The Authorized Version

Monday, Jan. 5

I grew up using the King James Version of the Bible. It’s sort of a default mechanism for me. I study from more modern versions but often go back to the King James to see how it reads. The KJV was a remarkable piece of work, accurate, and with a nice flow, rather poetic at times. But since 1611 other older manuscripts have been discovered which have shed new light on a few passages. But a bigger problem is the changes in the English language. Many 17th century words carry new meanings now. For example, the word “perfect” in King James’ day meant “mature”—not “without fault.” And I challenge you to tell me what “I do you to wit” means. And I eagerly wait the day that the “thees” and “thous” are laid to rest. That was just 17th century language, nothing especially sacred about it. So I’m thankful for the newer translations. The King James Version is called the “authorized version.” It was not authorized by God. It was authorized by the king, meaning that the cost of it was borne by government funds. We need to be careful that we don’t exalt the KJV to a higher position because it is “authorized.” No version is perfect and we don’t have the original manuscripts of any portion of the Bible. But the Bible has maintained the most accuracy (by far) through the centuries than any other writing. This is verified by both secular and Christian research. Part of it is the careful work of dedicated scribes (hand copiers) and I’m sure that God had a hand in it, too. We can depend on it. Don’t throw the KJV Bible away!

I grew up using the King James Version of the Bible. It’s sort of a default mechanism for me. I study from more modern versions but often go back to the King James to see how it reads. The KJV was a remarkable piece of work, accurate, and with a nice flow, rather poetic at times. But since 1611 other older manuscripts have been discovered which have shed new light on a few passages. But a bigger problem is the changes in the English language. Many 17th century words carry new meanings now. For example, the word “perfect” in King James’ day meant “mature”—not “without fault.” And I challenge you to tell me what “I do you to wit” means. And I eagerly wait the day that the “thees” and “thous” are laid to rest. That was just 17th century language, nothing especially sacred about it. So I’m thankful for the newer translations. The King James Version is called the “authorized version.” It was not authorized by God. It was authorized by the king, meaning that the cost of it was borne by government funds. We need to be careful that we don’t exalt the KJV to a higher position because it is “authorized.” No version is perfect and we don’t have the original manuscripts of any portion of the Bible. But the Bible has maintained the most accuracy (by far) through the centuries than any other writing. This is verified by both secular and Christian research. Part of it is the careful work of dedicated scribes (hand copiers) and I’m sure that God had a hand in it, too. We can depend on it. Don’t throw the KJV Bible away!

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