Logos Bible Software
Products>Authorized: The Use and Misuse of the King James Bible

Authorized: The Use and Misuse of the King James Bible

ISBN: 9781683590552


Print list price: $12.99
Save $4.00 (30%)

The Legacy of the King James Bible

The King James Version has shaped the church, our worship, and our mother tongue for over 400 years. But what should we do with it today?

The KJV beautifully rendered the Scriptures into the language of turn-of-the-seventeenth-century England. Even today the King James is the most widely read Bible in the United States. The rich cadence of its Elizabethan English is recognized even by non-Christians. But English has changed a great deal over the last 400 years—and in subtle ways that very few modern readers will recognize. In Authorized Mark Ward shows what exclusive readers of the KJV are missing as they read God’s word.

In their introduction to the King James Bible, the translators tell us that Christians must “heare CHRIST speaking unto them in their mother tongue.” In Authorized Mark Ward builds a case for the KJV translators’ view that English Bible translations should be readable by what they called “the very vulgar”—and what we would call “the man on the street.”


Praise for Authorized

This lightly written and frequently amusing book gently hides the competent scholarship that underlies it. For those who are convinced of the superiority of the KJV, whether for stylistic, cultural, pedagogical, theological, or traditional reasons, this is the book to read. Mercifully, Dr. Ward does not pummel his readers or sneer at those who take another position. Patiently, chapter by chapter, example by example, he makes his case—all of his work geared toward fostering more and better Bible reading. Highly recommended.

—D. A. Carson, research professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

Mark Ward’s Authorized: The Use and Misuse of the King James Bible is a cogent, concise, clear, and helpful book on the subject of Bible translations. It is full of information about how language changes and doesn’t change, and full of wisdom about how Christians should respond to these processes. The book is useful both for beginning Bible students and for linguists.

—John Frame, professor of systematic theology and philosophy emeritus, Reformed Theological Seminary

Authorized is a little book that packs a punch. It deals with a common issue in a helpful, humorous, and respectful way. It is worthy of any Christian’s time.

—Tim Challies, author, blogger

Just because you know all of the words in an old sentence of English doesn’t mean you know what they meant when they were written. Mark Ward shows us, with a light but authoritative touch, that if we want the Bible to speak to us the way it did to those alive when it was written, we must adjust the vocabulary with meanings only scholars can make out—a revelation of a new kind.

—John McWhorter, associate professor of linguistics, Columbia University; host of the Slate podcast Lexicon Valley

You read the book... watch the new movie based on Authorized. Mark Ward builds a case that our Bibles should be readable by what we would call “the man on the street.” He shows what exclusive readers of the KJV are missing as they read God’s Word. Watch the movie with a free trial to Faithlife TV Plus.



  • Introduction
  • What We Lose as the Church Stops Using the KJV
  • The Man in the Hotel and the Emperor of English Bibles
  • Dead Words and “False Friends”
  • What is the Reading Level of the KJV?
  • The Value of the Vernacular
  • Ten Objections to Reading Vernacular Bible Translations
  • Which Bible Translation is Best?

Product Details

  • Title: Authorized: The Use and Misuse of the King James Bible
  • Author: Mark Ward
  • Publisher: Lexham Press
  • Publication Date: 2018
  • Pages: 168
  • Format: Logos Digital, Paperback
  • Trim Size: 5x8
  • ISBN: 9781683590552
Mark Ward

Mark Ward received his PhD in New Testament Interpretation from Bob Jones University in 2012; he now serves the church as a Logos Pro. He is the author of multiple high school Bible textbooks, including The Story of the Old Testament and Biblical Worldview: Creation, Fall, Redemption. He has written for publications such as Modern Reformation, Answers Research Journal, and FrontLine—as well as supplying dozens of articles on Bible study and exegesis for Faithlife blogs. He has also written introductions to the Bible and to both testaments that are being used in Bible translation projects around the world via Bibles International.

Sample Pages from Authorized


13 ratings

Sign in with your Faithlife account

  1. Terry Vance

    Terry Vance


  2. Anthony Perry

    Anthony Perry


  3. Michael Conn

    Michael Conn


    Authorized provides a much needed look into what makes our English Bible's so precious to us. Each chapter is filled with honest questions and helpful explanations about an apparently waning affinity for the King James Version. The personal examples and illustrations provided by Dr. Ward help unpack the vital aspects of communication, language, and vernacular that have influenced translators in their work over the centuries. Dr. Ward's book is also a helpful introduction for anyone interested in discovering what gave rise to the various English translations we have today. Though the "KJV Controversy" may subside in the not too distant future, this book provides a helpful, lasting look at how we should both approach and enjoy the wealth of scholarly work put into our modern day renderings of God's timeless truth.

  4. Robert Polahar

    Robert Polahar


  7. Joseph Bailey

    Joseph Bailey


    This is the best book I have read so far on the KJV controversy. I agree with Mark that the textual arguments are beyond the grasp of most lay people but the importance of having a vernacular translation and what constitutes a vernacular translation are key for every believer to grasp, both for their own should and in communicating to the lost. I have almost exclusively used the NKJV since I was converted 10 years ago but this book has opened my mind to read more widely in other contemporary translations as language has changed even since the NKJV was published. I have begun to do this with profit to my soul. I'm not sure if you still read these comments, Mark, but I received the TBS quarterly record a a few days ago and noticed they had an article that seemed to be written in response to questions raised by their supporters who have read your book. You can find the article on page 14 of the December Quarterly Record (available on their website - can't link to it in the comments). I would be interested to hear your response to the article. Perhaps you would consider doing a blog post on it at some point? Thanks

  8. Joshua Tan

    Joshua Tan


  9. Clay Cadwell

    Clay Cadwell


    I have used the ESV, NIV, NASB and the NLT. I can tolerate the ESV and have even enjoyed the NASB. Nothing, however, compares to the beauty and splendor of the KJV (authorized).

  10. Pastor Corey

    Pastor Corey


    I purchased the physical version of this book after you did a Twitter chat about it. Excellent research and well written. As someone who has traveled overseas and worked with Bible translators your example were well thought out and on point. I even purchased a copy for Bible College library I work at. I think I will purchase a digital version to add to my Logo library in the near future as well.

  11. Paul Rowlands

    Paul Rowlands


  12. Rev. Dr. Mark D. Isaacs
    I wish there was a little book out there on the grammer of the KJV [Early Modern English]. This would be a great service to the Church. I would write this book myself, but I am not a grammar guy!

  13. john herrera

    john herrera


    What about new King James translation?

  14. James Clifton Sparks
    I welcome this book. Those experienced in Biblical language study know the value of being led by the Holy Spirit through the changing wordscapes of interpretations all aiming at deeper understanding. But anyone newly born into faith or lacking literacy skills needs to be assured that God's love cannot be held captive by man's linguistic limitations. KJV is still a beautiful old standby that many of us were birthed through, and is the one most memorized & quoted. And, it's the English version upon which many concordances and lexicons are keyed. However, the Word of God is spiritual, first and always, and never trapped in the old wineskin of bygone verbiage. Nor is His Word the property of any single tongue, or Acts chapter 2 would not have occurred.

  15. Allan MacDougall
    A quick and encouraging read. Ward delivers a gentle double portion of wisdom on a touchy subject. I grew up in (and still inhabit) KJV primary/preferred circles, but I'm on the multiple translation study path for many of the reasons he details. As you can imagine, translation controversy is on my mind frequently and I've been wrestling with certain aspects, especially with regards to communicating my different views. This book not only addresses my concerns, it does so in such a clear and respectful manner that I would be comfortable putting this in the hands of my KJV preferred loved ones. Highly recommended.

  16. Whyndell Grizzard
    This is a book regarding a tired subject.

  17. Pastor Al Brodbent
    The Bible is a road to a Risen Lord. It shows us the way to Him and what His desires are for our life. I refuse to debate which one is "better" since I am now a Christian and the Bible has done it's job. Should (and I don't believe this would happen) there comes out evidence that the Bibles are all totally fake it would not shake my relationship with Jesus Christ. Granted it has information to help me live a better life tomorrow than I have today but everytime I take something from it that helps me in my relationship with Christ its job is done for that instance.

  18. Timothy Berg

    Timothy Berg


    Loved it! I grew up KJV-Only, and graduated from a Textus-Receptus-Only Bible College, and I can say - most authors don't understand what we believed or sympathize with it. Mark does. His book is an invaluable resource for all who have only ever used the King James Bible, or who even believe that everyone should only ever use the King James Bible. If that is you, or a friend, you should read this book. I plan to write a longer summary and review here at Great book - buy it - Give it Away!

  19. Rev. Joe Roof
    What a refreshing read on a subject that is too often unnecessarily controversial. What a helpful; book for the person who struggles with the King's Old English but is not sure what to do about it.

  20. Dennis



    I loved the sample reading; now I can't wait to get it in my library and read the whole book! I, like many others grew up on the KJV and I still use it everyday along with other translations, seems I always have to check the KJV when I read something that "Just don't sound right"... LOL! I was even "nearly" a KJV only-ist at one time. Needless to say having been using LOGOS for many years, that will soon show one his folly... I have to admire the knowledge and hard work of translating these ancient languages. I also admit when I look at an interlinear from time to time I am amazed even more and think to myself "forget it, let the big boys handle that" I can't help but love the KJV and it's beautiful language which is easy for me, yet I can see is not for this generation. I have tried to like the NKJV but It sounds like someone doing bad impersonation of someone to me... I'd rather read a totally different version. I also have tried to like the ESV since it seems so popular but I really don't care for it. Other than the KJV I have used the NIV the most for ministry and especially like the 2011. For a read through I love the NLT and really trust it a lot as it is keyed to the original now I see things that help understand some of their decisions. I also have to say I do not like the phrase "word for word" translation as anyone studying with these tools for very long can quickly see that is impossible! I'll just have to trust the scholars to see things I cannot see or understand and tell me what was meant in a more dynamic style. I can always look at the original languages myself if I need to - not that I really understand what should be done with it; maybe just to make myself feel better LOL! Thanks for this book, again, I'm looking forward to reading it.

  21. Daniel Welch

    Daniel Welch


    Read 1 Kings 18:21 aloud in the King James Version, then the NASB (which paraphrases halt from limp to hesitate anyway) and you will see why I prefer the KJV. In this instance the KJV language is stronger, more poetic, more precise and most importantly more magisterial. This said, I am looking forward to reading your book when released.

  22. Jim Julian

    Jim Julian


    I like the KJV of the Bible. I have an edition of The Companion Bible that I have used consistently since the early 1960's. I do not push KJV on anyone as I have more than 57 versions of the Bible that I call my Versions and Perversions. I do not agree with some of the notes that Bullinger has in The Companion Bible. I read many translations of the Bible; I can read the Greek NT so I know or can see the meanings of the words. I have a degree in English and American literature so I appreciate the flow of words. For some reason I like the NKJV instead of the NIV. It has to do with the flow of the words as you study Scripture. So remember the KJV of the Bible was the first translation that we were able to read of the Scripture. When you study Scripture, read several translations; Logos makes this very easy to do. God Bless.

  23. Cathy Miller

    Cathy Miller


    I've known and loved the KJV for many years. I read it exclusively for the 1st 15 years of my Christian life. Later, I started reading the ESV and now I'm enjoying it. However, I will at times go back a read the passage again in the old bible version. At times, I find the old wording more precise and even stronger than that found in the ESV or some other modern such as the NASB.

  24. JoshInRI



    My heart aches for those who insist upon King James only while those they try to reach struggle to understand it. I confess I cringe when I hear Thee and Thou used. I read my grandfather a little of The Book of Romans in the New Living Translation and he asked me what I was reading. I like to believe it was because he was hearing it for the first time in a way he could grasp and understand. (This is not an endorsement of the translation only of reading a paraphrase for some who may just begin to grasp difficult Biblical concepts and will not be repelled by the King James). Thank God we have Logos to help us compare translations side by side and choose which is best to convey a message...perhaps drawing from multiple translations as needed you never know). I lean toward ESV and NKJV myself.

  25. Michael John Nisbett
    When all of us studied Shakespeare, we studied it in its 1600's language and beauty. Reading Othello and Hamlet in contemporary English would not be the same. The same with the KJV. Reading it in the modern vernacular takes away from much of its beauty and character. Also, if my children can understand the KJV, there is no reason why anyone can do so. It really is a matter of the heart of the reader that determines whether they understand it or not. Thanks!


Print list price: $12.99
Save $4.00 (30%)