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Holy Bible: King James Version
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Holy Bible: King James Version

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6,288100633 (4.05)38
  1. 01
    Good Book: The Bizarre, Hilarious, Disturbing, Marvelous, and Inspiring Things I Learned When I Read Every Single Word of the Bible by David Plotz (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: An honest description of what the Bible actually says.
  2. 23
    NIV Holy Bible by Zondervan (witybe)
    witybe: I love reading the Holy Bible and the international version, it breaks words down more so you can understand. It offers me hope in a hopeless world, and’ that there is more to life than what we see or experience day to day; that there was, and still is a spiritual realm around us, which is God and His son Jesus, long before mankind was even created. The Bible informs us that we were created, and did not just appear or form here. It even gives us hope in our death if we believe. Directing us to what is good, and that there is goodness always present, and to what is evil, and why there is evil always present as well. The Holy Bible to me is the Spirit of God reaching down through an infinite expanse of time, using mankind; the prophets of old, touching generations of people, enlightening those who will hear and believe, so that they may help others who will receive and believe. Otherwise without the Holy Bible we all might have been agnostic and generations would have been oblivious about God. The Bible is a light in a very dark world’ that is relentlessly getting darker. Everyone should give it a read in their life rather you’re a believer or not. I give The Holy Bible five stars, nothing else on this planet offers such hope in life and death in this crazy world we live in.… (more)
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My childhood Bible. Not a lot of features in modern terms, but I loved poring over the maps in the back, and reading the glossary with all the unusual words defined. ( )
  shabacus | Jun 22, 2018 |
It is important to remember when assessing this 'book' that it is not a book but a 'bible'. It is a collection of books, its title coming from the same Latin root that gives us 'library' (the heritage is more obvious in the French equivalent, bibliothèque). I mention this seemingly trivial fact because it leads into my whole assessment of the Bible. As a self-styled atheist or near-atheist, the Bible only really had an impression on me once I stopped seeing it as the word of God passed down (which can be easily scoffed at) and started seeing it as the words of men, telling stories to try and figure things out. Ignoring a dogmatic approach and appraising it as literature and, increasingly, as philosophy, I think I tapped into the wellspring of why the Bible has endured.

This was strange for me. Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion was a formative experience in my teenage years and I've always tried to hold myself to a standard of rationality and freethinking. So it was rather disturbing to me when my open-mindedness forced me to accept that when I actually got around to reading it, I was actually liking the Bible and taking a lot of worth from it.

I had two contemporary aids which I found myself leaning on when trying to understand why this was happening. The first – surprisingly – is the writing of Christopher Hitchens. The arch-atheist and public champion of secular rationality actually wrote glowingly of the King James Version of the Bible (codified in his essay 'When the King Saved God' – https://www.vanityfair.com/culture/2011/05/hitchens-201105) and, certainly, if you want the Bible to have value as literature you have to read the King James translation. It is not up for debate. This is the one with all the seemingly archaic 'thees' and 'thou shalts' and 'cometh unto ye', but such language is beautifully rendered and flows easily from an English tongue. It rings with a cleaner sound than the supposedly more 'modern' translations, which become dated as soon as they are printed, just as a Shakespearean soliloquy can still stir your soul in the 21st century where slam poetry can't. The legacy of this translation in the English oral and literary tradition, from Shakespeare onwards, is unparalleled. If you are serious about literature, you have to read the KJV.

Indeed, my desire to retain my self-respect as an amateur bookworm is what made reading the King James Bible an ambition of mine. To qualify some of the heritage of my language – perhaps the most flexible of languages and certainly the most historically important – was what I expected. And it was what I got. But more than that, I found I was increasingly enjoying the book's lessons, its philosophy and its underlying themes. This is where the second contemporary aid proved useful: Jordan B. Peterson. Less surprising, perhaps, than Hitchens, for those who have engaged with some of this Canadian professor's talks and writings over the last couple of years, but still not entirely regular. Peterson is best-known for his 'self-help' stuff (a massive over-simplification, but I won't go into that here). But he also has a huge body of academic work on the psychology of religion and why such stories resonate with us, and (as a bookworm) it is often this rather than the 'tidy your damn room' stuff which has interested me. I began to find I was reading the Bible – still trying to come to terms with how it was so different from my preconceptions – as literature and as philosophy rather than from the point-of-view of a scofflaw atheist.

And it works on that level. In admiring the Bible, it's not that I've seen the power and the glory and I'm on board with the Light and the Word and I'll be going to church tomorrow, praise the Lord. I won't be. And anyone who thinks I am no longer a rationalist and have become someone who is willing to entertain hocus pocus would be mistaken. But I've been dipping into the Bible on and off over the past year and I have had to admit – at first ruefully and then increasingly unashamedly – that I've really enjoyed it. It's not that I've gone into it thinking, 'this is the Word of God and I have to accept it as truth regardless of what I think'. Instead, it's that I've gone into it and my mind has become shaped by the thoughts: 'these are the words of men and though I don't believe it's literal truth, there is a lot here to appreciate'.

And it is true that there is a lot to scoff at and even some to despise. This is a bible, after all; a library, a compendium, a collection. And like any library, some books on the shelves will be better than others. The Bible starts with Genesis and the four other Books of Moses – Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. This is where it seems that, for many, the Bible's reputation is made. Some original and interesting creation stories, backed with some sound prose, that serves as the strong foundation of the Judeo-Christian faith. These are also the books where there are some rather iffy lines ('thou shalt not suffer a witch to live' is thrown in randomly among a bunch of some-stern and some-innocuous rules in Exodus, for example) and sickening events (Moses' war crimes, for example, or Lot's daughter, who is offered up by her father, the 'last good man in Sodom', to be gang-raped by a mob in order to spare his guests – two angels sent by God – from the same fate) that betray a morality you would not want to abide by. Couple this with some interminable passages in which such-and-such begat such-and-such, son of such-and-such, who begat such-and-such (for pages and pages), and laborious passages on the right way to go about minor rituals about sacrifices and unleavened bread, and you see why atheist mockery has such ample feeding ground. By this point a love-and-hate relationship with the Bible is established with the reader, something reinforced by the books which follow, including the Books of the Kings, which is all more of the same.

Things began to change for me with the Book of Job. Particularly when rendered in the KJV, this book is an absolute masterpiece of literature, and only slightly less so as a piece of philosophy. This was the point where I started to take seriously my reassessment of the Bible and began to embrace its ability to provide for metaphysical and transcendental moments. This is where I began to delve into Peterson's remarks about the Biblical storytelling tradition, particularly when infused into his 'self-help' lectures. From Job onwards, I began to recognize how many of the stories were about challenging God (which is what the name 'Israel' means) and being in conflict with God and, through this fight, becoming someone new and ascendant. There is a strain of individualism that starts to become very apparent, only reinforced by the eloquent and entertaining rants in the books of the Prophets (Ecclesiastes, Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel) which follow. Add to this the lyricism of the Book of Psalms and the Proverbs, and the message throughout that doom will manifest on an individual and societal level if you do not take on this mantle and improve yourself (thanks to Dr. Peterson, again), and by this point I was seriously impressed. If you read only one book in the Bible, make it the Book of Job. It is the key.

This summarizes the thick wodge of paper that is the Old Testament and, to be honest, I actually prefer it to the New Testament. The New Testament is much shorter (about 250 pages compared to the approximately 870 of the Old) but the imperial joy I felt from reading parts of the Old Testament began to dissipate, even though I was completely on board by this point and putting my atheism to the side. The New Testament is still good, and in the figure of the Christ we have the embodiment of the individual 'ideal' to aspire to, which forms a continuation of the strain of individualism I so enjoyed in the Old books. In the story of the crucifixion we have, if not 'the greatest story ever told', then certainly a strong contender for it.

Furthermore, the line from the Gospel according to St. Matthew, when Jesus is being tortured on the cross and cries aloud to God, "Why hast thou forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46), is – especially in context – the most heart-breaking line in all literature. A close second is the scene the night before his arrest, when Jesus, knowing exactly what he is going to suffer on the cross, asks God to remove this obligation from him – "let this cup pass from me" (Matthew 26:39) – but, if He cannot, to give him the strength not to falter ("the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak" – Matthew 26:41). Monty Python were of the right mind when they said that Life of Brian evolved from being a lampooning of Jesus to being a mockery of his dim followers because there wasn't really anything funny about Christ, and that he had some good lessons.

Thinking historically and anthropologically, I also enjoyed the lesson that all men are equal before God, relative to their good or bad deeds. It is a hugely emancipating lesson and I don't know if Western civilization would have advanced beyond tribalism and monarchy and rigid class structure if not for the fact that its founding document had this imperishable kernel of the sovereignty of the individual built into it. But if I continue in that vein, I might as well just direct you to a Jordan Peterson video on YouTube, so I won't.

The problem I had with the New Testament is that whilst it is still a case of people telling stories to one another to try and figure things out, the people in question are becoming increasingly aware of that fact. A lot of Jesus' sayings are clearly inspired by passages from the Old Testament (particularly the books of the Prophets), and the secular response would be that Jesus was a man, rather than the Christ, who assimilated and taught the old lessons well, passing them off as his own. But that's fine – Jesus was clearly a man of fortitude and brotherly love, regardless of his divinity or otherwise.

Rather, it is the books of the Bible following the Gospels which disappointed me. I subscribe to what I call the John Lennon school of thought, which is that Jesus is alright but the disciples come along and ruin it. There are still some good lines, but they bastardize the message not only of Jesus but of the better Old Testament books. I didn't mind the Book of Revelation so much, sick and strange as it is, though I wouldn't want John the Revelator looking after any small children. Instead, it is the Epistles of St. Paul and the other contributions by the apostles which are damaging. The increasingly naked anti-Semitism (and I've read the KJV is actually rather tame compared to other versions) placed a grain of evil in Christianity which laid the first slat on the railroad to Auschwitz, the great failure of Western civilization in the 20th century, which we still have not recovered from.

Paul's epistles also introduce a missionary zeal completely contrary to the individualism of both the Old Testament and the example of the Christ. The establishment of the church and the ministry is the other great Christian error. It took away from the individual whom Christ was set up to represent, perhaps irrevocably. 2nd Peter also says that the Word is not up for interpretation (2 Peter 1:20-21), thereby making dogma rather than liberality the Christian code from then on. St. Paul can turn a phrase, but the Apostles did more harm than good. In some crucial ways, they were dim and dogmatic and closed-minded. (C. K. Stead's short novel My Name Was Judas is great on this.)

Thinking about this sad end to the Bible, with its perversion of all that came before, I was inclined to be unkind in this review. But, ironically, it is one of the lines from these later books, the Epistle of Paul to Titus, which encapsulates why I am unwilling to do so. "And let ours also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful," says Titus 3:14, and this is why I am unwilling to judge the quality of the library by its least members. There is a lot to embrace in the Bible, from the archetypal stories to the lyricism to the masterpiece of Job to the idea of the sovereignty of the individual. Not to mention its role as one of the two founding pillars of Western civilization. To return to Hitchens, he wrote a few times of the values of the two cities of Athens and Jerusalem, to juxtapose the values of the Enlightenment to the role of Christianity in Western history. But increasingly, I am of the mind that you need both of these pillars; that a secular rationalism is not enough, and placing all the weight on that one pillar of the Enlightenment and the Classical tradition will cause it to wobble. We saw that in the 20th century, as predicted by Nietzsche, when nationalism and socialism and commercialism failed (and continue to fail) to adequately replace religion as a source of meaning.

There is humanism, of course, which is the right idea, but humanism has to embrace Christianity as much as rationality. It needs to be placed lengthways along both pillars in order to serve as the next foundation. You need the balance. People have a need which is emotional, metaphysical, and spiritual, alongside the intellectual and rational need. I am not in any way trying to explain away the horrors of religion which have been wrought throughout history or, for example, the problems involved in Jesus' injunction to believe solely in him, which could easily lead to the despotic, but the Christian tradition at its best had a deep philosophical meaning and sense of individualism. There's a lot about ascension in the New Testament, birthed from the Old, and not just in Revelation. And Christianity is arguably better than the other religions. Certainly, given its history, it has proven it can work in line with the secular tradition, even if that history has not always been an easy one. The test going forward for a rehabilitated Christianity (for I think that is the best possible outcome) will be in whether it can embrace the second pillar of rationality, whether it can resist the hostility to blasphemy and the overly-dogmatic thinking which characterized it when it was 'in charge' in the West. (One simple test might be: 'Can you laugh along with Life of Brian?')

Some secular atheists say, somewhat complacently, that you can make a believer into an atheist if you only get them to read the Bible. Whilst the opposite isn't true (I'm still an atheist), the near-opposite is. Reading the book from a secular point-of-view leads you to assess it as story: as literature and, through its themes, as philosophy. And it stands. As a piece of literature, it stands. And you might be so caught up in it at times that you believe it's real. That, after all, is what the best stories do to us. ( )
1 vote MikeFutcher | May 19, 2018 |
This is the most important book in the world. ( )
  peteblazewood | Oct 31, 2016 |
Basically a 'How-to guide to humanity (even though you're basically fucked because this crazy dude in the sky can't get his shit together)' written either by a bunch of really disagreeable dudes or one totally schizophrenic individual. Some cool stories with brave lions and also giants. ( )
  BradLacey | Jun 28, 2016 |
Read the Book of Matthew.
  Oodles | Feb 16, 2016 |
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Epigraph
Dedication
For my children, their children, and all the generations to come

Caritas aeternum est

- B.M.
TO THE MOST
HIGH AND MIGHTIE
Prince, IAMES by the grace of God
King of Great Britaine, France and Ireland,
Defender of the Faith, &c.,
THE TRANSLATORS OF THE BIBLE,
wish Grace, Mercie, and Peace, through
IESVS
CHRIST our LORD.
First words
"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth."
Bibliographical introduction. Mainly, no doubt, because of the predominance of French as the language of educated people in England from the time of the Norman Conquest until the middle of the fourteenth century, the Bible, as a whole, remained untranslated into English until the last years of the life of Wyclif.
Quotations
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
For God so loved ye world, that he gave his only begotten Sonne: that whosoever beleeveth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Various printings and bindings of the KJV have been combined here. This translation is also known as the "Authorized Version" (especially in the UK) and as the "Authorized King James Version". Please continue to combine any printing with the Old and New Testament texts only here. Please do not combine KJV editions that contain the Apocrypha with this work. Various "study editions" with extensive notes and aids should not be combined here. Please separate any that are here, and combine such editions as separate works.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
This edition does not include the Apocrypha, which were included in the Authorized Version under the authority of King James.
This book contains the complete English text of the Holy Bible as translated under the authority of King James. Some unique features of this printing include a full color picture of Jesus teaching, the words of Jesus highlighted in red, and three full color maps. For reference, the book included a 125 page concordance plus tables explaining weights, money, and bibical measurements, a summary of all the books of the Bible, and an explanation of the languages used in the Bible.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0834003503, Imitation Leather)

It's great to have plenty of choices when a Bible that's easy on the eyes and the wallet is called for. All three of these editions feature 15.5-point type that is exceptionally crisp even under subdued lighting conditions. The Presentation Editions flexible, soft imitation leather binding makes it easy to hold and carry.

The Deluxe Edition is a classic "preacher's Bible." Bound in buttery-soft genuine leather, it is the prefect gift for holding in one's hand while delivering a sermon or teaching from the Scriptures. This edition fits the bill as a special gift for the preacher, evangelist or Bible college graduate.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:44 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Translated out of the original tongues, and with the former translations diligently compared and revised, by his Majesty's special command : appointed to be read in churches : authorized King James version.

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