About the author


Jane Gibb

Jane and her husband Steve ministered at Trinity Baptist Church in Cairns, Australia for fourteen years before moving to serve as missionaries in Port Vila, Vanuatu. Jane has a bachelor of education. Jane is active in ministry in Vanuatu as well as being a busy mother of six.


  1. avatar

    Kezia Dennison

    Touchy subject, but well handled. =)

    I think personally, I would probably give a friend the English Standard Version. I’ve recommended it to some friends and have had far more positive feedback from them then those I’ve given KJVs to. Personally I’ve found the ESV to be far easier to understand in today’s time and language than the KJV. It also remains fairly accurate to the original manuscripts and (while far less important) it doesn’t lose all of it’s poetic beauty like some of the other newer Bible versions (which I enjoy because I was raised on the KJV and it sounds more familiar). I like reading from it myself and I would definitely recommend it for a friend. =)

    FWIW. =P

  2. avatar


    At the KJV 400th Anniversary Conference at Baylor this April, Robert Alter noted that the KJV translators intentionally did not use the language of the early seventeenth. They wrote in the (already archaic) patois of the early sixteenth century so that the KJV would have a dignified tone appropriate for a translation meant to calm the waters between warring Puritans (Geneva Bible) and High Church Anglicans (Bishop’s Bible). The KJV’s “language” was intentionally antiquated.

    Unsurprisingly, our Puritan ancestors eschewed the KJV and largely continued to use the more accessible Geneva Bible until much later in the seventeenth century.

  3. avatar


    I would give them the New Living Translation. It strikes a good balance between using everyday language and remaining an accurate enough translation.

    Plus I can give it as an audio version to be listened to on the iPhone.

  4. avatar


    I would give them the KJV. Its a precise translation and in my estimation that outweighs concerns over readability.

    I think for English speakers and readers the language difficulties are less of a problem than Jane suggests. Literacy is probably better in the English speaking world than it has ever been.

  5. avatar


    Paul, thanks for that interesting light on the intentionally antiquated language of the 1611 KJV. That its lofty style did not appeal to the Puritans suggests that comprehension was more important to them than some other translation issues.

    When I choose to give a Bible to a friend, I try to use something that will not be an academic struggle for her. For a well-educated friend, I like to use a translation that follows formal equivalency. But many of my friends are not comfortable with academic reading. Easier-to-read translations seem to be a better choice for them.

    The point is that we want our friends to have a user-friendly experience with Bible reading. I think the KJV is limited in that way for most readers in 2011.

  6. avatar

    Aussie Bible-Believer

    Personally I would be willing to give any translation of the Bible to a friend except the KJV.

    I would hope we would be able to tear out the pages together and get the BBQ started immediately. I have heard that the pages of all Bibles except the KJV burn really fast and effectively.

    Then while we are watching the pages burn we will be able to discuss why the KJB is and will always be the ONLY Bible for ever and ever!

  7. avatar


    I would give them the KJV. It is an accurate translation, very readable and easy to memorise. Since our church uses it exclusively in our public worship and ministries it would not make sense to give out other versions, since the goal would be to eventually get the inquirer saved and coming along to our church. We often read passages as a congregation, which would be impossible if different versions were used. Also our hymns often quote the KJV and use the same kind of language, so it would make it easier to get used to them as well.
    I guess it depends on your view of different translations. If you believe the KJV is translated from the best Hebrew and Greek texts, then you would use it and give it out.

  8. avatar

    Aussie Street Preacher

    I’d give the KJV because it is God’s word in English.

    This whole post does nothing more than demonstrate the ignorance of the author on the issue Bible versions. There is a reason why the Bible forbids women to teach men doctrine. (1 Tim 2). If she must teach, go find a young woman and teach her to make beds, biscuits and babies (Titus 2:5).

    To respond to the four points:

    1. If only “English literature professors” can understand the KJV, why is it that my children understand it? The understanding of Scripture does not come from university, it comes from the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 2:13).

    2. The archaic words are not a major issue. When I changed to the KJV from NIV ten years ago, I had to learn a few more words, but it didn’t take long, and certainly did not deter me from reading the Bible. Keeping a “King James Bible Companion” inside your Bible will take care of any archaic words you encounter. Instead of dumbing down the Word of God to fit our dumbed down language, why not improve your english and leave the Book alone?

    Some of those horrid archaic words are necessary if we want to properly understand the Scripture, like the 2nd person pronouns thee, thou, thine, you, ye, yours which maintain the distiction between singular and plural found in the original languages. What is more important, having a faithful translation, or one that reads like an “InFocus” blog?

    3. LOL @ not using the KJV for fear of being thought of as a cultist. I’ve heard lots of arguments against the Scripture, but that’s a new one. Cults also use buildings for worship, and some use the word “church” in their names. Are you serious? The KJV is the best selling book of all time, so of course all sorts of people are going to use it.

    4. So people apparently will not read the KJV because it is “too hard”? The fact that after 400 years, millions of people are still reading it says otherwise.

    How about instead of using your apparently illiterate and lazy “friend” as an excuse to attack the Word of God, just be honest and say that your problem with God’s word is YOUR problem, not hers.

  9. avatar


    “This whole post does nothing more than demonstrate the ignorance of the author on the issue Bible versions. There is a reason why the Bible forbids women to teach men doctrine. (1 Tim 2). If she must teach, go find a young woman and teach her to make beds, biscuits and babies (Titus 2:5).”

    Woah, Aussie Street Preacher!! Sexist much?? That was a disgusting and totally unnecessary slight against Jane and females in general. She writes great posts on current and enjoyable topics. You aren’t required to read them…and just because you disagree with her doesn’t give you the right to be insulting and rude.

  10. avatar


    @Aussie Bible-Believer, but which version of the KJV? The 1611 KJV is one of the best proofs of the value of Bible revision. The KJV translators criticized their own version and corrected it in many places. Then they came out with new editions, in 1613 and 1629. The KJV has been revised about 5 times, the last in 1769, which is the one we use today. So which KJV is the ONLY Bible?

  11. avatar

    Jason Harris

    @Aussie Street Preacher and Aussie Bible Believer,

    Please read the commenting guidelines and follow them… particularly #1 and #5.


    The KJV-only position is not the topic of the post. Let’s try to keep it on topic.

  12. avatar


    @The Hulewiczs: Beware the Ban Hammer! Besides, Christ would much rather you shine that light of yours, rather than hiding it under a bushel (archaic English FTW!).

    @(Robert?)Interesting hypothesis (or theory, if you will) regarding biblical texts burning at various rates. I’m assuming you are implying slower burning = better. Aside from your confirmation bias, do you have any “biblical evidence” for such an assertion?

  13. avatar


    Whoops, not on topic, feel free to remove my previous post Jason; much apologies but I couldn’t resist the temptation.

  14. avatar


    I can’t tell if some of the above comments are serious contributions or simply aiming for a reaction (Perhaps both?)

    Those particular views regarding the KJV make life very hard for those of us who prefer the KJV for rational textual and translational reasons as well summarised by Steve’s comment.

    Views such as those expressed by the two “Aussie” brethren do much more harm than good and drive thinking people away from using the KJV. The nastiness with which those views have been expressed is also entirely unhelpful.

  15. avatar


    I can’t really decide which version to give my friend, but I’m pretty sure that if Tyndale were alive today, he wouldn’t be giving his “plowboy” friend the KJV bible. :)

  16. avatar


    While accuracy is so important — no Bible translator starts out with a desire to misrepresent God — surely, when it all boils down, *communication* and *understanding* is what it’s all about. Who speaks intending his audience not to get it? Politicians maybe, but not God (unless he has a purpose in parables). As a translator to a minority language group in the Pacific, I want my friends to understand the Scriptures better than they do now. So what would the point of me translating in such a way that deliberately obscures the text by conforming the translation to some sort of standard of literal *accuracy*, or using language from past generations that nobody has immediate access to?

  17. avatar


    Another thought… Vanuatu’s Christian history of 150 years has buried quite a few translations of the New Testament, and even a couple of full Bibles. I say ‘buried’ because not one of those translations is in use today. Why? Old language and maybe a translation theory that tried to conform the local language to the Greek source, or maybe even the KJV. Whatever, people gave up. Should we reprint them and tell our friends to stop being so illiterate and lazy? Or should we start again and give them a version that they can understand? If you’re with me on the latter choice, have we a job for you!

  18. avatar


    I agree with Mrs Gibb the ESV is much easier to understand and furthermore it avoids confusion about where the lost will spend eternity.

    I have seen the joy in the face of the new convert when they have come across NEPHILIM in Gen 6:4.

    Not to mention the rich man going to HADES in Lk 16:23. But the sinner going to HELL in Mk 9:47. Then HADES not HELL giving up sinners to be judged at the White Throne.

    Then of course Jesus’ warning “Repent for the Kingdom of OURANOS is at hand” Mt 4:17-Oops, sorry the godly scholarly translators didn’t transliterate from the ‘ORIGINAL’ Greek on this occasion.

    And what about John 3:16 where the ESV calls Jesus Christ the only Son of God when Adam was a a son of God as well Lk 3:38. The words ‘only begotten’ cause so much confusion don’t they?

    I personally love these everyday words in the ESV that convey the MESSAGE of the Bible so CLEARLY: pangs, kindred, abhor, abide, abode, adjure, ascribe, chide, confute, convocation, counsel, entreat, exult, festal, haughty, invoke, kin, ordain, portent, rail, rend, revile, sated, smitten, sojourn, stripes, swaddling.

    Yes Mrs Gibb the ESV beats the archaic King James Bible any day!

  19. avatar


    “Revered as it is for its poetic language, renowned as it is for its weighty contribution to everyday English, and respected as it is for its scholarly accuracy”

    This is always the Standard Operating Procedure of a KJB HATER-always lift-up the ‘good book’ and then stick in the knife.

  20. avatar


    “3. I want to avoid the appearance of a being part of a cult. Many cults prefer to use the KJV such as the Mormons and Christian Science.”

    Oh, really.

    So how come the ESV omits ‘THROUGH HIS BLOOD’ in Col 1:14 just like the Jehovah Witness New World Translation?:

    ESV: in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
    NWT: by means of whom we have our release by ransom, the forgiveness of our sins.

    Sounds like someone is ashamed of the ‘BLOOD’ (Didn’t John MacArthur deny the blood as well?)

  21. avatar


    Now on a more serious note I think Mrs Gibb instead of giving your friend an ESV you should give them and ALL of your new converts a one way ticket to Greenville, South Carolina where they can get the real message of the Bible from Stewart Custer of Bob Jones University who claims he has a “VERBALLY INSPIRED GREEK NEW TESTAMENT WHICH HE READS EVERY DAY”.

    Yep, nothing like going to the ‘ORIGINAL’ Greek to understand the REAL MESSAGE of the Bible.

    PS I wonder if he has the verbally inspired Hebrew OT as well, now wouldn’t that be a blessing then we can all buy a one way ticket to the USA!

  22. avatar


    Our biggest challenge is not getting the most literal word-for-word translation. Our biggest challenge is living the clear teachings of Scripture – like loving our neighbour.

    I agree with Jane. I would avoid giving the KJ translation to others, for the mere fact that it has become an ‘unloving side issue’ associated with some fundamentalist Christians. “Aussie” and “Stan have confirmed this.

  23. avatar

    Jason Harris

    I think, as others have pointed out, that you have to look at the particular person.

    If someone believes the TR is the best textual tradition from which to translate, I would think they’d want to give someone an NKJV or a Young’s Literal Translation perhaps. But then, if it’s a disciple wanting to do serious Bible study, I would think the KJV would be their recommendation as it is more suited to that sort of detailed, careful study.

    For someone who holds to an eclectic text, it would depend, for me, on the person’s age, mental capacity, intellectual predispositions, etc. I personally love the ESV both for devotional reading and for Bible study, but wouldn’t necessarily recommend it for everyone. There are some who would benefit from something a little more accessible.

  24. avatar


    If someone wants to do some more serious study, then I would probably recommend they get a lexicon and learn some basic greek. But I do agree, we need to treat each person as an individual.

  25. avatar

    Jason Harris


    Good point. Learning the original languages is the ideal for the serious student of Scripture. Still, there’s probably a group of people in the middle who have yet to learn Greek/Hebrew, but still want to learn to study and teach the Bible. For them, it is crucial to have a translation that is more literal than dynamic in approach.

  26. avatar


    @Stan, I think to be fair, your sarcasm against Jane about the ESV isn’t directed at the right person. Not once has Jane stated specifically what version of Bible she would give a friend. Fwiw, Jane hasn’t even mentioned the ESV at all. I brought the ESV into the conversation because for me it is what I would give a friend. That’s my personal opinion and beliefs. Jane hasn’t said anything about the ESV so relax with the attitude, bro. The question was What Bible would you give a friend. I said I’d give an ESV. You obviously believe the KJV would be a better option. Fair enough. Relax, no one’s trying to start a fight over the KJV. =)

  27. avatar


    @Kez True- but I have seen and heard Mrs Gibb quote from the ESV. If it smells like a dog and barks like a dog then on the balance of probabilities it is a dog!

    Perhaps she would like to tell us which perversion she would recommend.

    And, yes it is an attack on the KJB. You folks keep attacking the inspired word of God and I’ll continue to fight back.

  28. avatar



    ‘unloving side issue’

    No, the word of God is not a side issue it is of paramount importance.

    But how would you know when you don’t have it unless of course you go to South Carolina and read the ‘original’ Greek NT for yourself-I presume you are fluent in Koine Greek?

  29. avatar


    I would probably give my friend the NLT for the reasons pointed out in the original article (which I also think was very well written).

    However, for your own personal study when you are trying to “dig deeper into the word” I think any person who does not look at multiple translations and a good lexicon is missing out, not to mention investigating the context of the books/letters being read from. I would also shy away from those “versions” that are not new translations but transliterations of older versions.

  30. avatar


    Oh and I believe Jeremy makes a wonderful point that I wish to reiterate that careful study of the bible is nowhere near as important as careful living of the bible. I mean, regardless of the translation “Loving God” and “Loving your neighbour” is not that complex a concept.

  31. avatar


    @Stan, perhaps she does. Perhaps she doesn’t. Either way, this discussion is about which version we’d give a friend and it was me who brought up the ESV as what I’d give a friend. Not Mrs. Gibb.

    I personally also enjoy my KJV and respect your preference for it. As a PK raised on KJVO, I’ve always had one and probably always will. I enjoy it, but I still generally use both Bibles (KJV & ESV). I know several of the people here do the same thing. Like Jason says, it would probably also depend on where the friend was at. If they were a newborn Christian teen for example (which is more my sphere of influence), I’d go with a simpler/easier to understand version. Mainly because many of today’s teenagers don’t even want to pick up a book of any kind, let alone struggle with the old English contained in the KJV. An older friend in her 70s who was brought up on the originals of Charles Dickens, Great Expectations and Moby Dick and a recovering drug addict who struggles to concentrate in his 30s would each require, I believe, their own consideration. Personally, I believe with a little research, it’s possible to find a good version (ESV, KJV or other) to make the Holy Bible fully accessible to anyone at any age or situation as I believe God intended it to be.

  32. avatar

    Jason Harris


    You’re entitled to your views and I’m happy for you to express them here. Please try to do so with moderation and please try to keep the discussion on topic. This thread is not the place to discuss the merits of one textual tradition over another (though there are other posts where that is the topic at hand).

    I try to avoid deleting comments because I want an open environment for reasonable discussion which includes those of varying views. But comments directed at persons rather than ideas or repeated failure to follow our commenting guidelines will result in removal of comments. At least. That doesn’t make anyone happy and it keeps people from seeing your point of view, so I do hope we can keep this discussion on track.

    Grace to you.

  33. avatar



    I believe the question(s) was:

    “So what version would you give to your inquiring friend? AND WHY?”

    May I suggest, with charity of course, that “AND WHY” invites a discussion of “the merits of one textual tradition over another”

    Points 1. through to 4. ALL start with “I”! Would that be a reference to Mrs Gibb or some hypothetical third person-just asking for clarification.

  34. avatar



    “I personally also enjoy my KJV and respect YOUR PREFERENCE for it”.

    I think you misunderstand the KJBO position-I don’t read and study the KJB because I prefer it over some other version but because it is the very word(s)of God given by inspiration.

  35. avatar

    Jason Harris


    Thanks for the request for clarification. If your position on a particular textual tradition is part of the “why” for you recommending the KJV, that is fair enough. You’re free to say so. But the topic of the post is which translation you would recommend, not the various views on the textual traditions.

  36. avatar


    Hey Jane you did not tell us the bible you prefer are you ashamed of it?. I have no problem with the kjv if you don’t like it tell the world what you prefer.Sounds like to me your afraid of the truth and what God has to say from His word.
    Aussie street preacher told you the truth out of the bible Try reading it someday before you make comments .There is more to it than the front cover, but then if you found out the truth you may be convicted.

  37. avatar

    Jason Harris

    Ok. Clearly this can’t be discussed without getting ugly and inane. Comments closed.

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