The Bible – King James Version

The King James BibleThe King James Bible

The King James Bible is, for tens of millions of people, THE original Truth Book.

It’s strange because I was raised by what I considered to be a fairly religious family, but I never actually read The Bible cover-to-cover, Old Testament and New Testament, until now.

I’m not really sure why not. I guess I just never got around to it until I started this project and then I decided that since The Bible is ‘The way and the truth and the life ~ John 14:6″ I decided I should finally make time for it. I’m glad I did.

The King James Version is a translation of the original Hebrew Bible that was finished in 1611. It was called as such because King James I of England gave instructions to the editors and translators, which affected the tone and feel of this Bible version.

This version of the Bible was considered the authentic version for over 400 years. When it was translated in 1611, King James I of England specifically ordered that the wording should reflect the values that the church of England teaches. So the Bible leaned towards protestantism and was written in old English. This made the Bible a literary work due to its grandiose wordings and excessive use of thy, thine, thou, etc.

It was considered literary prose as well as a religious guide for 400 years until new versions of the Bible started coming out, challenging the authenticity and accuracy of the King James version. Unfortunately for the KJV, the English language has evolved over 4 centuries and it was considered outdated. Also, the KJV did not include the Deuterocanonical books (Judith, Tobit, Sirach, Wisdom, Baruch, 1 and 2 Maccabees) so the new International version was considered more complete.

This Bible version still holds a special importance, especially to Protestants. This is partly because the new International version, which is now the most widely used version, is Catholic in nature. Also, some people still prefer reading old English, which seems to be more romantic and poetic, maybe because this was made in same era as when Shakespeare was alive.

So what does the KJV represent? You may not see it from simply reading the Bible itself, but knowing the history behind England’s religious freedom. In those days, Protestantism was popular in England. Because of this, England separated itself from the Catholic Church to establish the Church of England.

King James I of England oversaw the creation of all religious text in English, including the KJV Bible. Why was this so important? Because until that time, everything was done in Latin. Even as Catholics spread their religion everywhere, they didn’t make local translations of their rituals and texts. Everything was still done in Latin, which naturally alienated everyone else. By establishing the Church of England and created the KJV, the English were able to create something they could call their own.

Even nowadays, you’ll see a lot supporters for the KJV, calling it the true Bible instead of the International version. The International version is more brief in its passage, more straight to the point. In effect, it is less literary and a lot of words have been omitted, which fans of the KJV say are very important because it is the word of God.

For example, passage Matt. 5:44 in the KJV reads:

“…Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”

The International version reads:

“…Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”

The KJV goes into more detail about how to treat your enemies and truth be told, it sounds better to the ears. While you may argue that the International version is more brief and refuses to beat around the bush, there’s a certain charm to being poetic in your writing, and the KJV’s wording does flow extremely well.

While differences in how a passage is worded might not be a big deal to some, completely omitted passages are a problem. There are several passages in the King James version that have been totally erased in the International version.

Passages in the KJV that didn’t make it to the International version include:

“And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” – Acts 8:37

“But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.” – Mark 11:26

“For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.” – Matt. 18:11

The International version also changes a lot of things that we knew to be true since we were kids. For example, growing up, we were taught that David killed Goliath. Now, the modern versions of the Bible state that Elhanan, Jaare-oregim’s son, killed him.

In the end, your preferred version would depend on your religion. For example, Catholics will be more inclined to read the International version, while Protestants would prefer the KJV. Religion aside, the KJV is actually a better read. The romanticized wording and use of old English make it seem more like a literary work and therefore more interesting to readers.

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