top of page

How Accurate is our Translation?

And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?, Acts 2:8.

I seriously doubt that even the most rabid advocate of the new versions would doubt that each and every person who heard the word of God preached on the Day of Pentecost, heard it exactly as the Holy Ghost wanted them to hear it, but in their own language. Anyone who is at all proficient in more than one language, or who has at least studied the nuances of translation, will know that a word for word translation can often be misleading. You can be sure that what the assembled multitude heard in their own language was not a word for word translation.

That is why the King James Bible never uses any form of the word "translate" when referencing a verse found in one language, but quoting it in another language. The King James Bible uses the word "interpretation". And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.), John 9:7. That was easy wasn't it? The Holy Ghost told you how he wanted "Siloam" to be interpreted.

Isn't that the proper translation of the word?; not according to They tell us this: SILOAM (Greek) SHILOAH (Hebrew) SHELAH SILOAH: A name that in view of its meaning (“conducted") was probably applied first to an aqueduct on the east side of Jerusalem then to one or more pools connected with Jerusalem's water supply and finally to an area adjoining the southeast hill.

We can excuse a secular website for giving us their literal translation of the word "Siloam". I doubt that anyone there accepts the primacy of scripture. It is probable that they see the bible as merely another ancient record subject to the failings of men. I quote them to demonstrate that translation is not an exact science. We are blessed to have the Holy Ghost's interpretation of "Siloam". That is how God wants you to see the word.

When the President of the United States confers with a foreign leader who speaks another language, he does not take a translator, he takes an interpreter. He does not want a word for word rendering of what is said. He wants to know what it means. WWII was prolonged for a couple of long days because the Japanese high command and the American Government had trouble interpreting certain words. Word for word translation can often leave two people groping in the dark as to what the other person means to say.

Keeping in mind that our King James Bible is not a translation by the Holy Ghost. It is the Holy Ghost's interpretation of the Hebrew and Greek of the word of God into the English Tongue. 400 years of its work among the English speaking people is proof enough.

Every generation will produce men and women who take umbrage with how the King James Bible renders a word or a passage into the English Language. These will not be stupid or uneducated people. They will be people who do not understand the nuances of interpretation and who like the aforementioned website, see the word of God as subject to the fallibility of man. They want to help.

I am currently reading James White's book, The King James Only Controversy. There is a man that I hold dear and whose ministry is dear to me was recently overthrown by the book. English is a second language to him and to those to whom he ministers. The church that owns much of his ministry has recently switched to the New King James Bible. When young people more proficient in their mother tongue complain about the King James English, he has taken to giving them the ESV.

In spiritual warfare there are losses and wins. This is a loss to the work of God. Ten years from now (probably much less), the sponsoring church will be a silly shallow place. The young people to whom he gave the corrupt English Version will be indistinguishable from the world at large. For this reason I have waded into the sewer of modern thought on bible translations.

I want to make note of a passage in James White's book that is found on page 129. He quotes Acts 20:28 from both the King James Bible and the NIV.

King James Bible: Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

New International Version: Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God,[a] which he bought with his own blood.

Mr. White goes on to say on page 129, "In this case the KJV translates the word that literally means "to shepherd" as to "to feed", which, while acceptable, breaks up the connection between "flock" and "shepherd" in Paul's thought. At the same time, the KJV maintains the longer sentence structure of the passage, while the NIV simplifies it by breaking it into two sentences, which might cause a person to miss the fact in Paul's speech to the Ephesian elders, shepherding God's flock was the purpose for which the elders had been appointed to their office."

Herein is an excellent example of "interpretation" over "translation". Why would the Apostle Paul tell the elders to "shepherd" the church when he just finished explaining to them that the church was a flock and that they were the overseers? What was the shepherd to do? According to Jesus Christ, they were to; Feed my sheep, John 21:16 and 17. No one doubts that Diotrephes was shepherding the people in 3rd John 1:9-10. What he obviously wasn't doing was feeding the flock.

If all we had to do was to keep trying to make better and better translations, it would be difficult to argue against people who merely see a sterile word and seek a sterile translation of that word. If we want the truth, and we want that truth to actually work in people's lives, we need the Holy Ghost's infallible interpretation of the word of God into the English language.

There is a story told of the Confederate General Stonewall Jackson which I hope is not apocryphal. Desperately needing to get his army across a swollen river, he commissioned his engineers to design and build a bridge. Meanwhile, an enterprising private in charge of moving a cannon, felled a tree and with the help of many men, got the cannon across the river. As wagoneers and other cannoneers came to cross, they slowly improved the shaky crossing.

In the morning, General Jackson was pleased to see his army across the river. He asked the grinning private who saluted him, "where are the engineers?". "They're still in their tents making plans", was the answer. As men of God have faithfully shepherded millions of sinners from the wrath of God to the arms of faith in Christ Jesus using our King James Bible, the "engineers" are still at it. They're still trying to figure out what God said so they can tell us.

392 views2 comments

Recent Posts

See All


Thank you for your post Sir, I am an English man from York, and to be truthful I do not understand what the problem is with the KJV it is very easy to read and understand.


Feb 26

The simple three-letter word, "ado," should have ended James White's dubious career a long time ago:

bottom of page