The KJV is the Best
Posted by BrianJ on May 8, 2011
The KJV is the best…of the bible translations published in 1611.
I guess that means, Happy 400th Birthday KJV!! (But now maybe do you think you could take a seat and let someone else have a turn enlightening the English-speaking Christian world?)
It’s not that I don’t love ya’. It’s just that, well, I’ve sorta been reading someone else. And it’s not that I don’t respect you; I really do—but I also respect Newton’s Laws of Motion, and I still recognize that they have their limitations. (Come to think of it, you two are about the same age, right?)
I guess I owe you a bit of an explanation. I don’t want this to sound mean, but here’s the thing:
1) I speak English, but You are not written in English. Well, okay, that’s a little harsh. I mean, you’re written in a sort of English, but not one I’m familiar with (and let’s be honest, not even one people in your day spoke). Sure, you’re not that “olde” but:
“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not” (Isaiah 53:3, KJV)
…is only slightly more legible, to a 21st Century guy like me, than:
“and we desiriden hym, dispisid, and the laste of men, a man of sorewis, and knowynge sikenesse. And his cheer was as hid and dispisid; wherfor and we arettiden not hym” (Wycliffe, 1395)
You could try updating your lingo, but there’d still be the problem that:
2) You don’t appear to be based on original manuscripts. Calling yourself a “translation” is pushing it when you’re really more of a revision of the Bishop’s Bible and Geneva Bible. To be fair, this probably only affects a small portion of your words. But it still worries me when I read verses that probably were never really there, especially when they include whole stories like the Pericope Adulterae. You probably didn’t mean any harm by it—maybe weren’t even aware of it—but stuff like that makes me, like Joseph Smith, worry that you fell victim to “ignorant translators, careless transcribers, or designing and corrupt priests.”
Which reminds me:
3) You play favorites toward Anglicanism. You influence readers toward episcopal polity when the original authors perhaps intended the opposite. No harm, no foul, right? But if your bias is innocuous, then why was Tyndale forced to defend his preference for “congregation” over “church”? I guess it’s true what they say: Translations have consequences.
And if that weren’t enough:
4) I never really was impressed by your supposedly “beautiful language.” First, I don’t see how you can consider yourself a faithful translation and then in the next breath boast how hard you worked to ensure that every sentence flowed like poetry. It’s fine with me if you want to take something meant to be poetic—like the Psalms, or God’s words in Genesis—and render them as poetry, but did you ever think that maybe Matthew (for example) wanted his words to sound dry, blunt, or austere? (If I feel a deep need for beautiful Elizabethan prose, I can always read Shakespeare.)
Second, you wanna know what I find truly beautiful? The Gospel, that’s what—the news that I will be loved despite my faults, that I can find happiness in forgiving others, that my loved ones don’t cease to exist when they die, etc. If you think you need to add flowers or rhinestones or tinkling cymbals to that message to make it interesting, then you’re missing the point of the message. On the other hand, if you just want to express your deep respect and admiration for the message by adorning it with your choicest art, it might be better to honor it with an oratorio or something but leave the original intent alone. You could say that I long for a Bible as “it came from the pen of the original writers.“
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