In the 14–16th centuries, a controversial question had been dividing nations: should the common man be able to read God’s Word? It was so incendiary that some people were killed for their translation efforts.Are we spoiled today? I went to the local Christian bookstore the other day to look for a new Bible for my wife. She wanted a replacement for her favorite, of which its cover has come off, pages have fallen out, and is a general pain to carry around. She wanted something the same size and didn't want one with helps or devotions. Sounds easy, right? But I walk in and see an entire wall filled with Bibles of every kind and color. Different translations, different devotionals, different helps; each marketed to a different segment. There are Bibles for firefighters, Bibles for pre-teen girls, Bibles for retirees, and I could go on and on. Of course I'm a sucker- I own at least a half-dozen Bibles with different emphasis to aid in my Bible study, but what about a good, plain old Bible? I couldn't find one. Well I could, but it was only the extra thick, black bound, meant to put on a bookshelf and never opened version. There were ones like she was looking for, but then they had to gussy up the covers: flowers, camouflage, purple...
The KJV was not the first translation of God’s Word into English, but it has been one of the most influential in making Scripture widely available to everyday people in their own language.
The KJV is revolutionary in its reach. It has endured as one of the most widely read books in human history.
Written during the era of Shakespeare, the KJV is praised for its beauty and poetry. Many phrases we use today originated in the KJV, like the salt of the earth, a drop in the bucket, eye to eye, and labour of love.
And don't even get me started on translations!
I guess I find it funny that a few hundred years ago you could have been killed for having a contemporary translation of the Bible. In some parts of the world today you could still be killed for having a Bible, no matter the translation, publisher, or color of leather binding. Some friends of my sister can't even name the country they're in translating for Wycliffe. Yet in America today we have more Bibles than we know what to do with. In fact, we have so many we find ourselves debating semantics and political correctness rather than focusing on its message.
Fact is, few of us are risking our lives by owning a Bible. It is hardly the radical document that it is meant to be. Many own one but never open it. Many (like me) own more than one just because we can. We've come a long way.
I love the movie The Book of Eli simply because of its theme: what lengths would you go to to preserve the last known Bible? And I'll be honest, I was tearing up at the end. The inspired Word of God is that beautiful, that powerful.
Do you take owning a Bible for granted?
For the Word of God is living and active... (Hebrews 4:12)