“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” - Psalm 23:1
The Rev. Steve Crump isn’t the likeliest of ministers to be toting a copy of the King James Version of the Bible to a service.
Crump, the pastor of the Unitarian Church of Baton Rouge, prefers the New Revised Standard version - the expanded edition with the Apocrypha, additional Jewish writings included in the Catholic and Orthodox Bibles but not in Protestant ones.
But headed last week to a funeral service, he noted that different occasions can call for different choices.
“I’ll be at the graveside and that Psalm 23 will probably be out of the King James Version because of its beauty, not because it is an accurate translation,” Crump said.
Such illustrates the standing of the King James Version (KJV) 400 years after its first publication: Other versions boast more modern language and/or better Greek and Hebrew source materials, but many people are still enamored with the beauty of its poetic language.
“If thou hast a Bible in the house and readeth it at least once a month, chances are strong it’s the majestic King James Version of the Bible in Elizabethan English,” writes Cathy Lynn Grossman in her USA Today story about a recent poll on the subject.
LifeWay Research, a Southern Baptist research agency in Nashville, conducted the poll of American adults to mark the 400th anniversary of the translation. The poll found that 62 percent own a KJV, 67 percent who own a Bible own a KJV and 82 percent of those who read the Bible regularly have a KJV.
Results were based on a scientific survey of 1,004 randomly selected adults with telephone interviews conducted March 2 through March 6. The poll provides 95 percent confidence that the sampling error does not exceed plus or minus 3.1 percent, according to LifeWay Research.
Religion News Service reports that Christian publishing giant Thomas Nelson, of Nashville, has sold more than 1 million copies of the KJV in the last 12 months.
For the 400th anniversary, Thomas Nelson has produced commemorative Bibles and books as well as a traveling exhibition of important KJV editions, according to Religion News Service.
Thomas Nelson’s traveling exhibition also can be viewed online as can additional poll results from LifeWay Research.
What are Baton Rouge pastors saying about the King James Version of the Bible?
“I still believe the Holy Spirit was guiding (the King James translators) to a version that would not only be accurate, but have a certain majesty and poetic beauty, because they knew that in addition to private devotion this was also for public worship.”
The Rev. Halwey Wolfe, pastor of Broadmoor Presbyterian Church
“Is it (the King James version) more challenging or more difficult for some? Certainly. But if you like challenges, pick up your Bible and open it as a book for wisdom and witness, and it can change your life in a number of ways as you encounter a personal walk with Jesus Christ and go to church.”
The Rev. Darlene Moore, pastor of Camphor Memorial United Methodist Church
“Their goal and their purpose (that of the King James translators) was to deliver God’s word to God’s people in a way they can understand it. ? That’s the same goal as modern- day translators.”
The Rev. David Goza, pastor of Jefferson Baptist Church
“The King James version was good for the time it was written, and I’m of the opinion that you can change the word to fit our society without changing the meaning that God intended for us. ? A lot of people are using different translations, especially in the African-American community, and the reason we are using different translations is because the language (of the King James) is so archaic.”
The Rev. Herman Kelly, pastor of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church
“As a Lutheran pastor, I come out of the Reformation, when Martin Luther was able to put the Scripture in the hands of people. I think that is so essential, whether it’s giving a child a children’s Bible - and for those who enjoy the poetry of the King James that’s good too - as long as people are reading the Scripture.”
The Rev. Robin McCullough-Bade, executive director of the Interfaith Federation of Greater Baton Rouge
“I grew up with the King James version, and then I discovered that Catholics had a larger Bible than I did and I felt cheated. ? The more we are aware that there are many translations out there, the more we will be pressed to ask the question, ?Is there one unique Holy Scripture?’ And my answer is, ?No.’ God continues to reveal and speak through human beings.”
The Rev. Steve Crump, pastor of the Unitarian Church of Baton Rouge