Should we trust the King James Study Bible by Nelson Thomas?

The short answer is “no, not wholeheartedly” and here is why.

I was recently looking for a reliable, orthodox King James Study Bible, to deepen my understanding of God’s Word. So I went online to Amazon.com and looked up various options. Many Christians seemed to agree that the King James Study Bible by Thomas Nelson best fitted the bill. With commentary authored by “outstanding conservative scholars” including “important teachings of Scripture contained in doctrinal footnotes”, plus a rating of 4.5 stars from 217 reviewers, I thought I had hit the jackpot theologically speaking. I should have paid more attention to the few negative reviews that were present. Once I received the book, comments such as the below struck home to me:

In many places the commentary suggests other words/explanations that are not in agreement with the Majority Text (which is what the KJV was translated from).

Though I have not done an exhaustive search of the text, some doctrinal issues I have found so far are as follows:

John 16:13
The word ‘shew’ has been changed to ‘show.’ This may seem minor but when I saw this I immediately thought, what else has been changed?

Mark 16:9-20
The footnotes at the bottom of the page introduce doubt about this passage being included in the bible at all, which is a totally false thing to do. A very vague (and, therefore, for scholars such as these, inexcusable) reference is made to so called ancient manuscripts not including this passage. However, as per Jack Chick’s article (see http://www.chick.com/ask/articles/mark.asp), this passage should be included in the KJV bible, and in every other bible version.

Revelation 21:24
Again, the footnotes at the bottom of the page cast doubt on the phrase “of them which are saved” being included in “the oldest” and “the majority of manuscripts”. Though the authors admit this clause “clearly expresses the sense of the passage”, the footnote serves to introduce doubt in the mind of the reader.

I was talking to a man at church last Sunday and he mentioned that even the King James bible, which has long been held to be a bastion of truth, is being corrupted today as per other modern bible versions. I now see what he meant. We are truly in the last days as per 2 Thessalonians 2:3:

Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

Given the above I think it best to recommend that the King James Study Bible by Thomas Nelson be avoided or, if you have already invested in it (as I have) that it be used warily. In particular, the footnotes on doctrine should be treated with the utmost caution. Though 95% of the notes may be accurate, some error is present which may yet spoil the lot and encourage doubt and deception.

As it is written:

Galatians 5:9
A little leaven (ie. false doctrine) leaveneth the whole lump.

31 thoughts on “Should we trust the King James Study Bible by Nelson Thomas?

    • Hi
      It is true there were multiple versions of the bookof Mark and Luke and even the story of the Woman in the act of adultery is an addition added during the time of the puretsnce movement to get back at the Catholic Church for their pratice of fornication. If you look at different publications in the UK of the KJV Acts 1V13 some will say son of , some will say brother of. The printer of the king james declared with the former Translations diligently compared and revised, The KJV was not a translation but an edit of the BIshop and Ganiva Bible, which came out before the KJV and was autherise by Henry the 8th too be read in churches; one was kept in church with a chain on in in West Minister Abby.. The bible is just to get you to know who God is and in a lust to get to know him. Ask yourself a question, if the people who burn m en at the state for giving you a bible in english can now come and give you one, and still in force the rules that only their version should be read, what were they really doing?

  1. I never take notice Naomi! of what commentaries suggest without first seeking clarification from Jesus our only Teacher.

    If you are wanting less of man’s error in Translating the King James is the best, it is closer to the original than all the others so has less of mans errors but not so with the modern commentaries attached to most Translations today, like with some of the newer Translations they can be based on what man thinks not God’s Truth.

    This is why we need to know His Truth not just guess it or Trust in what others say, we need God’s wisdom and empowering we were not Born with them and without seeking Jesus our only Teacher we can be very deceived and yes He will also show us Translation error and deception.

    Proverbs 4:7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.

    James 1:5-6 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

    Luke 11:13 …… how much more shall your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?

    1John 2:26-28 These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. But the anointing which ye have received of Him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you but as the same anointing Teacheth you of all things, and is Truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath Taught you, ye shall abide in Him.

    Matthew 10:26-28 Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known. What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops (KJV) perhaps our Computers.

    Christian Love in Christ Jesus – Anne.

    • Hi Anne,

      Thanks for your thoughtful and scriptural comment. I agree, we need to be super careful about commentaries attached to many bible translations as they can be based on man’s opinions and not the Word of God.
      Thus they can lead us astray with false teachings. I use the King James translation, like you, as I’ve found it is the most accurate compared to modern versions.

      Hope you and your husband are doing well. God bless. 🙂

      Naomi

    • Hi Bill,

      I’ve just checked a copy of the Nelson Study Bible (copyright 1988) and some clarification is needed here on my part. While Mark 16:9-20 is included in this bible, the footnotes at the bottom of the page cast doubt on its inclusion, saying that “In light of the uncertainty attached to verses 9-20, it may be advised to take care in basing doctrine upon them (especially vv. 16-18).” The Chick article goes on to defend the inclusion of this passage as legitimate doctrine, which is why I’ve referenced it in my article.

      I also think the nkjv is not as accurate as the kjv so base most of my reading and study on the latter. Besides, I inherited the kjv from the kindest Christian lady I know of (my grandmother) so figure she likely used it to develop her incredible patience and character.

      Thanks for dropping by to comment. Sorry I took a while to reply, I’ve had quite a few commitments to take care of recently offline.

      Naomi

  2. Hi Naomi, I really appreciate your desire to preserve God’s Word and I think He did in the King James Bible. I am starting to collect KJV Study Bibles. I have a Henry Morris, Matthew Henry and recently ordered the 1993 KJV Study Bible. I like to get different perspectives on the footnotes. The Bible says in Proverbs, ” in the multitude of counsellers there is safety.” So you a whole bunch of opinions from conservative Christians and you have a better chance at sound doctrine. Anyway, I appreciate your critique of the the King James Study Bible by Nelson Thomas. I don’t like them casting doubt on God’s word either. Here’s my question: What KJV study Bibles do you like ? I am interested to know so I can look into them and maybe get them. Thanks so much. ~ Dario

    • Hi Dario,

      Thanks for taking the time to drop by and comment on my site.

      I haven’t really looked into any other KJV study bibles apart from Nelson Thomas. I’ll have to check out the ones you mentioned, they sound interesting. Matthew Henry in particular piques my interest as I have his commentary on the whole bible and it’s great.

      Naomi

    • Hi Dario,

      Sorry, it took me a few days to get back to you as I’ve been flat out preparing for a new job. So I haven’t been updating my site (or checking on it) as regularly as I once did.

      I appreciate you taking the time to post a thoughtful comment though, so once again, thanks for stopping by.

      God bless. 🙂

      Naomi

  3. Hey Naomi, couple things about the Study Bible’s I mentioned. The KJV Henry Morris Study Bible I have is my favorite and I think it’s one of the BEST in the world because it’s from a young earth creationist viewpoint. It will definitely strengthen your faith in the Word of God, but I always add a disclaimer because a few times Dr. Henry Morris says there’s copyist errors in the KJB and that is NOT true. The King James Bible is the preserved and innerant Word of the God and there are no errors in it. In spite of that drawback I still highly recommend the Henry Morris Study Bible.The footnotes are very insightful and teach good solid doctrine. Remember, no two Christians agree on everything. You have to read Study Bible’s like you eat fish. You eat the meat and spit out the bones is how you do it.

    The KJV Henry Morris Study Bible (cheaper versions available)
    http://www.christianbook.com/kjv-morris-bible-genuine-leather-black/9780890516584/pd/561584

    Second, as far as the KJV Matthew Henry Study Bible, I do NOT recommend it only because it’s a concise version of the his 6 volume set. What the publisher did was they took some of Matthew Henry’s comments from his 6 volume set and made a Matthew Henry Study Bible, but they they spliced together his sentences. They took one sentence here and another one there and they spliced together a paragraph to make the footnote, and so it not really Matthew Henry word for word. I found this out the hard way. I bought the Matthew Henry Study Bible and realized, “Hey, this has been edited by someone !” So, I suggest people get Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: Complete and Unabridged 6 volume set because the Mathhew Henry Bible contains just an edited and concise version of it.

    The KJV Matthew Henry Study Bible (I do not recommend)
    http://www.christianbook.com/the-matthew-henry-study-bible-kjv/9781598563405/pd/563405

    Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible, Complete and unabridged in 6 volumes (I recommend this instead)
    http://www.christianbook.com/matthew-henrys-commentary-whole-bible-volumes/9781598564358/pd/564365

    I’ll leave it at that. I recently bought the 1993 KJV Study Bible (formerly called the Liberty Study Bible originally produced by Liberty University in 1988), but I’m still waiting for it in the mail so I have no thoughts on it only to say I bought the 1993 version instead of the newer “Second Edition” because the footnotes in the 1993 go from one side of the page to the other and in the “Second Edition” they split those footnotes in half for their new design. You can see this if you compare in the excerpt here.

    1993 KJV Study Bible
    http://www.christianbook.com/kjv-study-bible-bonded-leather-black/9780840706423/pd/135BK

    King James Study Bible, Second Edition
    http://www.christianbook.com/bible-second-edition-bonded-leather-black/9781401679569/pd/679569?event=ESRCN

    Summary: Only God’s Word preserved in the King James is perfect — not man. Eat the meat & spit out the bones. Thanks.

    • Hi Dario,

      Thanks for the excellent links, you have inspired me to check out the KJV Henry Morris Study Bible. I love this comment of yours: “You have to read Study Bible’s like you eat fish. You eat the meat and spit out the bones is how you do it.”

      Good stuff. Thanks for sharing, I’m sure other readers will find your summary helpful too, as well as me.

      Naomi

  4. Naomi…thanks for your kind words my sister. We helped each other. The reason I left a comment on your blog is because I admired you for calling out Nelson Thomas. The word ‘shew’ should NOT be changed to ‘show’ and they need to fix that ! Typical idiots who think they need to correct the King James Bible. Anyway, don’t get me started on the Bible version issue, lol. Point is Naomi, we need more people like you in the world building people’s confidence in the Word, not destroying it. I wanna personally thank you and encourage you to continue to keep defending the King James Bible aka God’s preserved Word. YES, get yourself a KJV Henry Morris Study Bible. I bought the black genuine leather one and love it ! It’s my main Study Bible. I’m collecting other KJV Study Bible’s, but the Henry Morris is the standard I measure the others. The insights in the footnotes are tremendous. You won’t be dissapointed. 🙂 That’s right Naomi, I learned long ago to read Study Bible’s like you eat fish. Eat the meat and spit out the bones. God bless you my lovely sister of Christ. Keep serving the Lord ! ~ Dario

  5. Just a short update to say I received my 1993 Thomas Nelson KJV Study Bible that I ordered in the mail today (link below). This is NOT the Second Edition that Naomi reviewed, but a version before it. The footnotes are the exactly same however, just different design. I can confirm what Naomi said about them changing “shew” to “show” in John 16:13 and raising doubt in God’s Word in the footnotes of Mark 16:9-20 and Revelation 21:4. I strongly disagree that, but as I said before you have to read Study Bible’s like you eat fish. Eat the meat and spit out the bones. The other thing I’ll say in this update is that this 1993 Thomas Nelson KJV Study Bible cover is poorly made, cheap looking, and about the quality of dollar store book. I don’t even know how they could sell this thing with a straight face. It’s junk. The cover is like plastic and the font is dark and shows through the page so that you get a headache reading this thing and the footnotes are even smaller and harder to read. The maps show through the page. It’s an ugly mess. Worst design I’ve seen in a Study Bible. Now I know why they put out the Second Edition. This design belongs in a fireplace. Thanks so much. ~ Dario

    1993 KJV Study Bible (cheap and poorly made)
    http://www.christianbook.com/kjv-study-bible-bonded-leather-black/9780840706423/pd/135BK

    King James Study Bible, Second Edition
    http://www.christianbook.com/bible-second-edition-bonded-leather-black/9781401679569/pd/679569?event=ESRCN

    • Hi Dario,

      Thanks for the helpful update. Sorry to hear that the edition of the 1993 Thomas Nelson Study Bible you bought was so poorly made. That’s terrible when people pay good money for it and expect to be edified through reading God’s Word. The least editors and book publishers could do would be to create a fit receptacle for the printed page, not a design that “belongs in a fireplace.”

      I ordered the KJV Henry Morris study bible in black bonded leather, from the link you provided in an earlier comment. Really looking forward to receiving this, it will be much better than my experiences with Nelson Thomas.

      Naomi

      • The original 1611 edition of the king James bible was edited twice to bring about a uniformity of spelling and to remove printing errors. So i would understand the change of shew to show ,as later on in verse 14 of the book of john chapter 16 the word show is used. Secondly 14 books called the apocrypha were removed from the 1611 original edition as the books were not authored by any prophets or apostles and was not included in the Hebrew cannon, so the cautionary footnote of mark 16:9-20 should be taken in a positive light, as it cautions of additions that may not be divine and why must we be scared of warnings that do not attempt to thwart but guide, the same goes with the reference to the footnote for revelations chapter 21:24, the footnote just allows for a greater degree of accuracy with your bible study.All in all i would say the liberty annotated study bible by Thomas Nelson is by far the best, and most thorough study bible one could find. As for the comments on appearance, that is far secondary a point to bring up when analyzing the matter and thus soul of a book, as we well know, you cannot judge a book by its cover alone.
        P.S : I do not mean to come across in a bad manner and i hope you understand the huge post comes just from my passionate defense of an exquisite bible.

      • Also I would like to add(make clear rather) ,the point which i was trying to make in my previous comment, was that we seek to know and find an original version of Gods word not an original version of the king James bible,so the footnotes telling of the history behind each scripture should gladden rather than put us off. There has been a plethora of misinterpretations during translation from one language to another and the historical and archaeological notes given in the bible go to prove the validity of the translation and bring up any doubt that may exist over interpretation as there most definitely exist.We must not fear these but meditate and put to God in prayer the doubts that arise. To have a bible that tells you no history of its text is one to be wary of, not one that provides every angle to an interpretation and inclusion. ‘nuf said i suppose.

  6. Naomi, glad you got yourself a Henry Morris Study Bible. The insights in the footnotes will definitely strengthen your faith in the Word of God. The font is big and Jesus’ Words are in bright red, so it’s a fun Bible to read. Hey, something else I’ll pass on to you that helps me to study God’s Word is “The Holy Bible on Double Speed.” The Holy Bible on Double Speed are 3 CD’s with Alexander Scourby’s wonderful reading of the King James Bible. The unique thing about the 3 CD’s is each CD reads at a different talking speed. For example, disc 1 has Alexander Scourby reading the KJV at normal talking speed. Disc 2 he is reading the Bible 1.5 times faster than normal talking speed and if you really want to get through your Bible then the 3rd disc is double speed or 2.0 times faster than normal talking speed, which means you can read-listen to the entire Bible in less than 40 hours ! That’s how I read my Bible in the morning — at double speed and it’s great. The link for “The Holy Bible on Double Speed” is below and I don’t have anything to do with it. I’m not selling it. Just letting a sister in Christ know to help. The creationtoday website are trustworthy and fine Christians though. Anyway, something to maybe get yourself in the future to help grow as a Christian. One question before I go please, Naomi. I’m thinking about returning my 1993 KJV Study Bible and getting the Second Edition that you reviewed. Could you please let me know the quality of your Second Edition ? I mean, is the cover flexible, well built, is it easy to read ? It is my understanding that the font is much bigger and easier to read. Thoughts ? Thanks so much. ~ Dario

    The Holy Bible on Double Speed (KJV) Audio MP3
    http://creationtoday.org/product/the-holy-bible-on-double-speed-kjv-audio-mp3/

    • Wow, that is a fascinating link. I’ve never thought of listening to the bible in double speed but this could be really handy as I’ve recently started a new job (quite demanding, long hours) and have less time outside of work than formerly.

      I’m honestly not sure what edition of the KJV study bible I have: all I know is that the centre column references and notes are copyright 1988. The book itself is labelled “copyright 1988 by Liberty University”, though the maps at the back are dated 2008. No edition number is listed.

      The book I have is a hard cover so quite solidly put together. However, the pages are very thin and a bit fragile, which is something to be mindful of when turning them. The font is quite readable, however, which is a benefit. All in all, the edition I have is quite readable though it does have some doctrinal difficulties, as I pointed out in the article. As you’re aware of these, you should be fine with taking in the meat and spitting out the bones!

      God bless. 🙂
      Naomi

  7. …thanks Sis, I will do more research online re: the Second Edition as I want the leather one, I hope it isn’t as bad as the 1993 edition !! Yea, the KJV audio Bible at double speed is great and remember it also has normal speed and 1.5 speed. A little tip: When I received “The Holy Bible on Double Speed” in the mail I copied the files from the CD’s to my computer. This way I don’t have to keep inserting the disc into my computer each time I want to read my Bible. I already have the files there, so I just push play on my media player and it plays from the audio files. Hey Naomi, too bad you didn’t have an email I could add to my mailing list. I’m from Canada and send out a little newsletter aka “it’s just an email” to friends & family, etc, on topics like creation vs the fairytale of evolution, end times, the Jews divine right to the land of Israel, etc, etc. I do what you do in this blog, but in a simple email and people don’t have to respond back. All I’m trying to do is strengthen people’s faith, win souls and bring glory to God. That’s my motivation. It sure would be nice to add somebody as wonderful as you to my mailing list, but I take no offense if you don’t. Anway, if I get that Second Edition, I’ll let you know how it goes ! Salute. ~ Dario

    • Hi Dario,

      No worries. I doubt spammers will see this comments trail and I would like to be added to your mailing list so here goes: nchapman01@yahoo.com.au

      Looking forward to reading your newsletter, I’m sure it will be a blessing. Thanks. 🙂

      Naomi

  8. That’s great, Naomi ! I’m just a normal Bible-believing Christian who loves God and my goal in life is to win souls to Christ, strengthen the faith of my fellow Christians and bring glory to our God, and so like reading Study Bible’s you may not agree with me 100% of the time (that’s completely normal, btw) but if you’re saved then we both have the same Holy Spirit in us and guiding us into all truth so we help sharpen each other. In John 16:13 Jesus said, “the Spirit of truth (Holy Spirit), is come, he will guide you into all truth:” BTW, I called christianbook.com and bought The King James Study Bible, Second Edition, bonded leather one. I explained to them how I was not happy with the first edition and they said I could return it, but I decided it would cost me $20 to ship it back and, you know, it’s just too much of a hassle in this particular situation. So, they gave me $5 off the Second Edition. Cost me $25.99 instead of $30.99. That was nice. It’s in the mail now. I hope the second design is better than the first one. We will see. Anyway, I’ll add your email to my mailing list. I send out a newsletter “email” every 2-3 weeks, it’s random. Last thing, online, I don’t use my real name for privacy reasons. “Dario” is my username. I’ll send you a short email so you get my real name and email after I click send on this post. Have a great rest of the day sis ! ~ Dario 🙂

  9. Naomi, did you get my last post here ? I posted it a few days ago with an update on the Second Edition I bought and also explaining why I use a pseudonym online for privacy reasons. I sent you an email with the details, but haven’t heard back. Is everything okay, my friend ? Hope you are well. Thx. ~ Dario. 🙂

    • Hi Dario,

      Sorry for my delay in responding. I haven’t been checking my blog daily as I’m not online as much any more. I’ve recently started a new job which is very long hours and demanding. So until I learn the ropes I will be not checking on things online as regularly.

      I did respond to your email tonight though, thanks for sending through your details. Looking forward to your newsletter. Please don’t be offended however if I don’t reply – it doesn’t mean I’m ignoring you or anything is wrong. I’m just very busy with life outside the computer.

      Looking forward to your newsletter. 🙂

      God bless.
      Naomi

  10. I was hoping someone could address this question I have about the
    Thomas Nelson KJV Study Bible. In the New Testament, being primarily written in greek,
    the names changed when being translated into the english and are different than when coming from the
    Old Testament Hebrew. In the Nelson study Bible, I noticed in the New Testament at
    Matthew 12:39 the name ‘Jonah’ instead of ‘Jonas’. I happened to notice this as the person sitting next to me owned this type of Bible. All the KVJ Bibles I owned always had the greek Jonas in the passage.
    Is this common? Do some KJV editions stay with ‘Elijah’ in the NT instead of ‘Elias’ ? Why?

    • Hi John,

      You know I’d noticed the difference in names too between the Old and New Testaments in my Thomas Nelson Study Bible but just accepted it without wondering why. I have one other King James study Bible, the Henry Morris Study Bible, and this renders Jonah in Matthew 12:39 to the Greek Jonas, as all my King James Bibles do.

      I did some digging online to look into this and came up with the following from GotQuestions.org, which might shed some light on the issue:
      http://www.gotquestions.org/Aramaic-Primacy.html

      The main point of the above seems to be that there is no evidence that the New Testament was originally written in Aramaic, as the Aramaic Primacy movement contends. The consensus of historians and New Testament scholars is that the original works of the New Testament were in fact written in Greek. Hence Matthew 12:39 should render Jonah as Jonas, and the NT passage referring to Elijah should render the prophet’s name as Elias.

      If you’re looking for a sound KJV Study Bible, may I recommend the Henry Morris Study Bible (the one that correctly renders NT names in Greek). After teaching in secular universities for 28 years, Henry founded the Institute for Creation Research in 1970 and was actively involved in the study and defense of the Christian faith for almost 60 years. He has notes defending the accuracy and integrity of the Scriptures, assuming complete and verbal inspiration, inerrancy in all matters of fact and faith, and literal interpretation as intended by the writers.

      Thanks for making me aware of this naming controversy, which is seen in certain certain study bibles and modern bible versions, as the accuracy in translation of God’s Word is of primary importance for all men. I’ve written an article on this site about how many modern Bible versions I’ve seen have fallen away from the truth of God’s Word, which you might also like to check out: https://aeon01.wordpress.com/2013/07/18/should-we-trust-modern-bible-versions/

      You can also check out some of the main differences (corruptions) in important passages by going to http://www.biblegateway.com and selecting different Bible translations to render the text in. This will help shore up your faith in the accuracy of older Bible versions such as King James Bible and the Geneva Bible.

      I hope this reply has helped you.

      God bless you.
      Naomi

  11. 95℅ accurate.WOW They are definitely led by the Holy Spirit. Obviously the writers of all commentaries are not inspired by God. It is OK. We treat it like a rib. You eat the meat and throw away the bone. If you are looking for perfection in a Study Bibles notes or commentary well then you are not thinking clearly going in. Relax. Study Bible footnotes,commentary etc are useful but they are not the Word of God.

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