The Bible in the News!
400 years after publication, the Bible is in the News.
Friday, January 07, 2011
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Welcome to another edition of the Bible in the News. This is Paul Billington bringing you this week's edition of our weekly programme. Certainly 2011 has focussed attention on the King James Authorized version of the Bible, with newspapers and electronic media reminding us of the 400th anniversary of this amazing Book, without doubt the most influential Book ever printed in the English language. According to one newspaper report, there have been over six billion copies of it sold!
Everyone recognizes the tremendous influence that this Book has had, not only upon Britain itself, but also upon the entire English-speaking world. Quite apart from the fact that the book claims to be the word of the Living God (at least, in its original languages of Hebrew and Greek), this English translation has proved to be the very crowning glory of English literature. Its dominant position is unassailable.
Few of us have appreciated the tremendous lengths that the translators went to in order to produce it. One amazing detail revealed in The Daily Telegraph earlier this week, was the fact that the translators had it read aloud in Stationers' Hall London, and that it took over a year to do that. "It was a translation that was meant to be heard.The language had to be clear; it had to flow. And it did." No wonder then that modern attempts at translation seem so unsophisticated, disjointed and often powerless. King James' scholars did all that they could to get it right, and their result was the majestic and mighty monument that has survived for 400 years.
But the King James translation published in 1611 is a translation - and as translations go, probably the best one available to us - but it is only a translation. As one writer put it in the 19th century (John Thomas in his Herald magazine of 1852), "The world will never behold a critically trustworthy version of the Bible till the Lord comes."
However, with the assistance of concordances, lexicons and other aids available today, anyone who wants to get closer to the original meaning may do so. Some loss of the original must be admitted, but having acknowledged that it must be said that the King James version of the Bible is adequate, and that the true message of God's Book can be understood from reading it. In my own view, the King James Bible was the result of Providence - it was designed in order to accomplish a purpose, and that purpose was indicated in the Scriptures themselves: For example, Jeremiah 31:10.
"Hear the word of the Lord, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock."
So the word of the Lord was heard by Gentile nations and it was declared in Isles afar off. The circulation of the Scriptures in the English-speaking world is proof of that. But there was a specific message to be declared: namely, that He who scattered Israel would gather them, and keep them as His flock.
During the 18th and 19th centuries many English writers drew attention to this Bible teaching - From Sir Isaac Newton, Thomas Newton, Lowth, Alexander Keith, Grattan Guiness as well as the writer often referred to in the Bible Magazine, John Thomas. This was the influence of the English Bible, and it reached heads of state in Britain, in the United States and elsewhere. This affected policy - and so history tells us of the Balfour Declaration, of the British Mandate, and of American support for Israel.
As Barbara Tuchman wrote in her Foreword to the book "Bible and Sword,"
"It is a curious irony that the Jews retrieved their homeland partly through the operation of the religion they gave the Gentiles."
So it was, that as Isaiah 55:10-11 tells us, the word of the Lord that went forth did not return unto him void, but it accomplished that which He pleased, and it prospered in the thing whereunto He sent it.
There is no denying this! The Jewish NATIONAL home that we know today as Israel, testifies to the Truth. But even more important than that is what the Bible teaches us about the future of that nation. As we can read the expectation of Jesus' disciples in Acts 1:6, Jesus is to “restore again the kingdom to Israel." This must happen, for it was promised to Mary before Christ's birth that:
"He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end."
There are those today who would deny this Israelitish character of the future kingdom on earth, but in spite of this willful unbelief, a series of events has now been commenced, and will continue to develop more and more largely until the Lord himself comes and establishes the promised kingdom.
The word of God going forth to Gentiles had also another purpose - and as we read it in Acts 15:14, that purpose was "to take out of them a people for his Name." Thus Gentiles are invited to become joined to God's Name, and to become citizens of the future Commonwealth of Israel (Ephesians 2:11-13). This Gospel and invitation is clearly set forth in the English Bible. To learn more about it listen to this weekly programme - BibleintheNews.com
Printed: Friday, January 07, 2011
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