I am so, so, so sorry that it has taken me this long to get back to you!
If you parallel read the KJV with, say, the NRSV, you’ll notice that the wording is wayyyy different. The KJV uses a lot of words that aren’t found in other versions, and it causes a lot of passages to at best, make no sense whatsoever, and at worst, lose its original meaning.
The Bible as we know it now (and even the gospels that weren’t included) were written over thousands of years by many, many different people, who spoke different languages during different periods of evolution of those languages. It’s more complicated than saying “well the Bible was written in Greek”, because while Greek was a standard and fairly popular language during the period of the collection of what is now the “New Testament”, it too went through stages. The New Testament was written in different stages of Greek throughout the language’s development, and in different contexts, in the same way that college professors will speak one way to their graduate classes and another way to their families who would otherwise have no idea what they were talking about.
And if we’re talking about passages from the “Old Testament” that were written in Hebrew AND Greek (to preserve both copies), it will be a much different Greek than the Greek that would have been written by the “apostle” Paul (sorry, there’s a big debate on that) to the early Christian communities. In our world today, this would be like, 200 years ago, if you said the word “gay”, it would have been standard to hear it used in the sense of “happy”, or “merry”. Now it has a different meaning to the common person (unless you regularly speak with a penchant for old language variations, and that’s totally cool too). It was the same kind of situation hundreds and hundreds of years ago.
If you add onto this confusion that many times, there aren’t direct word-to-word translations in many languages, well, you’ve got a mess. Sometimes translators would make up new words, or sometimes two different translators would use two different words and then argue about whose was right (which you know happens pretty often today).. so if you do this enough times, you end up with A LOT of versions of the Bible.
As Christianity spread out, the Bible needed to be translated into a whole host of languages, like Syriac, Latin, and Coptic. So you have all these handwritten copies of Bibles with a whole assortment of translations all over the Mediterranean and beyond.
AND THEN. Then the printing press happened. And then Henry VIII broke away from the Catholic Church and made his own church just so he could divorce his wife (ok it’s more complicated than that but bear with me), so Henry VIII had a Bible authorized by the new Church of England, but when his daughter Mary took over many Protestants actually fled the country because her Catholic reign was so brutal, but THEN her sister Elizabeth became queen, and England became Protestant again. Isn’t history fun?
So while Protestants and Catholics are all running around like, what the hell is going on first the country is this and then it’s this??? The Bible is going through some crazy translations, and finally when King James took the throne he was basically like, this is some crazy shit, I’m going to authorize ANOTHER Bible and it’s going to be the OFFICIAL ENGLISH BIBLE BECAUSE I SAID SO. So he employed 40+ scholars to make this translation, and they were all members of the Church of England and I think most were actually clergy, and they were assigned to committees that would oversee the translations of certain sections of the Bible.
Now, let’s get technical.
During the time that this project was commissioned, any previous Bible texts that were printed in Greek depended on texts from the Byzantine Era (written in Medieval Greek), while most texts of the Alexandrian family (written in Koine Greek and translated into Coptic) are considered much closer in translation to the most original documents we have, since the Koine would have been spoken at the time many of the original documents were written. This is complicated and I don’t want to get into it here, but what it boils down to is that, in historical studies especially of religion and written documents, it’s best to look at your earliest sources. Again, this is why so many Biblical scholars can speak and write Hebrew and Koine Greek. And the KJV does not go back to the most original sources; it goes back to the latest versions, during which time the Greek language went through a new era, so to speak.
So to keep all this in mind, the KJV was pulling translations from a later variation of the Greek language, after which time many of the words had changed meanings. There could be many Greek words that would be translated into one, single English word, and even if they were all translated into one English word, chances are good that they weren’t even translating the original Greek word to start with.
This all gets much messier when you study it more broadly and you look at how many translations and “authorities” there were on the Bible even before Constantine called the Council of Nicea to decide which books were going to be considered canonical.
This is why people spend decades in school. We like to argue about who got to see the oldest manuscripts and who has the better translations and how much progress we’ve made into learning languages that nearly exist only on paper.
Ernest actually wrote a pretty good post about this, too, so you should go check that out.