11th October, 2014 CKS Pamphlet Study – “Our Venerable King James Version”

Link: http://www.peaceprc.org/OurVenerableKJV.pdf

Since the beginning of 2012, the CK and CKS youths embarked on studying the book of Malachi using the Bible study guide by Rev. Carl Hark. The CKS youths have completed their study on the book of Malachi in August, while our younger youths had their last lesson this past Saturday. Whilst that lesson, we older youths have begun a pamphlet study for the next eight months. The CKS youths will be reading a pamphlet and subsequently discussing it in small groups each month.

We kicked off our pamphlet study with Prof. Hermon Hanko’s “Our Venerable King James Version”! In his pamphlet, Prof. Hanko discusses the preparation of the King James Version [KJV] Bible, the success of the translation, and whether the archaisms in it is a justifiable reason for a proliferations of morden translations.  Prof. Hanko’s purpose of his pamphlet is not to defend the KJV as perfect. The KJV has its few “weaknesses” but are “minor in comparison with its strengths” (p. 1). Therefore, Prof. Hanko’s purpose of his pamphlet is for “the people of God to consider why the KJV has maintained itself as the translation of preference… for four hundred years.” (p. 1).

The KJV Bible came about when King James I of England agreed to a Puritan’s request for a new translation of the Bible (the Genevan Bible) in order to bring unity to the divided church-world on England. However, King James I had his own reasons for such an agreement – he hated the Genevan Bible. The marginal notes in the Genevan Bible denied the rights of kings in certain occasions – something that King James I held onto strongly. From this account, we saw how God used the sinful motives of men to work it for His glory and the good of His church!

Unlike many other Bible translations which used the principle of dynamic equivalence – having great freedom to choose from the manuscripts, the KJV Bible was translated using the principle of formal equivalence – sticking closely to the words from the manuscripts. The translators did not begin the translation of the KJV Bible from scratch. Older translations such as Matthew’s Bible on Tyndale and Coverdale’s Bible on Matthew’s were used and much of it were retained to keep up with accuracy. Furthermore, the translators were instructed to ensure the KJV Bible was readable and understandable.

When we learn about the rules and mechanics used in producing the KJV Bible, we must not only praise these translators for their effort, but also see God’s sovereign hand in preserving His Word for His People!

– Tze Yan

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