Should You Use the King James Version When You Preach?

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This is a common question that comes up from time to time. I feel like I might be stepping into the lions den in answering it, but here goes. First, one must recognize that there are two issues here. Which version to use when preaching and what version should you use in preparation? I will write about the preparation piece in a few days. There I will argue that you should use many versions, but that is for another post.

As to which version to use in preaching, personally, I like to use the King James version whenever possible. However, I believe it is best to use the translation that is the accepted translation in the congregation that you are preaching. I’ve been in congregations where the New American Standard Bible (NASB) is the default translation. So even though I might use the KJV and other translations in exegesis, when it is time to preach to those congregations, I use the NASB.

From my perspective, it’s not something to battle over. I wouldn’t use the New International Version (NIV) in some congregations that believe the NIV is evil. There are some congregations that believe that other translations are problematic. Unless you want to go and teach people why different translations are used and how they were created then you should use the translation that they use. If you ain’t talking about translations in your sermon then use their translation. Now a default acceptable translation in most places is the King James. However, there are some places where to use such a translation will cause issues. Again the question becomes do you want to address the issues in your sermon, or do you want to preach your sermon?

Again, I am not talking about the translation(s) used in preparation. I will argue in another post why we should use a multitude of translation. I am arguing here that in presentation, you must be careful to take the “hearers” of your sermon into consideration. Don’t close their ears on you over a translation – unless you’re making a statement about Bible translation. Unless that is your point, then I would say, use the translation that’s operative in that particular congregation.

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Sherman Haywood Cox II

Sherman Haywood Cox II is the director of Soul Preaching. He holds the M.Div with an emphasis in Homiletics and a M.S. in Computer Science.

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