Having spent most of my entire forty years as a Christian using only the King James Version of the Bible, I am amazed at how quickly I spot differences in the text of other versions. Now I understand why law enforcement officers study authentic currency so closely; it is so counterfeit currency is easier to spot. That is not to say that other translations are as worthless as counterfeit money, but whenever they differ from the KJV, they stand out "like a sore thumb."
Today, while reading from the devotional Our Daily Bread which uses the New King James Version, I spotted a very significant difference in the text. In Revelation 19:8, the translators had chosen to interpret δικαίωμα (dikaiōma) as "righteous acts," while the KJV has it, "righteousness." To many of you, that may not appear to be a big deal, but when you really think about it, there is a monumental difference between the two.
If the garment we are wearing represents our good works, our righteous acts, then we are definitely in trouble. Isaiah 64:6 says, "...all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags...." The reason is because they are rendered worthless by our other acts which are unrighteous. Ezekiel 33:13 says, "When I shall say to the righteous, that he shall surely live; if he trust to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity, all his righteousnesses shall not be remembered; but for his iniquity that he hath committed, he shall die for it." In other words, unless all of our deeds are righteous, none of what we do is considered righteous.
Since all Christians sin, for us to trust in good works is ludicrous. The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 10:3; "For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God." If we fail to accept God's gift of salvation by counting on our own "good works" rather than His good work (His death upon the cross), we are going to spend eternity apart from God. However, if we trust in the righteous act of Jesus on our behalf, we are made righteous in Him. Paul wrote, " And be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith" (Phil. 3:9). The prophet Isaiah understood this. He wrote: "I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness..." (Isa. 61:10).
Again, I am not saying Christians should only use the KJV. I am saying that whenever there is a difference between the KJV and another version, the difference needs to be examined. Both the context and what the rest of the Word says about the subject, need to be considered in discerning which version is the best. One little word can change the truth of the Word into a lie. A good example is the difference between the KJV and the New World Translation (Jehovah's Witness): "The Word was God" or "The Word was a god" (Jn. 1:1). God bless you as you "study to shew thyself approved."