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NIV VS KJV Bible

Let’s find the best Bible translation for your needs. In this comparison, we have two very different Bible translations.

We have the King James Version and we have the New International Version. But what makes them so different? Let’s take a look!

Origin 

KJV – The KJV was originally published in 1611. This translation is based entirely on the Textus Receptus. Most modern readers will take this translation very literally.  

NIV – Was first printed in 1978. The translators were from a group of theologians who spanned a large variety of denominations from multiple countries. 

Readability 

KJV – is frequently considered very difficult to read. Though some people prefer the archaic language used. 

NIV – The translators tried to balance out between readability and Word for Word content. It is much easier to read than the KJV, however, it is not as poetic sounding. 

Bible translation differences

KJV – This translation is known as the Authorized Version or the King James Bible. The KJV offers beautiful poetic language and a more of a word-for-word approach.

NIV – The translators are quoted as saying that their goal was to create an “accurate, beautiful, clear, and dignified translation suitable for public and private reading, teaching, preaching, memorizing, and liturgical use.” The NIV is a Thought for Thought translation. This is also known as Dynamic Equivalence.  

Bible verse comparison

KJV 

Genesis 1:21 “And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.”

John 17:25 “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me.”

Ephesians 1:4 “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.”

Psalm 119:105 “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”

1 Timothy 4:13 “Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.”

2 Samuel 1:23 “Saul and Jonathan— in life they were loved and admired, and in death they were not parted. They were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions.”

Ephesians 2:4 “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us.”

Romans 11:6 “And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.”

1 Corinthians 6:9 “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind.”

Galatians 1:6 “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel.”

Romans 5:11 “And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.”

James 2:9 “But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.”

NIV

Genesis 1:21 So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

John 17:25 “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me.”

Ephesians 1:4 “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love.”

Psalm 119:105 “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.

1 Timothy 4:13 “Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching.”

2 Samuel 1:23 “Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant in their lives, and in their death they were not divided: they were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions.”

Ephesians 2:4 “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy.”

Romans 11:6 “And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.”

1 Corinthians 6:9 “Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men.”

Galatians 1:6 “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel.”

Romans 5:11 “Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”

James 2:9 “But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.”

Revisions

KJV – The original publication was 1611. There were several revisions that followed. Some of which were better than others. But the 1611 remains the most popular. 

NIV – Some of the revisions include the New International Version UK, The New International Reader’s Version, and Today’s New International Version.

Target audience

KJV – Generally the target audience is adults. 

NIV -children, young adults as well as adults are the target audience for this translation.

Popularity

KJV –  Is still by far the most popular Bible translation. According to the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture at Indiana University, 38% of Americans will choose a KJV.

NIV – This Bible translation has more than 450 million copies in print. It is the first major translation to depart from the KJV.

Pros and cons of both 

KJV – The KJV is renowned for its historical significance and poetic sounding language. However, it does rely solely on the Textus Receptus for translation.

NIV – The NIV has a very causal and natural feel to its translation which lends itself well to public reading. However, some of the interpretation is not exactly accurate as it is a thought for thought instead of a word for word. 

Pastors 

Pastors who use the KJV – Dr. Cornelius Van Til, Dr. R. K. Harrison, Greg Laurie, Dr. Gary G. Cohen, Dr. Robert Schuller, D. A. Carson, John Frame, Mark Minnick, Tom Schreine, Steven Anderson.

Pastors who use the NIV – David Platt, Donald A. Carson, Mark Young, Charles Stanley, Jim Cymbala, Larry Hart, David Rudolph, David Wilkinson, Rev. Dr. Kevin G. Harney, John Ortberg, Lee Strobel, Rick Warren.

Study Bibles to choose 

Best KJV Study Bibles 

  • KJV Life Application Study Bible
  • The Nelson KJV Study Bible

Best NIV Study Bibles 

  • The NIV Archaeology Study Bible
  • The NIV Life Application Study Bible

Other Bible translations 

The most accurate translations would be Word for Word translations. Some of these translations include ESV, NASB and the Amplified Version.

Which one should I choose?

Ultimately, the best Bible translation is going to be your choice. Some prefer the KJV and some prefer the NIV. The personal favorite for Biblereasons.com is the NASB. The Bible you choose needs to be carefully considered and prayed over. Talk to your pastor and research your options. 

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