The King James Bible was commissioned in 1604 and first published in 1611. Many of the original words and spellings in the 1611 version would seem very odd to us today…
“That which we haue seene and heard, declare we vnto you, that ye also may haue fellowship with vs; and truely our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Sonne Iesus Christ.” – original, 1611
The 1769 update was less cumbersome, containing slightly ‘modernized’ spellings and word forms…
“That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.”
The 1982 update (NKJV) is the most contemporary and has further ‘modernized’ spellings and word forms.
“That which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.”
Though numerous other translations are available today the King James is still the favorite of many. One narrow-minded fan once referred to it alone as the ‘Holy’ Bible and added, “If it was good enough for St. Paul then it’s good enough for me.” But of course Paul did not have a KJV or any other Bible. He had access to only a few hand-written parchment copies of books of the Old Testament in Aramaic, and they were precious to him. As he requested of Timothy, “When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls, especially the parchments.” (see 2 Tim. 4:13)
But to best understand the nuances of scriptural vocabulary one must return to the language in which the New Testament was initially written: Hebrew for the Old Testament and Greek for the New Testament.
I believe that the rule of Rome and the subsequent introduction of Greek as the dominant language was all very much a part of “the fullness of time” (Gal. 4:4) Paul mentions in preparation for Christ’s entry into this world and the propagation of the gospel which followed.
Greek, you see, is a most rich, precise and nuanced language. A single Greek word can require several words in another language to fully convey its meaning when translated. This is one reason so many Bible versions are possible and why cross referencing them is helpful in studying a passage.
What a great God we have Who pays such attention to detail and works all things to restore us to fellowship with Him! How He must love us! He wants nothing more! “He devises ways so that a banished person does not remain banished from him.” (2 Samuel 14:14).
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