The King's English

We live in a secular, post-Christian postmodern culture that has left behind the trappings of it's Christian heritage and has no use for God, religion or any real spiritual reality.  Well, that's what some people want to believe.  And sadly, that's how many people who would call themselves "Christian" live their lives with the exception of one hour on Sunday.  But all one has to do is follow the soap opera that is the GOP presidential campaign and you get the idea that religion and religious beliefs do still matter in the public square.  Our world is surely multicultural and diverse, and no longer can one assume that everyone sees the Bible as "The Good Book." Nor can one assume that the God that most people do still believe in looks anything at all like the God of the Bible.  But the influence of Bible on our culture and on our language is still considerable.

That year marked the 400th anniversary of the release of the King James Version of the Bible.  Before 1611, there had been many different attempts to bring the Bible into English, beginning with that of William Tyndale (who was burned at the stake as a heretic for his trouble in 1536).  Today, there are dozens and dozens of English translations of the Bible; I have 7 English versions come up whenever my Bible software loads (NIV2011, NIV86, ESV, NET, KJV, NLT, NRSV).  But between 1611 and 1901, the  KJV WAS the English Bible, and the impact it had upon our history and culture is literally immeasurable.

The video below uses 100 phrases from the KJV in 3 minutes or less (notice the counter in the lower left hand corner).  So many common phrases that people, who may have no knowledge of the Bible, use every day are in reality phrases brought into English through the KJV.  Give the video a watch... and then pay attention in your everyday speech and notice how many times Bible language is used.

I think the KJV is the second most important translation of the Bible ever done.  The most important translation is the one that you and I do (or fail to do) each day as we bring the Bible to life in our lives.