Catholic view on King James version (pure Cambridge edition)


I saw a Protestant website today and the site is really promoting and solely the King James version pure Cambridge edition. I just want to know our Catholic view on this version of the Bible.


“our Catholic view” is fairly vague. It certainly is not approved for Liturgy anywhere that I know of. But as for reading, I don’t see a problem. The King James Version with Apocrypha is what the RSV-CE is based on. In some ways the KJV is more traditional in its renderings.

I don’t know what they mean by the “pure Cambridge edition.” My understanding is that the best KJV was the Oxford edition of 1769. However, in that edition, the marginal notes were removed that referred to books in the Apocrypha. Neverthless, most KJV bibles continued to have marginal notes referring back to the Apocryphal books, even if they adopted the Oxford edition text. The Cambridge edition came out around the same time, and either of the two editions were favored by one party or the other, depending on allegiance to school.

#3 Never heard the term used on scripture but it certainly is yet another translation which makes it impure.


Good link! It is obviously pandering to King James Onlyists, and especially to those who must have the absolutely most “perfect” version. But it is an illusion, as continual discoveries and learning in Biblical studies have added to our comprehension of formerly dark or opaque passages. There is nothing wrong in reading the “pure Cambridge version,” but nothing about it (other than the most niggling differences) makes it superior to other versions of the KJV. It is almost an oblique form of biblical idolatry!


As an Englishman, the KJV (more properly called the Authorised Version) has a special place in my heart because of it’s beautiful and very influential prose. Several of the KJV’s passages have become common sayings in English. Google it and you’ll be amazed. I’d say that the KJV ranks alongside Shakespeare for the impact it has had on the English language.

It is far better than most of the bland, ugly modern versions. Compare the beauty of the KJV with drab translations like the NAB and NJB. And don’t tell me “it’s hard to understand.” Take the time and you’ll reap the rewards. For one thing, your vocabulary will increase and you’ll enrich your mind by memorising beautiful verses.

Although we have the DR, it bears remembering that Challoner revised it by adopting KJV renderings. The DR is good but it pales in comparison to the KJV.


It’s not the approved Bible for Catholics, but it is a classic of English literature. I also understand it to be partly based on the Douay-Rheims.

I too prefer the KJV writing style to many of the “modernized” versions. I have not enjoyed any of the modern Bible translations after the 1970s NAB (I don’t consider RSV-CE to be “modern”), and I only have some affection for the 1970s NAB because I was taught from it in high school.

I have my late father-in-law’s old KJV that was his grandparents’ family Bible and has all the family birth and death dates in it for the entire 1900s. None of my Protestant relatives seemed interested in it, so I appropriated it and had it restored by a Bible repair company. I read a little from time to time and think of my FIL.


This is another reason I like the KJV. Most of us have Protestant ancestors and family members; these family members grew up reading and hearing the Authorised Version. Lots of us have their bibles and they’re very important heir looms that connect us to our forebears. I bet every page of your FIL’s bible is steeped in prayer and those beautiful words would’ve provided comfort and consolation for decades! What a treasure.


Yes, the family KJV I have was really beaten up and had obviously been read and used a great deal by probably more than one person over the course of its existence. Definitely a “well-loved” Bible before I had it re-sewn and re-covered.


.my son wants a kjv in Greek and English but I have no idea which one can you help me?


Here’s what the Catechism of Saint Pius X says:

33 Q: Why does the Church forbid Protestant Bibles?

A: The Church forbids Protestant Bibles because, either they have been altered and contain errors, or not having her approbation and footnotes explaining the obscure meanings, they may be harmful to the Faith. It is for that same reason that the Church even forbids translations of the Holy Scriptures already approved by her which have been reprinted without the footnotes approved by her.

The previous question says that such bibles should be burnt.


I’d NEVER burn my grandmother’s Bible. As others have said, it has great historical and liturgical value. But I wonder what the great St. Pius X would say about many modern Church approved Bibles. The KJV is far better than many of them. Times have changed.


Given that I’ve been Catholic my whole life, not looking to convert, not using my FIL’s Bible to evangelize anyone, and own five different approved Catholic Bibles (a Douay Rheims, a 70s NAB, an old Haydock, an RSV-CE, and I’m not sure what the fifth one is offhand but my mom bought it through our parish church), not to mention access to free Catholic Scripture all over the internet which is what I usually use because I can just pull it up on my phone, I don’t think God expects me to burn a family heirloom that reminds me of a good man whose soul I pray for and had Masses said for, even if he happened to be a lifelong Presbyterian. If I have a doctrinal question or looking to evangelize someone, I’ll be sure to use one of the approved Catholic Bibles, and you will note that when I quote Scripture on here I use an approved Catholic edition (usually Douay Rheims).

I said a prayer over the Bible when I took custody of it and discussed the matter with God, mostly because my mother had grown up under the rule you mention and had a bit of a horror of anything involving the KJV. As Saxum said, times have changed; we don’t have an Index of Forbidden Books any more either.




Thank you so much!

The Protestants removed some books of the Old Testament. For this reason alone, I 

wouldn’t use it as my personal Bible. (Of course, when it comes to an edition that contains the books of the Bible the Protestants removed, this objection wouldn’t hold true.)
Furthermore, the King James version relies on the state of knowledge of the Bible as of 400 years ago. In some cases, we have a more reliable knowledge of what it actually said.
Personally, I love the sheer felicity of its words in some passages, and in this way it was a very good influence on later literature drawing on it. But I don’t think it would be good version of the Bible for daily use. I don’t see an objection though to having a copy of it as a family heirloom or for other reasons though.


How true! I think the NAB would shock and scandalize ANY English reading Catholic from before 1950. Not only with the translation, but even more with the notes!

It’s certainly a truism to claim that the KJV had a powerful influence over English and its literature. I don’t see any problem with reading the KJV (with Apocrypha) for devotional reading, if its rendering is inspirational.

For those Catholics that are still unsure about the integrity of the KJV, just compare any passages with the RSV-CE which has the full blessing of the Church. The only difference you may note is the antiquated text in the KJV, and sometimes it may be a little less clear than the RSV-CE which benefited from the latest biblical discoveries and scholarship.


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