, Newburyport, MA


May 12, 2014

A look at the King's English


One of the many ongoing challenges of biblical translation and interpretation is that many clergy and scholars feel that the KJV is too hard for the average person to understand, and that therefore KJV does not get its message across. Accordingly, there have been many attempts to couch the Bible in “everyday speech,” employing modern words and usages.

The proponents of KJV say that its uplifting style and rhetoric make it much more rewarding. My own feeling is that its elevated tone makes it more interesting and distinctive, and more worth remembering.

Contrast this effort in the Weymouth New Testament (early 20th century) to the first quote above: “And why be anxious about clothing? Learn a lesson from the wild lilies. Watch their growth. They neither toil nor spin, and yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his magnificence could array himself like one of these.”

Which would you choose?


Jonathan Wells of Newbury welcomes your thoughts at

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