National Geographic : 2011 Dec
think we have forgotten its words, but the King James Bible has sewn itself into the fabric of the language. If a child is ever the apple of her par- ents' eye or an idea seems as old as the hills, if we are at death's door or at our wits' end, if we have gone through a baptism of re or are about to bite the dust, if it seems at times that the blind are leading the blind or we are casting pearls before swine, if you are either buttering someone up or casting the rst stone, the King James Bible, whether we know it or not, is speaking through us. e haves and have-nots, heads on plates, Corinthians 5. ' erefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.' " Here is the miracle of the King James Bible in action. Words from a doubly alien culture, not an original text but a translation of ancient Greek and Hebrew manuscripts, made centu- ries ago and thousands of miles away, arrive in a dusty corner of the New World and sound as they were meant to---majestic but intimate, the voice of the universe somehow heard in the innermost part of the ear. You don't have to be a Christian to hear the power of those words---simple in vocabulary, cosmic in scale, stately in their rhythms, deeply emotional in their impact. Most of us might Adam Nicolson's book God's Secretaries is about the makers of the King James Bible. Jim Richardson documented the Hebrides in the January 2010 issue.