The KJV Bible Sucks [I repented of this]

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Shawn
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The KJV Bible Sucks [I repented of this]

Post by Shawn » 07 Nov 2013, 15:25

Since this is a giant post, I'll include a summary:
1. The KJV sucks.
2. I don't believe "thou" and "thee" and those other words are inherently sacred and there is no compelling need to keep them in scriptures.
3. Many, many passages in the KJV are simply difficult to comprehend and this is not necessary.
4. The KJV includes many errors.
5. Some errors are addressed by the Joseph Smith Translation (JST), but it is largely ignored.
6. Let's ditch the KJV and make a new bible!

[EDIT: This on page 3:
Shawn wrote:
SamBee wrote:I don't think it "sucks" at all. It is one of the greatest works of literature in the English language. In terms of influence upon English - including the colloquial variety - it is more influential than any other work. Even Shakespeare doesn't come close, and he gave us many popular phrases. I have a book next door which details the large number of phrases which it has given us.
You got me thinking. The KJV Bible is a venerable and valuable work. I really am sorry for saying it sucks. I can be more respectful while advocating for the use of something new.
/EDIT]

I’ve been working on combining the testaments of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John so it reads as one flowing narrative. I thought it would be fairly simple, but the scope keeps creeping. I have been scrutinizing every sentence, comma, semi-colon, and other punctuation marks. I compare the four books to other translations and study various commentaries to be sure I convey the correct meaning as much as possible.

I have learned that THE KING JAMES VERSION SUCKS! I had wondered why we should keep using a book with such archaic language, and why we pray using that language. I read this:
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches its members to use special language in addressing prayers to our Father in Heaven... In offering prayers in the English language, members of our Church do not address our Heavenly Father with the same words we use in speaking to a fellow worker, to an employee or employer, or to a merchant in the marketplace. We use special words that have been sanctified by use in inspired communications...Modern English has no special verbs or pronouns that are intimate, familiar, or honorific. When we address prayers to our Heavenly Father in English, our only available alternatives are the common words of speech like you and your or the dignified but uncommon words like thee, thou, and thy which were used in the King James Version of the Bible almost five hundred years ago. (The Language of Prayer -DALLIN H. OAKS)
That made sense to me. Though he was speaking about prayer, it can be appled to scripture. The Spanish language has the following forms of the word “you”:
-Singular informal: tú
-Singular formal: usted
-Plural informal: vosotros
-Plural formal: ustedes

But then I learned this:
...distinctions remain in both French (tu/vous) and German (du/Sie). There is an informal "you" that one uses with those one knows, and a more polite, reserved "you" that one uses in other company. Thou and you at some point in Middle English operated the same way. Thou would have been used by those of higher standing addressing those beneath them (such as a master addressing a servant) or commoners addressing one another. You, on the other hand, would have been used by those of lower social standing addressing those above them (such as a child addressing a parent) or by the upper class addressing one another. Thou implied intimacy; you implied a polite reserve...Thou was essentially extinct in standard English usage by the 1700s. One of the main reasons thou survives at all is Tyndale's translations of the Bible into English in the early sixteenth century. In his translations (for which he was condemned to die at the stake in 1536), Tyndale returned to the simpler convention of Old English, consistently using thou in singular usage and ye in plural usage. As Tyndale's work became the foundation for the King James version of the Bible in 1611, thou was preserved for posterity.

Ironically, however, the association of thou with Biblical verse and classical literature has completely reversed thou's original standing. Thou—when it is used at all—is now viewed as the language of solemn ceremony and formality, while our you is the more colloquial of the two terms. (Thou Pesky "Thou")
Language always evolves over time, and I can see how "thee" and "thou" may be considered sacred - we have made them sacred; they are not inherently sacred. It is useful to distinguish between singular and plural pronouns, but there has got to be a better way to do that! We have a plethora of books that do not use such archaic language and we don't seem to have a hard time discerning whether the object being addressed is one person or a group.

Brother Oaks continued:
Brothers and sisters, the special language of prayer is much more than an artifact of the translation of the scriptures into English. Its use serves an important, current purpose. We know this because of modern revelations and because of the teachings and examples of modern prophets...

We have scriptural record of three beautiful translated prayers the Savior offered during his earthly ministry. They are models for all of us. Notable in each of these prayers are the words thee, thou, thy, and thine instead of you, your, and yours.

In teaching his disciples what we call the Lord’s Prayer, the Savior said, “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.”
This is baffling because I believe Brother Oaks is very intelligent and would understand that revelations are filtered through the mind of the receiver. Joseph Smith recorded revelations in biblical language because he was familiar with it and just thought it should be that way. I assume Brother Oaks does not believe Jesus literally said those words. Obviously, Jesus spoke another language and his words were translated (and words like "thou" are used only because Tyndale chose to use them, as noted above). Brother Oaks does acknowledge how the usage of the words have changed and says:
But the history of English usage is not the point.

Scholarship can contradict mortal explanations, but it cannot rescind divine commands or inspired counsel. In our day the English words thee, thou, thy, and thine are suitable for the language of prayer, not because of how they were used anciently but because they are currently obsolete in common English discourse. Being unused in everyday communications, they are now available as a distinctive form of address in English, appropriate to symbolize respect, closeness, and reverence for the one being addressed.
Maybe he is right about that. I don't know. But I do think the way we say words makes the difference. We can use a respectful tone when saying "you."

Unfortunately, "thee" and "thou" are NOT the biggest language stumbling blocks in the KJV, in my opinion. There are phrases that simply don't make sense. Consider this from Matthew 6:
28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?...34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
What the heck does that last sentence mean‽ For many years, I didn't understand this. It baffled me. Then I read these versions:
New International Version (NIV):
"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

New Living Translation (NLT):
"So don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today's trouble is enough for today."

English Standard Version (ESV):
"Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."
(Biblehub)
Wow, that is so much simpler.

Here's another issue: The KJV has stuff that shouldn't be there! Our church is the one that believes in continuing revelation, but we don't update scriptures when better manuscripts are discovered (revealed). Churches that do not believe in modern prophets/revelation, and who like to tell us "Do not add or take away from the bible," are totally willing to accept changes when warranted. Here is the Lord's Prayer from Matthew 6:
KJV:
"And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen."

NLT:
"And don't let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one."

GOD'S WORD Translation (GW):
"Don't allow us to be tempted. Instead, rescue us from the evil one."
(Biblehub)
There are two very interesing things going on here. First, the last sentence is omitted in the NLT and GW versions (and most of the other versions). This is why:
The doxology of the prayer is not contained in Luke's version, nor is it present in the earliest manuscripts of Matthew, representative of the Alexandrian text, but is present in the manuscripts representative of the Byzantine text. It is thus absent in the oldest and best manuscripts of Matthew, and most scholars do not consider it part of the original text of Matthew. Modern translations generally omit it. (Lord's Prayer - Wikipedia)
The second issue with the Lord's Prayer in the KJV is the term "lead us not into temptation." There are two footnotes in the LDS bible: "13a JST Matt. 6: 14 And suffer us not to be led into temptation..." and "b Syriac: do not let us enter into temptation." The NLT and GW versions simply make it right in the text, while we mostly ignore the footnotes (especially on electronic devices, where such important footnotes are not easily noticed). There are many more verses that should probably me omitted (List of Bible verses not included in modern translations - Wikipedia).

I don't see why we stick with the KJV. I suppose it's just tradition. I am troubled by the fact that we don't update our scriptures when further knowledge is obtained.

I am concerned about the trampling of the JST. I have understood that Joseph was commanded to make some important changes to the bible and put a lot of work into doing so, yet those changes are relegated to mere footnotes that are largely ignored. Footnotes do not show up at all in the "LDS Gospel Library" application until one opens a link (or views another frame, depending on the platform). On my phone, I turned the footnotes off to make the text cleaner. This can also be done on lds.org. For years, I have thought the JST text should be in the body of the verses and the original text should be put in footnotes. Are we too ashamed to do that? Do we not stand behind the work Joseph did? Are we afraid that other denominations will criticize us for the changing the bible, even though they use bibles that have been through many updates?

In conclusion, I would like to abandon the KJV. However, I don't want to adopt another version because there are issues with copyrights. It would be a HUGE job, but I think the church has the resources to make its own version that uses ALL the knowledge we now have and faithfully incorporates the JST.
Last edited by Shawn on 15 Nov 2013, 14:36, edited 2 times in total.

Roadrunner
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Re: The KJV Bible Sucks

Post by Roadrunner » 07 Nov 2013, 16:07

I'm ignorant about copyright issues so I won't comment on that much except to speculate that a few lawyers and a little $$$ could solve the issue, maybe cheaper than another version.

While at BYU I had a New Testament class with a professor who required us to use the New International Version (NIV) of the bible. He claimed that the intent of the scriptures was largely unchanged from the KJV but that it was much more understandable. I have to agree - I almost enjoyed reading the NIV bible and thought it was much easier to understand.

Roy
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Re: The KJV Bible Sucks

Post by Roy » 07 Nov 2013, 16:47

Hi Shawn,
Shawn wrote:I don't see why we stick with the KJV. I suppose it's just tradition.
Something about "traditions of the fathers" I was surprised in reading the book what happpened to the cross that the author actually lists tradition as a method of confirming church revelation. If it is adopted by the church and stands the test of time then it is divine, if it is dicarded by the church body over multiple generations (Deseret Alphabet, Adam God Theory, Blessings by women for women during childbirth) then it never was.
Shawn wrote:I am concerned about the trampling of the JST. I have understood that Joseph was commanded to make some important changes to the bible and put a lot of work into doing so, yet those changes are relegated to mere footnotes that are largely ignored.
I believe that JS made changes to bible passages that were confusing and also to make some better fit into current LDS understanding. As a "Translation" it would be a very difficult sell. JS made changes that are not in the ealiest manuscripts and didn't make changes where the earliest manuscripts have changes.

In important ways the KJV is a beautiful work of literary art.

Finally, I don't terribly mind the archaic language if that helps get certain people in the right frame of mind. OTOH, if we take the position that our language is better doesn't that smack of elitism and puffery?
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journeygirl
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Re: The KJV Bible Sucks

Post by journeygirl » 07 Nov 2013, 17:02

I think it is good for Mormons to read other versions of the Bible, since I agree with you that many of them clarify passages that are hard to understand in the KJV. I was disappointed once when I went with my RS to a mission rescue to serve meals, and during the sermon we were asked to attend beforehand, some of the women were making fun of some of the wording in a more modern Bible that was there. I thought the passage they pointed out was fine and made more sense than the more flowery one in the KJV. I guess it just seemed less formal to them or something.

However, I love Isaiah, and I don't think it sounds as poetic translated into more modern English. I've used other Bible's to understand some of Isaiah, but after that I preferred to go back and read the KJV for the imagery and poetry!

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Shawn
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Re: The KJV Bible Sucks

Post by Shawn » 07 Nov 2013, 17:08

Roadrunner wrote:I'm ignorant about copyright issues so I won't comment on that much except to speculate that a few lawyers and a little $$$ could solve the issue, maybe cheaper than another version.
Yeah, good point. But then which one would we use?
Roadrunner wrote:While at BYU I had a New Testament class with a professor who required us to use the New International Version (NIV) of the bible. He claimed that the intent of the scriptures was largely unchanged from the KJV but that it was much more understandable. I have to agree - I almost enjoyed reading the NIV bible and thought it was much easier to understand.
I mostly like the NIV, but I think the English Standard Version (ESV) is more faithfully translated and more accurate. I think the NIV, ESV, and several others are far more enjoyable than the KJV.

Curt Sunshine
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Re: The KJV Bible Sucks

Post by Curt Sunshine » 07 Nov 2013, 17:11

There is a lot I like in the KJV and a lot that I would rather read in different words. Therefore, I like using multiple versions, taking whatever I like best from each version.

It's a lot like how I approach Sacrament Meeting and General Conference (along with pretty much all meetings). There will be good and there will be not so good, and sometimes there will be bad. I want to hear multiple speakers to increase the probability that I will hear good stuff at some point, even if that means I also have to endure mediocre and even bad stuff. I can take the best of the meeting(s) and ignore the rest.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

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Re: The KJV Bible Sucks

Post by mackay11 » 07 Nov 2013, 17:12

I'm thinking of starting to use the NIV at church. Just as a minor expression of independence. But I might not. Choose the battles you loose...

As for the Oaks talk telling me how to pray - I ignore it. Why should another man tell me what words I'm allowed to use. What bugs me even more is that the explanation for being told to do this is totally wrong.

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Re: The KJV Bible Sucks

Post by Curt Sunshine » 07 Nov 2013, 17:21

I have absolutely no problem with people using "thee" and "thou" and such language in prayer. None whatsoever. If it helps them feel more respectful and worshipful, I support it completely. I tend to use that type of wording simply because it is the prayer language of my upbringing, and I am totally fluent in it. It's easy, familiar and automatic to me.

Having said that, I also use "you" fairly often, especially in my personal, less formal prayers. I tend to use whatever fits my mood and the situation best.

The one thing I dislike intensely about the current model is that it tends to make us notice when the words are used incorrectly, and that tends to lead to some degree of smugness, condescension, pity or some other sentiment that is not good and absolutely not necessary. I understand the basic Primary guidelines to address the Father, thank God, ask for what we need and close in Jesus' name, but when we start worrying about whether or not the specific words others use are "correct", we have crossed a line that shouldn't be anywhere in our sight.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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Shawn
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Re: The KJV Bible Sucks

Post by Shawn » 07 Nov 2013, 17:29

Roy wrote:I believe that JS made changes to bible passages that were confusing and also to make some better fit into current LDS understanding. As a "Translation" it would be a very difficult sell. JS made changes that are not in the ealiest manuscripts and didn't make changes where the earliest manuscripts have changes.
Good points. But to whom would the translation be sold? Why would it need to be sold? It may be that some of the JST is good and some have been superseded. That's okay. What I don't like is incorporated it half-way.
Roy wrote:In important ways the KJV is a beautiful work of literary art.
Sure, we could keep the KJV on a shelf to look at :smile:
Roy wrote:Finally, I don't terribly mind the archaic language if that helps get certain people in the right frame of mind. OTOH, if we take the position that our language is better doesn't that smack of elitism and puffery?
I really enjoy archaic language to a point. I recently read Don Quixote, The Iliad, and Gulliver's Travels - three of my all-time favorites. I carefully selected the versions to read. I do not want to read modernized versions. For example, I read Edward, Earl of Derby's 1864 translation of The Iliad (I did, however, change all of the Roman names to the appropriate Greek names).
Of Peleus' son, Achilles, sing, O Muse,
The vengeance, deep and deadly; whence to Grecia
Unnumbered ills arose; which many a soul
Of mighty warriors to the viewless shades
Untimely sent; they on the battle plain
Unburied lay, a prey to rav'ning dogs,
And carrion birds; but so had Zeus decreed,
From that sad day when first in wordy war,
The mighty Agamemnon, King of men,
Confronted stood by Peleus' godlike son.
Simply beautiful. Newer versions of that fine piece of literature are lame to me.

The KJV is just too archaic. It's almost like reading Beowulf:
Image
Well, not quite. Seriously, I think the language of the KJV is a roadblock to many, and will become so to more and more LDS folks.

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cwald
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Re: The KJV Bible Sucks

Post by cwald » 07 Nov 2013, 18:48

I pretty well agree with most of what you said Shawn.

I've abandoned the KJV, and use the NIV. IMO, the only advantage and value the KJV has over the NIV, is the poetry.

KJV is great poetry...IMO.



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