I love the Bible...and have come to "love" almost all versions of the Bible. I have been known to kid around by calling the NIV the HIV at times (for some of its "loose" translations of the Greek and the virulent like misundertanding of true doctrine that spread from it as a result), but I love and read the NIV as much, if not more, than almost any other version. Right now, though, I am predominantly reading from the ESV.
I was an atheist who sat down to read and prove the Bible wrong many years ago. It just so happened that at that time, I had a NKJV of the Bible...old and dusty in my collection of books. I didn't know anything about the various versions of the Bible and didn't really care. I figured a Bible was a Bible.
One night, I read through Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John...and found myself literally trembling before God - full of joy and excitement as well as holy fear. Tears of repentance and joy flowed as God revealed Himself to me.
No one had EVER shared the Gospel with me...and I didn't even know what the word "Gospel" meant...or what the Gospel was. No one "led me to the Lord". It was God's Word by the power of the Holy Spirit that awakened me. Or better yet, brought me to life!
Many years later, I was joyously consumed with "digging for gold" as I studied the Bible - with a voracious appetite. I looked to everybody for answers and would always search the scriptures to see if what they said was true, false, or just not-quite-right. (especially when one Christian would say one thing and another a contradictory thing - which means one or both are wrong! Such is the case with calvinists vs. arminians, infant baptism of presbyterians vs. believers baptism of baptists, speaking in tongues vs. not necessarily speaking in tongues, salvation by grace alone vs. salvation by grace of God plus our works, etc, etc, etc, etc....)
The Bible stood solid as an immovable rock...and source of spiritual food for me to eat, thrive, and grow in my walk...and to discern (with aid or "revelation", of course, by the Holy Spirit) true doctrine and the will of God.
At that time, all I read and memorized was the NIV. It was easy to understand and didn't have all those "archaic" words and difficulties I had with versions like the KJV.
My underlying assumption was this:
The original New Testament was written in Greek...by Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Peter, etc...
Those original writings were of course written on papyri (pieces of paper) that could never be expected to last hundreds of years. In fact, my first Bible was worn so much within the first 3 years I had it, that words were already fading, the papers became folded, bent, and even torn from use. So, I had to buy a new Bible...which, given the invention of the printing press in the dark ages...and later the invention of computers, printers, copiers, etc...was no big deal. A couple of bucks later, and I held in my hands the words of eternal life, yet again!
However, back in the first century, there was only one letter or rendering of each "book" of the New Testament. This meant that only one person could read it at a time! But what if other people (priests, pastors, etc.) or churches wanted to read, study, preach, and teach it? So, a person would make a very careful copy of that original letter to pass on to others. Furthermore, when one copy would become too worn to read, another would be carefully written. And so on and so on...until you had thousands of copies...perpetuated through time. And, sure enough, we have bits and pieces of thousands upon thousands of these copies...even today...and even from the first centuries.
Nevertheless, back to my assumption...
I assumed that there was one main Greek text that ALL english versions of the Bible used. Therefore, I had the assurance of knowing that although an "English" version might be difficult to understand...or even might be a "poor" translation...my heart was at peace knowing that I could always go back to the original Greek (via concordances and interlinear Greek-English Bibles)...and see for myself what the original words the Apostles wrote were and what they really meant, and what God really said and means! This is especially helpful if the English rendering is confusing, debated, or if different translations don't match very well. For instance, many so-called "contradictions" are just English mistranslations. I would challenge anybody to find ANY contradiction in the original Greek! Impossible!
And...until very recently, the Christian church only accepted one main Greek Text. This was and is called the "Textus Receptus" (among many other names).
However, recently a second Greek Text has been accepted by most of the Christian church, called the "Critical Text" (among many other names)! It didn't "appear out of nowhere", but is like man's "best bet" guess of what the original Greek was based on a congomeration of many papayri (pieces of paper) and codices (books) found from the early centuries.
When I found this out...it startled me, for I knew that God's Word was flawless...and kept perfect through time by the power and oversight of God Himself, by the power of the Holy Spirit.
BUT...after much study and research, I came to learn that the Textus Receptus and the Critical Text are virtually identical. They are 99%+ exactly the same...and all the pieces of papers from the first century match both of them...and all the writings of the earliest Christians who quote scripture also matches both of them. So...my main concerns faded into nothingness.
However, there are a couple of verses that are in one, but not in the other. Which begs the question: which IS the true Word of God....?
Thankfully, these extremely minor differences do NOT contradict ANY other scripture or teaching in either version, which is really just one version - God's Word.
The one main example is 1 John 5:7
If you read this verse in the NIV and in the KJV, you will see that they are different. This is NOT because they are different "translations" of Greek, but because the Greek text that backs up the KJV (the Textus Receptus) has words for 1 John 5:7, but the Greek text that backs up the NIV (the Critical Text) does not (they simply are not there!).
So...it stands to reason...
Either someone has ADDED these words to God's Word...or someone has SUBTRACTED these words from God's Word!
Both of these are most horrific crimes for which due penalty shall yet come to those responsible! (see Revelation 22:18-19, among the "Famous Last Words" in the Bible!)
But, in any event...
I love the KJV...and do consider it VERY special...which is why I answer your question...
1) Despite the overwhelming support of "professionals" for the Critical Text, I yet believe the Textus Receptus to be more pure. This for reasons that I'd be happy to share (email me), but this answer is already too long. Yet again, though, while I think the Textus Receptus that we have now to be 99.9% pure, I still yet believe the Critical Text to be 99.8% pure.
2) The "archaic" usage of the English language actually has functionality that is lost in English today. For example, MANY languages have 2 words for "you"...one being a plural usage and meaning "all of you"...and the other being a singular usage and meaning "you personally". Old English distinguishes these 2 with "ye" and "thee". Why do I care?
Well...look at John 3:7:
"Marvel not that I said unto THEE, YE must be born again".
Here, I can know that Jesus was talking personally to Nicodemus, yet when Jesus says "you must be born again" I know He is talking not just to Nicodemus...but to me, you, and anybody else. That way, someone cannot argue, "Jesus meant that NICODEMUS had to be born again...but this does not apply to US"!
3) The KJV uses RICH english words that are difficult to understand...simply because our vocabularies are so weak today. And a weak vocabularly leads to a more poor understanding. For example, I have memorized many NIV verses. And when I read the corresponding KJV verse, I am struck about how it is saying the exact same thing, yet in a slightly different and more in-depth way. Sure, I often have to pull out a dictionary...or Bible dictionary, but through such study, I come into a deeper understanding of God's Word and true doctrine.
4) I love it because now I CAN read it. Before, I couldn't. But after years of study, now I can...and I find it to be eloquent and beautiful. Verses I memorize in the KJV are typically SHORTER and more powerful (succinct) than the NIV. And I see "links" between verses in the KJV that are "severed" by using different and often ambiguous wording in the NIV.
5) I love it because through it, my understanding and appreciation for the English language, and my vocabularly has increased.
6) I love it because it CHALLENGES me to REALLY think about what God is saying. It is too easy to quickly skim over some NIV renderings of verses, but the KJV makes me stop...and say, "what on earth is this really saying? what does it really mean?" And this prompts more study, meditation, prayer, and worship!
7) I love it because through THIS version has come nearly ALL of the major revivals...giving it a rich and firm history. LOTS of blood was shed by martyrs for the KJV English translation and distribution...! This is not at all true with modern versions, which make TONS of money or "mammon", instead! Intermingled with motives for God's glory are fleshly motives for money...so to the most "liberal" mis-translations twist scripture in an attempt to reach a "larger" paying crowd of consumers! NOT SO, with the KJV!
8) I love it because it ALONE was used by all the old and dead theologians I LOVE so much. They didn't have 100 English versions of the Bible to read and study. They had one, and it was the KJV. Most modren day Christian writings are so "fluffy", full of garbage, and often heretical or unbiblical! Even the "best-sellers"! But read Thomas Manton, Arthur Pink, Jonathan Edwards, Charles Spurgeon...and through fellow brothers like this and their understanding and expositions and sermons on the Bible, my soul SORES with glee and worship! And they ALL used the KJV, and so when they talk about or quote a Bible, it is always the KJV...and it is deep and rich.
9) I love it because many other Christians don't read it, yet I can share it...and explain it...and give them a deeper and richer understanding of what they already know (in other versions)...and in so doing, can encourage, edify, and strenghthen them!
10) I love it because it doesn't "dumb down" the meaning of the Greek writers. It doesn't "change" the meaning via transliteration. It doesn't castrate the sexes. It doesn't attempt to scratch itching ears with things they want to hear, but rather proclaims the Word of God, as written by men inspired by the Holy Spirit...translated by humble God-fearing men for God's glory!
And the editors of the KJV didn't "apologize" in their preface for their "obvious" ineptness and "poor" job, as another answerer has implied - but who spoke humbly in fear of the living God, knowing that their efforts to take His Word in Greek and translate it the best they could into English was no mere cavalier undertaking, but a fearful and daunting task that NO mere mortal is capable - without the empowering of the Holy Spirit, God Himself!
...but these are just 10 reasons off the top of my head right now. ;)
And I say this:
I read the NIV a LOT...and recommend it, hands down, to ANYBODY that is seeking...or just beginning their walk with Christ. Particularly, I recommend The Quest Study Bible (NIV).
And right now, I read more ESV than anything (as my church uses this and has adopted it as their "pew-bible" and uses verses from it in sermons).
BUT...the KJV still holds a VERY special place in my heart...and I read, study, and memorize it often. In fact, my biggest "project" right now...is to carefully handwrite the entire Bible...to have it bound...and give as a gift to my future children. And the BIG question I had to answer was: which version of the English Bible should I do it in (cause I was NOT about to do it in Greek!). And...I chose the KJV! ;)
I hope this brought insight and encouragement to you and others who read it!
"And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth."
-John 1:14 (KJV)
...and MOST Christians have NEVER heard this verse:
"For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one."
-1 John 5:7 (KJV)
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all!