Books that have caught my eye.
The Legacy of the King James Bible: Celebrating 400 Years of the Most Influential English Translation
By Leland Ryken
Originally published in 1611, the King James Bible (KJB) remains the most recognizable piece of literature in the English-speaking world today. For over three centuries, it served as the standard English Bible and has, as such, exerted unparalleled influence on English and American culture in nearly every sphere—including education, law, literature, government, art, science, and religion.
The Legacy of the King James Bible honors the 400th anniversary of the KJB’s publication by telling its story—a drama that starts with the pioneering work of William Tyndale and progresses through half a dozen other popular translations. Leland Ryken, an expert on the Bible as literature, explores the excellence of the King James Bible by examining its status as the climax of a century of English Bible translations, its impression on the subsequent history of Bible translation, its inherent literary excellence, and its overall impact on English and American literature and culture. The Legacy of the King James Bible will shed new light on the depth of the translation’s merit and influence and offer insight as to what its role may be in the next 400 years.
In honor of the 400th anniversary of the KJV, I made a snap decision this morning. I decided to use my first Bible, a burgundy, bonded leather King James edition published by Eyre and Spottiswoode Limited and Zondervan, as my main personal Bible this year. So I pulled it from the shelf, dusted it off, and read the first 14 chapters of Genesis. I enjoyed hearing some of the old, familiar cadences, such as “Behold, the man is become as one of us,” even as I puzzled over some other archaic constructions. My goal is to read through the entire KJV this year, and I will keep you posted.
As a devoted user of the wonderful ESV, I’m nervous about this return to the KJV, but also excited. I’m wondering how much my perceptions of God’s Word will change as I read it through the magisterial lens of the Authorized Version. I believe there will be many benefits.
In the dedication to James, the “most dread Sovereign,” the KJV translators declare, “But among all our joys, there was no one that more filled our hearts, than the blessed continuance of the preaching of God’s sacred Word among us; which is that inestimable treasure, which excelleth all the riches of the earth; because the fruit thereof extendeth itself, not only to the time spent in this transitory world, but directeth and disposeth men unto that eternal happiness which is above in heaven.”
Amen. Will anyone join me?