Does the Bible need to be Mysterious?

Read the article (link below), but this part stood out to me:

A biblical scholar named Chaim Raphael once tried to explain why the King James Version, whatever its technical inaccuracies, has a power that later versions lack. Like the original Hebrew, he pointed out, the English of the King James was already archaic by the time it was set down. So it conveyed much of “the archaism and mystery that is tangible in the original . . . .”

To quote Chaim Raphael, “The translators had a reverence for the text before them. When they could not understand it, they would produce an apparently literal translation that was a stab in the dark, sometimes quite meaningless, but still carrying with it the splendid orotund tone of the version as a whole.” Which is why their work transcended “the workaday canons of clarity and reason, and had to be absorbed through a cloud of mystery.”

Mystery is rare today; it is assumed that everything can be explained. For is not art but science in the making?

via A Word for the Elizabethans | class, translations, every – Columns – Sun Journal.

Does the Bible have to remain mysterious or should be be read in order to be understood?

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22 Replies to “Does the Bible need to be Mysterious?”

  1. I have come across folks who feverently believe that the King James Version is the only ‘true’ version from God and the only one that Christians should read and that every other version is ‘from the Devil’.

    They never really explain why they believe that, but believe it nonetheless.

      1. Ah OK, I can fully accept when someone has a ‘fav’ version, for whatever reason, ironically mine is the New King James and a further irony is that I am not a great fan of the ‘modern’ versions that paraphrase or have more commentary than Scripture.

        But some folks are really obssessed and I mean REALLY obssessed about the KJV.

        1. Stuart, You are very correct. The KJVO’s believe that the KJV is the Word of God (and some will go as far as to say that the KJV is God in book form). Further, all other translations are perversions, that the KJV has corrected even the originals.

          I am not a fan of the paraphrases such as the Message, but my favorite is the NLT.

    1. Bitsy, I hate having that captcha code as well. I recently took it off for a day and ended up with massive spam attacks which bogs down the system. I might have a way very shortly to get around that system.

  2. Like the original Hebrew, he pointed out, the English of the King James was already archaic by the time it was set down.

    I’ve heard this claim before, but I’ve yet to see any evidence that the Hebrew of the OT was archaic when the OT was compiled.

    A while ago I wrote that “I think one reason Bible readers sometimes prefer the KJV is that the archaic language makes it easier for them make the text mean what they want it to mean.” I think this is one kind of mystery.

    But I think that understanding the text of the Bible can lead to an even more meaningful, deeper kind of mystery.


    1. Joel, I emailed the writer on another issue, and he indicated to me that he had received an education since posting that article 🙂

      I believe your reasoning for holding to the KJV is dead-on. It allows a small group of people to ‘know’ what the bible says, giving that group power and authority.

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