Celebrating a 400 years-old translation of ancient wisdom using 4 years-new technology…!

Mission “Very Possible”…

The task: To read Romans 3 in its seventeenth century language version from the King James Version of the Bible….

The date: May 1, 2011 – the 400th birthday of the “Authorised Version”…

The location: The Christian Science plaza in Boston, Massachusetts, home of “The Mother Church”…established in 19th century New England.

The means? A 21st century iPhone…! (The iPhone was first released in 2007.)

The You Version iPhone App that offers parallel translations of the Scriptures came up with the idea of a kind of global flash mob for reading the whole King James Version  in 400 seconds on May 2, 2011 at noon…the 400th anniversary of this still-revered version of the Bible…

Agreeing to participate, I was assigned the whole of Romans 3 for my reading aloud contribution, and it is not a simple read – but a thought-provoking one. I got the gist of it more clearly on my third time of reading it! But I love its conclusion, as captured in the brief excerpt of my read-through below – that there is one God of all people, so we can’t earn God’s love or favour by adhering to outward “religious” actions, but only through “believing in Jesus”. That is, through understanding what it was that Jesus was showing all humanity of our spiritual nature as the children of God, and by progressively living in relation to others on that basis.

I felt it fitting to read the Bible passage from the iPhone because You Version is just one example of how today’s technology is making yesterday’s voicing of eternal spiritual ideas more accessible than ever before. Technology, however, can not digest those truths for us, nor live them on our behalf! That is the unchanging demand on those who enjoy access to the Word of God, no matter what the means for its delivery.

The 400th anniversary of the King James Version is certainly a date worth noting and noticing. To many, like myself, its articulation of the Bible truths has not only been a treasure-trove of moral and spiritual guidance but also a source of hope and healing, including physical cure and care.

I read many other versions of the Bible too – and while they have merit in and of themselves I also find that doing so helps me look back at the KJV with more grasp of some its more difficult phrases. I also use Concordances and Bible study books…

But on this week of celebrations of the 400th anniversary of the book that has given us so many familiar phrases which are celebrated by atheists and believers alike, it is still its central idea that most resonates with many…which is – as it says in this beautiful version of the Scriptures, as well as many others – “God is Love.” (1 John 4:16).

Here is an excerpt from my iPhone reading of the KJ version of Romans 3 to celebrate 400 years of this remarkable spiritual textbook…


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Categories: Spirituality and Society

Author:Tony Lobl

I write on spirituality and health for a diversity of online media outlets, from my perspective as a Christian Science practitioner. I have been published by the Independent, the Washington Post, the Guardian, E-Hospice, MindBodyGreen and The Christian Science Monitor and I post regularly on the Huffington Post UK and BuzzFeed. In addition to writing and broadcast appearances I enjoy engaging with journalists, academics, health professionals and government officials about the possibilities for improving health outcomes through a greater emphasis on spirituality in healthcare and social care. I've also greatly valued the many opportunities I have had to travel globally for my church and to meet people around the world. My wife Jenny and I spent 10 years in Boston, USA, before returning to London in 2002, to take on a role as the media and legislative liaison for Christian Science in the UK and the Republic of Ireland. I studied at the University of Surrey earning a BSc Hons Degree in Modern Mathematics before the impact of spirituality on health caught my attention and re-shaped my career.

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One Comment on “Celebrating a 400 years-old translation of ancient wisdom using 4 years-new technology…!”

  1. Courtenay Rule
    May 3, 2011 at 11:56 am #

    Well read, Tony. And thanks for the links, too – what an amazingly gracious and moving article by Christopher Hitchens! Like many people, I too appreciate using a variety of Bible translations to clarify difficult passages and to find extra dimensions of meaning. But I always find myself coming back to the inimitable poetry and majesty of the King James Version. Even as a young person who grew up in a completely secular family and community, when I started digging into the KJV in my early 20s, I was often amazed by how much of it I already knew – it’s so thoroughly woven into our language and culture. Thanks, Tony, for your contribution to this celebration!

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