Since we all have busy schedules, I’m sure it’s possible that you overlooked a rather significant birthday this month. You see, it was four hundred years ago, this very month, that the King James Version was published. Yes, it was in May of 1611 that the “modern translation,” the KJV was put into publication. Whether you use the KJV or not, we all owe a debt of thanks to the translators of this Bible, and probably have little idea of how this particular translation has shaped our language, even four hundred years later.
But this article isn’t really about the KJV, but about our need to be flexible about forms. For centuries, the word of God was recorded on scrolls. I wonder if people were upset when those scrolls were replaced by “books” (codices). The “books” certainly were different from that which the people were accustomed, but whether contained in scroll or book, the contents were the same. Today, the “book” form of God’s word is giving way to “electronic” form. God’s word is now contained in “smart phones,” “iPads,” and “eReaders.” No longer is it uncommon to see a person rise to the pulpit for the Scripture reading only to pull out their phone.
Last Sunday, my college age son was asked at the last minute to do the Scripture reading before the sermon. I noticed he didn’t have his “Bible” with him, so I offered him mine. He simply said, “Dad, I have my Bible, it’s in my phone.” So when he rose to read from God’s word, he didn’t open a scroll, nor did he open a book, but rather he turned on his phone.
Here’s the real point that I wish to make in this article. When forms change, there’s a tendency in us, especially those of us who are a little older and have grown comfortable doing things a certain way, to resist those new forms. But let us not lose sight of the difference between the form and the content. Furthermore, let us not be too quick to judge one who “seems” to be playing with his phone all through church. More than likely, that person is utilizing his Bible.
As far as I’m concerned, I don’t care if we are known as “People of the Book” or “People of the Nook” as long as we faithfully stand for and proclaim God’s message. What do you think?