Anthony Flew made a remarkable switch from atheism to theism in 2004. He wrote about his personal journey from atheism to theism in his book, There Is A God. This book is divided into two parts. In Part One, Flew gives the background to the development of his atheistic views including insights into his home life and educational pursuits. In Part Two, Flew describes his rational journey to theism by following the Socratic principle, “go where the evidence leads you.” Flew followed the pathway of natural theology to belief in God. This is an interesting and intriguing book. I have reveiwed this book on this website and you will find the review under Book Reviews on my home page. Flew gives information concerning his previous views as an atheist and then reveals the men and their works that convinced him there is a God.
English and American authors as well as literary critics prefer the King James Version. Charles C. Butterworth in his book, The Literary Lineage of the King James Bible, 1340-1611 comments, “For literary quality…the King James Bible is supreme among the English translations. This has been stated so often, and men of all ranks have been so eager to affirm it, that it would be tedious to attempt a review of so great a mass of testimony.” John Livingston Lowes wrote a short treatise titled, “The Noblest Monument of English prose.” He was writing about the King James Version. Extensive testimony regarding the literary excellence of the King James Version is given by Leland Ryken in his work celebrating the 400th anniversary of the KJV, The Legacy of the King James Bible.
The King James Version exhibits some unique stylistic traits.
First, the noun plus “of” plus noun formula. This is a common biblical formula in the KJV. We would say “land animal” but in Gen. 1:24, the KJV has “beast of the earth.” We would say iron rod, but Psa. 2:9 states “rod of iron.” We would say strong men, but Isa. 5:22 says “men of strength.” We would say sky, but Gen. 1:20 states “firmament of heaven.”
There is a variation on this formula. The noun plus “of” plus noun order with the same noun appearing in both halves of the equation. The effect is to suggest the quality of being superlative. Some examples follow: “King of kings”, “Lord of lords”, “Holy of holies”, and “Vanity of vanities.” The noun plus “of” plus noun formula is common in the King James Version because it follows the word order of the original languages. Additionally, the KJV gains rhythmic smoothness with this construction: angel of the Lord, words of truth, etc.
Second, the KJV uses interjection. The words, “Lo,” and “Behold” grap your attention and focus you as the reader on the significance of what is being stated. In Rev. 3:20, the writer states, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock.” The function of the form is to signal a spectacular event. In Matthew 28:20 Jesus says, “Lo, I am with you always.” The effect is awe inspiring. This is also a common literary feature of the KJV.
Third, the KJV uses intensification. In Matthew 5:18, Jesus says, “For verily I say unto you.” The use of the word verily (truly) intensifies the statement. When the word is doubled, the repitition of the term creates an even more solemn statement. In John 5:19, the KJV reads, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.”
Fourth, the KJV uses multiple “ands.” Judges 3:21-22 is a good example. “And Ehud put forth his left hand, and took the dagger from his right thigh, and thrust it into his belly: And the haft aslo went in after the blade, so that he could not draw the dagger out of his belly; and the dirt came out.” Both the Hebrew and Greek languages loved this construction. The Hebrew uses “waw.” The Greek uses “kai.” Both words are translated “and” in English. The effect of this form is to create a tremendous sense of continuity. Everything flows in sequence. The construction also produces the sense of cause and effect.
A final example of literary form in the KJV is gradation. In Romans 5:1-5, Paul uses this literary device to build intensity. Gradation is a stair-stepped arrangement of words where the last key word in one phrase is repeated as the first word in the next phrase. “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us” (Rom. 5:3-5).
There are many more literary techniques that appear in the KJV. Each of these devices occur not because the KJV translators were literary scholars, they were not. But, because they were excellent Hebrew and Greek scholars and they gave us an essentially literal translation that reflects the mind of God as it is preserved in the copies of the autographs of the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts.