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Posts Tagged ‘Bibles’

Updated King James Version for PocketBible

Posted on: October 9th, 2014 by Craig Rairdin 22 Comments

Title_PageWe’ve just updated the text of the King James Version we use in PocketBible. Whether you’re a devoted reader of the KJV or only have it installed because it came bundled with your copy of PocketBible, you should welcome this move to a more pedigreed version of the text.

Laridian has long been criticized for the perceived lack of attention we’ve paid to our KJV text by those for whom the accuracy of this text is a major issue. The previous version of our text was from an unknown source and contained American spellings and modern replacements for many archaic words. In some cases, these aspects of the text went unnoticed but in others they were very apparent and called into question the quality of the rest of the text.

The most commonly cited problem was our use of the word thoroughly in 2 Timothy 3:17, where the original 1611 KJV uses the archaic word throughly. While it is the case that the word throughly is defined as “thoroughly; completely”, there are some who feel the original word conveys some additional meaning that is lost by the change to thoroughly. This despite the fact that Vine’s Expository Dictionary says “For THROUGHLY see THOROUGHLY” and even Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary says “For this, thoroughly is now used”.  This is just one example, though arguably the most significant, of about 100 spelling changes between our previous edition of the KJV and our newest release.

A Little History

The Authorized or King James Version of the Bible was the result of a project to revise the text of the Bishops’ Bible, which was the Bible of the Church of England at the turn of the 17th century. In 1604 of committee of fifty-four men were appointed to undertake the revision. Work was delayed until 1607, by which time on forty-seven of the original appointees were available to work on the project. The instructions given to the translators were to alter the text of the Bishops’ Bible as little as possible and to use the text of Tyndale, Coverdale, Matthew, Whitchurch, or Geneva when those translations agree more closely with the original Hebrew and Greek texts. The editors worked in several teams, each tackling a portion of the books of the Bible. When the work was complete, representatives of each group oversaw a final editorial pass through the text and two men worked closely with the printer to supervise the first printing in 1611.

A number of factors made it impossible for any two early print runs of the KJV to be identical. First, the printing technology at the time required that a single page be created by laying out individual pieces of type (each representing one letter, punctuation mark, or space) to create a form. Once the entire print run for that page was completed, the type was reclaimed to create the next page. By necessity, then, the second and subsequent printings of the Bible had to be re-set from scratch using the original documents or the previous printing as a guide. While errors in the previous printings could be corrected at this time, the resetting of every page made it possibile for new errors to be introduced. In 1725, printers at Cambridge University came up with the idea of making a plaster mould of an entire form, then using this to cast a metal stereotype or cliché from which identical subsequent prints could be made. This helped reduce the errors from constant resetting of the text.

A second source of variation in the text was the lack of a standard English orthography (spelling). Most people in the 16th and 17th centuries experienced reading vicariously — the actors in Shakespeare’s plays repeated his words on stage, and the clergy read the Bible aloud to the congregation. As long as the words could be pronounced in a way the hearer could understand, the spelling of the word on the page was irrelevant. It would be another 150 years before the idea of “standard” spelling and even the concept of a dictionary of the English language would come about. In the meantime, there might be two or more different spellings of the same word within one printing of the Bible (or any book for that matter).

To complicate this further, and because correct spelling simply wasn’t an issue, typesetters would add or remove letters from words to make them fit better on a line of type. This introduced another opportunity for variation.

Even after stereotyping made it possible for one publisher to maintain consistency between printings of the same book, each publisher created their own forms and thereby introduced their own changes into the text. Publishers also felt free to add or remove footnotes, change punctuation, and revise the spelling or word usage for their particular audience.

The result of all of this is that we have literally hundreds of different versions of the King James Version text on bookshelves around the world, created over a period of more than 400 years by dozens of publishers using a variety of printing techniques. Each of these is labelled “King James Version” and none come with a list of how they differ from the printing before them, let alone the original 1611 text.

The Age of Electronic Publishing

In the late 20th century it became possible for anyone with a high-speed scanner and optical character recognition software to create an electronic copy of the King James Version text — and they did. Our previous King James Version text was the product of one such person’s efforts. We don’t know which of hundreds of available versions of the KJV text they used, but we know it had Americanized spellings (honorable for honourablerazor for rasorcounseller for counsellor, etc) and modern proper names (Jeremiah instead of Jeremy or JeremiasNoah instead of NoeIsaiah instead of Esaias, etc.). It also used a number of modern words in place of their archaic counterparts (the previously cited thoroughly in place of throughlyprivately in place of privilyfood in place of meattwo in place of twain, etc.).

Laridian’s Historic Position

Because the KJV has been around for 400 years; because it lived through every significant improvement in publishing since moveable type; and because we could find no two KJV Bibles (especially from different publishers) which agreed with each other, we took the position that there was no “best” KJV text. In every case cited by a customer, we could find an example of a KJV Bible from a major publisher that agreed with our version and another that agreed with them.

Lacking an obvious answer to the question “Which KJV is the KJV?” short of the 1611 text (which nobody reads since it uses “u” for “v”, “j” for “i”, and something like “f” for “long s”, rendering it virtually unreadable), we turned two two authoritative sources. First was Cambridge University, which is the steward of the Crown’s copyright on the King James Version in the United Kingdom. During a conversation over a meal, I asked if they had electronic files for the “official” King James Version — assuming there was such a thing, perhaps in a vault buried deep under London. Had I not been paying for their dinner, I would’ve been laughed out of the room. They repeated much of what I’ve stated above, and added the fact that every publisher over the years has made their own “corrections” and changes to the text, including Cambridge itself. They could offer me no advice other than to use one of their more recent printings (for which they had no electronic files). Since that would carry no more weight of being “the” KJV than the one we already had, that seemed like a waste of time.

I next turned to Dr. Peter Ruckman, perhaps the most well-known authority on the “KJV Only” position. Dr. Ruckman argues not only that the KJV is the only accurate English Bible in existence, but that it supersedes the original Hebrew and Greek texts in any question over interpretation of the Word of God. Translations into other languages should be made from it, not from Hebrew and Greek. I wrote Dr. Ruckman a letter asking for his recommendations for an “official” text of the King James Version that would satisfy the requirements of his most vocal followers for an accurate text. Dr. Ruckman scrawled “IDIOT” over my letter and sent it back to me, with the comment “any Gideon Bible”. I pulled my Gideon Bible off the shelf and found it to be a modern English version, not the KJV at all. Furthermore, I didn’t believe Ruckman was making the case that the Gideons were the Keepers of the Authoritative King James Version Bible Text, but rather that I could literally grab any KJV Bible off the shelf, even the free Gideon Bible I found in a hotel, and use it in our software.

When the appeal to authority failed, we simply settled into distributing the KJV that we had and left it at that.

The Pure/Standard Cambridge Edition

Once or twice a year we are contacted by PocketBible users who have a serious problem with our KJV (usually citing the use of thoroughly in 2 Tim 3:17) and encouraging/threatening us to publish “the” KJV. None of these users have ever been able to point to a definitive, authoritative source for this text, but recently we were directed to two sources: The Pure Cambridge Edition at www.bibleprotector.com and Brandon Staggs’ Common Cambridge Edition at av1611.com. Both of these sites claim to have done extensive research to produce an electronic edition of the text that matches that in use by Cambridge University Press around 1900-1910, down to the last punctuation mark, capital letter, and use of italics.

We downloaded these texts and compared them to each other. They differ in about a dozen places, none of which are anywhere near as significant as the use of thoroughly for throughly in 2 Tim 3:17. After looking at some other similar sources, we settled on a version of the text that draws mostly from the Pure Cambridge Edition except in a couple places where we felt the Common Cambridge Edition was better. (In particular, we hyphenate Elelohe-Israel and Meribah-Kadesh instead of creating the “camel-case” spellings EleloheIsrael and MeribahKadesh used in the PCE, and we chose to leave out the footers THE END OF THE PROPHETS after Malachi 4:6 and THE END after Revelation 22:21.)

It was fairly trivial to convert this text to PocketBible format. The hard part was merging Strong’s numbers into it, but we’ve done that to create an updated version of our King James Version With Strong’s Numbers product as well. This has the additional benefit of bringing these two texts into agreement with each other, as even our own KJV and KJV/Strong’s texts had disagreed in a number of places.

Lessons Learned

We’ve gained a new appreciation not just for the King James Version in this process, but also for the history of the English language and printing technology. The myriad variations on the KJV text had led us to “give up” and settle for what was easy. However, this project created the desire to produce something of historical validity and significance, even if it can’t be said to be “the” KJV.

Even if we don’t agree with those who argue that the KJV is the only English Bible we should be reading, we do agree that it has historical significance and that we should provide a version of it that meets with the approval of those who put it on a taller pedestal than we do. We believe this edition of the KJV for PocketBible meets that standard.

We’re considering publishing some earlier editions of the KJV just for their historical value. While we don’t find reading the 1611 text to be particularly edifying, we do find it interesting. For example:

“And as Moses lifted vp the serpent in the wildernesse : euen so must the Sonne of man be lifted vp : That whosoeuer beleeueth in him, should not perish, but haue eternall life. For God so loued yͤ world, that he gaue his only begotten Sonne : that whosoeuer beleeueth in him, should not perish, but haue euerlasting life.”

I’m particularly intrigued by the shorthand rendition of the word “the” in “God so loued yͤ world”. This comes from the Early Middle English spelling of “the”, which was þe (the archaic letter thorn followed by e). When printed in the common black letter or gothic font, thorn looked very similar to y, and printers (especially in France where thorn did not exist in their alphabet) would substitute the letter y. When needed to make the words better fit on a line, the e would be placed above the y as you see here. (Another example is the word thou which was often shortened to yͧ.) It’s easy to imagine how yͤ became “ye” in “Ye Olde Book Shoppe”, and why “Ye” in this context should be pronounced with a “th” sound like “the”.

Anyway, I digress….

You can simply download the KJV from within PocketBible if you’re running PocketBible on a platform that supports that feature, or, if you have PocketBible for Windows Desktop, go to your download account at our site to download a new installation program for the KJV or KJVEC (KJV with Strong’s Numbers).

 

How to create a customized study Bible in PocketBible

Posted on: September 26th, 2014 by Michelle Stramel 1 Comment

When it comes to printed Study Bibles, most take the form of Bible text on the top half of the page and study notes on the bottom half. With PocketBible, you can have a similar setup but customize it in ways you can’t with a printed book.

Bibles and Study Bible Notes (and other commentary) are each sold separately for PocketBible. The print version of a study Bible limits you to a specific Bible translation but you can use any combination of study notes and Bible translation together in PocketBible.

Setup

To accomplish a study-Bible-like setup in PocketBible, simply:

1. Open two panes (or windows) in the PocketBible app
2. Open a Bible translation in the first pane
3. Open a set of study Bible notes (or other commentary) in the second pane
4. If you want your Bible and study notes to sync together (stay on the same verse), make sure you’ve checked that option in PocketBible settings (look for a option that says something like “Sync Bibles/Commentaries”).

Customize

Once you get the basic setup in PocketBible of Bible in one pane and study notes in the other, you are now ready to customize. You can tap on the first pane and open additional Bible translations. And tap on the second pane and open additional study Bible notes or commentary. With multiple translations or commentary open, you’ll be able to easily access additional insight on any verse. Tap on the title bar to easily switch between your open books. Watch a short demonstration video to see how you can use this setup to get more out PocketBible.

How to create a parallel Bible in PocketBible

Posted on: July 3rd, 2014 by Michelle Stramel 3 Comments

Comparing translations of the Bible can provide great insight as you read. In the printed book world, a parallel Bible will display one or more translations of the Bible side-by-side. PocketBible not only mimics this type of book but takes it to a whole new level of flexibility!

At its simplest, you can create a parallel Bible in any version of PocketBible as follows:

1. Open up two panes or windows in the app
2. Open a Bible translation in the the first pane.
3. Open a different Bible translation in the second pane.
4. Make sure you have checked the PocketBible setting to Sync Bibles/Commentaries. This will keep your Bibles (and commentaries) on the same verse at all times. Of course, if you don’t want your two Bibles to be on the same verse, you would simply “uncheck” this option.

The fact that you can vary the Bible translations you are using in PocketBible, makes it more flexible than a printed Parallel Bible. You can also open more windows (up to five on some devices) and compare that many more Bible translations.

iOS users – if you have the Advanced Feature set for PocketBible, you can use Autostudy to instantly view the same verse in ALL your open Bibles.

Which NIV Bible is Which?

Posted on: June 28th, 2013 by Michelle Stramel 9 Comments

The New International Version of the Bible (NIV) was originally published in 1973. It was updated in 1978, 1984 and then again in 2011. If you purchase the New International Version Bible from Laridian today, you will be purchasing the 2011 edition. If you purchased the NIV Bible previous to 2011, you have the 1984 edition. According to the translators of the NIV, the 2011 update reflects developments in biblical scholarship and changes in English usage yet 95% of the text from the 1984 edition has remained the same.

The PocketBible version of the NIV includes two options (or files) – one with cross-references and one without. If you purchase the 2011 version, the two files will be labeled as follows in your download account:

  • New International Version (NIV Cross Reference Edition)
  • New International Version (NIV)

Note that the cross-reference edition lists a larger file size than the second or non-cross-reference edition. If you also owned the 1984 edition of the NIV, you can continue to use it even if you purchase the 2011 edition. You will see the 1984 edition in your download list as:

  • New International Version (1984 NIV)
  • New International Version (1984 NIV)

Again, look at the file size to distinguish between the cross-reference and non cross-reference edition – the larger file contains cross-references.

If you are not interested in cross-references, install the edition without cross-references. If you like to use cross-references, install only the cross-reference edition. If you ever want to view the Bible text without the cross-reference indicators (also known as footnotes), you can turn those off temporarily in the settings of PocketBible.

If you install both the NIV 1984 and NIV 2011 editions (either cross-reference or not), when you go to open the Bibles – the 1984 Edition is the one that is titled The Holy Bible: New International Version. The 2011 edition is entitled simply as the New International Version. If you open both versions, they each use the NIV abbreviation so it is better to open only one at a time.

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