Oh East is East, and West is West, and never the two shall meet, Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God’s great Judgment Seat;
But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,
When two strong men stand face to face, tho’ they come from the ends of the earth.” -Rudyard Kipling, “The Ballad of East and West”
Is Christianity a Western religion? That may not strike us as a significant question, may not register as something necessary to establish as true or false. But there are two reasons why it is important to dispel the illusion that Christianity is a “Western” religion.
“Those who feel they can escape the problem of translations by retreating into the citadel of the KJV have a zeal for God that is not in accord with knowledge. The same sort of attacks that are now made on the new translations were made on the KJV when it was new. If the same kind of fine-tooth combing that is expended on the new translations is used on the KJV, we see that the problems of the KJV are as numerous and as serious as those of the new translations. The need for new translations lies in the inadequacies of the KJV. Though shortcomings of the KJV complicate the task of learning, they have not kept the person who is willing to expend the effort from learning what God would have him do. At the same time, there are no valid reasons for one to insist fanatically that everyone should read only the KJV; to declare that it is a mark of orthodoxy to use the KJV as a standard, consulting other translations only for comparisons; and to look with suspicion on the person who calls attention to the shortcomings of the KJV or who has other preferences in his readings[…] Continue reading →
The KJV: Is it THE Bible? Part 11: “Which Translation Do You Prefer, if Not the KJV Only?”
Both the Old Testament (Deut. 4:2) and the New Testament (Rev. 22:18-19) forbid intentionally tampering with God’s word. Therefore, translating the Bible into any language is a serious matter. The English language (like any language) constantly changes, therefore it is dangerous to assume that one version shall always remain the preferred, most accurate, most approachable. New translations come and go. Continue reading →
The KJV: Is it THE Bible? Part 10: Divided Verses; Divided Minds
“A man dissatisfied with his life decided to consult the Bible for guidance. Closing his eyes, he flipped the book open and pointed to a spot on the page. Opening his eyes, he read the verse under his finger. It read, ‘Then Judas went away and hanged himself‘ (Matthew 27:5b) Closing his eyes again, the man randomly selected another verse. This one read, ‘Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”‘ (Luke 10:37b)”
-a common preacher story, adapted Continue reading →
The KJV: Is it THE Bible? Part 9: Paraphrases and Biased Renderings
In the last post we looked at textual errors in the KJV over the years. This post is a kind of “part 2” in which we examine paraphrases.
In many ways, the KJV is a very accurate translation, especially considering the limited knowledge of ancient language and access to manuscripts the translators had. But it is not free from paraphrase. It is not a fully literal translation, though many people are under the assumption that it is. For example, the KJV renders Gen. 25:8 as “Abraham gave up the ghost,” whereas every other translation more literally renders it “Abraham breathed his last“. Paraphrases like this one may harmless, but they do remind us that nobody can rightfully claim the KJV is a literal translation. Every translation—and I mean every translation—has passages that are paraphrased. Jack Lewis affirms that “no translator would argue for a completely literal translation, but the degree of paraphrase is always under dispute” (1). Continue reading →