Upon comparing the KJV (King James Bible) with your NASB (New American Standard Bible), or NIV (New International Version), you will find that the two latter translations are missing verses found in the KJV. If you search the newer translations you will quickly notice that John 5:4, Acts 8:37, 1 John 1:7, and Mark 16:9-20 are either missing or bracketed off. What gives? Has someone tampered with the text of scripture? Why is my KJV Bible missing these verses?
First, we need to rest assured that such omission is not part of an elaborate scheme of newer translations to usurp the authority and content of scripture. The reason those verses are omitted or bracketed off in our newer translations is because modern translators understand these verses to not be plausibly part of the older and more reliable manuscript tradition. The KJV was first published in 1611 and was based upon fewer and later manuscripts. However, much has been discovered since then by way of biblical manuscripts such that we now have many more manuscripts in our possession, and much older than what was available to the translators of the KJV. The verses that our modern translations omit are just not found in our older and more reliable manuscripts, and hence they are not included or they are footnoted in our modern translations.
This being said, the KJV Bible is a wonderful translation that embodies some of the best of what the English language has to offer. Its beauty and rhythmic style is great for memorization and has been faithfully used to proclaim God’s truth throughout the centuries. The omission of the verses mentioned above does not in any way diminish God’s Word nor subtracts from it. Furthermore, the verses omitted in our modern translations do nothing to diminish, subtract or change any of the major themes and doctrines of the bible. If anything, such modern discoveries of older biblical manuscripts which have a stronger textual base confirm more surely that we can rely upon the Bible as an accurate record of God’s dealings with men.
If the reader is interested in this topic (textual criticism), there are great resources that delve deeper into these issues.
- King James Only Controversy, by James R. White
- Understanding Scripture: An Overview of the Bible’s Origin, Reliability, and Meaning, Wayne Grudem