My Thoughts, On Current Events, On Ministry, On the Bible

KJV turns 400; worth its weight in gold or a treasure hunters ‘fools gold’?

Right now gold futures are the highest they have almost ever been. Every where we turn we hear that now is the time to buy gold and lots of it. We hear the TV commercials advertise to cash in your old gold products and get more for them than what you may have even paid for them. Some investors are stock piling their portfolio’s with this rich metal. However, there are others who are saying that like everything else in the stock market “what goes up, must come down”. I’ve heard it said regarding investments to never let fear be the deciding factor. But what about tradition? 

Cover of
Cover via Amazon

Today marks the 400th anniversary of the beloved King James Version of the Holy Bible. The Seattle Times reports on it this way: “Still a best-seller, the King James Bible is being celebrated on its 400th anniversary as a religious and literary landmark and formative linguistic and cultural influence on the English-speaking world.” The King James Version of the Bible has outlasted most other books written in the same time period. It has been a standard for literary excellence and biblical study for all these years. Most protestant and evangelical denominations maintain it as their official translation and most christian churches still use it as the foundation for bible training and preaching and it can still be found next to the hymn book behind almost every pew.

The King James translation – the Old Testament from Hebrew, the New Testament from Greek – was assembled by 47 translators in six committees working in London, Oxford and Cambridge, and it emerged seven years later at a propitious moment. Commissioned by King James of England and established as the only “Authorized Version” by which it was originally known it quickly caught widespread acceptance and favor. Even though other bible translations came up out of the woodwork at nearly the same time including the Geneva Bible and later the Wycliff bible yet, the King James Version was still considered the “Gold Standard”. And a golden find many consider it to still be even today despite the plethora of modern and updated translations.

Citing from Dr. Joel Hoffmans blog; he describes “the King James Version (KJV) as the “fool’s-gold standard” of English Bible translation.” Dr. Hoffman recognizes the literary masterpiece that is the King James Version and the valuable influence that it has had for the past 400 years; nevertheless, Dr. Hoffman goes on to say:

“Yet for all its merits, the King James Version is monumentally inaccurate, masking the Bible’s original text. There are two reasons for the errors.

The first is that English has changed in 400 years, so even where the KJV used to be accurate, frequently now it no longer is. The second reason is that the KJV was written several hundred years before the advent of modern translation theory, linguistics, and, in general, science. Just as advances like carbon dating and satellite imagery help us know more about antiquity now than people did 400 years ago (even though they were a little closer to the original events), we also know more about ancient Hebrew and Greek now than they did 400 years ago. In fact, we know much more, both about the ancient languages and about how to convey them in translation.”

As we obey Christ and “Search the scriptures” ( John 5:39 KJV) in the King James Version, are we finding valuable gold or hunting down “fools gold”? Should we only use a treasure map that has been traditionally handed down with its ancient markings and old fashion measurements? Or should we use a newer map that has geographical pinpoints and uses turn by turn directions? What do you think?

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2 thoughts on “KJV turns 400; worth its weight in gold or a treasure hunters ‘fools gold’?”

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  2. That is a super-peachy-keen post. Thanks for really blathering on like that! Seriously, I don’t think I could have spent more effort wishing for something heavy to fall on me to erase that nonsense from my mind!

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