Mon, March 04, 2024
Welcome back, Visitor.

Why I Love the King James Bible

Bible in light

The most common reasons for avoiding the KJV are, first, that the archaic language makes it hard to read and often creates misunderstandings; and second, that it was translated from less authentic manuscripts. These problems are real and valid, but they can be minimized, and further, there are sometimes good reasons to read the KJV. In fact, I think there are passages in the Bible that must be read in the KJV to be fully appreciated!

There are parts of John that must be read in the KJV, and most especially the first verses of Chapter 1. No other Bible can touch it. I have a theory about this. Before the novel found its legs in the mid-1700s, literature meant poetry. It was immensely popular among the educated. Almost every educated man and woman tried his or her hand at writing it, and for entertainment, people would read poetry aloud to one another. It was the big thing, and being the big thing, many thousands of people spent many thousands of hours honing their skills at it.

Today, it is a dead art form. Few people write poetry, and those few that do have nothing approaching the skills of Shakespeare or Donne. The people who translated the KJV in 1611 were, in a word, highly trained poets with immense sensitivity to the language. Today, translations are done by academicians whose language skills, even if good by modern standards, cannot compare to those available 400 or 500 years ago.

Some scholars actually think that the first 13 (or 18) verses of John 1 were actually written as a separate poem before John began his gospel; whether written in the Johannine Community or taken up by them, nobody knows.

But no matter what the theoretical underpinnings might be, there are simply poetic parts of the Bible which must be read in the KJV. 1 Corinthians 13 would be another example.

It actually makes me a bit sad to see that the KJV butchered the translation of our study topic, John 2:1-11, but it has to be said: they dropped the ball.