What we have here is a failure to communicate!

I have in my possession a booklet entitled “The King James Bible Companion” that boldly claims “OVER 500 ARCHAIC WORDS DEFINED” (This statement alone is grounds for an updated version of God’s word…but let’s move on). It also claims, “If you have a King James Bible, this book needs to be inside it.” I appreciate the desire to help people understand God’s word in the KJV. And if you are only going to read the KJV, then you really do need this booklet.

But even when a person has this booklet they are liable to misapply the scriptures they read in the KJV. Oh, I know that when I come across the word “Penury”, “Holden”, “Holpen”, or “Neesings”, then I need to pick up the dictionary and look up the meaning.

But what about when I come across a word like “communicate”?

I don’t know of a single person, young or old, that would read the word “communicate” and think to themselves, “You know, ‘communicate’ may not mean what I think it means, so I am going to look it up.” Everyone knows what communicate means!

And I thought I did too. I’ll never forget the time I was teaching on the book of Hebrews and came to Hebrews 13.16.

Hebrews 13:16 (KJV) But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

I looked at the Greek definition of the word translated ‘communicate’ and was shocked at what I found. I didn’t know what the word ‘communicate’ meant… in the language of a 400 year old translation anyways.

I asked a Christian High School class of sophomores and juniors how they could obey this verse. Everyone figured some ways to obey “to do good”. No one knew how to obey “communicate” in the true sense of the word in the Greek.

Now let’s see if you can figure out what ‘communicate’ means from some more modern translations.

Hebrews 13:16 (ESV) Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

Hebrews 13:16 (NKJV) But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

Hebrews 13:16 (NASB95) And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

Hebrews 13:16 (HCSB) Don’t neglect to do good and to share, for God is pleased with such sacrifices.

For the modern reader “share” is not even close in meaning to “communicate”. It is too bad that those who read only the KJV will possibly never share in the blessing of obedience to Hebrews 13.16. Even with a companion booklet it is possible for the KJV to not properly communicate what God’s word actually says.

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One Comment on “What we have here is a failure to communicate!”

  1. Chuck Landon Says:

    Good example. Is anyone reading any of D.A. Carsons stuff on the translations?


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