on the axis of the wheel of life
To get the feel of life…
From jazz and cocktails.

Today, someone listening to Nat King Cole may have a completely different understanding of what he was singing. In the 1950’s if one looked up the definition of “gay” they would have found:

gay (ga) adj. [[ME gai < OFr < ? Frank *gahi, swift, impetuous, akng to Ger jah]] 1 joyous and lively; merry; happy; lighthearted 2 bright; brilliant [gay colors] 3 given to social life and pleasures [a gay life]

However, today, the Oxford Dictionary says:

gay Adjective (gayer, gayest) 1 (Of a person, especially a man) homosexual: ‘that friend of yours, is he gay>’ 1.1 Relating to or used by homosexuals: ‘feminsist, black, and gay perspectives’

Therefore, if one were to, without training and education, wrongly read James 2:3 as:

In addition, you have respect to him that wear the HOMOSEXUAL clothing, and say to him, Sit here in a good place; and say to the poor, stand there, or sit here at my footstool.

James 2:3 TPKJV1

There are those that would tell you the NewKJV is the one that is perverted and that you need to read the KJV only. Yet, the NewKJV renders this verse in question as:

and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, “You sit here in a good place,” and say to the poor man, “You stand there,” or, “Sit here at my footstool,”

James 2:3 NKJV

Which is the correct translation?

I ask you, which translation, today, is the correct one? Which is the one that gives the meaning that God would have us understand?

Why would you want to inflict upon the people a wrong and poor understanding of God’s word by forcing them to read the KJV only?

1 TPKJV, is a factious Bible translation. It stands for “Truly Perverted King James Version” and is poking fun at the KJV Onlyist who insist on referring to all translations that are not KJV as Perversions, such as, “the New International PerVersion.”

About keithterrill

Driver for Fancee Transport
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