(Article for publication week of 3-3-2010 AD)
We have for the past few weeks been defending the Authorised Translation of the Bible, also known as the King James Version. We have little fondness for King James himself, but simply recognize the providential hand of God in using King James to commission the translating of the Bible into our present version. As we have said before, our first and primary reason for using the Authorised Translation is the underlying Greek text, the Textus Receptus. This was the Greek text used by William Tyndale and the translators of the Geneva Bible. These were also good translations of the scriptures. I have both of those translations on my shelf and use them often in my studies. We also use and recommend the King James Version because it is clearer on the Deity of Christ, has borne good fruit, and provokes reverence for God and His word.
Another good reason for using the King James Bible is that it is easier to memorize. In Psalms 119:11 we read, "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee." The committing of the word to memory is a very good practice. And the King James Bible is very helpful in hiding the word in our hearts. Many of us were taught to memorize the scriptures when we were young and that has been a great blessing to us. How many times has the Lord used the word that was hid in our hearts to bring us to repentance and to look to our Dear Saviour!
Many of us memorized the twenty third Psalm when we were children and during times of sadness and difficulty this precious Psalm has come to our minds reminding us that our great God was our Shepherd Who would care for us. The twenty third Psalm just does not sound right in the modern versions, does it?
Some of you learned the way of salvation at an early age, and during times of doubt or temptation, John 3:16 came back to you. It was hidden in your heart, and the devil himself could not take it away from you.
There are many scriptures that used to be common knowledge in our part of the world, because people memorized the scriptures in church, in their families, and even in school. Expressions like "the strait and narrow" are still used in our culture as a manner of speaking.
I have read accounts of Christians being imprisoned for their faith without their Bibles, but since they had memorized much of it, the Lord brought it to their minds. I remember one account where several Christians pooled their memories in such circumstances, and were able to have much of the Bible, simply through their memories.
The memorization of the scriptures is a good practice, and will bless us in many ways. The King James Bible is the best version for the practice of memorization. This is another good reason for us to continue its use. Let us hide the word in our hearts, that we may not sin against the Lord.