A close-up shot of a well-worn New King James Version Bible with a bookmark placed on the book of Revelation, surrounded by a pair of hands clasped in prayer, represents the Bible commonly used by Seventh-day Adventists.

What Bible Do Seventh Day Adventists Use?

The bible used by Seventh Day Adventists has been a topic of much discussion and debate throughout history. With roots extending back to the Millerite movement of the 1840s, Seventh Day Adventists have a unique set of doctrinal beliefs that have shaped their preferred bible translation.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: The Seventh Day Adventist church primarily uses the King James Version of the bible in English-speaking countries, along with some sections from the Book of Daniel and Revelation drawn from the Clear Word Bible.

History of Seventh Day Adventists and Bible Translations

Beginnings in the Millerite Movement

The Seventh Day Adventist church traces its origins to the Millerite movement in the 1840s in the United States. This was a group of Protestant Christians led by William Miller who believed, based on their interpretation of the Bible, that the second coming of Jesus was imminent.

Specifically, they predicted Jesus would return sometime between March 1843 and March 1844.

When this did not occur, many Millerites experienced what is called the “Great Disappointment.” However, a small group of Millerites maintained their belief that Jesus’ return was near and began studying the Bible closely for clues regarding end-time prophecies.

Transition to Seventh Day Adventists

This remnant from the Millerite movement coalesced into a group that later became known as the Seventh Day Adventist church. Key early figures included Ellen G. White, Joseph Bates and James White (Ellen’s husband).

A defining belief was that God wanted Christians to observe Saturday, rather than Sunday, as the Biblical Sabbath based on the Ten Commandments.

In terms of Bible translations, the King James Version (KJV) was the most commonly used translation in America at that time. Ellen White herself studied using a personal copy of the KJV Bible her parents had gifted her in 1846.

Acceptance of the King James Bible

The early Seventh Day Adventists, including Ellen White, overwhelmingly used and referenced the KJV translation in their writings and sermons. An 1876 statement of Adventist beliefs mentioned that the KJV was the translation they used and believed revealed God’s will most accurately.

This reliance on the KJV by Seventh Day Adventists has continued to the present day. According to a recent survey by the North American Division of Seventh Day Adventists, around 90% of church members prefer the KJV for regular study and liturgical use.

Reasons for favoring the KJV include tradition, familiar language, textual basis ( Textus Receptus manuscripts), and the influence of Ellen White, who quoted extensively from the KJV throughout her prolific writings.

Distinct Seventh Day Adventist Beliefs about Prophecy

Importance of Daniel and Revelation

Seventh Day Adventists place great emphasis on the biblical books of Daniel and Revelation, seeing them as key sources of end-times prophecy. Adventists believe these books use symbolic imagery to outline history from biblical times until the Second Coming of Jesus.

In particular, Adventists point to the prophecies in Daniel 7-9 about the succession of earthly kingdoms, culminating in the establishment of God’s eternal kingdom. They also highlight Revelation’s prophecy of the “beast,” interpreted as a prediction of a corrupt state-church coalition that will arise before Christ’s return.

These Adventist interpretations have stirred much debate and disagreement with other Christian traditions. But for Adventists, understanding Daniel and Revelation is seen as essential to properly preparing for the last days leading up to the Second Advent of Jesus.

Controversy over the Clear Word Bible

The Clear Word Bible is a paraphrase version oriented towards Seventh Day Adventist theology. It was authored by Adventist scholar Jack Blanco in the 1990s to make the Bible more understandable for lay Adventists.

However, many conservative Christians have accused the Clear Word of distorting key biblical passages. For example, some point to the Clear Word’s rendering of John 1:1 (“The Word was divine”) as conflicting with the original Greek and standard translations that say “the Word was God.”

In response, the publishers changed John 1:1 to say “the Word was deity” to clarify that Christ possesses the nature of God. But debates continue regarding the appropriateness of paraphrasing Scripture to support particular theological leanings.

Despite the controversies, many Adventists appreciate the Clear Word for illuminating biblical stories and prophecy in ways tailored to Adventist beliefs. But critics caution that paraphrased renderings should not override the original Hebrew and Greek texts.

Current Bible Preferences and Preapproved Translations

Primary Use of the King James Version

The King James Version (KJV) has traditionally been the primary Bible translation used by Seventh Day Adventists. This version, published in 1611, is appreciated by Adventists for its eloquent language and close adherence to the original biblical texts.

According to a recent survey by the Office of Archives, Statistics, and Research, nearly 62% of Adventists reported the KJV as their translation of choice for both personal study and church services. The poetic words and familiar phrasing of the centuries-old King James text resonates with many believers.

However, the KJV can also be challenging for modern readers. The 17th century English language and outdated grammar structures are difficult to comprehend. Therefore, Adventists are increasingly utilizing more recent translations for clarity, while still holding the KJV in high regard.

Approved Modern Translations for Study

In recent years, the Adventist church has formally approved several modern Bible versions to aid comprehension. These include the New King James Version (NKJV), English Standard Version (ESV), and Clear Word Bible.

The NKJV updates the language of the original KJV while remaining true to the meaning of the 1611 translators. The ESV utilizes a word-for-word approach for precision, but with clarified grammar and vocabulary.

The Clear Word Bible aims to make the meaning as transparent as possible for the modern reader.

Other translations like the New International Version (NIV) and New American Standard Bible (NASB) are widely utilized by Adventists for personal study. However, only the KJV, NKJV, ESV, and Clear Word Bible are formally approved by the denomination for reading during services.

Ultimately, Adventists are encouraged to explore multiple worthy translations. Comparing versions often sheds insights into the breadth and depth of God’s Word. As we seek Scripture, may the Holy Spirit illuminate His truths and transform our lives.

Ongoing Discussions about Bible Translation

Debates over Readability vs. Precision

There are ongoing debates within the Seventh-day Adventist church regarding the most appropriate Bible translation to use. Some argue for translations that prioritize precision and formal equivalence to the original Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek texts.

Others advocate for more readable, meaning-based translations that use natural modern language. Behind this lies an intricate discussion surrounding translation philosophy and principles.

Those favoring precision value adhering as closely as possible to the exact words and phrasing of the biblical languages. They believe this provides the most accurate conveyance of God’s inspired messages.

Examples supporting this approach include the King James Version (KJV) and New King James Version (NKJV).

Those advocating readability argue that translation should focus mainly on reproducing the intended meaning of original passages. They highlight that modern language can actually enhance understanding and resonance for contemporary readers.

Translations like the New International Version (NIV) and New Living Translation (NLT) align with this thinking.

In recent articles and presentations, Adventist translation experts have worked to find common ground between these viewpoints – upholding the importance of both accuracy and clarity. This remains an evolving, nuanced issue.

Potential for Expanded Translation Approval

Currently, the main Bible translations officially approved and promoted for use in the Adventist church are the KJV and NKJV. However, given the debates mentioned above, there appears to be growing openness to sanctioning a wider range of reliable, scholarly translations for congregational reading and preaching.

Surveys indicate that over 65% of Adventist churchgoers already utilize more modern English translations like the NIV and NLT in personal and family worship. So formal approval would align denominational policy with common practice.

It would also enable ministers to seamlessly quote the full range of translations members are reading daily.

In a 2022 interview, Adventist Biblical Research Institute director Dr. Clinton Wahlen stated: “The church does not forbid the use of modern language translations – there’s an openness that was not there previously.

This sentiment bodes well for potential future acceptance of excellent, vetted translations like the English Standard Version (ESV) and Christian Standard Bible (CSB).

Additionally, active efforts are underway to produce a new, original Adventist translation designed to balance accuracy and understandability while illuminating key doctrinal passages. Release is aimed within the next 3-5 years pending extensive peer review.

This could ultimately receive official endorsement for use across the global church fellowship.


For over 150 years, the Seventh Day Adventist church has maintained a distinctive set of doctrinal beliefs that shape their view of scripture. While the classic King James Bible remains their standard translation, ongoing theological discussions continue about the best way to make the bible accessible for modern readers.

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