Below I give you an excerpt from a play of the prolific playwright, William Shakespeare. Being unsure of my audience’s familiarity with Shakespeare I’m not sure how this will go, but after you read the text in that dastardly Early Modern English which so many Christians claim is too difficult to understand, see if you can guess which play the excerpt comes from. Ready? Here we go.
“It is a period of civil war.
The spaceships of the rebels, striking swift
From base unseen, have gain’d a vict’ry o’er
The cruel Galatic Empire, now adrift.
Amidst the battle, rebel spies prevail’d
And crush a planet: ’tis the DEATH STAR blast.
Pursu’d by agents sinister and cold,
Now Princess Leia to her home doth flee,
Deliv’ring plans and a new hope they hold:
Of brining freedom to the galaxy.
In time so long ago beings our play,
In star-crossed galaxy far, far away.“
Can you guess which of Shakespeare’s plays the above comes from? Has the strange format, grammatical structure, and spelling so hopelessly thrown you off the author’s message and intent?
You may say, “But this looks familiar.” Ah, indeed, to many of you this may sound familiar, and I would argue that it is its familiarity which allows you to understand even the parts of the above quote more foreign to your literary senses. And you would be right to conclude that it is a familiar passage. The passage comes from William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope by Ian Doescher. Seeing aside the fact that Doesher is having fun with and writing books in Early Modern English while the richest most free church in the history of the Church bemoans that Early Modern English as too hard or too boring to read. Even with the Early Modern English, if the reader is familiar enough with the story, the reader understands the story.
My point is that the primary reason why the American church is not familiar with the King James Versions is because the King James Version is not read by those who complain about it. Those that complain about the King James Version do not read out of it, preach out of it, do family devotions out of it and are therefore not familiar with it. What is more, it is not read as the word of God in English. If it were read as the word of God in English it would seem that great attention would be given to each word, to know it, love it, and obey it – but that is not the state of the relationship between the American church and God’s revealed word.
There are certainly other arguments leveled by the multiple version-onlyists. That said, the it’s-too-hard-to-read argument may have worked 200 years ago but with the advent of the PC, internet access, Amazon, and a university on every corner the argument no longer carries weight or at least not to the extent it used to.