Help Produce a Faithful Update of the KJV

Greetings in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. My name is Joseph Johnsen. I am a Christian.  I am serving as the director of this project to faithfully update the King James Version of the Holy Bible. My mother, Janice Johnsen, has graciously agreed to assist me in organizing this fundraiser for the project.

In the spring of 2019, I was asking the Lord how he wanted me to serve him. I believe his answer was this project. After I prayed that prayer, I was struck with the need to update the old language of the KJV to help its users better learn and understand the word of God. According to research done in 2017 by the American Bible Society, the King James Version was still by far the most preferred Bible version among adults in the U.S. The data showed about 30% of American Bible readers most often used the KJV in 2017. Many of the users of the KJV are not interested in using other versions because this is the translation that they know and trust. The problem that has arisen for many contemporary English speakers is that the KJV uses Early Modern English, far different than what we use today, because it was translated about 400 years ago. The Lord has said, “So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air.” (1 Corinthians 14:9)  For many English speakers today, a substantial amount of the English in the KJV is not “easy to be understood.” People should not be required to learn and read outdated English to know God’s word. The original translators of the KJV believed in people having the Bible in the common language of their day. In the section of the King James Version’s preface entitled “Translators to the Reader,” they wrote the following:  “Indeed without translation into the vulgar tongue, the unlearned are but like children at Jacob's well (which is deep) without a bucket or something to draw with; or as that person mentioned by Isaiah, to whom when a sealed book was delivered, with this motion, ‘Read this, I pray thee,’ he was fain to make this answer, ‘I cannot, for it is sealed.’” The language of the KJV is not today’s “vulgar,” or common, tongue. While researching whether an update already existed, I found a large number of revisions of the KJV. I reviewed them all. However, I did not find any update that was satisfactory as touching quality, faithfulness, and completeness. I already was well aware of the New King James Version, which is not strictly an update of the KJV, but rather a new and different translation out of the original languages. Therefore, as there are so many people who continue using the KJV, I concluded that this project was indeed needed.  And I believe God is the One who led me to begin it.

The goal of this project is to produce the modern standard of the King James Version. The method is having editors minimally update the current KJV text while being careful to faithfully keep the same meaning. I began working on a first draft of the update that spring of 2019, and finished it in the summer of 2020. I have established a committee to work with me to complete the update. The name of this team is The Committee for Updating the King James Version, of which I am serving as the chair. This fundraiser is for providing the needed funds to complete the project, primarily to pay the compensation of Committee members to update the text of the KJV. This is a non-profit project. Making money is not the reason that I am doing this. I have decided that those working on the project, including myself, should not get any profits from it, but only be paid for our work. My plan is that the Committee will have thirty-six members who will edit the first draft that I finished, and then review each other’s work. The idea is modeled after the manner in which the King James Version was originally translated:  have a large committee and a robust system of review to ensure a high-quality update with no errors. Not only does the first draft need to be scrutinized, improved, and completed by this large committee, but then that work needs to be thoroughly reviewed. When the project is completed, I do not want the finished Bible to be sold for profit. This can be done by setting an appropriate price. It is not right to traffic the word of God for lucre’s sake.

I believe if this project were successfully completed, it would be a great blessing and special gift to the world. How wonderful it would be to read the excellent translation of the King James Version in the language that we know and use today. I am in need of help to make this happen. Please pray for God to bless the project, and tell others about it so that more people can support it. We may not respond to individual messages due to time constraints; I hope you understand. May the Lord provide for all the necessities of this endeavor. This is the work of God for his holy word. Thank you and God bless you for your aid to make this vision a reality.

Donations

  • Michael Graziano 
    • $70 
    • 4 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $100 
    • 16 mos
  • Chanel Gonzalez 
    • $20 
    • 16 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $50 
    • 16 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $10 
    • 16 mos

Fundraising team (2)

Janice Johnsen 
Organizer
Castle Rock, CO
Joseph Johnsen 
Team member