Friday, October 9, 2009

Bibles, Cowboys and Samurai Warriors

I picked up the copy of the Gideon Bible in the hotel and opened it to one of my favorite passages to begin my morning reading. While I have mine on my SmartPhone, a printed copy is easier to read.

What to my wandering eye should appear but quotation marks. Yep, a quick check let me know this was the New King James Version. The message was familiar, though some of the phrases and spellings were not. As I read, I thought about the differing English versions of the Bible, and about cowboys and samurai warriors. Both impacted differing cultures during the mid-1900's.

Japan's "Seven Samurai" and the American "Magnificent Seven" tell almost the same story. But with cultural differences, losing a bit in comparisons. In places, they share dialogue, yet not sharing the same set of values and truths.

I feel the same way about many of the "new" versions of the same old story. You see, I believe God is quite capable of seeing to it that His word is preserved. I do not believe that "If the King James Version was good enough for Paul, it's good enough for me!" Of course not! But, it was good enough for the English-speaking world for a few centuries and I see no need to change an iota or keraia.

I won't get into the discussion/debates as to the reasons given for updating the Bible. Let me stick to my personal preferences.

I like the "familiar" second person pronouns in the KJV. Sure, they can be replaced with the modern "you", but the connotation just isn't the same, is it? Modern English has lost the closeness that "thee" denotes, which remains in several other languages. "You" covers a lot more territory, and can mean more than one person (even without the southern "Y'all") whereas "thee" is personal as well as singular.

I like to follow along when our Pastor is reading during his sermon, or a lesson is being given in our meetings. It is off-putting to read one version while hearing another. I like reading aloud from the same version, too. Again, for the same reason.

So, as arguments continue, please do not include me. I have my reasons for supporting the continued use of the King James Version -- while using multiple versions for study purposes -- and offer that same opportunity of selection to anyone interested in reading the Bible.

I always encourage people to do so!

1 comment:

  1. I rededicated my life to Christ several years ago and went to Lifeway to buy a new Bible (I had a parallel KJV and Living Bible and noticed they were different in some places). I was shocked to find a dozen different translations. I went back home to research them since I wanted to get it right and was even more shocked to find out there were hundreds of different translations! I ended up deciding on the New American Standard Bible and put what I found out about the 90 or so translations I looked at before I bought a new Bible on a website at (feel free to delete the web address if you'd like) and began looking into what the differences are and why they're there.

    I've found well over 400 English translations so far (including one that has both English and Klingon, seriously). The beauty of the King James language is undeniable, but for study purposes I agree that other translations can illuminate a section of text much better.

    John 3:16 in the KJV is "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." in the Message translation it's "This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life."

    Same meaning, but the beauty of the passage just isn't quite there.


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