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Understanding the KJV

Discussion in 'Baptists' started by 1watchman, Mar 9, 2014.

  1. 1watchman

    1watchman Overseer Supporter

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    A helpful paper in appreciating the KJV Bible:


    UNDERSTANDING THE KING JAMES BIBLE
    A paper answering the question: Is the King James Bible too difficult to understand?
    1. THE KING JAMES VERSION OF THE BIBLE DOES HAVE SOME ANTIQUATED WORDS AND FORMS OF SPEECH, BUT THERE ARE NOT MANY OF THESE.

    The Trinitarian Bible Society publishes a list of 618 antiquated words. It is called Bible Word List. That is not very many, and most of them can be understood by considering the context. There are only about 300 antiquated words in the KJV that are so difficult that you really need a dictionary to understand them.

    2. THE OVERALL READING LEVEL OF THE KJV IS NOT VERY HIGH.

    The KJV is written on an 8th to 10th grade level. This has been proven from computer analysis made by Dr. Donald Waite. He ran several books of the KJV through the Right Writer program and found that Genesis 1, Exodus 1, and Romans 8 are on the 8th grade level; Romans 1 and Jude are on the 10th grade level; and Romans 3:1-23 is on the 6th grade level.

    In the book: The Art of Plain Talk (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1946), Dr. Rudolf Flesch analyzed the reading level of various documents and rated them on a scale from Very Easy to Very Difficult. He testified, "The best example of very easy prose (about 20 affixes per 200 words) is the King James Version of the Bible..." Dr. Flesch became famous with the publication of his book: Why Johnny Can't Read.

    3. THE KJV HAS A SMALL VOCABULARY, USING SIMPLE WORDS THROUGHOUT.

    "While Shakespeare used a vocabulary of roughly 37,000 English words, the King James Bible used only 8,000" (John Wesley Sawyer, The Newe Testament by William Tindale, p. 10, quoting BBC TV, "The Story of English," copyright 1986).

    4. THE KJV USES SIMPLE WORDS; MOST ARE ONLY ONE OR TWO SYLLABLES--CONSIDER PSALM 23:

    1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
    2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
    3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
    4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
    5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
    6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

    Of the 119 words in this Psalm, only 24 are more than two syllables; 19 of those 24 words are two syllables and only 5 are three syllables.

    This Psalm illustrates why the King James Bible is called "peerless among literary masterpieces," "unquestionably the most beautiful book in the world," "the noblest monument of English prose," "incomparably the best English translation in its rhythm," "the touchstone of affective power," "matchless in its literary qualities among all English translations," "the supremely literary English translation," "the touchstone of literary excellence," "stylistically the greatest English Bible translation ever produced." These quotes from various men are from the book: The Word of God in English by Leland Ryken (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2002, pp. 270, 267, 258, 259, 206, 188, 163, 62, 51).

    5. ACCURACY IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN SIMPLICITY IN A BIBLE VERSION.

    The most important thing in a Bible translation is not simple language but faithfulness to the original. Dr. Waite made the following excellent comment in a recent edition of his newsletter:

    "The Bible is not a first grade primer. It is God's book. It is a book that must be diligently read. It is only by 'searching the Scriptures' that we find what pertains to life and death. It tells of creation, of the mighty universe, of the future or the past, of the Mighty God and His wonders, of the Holy Spirit's ministry among Christians, of the Son of God's great sacrifice for sin, of home in Heaven for the believer, and of a fiery hell for the unsaved. How dare we assume that His Word can be capsulated in a comic book [or a version that reads 'like the morning newspaper']."

    Also consider this statement by Leland Ryken, a professor of English at Wheaton College:

    "An English Bible translation should strive for maximum readability only within the parameters of accurately expressing what the original actually says, including the difficulty inherent in the original text. The crucial question that should govern translation is what the original authors actually wrote, not our speculations over how they would express themselves today or how we would express the content of the Bible. The fact that the New Testament was written in koine Greek should not lead translators to translate the Bible in a uniformly colloquial style. Finally, a good translation does not attempt to make the Bible simpler than it was for the original audience" (Leland Ryken, The Word of God in English, pp. 100, 101).

    6. PREVIOUS GENERATIONS EDUCATED THE PEOPLE UP TO THE BIBLE, AND THAT IS WHAT WE SHOULD DO TODAY.

    "Instead of lowering the Bible to a lowest common denominator, why should we not educate people to rise to the level required to experience the Bible in its full richness and exaltation? Instead of expecting the least from Bible readers, we should expect the most from them. The greatness of the Bible requires the best, not the least. ... The most difficult of modern English translations -- the King James -- is used most by segments of our society that are relatively uneducated as defined by formal education. ..research has shown repeatedly that people are capable of rising to surprising and even amazing abilities to read and master a subject that is important to them. ... Previous generations did not find the King James Bible, with its theological heaviness, beyond their comprehension. Nor do readers and congregations who continue to use the King James translation find it incomprehensible. Neither of my parents finished grade school, and they learned to understand the King James Bible from their reading of it and the preaching they heard based on it. We do not need to assume a theologically inept readership for the Bible. Furthermore, if modern readers are less adept at theology than they can and should be, it is the task of the church to educate them, not to give them Bible translations that will permanently deprive them of the theological content that is really present in the Bible." (Leland Ryken, The Word of God in English, pp. 107, 109)

    7. THERE ARE MANY TOOLS AVAILABLE TO HELP UNDERSTAND THE KJV?

    Following are a few of these: The Bible Word List from the Trinitarian Bible Society.
    The Concise King James Bible Dictionary, available from Bible Truth Publishers (
    bibletruthpublishers.com).
    Strong's Exhaustive Concordance.
    The Way of Life Encyclopedia of the Bible & Christianity.
    The Defined King James Bible available from Bible for Today, 800 Park Ave., Collingswood, NJ


    [This paper on understanding the Bible is from FUNDAMENTAL BAPTIST INFOMATION SERVICE, and forwarded by R. Gorgas. It is not copyrighted, but credits are given. One should note also that some words clarify and give special emphasis, and might be missed in various new versions. Thee and thou are singular, and ye and your are plural. The eth on the end of a word means plural or continuing. This is important in understanding God's Word to a people or to an individual. Words repeated are for emphasis, and should not be omitted, and the word: beseech ought to be appreciated as urgently important.

    The use of a few other Bible versions for cross-reference can be helpful, such as the JND New Translation and NKJV, but the KJV is considered by many Bible teachers to be best for general study and group use. It should be noted that the KJV has stood the purifying test of time, and any errors have been identified in the margins through many years. - RLD, 06/12]
     
     
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  2. Wearecommandedtojudge

    Wearecommandedtojudge Member

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    They (The TBS) make what I feel is the best Pocket Bible I have ever owned. Got it in Burgundy Calfskin for $30 from evangelicalbible.
     
  3. Keachian

    Keachian On Sabbatical

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    My phone is my pocket "Bible" due to wanting an intimate knowledge of the Bible, apart from looking things up on the fly I use one Bible at the moment; an ESV Single Column Legacy Bible.[/OT]

    I personally don't see the point in "understanding the KJV it is only when we presuppose that it is of somehow more than Amy other translation that we need to and that's an unfounded supposition IMO, if we want the TR readings the NKJV is better if we want more accurate readings then I'll stick with my ESV
     
  4. Bella Vita

    Bella Vita Sailor in the U.S.N

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    I second the phone I use the Bible app all the time even right in the middle of church!

    I'm sorry OP but I will never get use to reading a KJV. I think I will always find it difficult. I very much like my ESV or NIV.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2014
  5. 1watchman

    1watchman Overseer Supporter

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    One can surely choose whatever they wish for a Bible, but the paper posted was a response, I think, to help those who are unsure about the KJV having heard some people say it is "horrible" and not a worthy Version. Some of us believe it is a very worthy Version, and more close to the mind of God than many of the various renderings, appearing every few years to please the flesh. So, we can just leave this subject at that, and one can read anything they wish.
     
  6. JGiddings

    JGiddings A work in progress.

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    I have no issue and love reading the KJV now and then.
     
  7. Wearecommandedtojudge

    Wearecommandedtojudge Member

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    The King James version is more accurate then the ESV and there are things the NKJV screws up. Moreso then the KJV anyways.
     
  8. Keachian

    Keachian On Sabbatical

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    The KJV has no knowledge of the Granville Sharp construction, on that basis alone it is inferior to any modern version (except the NWT which plays loosey goosey with it) both the ESV and the NKJV are in the heart language of modern English speakers. The cadence and rhythm of the KJV is preserved to the greatest extent that it can be in both because they follow the Greek and Hebrew. I see no reason other than tradition to hold to the KJV over either of these fine translations.
     
  9. now faith

    now faith Veteran Supporter

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    Since it was many years prior to Granville sharp,and was translated by a panel of Greek scholars,
    Why would it matter?
    Sharp seemed to pick his examples that were contrary to his rule.
    They were always exceptions to his rule,when the Bible referred to Christ.
    The Greek language's were not always of the same dialect.
    Be it the Koin Greek was the most common,one mans rule on language is not a foundation to demean the group translation of the King James.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2014
  10. Keachian

    Keachian On Sabbatical

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    Because the Granville sharp construction is universal in scope, ergo there is at least one point of translation that the KJV is inferior to any modern translation (except the NWT which disregards as necessary) and in doing so does not have as strong a theology on the divinity of Christ.
     
  11. WithLoveFromAlyssa

    WithLoveFromAlyssa Love makes a choice, it has a voice...

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    I feel this way also
     
  12. Bluelion

    Bluelion Peace and Love

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    The thing is I read KJV for years from like 6 to 36. I tried the NIV and something was just off it did not feel right. A preacher gave my wife a NLT because she like I had trouble with KJV. I started reading the NLT and new it was my Bible. The book spoke to me and open God's word to me. I understood clearly. I think a person should search for what Bible speaks to them, they should look around. Now true there are some very bad translations, When I first got the NLT i compared every word to KJV, then Jesus spoke to me, He said "doesn't it say the same thing" I said yes in different words, and I felt Him smile. That was my answer. Some take issue with the NLT, but i heard the words of my King, He lead me to this translation and blessed me in using it. I think God will lead all of us to the translation right for us. Books like the QJV is a heresy book and not the Bible. We do need to stand up against such books.

    The paper you quoted really doesn't mean a hill of beans to me, because no matter how easy people say it is, KJV is just not easy for me.

    The Bible needs to be translated every 100 years or so, or else it would be lost in understanding to the next generation. If you educate people on how to translate KJV but make no translations one day all you are left with is a few people who truly understand it, and that is not preaching God's word throughout the world.
     
  13. preacherinblack

    preacherinblack the Hot Gospeler in black

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    I like the KJV I feel that's were God talks to me and I use other translations aswell.
     
  14. davidbrainerd

    davidbrainerd Newbie

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    The hardest thing about reading the KJV, honestly, is that no publisher will publish it in paragraphs. That's one thing that makes modern translations easier to understand: they are in paragraphs. Verse-by-verse is too disjointed for reading; it can only be used for reference and proof-texting.

    There has, of course, been the Oxford (or was it Cambridge?) Paragraph Bible, they monkeyed with the text of the KJV and changed capitalizations and wording, etc. If only some publisher would put out the KJV (without modifications) in paragraphs.

    Ironically, many publishers do print the pilcrow (paragraph marks) in the KJV. It had them at the very beginning in 1611. I have a pocket Thomas Nelson KJV that has them in there. Its in verse-by-verse format, but its got the paragraph marks. If only they would take the next step and actually make paragraphs!
     
  15. 1watchman

    1watchman Overseer Supporter

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    Paragraphs and much punctuation is done by the translators and the various verson-makers, so one needs to compare with scholarly commentators to see the best understandings. That is why I use several versions and Bible commentaries. For general study I like the Old Scofield Edition of the KJV, and I also read some in the NKJV for comparisons.
     
  16. davidbrainerd

    davidbrainerd Newbie

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    I think the simple fact of having paragraphs (regardless whether they are perfect or not) aids in comprehension. Its just easier to read in blocks than verse-by-verse, which just feels very disjointed.
     
  17. 98cwitr

    98cwitr Lord forgive me Staff Member Red Team - Moderator Supporter

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  18. davidbrainerd

    davidbrainerd Newbie

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    Lol. That's like where wheels literally means wheels but also means a car in pop-English. Or grill means something to grill food on, somebody's gold teeth, and also to ask someone a bunch of questions. If I wrote a book and in one place I said "Get up out my grill" and in another I said "I don't own a grill. Go borrow one from the guy next door," how many people would misunderstand that? But since its the KJV it must be evil, right? That's what the Bible Reconstructionists who want to piece the Bible together from trash manuscripts found in trash dumps in Egypt as if we don't already have the right Greek text (the Byzantine text) that was in use by the church for centuries, want you to believe. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a KJVO. I use other translations, even the "liberal" NRSV. But I sure do wish they would base themselves on the Byzantine text rather than on the supposedly "scholarly" and lame attempt at rebuilding the Bible that is called the Nestle-Aland text. I'm tired of having to look in the footnotes for things that ought to be in the text, like the doxology at the end of the Lord's Prayer, and the Amen. The KJV will always have an abiding interest (moreso in the NT than the OT) until these lame-brains get off of the Egyptian kick and just translate the right manuscripts already.
     
  19. 98cwitr

    98cwitr Lord forgive me Staff Member Red Team - Moderator Supporter

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    Context is everything...right :D Let's not twist words...tempt is tempt. It's a stark contradiction. If we must "stick" to English I have to reject the KJV on this basis and I'll stick to my NIV.
     
  20. davidbrainerd

    davidbrainerd Newbie

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    In the KJV tempt sometimes means test and in others seduce. When it says he tempted Abraham its talking about testing. When James says God tempts not man with evil, it means he doesn't seduce them. I get the point that if you weren't raised with the language you wouldn't understand that. That's why we DO need modern translations. But the modern translations need to stop removing verses in the New Testament and/or relegating them to footnotes.
     
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