The King James Version...Why use it?

The King James Version...Why use it? King James’ translators—like their contemporary William Shakespeare—never watched television or played video games. Instead, they learned to read and write in English, Hebrew, Latin, Greek and other languages. They were smarter than today's fifth grader, in other words, and most of today’s PhDs.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Only Believe

And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me, when thou comest into thy
kingdom. And Jesus said unto him,
Verily I say unto thee, today thou shalt be with me in paradise.
                                                                        -St. Luke 23:42
These were among Jesus' last words, spoken as he hung on the cross to a lifelong criminal being crucified beside him. If such a man as that could go to paradise, there must be a chance even for a wicked man like me.
"Whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have eternal life," says the famous verse St. John 3:16. “Whosoever,” I hope, can include me… and you.
The criminal’s conversion on the cross is perhaps the most striking instance in the gospels of Jesus’ bestowing instant healing, forgiveness and the promise of salvation to sinners. There are many similar examples. The only requirement Jesus makes of us is our trust in Him.
Some more examples from the Gospels:

 St. Mark 5:36
 Be not afraid, only believe                                                                                                         

9:23 If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.

9:42 these little ones…believeth in me

10:52 thy faith hath made thee whole                        -

11:24 What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them,
and ye shall have them.

St. Matthew 8:13 Go thy way, and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee.

9:22 Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole.

21:22 whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.

St. Luke 5:20 And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee.

7:50 And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee, go in peace.

18:42 Receive thy sight: thy faith hath saved thee.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
                                                                                                 -St. John 5:24

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Why Call Ye Me Lord?

Why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?  -St. Luke 6:46

Jesus is supposed to be our Lord and master. In Romans 1:1, St. Paul rightly calls himself  "a servant of Jesus Christ."
Indeed, we are all meant to be His servants. As servants, we are supposed to do the things our master says to do.
Why, then, don't we do these things?
It's a good question. The best answer I have come up with is this:
We are meant to be servants, not slaves. Slaves have to do what their master says.
As servants, we don’t have to do what the master says. So, many of us don’t.
Instead, we live on the largess of a gracious and generous master who is currently absent from the scene on earth, sitting at the right hand of our Father in Heaven.
Jesus sketches out this scenario in St. Luke 12:36-48.
Someday our Lord and Master will return.
Blessed are those servants, whom the Lord when he cometh shall find watching…Be ye ready also, for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not. 


Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Great Commandment

When the Pharisees had heard that He had put the Saducees to silence, they were gathered together. Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,
Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
Jesus said unto him,
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
This is the first and great commandment.
And the second is like unto it, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself...
                                                                                          ―St. Matthew 22:34-39

Lawyers, as we all know, love to make things complicated. Many people, for this reason, distrust them intensely. So it was in Jesus’ day with the lawyers, Saducees, and Pharisees.
"The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers," Shakespeare wrote in King Henry VI.

With his simple answers, plus some clever questions of his own, Jesus quieted his legalist detractors more peacably.
When he had finished speaking, "no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions."
                                                                                               ―St. Matthew 22:46.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I Am the resurrection and the life.

                                                                                     St. John 11:25
This is one of the best known and most quoted statements of Jesus Christ.   Less well-known, perhaps, is the whole context of Jesus’ amazing assertion.
The Lord was speaking with Martha of Bethany, bereaved sister of his friend Lazarus.   Lazarus had been dead for four days when Jesus arrived on the scene.
Thy brother shall rise again, Jesus tells her. St. John 11:23
Like many people in those days (and in these days), Martha seems to have somewhat underestimated the Lord’s meaning. "I know that he shall rise again at the resurrection at the last day," she answers him.
I AM the resurrection and  the life, Jesus explains patientlyHe that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he livewhosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? St. John 11:26
Such a bold declaration may have been hard to grasp, even by a devoted follower like Martha.
"Yea, Lord…" she answered a bit unenthusiastically, and went her way.                                                                                

What a joyful shock it must have been, shortly afterward, when her brother Lazarus staggered forth from his tomb.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, the hour is coming , and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.St. John 11:25

Friday, May 13, 2011


I am come that they might have life, and…have it more abundantly— St. John 10:10
This famous statement by Jesus Christ abounds throughout Christendom. The phrase "abundant life" seems to pop up almost everywhere from church doors to graffiti in church rest rooms.
The reason is obvious. To most people, the idea of having abundant life certainly sounds better than the alternative of being dead and gone forever. Even devout Christians, for the most part, aren’t in any hurry to depart from the land of the living any sooner than necessary.
St. John 10:10, indeed, seems sometimes to be taken to mean "Party hearty" or
"Let the good times roll" until Jesus returns.
Maybe that’s okay, but let’s look a little closer at the Lord’s words.

I am come that they might have life
This really means that people on earth did NOT have life before Jesus came. "We had the sentence of death in ourselves," writes St. Paul in Second Corinthians I:9. "We were dead in sins" —Ephesians II:5.
Why were we dead? Well, it all goes back to the Garden of Eden…
But maybe that’s a story for another day…

      see more of "Abundant Life" under "recent pages"  at right of blog

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


King James’ translators—like their contemporary William Shakespeare—never watched television or played video games. Instead, they learned to read and write expertly in English, Hebrew, Latin, Greek and other languages.
They were smarter than a fifth grader, in other words, and today’s PhDs.
For those unfamiliar with it, Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader? is a currently popular television program. The premise of the show, basically, is to celebrate the wealth of knowledge being learned by today’s children.
Be that as it may, I don’t believe that many of these grade-schoolers could correctly read aloud even one page of McGuffey’s Fifth Reader [published 1844].
Even fewer of them are capable of reading or understanding the King James Bible [KJB], published 1611. Don’t believe me? Just ask one of them to read a few verses to you out loud. After that, ask any college student to try the same task. Most of them, in my opinion, won’t be able to do much better.
Some people may object to my opinion, of course. It might be argued that McGuffey’s readers and the KJB have become totally irrelevant in the 21st century. The year 1611, after all, was 400 years ago! Who needs a bible full of impractical words which practically nobody uses anymore?—words like thee, thy and thine.
Well, maybe I’m wrong. I probably can’t convince those who disagree with me. Nonetheless, I personally remain convinced that any well-educated contemporary reader needs at least to be familiar with such "old-fashioned" English usage as is found in McGuffey’s readers, many history books, the Declaration of Independence, the American Constitution, the works of Shakespeare and the King James Bible.
Never having learned to adequately read and write basic English, some of today’s fifth graders will grow up to become tomorrow’s graduate students. Someday, some of them may even become college professors and produce future "modern" translations of the Holy Bible.
Again, it’s just my opinion…But I just don’t believe that those coming translations will be anywhere near as accurate or beautiful as the old-fashioned KJB.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


His only begotten son
St. John 3:16
Among the most famous scripture verses of all time, "John 3:16" is seen everywhere from modest church fronts to billboards and handmade signs at the Super Bowl. You must have noticed it often, as have I.
The hope in putting up these signs, no doubt, is that those who see them will be curious and read the whole verse for themselves. It’s a wonderful idea.
Recently I got curious myself, and checked it out in several popular translations of "the good book.". Here’s what I found:
John 3:16
God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
King James Version (KJV) first published 1611
God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son: that whosoever believeth in him may not perish, but may have life everlasting.
Douay-Rheims translation Challoner revision [Roman Catholic Bible] first published 1752
God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
for God did so love the world, that His Son -- the only begotten -- He gave, that every one who is believing in him may  not perish, but may have life age after.
Young's Literal Translation (YLT) first published 1898
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
Revised Standard Version first published 1952
God so loved the world, that he gave his only son, that everyone who has faith in him may not die but have eternal life.
New English Bible (NEB) first published1961
God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life.
 Good News Bible (GNB) first published 1966
God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
New International Version (NIV) first published 1973
Among these various translations, obviously, there are some differences. Most of these, to me, don’t seem to be very significant. They just represent different choices of words to express the same meaning,
"Whosoever believeth in him," for example, is simply an old-fashioned way of saying "everyone who believes in him" or "everyone who has faith in him." No big difference, no big problem
The modern omission of the word "begotten’ in the phrase "Only begotten son," however, does present a problem: "Only son" and "only begotten son" definitely do not have the same meaning.
To call Jesus God’s "only son" or "one and only son" is incorrect, and is contradicted elsewhere in the bible. Consider Exodus 4:22-23:
Thus saith the Lord, Israel is my son, even my firstborn: and I say unto thee [the Egyptian Pharaoh]: Let my son go, that he may serve me.
If Israel is God’s firstborn son, Jesus clearly is not God’s "only son."
Consider St. John 1:12:
As many as received him gave he power to become the sons of God
According to this verse, Jesus himself declared that all who believe in him are truly sons and daughters of His Father.
There are many kinds of sons.
There are adopted sons from orphanages. There are favorite sons at political conventions. There are Sons of the Pioneers. There are Sons of Hibernia at St. Patrick’s Day Parades.
Yes, there are indeed many kinds of sons.
What kind of son is Jesus Christ? He was one of a kind, unique in all the universe and all time. To describe him adequately is impossible. The closest anyone has come is this:
His only begotten sonSt. John 3:16