Truth Never Changes, Languages Do
The English Language.
The apostles never used it. I say this in jest, but I would not be surprised if there are some who believe that the King James Version of the Bible was handed down from that august group.
No. The English Bible, English itself, does not date to the first century! That’s obvious, but a related topic must be mentioned:
The English Bible does not exist in most of the world today!
How do the King-James-Version-Only people explain away the fact that English, though an important language, is not the language of the entire planet, and therefore not the language of the local Bible?
Over a billion people speak Chinese. Number one language of the planet.
Second is Spanish. About half as many as Chinese.
Third is English, with nearly 400 million speakers, though combined with ESL folks, the number approaches one billion. English is the main language of business and travel and a lot more, but say what you will, it is by far not the only language where the Christian message is communicated Biblically.
Do we dare even speak of the thousands of tribal languages that shall never have one word of the KJV in their language?
The argument for the King James as the “only” translation to read certainly weakens with these facts.
Truth does not change. Languages do. The KJV may be correct textually (and that still needs some proving) but it is way off, linguistically. Grammatically. In vocabulary.
All of these matters were not an issue in 1600, obviously. It was correct in all these ways then. It is not correct today.
Words matter! The wrong words in a Biblical text provide an unnecessary stumbling block for those wanting to get at God’s truths.
Why should I speak like Shakespeare when I am reading Paul aloud, or Moses, or David?
More importantly, why should I give cause to unbelievers for ridicule? The Gospel itself already does that. Are we not despised enough as a people without presenting to the world a book written in another tongue?
Why add meaningless assaults on Christian teaching? Why increase the ignorance level of Christianity by a book whose language is obsolete? One educated man recently told me that he was convinced that “thy” in the Bible simply means “the”.
That’s just one example in millions…
Because you understand the KJV, having been fed it since childhood, you can’t assume that others do, or want to.
There is an anti-scholarship attitude that prevails among many KJVO folks. “Don’t touch my KJV with your book-learnin'”, they imply. What they do not understand is that without scholarship, there would be no Bible at all.
The KJV may have been the best when it came out, though it was attacked in many quarters. It is definitely not now. Not because of the Greek text, but because of the clear evolution of the English language.
But the KJVO people disagree. They not only will fight for the superiority of the KJV, but for its exclusivity. Here is where I must part company with them, or rather, they with me. Once you have reached that conclusion, that the KJV is the only Bible we should read, you enter a cult-like group whose hateful doctrine divides families and churches for no good reason.
It is that spirit that has caused me to put these few paragraphs together for the edification of the church.
Yes, “God wrote one Bible”, and that Bible has been copied by men countless times in many translations, most of which, though flawed in the minutiae, are gloriously complete in the message they convey.
I shall not hate my brother if he dares to read a different version…