Christmas 2010, England’s Queen Elizabeth began her Christmas speech with a reference an American President could never do – a reference to a Bible.
“Over four hundred years ago, King James the Sixth of Scotland inherited the throne of England at a time when the Christian Church was deeply divided. Here at Hampton Court in 1604, he convened a conference of churchmen of all shades of opinion to discuss the future of Christianity in this country. The King agreed to commission a new translation of the Bible that was acceptable to all parties. This was to become the King James or Authorized Bible, which next year will be exactly four centuries old.”
For those of us who enjoy reading and studying the King James Version, it will be nice to see it celebrated. But it really isn’t important. What it tells us is. For those four hundred years, it has carried God’s message worldwide.
Now, I really don’t read the 1611 King James Bible. I’m not used to reading:
For God so loued ye world, that he gaue his only begotten Sonne: that whosoeuer beleeueth in him, should not perish, but haue euerlasting life. (John 3:16 KJV-1611)
I prefer spelling that is something I expect:
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. (John 3:16 KJV)
Same words, but with spelling that is much more familiar to me. Unfortunately, some translations reach for the same meaning, but fall short.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 (New International Version, ©2010)
I miss the ‘begotten.’ That single word has meaning to me through years of Bible reading and study. I do regret that the ‘dumbing down’ of America included a necessity of versions to simplify Bible reading. How difficult is it to read:
Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. (Acts 16:29-31 KJV)
What difficulty is there is reading these verses? Are they bettered by:
The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” Acts 16:29-31 (New International Version, ©2010)
KJV was the third English translation and has been through centuries of publications. Still, I’ll stick with it for my reading and memory work. And I’ll celebrate the memory of the four hundred years it has been available to English speaking people. I relish seeing verses posted from it, from my Christian family around the world.