THE KING JAMES VERSION – THE VERSION I LOVE, PREFER AND QUOTE!
Please allow me to say a few words of admonition to those who may be using one of the many ‘Modern versions’. Almost all modern versions of the Bible are unhistorical and irreverent. The Bible is not a modern, human book. It is not as new as the morning newspaper! If the Bible were THIS new, it would not be the Bible. On the contrary, the Bible is an ancient, divine book which nevertheless is always new because in it God reveals Himself. Hence, the language of the Bible SHOULD BE VENERABLE AS WELL AS INTELLIGIBLE, and the King James Version fulfills these two requirements better than any other bible in English. Hence, it is the King James Version which converts sinners soundly and makes of them diligent Bible students.
When I read a portion of Scripture from the KJV, it is so grand and glorious and full of majesty, it just motivates me to memorize it and quote it verbatim with the reference! NONE of the modern versions challenge me thus! In fact every preacher whom I have known either personally, or through their writings who were ‘mighty in the Scriptures’ were all KJV men!
I write a lot of letters to Christians all over the globe even as far as Alaska! And when I write, either to comfort, edify or challenge them, I make it a point to load my letters with Scripture! For THIS is the divine admonition – “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God”! [1Pet 4:11]. For what I say matters little, it is what GOD says in His Word that really counts! And even though most of time I blend, mix and sometimes even paraphrase the KJV verses that I am quoting in my letters; all the recipients know that it is Bible I am quoting and glorify God for it! This would not be the case if I used the NIV or any of the other modern per-versions!
“In regard to Bible versions many contemporary Christians are behaving like spoiled and rebellious children. They want a Bible version that pleases them, no matter whether it pleases God or not. “We want a Bible version in our own idiom,” they clamor. “We want a Bible that talks to us in the same way in which we talk to our friends over the telephone. We want an informal God, no better educated than ourselves, with a limited vocabulary and a taste for modern slang.” And having thus registered their preference, they go their several ways. Some of them unite with the modernists in using the RSV or the NEB. Others deem the NASV or the NIV more “evangelical.” Still others opt for the TEV or the LIVING BIBLE.
BUT WHERE, OH WHERE, DEAR BROTHER OR SISTER, DID YOU EVER GET THE IDEA THAT IT IS UP TO YOU TO DECIDE WHICH BIBLE VERSION YOU WILL RECEIVE AS GOD’S HOLY WORD?
As long as you harbor this false notion, you are little better than an unbeliever. As long as you cherish this erroneous opinion, you are entirely on your own. For you, the Bible has no real authority—only that which your rebellious reason deigns to give it. For you, there is no comfort, no assurance of faith. Cast off, therefore, this carnal mind that leads to death! Put on the spiritual mind that leads to life and peace! Receive by faith the true text of God’s holy Word, which has been preserved down through the ages by His special providence”!
[Edward F. Hills. Thd. Minister of Christian Reformed Church]
As far as literary beauty and excellence go, the KJV stands in a class by itself! There is absolutely no comparison between – “Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow”! [KJV] and “Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed” [NIV]. And surely a “Thus saith the Lord”! [KJV] has more majesty and authority behind it than a weak “This is what the lord says” [NIV]
Read what literary critics and authorities have said about the King James Version: Prof. Charles A. Dinsmore, for many years professor of literature at Yale Divinity School, in his great work THE ENGLISH BIBLE AS LITERATURE, spoke of “the unique and sovereign greatness of our King James Version,” saying:
“It is unlike any other book in our language, and in charm and power is above them all.”
Prof. William Lyon Phelps, educator, essayist, and longtime professor of English literature, said in reference to the King James Version:
“Priests, atheists, skeptics, devotees, agnostics, and evangelists, are generally agreed that the Authorized Version of the English Bible is the best example of English literature that the world has ever seen.”
Social and literary critic H.L. Mencken, rarely extravagant in his praise, said:
“It is the most beautiful of all translations of the Bible; indeed it is probably the most beautiful piece of writing in all the literature of the world.”
The translators of the Revised Version of 1881 had this to say about the King James Version:
“We have had to study this great version carefully and minutely, line by line; and the longer we have been engaged upon it, the more we have learned to admire its simplicity, its dignity, its power, its happy turns of expression, its general accuracy, and we must not fail to add, THE MUSIC OF ITS CADENCES AND THE FELICITIES OF ITS RHYTHM.”
Oh there is something supernaturally musical and rhythmic in many portions of the KJV which is not found in any other version!
Here is one such rhythmic and musical favorite portion of mine –
“Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance? Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being His counselor hath taught Him? With whom took He counsel, and who instructed Him, and taught Him in the path of judgment, and taught Him knowledge, and shewed to Him the way of understanding? Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, He taketh up the isles as a very little thing. And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor the beasts thereof sufficient for a burnt offering. All nations before Him are as nothing; and they are counted to Him less than nothing, and vanity. To whom then will ye liken God? Or what likeness will ye compare unto Him”? [Isaiah 40:12-18]
These testimonials by authorities, writing from widely differing perspectives, are illustrative of the countless accolades over the years that have established the King James Version as inarguably pre-eminent both as the most trusted spiritual guide and authority, and as a priceless literary masterpiece. And thus it is always: the power to move souls to God and the beauty of Biblical language go mightily together!