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The King James Bible: its relevance today

An eleven-year-old girl, heartbroken at the passing of her father, finds comfort at his funeral when the Protestant minister reads from the Bible: ''Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people .... And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.'' n1

n1 Revelation 21:3, 4.

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Later she begins to perceive fulfillment of this prophecy in some degree when she learns in Christian Science that heaven is harmony, demonstrable here and now. Realizing the spiritual unity and inseparability of God and His likeness, man, by living more closely in accord with God, she is finally healed of her sense of loss.

A businessman, concerned over a difficult assignment, finds strength by pondering that ''God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.'' n2 The spiritual understanding he has gained through lifelong study of Christian Science helps him glean from this sentence the truth that fear cannot blight honest accomplishment, and that all involved can express only the might, love, and wisdom of the one Mind, God. And so it proves. The work is successfully completed, and he receives commendation for his part in it.

n2 II Timothy 1:7.

A housewife, experiencing an attack of recurrent suffering, desperately clings to a Bible passage she learned when she attended a Protestant Sunday School: ''For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.'' n3

n3 Romans 8:38, 39.

The understanding that she has gained through her recently begun study of Christian Science illumines the verse. It dawns on her that it's impossible to be separated from God. The attack abates, and the healing proves to be permanent.

These experiences are all instances of practical help derived, with the aid of Christian Science, through the words of a book published nearly three hundred seventy-five years ago, the King James, or Authorized, Version of the Bible. Some today might call that book archaic and obsolete. Yet the people involved in the experiences just related are modern, normal people typical of hundreds of thousands to whom the King James Bible is the Bible.

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The King James remains the best-selling of the myriad translations available today. Later scholarly translations help often to clarify obscure passages. But in the opinion of many, none has bested the King James in beauty and credibility as the Word of God. Scholars have noted the love that readers feel for the King James Version. For example, in the Introduction to his translation, James Moffatt writes: ''This version brought what they (readers) understood to be the direct words of God.'' And a former professor of exegetical theology writes of this version, ''Many of its words and phrases are so familiar that hearers almost imagine that it was in this stately language that the Bible itself was written.'' n4

n4 H.G.G. Herklots, How Our Bible Came to Us (New York: Oxford University Press, 1957), p. 11.

Passages from the King James came alive to meet the needs of those whose healings were mentioned earlier through study and practice of Christian Science. The Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, illumined the words from the King James that had initially brought comfort. The individuals were healed by the Science of the Scriptures, unlocked by its Key.

Because Science and Health came to her as God's revelation, Mary Baker Eddy n 5 could write of it, ''Many of our best and most scholarly men and women, distinguished members of the bar and bench, press and pulpit, and those in all the walks of life, will tell you they never loved the Bible and appreciated its worth as they did after reading 'Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.' '' n6 The pages of Science and Health help open our understanding of the King James Bible's familiar words and show, through healing works, that its relevance to human needs in every age makes it irreplaceable.

n5 Mrs. Eddy is the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science.

n6 Message to The Mother Church for 1900, p.7.

This article is a condensation of an editorial that appears in the September 24 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Every word of God is pure. Proverbs 30:5

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