Is the King James Bible harder to read?
|Terry Watkins||Dial-the-Truth Ministries|
|People have been conned with the lie that the new versions are much easier to understand. I’ve heard many times, “The King James is too hard to understand.”
But the facts tell a different story. . .
Gail Riplinger has a chapter in her best-selling New Age Bible Versions titled “King James for Kids”. Mrs. Riplinger provides 23 pages of irrefutable evidence proving the King James Bible is far easier to understand and read. She lists over 350 examples in the New Testament where the King James Bible is much easier and simpler to understand.
In comparing the first chapter of the first and last books of the Old and New Testaments, the Flesch-Kincaid research company’s Grade Level Indicator shows “The KJV ranks easier in 23 out of 26 comparisons” (Riplinger, New Age Bible Versions, 1994, p. 195) betrays the strictly
(table from New Age Bible Versions, p. 196, highlight added)Mrs. Riplinger writes:
In her book, The Language of the King James Bible, Mrs Riplinger continues her research in the readability of the King James Bible. Mrs. Riplinger documents under the subtitle “Statistical Verification of Readability”:
(table from The Language of the King James Bible, p 159, highlight added)The Comparative Readability of the Authorized Version
The Bible for Today published an interesting and revealing book titled, The Comparative Readability of the Authorized Version by D.A. Waite, Jr. Using computer readability software (Grammatik 4.0, Grammatik 5.0, Word for Windows) Mr. Waite, spent hundreds of hours, lasting over three years, analyzing every word in the King James Bible, the American Standard Version (ASV), the Revised Standard Version (RSV), the New American Standard Version (NASV), the New International Version (NIV), the New King James Version (NKJV) and the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV).
Mr. Waite did not twist, nor slant any of the results but simply let the results speak for themselves. In fact, Mr. Waite confessed before beginning the research, he was fully expecting the newer versions to out score the “old” King James Bible. Mr. Waite writes, “Quite frankly, I was surprised at the results.” (D.A. Waite Jr, The Comparative Readability of the Authorized Version, p. 4) The Comparative Readability of the Authorized Version is an exhaustive and serious study. It contains detailed tables, charts, documentation, analysis of every conceivable readability tests known. The King James Bible outscored the new versions in virtually every test.
Some of Mr. Waite’s analysis:
Mr. Waite summarizes his extensive analysis:
It’s also worth noting, the New International Version (NIV), continually scored the worst, in some cases, much worse. So much for the nonsense about the King James being “harder to read”.
The Experts AgreeDr. Rudolf Flesch is the leading authority, researcher and author on readability studies. Dr. Flesch is the originator of the famous Flesch-Kincaid readability standards. His book Why Johnny Can’t Read is a eye-opening, best-seller. In Dr. Flesch’s book, The Art of Plain Talk, he makes the following noteworthy statement about the King James Bible:
Several times in his book, Dr. Flesch praises the King James Bible for it’s ease of reading. And may I remind you, this is from the leading authority on the subject.
Echoing the opinion of Dr. Flesch in The Art of PLAIN Talk, the Apostle Paul writes the scriptures use “GREAT plainness of speech”.
As a fitting comparison, notice the NKJV and the NIV (as do the other new versions) lack the “plainness of speech”.
The national bestseller, The Story of English, writes of the simplicity of the King James Bible:
The Norton Anthology of Literature, selected the King James Bible as one of the finest examples of writing style in existence. (cited in New Age Bible Versions, p. 212)
The Story of English crowns the King James Bible as, “probably the single most influential book ever published in the English language.” (Robert McCrum, William Cran, and Robert MacNeil, The Story of English, p. 109)
One of the amazing personalities of the King James Bible is it’s poetic beauty. Nothing ever penned in the English language can match it’s sound and rhythm. For a work of it’s volume and serious subject matter – the poetic splendor defies human logic. The very sound of reading of the King James Bible bears the resemble of a music concerto. It’s timbre grabs you, as it’s melody sings God’s word. What an amazing book!
It’s worth noting the emphasis the King James translators placed, not only on the readable text of the King James Bible, but also it’s sound. Before the King James Bible was published and after the initial translation work was completed, a re-working took place, The Story of English describes this unique process, “they were to go through the text, re-working it so that it would not only read better but sound better, a quality for which it became famous throughout the English-speaking world.” (Robert McCrum, William Cran, and Robert MacNeil, The Story of English, p. 112)
The words of Romans 10:17-18 comes ringing through:
Notice how the NIV completely loses this melody in the “sound” of the “words”. It’s now simply a message and a voice.
There is a wonder and amazement at the majestic words of the King James Bible. They literally capture you with their beauty and awe: Former President Ronald Reagan, during one of his famous radio addresses, spoke on the God News for Modern Man Bible in comparison to the King James Bible. Mr. Reagan describes the difference:
If the new versions are so much “easier to understand and read” — why is it that according to surveys by Barna Research of people who read their Bible on a daily basis, “The King James Version is more likely to be the Bible read during the week than is the NIV by a 5:1 ratio.”(Barna Research, The Bible survey, http://www.barna.org/cgi-bin/PageCategory.asp?CategoryID=7)
Why do people, including teenagers, ACTUALLY read the King James Bible FAR more than any other Bible?
Simple. . . The King James Bible is the words of God.
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: