KJV Bible. Does it really have 20,000 errors as claimed by JW on R +S?


Supply references please NOT just opinion.

Update 2:

HJPaul. Thanks greatly for your well researched + intelligent answer. I didn't want to name names, however your answer has encouraged me to so do; 'Teem' that's the moniker [photo icon also] of the person who has made that statement here on Yahoo R + S and not long ago. Of course that statement was made by him and also back in the day by tJW using it as a referenced quote to discredit the KJV Bible, in my opinion. Which is what we all do:use references to support our viewpoint from time to time.

30 Answers

  • 2 years ago
    Favourite answer

    The claim that the KJV has 20,000 errors is from the November 15, 1950 Watchtower, page 455. However, in typical Watchtower fashion, it does not cite its source to back up its claim.

    Edit for Hannah J Paul:

    You said "A little research will yield that it has been said that in 1659, William Kilburne found 20,000 errors in six different KJV's. It has been said elsewhere that William Kilburne claimed in 1659 that “20,000 errors had crept into six different editions of the King James."

    What you omitted was that most KJV's are based on the 1769 revision made by Benjamin Blaney, which differs from the 1611 version in 75,000 details. (Source: One Bible Only?: Examining Exclusive Claims for the King James Bible by Roy E. Beacham, Kevin T. Bauder page 90)

    One wonders why Watchtower would "allude to the claim" concerning KJVs published in the 1600's while omitting that it is no longer applicable to most modern KJVs which are based on the 1769 revision. One wonders why, with "a little research", you didn't acknowledge this.

    Does this lead the reader to erroneously believe that modern KJVs have 20,000 errors? The article doesn't say nor clarify otherwise. Perhaps if Watchtower cited its source, this additional information would be found, and the reader would rightfully conclude that modern day KJVs do not contain 20,000 errors as the 1659 KJV did. But that doesn't support Watchtower's agenda does it?

    It would in the interest of truth and clarity if the article said "so that the King James Version [of 1611 or 1659] has been convicted of containing over 20,000 errors." But "[of 1611 or 1659]" was not included, which was misleading enough for this to be called into question in this manner, especially since the article was previously referring to the 1611 KJV, not the 1659 KJV. At best, this is obfuscation. At worst, it's misleading. Apparently, Watchtower made a claim regarding the 1611 KJV based on a source regarding the 1659 KJV.

    You said "The fact that Anonymous plainly states that the Witnesses do not cite their source to back up such a claim shows that it is not the Witnesses who made the claim – it is someone else."

    The fact that this claim is used in support of Watchtower's argument implies that Watchtower agrees with this claim. Otherwise, why would it use said claim to make a point in the first place? If one were to make an argument based on an important statistical data set, it is important to cite the source of said statistical data set in order to establish credibility to the reader. Perhaps this is not important to typical readers of Watchtower literature where credibility towards Watchtower literature is already absolute, but it is important in academia, to skeptics and the general population as a whole. Simply stating "someone else" does not establish credibility since we do not know who that "someone else" is.

  • Anonymous
    2 years ago

    I still fail to see why king james has the right to dictate

    what version we read.

  • 2 years ago

    Sometimes I just despair with some of the totally uneducated comments made on YA. Take for instance the one made by Paul in his answer. “The translators appointed by King James were simply not expert in the ancient languages, and it shows, on almost every page.”

    Oh wow! what uninformed nonsense!

    For instance:

    At least sixty men were directly involved in the translation of the King James Bible Most were Translators, while a few were project overseers, revisers and editors. Some served in several roles.

    They all had a familiarity with the ancient languages of Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and often many more. Bible historian, Gordon Campbell, has observed:

    “The population from which scholars can now be drawn is much larger than in the seventeenth century, but it would be difficult now to bring together a group of more than fifty scholars with the range of languages and knowledge of other disciplines that characterized the KJB Translators.” (Bible – The Story of the King James Version 1611-2011 Oxford, Gordon Campbell, Oxford University Press 2010.)

    The credentials of these translators are historically unshakeable and their names and credentials, can be found here;


    Perhaps, (for paul’s sake) we should just mention a few like

    George aglionby “According to one of his biographers "He was esteemed one of the greatest students of the Greek language of any that lived in that age”


    John Harmar. who had been called a "most noble Latinist and Grecian",


    Leonard Hutten. was known as an ‘excellent Grecian’, a competence that served him well, since many of the oldest texts available to the Translators were in Greek.


    John Perrin. Perrin was a veteran Greek reader and regius professor of Greek he was recognised as one of the most experienced and esteemed Greek scholars in England if not in all Europe at that time.


    Thomas Ravis, who would have learned Greek, Latin, Hebrew and Arabic as part of the curriculum of the upper school at Westminster at that time.


    William Bedwell, Who gained the title "Father of Arabic studies in England".


    Richard Clerke, who was a member of the First Westminster Company directed by Lancelot Andrewes. First Westminster had responsibility for translating the Old Testament from Genesis through 2 Kings.

    Each member of the company was a SKILLED SCHOLAR WITH SPECIAL LEARNING IN ANCIENT LANGUAGES ESPECIALLY HEBREW . By 1604 Richard Clerke had spent many years as a teacher and scholar. He has been described as a "learned Hebraist".


    Richard Thomson, proficient in Hebrew, Greek and Latin,


    Robert Tighe, of whom one of his biographers said "an excellent textuary and profound linguist". A textuary was someone well informed in biblical scholarship, and a linguist, one skilled in languages.

    I could go on but will leave people to do their own research.

    However, I do wish to say, Paul, I don’t know whether you are a JW or not. To be quite frank, I am not really interested. But what I am interested in is ‘historical accuracy’ and whoever told you that these translators “were not experts in the ancient languages” has conned you, as ‘Historical accuracy’ clearly demonstrates.

    If we are going to have an intelligent conversation let’s at least have one that deals with facts.

  • Paul
    Lv 7
    2 years ago

    The correct number is about 6,000 translational errors. The KJV is the poorest translation still in common use. The translators appointed by King James were simply not expert in the ancient languages, and it shows, on almost every page. Many of the errors are minor - verb tenses, singular vs. plural, etc. But some of the errors are rather absurd. For example, the KJV is the only version of the Bible that mentions unicorns. They translated the Greek phrase for "horned beasts" as "unicorns" instead of the obvious correct translation found in every other version of the Bible - "oxen", or "cattle".

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  • 2 years ago

    That's rich!

    The JWs have their own claimed translation; the only problem is that their translators did not understand the original languages. Yes, really.

    They have a re vamp to suit their heretical teachings, and now you say that one of them claims errors in the KJV !!!

    Difficult to take such pathological liars seriously.

  • 2 years ago

    I believe the most often agreed upon number of errors in the bible is in the 900 range. The bible actually contradicts itself in several areas on multiple occasions. I am an Atheist. I find the entire concept of religion to be pathetically interesting.

  • Meg
    Lv 6
    2 years ago

    We have never said that. You can show proof?

  • I'm not on here 24/7 but I've never seen where any Jehovah's Witness made that claim. And many people on here pretend to be something they're not/trolls. Jehovah's Witnesses use to use the KJV before printing our own Bibles that restore God's name to it's proper places.

  • Otto
    Lv 7
    2 years ago

    I don't know about KJV. I know that the NWT-translation is closely to what is in the original Bible language.

    Source(s): Bible
  • 2 years ago

    The answer to your question is no, there do not appear to be 20,000 errors in the King James. I do not recall ever reading a JW on this site saying so but I have not read every answer by every JW or every person claiming to be a JW. It also seems to be that many of the errors found in the King James are orthographic in nature. It should also be remembered that up until they published the NWT, the King James was used by Witnesses.

    Anonymous, who has since released his anonymity for my convenience, commented that “the claim that the KJV has 20,000 errors is from the November 15, 1950 Watchtower, page 455.” I considered that Watchtower. If you consider it as well, you will find the following information. It is a response to an opinion published in "The Baptist Record." The Baptist Record was a weekly journal of the Mississippi Baptist Convention. If you Google "The Baptist Record August 31, 1950," you can actually pull up this 1950 letter/response in its entirety. In the meantime, the asker is concentrating on "JW's" whom he says claimed on R&S that the KJV has 20,000 errors. I am sure you can see how this question is worded. He is asking if the King James really has 20,000 errors "like the JW's claim."

    In the 1950 Watchtower - an issue that is literally 69 years old - there is mention of the KJB having 20,000 errors. The claim of 20,000 errors is not made by the Witnesses but by someone else to whom the Witnesses – in the midst of a response - allude. The fact that Anonymous plainly states that the Witnesses do not cite their source to back up such a claim shows that it is not the Witnesses who made the claim – it is someone else.

    Further along in the correspondence we find a response concerning the issue of the reading of 1 John 5:7, 8 in the New World Translation which had just been release at Yankee Stadium. The Baptist Record took issue with the NWT, as so many still do today. The King James includes words that do not appear in the original Greek and Bible scholars are well aware of this today. The Baptist Record talked about the original Greek in which the New Testament was written. The Bible Society asked about the Greek text edition to which the Baptist Record referred. The Bible Society then says to the editor: “You are referring to a Greek text from which the King James Version of 1611 was translated, but which is a text now rejected by true scholars because of the many mistakes, additions and omissions which mark it, so that the King James Version has been convicted of containing over 20,000 errors.” The Bible Society does not claim the KJV has over 20,000 errors, it says that among scholars, the KJV has been “convicted” of containing over 20,000 errors.” A little research will yield that it has been said that in 1659, William Kilburne found 20,000 errors in six different KJV's. It has been said elsewhere that William Kilburne claimed in 1659 that “20,000 errors had crept into six different editions of the King James. The Witnesses allude to the claim – they do not make it. Notice when Kilburne allegedly made the claim - in about 1660 he drew up a list of so-called errors. Note the conclusion of other scholars, such as John Wesley, who in 1755, noted 12,000 changes in the New Testament alone. Also, one claim is that the Revised Version of 1881 consisted of 36,000 differences.

    The claim that the King James has 20,000 errors is not a new one. But I do wonder why the asker zeros in on Jehovah's Witnesses supposedly making this claim while ignoring what a little research would have readily made apparent - the claim has been made by several Bible scholars. One also wonders why the asker is going with an allegation that the claim was made on R&S by Witnesses. We have no way of knowing whether JW's made such a claim on R&S. I have never seen such a claim made. But the asker is not asking why JW's made the claim - he is asking if it is true that the King James has 20,000 errors "like the JWs claim." He is artfully linking the claim with JW's and he is doing so, not on the basis of literature, but on the basis of something he said they claimed on R&S. If you do not wish to identify the Witness who made the claim, and I can understand if you do not (it is not nice to call out people by name on R&S no matter who they are), is it reasonable to link them to the claim and then ask us to tell you whether the 20,000 errors exist?

    I do not expect this question or my answer to escape deletion. I will say flat out that I do not want your question to be deleted. I sincerely do not. I will also say flat out that I do not claim there are 20,000 errors in the King James. It does not even seem possible inasmuch as there are only 31,173 verses IN the King James. If there is an issue with the claim that there are 20,000 errors in the King James, then that should be taken up with all who make the claim. I understand that you cannot take it up with the dead ones. But hey, stuff happens.

    I am done with this question which turned out to be another one of your subtle ways of discrediting Witnesses.

    Hannah J Paul

  • Anonymous
    2 years ago

    Of course not. Don't believe a word that JW says. They are a cult.

    Because we have all sinned against a perfectly holy and righteous God, we all deserve eternal separation from God in hell (Rom. 6:23). However, God loves us so much that He sent His only Son Jesus to die on the cross as our Substitute. Christ died on the cross for our sins, was buried, and rose from the grave (1 Cor. 15:3-4). The Bible is clear that salvation is not by our good works. The only condition for receiving everlasting life is to believe in Jesus for that free gift! It really is that simple.

    "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life" (John 6:47).

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