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400 Years & Counting!


Dr. Jay Worth Allen

Today, May 5, 2011, is the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible.  The cultural atmosphere, as well as the reception the King James Version (KJV) itself is getting from different quarters, is quite interesting.

Thomas Nelson, partnering with The History Channel, launched a 400-day celebration last year.  Publishers Weekly announced:  “Save the date . . . the King James translation of the Bible, first published on May 5, 1611, and widely considered to be one of the most influential shapers of English language, literature and culture.”

Which brings me to an odd aspect of this story:  I found it intriguing that Publishers Weekly gave the KJV a mention, because for years the KJV has been marginalized in so many ways by . . . Christians.

As a culture we’ve bought into the idea that the KJV is “hard to read.”  And so its venerable translation has been set aside and thrown over for a hodge-podge of harmful translations that reflect Liberal Scholarship bias . . . a byproduct of Enlightenment thinking.

When Christian Publishers realized they could dazzle customers with innovative versions of the Bible, the dam broke.  Today nothing is beyond the boundaries of our Post-modern thinking.  We have the Grandmother’s Bible, the orange and blue Teen Study Bible, the red and blue Teen Devotional Bible, the Take-It-Anywhere Bible, the Boys Bible, the Camouflage Bible, and even the Back-Pack Bible for kids on the go.  Metal Covers, Magazine and Comic Book formats and, . . .well, the list goes on.  Sadly, most of the modern texts scarcely resemble the original manuscripts.

Miss Diana and I have multiple Bible translations, but our favorite is our matching set of the 1967 translation of the King James.  This particular translation contains no footnotes telling us that the Old Testament passages related to prophecy are metaphors.  There’re no notes that reconcile Darwinian philosophy with the Genesis accounts.  It’s a Bible, that’s all.

It’s hard for some people to accept that our sovereign God chose a method of communication, which includes written language accessible to His people in all times and places.

The mindset, that says we need Ivory-Tower Egg-Heads to decipher, decode, decrypt, unscramble & interpret the Bible for us is simply silly in two ways:  One, The KJV is not too hard to read.  Two, those preconceived opinion notes contained in modern translations do more harm than good.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not arguing that the KJV use of “hoary headed” should be forced on modern audiences.  But the “gender-friendly” new translations, which changed certain Biblical pronouns like “men” to “brother and sister,” etc., is nothing but awful scholarship.  If a Christian (man or a woman) simply reads their Bible, with the help of the Holy Spirit, they’ll grasp its meaning.  But if it’s read along with most Modern Intellectuals’ notes, their bias - masquerading as scholarship - will more likely be absorbed.

In the New Living Translation study Bible published by Tyndale, the tampering by Modern Intellectuals is blatant.  Their notes for Job 40 & 41, the famous “Leviathan” and “Behemoth” passages, reveal to us that these creatures are thought by “most” scholars to be a crocodile or a hippopotamus - even though Behemoth has a tail “strong as a cedar.”

The KJV reads, the Behemoth “moveth his tail like a cedar.”

This might seem to be a trivial distinction, but it is not.

The King James translators were not influenced by Darwinian philosophy, so they saw no need to liken these two creatures to modern animals.  Modern translators cannot accept that these creatures could be akin to dinosaurs.  The KJV translators just let the text do their talking, unlike the “geniuses,” who operate as Bible translation editorial boards today.

Some modern scholars go further in their notes for Job 40 & 41; they treat us to the idea that some of these creatures could be leftover descriptions from ancient Near East mythology.  Get it?  In other words, The Bible might have been influenced by Sumerian myth, not the other way around.

Another modern tampering with Scripture is the forcing of an environmentalist, “green” agenda into the Bible - taking the discussion far beyond what the Bible intended regarding stewardship.

A great example of this is Eugene Peterson’s 10-million selling “The Message Bible,” which alters Scripture in the name of environmentalism.  Peterson translates John 3:17, with, Jesus “came to help, to put the world right again.”  The KJV reads, “that the world through Him might be saved.”  Big difference, eh?  Peterson doesn’t stop there.  He also adds “green” to Romans 15:13:  “Oh!  May the God of green hope fill you up with joy.”

“The Green Bible” is another example of this environmentalistic greening of the Word of God.   Produced together with the Sierra Club, The Humane Society and the National Council of Churches, this Bible has an intro by Desmond Tutu and contributions from N.T. Wright and Brian McLaren.  Befitting its name, “The Green Bible” is virtually obsessed with environmental concerns, encouraging “people to see God’s vision for creation and help them engage in the work of healing and sustaining it.”

Whereas, the Bible is not terribly concerned with this present world - this is where Worldview and Eschatology come to the fore.  The Bible actually says this planet is under judgment and will one day be completely remade (Matthew 24:35; Revelation 21:1).

Back in the 90’s, the NIV Men’s Devotional Bible saw fit to include a statement by the Catholic mystic, Merton, who claimed that “sin is the refusal of spiritual life.”

Sounds spiritual?  Deep?

The problem is, it’s nonsense.  If sin were the refusal of spiritual life, we’d have billions of sinless people.  Many people are spiritual.  I was shocked at the time that a Christian publisher would produce something like that.  I’m not anymore.

Well, I’ve digressed.  Here’s to the 400th Birthday of the King James Bible.  May her “hoary headed” translators rest in peace.


400 Years & Counting!
Published:  4 May 2011 on Freed In Christ! blogsite.
Published:  5 May 2011 in the author's Opinion Column of The County Journal.

© 1998-2012 dr. jay & miss diana ministries, inc.  all rights reserved


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