Friday, July 09, 2021

Do minor changes make the KJV an imitation? Conclusion.

I hope supporters of the King James translation of the Bible can find common ground, proceed with caution in unclear areas, promote a Bible that is consistent from its initiation, to the present, and for the future,[i] and leave the theatrics for the purveyors of the ever-changing modern critical text of the Bible.
There is no doubt that orthography has a place of interest and usefulness. Capitalization or the lack thereof – especially for modern readers’ expectations – may cause us to find or miss divinity in a passage. Punctuation can change the meaning of a sentence. For example, a comma and the lack thereof might make things serious (or humourous).
  • Let’s eat, grandpa.
  • Let’s eat grandpa.[ii]
Sometimes these things seem clear-cut. On the other hand, there are fluid standards and/or the fluid interpretation of standards. Sometimes what someone insists is the only correct punctuation really does not change what people read and understand. The way I was taught punctuation when I was in school often appears to be outdated by today’s standards. I (generally) use commas more often than recommended by current standards.
The approach of folks like Verschuur and Kizziah, however well-intentioned, ultimately leads people to doubt their King James Bibles rather than have confidence in them. Believers may begin to agonize over minutiae where they once with simplicity confidently read and trusted their Bibles. This new approach makes readers dependent on some authority or authority figure – we must accept what someone else has researched and claims to be true.[iii] Perhaps there are some slight differences that ought to be cleaned up in some printings of the King James Bible, but I do not think any of this is widespread enough to cause us to worry about whether we have the word of God.
Let’s not belittle this kind of discussion, as do others. The Bible is the most important above all other books. We ought to look at the issues carefully. We ought to be sincere and thoughtful. When possible, as a group of King James supporters, can we agree on some orthography that should be fixed? If so, let’s do it. However, let’s not divide over how the same word can be spelled in different ways. And let’s not look through a 21st century lens to find problems where there are none.

[i] That is, consistent in meaning & application, not exact orthography from 1611 to the 21st century.
[ii] In reality, unless the reader lived in a cannibalistic society, the reader would likely understand what the writer really meant – while laughing about the obvious mistake in punctuation!
[iii] We complain about this when someone tries to make a priest over the believer in other situations.

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