Tongue tied. No more.
I've just finished reading a book I really enjoyed. It's not a Christian book – it's a work of fiction, somewhat in the line of 1984, but lighter and more quirkier. It was funny and thought provoking (if you're interested it's called Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde). But here's the thing. Though I loved, and would love others to read it too, I'm a bit embarrassed about talking about it. After all, it's not a Trollope or a Henry James or anything classic. Because it's slightly unusual, I worry that as I try to explain a brief synopsis of the plot, I will get all my ideas twisted round and it will end up sounding like garbage or the least desireable read in the entire Universe. Better, I reason, not to put people off at all, I'll just keep quiet – even though deep down I wish and know that others would read it and share my enthusiasm. It's on Amazon, after all, so maybe people will just read it anyway and enjoy it and then get in contact. Then over a coffee we can talk about it without fear of embarrassment.
Hmm. That response sounds familiar.
This week I tried. I swallowed my pride and scaredy-cat-ness and told some others about the book. After all, they know me, don't they? They know what I'm like. They're not going to stop liking me because they don't like my book! Guess what? They listened. Someone even wrote down the title and said "I might get that." Someone else wanted to know more. Someone else wanted to borrow my copy.
You know where this is going don't you?
The King James Bible (2)
it is interesting to see the rules the translators of the King James Version were set. Here they are. Not all were followed particularly faithfully. Of particular interest is the political slant of rules such as number 3.
The Rules to be observed in the Translation of the Bible.
1. THE ordinary Bible read in the Church, commonly called the Bishops Bible, to be followed, and as little altered as the Truth of the original will permit.
2. The Names of the Prophets, and the Holy Writers, with the other Names of the Text, to be retained, as nigh as may be, accordingly as they were vulgarly used.
3. The old Ecclesiastical Words to be kept, viz. the Word Church not to be translated Congregation &c.
4. When a Word hath divers Significations; that to be kept which hath been most commonly used by the most of the Ancient Fathers, being agreeable to the Propriety of the Place, and the Analogy of the Faith.
5. The Divisions of the Chapters to be altered, either not at all, or as little as may be, if Necessity so require.
6. No Marginal Notes at all to be affixed, but only for the Explanation of the Hebrew or Greek Words, which cannot, without some circumlocution, so briefly and fitly be express’d in the Text.
7. Such Quotations of Places to marginally set down as shall serve for the fit Reference of one Scripture to another.
8. Every particular Man of each Company, to take the same Chapter, or Chapters, and having translated or amended them severally by himself, where he thinketh good, all to meet together, confer what they have done, and agree for their Parts what shall stand.
9. As any one Company hath dispatched any one Book in this manner they shall send it to the rest, to be consider’d of seriously and judiciously, for His Majesty is very careful in this Point.
10. If any Company, upon the Review of the Book so sent, doubt or differ upon any Place, to send them Word thereof; note the Place, to send them Word thereof; note the Place and withal send the Reasons, to which if they consent not, the Difference to be compounded at the General Meeting, which is to be of the chief Persons of each Company, at the end of the Work.
11. When any Place of special Obscurity is doubted of, Letters to be directed, by Authority, to send to any Learned Man in the Land, for his Judgement of such a Place.
12. Letters to be sent from every Bishop to the rest of his Clergy, admonishing them of this Translation in hand; and to move and charge as many as being skilful in the Tongues; and having taken Pains in that kind, to send his particular Observations to the Company, either at Westminster, Cambridge or Oxford.
13. The directors in each Company, to be the Deans of Westminster and Chester for that Place; and the King’s Professors in the Hebrew or Greek in either University.
KJV colour (i.e. trivia)
If you're planning a talk on the King James Version or an evangelistic event like the one that Andy outlined yesterday, then it can be useful to have some trivia up your sleeve to lighten the load or illustrate things or just provide a little colour. Here are my top KJV trivia moments from David Daniell's The Bible in English.
- The 'Authorized Version' as it is sometimes known (AV) is not authorized at all. In fact, the only two English Bible versions to have this official title were the Great Bible from the time of King Henry and the Bishops Bible from the time of Queen Elizabeth. It's a title that was first used in the 19th Century (1824, according to the OED) as a way to give credibility to the KJV translation.
- The King (James I of England, James VI of Scotland) had nothing to do with the translation, as it sometimes apocryphally reported. He was a notable scholar in himself (he translated a metrical version of thirty of the psalms), but aside from 'keeping an eye' on the project, the translation was not his, just dedicated to him – hence its name.
- For some unknown reason, every Bible quote in the preface to the new KJV was taken from the Geneva Bible, not the KJV. Scholars have no idea why this is – the best guess is that the Geneva Bible was so ingrained in the public consciousness that no one noticed!
- Not all the language is archaic (though some, as Daniell explains, is deliberately so). The translators were not afraid to introduce relatively new words, such as 'contentment' and even to invent completely new words. The KJV is the first place the word 'amazement' (1 Peter 3.6) is ever used in print.
- Because of its age, some of the language can be a bit, well, earthy. Most of us would blush to read out the word that is used where modern translators would use the word urinate…I'll leave you to find the references, if you must.
- The KJV is essentially a revision of Tyndale shaped by other contemporary translations. Computer analysis has shown that 83% of the New Testament text and 76% of the Old Testament text is Tyndale's. That is remarkable given that Tyndale was a lone worker, essentially an outlaw, working over 100 years before the King James translators and with many, many fewer resources at his command.
Evangelistic ideas and celebrating the King James Version
Guest post from Andy Hambleton, Associate Minister at Duke Street Church Richmond
In order to tie in with the 400th anniversary of the King James Version of the bible being published, we are planning to put on a series of events throughout 2011 which will aim to get people in our community thinking about and discussing the bible.
Currently, we are planning to hold three separate events, all coming from a slightly different angle. The first event will be from a historical perspective, at which a speaker will explain the story of the events leading up to the King James Version being authorised and published. The second event will be from a literary viewpoint, looking at the impact that the KJV has had upon the English language and English literature. There is an annual Literature Festival in Richmond, and so it is our hope that that this event can be included in the festivities. Finally, the third event will be a bit more hands on, as we plan to have an evening of readings and reflections from the King James Version. The aim with each of these three events is to get the bible into people’s hands, minds and conversations throughout this year and beyond.
Richmond itself is an area replete with active historical and arts societies, and so we see these types of events as a good way to engage with our community in a way which resonates with people’s interests, whilst at the same time offering an opportunity to look into the message of the scriptures.
Not strictly to do with preaching….but I came across this and found it interesting. This is a picture of a magic lantern being used to project hymn words in 1879 in Boston, USA. There's nothing new.
And my analysis, for what it's worth:
AGAINST: can't read ahead, words are often projected poorly so sentences are cut mid way, projectionist just can't keep up.
FOR: makes an incredible difference to singing and, with people looking up, makes singing congregational again.
As they say on Channel 4: you decide!
More like this:
Keep standing, preacher
It's easy, when you're a Bible-believing, preaching-loving pastor to feel that you're one of a dying breed. Statistically, that may even be true. As a pastor, most of the nearest 10 church ministers to me probably thought I was a right wing nutter, even though I only believed what most of them had in their historic creeds. Under such pressure, it's easy to give in to the temptation to let things slip. After all, the accusation that you are 'isolationist' is a hard one to take, particularly when you value true gospel unity with a very high premium.
So, I was encouraged to look more closely this morning at Wickhams. Wickhams is a department store on the Whitechapel Road. It's now faded in its glory and the ground floor (somewhat inevitably) is a Tesco Metro. It is a microcosm of the East End's prosperity. Wickhams started as a little family business and grew and grew until it became 'The Harrods of the East' with food halls and departments galore. Now, it's faded and old, but the most eccentric thing about it remains. I wonder if you can spot it from the photo?
When it was built in 1927 the owners of one particular house refused to sell up. So the architects had to incorporate number 81 into the whole building. The department store is built around this one house. No doubt the residents and Wickham family put all sort of pressure on the householder. After all, it will appear so much more appealing to the outside world, wouldn't it? Perhaps, but the home owners were adamant. They cared more about their own house than how it appeared and weren't prepared to compromise. It was where their entire family had been born. It was precious (you can read more about it here if you're interested). They stood firm in other ways.
In a rather strange way, cycling past this testimony to steadfastness every morning makes me want to keep going, whatever those around may say.
More like this
Confidence in the Bible
It occurred to me recently, talking with several church members, that Christians might say they believe in the Bible but can't actually say why, nor how we can have confidence that the Bible we have is the Bible God intended us to have. I think this is an increasingly important topic for Christians to understand themselves and to engage with their friends and neighbours about. It's worthy of time in small groups, or even an after church evening.
I've used John Dickson's The Christ Files. Made for Australian TV it's slick and watchable but also very helpful. There's also a book.
Also available are Tyndale's House resources on Bible and Church – take a look at their website for more information, or see the clip below.
Both have useful information and provide ideas for illustrations or evidence for use in apologetic or evangelistic talks.
More like this:
Dick’s illustration and Tim Keller’s illumination
Justin Taylor recalls one of Uncle Dick's illustrations and helpfully points us towards Tim Keller's answer here. Tim is speaking at this year's EMA on "preaching that connects" – we're very excited about the programme and speakers. Last year's EMA was fully booked, so book in whilst there's still space.
Book review – with a difference
Tuesday night I sat down, made a drink, put Gerschwin on the stereo and read Douglas Bond's The Betrayal. It's a book with a difference (it's not the review that's 'with a difference- – Duh!). Bond's book is published by P&R and is a novel based on the life of John Calvin. It traces his life from birth to death through the eyes of a contemporary who becomes his trusted servant but turns out to be…..no, I don't want to spoil it.
It's an historical novel, so the servant is fictitious – but pretty much everything else is genuine. All the other characters are real and in their proper place and the Calvin's dialogue is largely lifted from his letters and writings (although sometimes condensed). The level is keen teen reader – so it's ideal for most of us – and a great way into the life and teaching of Calvin. It traces the development of his thinking (from 1536 Institutes to later editions) and the situation of the day – showing how his teaching was received, particularly in France where much of the book is set.
It introduces all his key ideas and teaching, but not in a didactic way. I wasn't sure I would enjoy this – but found myself really drawn into the story. I bought the book after a positive book review in Modern Reformation, and now I want to add my commendation. It's a book with a difference, but worth a look. I'm now going to pass it onto eldest Miss R who is 16. It's the sort of thing she'll love to, I think. Here's the preview clip on youtube.
And here's Douglas Bond talking about it
Last chance to book on Logos Camp – 15-16 February 2011