Epistle February 2011 No. 153
The ‘Old’ Bible
A Bishop I knew was invited to speak at a Rotary lunch. A woman sitting next to him started talking about the Bible. ‘I read it in the original’, she said. ‘So you read Greek’, responded the Bishop. ‘No, I mean I read the old translation, not one of those new ones’, she replied.This little story shows the degree of affection and respect shown for the Authorized or King James Version of the Bible. It is also a reminder that the Bible was written in Hebrew and Greek and all English versions are a translation of the original.
Four Hundred Years Old
This year marks the four hundredth anniversary of the King James Bible. Not only was it the standard English text of the Holy Bible for most of that time, but the beauty of its language affected English literature and the language itself. Over the years as people heard the Bible in church or read it for themselves, phrases from it became part of common English usage. It is probably true to say that no other book has affected the English language as much as the Authorized Version of the Bible.
Still loved despite changes
In recent years, there have been many new versions of the English Bible. These came about through advances in Biblical scholarship which enable a more accurate translation of the original Hebrew and Greek texts than was possible around 1611. There was also a need to produce translations in contemporary English that would speak more clearly to people today. However, the King James Bible is still treasured and used by many in the English speaking world. In this anniversary year, we give thanks for this translation and its immense influence over the years.
You may well have heard by now that I will be retiring as your Rector at the end of March. After that, I will be moving to Fakenham and taking up a part-time position as curate in some neighbouring parishes. My eighteen plus years here have been very happy ones and I will miss you all. As the time for my departure grows closer, I hope to have opportunities to thank you more fully.