During its long history the translation has been revised in accordance with changes in English speech and our growing knowledge of the original text of the Scriptures. Previous major revisions were prepared in , , , and It is our hope that the present volume, the fifth major revision of the King James Version, will preserve for our own period of history the most revered Bible of the English-speaking world. In the summer of , when King James was on his way to London to receive the English crown, he was presented with a petition of grievances by clergy holding Puritan convictions, which led the king to call a conference for hearing and for the determining of things pretended to be amiss in the church.
This conference was convened for three days, January 14—16, , and was known as the Hampton Court Conference.
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During his conference Dr. John Rainolds, the leader of the Puritan party and the president of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, made the motion that a new translation of the Bible be undertaken. Though the majority present were against the motion, it appealed to the king, and he ordered that such a translation be undertaken. Fifty-four of the best biblical scholars in Great Britain were brought together for this great task, divided into six groups—three to work on a translation of the Old Testament and three on the New Testament.
Appointed to be read in Churches. Anno Dom. While this version is called the Authorized Version, no act of Parliament was ever passed approving it. King James vigorously promoted such an undertaking, but there was no subsequent official act. Nevertheless, the work soon made its own way to a position of leading acceptance among clergy and laity.
It was to hold that position for over three centuries. In the latter part of the nineteenth century, F. Scrivener observed that the King James Bible, … so laborious, so generally accurate, so close, so abhorrent of paraphrase, so grave and weighty in word and rhythm, so intimately bound up with the religious convictions of the English people, will never yield its hard earned supremacy, save to some reverential and well-considered revision of which it has been adapted as the basis, that shall be happy enough to retain its characteristic excellence, while amending its venial [trifling] errors and supplying its unavoidable defect.
The versions of , , and had used a New Testament Greek text that differed considerably from the traditional text and from the great majority of biblical manuscripts.
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There was growing concern among large segments of the Christian community that there was insufficient reason for many of these differences. In Thomas Nelson Publishers, successor to the British firm that had first published the English Revised Version , the American Standard Version , and the Revised Standard Version , determined to evaluate interest in a possible new revision. Such a revision would retain the traditional text while taking account of variant readings in footnotes. Because any revision of the Scriptures must meet the needs of public worship, Christian education and personal reading and study, leading clergymen and lay Christians were invited to meetings in Chicago, Illinois, and Nashville, Tennessee, in , and in London, England, in , to discuss the need for revision.
Almost one hundred church leaders from a broad spectrum of Christian churches gave strong endorsement to a new revision. Biblical scholars representing a broad cross section of evangelical Christendom were selected to work on this major project. Each translator worked privately and recommended changes in the King James text. His work was then submitted to the executive editor for the Old or New Testament. An elaborate concordance and word studies of the English, Greek, and Hebrew were prepared especially for this revision by the executive editors and their associates.
Where necessary, they made recommendations for further changes or, in some cases, for restoration of the King James reading. Each book was then submitted to the English editor to be checked for grammatical accuracy, literary beauty, and the effective communication of the content. Throughout the entire editing process, the work was regularly reviewed by the clergy and lay advisors who served on the British and North American Overview Committees. The final exhaustive review process was carried out by a separate Executive Review Committee for each Testament over a period of four years.
All suggested changes were collated by the executive editors. Copies of each book showing all suggested changes were then reviewed in extensive study sessions by the entire Executive Review Committee for each Testament. The review process was completed in July , at St. During part of this time the North American Committee was joined in its activity by the distinguished members of the British Overview Committee. AS in the older version of the King James Bible words added to the English text for purposes of clarity, which were not in the original Hebrew or Greek, were indicated to be shown in italics.
This work was carried out by the Old and New Testament executive editors. Subject headings were developed jointly by the executive editors and the English editor. The New King James Version was thus prepared with profound reverence for the Word of God and with deep appreciation of the wise traditions established by the translators of It was the prayer of the current revisers that the work in which they labored indeed be, as Dr.
Scrivener had said years before, a reverential and well-considered revision … retaining the characteristic excellencies of the King James Bible. In the preface to the edition, the translators of the Authorized Version, known popularly as the King James Bible, state that it was not their purpose to make a new translation … but to make a good one better.
Indebted to the earlier work of William Tyndale and others, they saw their best contribution to consist in revising and enhancing the excellence of the English versions which had sprung from the Reformation of the sixteenth century. In harmony with the purpose of the King James scholars, the translators and editors of the present work have not pursued a goal of innovation.
For nearly four hundred years, and throughout several revisions of its English form, the King James Bible has been deeply revered among the English-speaking peoples of the world. The precision of translation for which it is historically renowned, and its majesty of style, have enabled that monumental version of the Word of God to become the mainspring of the religion, language, and legal foundations of our civilization.
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Although the Elizabethan period and our own era share in zeal for technical advance, the former period was more aggressively devoted to classical learning. Along with this awakened concern for the classics came a flourishing companion interest in the Scriptures, an interest that was enlivened by the conviction that the manuscripts were providentially handed down and were a trustworthy record of the inspired Word of God.
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The King James translators were committed to producing an English Bible that would be a precise translation, and by no means a paraphrase or a broadly approximate rendering. On the one hand, the scholars were almost as familiar with the original languages of the Bible as with their native English. On the other hand, their reverence for the divine Author and His Word assured a translation of the Scriptures in which only a principle of utmost accuracy could be accepted.
In Catholic scholar Alexander Geddes said of the King James Bible, If accuracy and strictest attention to the letter of the text be supposed to constitute an excellent version, this is of all versions the most excellent. George Bernard Shaw became a literary legend in our century because of his severe and often humorous criticisms of our most cherished values. Surprisingly, however, Shaw pays the following tribute to the scholars commissioned by King James: The translation was extraordinarily well done because to the translators what they were translating was not merely a curious collection of ancient books written by different authors in different stages of culture, but the Word of God divinely revealed through His chosen and expressly inspired scribes.
In this conviction they carried out their work with boundless reverence and care and achieved a beautifully artistic result.
History agrees with these estimates. Therefore, while seeking to unveil the excellent form of the traditional English Bible, special care has also been taken in the present edition to preserve the work of precision which is the legacy of the translators. Where new translation has been necessary in the New King James Version, the most complete representation of the original has been rendered by considering the history of usage and etymology of words in their contexts.
This principle of complete equivalence seeks to preserve all of the information in the text, while presenting it in good literary form. Dynamic equivalence, a recent procedure in Bible translation, commonly results in paraphrasing where a more literal rendering is needed to reflect a specific and vital sense. For example, complete equivalence truly renders the original text in expressions such as lifted her voice and wept Gen.
John Complete equivalence translates fully, in order to provide an English text that is both accurate and readable. In keeping with the principle of complete equivalence, it is the policy to translate interjections which are commonly omitted in modern language renderings of the Bible. As an example, the interjection behold, in the older King James editions, continues to have a place in English usage, especially in dramatically calling attention to a spectacular scene, or an event of profound importance such as the Immanuel prophecy of Isaiah Consequently, behold is retained for these occasions in the present edition.
However, the Hebrew and Greek originals for this word can be translated variously, depending on the circumstances in the passage. Therefore, in addition to behold, words such as indeed, look, see, and surely are also rendered to convey the appropriate sense suggested by the context in each case. In faithfulness to God and to our readers, it was deemed appropriate that all participating scholars sign a statement affirming their belief in the verbal and plenary inspiration of Scripture, and in the inerrancy of the original autographs.
The King James scholars readily appreciated the intrinsic beauty of divine revelation. They accordingly disciplined their talents to render well-chosen English words of their time, as well as a graceful, often musical arrangement of language, which has stirred the hearts of Bible readers through the years. The translators, the committees, and the editors of the present edition, while sensitive to the late-twentieth-century English idiom, and while adhering faithfully to the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts, have sought to maintain those lyrical and devotional qualities that are so highly regarded in the Authorized Version.
This devotional quality is especially apparent in the poetic and prophetic books, although even the relatively plain style of the Gospels and Epistles cannot strictly be likened, as sometimes suggested, to modern newspaper style. The Koine Greek of the New Testament is influenced by the Hebrew background of the writers, for whom even the gospel narratives were not merely flat utterance, but often song in various degrees of rhythm.
Students of the Bible applaud the timeless devotional character of our historic Bible. Yet it is also universally understood that our language, like all living languages, has undergone profound change since Subsequent revisions of the King James Bible have sought to keep abreast of changes in English speech. The pres-ent work is a further step toward this objective.
Where obsolescence and other reading difficulties exist, present-day vocabulary, punctuation, and grammar have been carefully integrated. Words representing ancient objects, such as chariot and phylactery, have no modern substitutes and are therefore retained. A special feature of the New King James Version is its conformity to the thought flow of the Bible.
The reader discovers that the sequence and selection of words, phrases, and clauses of the new edition, while much clearer, are so close to the traditional that there is remarkable ease in listening to the reading of either edition while following with the other. In the discipline of translating biblical and other ancient languages, a standard method of transliteration, that is, the English spelling of untranslated words, such as names of persons and places, has never been commonly adopted.
In keeping with the design of the present work, the King James spelling of untranslated words is retained, although made uniform throughout. King James doctrinal and theological terms, for example, propitiation, justification, and sanctification, are generally familiar to English-speaking peoples. Such terms have been retained except where the original language indicates need for a more precise translation. Readers of the Authorized Version will immediately be struck by the absence of several pronouns: thee, thou, and ye are replaced by the simple you, while your and yours are substituted for thy and thine as applicable.
Thee, thou, thy, and thine were once forms of address to express a special relationship to human as well as divine persons. These pronouns are no longer part of our language. However, reverence for God in the present work is preserved by capitalizing pronouns, including You, Your, and Yours, which refer to Him. Additionally, capitalization of these pronouns benefits the reader by clearly distinguishing divine and human persons referred to in a passage. Without such capitalization the distinction is often obscure, because the antecedent of a pronoun is not always clear in the English translation.
In addition to the pronoun usages of the seventeenth century, the -eth and -est verb endings, so familiar in the earlier King James editions, are now obsolete. Unless a speaker is schooled in these verb endings, there is common difficulty in selecting the correct form to be used with a given subject of the verb in vocal prayer.
That is, should we use love, loveth, or lovest? Because these forms are obsolete, contemporary English usage has been substituted for the previous verb endings. In older editions of the King James Version, the frequency of the connective and far exceeded the limits of present English usage. Also, biblical linguists agree that the Hebrew and Greek original words for this conjunction may commonly be translated otherwise, depending on the immediate context.
Therefore, instead of and, alternatives such as also, but, however, now, so, then, and thus are accordingly rendered in the present edition, when the original language permits. The real character of the Authorized Version does not reside in its archaic pronouns or verbs or other grammatical forms of the seventeenth century, but rather in the care taken by its scholars to impart the letter and spirit of the original text in a majestic and reverent style.
The Hebrew Bible has come down to us through the scrupulous care of ancient scribes who copied the original text in successive generations. By the sixth century A. Babylonia, Palestine, and Tiberias were the main centers of Masoretic activity; but by the tenth century A. Through subsequent editions, the ben Asher text became in the twelfth century the only recognized form of the Hebrew Scriptures.
Daniel Bomberg printed the first Rabbinic Bible in —17; that work was followed in —25 by a second edition prepared by Jacob ben Chayyim and also published by Bomberg. The text of ben Chayyim was adopted in most subsequent Hebrew Bibles, including those used by the King James translators. In Paul Kahle published a third edition of Biblia Hebraica.
This edition was based on the oldest dated manuscript of the ben Asher text, the Leningrad Manuscript B19a A. In addition to referring to a variety of ancient versions of the Hebrew Scriptures, the New King James Version draws on the resources of relevant manuscripts from the Dead Sea caves. In the few places where the Hebrew was so obscure that the King James was compelled to follow one of the versions, but where information is now available to resolve the problems, the New King James Version follows the Hebrew text.
Significant variations are recorded in the textual footnotes at the end of text pages. There is more manuscript support for the New Testament than for any other body of ancient literature. Over five thousand Greek, eight thousand Latin, and many more manuscripts in other languages attest the integrity of the New Testament. There is only one basic New Testament used by Protestants, Roman Catholics, and Orthodox, by conservatives and liberals.
Minor variations in hand copying have appeared through the centuries, before mechanical printing began about A. Some variations exist in the spelling of Greek words, in word order, and in similar details. From the busy mom to the frustrated employee, The Devotional Bible is the perfect refuge for anyone that needs truth and encouragement to hold on to. Max Lucado loves words - written, spoken - it does not matter. He loves to craft sentences that are memorable, inspiring and hopefully life-changing.
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