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Monday, December 04, 2006

Why the King James Bible?

I was reading a site I have bookmarked, and one of the articles was titled "What Is the Best Method of Studying the Bible?" I was surprised to find a well-written and personal account of one man's journey to believing that the KJB is the Word of God for the English-speaking people. I realize that many people consider the KJB to be archaic and difficult to understand - at best. I am also greatly disturbed by the hatred and name-calling perpetuated by people on both sides of this controversy. While I was raised to stand for the KJB, I refuse to be hateful to anyone who disagrees with me; however, I will say that I do believe that those who reject the KJB have made the wrong choice. Why should we stick with the KJB when there are so many other versions from which to choose? Aren't they all the Word of God? The answer is a resounding, "no!"

Since I am NOT a scholar, I am going to rely on others' research to clearly speak what I cannot. The difference lies in the Greek texts from which the KJB and other versions are translated. The KJB was translated from Erasmus' Greek text (the Textus Receptus or Received Text) while modern versions were translated from the Greek text promoted by Wescott and Hort. Using two different texts as translation sources culminates in very different endings. You can see this for yourself at Watch Unto Prayer's Tables of Comparison of Selected Scriptures Affecting Fundamental Doctrines of the Christian Faith where they compare verses from the King James Version, English Revised Version, New American Standard Bible, and New International Version. The same website also features an article on the history of Bible translations, including excerpts from B. F. Westcott and F. J. A. Hort's life and letters in which Westcott and Hort themselves expose their membership and participation in a spiritualistic society, a disbelief in the infallibility of the Bible, a penchant for Darwinism, and other beliefs incompatible with Scripture. To my mind, any text promoted by such people would automatically be suspect!

If you are interested in obtaining more detailed information on this issue, I recommend Gail Riplinger's books In Awe of Thy Word and New Age Bible Versions. These books and other resources are available through Mrs. Riplinger's website Authorized Version Publications.

9 comments:

Shoshannah said...

Glad you posted that

Revka said...

I posted this before you and I talked about this very thing today. I didn't even think about it until I read your comment. LOL It's just something that was on my mind so I decided to write about it.

knowhimwell said...

I was raised reading the KJV of the Bible, but don't read it anymore. Unfortunately, there is a lot of false information out there about the history of the KJV.

Revka said...

I know a lot of people agree with you. Don't worry; we can still be friends! *wink*

knowhimwell said...

Yes, we can. It is nice to disagree in a friendly way.

Arthur said...

OK, time to rip you a new....

way of thinking.

I happen to have been raised on the NIV.

I met one of the translators of the NIV, a Dr. Walter Kaiser. He runs a seminary... he's a Christian Jew ... and he knows the old testament by heart. It's amazing, you can ask him anything about the old testament and he will know what you are talking about and have in depth commentary on it.

Anyway. Like I said, I read the Newly Inspired Version, or New Improved Version. I was raised on it and it is written in the most understandable language for me.

I only have two faults with the KJV but first, the good stuff:

KJV is a very accurate translation in most reguards. It is a word-for-word translation and was translated by remarkable scholars.

ok, to the faults: 1. Most importantly, the KJV is written in a dead language, Elizabethan English. As an English scholar, I defy most modern Americans to truly understand the subtleties of Elizabethan English, and I myself do not.
2. Secondly, I would point to the fact that the old testament was translated not from the original Hebrew transcripts, but from the Latin Volgate which was a popular translation around the time of Christ and the first century. It's hard to trust a translation of a translation.

While the Greek may be flawless, translated into Elizabethan, one must then translate it into modern English and the old testament is an even further stretch.

When studying however, I highly recommend that one use multiple translations and when something is really in question, it's usually helpful to consult the original language, and some wise counselors both spiritual and lingual.

Anyway, the KJV is a good translation as translations go, but in no way does it hold sole propriety to the Word of God in English. However, if your argument was that the KJV is the best translation for Elizabethan English, you would win hands down... in fact, I don't even know any other translations for that language. It is simply not to be compared with modern English.

Revka said...

Hi, Arthur! Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. I really appreciate it, and I found your comment intriguing.

I actually like the old language because of some of its subtleties. For example: "thee" and "thou" indicate singular and "ye" and "you" are plural, as opposed to our current English that uses "you" and "your" for both singular and plural. That is certainly not the only example, and the KJV English does require some getting used to, but there is a purpose for using that language.

Also, it is my understanding that the KJV OT is translated from the Masoretic texts, not from the Latin Vulgate. Did I misunderstand something?

Thanks again for your comments, and particularly for the spirit in which they were made.

Arthur said...

Actually, it's entirely possible that I'm the one who is mistaken as to he origins of the old testament KJV. Tell you what... I'll do some research and get back to you on that one.

I don't mean to trivialize your 'thee's and 'thou's ... but I was more referring to wording such as "Be angry, but do not sin."

In modern english, this tells us that we should be angry but should be sure not to sin when we are. Of course, a careful examination of the context here reveals that God is calling us to relinquish our anger quickly and not to harbor it over time.

I really wish I wrote down everytime the Elizabethan English was quoted and misinterpreted(by no fault of the reader) to the detriment of the True Doctrine. But, I didn't of course. And, as silly as it is to mention something so in passing, I will venture to say that Elizabethan English, in some places in the KJV is so difficult to understand that it lends itself to severe misunderstandings of doctrine. It's often not because of a single word itself, but because of the syntax of the language which is different than modern English.

Tell you what... I'll spend a little time this week and see if I can't come up with some examples of this as well... perhaps someone can benefit who's been stumped as to "why is God calling us to THIS?!?!"

Lol.

Revka said...

Hey, Arthur,
I'm enjoying our friendly conversation, and I appreciate your taking the time to do some more research.

I misunderstood your point regarding Elizabethan English and can better understand now what you were saying. At times, it can be like trying to learn another language.

I look forward to your next comment and hope that you have a great weekend.