A good read

This article, about the “birthday” of the King James version of the Bible, by Roger Scruton, is a really good read. The end of the article is compelling, so be sure to click on the link if you’d like to read it.

It is not just the literary merits of the King James Bible that recommend it, however. This was the Bible that the Pilgrim Fathers brought with them across the Atlantic, that the Methodist riders took around the farmsteads and cabins of rural America, the Bible that the merchant adventurers carried to India, Australia, and Africa, the Bible that provided the texts of Handel’s oratorios and which inspired the hymns of Isaac Watts and Charles Wesley. It is the Bible that was planted in the depths of the English-speaking soul during the crucial centuries when the sphere of English-speaking freedom was formed. I doubt that you can understand the motives of the early settlers of America without it. It gave them the names of their towns and villages, the names of their children, the maxims of their daily life and the routines and rituals of their sparse forms of enjoyment. They fought and cursed, made love and sermons, in the language of the King James Bible, and everywhere about us we see the difference that this has made. Ask yourself how it came about that a suburb of Washington, D.C. should bear the beautiful Hebrew name of Bethesda and you will unearth a history that is dependent at almost every point on the King James Bible and its immediate sources in Tyndale and Myles Coverdale.

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BUT THERE ARE OTHER and equally interesting ideas suggested by the history of biblical translation. When Christendom was first shaping itself from within the Roman Empire it was by means of the Vulgate, St. Jerome’s Latin version of the sacred texts. Those early Christians did not doubt that their most authoritative text, the one which contained the most direct messages yet received from God to man, had been translated from other languages, spoken by other people, in whom God had, for reasons of His own, chosen to confide. A kind of openness to the world and to other ways of life was the natural consequence of this. And this openness has characterized the Christian religion ever since.

When we allow God to grip our hearts we learn how much He loves us. Not allowing Him that place in our lives leads to an emptiness that can never be filled.

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