09 February 2011

The King James Bible's 400th Anniversary!

It's coming up in May! Where are all the churches and homeschool groups celebrating this event? There are a great plenty of churches and homeschool curriculum providers who use the KJV - if not exclusively, then at least extensively - in their services and materials.

Is it falling out of favour? Too stilted, perhaps, to trot out of the closet and give an "anniversary" lookback as often happens with everything from Columbine to Columbus?

Whatever you may think of the translation and its accuracy or merits, it's had a profound effect on English literature and is the source of many idiomatic expressions commonly in use today. Here's a nice little website, complete with a ticker and a few handy links.

You'd think that Bible clubs and other organizations would be putting more out on this. But as one educational commenter noted of late, churches are moving away from longer passage memorization to short quips and quotes. Is it a cultural move from in-depth thought to a more sound-bite presentation of information? The author does not speculate.

For my part, I prefer the language of the KJV, but I honestly do NOT understand it all. I enjoy reading from two Bibles or using a KJV "parallel" Bible that puts two or more translations near one another. Any time you translate something from a foreign language, something must be lost or altered. Or the translator must choose between LITERALLY translating an idiomatic or cultural expression, or translating its actual MEANING to the original audience.

In short, I'm not freaked out about other versions of the Bible, but I tend to put more authority on the KJV simply because it has been around longer and withstood centuries of criticism from Bible scholars who know much more than I do on the subject. I also use curriculum that comes from some of the "KJV only" crowd not because I believe in the reinspiration of the KJV scriptures, but because the KJV curricula tend to be more in-depth and at least closer to where I stand theologically.

4 comments:

  1. "I tend to put more authority on the KJV simply because it has been around longer and withstood centuries of criticism from Bible scholars who know much more than I do on the subject."

    I agree. Well said!

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  2. I grew up memorizing NKJV passages, and so many of those still "sound better" to me that way. But I read my NIV in the morning. That's just what I've had "forever". My wife got started on NASB/ESV in college. I've heard The Message breathes some crazy new life into certain passages. So, for me, I'm a spectrum guy: Take in the most literal all the way to the most meaningful and you'll probably be just fine [smile].

    So, May, eh? I should do a shout-out on my blog...

    ~Luke

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  3. I really like KJV but as I read a bible in whole, I like to try a new version. I NEVER liked the NIV after what I found out and will never use it. :( But right now I'm reading to the kids NICV (New International Children's Version). I really, really like, and it's my favorite, NKJ. It's the closest to KJV and only changing a little bit.

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  4. Well, Happy Anniversary to the KJV! How shall we celebrate? "I commended mirth..." Ecc. 8:5

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Non-troll comments always welcome! :)