But in fact the passage he quotes from an article in USA Today seems to say something different:
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.
That translation was of course the Geneva Bible, massively popular in the British Isles and the new American colonies in the late 16th and early 17th centuries – and there were no “English-speaking masses” anywhere else at the time. I see that the 1587 Geneva Bible is available for the Amazon Kindle for a mere £2.08, here in the UK. But I was surprised to see the suggestion that it had massively outsold all other Bible versions put together, even among the restricted sample in question.
But perhaps David is simply misleading us with his post. (Normally I would point out factual errors in a blog post in a comment on the post. But as he closed comments on this post before I even had a chance to read it, I have no choice but to make my comment in a separate post.) After all, the title of the USA Today article is “Bible readers prefer King James version”, so perhaps that is the version it is meant to be about. But then the article gives statistics apparently about a different version. Perhaps it is simply that the USA Today reporter is confused and ignorant of her subject matter, and doesn’t know that it was only in the late 17th century, in the wake of huge state intervention in the church, that the KJV became dominant.
David also fails to note a very important point, that the survey was apparently restricted to the USA. I suppose one would expect that from USA Today, but since David chose to quote the words “the English-speaking masses worldwide” he really should have made it clear that the sentence in which these words are found refers only to a small part of these masses.
Actually there is a more serious problem with the USA Today article, which was pointed out by Kenny who was lucky enough to get to comment on David’s post. According to the press release from LifeWay, the actual survey results are that
more than half of all American adults (62 percent) own a KJV Bible. … A full 82 percent of Americans who read the Bible at least once a month own a KJV.
But USA Today has changed “own a KJV” to state that that is the version that the 82% “prefer” and “rely on”. The fallacy is clear when one reads on in the press release to find out that
Americans who read the Bible at least once a month own an average of 5.8 Bibles.
Very likely for most people these multiple Bibles are in various versions. So it is presumptuous and indeed quite false to suggest that 82% of those Americans prefer or rely on just one version. Among my collection of several different versions, I own a KJV which was my mother’s confirmation present, and another which I had at school, but I rarely read either. Kenny’s story is similar, and so very likely is that of huge numbers of Christians among “the English-speaking masses worldwide”, and even of quite a few in the USA.
I wouldn’t expect anything better from USA Today. But here at BBB we really should try not to spread further this kind of misinformation.