Although there are two dozen English-language Bibles in many contemporary translations, the King James Version reigns even more supreme among those who actually read their Bibles: 82% of those who read the Good Book at least once a month rely on the translation that first brought the Scripture to the English-speaking masses worldwide.
USA Today: Bible readers prefer King James version
Thanks to Dan H. for sharing this interesting story on our Share page: http://betterbibles.com/share
Far from finding the stilted archaic language to be a stumbling block, these devout readers find the KJV language to be “beautiful” and “easy to remember.”
Why look for a Better Bible when the best Bible has been with us all along?
I’d like to offer three alternative explanations for the popularity of the KJV in this study:
1. King (James) Kong in the land of the dwarves: If you look at the total number of Bibles purchased and read you would probably see that the King James is monolithic but surrounded by many translations serving diverse markets.
2. It’s Number One because it’s Number One. Long tradition has assured that the King James is well-loved and widely used. For centuries there was really no number two.
3. It’s free. Because the King James is public domain, it is widely reproduced simply because publishers don’t have to pay licenses or royalties for its use.
In January I spent several weeks reading the King James for my daily Bible reading. It was interesting. It was quite often “beautiful and majestic.” But in the end it was more like a language puzzle than a devotional exercise. I switched back to my Contemporary English Version which is quite often neither beautiful or majestic but it is clear. And based on the best scholarship and the best manuscripts. And translated with an aim at speaking to a diverse world of “englishes.”
I’m glad to hear that people are reading the Bible regularly. And I’m happy for them if they enjoy and find spiritual profit in reading the KJV. However, I feel that an archaic translation based on poor manuscripts is going to very often lead readers astray with regard to the actual intended meaning of the text.