From the Bookshop
2011 being the quatercentenary of the King James Version, in our bookshop we came upon two very different books about the Bible which are of topical interest. In writing about them it is not that we endorse them, or recommend them, just that we were interested to see them. It is not a bad thing for those whose joy it is to read and study the Bible to be aware of what is being published.
The first book was entitled Celebrating the King James Version. Seeing the title we thought it might have pictures, or quotations from famous passages, or the glowing opinions of celebrities. But it hasn't, there are no pictures, no celebrity opinions, and while it does quote some well-known passages of scripture, you have to look for them. It is in fact a book of devotional readings. Perhaps the best way to celebrate the Bible (in whatever version) is to read it thoughtfully, and take God's words to heart. Here is a sample of a part of one day's reading and comment:
The tide can turn
I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord…..
"Here is a song of hope and thankfulness for God's mercies, followed by a lament. Usually in the Psalms, the order is the other way round: grief is followed by praise of the Lord, who has saved the speaker, even if all the pain isn't over yet. Here, however, the hope is first…. 'I waited patiently'… might better be translated 'I hope intensely for Yahweh'. Indeed, all other hopes were exhausted… The hope was against all the evidence in the conviction that Yahweh could work a genuine newness. The hope was not disappointed. This is the kind of conviction that pehaps we hardly ever allow ourselves to risk, but which can be vindicated. Sometimes the international situation looks bleak, but the tide can turn, as it has done in various situations throughout history, such as in South Africa at the end of the apartheid era."
Prayer: God our Father, guide me into your hope, even when I am surrounded by trouble.
The book is a collection of 120 readings from the KJV. It has sections which tell the history of the version, and assess its value. It has the perspective of appreciating the version, not of criticising its faults. Probably a reader could get as great a blessing if the passages quoted had been taken from a modern version. The intention is to pick up on people who are attracted by the publicity about the quatercentenary of the KJV, and to encourage them in the habit of daily Bible reading.
Celebrating the King James Version
Rachel Boulding Bible Reading Fellowship
The other book is one which older readers may enjoy very much, or perhaps be put off by. It is full of information about the Bible, and full of comments and opinions. If you don't mind the opinions (or you agree with them!) you could really appreciate this history of the Bible. As a general introduction to the story of the Bible it is good, written in a lively modern manner. Experts will probably think how much more could have been said in any given chapter, but you can't say absolutely everything in 300 pages. There is a good up to date bibliography for any who want to follow up the study. The book deals with such questions as 'Where did we get the Bible from? Who decided what books were included? How did ancient words in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek change our world for ever?' 'From tablets of stone to papyrus scrolls, from illuminated manuscripts to the Internet, this book explores not only how the Bibles on our shelves came to be made, but the many ways in which the Bible has changed and challenged those who encountered it.'
God's Dangerous Book Nick Page Authentic