When Americans want to read their Bibles, more of them read the King James Version (KJV) than any other Bible. A new study suggests that 55 percent who read the Bible use the KJV, vs. 19 percent who use the New International Version (NIV). Other versions, such as the New Revised Standard Version, New America Bible and the Living Bible, drop below 10 percent.
The surprising numbers come from research done by a collaboration between Indiana University and Purdue University Indianapolis who teamed up to publish the report which used two very respected sources of data; the General Social Survey and the National Congregations Study. And all this is in spite of the NIV being the strongest selling Bible translation for decades.
In 2014 another study from the American Bible Society also reported that 52 percent of Americans read the KJV, or the NKJV and only 11 percent read the NIV. And Bible searches online are increasing for the KJV, presently at 45 percent, while searches of most other translations are flat, the NIV at only 24 percent.
The KJV is still a very powerful translation according to yet other studies. A 2011 Lifeway study found that 62 percent of Americans, and 82 percent of Americans who read the Bible regularly, own a copy of the KJV.
Bookstores may be crowded with alternative versions. Churches may line their pews and preach from pulpits with several other translations, but they do not surpass the KJV in confidence and popularity. Apparently, even with all the promotion, the NIV just doesn’t seem to appeal to people the way the KJV does.
Where would we be without the KJV? Doctrinally, we would not have the clear presentation of end-time principles of the sanctuary message, the Sabbath and the State of the Dead as we do with the KJV. Prophetically speaking, we would be wandering in the wilderness of confusion over the key markers of prophecy.