WordPlay

Long Live the KJB [King James Bible]

As I write this, it is the evening of Palm Sunday, 2011. Palm Sunday, commemorating Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, is singularly important in Christianity as the beginning of Holy Week.

The year 2011 is also quite significant as the four-hundredth anniversary of the King James Bible [KJB].

Even with dozens of newer translations published over the centuries, the KJB today remains the best-selling English version of the holy scriptures.

Despite its “old-fashioned” language, the King James account of Christ’s death and resurrection are still retold every Easter in thousands of Christian churches across America. Many beloved passages from the KJB, like the Lord’s Prayer and the twenty-third psalm, have been memorized since childhood and will never be forgotten by English-speaking Christians around the world.

Why does the King James Bible endure? Among many reasons, “tradition” is probably the best answer. Speaking as one older adult among millions of American “baby boomers,” I find the quaint language of the KJB to be memorable and comforting.

The obvious piety of the KJB translators is another reason. Unlike some religious leaders of today, they clearly believed whole-heartedly in the words they were writing.

Like their contemporary William Shakespeare, King James’ men never watched television or played video games. Instead, they devoted their lives to reading and writing expertly in English, Hebrew, Latin, Greek and other languages.

Even after four centuries, the King James Bible, will probably remain a best-seller for many years to come.

                                                                             -I.M.K.

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