The Instigator
Pro (for)
7 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
5 Points

The King James Version is stupid

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Post Voting Period
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after 4 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/22/2012 Category: Religion
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,029 times Debate No: 26453
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
Votes (4)




Alrighty, challenging Muted persuant to this [1].

I don't have quite as much time to debate as I would like, so I'm going with a simple three-round format with the first round being for acceptance. Time to argue is only 48 hours.

Round 1: Acceptance, relevant opening comments
Round 2: Arguments
Round 3: Conclusions, no new arguments

Don't use 'semantics', don't troll, don't be retarded, etc. etc. I have no doubt that Muted would have conformed to these implicit expectations without me declaring them, but I want to be sure I make a token attempt at setting rules.

A definition:

'The King James Version' refers to the English translation of the Bible made by the Church of England in the early 17th century. It is also known as the 'Authorized Version' [2].

When I say the King James Version 'is stupid', I do not literally mean that the King James Version's faculties are deadened or that it is in a stupor. I am colloquially expressing my view that I believe the King James Version to be a subpar translation of the Bible compared to other modern 'good' translations (excluding other poor translations such as the NIV).




Accepted. Begin argument. No opening comments needed.
Debate Round No. 1


I thank my opponent for accepting this debate. Without further ado, I will begin arguments.


Contention One: The King James Version is archaic

This is fairly self explanatory. As I mentioned in Round 1, the King James Version was translated in the 17th century. That's a while ago, and if you try to read the King James version you'll find the English is quite outdated.

In addition, the King James version was translated from inferior Greek manuscripts.

'The translators appear to have otherwise made no first-hand study of ancient manuscript sources, even those that – like the Codex Bezae – would have been readily available to them.' - Wikipedia

The King James version was translated from the Textus Receptus, which is widely acknowledged as a complete disaster. It was translated by Erasmus, and was somewhat rushed and as a consequence is absolutely riddled with typographical errors [3].

Contention Two: The King James Version is wrong about the Deuterocanon

A quote from this [1] source:

"The apocrypha is a selection of books which were published in the original 1611 King James Bible. These apocryphal books were positioned between the Old and New Testament (it also contained maps and geneologies). The apocrypha was a part of the KJV for 274 years until being removed in 1885 A.D. A portion of these books were called deuterocanonical books by some entities, such as the Catholic church."

Either the Deuterocanonical books are inspired, or they're not. If they're inspired, the King James Version erred in putting them in their own section and unjustly seperating them from the rest of the Old Testament. If they're not inspired, the King James Version erred in including them at all in the first place.

While claims have been made that even if the Deuterocanon is not inspired it is still profitable for reading, it would blatantly wrong to put uninspired writings in if they were actually uninspired. It might be profitable to read my random musings on life, the universe, and everything, but I hardly think that would justify my inserting 'The Epistle of AlwaysMoreThanYou' into a translation of the Bible.

Contention Three: Flaws

While translation errors are not unique to the King James Version by any means, it makes some errors that are particularly egregious and not found in most modern translations.

'And there was again a battle in Gob with the Philistines, where Elhanan the son of Jaareoregim, a Bethlehemite, slew the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the staff of whose spear was like a weaver's beam.' - 2 Samuel 29:19 (KJV)

The problem with this verse is that the underlined portion does not appear in the Hebrew at all [2]. Therefore, it is a complete interpolation.

'For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.' - Hebrews 4:8 (KJV)

This is translated as 'Joshua' in almost every other translation.

'He was a mighty hunter before the Lord: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the Lord.' - Genesis 10:9 (KJV)

This implies that Nimrod and God were pals, which couldn't have been less true.

'If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.' - Luke 14:26 (KJV)

So Jesus said that you must love your neighbor as yourself, yet you cannot be his disciple unless you hate your family?

'Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.' - 1 Corinthians 7:19 (KJV)

This doesn't make too much sense.

I would also like to humbly submit my theory that the KJV translators had a unicorn fetish.

'His glory is like the firstling of his bullock, and his horns are like the horns of unicorns: with them he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth: and they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh.' - Deuteronomy 33:17 (KVJ)

Will the unicorn be willing to serve thee, or abide by thy crib? Canst thou bind the unicorn with his band in the furrow? or will he harrow the valleys after thee?' - Job 39:9-10 (KJV)

'He maketh them also to skip like a calf; Lebanon and Sirion like a young unicorn.' - Psalms 29:6 (KJV)

'And the unicorns shall come down with them, and the bullocks with the bulls; and their land shall be soaked with blood, and their dust made fat with fatness.' - Isaiah 34:7 (KJV)


While the King James version doesn't exactly deserved to be burned, it is a fairly poor and outdated translation.



I would like to note that your links for 1 and 2 do not work.

C1: Archaic.
Of course it is archaic. All translations of the Bible comes from ancient near-original manuscripts. However, to dismiss it as inferior due to the manuscript from which it was translated having typographical errors, is simply incorrect. I agree that typographical errors exist, however, they do so in all manuscripts that have been copied by hand, although in some cases antiquity does not determine originality, as in the older a text is, the closer it is to the original. That is generally, but not always, so.
Luke contains errors, such as an extra "Cainan" in its genealogy, which was not present in the earliest manuscripts. [1] This is present in almost all translations. The New Testament has so many ancient manuscripts (over 24,000) that it is hard to determine which has the most "originality."
Hard to read archaic English. The level of difficulty in reading does not determine the number of errors in a book. What is modern may not necessarily be right. Ussher"s "Annals of the World" [2] had citations to manuscripts that have since been lost. All knowledge we have of them comes from Annals.

C2: Wrong about Deuterocanon.
If the books were inspired, the KJV did not err in putting it separately. The Bible consists of over 60 individual books bound together. The arrangement of St. Paul"s letters are in the order of longest to shortest, roughly, but not in order of it"s writing date. The arrangement of the books is merely for reading convenience, including when it is arranged chronologically.
If the books were not inspired, and were profitable to read, it would definitely have been written by a scholar versed in theology. Therefore, my opponent"s opposition to this idea, comparing it to "random musings" of his own, when he/myself is not a scholar, fails thoroughly.
As the apocrypha lays between the OT and the NT, it marks clearly that it is not of either of the testaments. It even includes maps, something which most modern translations have. It was not some random marketing gimmick (not my opponent"s words), but an actual attempt to help the mostly ignorant target readers to better understand the context of the Bible. Not everyone knows instantly where "BeerSheba" is.

C3: Flaws. I searched up quite a few "modern" translation, and these same "flaws" are found in there as well.
E(error)1:If one were not to add any words, one must use a literal translation of the Hebrew/Greek texts. This does not suit well to an average English reader. I do have such a Bible, although it is only a part of the whole. I"m not claiming to be fluent in Hebrew, by the way.
E2: Jesus" name is a transliteration from Yeshua. Different forms of the same name, not a flaw.
E3: I do not see how this implies my opponent"s assertion. We are all "before the Lord" in one way or another, and this is a theological matter, not a textual matter.
E4: That"s what Jesus said. It is not an error of the KJV, hence it is a theological, rather than textual, matter.
E5: I do not know if my opponent realizes, but in every single translation, including those so called "modern," I have found that only the phrasing has changed, and little at that. Once again, theological, not textual.
E6: Unicorn fetish. Reem is the animal, and it is translated into wild ox, buffalo, rhinoceros, unicorn. The depiction is that of an animal with horns on its head. It is not that they had a fetish, but that they followed the manuscript, LXX and vulgate uses variation of "unicorn." Furthermore, there is no negating evidence against unicorns. All arguments for/againsts are mostly from silence with a lot of differing data interpretations.

For all Bible comparisons, see

Debate Round No. 2


Sorry about the links. I'll repost them.

Contention One: Archaic

I find it somewhat amusing that my opponent writes "All translations of the Bible comes frmo ancient near-original manuscripts", because while that is the case with most modern Bibles, it sure isn't the case with the King James Version.

Dismissing a manuscript for having any typographical errors would be unwise, but the Textus Receptus uniquely a disaster. It was translated from 10th or 12th century manuscripts [1], which were neither ancient nor near-original.

As I mentioned last round, a few typographical errors would not be a problem. However, the Textus Receptus contains thousands of these errors, which is simply ridiculous. Erasmus saw himself as in competition with someone else, and so he rushed to release it first and as a result it was so messed up he himself admitted it was very poorly done [2].

My opponent makes a compelling argument for me when he writes 'Luke contains errors... which was not present in the earliest manuscripts.'. This is a severe argument against the King James Version, which used late and much inferior texts. As I said in the first round, the translators of the King James Version had access to some early manuscripts, but chose not to use them.

'Technically, however, it is far from the original text.' - [3] on the Textus Receptus

All of these attacks on the Textus Receptus translate to the King James Version, as it is from the Textus Receptus the KJV was translated.

An analogy: I have a book written in Russian fifty years ago. I want to buy a copy of it in English, because I can't read Russian. The book shop guy says 'Here, look at this copy. It's written in French, and is translated from a modified version of the original Russian text that was adapted five years ago by a professor of Russian. Or, you can take this other copy that's written in English, and is translated from the first manuscripts of the original book we have, dating from around 40 years ago.'.

While the analogy is a bit extreme (King James English isn't as hard to comprehend as French for a native English speaker), it serves to get the point across. Given that the King James Version is translated from poorer quality texts, and given that it uses somewhat incomprehensible language, it is preferable to use more modern translations.

Contention 2: Deuterocanon

If the books were inspired, the KJV did err in putting them in a seperate section and labeling them as 'Apocryphal'. That's wrong. The canon of Christian scripture does not consist of the Old Testament, the Apocryphal Testament, and the New Testament. Justly, the Deuterocanon would belong with the Old Testament if it was inspired, and should not have been included if it were not.

My opponent writes "If the books were not inspired, and were profitable to read, it would definitely have been written by a scholar versed in theology.". So what? The Bible, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is 'The Scriptures of the Old and New Testament.'. Are the Deuterocanonical books scriptures of the Old Testament? If they are, then why segregate them? If they're not, then why include them at all?

No matter how you cut it, the King James Version translators botched it by putting in the Deuterocanon. Does your Bible include the Shepherd of Hermas? The Epistle of Barnabas? The Epistle of Clement? Surely the authors of those works were 'scholar[s] versed in theology'. Yet, their works are not included because they are not deemed inspired.

If you have things that are profitable for reading but are not inspired, they have no just place in the Bible. The Bible isn't supposed to be a catelogue of every writing ever that may have some implication on Christian thought. It's only for the scriptures.

And on the other hand, you have no reason to take scriptures and seperate them out from where they belong. It would be like me taking every one of Paul's epistles, and sticking them in the very back of the Bible with the label 'Spurious' ('Apocryphal'). If they are inspired, it is abusive to degrade them in such a fashion, and if they are not it is abusive to exalt them in such a fashion. The KJV is wrong about this no matter how you cut it. This makes it inferior.

Contention 3: Flaws

For some reason, I was a moron and said I quote 2 Samuel 29:19 when I actually quoted 2 Samuel 21:19 (2 Samuel 29:19 doesn't exist). However, my argument here stands. Most translations [4] accurately ackowledge that 'the brother of' was added by King James translators for absolutely no reason.

While my opponent makes a reasonable point regarding literal translations, I think there's a big difference between substituting something that is more or less equivalent and substituting something that is completely different.

For instance, if the Hebrew read 'Jesus threw chair', and I translate it as 'Jesus threw the chair', 'Jesus threw a chair', or even 'Jesus threw a stool', that's adding/changing without having any effect on the meaning of the verse. However, if I change it to say 'Jesus threw the table', the meaning changes completely.

There's a pretty significant difference between someone killing me and someone killing my brother.

Pro also writes concerning the difference between Joshua and Jesus, "Jesus' name is a transliteration from Yeshua. Different forms of the same name, not a flaw."

So was it Jesus or Joshua who failed to give them rest? Like I said, pretty much every other translation goes with Joshua [5]. Context is important.

On unicorns, my opponent writes 'The depiction is that of an animal with horns on its head.'. That is fine. Why, however, did the King James translators decide to insert a mythical beast into the Bible? Does my opponent believes unicorns exist? I see it as a flaw that the King James translators decided to go with 'unicorn' over the perfectly serviceable 'wild ox', 'rhinoceros', etc. etc.

Everything I have not addressed here, I have dropped.


While you could do worse than the King James Version, in comparison to most modern Bibles it is far inferior. It is outmoded in style of writing, translated from an inferior and error-ridden unoriginal manuscript, contains the Deuterocanon in a fashion that cannot be rationalized, and is obsessed with unicorns.

The resolution is affirmed.


Sources (Round 1):


C1: I will drop all of my opponent"s points other than this. "This is a severe argument against the King James Version, which used late and much inferior texts." All other translations which I have seen so far still contains the error I mentioned. Hence it is not an argument against KJV. I will now note that archaic-ness does not determine stupidity in the manner used in this debate.
C2: The original manuscripts do not consist of OT and NT. As I mentioned, it is a collation of 60+ books in an order convenient to the reader. My opponent insists that it has to be part of the OT if it were canon, however, this fails in that it is known to be not part of the recognized canon of the OT. If it were indeed inspired, it would have to have been put separately, not necessarily within the OT. Maps are not divinely inspired, and if Pro"s contention is to be respected, all versions of the Bible must be void of any substance other than the text itself. No dictionaries, no concordances, nothing. They are not inspired.
Furthermore, the DC books were not included first in the KJV. They were widely accepted by the early Christians, why they are now regarded as non-canon is unknown.
C3: If indeed Goliath was him who was killed, then who was the Goliath that David killed earlier? Is this a Bible contradiction?
Pro forgets that "Jesus" is the Greek form of "Yeshua" or "Joshua." They are the same word. Jesus son of Joseph and Joshua the son of Nun have the same name. [1]
My opponent has failed to take into account the information I have given, namely, that "unicorn," or a form of it, appears in the texts from which TR was translated and from which almost all others are.

Conclusions: My opponent"s argument to antiquity fails because the Scriptures itself is old. His second opposition fails on grounds I have stated. The third contention has almost no substance. What he has dropped, I will leave dropped. However, he fumbles on the second two of those retained. He does have a point, though, about the first.

Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Muted 5 years ago
VB by like a boss.
Posted by AlwaysMoreThanYou 5 years ago
I worded the resolution so badly because that was the exact comment I made that prompted Muted to debate me.
Posted by AlwaysMoreThanYou 5 years ago
In Round 3 when I wrote "Pro also writes", I meant "Con also writes". Sorry.
Posted by DanielChristopherBlowes 5 years ago
Very good point on the apocrypha: either they are inspired or they're not.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by Smithereens 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: I think Pro won.
Vote Placed by Clash 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Countering Like_a_Boss's votebomb.
Vote Placed by Like_a_Boss 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: The King James Version is not stupid.
Vote Placed by TrasguTravieso 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:31 
Reasons for voting decision: The premise was worded in an unnecessarily insulting way, but the arguments about the deuterocanon were well put, as they through doubt onto the KJV whether you regard them as canonical or not.