With this being the 400th anniversary of the King James version of the bible, I’m hearing it a lot on Radio 4 and coming across it in the papers, and am constantly reminded how much I love it, and how much it’s the foundation of our everyday language and literature. You can barely get through a couple of verses without coming across an expression and saying ‘so that’s where it comes from’. You don’t have to believe in its literal truth to be moved by the beauty of the words and the depth of its historical reach.
That said, I’m reminded of the story told by a minister I met who had a congregation in the Highlands. Being an open-minded and adventurous type, he based a service on one of the modern English translations that came out in the 60s. As his congregation left he was speaking to an elderly lady and asked her what she though of the new version. ‘Well’, she said ‘ It’s always interesting to try new things, but if the King James version was good enough for Our Lord, it’s good enough for me!’