Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Reading the KJV

In this 400th anniversary year of the 1611 Authorized, or King James, Bible, it remains the preeminent English-language version for the Christian student of God's Word because of its fidelity to the original text and eloquence in translation. Yet, it is recognized that certain words, because they are older, uncommon or archaic, must be wrestled with by many readers. As a help to those readers, brother Peter Lindstrom has prepared a brief guide to the linguistic issues involved entitled "Reading the KJV," and has graciously allowed me to post it here. I commend it to readers who may wish to take up the King James Bible, but have been cautious about doing so because of perceived archaic language. This short paper will help to clarify and clear away confusion about the Elizabethan language that is employed therein. It is worth the effort to delve into this translation of God's Word. What was rightly said about the King James Bible by William Plumer in the 19th century is equally true in the 21st century.

William S. Plumer, Commentary on Romans, p. 20:

Some of the older English versions from quaintness, if not from elegance, do often give the sense in a striking way. But none have, as a whole, been comparable to the authorized English version. Its amazing mastery of our mother tongue, its pure Anglo-Saxon diction and its very careful rendering of the true idea of the author still place it far above all competition.

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