Why do we use the King James Version of the bible?
Since the restoration of Christ’s church in 1830, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have used the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible as their companion to the Book of Mormon. Although there are many different versions and translations of the Bible, some much easier to read than the KJV, we believe that the KJV is the most correctly translated.
Historically, there have been many compilations of the Gospels by faithful saints, scholars, and priests. As with any document being copied, translated, transferred, recopied, retranslated, and moved again, some of the originality will be lost along the way.
Most original documents and records were written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. The early Catholic Church had compiled the Bible into a Latin translation. In the Epistle Dedicatory that the compilers of the KJV wrote to King James, himself, in the front of the Bible, they say,
“For when Your Highness had once out of deep judgement apprehended how convenient it was, that out of the Original Sacred Tongues, together with comparing of the labours, both in our own, and other foreign Languages, of many worthy men who went before us, there should be one more exact Translation of the holy Scriptures into the English Tongue” (emphasis added).
Members of the LDS Church believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly (Article of Faith 8), and we believe that translation to be the King James Version. The compilers of the original KJV knew previous Bibles weren’t 100% correct, and that is why there are italicized words in the KJV—the compilers were correcting a previous translation, or adding in a phrase that had been dropped. After completing the translation of the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith also began a translation of the King James Version—we call it the Joseph Smith Translation. A few verses here or there have phrases added or reworded to make it a more perfect translation. The LDS King James Version is complete with footnotes, not only including some original Hebrew, Greek, or Aramaic literal translations and the Joseph Smith Translations, but also references to related scriptures elsewhere in the Bible and the Book of Mormon.