The Word on the Week

Authorised Version’s 400th birthday

The AV or, as our American cousins prefer to call it, the King James Version maintains its popularity despite the proliferation of versions available today. Supporters of the AV would stoutly maintain that if it was good enough for St Paul it is good enough for me! It is the Bible which many a Bride clutched on her wedding day. It has been the standard presentation gift to new preachers for centuries. It has made many court appearances as successive witnesses took an oath with their right hand on its cover. Proclaimed by sceptics as the world’s least read best seller it has outlived many of its detractors who predicted its demise. Voltaire was one of these. After his death the Bible Society purchased his house in Paris for use as a store for Bibles. For many who became Christian in the last century the A V is still the texts they think in despite using other translations. It reads well by contrast with the more stilted English of its modern counterparts. Under the instructions of King James it is slanted towards the ecclesiology of the Church of England. The translation for all its faults largely achieved the vision of its predecessor William Tyndale who aimed with his translation to enable “the boy that driveth the plough” to understand what God has said as well as any clergyman. Unlike its successors the cover of the A V has carried the words “The Holy Bible” since it was first published. It was without rival for at least three centuries. Holy means that it is set apart from other books. It does not mean that the book itself is to be worshipped but rather that the triune God whom it reveals is the one we worship. But the Bible can speak for itself! The Psalmists view; “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” Chapter 119 verse 105. Where do we find the truth written down? “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” St John chapter 17 verse 17. Timothy was reared in a godly home on a diet of scripture! “But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” Timothy chapter 3 verses 14-17. May God grant us many more Timothy’s to match the needs of this day and generation.