Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

The King James Bible 

I have a task in the Task Scheduler that opens a hot link to my favorite Internet radio station every morning at 5 o'clock. This morning I woke to the news that I had missed a very important anniversary yesterday--the 400th birthday of the King James Bible. I cut my teeth on the King James Bible, so I was interested when I was reminded that the King James Bible was 400 years old this year. Seems the day passed without much fanfare. The King James Bible seems to be a forgotten book. Part of that, I guess, is becuase it is too hard to understand for speakers of modern English. King James grammar is a little hard to get used to if you are not familiar with it, and there are no courses you can take, as far as I know.

I never read the King James Bible exclusively, so I don't agree with those among the Fundamentalists who suggest that the King James is the only Bible we should be reading. I heard a song recorded by a popular Christian musician who said, "all I hath needed thy hand hath provided." It's like scratching on a chalkboard every time I listen to it (I have, he hath--just so you know). My point is that modern young people cannot be expected to like the King James. It's just not written in their language.

I got a lot of help during my middle school years from the Amplified Bible. Wore out two of them. And I read the old American Standard (1901) on e-sword now, because it is the only English language version that translates LORD correctly as "Jehovah." The distinction between Lord and LORD in most English versions is too subtle for most people. I would venture that most native speakers of English do not know the difference between the two words, because they are indistinguishable when read a loud, and the distinction is all but unnoticeable in print. The Bible I carry with me and use in Bible studies is the English Standard Version (actually a bilingual version with the Chinese). So I am not, and have never been a "King James only" type. But it must still be said that the King James version is a tremendous contribution to the English language. I have always said that the King James Bible is God's gift to the English speaking people. I don't know of any other language group that has a Bible of the same literary quality as the King James (except for the original Hebrew Old Testament).

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