Disappointed and Critical...You could have made a strong appeal to use the King James Version because it is the best of the translations available. But instead, you lowered yourself to the level of charlatans and fanatics. Shame. Shame. Shame.
Disappointed and Critical
The following e-mail came from a disappointed and very critical visitor to GodSaidManSaid.com:
- I am truly disappointed. I was very excited when I heard your advertisement on my local Christian radio as I got home from work. I have now taken a look at your site and found some excellent answers to some of today's questions. Unfortunately, you lost all credibility with one question and answer — the one regarding Bible versions. There are legitimate reasons for preferring the King James Version and I am no fan of the NIV, however, you misrepresented the history of Biblical translation, implying that the authorized version was the first full translation of the Bible from the original texts. That is not true. Prior to the Anglican-sponsored order to make a new translation, which became the KJV, the Geneva Bible, a full Bible translated from the original texts, was the most widely accepted Protestant Bible. The KJV was ordered because King James, a non-believer, did not like the strong emphasis on the sovereignty of God in the marginal notations in the Geneva Bible. You then quote from Gail Riplinger, one of the most dishonest people I've ever heard of. Her book, "New Age Bible Versions," is filled with untruths, exaggerations, outright falsehoods, and preposterous exclamations. Her sample for the readability test thwarted all accepted rules for scientific method and should be completely disregarded. Its result is obviously wrong even to uneducated children. I am truly disappointed. You could have made a strong appeal to use the King James Version because it is the best of the translations available. But instead, you lowered yourself to the level of charlatans and fanatics. Shame. Shame. Shame.
- Signed, R.G.
Dear R.G., click onto "Which Bible" on this website for what GodSaidManSaid has published concerning Bible translations. In that feature article, a very brief history of English translations of the Bible is given. The purpose of the short history is not to give an extensive history of all English translations, which would have taken volumes, but to give a sense of the English Bible's beginnings. No mention was made of the Geneva Bible. Nowhere in that article did we state that the Authorized King James Version of the Bible was the first full translation of the Bible from the original text. The ultimate purpose of the article was to display the stark differences of today's modern translations, which are derived from the minority-text, versus the Authorized 1611 King James Version of the Bible, which was derived from the majority-text with all other translations compared.
Your criticism concerning the Flesch-Kincaid's Grade Level Indicator, or readability test, are unfounded. This basic scientific, mathematical formula was designed to indicate comprehension difficulty when reading a passage of contemporary, academic English. You can apply this formula to Riplinger's book yourself, though I reccommend pages 195 and 196 of New Age Bible Versions.
The following excerpt concerning the readability of the King James is from an article written by Henry M. Morris titled, "A Creationist's Defense of the King James Bible." Mr. Morris, one of America's most prolific Biblical and scientific writers, is the founder and President Emeritus of ICR (Institution for Creation Research).
The beautifully poetic prose of the King James is a great treasure which should not be lost or forgotten. It has been acclaimed widely as the greatest example of English literature ever written. Apart from a few archaic words or words whose meaning has changed, which can easily be clarified in footnotes, it is as easy to understand today as it was four hundred years ago. That is why the common people today, especially those without higher education, still use and love it. It is usually the "intelligentsia" who tend to favor the modern versions. These modern translations commonly tend to use long words and pedantic rhetoric, but the King James uses mostly one and two-syllable words. Formal studies have always shown its readability index to be 10th grade or lower. There is nothing hard to understand about John 3:16, for example, or Genesis 1:1, or the Ten Commandments, in the King James.
- There are some sections of the Bible, of course, that are quite complex in the original language and thus a faithful translation should preserve that same complexity (after all God inspired it that way), but all the basic histories, doctrines, and precepts are easy to follow by anyone who can read at high school level. Many sections can easily be read by children as soon as they learn to read at all. In fact, in earlier times here in America, children were actually taught to read by means of the King James Bible. [End of quote]
Dr. Morris addresses one of the principle complaints concerning the readability of the King James which is the use of the words "thee" and "thou," etc.:
We have abandoned today many fine points of English grammar commonly used in 1600. For example, we forget that "thee," "thou," and "thine" were used to express the second person singular, with "you," "ye," and "yours" reserved for second person plural. Today we use "you" indiscriminately for both singular and plural, thereby missing some of the precise meaning of many texts of Scripture. The same applies to the "th" and "st" endings on verbs associated with second-person pronouns; they also contribute significantly to the musical quality of the language, especially as used in the King James Bible.
- The translators were not only Biblical scholars but accomplished writers, and one of the deliberate goals-in fact, a part of their assignment-was to produce a Bible that would "sing" with beauty and power, and would also retain literal faithfulness to the Greek and Hebrew texts, which had themselves been written with majestic musical beauty. [End of quote]
Many sources are referenced in "Which Bible" including Riplinger's "New Age Bible Versions." Your allegations in reference to Riplinger are baseless, redundant, slanderous, and shameful. Make your specific challenges and cease with the vague generalizations. We'll take those specifics up with Riplinger and let her speak for herself.
By the King's own pen, your assertion that King James was a non-believer is also proven false. R.G., let me bring to your attention a 153-page treatise authored by King James for the instruction of his young son, Prince Henry, in the event the King would die an untimely death. The writing was titled "Basilicon Doron," which translates to "the Kingly Gift." An excerpt from the treatise follows:
"Diligently read his word, & earnestly pray for the right understanding thereof. Search the scriptures saith Christ for they will bear testimony of me. The whole Scriptures saith Paul are profitable to teach, to improve, to correct, and to instruct in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect unto all good works.
- "The whole Scripture contayneth but two things: a command and a prohibition. Obey in both... The worship of God is wholy grounded upon the Scripture, quickened by faith." [End of quote]
The Evangelistic Grant Charter, as it was called, for the settling of the Colony of Virginia, was authored and written by the hand of King James. An excerpt follows:
"To make habitation...and to deduce a colony of sundry of our people into that part of America, commonly called Virginia...in propagating of Christian religion to such people as yet live in darkness...to bring a settled and quiet government."
- [End of quote]
A final statement concerning the Godly credentials of King James, written by author B. Bradley, follows:
King James I of England was born in 1567. He was crowned King of Scotland at the age of thirteen months. He became King of England upon the death of Queen Elizabeth I in 1603.
- By the age of eight, he had mastered the Latin, Greek, French, Italian and Spanish languages.
- James was a born again believer and a Protestant. He was a devout believer in salvation by grace and the divinely inspired Word of God. He wrote a devotional commentary on the Book of Revelation and a work entitled "Meditations on the Lord's Prayer." He published a pamphlet against the use of tobacco. He also translated the Book of Psalms into English. His work, however, never appeared in the Authorized Version of the Bible which bears his name.
- King James was the first earthly monarch to encourage the propagation of God's Word in the language of the people. He wanted the Word of God to be in the hands, the hearts, and the homes of his subjects, not chained to the pulpits or read only by scholars and theologians. [End of quote]
R.G., you have impugned the integrity of King James as well as the integrity of researcher Gail A. Riplinger. A good point to remember is that when you point one finger at another, there are always three pointing back at you.
As far as sponsorship of the King James Version being Anglican, we must note that the English-speaking King James Version was sponsored by the King of the English-speaking world and its people. It was Dr. John Reynolds, a Puritan, who requested the King undertake the task of translating the Bible from the original texts — by his assessment, the translations that were allowed during the reigns of Henry VIII and Edward VI were corrupt. And, by the way, the marginal notations in the Geneva Bible were written before King James was born and therefore, not written with him specifically in mind. Also, Biblical notations are not Holy Writ.
King James Bible
Bradley, B., "Purified Seven Times," Revival Fires! Publishing, 1998
"King James I Biography," www.Jesus-is-Lord.com
Morris, H.M., "A Creationist's Defense of the King James Bible," Institute for Creation Research, 2004
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Psalm 119:105 (KJV)
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.