Friday, August 17, 2012

In the language of the people

I sat for a while on a bench with a friend who was perusing a catalog of Bibles for sale. A Mormon colleague from my office stopped to chat. As soon as she realized what kind of catalog it was I saw her reaction of rejection. I jokingly asked if she would like to get one, perhaps a newer translation, but she quickly said no, it was too modern for her.

I understand her reaction--there but for the grace of God that would be me, distrustful of the unknown, sure in my beliefs, thinking I didn't need anything more. In fact, my first Bible purchase as I left the LDS church was a King James Version. I felt safer with that.

Now that I have spent time with other versions of the Bible, I have found there are some that I enjoy very much. I have a study bible that uses the NIV, New International Version, translation. I enjoy it because it is clearly written in modern language.  Please compare:

Joshua 6, King James Version (KJV)
Now Jericho was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in.
2 And the Lord said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour.
3 And ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days.
4 And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams' horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets.
Joshua 6, NIV (1984)
  Now Jericho was tightly shut up because of the Israelites. No one went out and no one came in.
2 Then the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men.  
3 March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days.  
4 Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets.
I keep hearing and reading that the Lord spoke in the tongue of the common people so he would be understood. The KJV was the tongue of the common person 500 years ago. My personal opinion is that if Jesus came today I wouldn't hear him talking like Shakespeare.


  1. Sorry, but to me NIV is pretty much the same as KJV since it keeps an all-male imagery in place for God which is so narrow-minded. With regards to gender issues and matters of salvation it is totally geared toward a very conservative Evangelical audience I simply don't belong to.

  2. Thank you for the comment. Would you prefer the NRSV?

    What do you think about the NLT?

    Something else, perhaps? I like comparing translations. Still have so much to learn!

  3. Gostei de que o Senhor não iria falar como Shakespeare. E realmente vê-se diferenças.