Question: Why do you write in Olde English? |

TBC Staff

Question: In your writing, you have sometimes used all kinds of antiquated structural forms, such as with verb endings (killeth, hath, shalt, wilt); possessive adjectives (mine, thine); subject pronouns (thou, ye). This reminds me of a verse I memorized in my youth: “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth…” (John:3:8).

It makes me tongue-tied just thinking about it. The use of such language leaves the impression that you believe that kind of usage is more acceptable before God or, worse yet, that God talks like that. Maybe you like King James English because you have some qualms about the accuracy of modern-day translations of the Bible. But please don’t take it out on your readers by using structural forms that for hundreds of years have not been a regular part of American speech.

Response: First of all, I did not use that kind of language. You can only be referring to my quotations from the Bible, which I took pains to provide accurately. Secondly, you make far too much of the alleged difficulty of such language. School children in Europe learn several languages, including the dead language Latin. Operas and literary classics still use Elizabethan language and the audience or readers don’t complain but seem to appreciate it.

Prefer a Bible in today’s English if you wish, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find one that is an accurate translation from the Textus Receptus. This is what the New King James claims to be, yet I find some of it to be inaccurate, such as its change of the key word “imagination” into “intent,” etc. The King James Bible is classic English, unsurpassed in its beauty of expression. Stay with your modern English if you must, but allow the rest of us who enjoy the King James Bible to retain it—and have no fear that today’s youth can’t handle it. I have never suggested that “God talks like that,” nor have I ever heard this complaint from anyone else. On the other hand, perhaps King James English brings reverence to the reading of Scripture, which is lacking in today’s English. I think we could do with more reverence.