There are reasons my readers may decide this subject is too deep and come back another day. Not a problem. That graphic is involved!
A question came up when I was looking at next week’s Sunday School lesson – John 8. Click to see it in the King James Version. I grew up with this version and there are many reasons I use it. When I have questions about words, I go to E-Sword app on my PC or my iPhone and look up the word using Strong’s dictionary. Each biblical word has been assigned a number to track its use through the Bible and it has the definition. As you can see from the above screen capture, it is a study tool, not a quick read.
I absolutely prefer using it when reading aloud with others. Imagine (if it hasn’t happened in reality to you) reading aloud John 8 from KJV above and reading it from New International Version (NIV). Here, in case you can’t click right now, the first few verses are – NIV, then KJV:
The wording does not change the picture each creates – Jesus, religious leaders, a woman taken in adultery and a plan to catch Jesus saying something wrong. But if we were reading aloud, together, words would run together and over each other and our focus would be on what we are reading rather than the message behind the words.
In depth studies of the question of versions also brings division and contention. It is a course of study that brings out arguments and pits good men against each other. We need to be aware of the history, but not allow it to detract from God’s word.
This particular passage is an example of such division. As given in the Pulpit Commentary:
Doubts have beset the authenticity of the passage from the fourth and fifth centuries in the Eastern Church, both on external and internal grounds. The authority and practice of Augustine, Ambrose, and Jerome gave it a secure resting place till the criticism of Erasmus re-awakened doubt.I have found that knowing there is dissention does not negate my faith in biblical accuracy. God’s word has been questioned since the snake spoke with Eve:
Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: (Genesis 3:1-4 KJV)
Now, do I believe a snake spoke to a woman? Yes – not as we think of today, but as it was in the beginning. Do I believe in the consequences of that woman’s decision? Yes – just as I believe in the consequences of our own. As Paul explained historical facts having greater meaning:
Which things are an allegory: (Galatians 4:24a KJV)
Does being an allegory make them less applicable? No. To me it means God’s plan has been unfolding from the beginning of time and is in a book we need to be reading. Please, let us continue reading God’s word together.