Appointed to Be Read
We often contend that the KJV is much more accurate, more descriptive, and more powerful than any other written, easy-to-read, versions. The King James Bible is also more concise and clearer, and thereby more beneficial, when it is heard. It was, after all, “Appointed to be Read in Churches.” At that time (early 1600’s), the literacy rate among the common working classes of England, Scotland, and Wales was quite low; therefore the common practice was to attend church service and to listen to The Book as it was read aloud.
Jeanette Winterson, an English novelist, had this to say about the habit of ‘hearing’ the word of God (KJV): “The King James translation was written to be read out loud—and that simple overlooked fact changes every argument about ‘difficulty’ and ‘comprehension.’ Even now, the phrasing of the King James has a naturalness to it.” I agree.
This answers, yet again, a complaint from outside: “Why can’t we just make it simple?” An example is the word “twain.” Twain means two (a quantity of 2 parts or two of anything). Samuel Clemens used the pen name of Mark Twain (two fathoms deep—from the Mississippi riverboat chatter). Should we, as the modern versions do, replace Twain with Two. Should we call him Mark Two, or an Asian variation, Mark Too? (Tu for Vietnamese.)
Read out loud the following, and then substitute two (or too, or to) and see if it’s easier to understand: “And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain” (Matthew 5:41)
Go with him too? Also? Nope, go with him twain — 2; go twice as many miles. Twain removes any ambiguity of the homonyms too, to, and two. Twain is easier to understand.
How about Mark 10:8: “… they twain shall be one flesh” - Read it out loud and substitute two for twain. What do the hearers understand? Do they understand 2 or do they understand also? The use of the supposed archaic word twain makes an accurate reading, unmistakable for the hearers.