Honza Pokorný

A personal blog

The Lord's prayer and the critical text

Proponents of modern bible translations and the critical text in general argue that the KJV should be abandoned for ecclesiastical use. The two main arguments are (1) its archaic language, and (2) inferior Greek text.

Firstly, biblical doctrine is complex, and if we want to reach the world, we should endeavor to remove as many obstacles as possible. The lowest hanging fruit appears to be the translation of the bible. We want it to be as simple as possible to facilitate faster understanding. The KJV is too archaic, and hinders the modern person’s ability to meditate on the Word of God. The KJV obscures the bible.

Secondly, the KJV was produced at the beginning of the seventeenth century. Since then, more New Testament manuscripts have been discovered. These manuscripts, especially the papyri, are much older than the materials the KJV translators used. We now have a better bible. We can remove verses that aren’t original; verses added by overzealous scribes either on purpose or by accident.

We could discuss the merits of those two arguments. Instead, I’d like to draw your attention to the Lord’s prayer. Meant as a template or a model for prayer, it’s nevertheless often recited corporately during worship as a means to foster unity. In most cases, it’s recited in its traditional rendering which comes from the King James Version.

Our father, which art in heaven, hallowed by thy name

This is some seriously archaic language. What’s more, however, is that the prayer is concluded with

for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen

The conclusion of the Lord’s prayer is recorded in Matthew 6:13. This very verse contains a significant textual variant which removes the conclusion of the Lord’s prayer. The oldest and supposedly best manuscripts omit this verse. So, not only are we using archaic language, we are also using a disputed text. I see this as an inconsistency on the part of modern translation proponents who dismiss the KJV as being archaic, mock those who prefer it, and then continue to use it in worship.

This article was first published on January 9, 2020. As you can see, there are no comments. I invite you to email me with your comments, criticisms, and other suggestions. Even better, write your own article as a response. Blogging is awesome.