Monday, February 21, 2005

Quote and Re-quote

I found this on our niece's blog. The following is a brief excerpt from the biography entitled, Fire in the Bones: William Tyndale--Martyr, Father of the English Bible , by S. Michael Wilcox. My own feelings on the depth of expression found in the KJV of the Bible were so completely contained in Wilcox's words that I wanted to include it. She relates that 90% of Tyndale's translation was used in the KJV. She also includes an illustrative sample from the book. Thanks to you Lindsay.

"If the medium does not match the holiness of the message, the sacred truth is compromised. Beauty of expression helps us live a holier life, instilling faith and courage much like music."
--S. Michael Wilcox
Wilcox includes a comparison between two versions of Matthew 14:28-33, Tyndale's version vs. The Phillips Modern English version. The difference is striking. Here is a brief sample:

"Phillips Modern: "But when he saw the fury of the wind he panicked and began to sink, calling out, 'Lord save me!' At once Jesus reached out his hand and caught him, saying, 'You little-faith! What made you lose your nerve like that?"

"Tyndale: "But when he saw a mightily wind, he was afraid. And as he began to sink, he cried saying: Master save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said to him: O thou of little faith: wherefore didst thou doubt?"

Is the KJV harder for us to understand than more modern versions? Probably, but maybe by having to work harder we will gain more. My experience is that the scriptures are multi-layered in their meaning and with lesser language I wonder if we only scratch the surface--if that. As a society that has belief in the power of the written word, we must realize the importance of choosing the right words. And if we have learned nothing else of language in the past 10 years, we have learned that great variance in meaning can be attached to even the smallest of words!

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