The following is the Amazon review that I wrote for Mark Ward’s new book Authorized: The Use and Misuse of the King James Bible. I wrote it with a KJVO reader in mind with the hope that such a review might encourage him to pick up the book.
What role should the King James Version play in your life and in your church at present? This the question Mark Ward answers in Authorized. For those who use the King James Version as their primary or even only translation, this book is a must read. Though Mark holds argues against a King James Only position, he does so with respect. He wrote this book while developing personal friendships with leaders of King James Only churches and institutions, seeking their input and coming to understand their viewpoints better. Even if not persuaded to use a vernacular translation, Mark’s discussion of the challenges that readers of the KJV face today will be valuable. Awareness of the kinds of changes in the English language that impede understanding of Elizabethan English is especially important for those who make the KJV their primary or only translation. Three other features of Authorized should be noted. First, Mark avoids debates over textual criticism. Those who adhere to the KJV because they believe the Textus Receptus is the best text type get no argument from Mark (though that is not his position). They do get an exhortation to use or develop a translation from the TR that people today can readily understand. Second, Mark’s motivation for writing this book shines through: he loves the body of Christ, and he wants all Christians to be able to understand God’s Word. Third, this book is enjoyable to read. I had read a pre-publication version of this book, so when I sat down to write this review I didn’t plan to re-read the whole book. I was just going to glance through it to refresh my memory. But it was so engaging that I ended up re-reading the entire book in a single sitting.