Tag Archives: reading

Claiming that the King James Version Is Easier to Read than Modern Versions


If you’ve ever heard the Fleach – Kincaid Grade Level test used to “prove” that English from the 1600’s is easier to understand that English from today, then you might be a fundamentalist. Claiming that the King James Version is written on a 7th grade level is a common defense of that particular version of Scripture. Of course, fundies don’t exactly explain how many 7th graders know the meaning of the word “wot” or could tell you what a “scrip” is used for. It’s doubtful that even a majority of adults know that the word “let” can actually mean “to prevent.” Think ye, amongst the congregations of these stripling youths that such words would be taken as acceptable for the nonce?

Perhaps fundamentalists believe that when a person is truly saved the Holy Spirit gives them an immediate education in 1611 vocabulary. As a test, can you, without looking it up, tell me what the word “carriage” means in the following sentence? “And David left his carriage in the hand of the keeper of the carriage,and ran into the army, and came and saluted his brethren.” If the Holy Spirit did not reveal to you the correct answer, then you may very well be in need of repentance.

It seems strange that a version which started out as a way to put the Bible into the hands of common people now has the opposite effect. The resistance to a new translation done from the Majority Text with ‘literal’ translation techniques shows that the version has become more than a translation of the originals. It has, in short, become a way to separate “we” from “thee.”