Puritan Belief

The Puritans are the men of God who started in the 16th century building on the purity of the gospel message that Salvation is by Grace alone.

Love, Charity and the KJV

Lately I have been enjoying the KJV translation. Hebrews in-particular is brilliant in the KJV. The KJV I find to be a hard hitter and reading it is like being in the forefront of a battle.

All translations have bias and there is certainly no such thing as a real word for word translation. I believe this to be the Lords purpose for scripture is spiritually discerned. To get the meaning of scripture you compare scripture with scripture and view the context.

Can anyone tell me why the KJV would use the word Charity instead of Love here?

"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal ... Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; ... Charity never faileth: ... " 1 Corinthians 13

Compared to all other popular translations which use the word LOVE. Charity and love have different meanings from what I can see.
Translation - Number of times Charity is Used - Verses
KJV - 24 - 1 Corinthians 13 (9), Colossians 3:14, 1 Thessalonians 3:6, 2 Thessalonians 1:3, 1 Timothy (3), 2 Timothy (2), Titus 2:2, 1 Peter (2), 2 Peter 1:7, 3 John 1:6, Jude 1:12, Revelation 2:19
NIV - 0 - NONE
NASB - 3 - Luke 11:41, Luke 12:33, Acts 9:36
ESV - 1 - Acts 9:36

Add Your Comment(26)

Love, Charity and the KJV
Posted by Correy Edmed Saturday, February 25, 2006


Blogger Scribe said...

What is interesting is that the KJV was essentially an anti-Puritan Bible, published without the Calvinistic notes which made the Geneva Bible so popular and so annoying to non-Reformed English church leaders. It took a century for the KJV to win over the hearts of religious conservatives.

The choice of "charity" reflects early 17th century usage which still had ties to the Latin of the Vulgate. The Latin word for love is "caritas," which was then translated into Middle English as charity. Nowadays, the meaning of charity has utterly changed. Language is a living thing!

February 25, 2006 11:52 PM   Edit
Blogger Michael Pendleton said...

I think that the God that created, holds together, rules, and runs the universe is more than capable of keeping His Word together.

The God that created every language speaks to His people in various ways.

I have always believed the best translation of the bible is the one that is being read. I have seen lot's of King James Bibles collecting dust.

I suppose I'm off topic though. I looked up the answer to this question not long ago. Here's a link I found interesting.
Charity or Love

February 26, 2006 2:24 AM   Edit
Blogger Rand said...


Ancient Greek has several words for "love", all of them specifically referring to a certain aspect of love.

Consider John 21:15-17. In verse 15 and 16, in the translation to English, we have the Lord asking "lovest thou me?" Or, in the Greek "agapao me?" which is charity-love; the purest most sincere love. To this Peter answers, again, in our English "you know that I love thee". In the Greek that's "phileo you", which is like: "I like you".

In v.17, the Lord, lowers the bar and asks Peter is he "phileo" (like) him, to which Peter answers that he did "phileo" (like) him.

So, the reason the KJV guys went with "charity" instead of "love"? They were trying to do the Greek text justice since the whole theme of the first part of 1 Corinthians 13 was this Agapao love.

Regardless of modern christianity's opinions, the KJV is without a doubt, the best translation in the English language today. It is faithful to the best texts, and it is incredibly literal.

None of which can be said for the NIV, the NAS, the NLT... and the other modern per-Versions.


February 26, 2006 2:47 AM   Edit
Blogger Rand said...

Actually here you go, I found an excellent entry on Wikipedia on the various Greek words translated into "love" in the English language.



February 26, 2006 2:48 AM   Edit
Blogger mS eLoVe said...

Including myself, I believe that the words of the KJV Version are the pure and preserved words of God for the English speaking people.

I think the first thing that every one should know why KJV is the only acceptable version and a lot of people now a days, trying to fit their own words into the word of God instead letting God's Word should be our tool and be the sword to our faith.

As a bible believer (KJV). There are lot of reasons for accepting the KJV as preserved Word. Let me see if I can list some of them. supported by verses.


1.God promised to preserve His Words. there has to be a preserved copy of God's pure words somewhere. If it isn't the KJV, then what is it?

Psalms 12:6-7 The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.

2. KJV has no copyright. The text of the KJV may be reproduced by anyone for there is no copyright forbidding its duplication. this is not true with the modern perversions.

3. The KJV produces good fruit.

Matthew 7:17-20 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. --No modern translation can compare to the KJV when it comes to producing good fruit. For nearly four hundred years, God used the preaching and teaching of the KJV to bring hundreds of millions to Christ. Laodicean Christians might favour the new versions, but the HOLY SPIRIT doesn't.

4. The KJV is supported by far more evidence. Of over 5,300 pieces of manuscript evidence, 95% supports the King James Bible. the changes in the new versions are based on the remaining 5% of manuscript, most of which are the Alexandria, Egypt.

5.The true scriptures should testify of Jesus Christ --
"John 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

I could imagine how people thorn their flesh to the modern translations who are busy corrupting the word of God day and night.

Ok Puritan, I better stop. Sorry, I just can't stop my hands here typing. (hehehe). Promise!

God bless you.

February 26, 2006 5:13 AM   Edit
Blogger Puritan Belief said...

Scribe: That is interesting that it originated as an anti-Puritan Bible. Seems like the Lord has used it with the oppisite effect since.

Michael: Yes the Lord does keep his word together and I believe this place to be in human hearts and minds according to Hebrews.

Rand: Thanks Rand for showing the difference with the Greek. I do notice that the Agape used in Corinthians is actually Agapeo. Another thing is Charity does not seek its own however I do see that Love does always seek its own ... Just a thought that I will need to look into. I could be wrong here.

mS eLoVe: Please feel free to type as much as you like. Thanks for your comments on the KJV here. Just wondering where you are from?

February 26, 2006 6:48 AM   Edit
Blogger mxu said...

ms elove -

you said that the KJV is the "only acceptable version."

That is a curious statement. I would point you to James White

February 26, 2006 6:52 AM   Edit
Blogger Modern Day Magi said...

The KJV is most certainly not the "only acceptable version" or the "pure and preserved words of God for the English speaking people." It is not even written in modern English. The KJV, written in 1611, is written in 'old' or 'middle' English and as such is not the language we speak today. Saying the 'KJV is the only Bible.' is like saying 'Only Shakespeare is entertainment.'

The closest we have today to a 'word for word literal' translation is the NASB. Although word for word literal translations still adhere to Hebrew or Greek gramatical structures rather than an English one so it can get a little confused sometimes.

Going back to what Puritan said about all the translations being different as art of God's plan. I agree to a certain extent. I do not blieve that any Bible translation is by default better than any other. In fact when used together different Bible translations give a far better understanding of the Bible than relying on a single one. In the verse from PB's post the one translation saying 'Love' and the KJV saying 'Charity' gives a more rounded understanding than either word on their own. "love is a general term in todays English eg 'i love my wife.' vs 'i love pizza.' the same word, very different meanings i assure you. Charity speaks of giving, sacrificing, helping, rescuing, providing for someone else with no thought of reward, like many but not all charities today.
I work in a christian book store and when a customer asks me to help them find a new Bible, one of my first questions is always "what bible do you read now?" then i always direct them if i can to a different translation.
English is a limited language. We only have on word for 'Love', the Greeks had three; we only have one word for 'snow' the Inuit tribes of north America had roughly 20 (my memory from that history class is hazy). etc.
Since English is so limited and we cant all afford the time to learn biblical hebrew and greek (the only 'true' scriptures are the originals otherwise God is a deciever and gave them to us in the wrong language to begin with) the best a layperson can do is go to various translations to see how different experts have translated the same passage to get a better understanding.

February 26, 2006 12:12 PM   Edit
Blogger Mike Garner said...

Hey Puritan,

In 1611 and following years Charity simply meant love. The word is a bit archaic but we still have the same general idea.

Those who suggest a vast distinction between Agapeo and Phileo are not exactly correct. The words in both the Bible and other Koine greek literature mean the same thing. Many Pastors have propagated this misunderstanding so we should be sympathetic to those who are confused, but there is really not the vast distinction that some thing that there are.

Now, I must suggest that you use the KJV carefully. It is not a very good translation. The poetry is absolutely fantastic because Old English is better for poetry. If you enjoy reading the Psalms then that is okay. However, the KJV is based off of poor manuscripts. It comes from the Textus Receptus (so called "commonly received") which is a very limited group of manuscripts in the Byzantine text time. Depending on the school of scholars there are either 3-5 different types of text types. Alexandrian (primary and secondary), western, Caesarean, and Byzantine. Almost all modern scholars (textual critics) agree that the worst is the Byzantine text type.

There are those who would argue that the KJV is the one true translation which is utter nonsense. It does not sound like you believe that, but I would warn you of the KJV-Only people.

They will argue that God keeps his word pure throughout the history of the Church which I do believe. However, most of the Manuscripts that make up the Textus Receptus do not even show up until the 10th and 11th century. The Byzantine text type itself is most likely from the 4th century (where Alexandrian and Western both come from the 2nd).

They will argue that the majority of Manuscripts are of the Byzantine quality. People like Zane Hodges use this argument frequently (called the Majority Text view). The problem is that this does not mean anything.

For example - suppose I have 2 original manuscripts. One has ReadingA and the other has ReadingB. Suppose Manuscript 1 is copied 9 times and Manuscript 2 is copied 89 times. We now have a total of 100 manuscripts. 90 have one reading and 10 have the other. Does this mean readingB is 9 times more likely than readingA? Of course not.

So then, we do not simply want to count manuscripts but weigh the quality of the manuscripts. Once this is done, the Byzantine text type is clearly shown to be an inferior type.

The Textus Receptus is even worse. It represents only a few, late manuscripts of the Byzantine type.

Unfortunately, it was one of the first publications into English following the invention of the Printing Press. With a very good marketting plan, many were persuaded to use this text.

Again, my strong suggestion is to be very careful that you do not buy into that mentality.

Sorry for the length of the post, but there are many people (particularly Fundamentalist Baptists) who insist upon the KJV as the only valid translation. These people will often compare the NASB(or ESV, RSV, NIV, etc) and say "Well the KJV has this verse and the NIV doesnt. The NIV must be corrupt." Unfortunately, the KJV is not the standard but the original Greek. Since we have no manuscripts, the science of Textual Criticism tells us within about 99.2% certainty what the original would have said. We must compare all translations against this text.

In Christ alone,

P.S. For some solid reading on the science of Textual Criticism (it also deals with the KJV question) I'd suggest Metzger's The Text of the New Testament. It has recently been updated by Bart Ehrman (sadly he used to be an Evangelical but is not quite Liberal). Even so, the text is still worth reading (although you can probably do without reading Chapter 8 where Ehrman's liberalism clearly comes through).

February 26, 2006 1:14 PM   Edit
Blogger Mike Garner said...

I forgot to mention one thing. The reason that they used just these few manuscripts is because the scholars were much more familiar with the Latin which had dominated for more than 1000 years. As a result, many of the errors of the Vulgate are duplicated.

Even in the midst of all of this, the KJV is still "decent". If one reads it with other translations (and preferably Greek/Hebrew if you know the original languages) then it is acceptable. It becomes unacceptable when it is the only text one reads and there is a demand that others read it as well.

In Christ alone,

February 26, 2006 1:16 PM   Edit
Blogger Mike Garner said...

Now, after posting, I can see that several KJV-Only people have posted. One person was so kind as to present arguments for it. I shall respond briefly.

1.God promised to preserve His Words. there has to be a preserved copy of God's pure words somewhere. If it isn't the KJV, then what is it?

The KJV doesn't even exist until 1611. To suggest that it is the example of God's preserved word is amazing. Also, one might ask what language, in what location, etc., does God preserve his language?

2. KJV has no copyright. The text of the KJV may be reproduced by anyone for there is no copyright forbidding its duplication. this is not true with the modern perversions.

Again, this is not actually a reason to suggest that the KJV is the "preserved word of God". Also, there are a few translations that are not copyrighted. Also, which version of teh KJV are you speaking of? The first edition? The updated version?

3. The KJV produces good fruit.

Unless you are suggesting that no other versions of the Bible produce good fruit, then this does not argue that the KJV is the preserved Word of God.

4. The KJV is supported by far more evidence. Of over 5,300 pieces of manuscript evidence, 95% supports the King James Bible. the changes in the new versions are based on the remaining 5% of manuscript, most of which are the Alexandria, Egypt.

I addressed the Majority Text argument earlier. It should be noted, the number is actually about 90%. Even so, as we said, manuscripts must be weighed rather than counted. Also, the 90% number is for the Byzantine text in general. The number of manuscripts used for the Textus Receptus is actually remarkably small.

5.The true scriptures should testify of Jesus Christ


Arguments 1,2,3 and 5 are clearly informally invalid. They are not arguments that can even be used. Argument 4, the majority text argument, is the only substantive argument. However, as demonstrated before, this argument does not hold water.

In Christ alone,

February 26, 2006 1:30 PM   Edit
Blogger Modern Day Magi said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

February 26, 2006 2:28 PM   Edit
Blogger Modern Day Magi said...

thanks mike!! very thourough.
It has been my experience that it it really only the 'KJV-only' people who try to say that only one bible (the KJV) is the true one.
One of the greatest resources my mother had when I was a child was a Bible which had the Amplified, KJV, NIV, and NKJV bible texts side by side. so opening to a page got you 4 versions of the same passage. While the NKJV isnt really that reliable (being a translation of a translation) haveing all 4 there was so helpful to my early Bible understandings. Espcially as a child i found old english very difficlt.
spot on about the beauty of the KJV in Psalms though. very difficult to rival in the other translations.

February 26, 2006 2:29 PM   Edit
Blogger Puritan Belief said...

Thanks for all this information Mike. I have not properly researched it myself and have just heard off other people and their opinions on translation. I am a bit like Modern Day Magi in that I compare translation to translation and scripture with scripture. However I am very strong on the scripture being spiritually discerned and can easily prove this using numerous scriptures in any translation.

Rather then boasting in translation or even the accuracy of the original greek/hebrew I boast in the Spirit for the Word reveals Jesus to me in Spirit and in Truth.

This one point of charity I didn't understand and would have liked to have got a few viewpoints.

I am with Rand though when the churches start preaching from the message bible. This does unsettle me a bit.

February 26, 2006 2:49 PM   Edit
Blogger Rand said...

Sorry, but Mike's diatribe on the "poor quality" of the RT is a laughable joke. While I agree that KJVOs like Riplinger and Ruckman are loons, to diminish the quality and authenticity of the RT is a wickedness I cannot let pass without correction.

The RT and the Masoretic Texts, which were used in the putting together of the KJV Bible are without question, the better texts. They were, after all, the church texts. What I mean by this is that they are the texts that had been copied and preserved by the early church.

All other Bibles use the Alexandrian texts (which includes the NASB), which is definitely older, but they were from questionable sources and they are very few in number. Mike's position makes him a very good Metzger-ite, but a poor judge of biblical history. An old bad text is of far worse quality than a newer good text, no matter what textual critics say.

I find it FAR easier to believe that God preserved His word through His early church in multiple copies than preservation of a few copies in Alexandria, Egypt, who just happened to be in the hands of heretics. And I find it far easier to place my trust in the men who put the KJV together who were mostly faithful christians, than taking the words of the modern version councils which are predominantly controled by unbelievers and liberals.

For good resource, check out this site:


Also, I would add this: most faithful churches, true revivals and mighty men of God in the English culture have been KJV users. And when the modern versions came, apostasy followed. Guys like Mike might say that this proves nothing, but hey... what a coincidence huh?


February 27, 2006 5:30 AM   Edit
Blogger Mike Garner said...

I am with Rand though when the churches start preaching from the message bible. This does unsettle me a bit.

You and I (and Rand!) agree here. We ought not be preaching out of one man's paraphrase.

If there is any particular point from any of the KJV-only folks (like Rand) that is particularly convincing then feel free to email me and I will address it further. Otherwise, I don't see much need in a really long post attacking much of what has been stated.

In Christ alone,

February 27, 2006 7:56 AM   Edit
Blogger Rob Somers said...

Those who make their claims about the KJV being the best are certainly free to do so. I am not going to make any attempt to stop them from reading it. But if I have opportunity to give a new convert (or even someone who is not yet a Christian) a Bible, I most certainly would not hand them a KJV. Men like Wickliffe and Tyndale died so that people could have the word in their own language. Now the KJV is indeed in English, but it is not the same as the English we use these days. Why make it harder for someone to understand things which are so important?

KJV only adherents are free to think as they wish, but I will not subscribe to their theories.

February 27, 2006 9:07 AM   Edit
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March 08, 2006 8:04 PM   Edit
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My fellow brothers,

If trully seeking the truth, and the purist wording of the One, True Holy BIBLE, one must go to the Latin Vulgate. If by chance, you dont speak or read latin. I suggest not the KJV, but the Douay-Rheims (DRB). The only english translation of the Bible that is faithful to each full stop.

Respectfully, and God bless.

March 17, 2006 1:36 PM   Edit
Blogger Puritan Belief said...

Thank you Anonymous, However to get the true meaning of the text I will go to Jesus who has risen and is alive.

March 17, 2006 5:09 PM   Edit
Blogger r3ck0rd said...

I believe KJV translators deliberately used the word "charity" instead of "love" because of the broader word definitions of the two. "Charity" is clearly defined being a form of love that is giving and understanding and something that is dear/expensive, and to represent the Love of Christ, so to differentiate it from other kinds of love like sexual and pleasing love that wants and needs to be pleased. i won't say that it's wrong to use "love", but the choice of translating the word "agapao" to "charity" should be acceptable, don't you think?

July 01, 2014 9:52 PM   Edit
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Every now and again I thumb through my copy of the King James Version of the Bible. Beyond the "thee's," "thou's," and words that end with "th," the word that sticks out most to me in that translation is the word "charity" where other translations use the word "love."

For example, in 1 Corinthians 13:13 in the King James Version reads, "And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity." That same verse in the very popular New International Version reads, "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."

In all, the King James Version uses "charity" 29 times to translate the Greek word agape. On other occasions, however, that same version uses "love" to translate that same Greek word.

What's the difference between love and charity in the New Testament?
When the word agape is used in the context of vertical action (God toward man and/or man toward God), it is translated as "love."

When the word agape is used in the context of horizontal actions (man toward neighbor or enemy), it is translated as "charity."

It is certainly acceptable for modern translations to replace "charity" with "love," but I don't think it's preferable. The word "love," as we use it today, carries more than one meaning. We say we love ice cream. We say we love our family. We say we love our wives. We say we love God. We say we love music. You get the point.

Where we have one word, "love," the Greeks had four words:
agape was the word used to identify love that was selflessly committed to the well-being of another;
phileo was the word used for the non-sexual affection of those sharing a strong bond, like "brotherly love;"
eros was the word used for romantic feelings, like "being in love;"
storge was the word used for fondness of someone/something through familiarity with them/it.
(see The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis)

Besides the subtleties that are screened out when we use the word "love" in all those contexts, we have also developed a mental framework that equates love with abstract passivity. In other words, to a large degree, love has become a cerebral practice.

"Charity," on the other hand, captures the contours of concrete activity that are implied when agape is used in the context of horizontal (person to person) action. Of course, "charity," is not without its own cultural baggage - images of dropping coins in red containers at Christmas time come to mind. But charity encompasses more than that.

Charity means participating in tangible acts of loving-kindness toward all others (friend or enemy) in unconditional and self-sacrificial ways.

Or to put it simply, to practice charity is to be compassionate. This is the insight of Marcus Borg who notes, "'To be compassionate' is what is meant elsewhere in the New Testament by the somewhat more abstract command 'to love'"

May 12, 2015 3:12 PM   Edit
Blogger Mary Williams said...

So ist charity the type of love like Jesus would have expected of us still. Doing Bible study on 1Cor 13:13

March 08, 2016 7:02 PM   Edit
Blogger Mary Williams said...

So ist charity the type of love like Jesus would have expected of us still. Doing Bible study on 1Cor 13:13

March 08, 2016 7:03 PM   Edit
Blogger Mary Williams said...

The newer text just help us understand.

March 08, 2016 7:04 PM   Edit
Anonymous James said...

Love means RIGHTOUSNESS or the DOING of what is RIGHT. to love is an ACTION word.Love may also encompass feelings but is able to stand alone. Eg: love your enemies, do good to those who despitefully use you. 1Cor. 13:3 records "love in action" but not possessing the character of charity. So, what is charity? Charity, is the nature of goodness that produces selfless ACTS of love. The very nature of Charity is described in ver.4. To use or think of love as feelings and not to understand the true NATURE of charity, or to replace charity with word love is to miss the true meanings. Most modern translations have done just that.

January 23, 2017 2:24 PM   Edit

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