King James Onlyists decry the removal of the Johannine comma from modern Bible versions, believing it to be a removal from the Word of God, as warned against in the closing verses of Revelation 22. However, those versions which do exclude the Johannine comma do so based upon manuscript evidence which has been preserved for us. In other words, it is not done to actively violate or corrupt the Scriptures.
However, I wonder why the same standard isn’t applied to the King James Version. After all, if a translation ought to be rejected because it removes something from Scripture, ought not verses be rejected for adding to the Scriptures based upon the same passage in Revelation 22?
Thus would seem to be the case with the phrase “God forbid,” which the King James Version uses twenty-four times! Comparing the translation to the source material, however, I’m only finding one instance where the word “God” is actually used, and that is in 1 Chronicles 11:19!
Every other “God forbid” in the King James Version comes from a Hebrew or Greek phrase that does not contain the word “God.” Isn’t that interesting? Should not those who care about purity in their Bible translation make note of that mistake in the King James Version, seeking out & using a better translation if at all possible?
Looking at Romans 7:7, for example, here are how a variety of translations render the verse. If you’re familiar with the time period during which these were translated, you’ll note that recent versions have moved away from “God forbid” (a translation which agrees with the Roman Catholic Douay-Rheims Bible and the Anglican King James Version) and toward a more literal translation of the phrase.
In alphabetical order, according to the name of the version:
- “Absolutely not!” – Analytical-Literal Translation
- “God forbid.” – American Standard Version
- “in no way.” – Bible in Basic English
- “God forbyd.” – Bishop’s Bible
- “Certainly not!” – Contemporary English Version
- “Far be the thought.” – Darby Bible
- “God forbid!” – Douay-Rheims Bible
- “Certainly not!” – English Majority Text Version
- “By no means!” – English Standard Version
- “God forbid.” – Geneva Bible
- “Of course not!” – Good News Bible
- “That’s unthinkable!” – God’s Word
- “Of course not!” – International Standard Version
- “God forbid.” – King James Version
- “Let it not be!” – Literal Translation of the Holy Bible
- “Let it not be said!” – Modern King James Version
- “Far be it.” – James Murdock New Testament
- “Absolutely not!” – New English Translation
- “Certainly not!” – New International Version
- “By no means!” – New Revised Standard Version
- “God forbid.” – Revised Version
- “By no means.” – Webster Bible
- “No, indeed;” – Weymouth New Testament
- “let it not be!” – Young’s Literal Translation
(Note, the inclusion of a version in this list is by no means an endorsement; I prefer literal or near-literal translations, which many of these are quite a ways away from being.)