17th October 2011

The Colourful Language of the Old King James, Part 1

“David replied to Abigail, ‘Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, who has sent you to meet me today! Thank God for your good sense! Bless you for keeping me from murder and from carrying out vengeance with my own hands. For I swear by the Lord, the God of Israel, who has kept me from hurting you, that if you had not hurried out to meet me, not one of Nabal’s men would still be alive tomorrow morning.’”
1 Samuel 25:32-34 (NLT)

You’ve heard it several times by now—it’s the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Version of the Bible, and in celebration of this great feat I returned to my favourite version for my chronological reading this year. I was reminded why it is I love this version so much—to quote my English teacher of 30+ years ago, a certain Miss Rose—it contains some of the best prose ever written.

This version of the Bible is rich with stories containing a wide range of emotions.  David was a passionate man and lived life that way.  Check out the King James Version of the above verse—it wasn’t put in such a sanitised way. And you’ve got the story of poor Palti (Phaltiel the son of Laish) who was unfortunate to have been given David’s wife only to have her unceremoniously taken back from him. The King James Version captures the emotions of David, recording exactly what he did to buy back his wife.

But that’s the thing about God; He sent His Son, Jesus, so that we could have life and have it more abundantly. This thought, that we seem to have in the back of our minds that we default to, tells us that if we love God we can’t love life. But God tells us exactly the opposite: be angry and sin not—not to suppress any emotions you may have. Look at Christ and the temple; He didn’t tiptoe around all politically correct, He threw them out, overturned tables!

It might be the juvenile in me, but I can’t help but smile when I read the King James Version of 1 Samuel 25:32-34, not looking past the fact that it is repeated a few times.

Thank you, Father, that there are many different versions of your word so freely available for us to read today. But none of this is of any use unless we learn the lessons of your one true commandment of love. Help us to live life more abundantly. In Jesus’ name.

Study by Jackee Brown

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