The Nature of Modern English Versions:
An Introduction to the Topic
Today it's popular to view multiple modern bible versions as having much value, due to a considerable change in language convention since the older KJV language was last up-dated in 1769.* This view seeks to emphasize communication as the primary aspect of translation, reducing the actual primary aspect of content to a lesser status, and resulting in unfortunate trends by modern translators. One such trend is the notable bent toward
paraphrasing that is growing much in popularity, and reflects opinions of authors on what the text says, or what they think it should say. Indeed, one modern highly-touted supposed translation is largely paraphrased, and the translators had
representatives seek out street language to obtain the low- est level of
language by which to express scripture teaching. Such practice reveals a lack of respect & reverence for God's Word. Do we really want an inevitable loss of our standard of righteousness caused by many versions offering a variety of opinions of men about text language? Where will loss of reverence for God's true Word, a loss inherent to accepting a multitude of modern versions, take our society ultimately? Summing up the matter, which do we prefer as our guide to eternity, the unchanging Word of our unchanging God, or the variant opinions of men?
*e.g. see Pastor Sean's blog: Why would anyone need to use another translation of the Bible besides the King James Bible? He erroneously discredits KJV older English, and makes other erroneous comments about the KJV that are refuted elsewhere on this website (see Essay 7e & f). To illustrate, his view of the KJV Proverbs 28:19 consti- tutes an admission of just how far the ability of English-speaking people to understand common words like till (to cultivate the soil) has sunk, yet he encourages lowering the language standard, a process that can continue to the point of absurdity. We are to bring people up to the standard of the Bible, not lower this standard continuously to match the ongoing decline of educational & moral standards so rampant today.
Modern English versions, now numbering well over 200, not only lower standards of language, but also differ basically from the traditional version in content. Modern critical Greek texts derive mainly from manuscripts that were lost to churches for ~1400 years, being re-introduced only in the 19th century A.D. Do we really believe God could not preserve His Word, having to wait ~1400 years for modern scholars to do the job? Today some scholars have even consulted non-canonical Ugaritic texts to guide parts of their translation of the Old-Testament. Only traditional Bible texts can possibly be the Word that God preserved for all of His people throughout the ages of their struggles and joys.
The KJV Greek and Hebrew/Aramaic textual basis presents the traditional scripture, the standard of God's preserved Word for His people, and the traditional KJV continues this standard for His English-speaking people. Further, the 1769 edition of the KJV presents a final up-dating of language convention suitable for all subsequent generations, assuming they want to maintain the highest possible standard of English, rather than pursuing popular language. Indeed, this edition offers to both young & old a way to overcome dumbing-down of education so common in schools today; this is so hurtful that high-school & college graduates today commonly lack any degree of proficiency in English, math and other vital basics of education. Many today can overcome a lack of proficiency in English by earnest study of the traditional KJV, a version produced in an era marked by far-higher standards of education than are common today. All that is required is a little effort in looking up meanings of older words in a Bible dictionary, or a glossary that accompanies publications of Bibles by an organization like the Trinitarian Bible Society. In the process, readers will develop a better understanding of context than can be achieved by superficial reading so common among professors of Christianity today, and learning context is crucial to having a true understanding of scripture teaching that is so vital to welfare of us all.
We remind readers of words of our Lord Jesus Christ in Matthew 4:4 (also discussed elsewhere on the present website) “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (from Deut.8:3) Every word from God’s mouth is inerrant, and we find His spoken Words in written form, scripture inspired by His dictation of the words to the writers’ minds. Now if we’re to live by all these inerrant words, they must all be preserved in their inerrant state, and in language that we understand. Further, living by God’s Word is for the entire era in which He has endowed His written Word, so His Word is preserved only in traditional texts, like our old KJV, and its Greek & Hebrew/Aramaic basis that is the only true text for translation. We conclude that our KJV pre- serves inerrancy of God’s Word that He speaks to the minds of the chosen human writers in dictation-type inspiration of the autographs.
Do we believe our Savior who tells us we are to live by all inerrant words from God’s mouth, indicating they will be preserved in an inerrant state through- out the centuries, and so will be available today as scripture in our traditional English Bible and traditional Bibles of other languages of God’s people? Or do we believe modern scholars who offer alternatives, like paraphrases in which men not only choose many words, but also choose a different latter-day type of New Testament text made available only after the late 19th century A.D, having been lost to churches for ~1400 years? Do we want to live by God’s Words or by words of men? What consequences will result from our choice?