Tag Archives: Authorized King James Version

On the KJV’s impact on the English language, post #3–David Daniell

Photo taken by Lonpicman

Bust of William Tyndale

This is a continuation from “On the KJV’s impact on the English language, post #2–Lynne Long

David Daniell, The Bible in English

“The language of KJV is beautiful. Right through the sixty-six books of the Bible, from ‘They heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day’ (Genesis 3) to ‘God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes’ (Revelation 7 and 21), phrases of lapidary beauty have been deeply admired: ‘My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle’ (Job 7); ‘How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning?’ (Isaiah 14); ‘The shadow of a great rock in a weary land’ (Isaiah 32); ‘Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you’ (Matthew 7); ‘In him we live and move and have our being’ (Acts 17); ‘The unsearchable riches of Christ’ (Ephesians 2); ‘Fight the good fight of faith; lay hold on eternal life’ (I Timothy 6); ‘Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith’ (Hebrews 12); ‘behold, I stand at the door and knock’ (Revelation 3).” (429) Continue reading

On the KJV’s impact on the English language, post #2–Lynne Long

Rebuilt Globe Theatre, London

Continued from “On the KJV’s impact on the English language, post #1

Lynne Long, Translating the Bible, from the 7th to the 17th Century

Long’s thesis seems to be that when the King James Version came along, there had been a century of dull literary production in English (C S Lewis’s “drab age”), and that the King James Version was itself part of a major literary revival.

During the 1500s, says Long, “Biblical scholarship improved” in the English language, as versions such as Tyndale’s, the Geneva, and the Rheims New Testament emerged. However, up until the last quarter of the century, “creativity in the English language was not so evident.” “Prose written in what has been termed ‘the drab age’ was ‘clumsy, monotonous, garrulous’, C. S. Lewis tells us; ‘all the authors write like elderly men.” (185) But suddenly, with the onset of the 1580s, a literary revival burst upon the English scene. Continue reading

Sneak peek: Christian History magazine reborn with special KJV anniversary issue

Well, it’s finally about to go to the printer, and within a month it will begin mailing. It’s the special 100th issue of Christian History magazine, reborn after a two-year hiatus. This one is on the King James Version of the Bible: all the personalities, intrigue, opposition, and finally unsurpassed worldwide success that played out in the history of this English masterwork.

I’ve learned a lot in editing this issue–not just about Bible translation, but also about the Puritan-Anglican brawls of the 17th-century, American literature, what happens when you translate ancient Hebrew expressions word-for-word into English, what was really up with the Gunpowder Plot, how the KJV over the years has been hampered by an entertaining array of printers’ errors (“Thou SHALT commit adultery”??), and, as they say, “much, much more.” Continue reading

EVEN MORE words in the King James Version that now mean something else

Titlepage and dedication from a 1612-1613 King...

Title page and dedication from a 1612-1613 KJV

Continued from my first and second lists of such words:

moist fresh, Num 6:3. Hmm. Not everything in my fridge that is moist turns out to be fresh.

eloquent skillful enchanter, Isa 3:3. I’ve always suspected . . .

owl(s) ostrich(es), Deut 14:15; Job 30:29; Isa 13:21; 34:13; 43:20; Jer 50:39; Mic 1:8. Some major zoological confusion on this and the next one.

ox, wild antelope, Deut 14:15. Don’t try hitching this “ox” to your cart, unless you like bouncing across the veldt as cheetahs pursue you, trying to make a nice snack of you. Continue reading

MORE words in the King James Version that now mean something else

The first page of the Book of Genesis from the...

The first page of the Book of Genesis from the original 1611 printing of the King James Bible

Since my first list of such words has generated so much interest, here is a second:

furniture saddle, Gen 31:34. Pity the poor horse whose rider gets this one confused!

gin contraption, snare, Job 18:9; Pss 140:5; 141:9; Isa 8:44; Amos 3:5. Perhaps the reason we get “cotton gin” for “a machine used in harvesting cotton”?

halt lame Matt 18:8; Mark 9:45; Luke 14:21; John 5:3. halt(eth) (ed) (1) is (was) lame, Mic 4:6,7; Zeph 3:19. (2) limped, Gen 32:31. One can at least see the connection here . . .

harness armor, 1 Kgs 20:11; 22:34; 2 Chr 9:24; 18:33. harnessed armed, Exod 13:18. Pity the poor knight whose groom got this one confused! Continue reading

Words in the King James Version that now mean something else: Have you ever run across these and wondered what they meant?

Titlepage and dedication from a 1612-1613 King...

The tantalizing opening pages of the 1611 KJV

Well, work on issue #100 of Christian History magazine, on the King James Bible, is almost completed. By March we expect to have it out to many previous subscribers, plus those of you who have signed up for a free copy here. Meanwhile, what with allotting pages to articles and moving things around, the following nifty “Did You Know” piece will likely be pushed out (it was squeezed out when I realized that one page was not enough space to do justice to the KJV’s fascinating chief translator, Lancelot Andrewes). So what better place to share it than here on Grateful to the Dead?

The following are just a few of the more than 500 words that could trip up modern readers of the King James Version, because they now mean something different—often very different!—than they did in the early 1600s when the KJV was being translated.

accursed devoted, Josh 6:17, 18; 7:1, 11–13, 15; 22:20; 1 Chr 2:7. This one shocked me!

addicted devoted, 1 Cor 16:15. And this one, though more understandable, could also cause considerable confusion in the modern reader. Continue reading

Printing imminent! Watch for Christian History magazine issue #100

The forthcoming issue #100 of (the reborn) Christian History magazine, on the history of the King James Bible, will be at the printer soon. The mailing list for the issue is finalized. This means that the special offer previously linked at this page to get on the mailing list for this issue is now closed.

I will be posting another link shortly where you can register your name and address to receive future information about the magazine.

In the longer term, if you are interested in the magazine and want to follow it in future, you can do so at the following site, which will be up and running sometime in March: www.christianhistorymagazine.org.

I understand that over 1200 people signed up through the web link previously on this page to receive this special CH issue. Thank you, all, for your interest in the magazine. I hope that once people have received this issue, many will sign up to continue receiving the magazine, so we can continue this tremendous resource into the future.

Re-birthing Christian History magazine–an internet campaign

[You can now go here, or directly here, to get your free Christian History magazine Issue #100; sorry, USA addresses only]

Ken Curtis, founder of Christian History magazine back in 1982, passed away on Jan 2. His wonderful memorial service was held yesterday at a church in Souderton, PA, where the Curtises attended.

During the last 6 months of his life, Ken dedicated much of his energy and enthusiasm to re-birthing Christian History. As a result, Issue #100, the first print issue of the magazine to appear since Christianity Today International completed its publication run a couple of years ago with #99, is in layout right now for a projected release in late February or March.

Issue #100 explores the creation and influence of the King James Version of the Bible (honoring 2011 as the quatercentennial of the KJV’s first printing). Ken’s son Bill plans to send this issue free to many folks who were subscribers when the magazine ceased publication. Within the magazine will be a response mechanism so people can say whether they would like to continue receiving the magazine. Continue reading

The King James Bible in America–

Cover of "The Bible in English: Its Histo...

A goldmine on the KJV in America

Overwhelmingly, the King James Version has been the “Bible of America”–and although there are plenty of other versions to choose from now, this is a relatively recent phenomenon. In other words, American language, religious thought, and literature, where it has derived from an English Bible, has derived almost exclusively from the KJV.

[On the KJV in African American Churches, see here.]

No one has chronicled this better than David Daniell, in his 900-page doorstop of a book (and I mean that in a good way), The Bible in English: Its History and Influence (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003). The following are some glimpses into the goldmine of research Daniell has given us in that book, into how the KJV rose, proliferated, and dominated in America.

“The Bible the settlers brought with them, even some years after the King James Bible was first issued in 1611, was far more likely to have been a version of the 1599 annotated Geneva Bible than, to coin a phrase, the marginally challenged Bishops’ [Bible].” (409)

But although the Pilgrims and Puritans of the mid-1600s brought with them their beloved Geneva Bibles, this was not to be the translation of the future in the New World, any more than it was in the Old World. No, the future belonged to the King James Version–and this became clear with the printing of the very first Bible on American soil: Continue reading

The King James Bible in African American Churches

Dr. Virgil Wood and his African American Jubilee Edition of the King James Bible

The following comes from the essay “The KJV’s Influence on African Americans and Their Churches,” by Cheryl J. Sanders, in Translation that Openeth the Window, ed. David Burke.

[On the KJV in American Churches generally, see here.]

Here is a scholarly African-American author who is also pastor of her Church of God assembly (a Pentecostal church) reflecting on when and why she chooses to use the KJV in worship services:

“When celebrating the Lord’s Supper or baptizing believers by immersion, we always tend to use the KJV language, even in paraphrase. We say, “This is my body, which is broken for you,” “This cup is the new testament in my blood,” and when we baptize, “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” Somehow, it seems that special dignity and grace are added to these symbolic rituals of the church when we use this language, especially for a church that does not have a book of discipline or a prescribed liturgy for these observances.” (144-145) Continue reading