Some people on Facebook and Twitter do not read comments as a matter of course. Sometimes a comment thread provides useful context but often they just make me angry. I will sometimes argue with strangers on the internet because, you know, you can’t just let people that are wrong walk around thinking they are right. (I say that tongue in cheek.) As brick-and-mortar LifeWay stores come to end they have several deals on Bibles right now online. I have seen ads in my Facebook newsfeed in the past week for a KJV Minister’s Bibles, a CSB “Ancient Faith” Study Bible and the NKJV large print Bible pictured above. There are several different Bibles, some up to 50% off, with many of the sales lasting only 48 hours.
I would have scrolled past the ads and not written a post about them were it not for the comments. As the title implies sometimes the comments are the story. One of the NKJV ads touched off a “KJV only” line of comments that had unsuspecting but well-meaning individuals trying to reason with them. If you want to read the KJV be my guest. I have several copies for various reasons and have read the KJV text in its entirety a few times. At a formal event such as a wedding or funeral that’s often what people expect. Sometimes if you don’t know the audience it’s a safe choice; there are no angry NIV or ESV only groups that I know of. There are, however, people that believe you cannot be saved reading another version of the scriptures than KJV. I’ve heard arguments that the KJV is perfect because it is the “seventh translation from the textus receptus” and even that when the Psalmist writes “the Word of God is forever established in heaven” he means the KJV.
Pause a moment. Soak it all in.
One of the commenters, and I will not use any actual names or show screenshots, said of an NKJV that he had enough toilet paper. Another suggested that was perfect for liberal pastors that preach a watered down gospel. It was hard for me to leave that one alone since I preach from the NKJV in my current pulpit. It’s a Billy Graham Training Center Study Bible but that’s neither here nor there. One poor fellow was terribly misguided and thought LifeWay was Jehovah’s Witness. When someone corrected him he replied “Isn’t LifeWay associated with the SBC?” Literal jaw drop. The Ancient Faith CSB ad got a lengthy and somewhat informed discussion going about the history of translation but it started with “If this Bible is ancient I guess it contains the verses and chapters Luther left out.” Some Protestant vs. Catholic back and forth followed. Another commenter suggested he threw his CSB in the trash after he saw the Lord’s Prayer had been cut short. I’m not a fan of the CSB but anytime one Bible has a verse (or paragraph) that another does not there is not only a reason but an entire translation philosophy behind that decision. It has to do with source material and to make a long story short, statements and passages that were added over time and not an editor’s choice to leave out parts they don’t like.
My take on translations is to read several. I found one a really like in the ESV but I often compare that text to KJV, NKJV, CSB and NIV when preparing sermons or attempting to resolve apparent contradictions. I reviewed an illustrated children’s Bible a few weeks ago published in NIrV, New International Reader’s Version. Many of the comments brought on by seemingly innocuous LifeWay ads for Bibles were, sadly, not Christlike. All comments are written by people and our brothers and sisters in Christ are very much people. Some do not take constructive criticism well and many of the comments were anything but constructive.