Post: Readers Respond

I appreciated the review of the book God’s Secretaries, which is indeed a fascinating look at the history behind the making of the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible. As a college English major and a lover of literature, I too appreciate the KJV for its unmatched poetry and style. I submit, however, that other translations fulfill purposes which the KJV cannot.

All translations and paraphrases are developed for particular purposes and aimed at certain audiences, information which is usually provided in the introduction or preface. For example, the Contemporary English Version (CEV) aims to provide a clear and understandable translation in common English for English as a Second Language (ESL) readers. The New English Bible (NEB), despite the “lifeless” verse quoted in the book review, uses language extremely well and reflects top-notch British scholarship. And, unlike the KJV, which relies on a less reliable family of manuscripts, the NEB utilizes the best Greek manuscripts available to scholars.

For many people my age and younger, the language of the KJV is simply inaccessible. I do not mean to demean the KJV—it is a beautiful work of art. I simply want to suggest that other translations should not be dismissed for adopting a more modern style or a less literal translation philosophy. All people of all ages should be able to read and understand and be touched by the Word of God as recorded in the Scriptures, and to that end the variety of translations is a great gift. Rebekah Eklund, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

I was doing some hymn research on the web and came across your review of “Children of the Heavenly Father” [“Sightings…, Glen Wiberg, Winter, 2000]—that is its mutilated form in the so-called New Century Hymnal. I certainly agreed with your [Wiberg’s] comments. Frankly, I detest that hymnal more than any other in existence. Nothing but an assortment of hymn texts butchered to conform with politically correct theology.

As to the paucity of Scandinavian hymns in current US hymnals, take a look at the Christian Science Hymnal—I’m not kidding—where you will find an abundance of them. I was raised as a Lutheran and served as a Lutheran pastor for many years before leaving the ministry. I have served as an organist for the past seven years at a Scientist Church and was delighted by the variety of Scandinavian hymns in their book, which was published in the early 1930s. I was unfamiliar with most of these texts and tunes. Todd VanLaningham, Sacramento, California.

Now that we have been home for a couple of weeks and have let things “settle” a bit, I am writing today to thank each of you for thinking of and praying with us while we were in Africa. It was a marvelous trip ... one which we can’t put into words alone. Our time in Zimbabwe, visiting our friend, Jean Lambert, was a thrill. The highlight of that time (save our time with Jean) was our trip to Victoria Falls. Absolutely beautiful! As for our time in South Africa with Dennis and Susan Wadley and Bridges of Hope, we cannot say enough. The Wadley’s have a prophetic vision for the restoration and future of South Africa and an amazing reality, combined with incredible compassion in taking this ministry “one day at a time.” The people of the Township of Philippi and St. Paul’s Anglican Church inspired us beyond words. In spite of great poverty, combined with the problems of AIDS, crime, and abuse, experienced on a daily basis, these brothers and sisters live with a hope greater than one can imagine. Our time cannot be summed up in a single tome. Suffice it to say that we loved our time, the people we met and worked with and we hope to go back again in three to five years. We felt your presence with us on a daily basis and thank you for remembering and praying for us. We hold you all as dear friends. Ralph and Joyce Sturdy, Lincoln, Nebraska.