Sunday, August 18, 2013

Wot Ye Not the Voice of the Turtle?

Imagine you are witnessing to someone who has not had the joy of reading the King James Bible. You may have read it from childhood. The language is that of Shakespeare--powerful, brief, and beautiful beyond compare. You revel in it. So do I.

But the person you are addressing is, let us say, 16 years old. They have a laptop and a touch screen smart phone, but not an "ap" for the Word of God. Should you hit them with this language? In short, is this the best way to talk to him or her?

I picked out "wot" as an example. A perfectly good word if you understand the vocabulary of 1611. Not surprisingly, many do not. They Tweet and Text, which I know nothing about. But you could talk to them in language they understand. From Germany or Holland to Great Britain, they understand modern English, fast becoming the world's most used mode of speech.

Jack Chick publications has a nifty little booklet explaining the terms of the KJV. I have one. Do I recommend you tell your 16 year old, who you may never meet again, to study this booklet so that he or she will later know what you are about to say?

Of course this will not happen. You want to reach them now. Instead, you read to them from a modern translation. I like NIV as a backup Bible. It is the world's most widely read version.

I know exactly how people feel about any version other than their old favorite. I have been immersed in this culture. I sympathize.

But I have heard a dedicated Christian say that Luke got it wrong when he translated the word in Acts 12:4 as passover. Luke should have said Easter! Luke was wrong, but the KJV translators got it right. Now we are entering the land of idolatry.

I know the defenses used to support their view--that Jews celebrated a pagan festival, not a Jewish feast day. If so, why didn't Luke say so?

When you speak words of endearment to your loved one, have you ever said, "You are my sweet little turtle?" Twice the words "turtle dove" are used in the Bible. Moderns know it means the sweet little bird and so render it.

I heard a translator defend The New International Version. He said "We too love the Bible, and we too have prayed for guidance in transmitting it." For those who do not believe him, I suggest they only read Christian literature from 1611--as if nothing from beyond that time was written in the Spirit of God.

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