Note: This is the second of a planned series of blogs on the family. Follow the Family Fridays tag in the future for more articles.
I did not grow up using a King James Bible. Born in 1965, a KJV was never far from reach in my Christian family, but we were (at that time) solidly Southern Baptist, and that meant we used the version that most suited our needs or the one that “felt right.” Most of my teenage years I used the Good News Bible (TEV), which was popular in the 1970s (remember the stick drawings and the faux newspaper cover?) but not much better than The Living Bible paraphrase. In my life, the KJV was for old people, and I was not old.
But, given enough time, children become adults and adults become…old.
And now that I’m no spring chicken (but can still outwork someone half my age), I’ve migrated to the King James Bible, and I love it.
And I’m convinced that it is the best Bible version for children.
As a Preacher, parent, grandparent, end educator, here are a few reasons why I think the King James Version of the Bible is the one you ought to use with your children.
Hearing is Teaching
For younger children (birth through kindergarten), I encourage parents to read the Bible out loud to your children, from the King James Version. Hearing a parent consistently read Scripture will become a comforting routine that will bring about hundreds of discussion opportunities with your children. Make it a habit to read to them each day, perhaps before bedtime, or at the breakfast table.
But why the KJV? Because you will be “killing two birds with one stone.” Not only will they learn important Bible passages, but they will also be hearing, on a daily basis, the best English the English world has ever produced.
Even from its first day, the KJV was not the English of common usage. It was far above everyday slang. It was intentionally lofty and purposefully poetic. It immediately set the Bible above and beyond other books and other words of the day. For example, King James himself wrote a treatise against tobacco use in 1604 (seven years prior to the KJV), and in it there is not a single ye or thee or thine. The translators knew that the Bible should lift one to a higher level and should set itself apart from all other books.
I would argue (with ease) that the modern translations have been a dumbing down of the Bible for the purpose of making it easy to understand, but in the process have actually made it common and thus disregarded in importance.
Get a King James Bible and start reading! In doing so you teach your child respect for the Word itself.
Speaking is Winning
As your children grow older, it is time for them to read the Word themselves, and reading it out loud is what I encourage. The King James Version will not be easy for them to read, but will make them to be terrific readers. The lofty and poetic style will cause the child to have to slow down, think hard, and train themselves for “brain to mouth” skills. It will be a rough start, but with a few months practice, your child will soon be reading lengthy passages with ease. And reading out loud will give them confidence, poise, and pride in their abilities–and those traits make winners!
It is a win-win!
When you use the King James as the spoken version of the Word at home and church, you have a win-win situation. Not only are your children learning the Word, but they are also learning great English, brain-to-mouth motor skills, and public speaking skills. And that, my friend, is worth millions!