Wednesday 27 March 2024

KJV English is not exactly 16th and 17th centuries English

Opponents of the Authorised Version (KJV) have frequently used the 'old English too difficult to understand' excuse to reject the KJV in favour of modern English versions. You can read my article here: Bethel: Is the old English of KJV too difficult for modern readers? ( The opponents claim that KJV English is 17th century English used by English-speaking Christians of that time. From this reasoning, they claim that therefore, we need a modern English version for English-speaking Christians today.

The claim about KJV English is not completely correct. 

We must remember that William Tyndale and the translators of the KJV endeavoured to bring the Word of God to the common (English) people using the language (English) they understood. William Tyndale even became a martyr on 6 October 1536 for translating the Bible into English. 

However, the English of the 1526 William Tyndale's New Testament and of the KJV were not exactly the English spoken by the people of England in the 16th and 17th centuries. Tyndale and the KJV translators endeavoured to publish a faithful and very accurate translation and as a result, William Tyndale's New Testament and the KJV introduced words into the English language. At the same time, the KJV transformed mediaeval English into modern English. The KJV could bring about that transformation is exactly because KJV English was not exactly 16th and 17th centuries English.

Tyndale and the KJV translators showed that there is a standard in translation and they did not simply publish an 'easy English' translation. The opponents of the KJV appear to forget that even in modern English, there are significant differences between informal spoken English and formal written English. 

The demand for a modern English version has led to a multitude of versions published over the last 100 years. Now which of the modern versions is the most accurate? The opponents of the KJV are not sure of the answer themselves too. This is why many readers of modern versions are reading more than one version. You can read my article: Bethel: Why KJV readers do not read other versions while modern version readers do (

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