“Victorian King James Version”: Selection for Philippians

“Victorian King James Version”: Selection for Philippians November 19, 2013
. . . with Source Information and an Illustrative Example
Back cover (555 x 839, 281K)
Back Cover, from an old cover of the King James, or “Authorised” Version of 1611.




The Letter of Paul to the
Paul and Timothy, the servants of Jesus Christ; to all the saints in Christ Jesus, who are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons.
2 Grace be unto you, and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 I give thanks to my God in every remembrance of you,
4 always in all my prayers making supplication for you all, with joy;
5 for what you have contributed to the gospel from the very first day down to this moment;
6 being confident of this very thing, that he, who has begun a good work in you, will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
7 It is only natural for me to be thinking of you all in this way, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers of my grace.
8 God will bear me witness how I yearn over you all with the tenderness of Christ Jesus.
9 And this I pray, that your charity may more and more abound in knowledge, and in all understanding;
10 that you may approve the better things, that you may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ,
11 being filled with the fruits of righteousness, through Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.
12 Now I would have you know, brethren, that what I have gone through has turned out to the advancement of the gospel.
13 It has even become evident, not only to all the praetorian guard, but to every one else, that it is for Christ’s sake that I am in chains;
14 and the greater part of the brethren, made confident in the Lord through my imprisonment, now speak the word of God without fear, more boldly than ever.
15 Some of them, it is true, are actually preaching Christ from envy and rivalry, others from goodwill.
16 These latter preach Him from love to me, knowing that I am here for the defence of the gospel.
17 And some out of contention preach Christ not sincerely: supposing that they add affliction to my bonds.
18 What does it matter, however? In any case Christ is preached—either perversely or in honest truth; and in that I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice.
19 For I know that it will result in my salvation through your prayers and a bountiful supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,
20 According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.
21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
22 And if to live in the flesh is to me a fruit of work, then what shall I choose? I know not;
23 I am in a dilemma, my earnest desire being to depart and be with Christ, for that is far, far better.
24 Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.
25 I am convinced of this, and I know that I shall remain, and shall go on working side by side with you all, to promote your progress and joy in the faith;
26 That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again.
27 Only let your conversation be worthy of the gospel of Christ: that, whether I come and see you, or, being absent, may hear of you, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind labouring together for the faith of the gospel;
28 and not terrified in anything by those opposing, which to them indeed is a token of destruction, and to you of salvation, and that from God;
29 For unto you it is given for Christ, not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for his sake.
30 You will be engaged in the same hard struggle as that which you once saw me waging, and which you hear that I am waging still.
If, then, any encouragement comes through union with Christ, if there is any persuasive power in love, if there is any communion with the Spirit, if there is any tenderness or pity,
2 fulfil my joy, that you be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
3 Let nothing be done through contention, neither by vain glory: but in humility, let each esteem others better than themselves;
4 and each with an eye to the interests of others as well as to his own.
5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7 But emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men.
8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
9 Wherefore God also has highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
10 That in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth;
11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have been obedient always and not simply when I was present, so, now that I am absent, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
13 For it is God who is working in you, both to will and to accomplish, according to his good pleasure.
14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings;
15 That you may be blameless, and sincere children of God, without reproof, in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation; among whom you shine as lights in the world.
16 Hold fast the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.
17 And yet, even if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all.
18 For the same cause also do you joy, and rejoice with me.
19 I hope in the Lord Jesus to send you Timothy before long, that I may be heartened by news of you.
20 For I have no one but him to send—no one of kindred spirit who would take the same genuine interest in your welfare.
21 For all seek the things that are their own; not the things that are Jesus Christ’s;
22 But you know how he has stood the test, how he has served with me in the gospel, like a son helping his father.
23 I hope to send him, then, as soon as I shall see how it will go with me.
24 But I trust in the Lord, that I myself also shall come to you shortly.
25 But I have thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother and fellow labourer, and fellow soldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants.
26 For he has been yearning for you all. He has been greatly concerned because you heard he was ill.
27 For indeed he was sick nigh unto death: but God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.
28 Therefore I sent him the more speedily: that seeing him again, you may rejoice, and I may be without sorrow.
29 Receive him therefore with all joy in the Lord; and treat with honour such as he is.
30 Because for the work of Christ he came to the point of death: delivering his life, that he might fulfill that which on your part was wanting towards my service.


As to the rest, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not wearisome, but to you it is necessary.
2 Beware of these dogs, these wicked workmen, the incision-party!
3 For we are the true circumcision, who worship God in the spirit; and glory in Christ Jesus, not having confidence in the flesh.
4 Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more,
5 Being circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; according to the law, a Pharisee:
6 Concerning zeal, a persecutor of the church, blameless by the standard of legal righteousness.
7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
8 Furthermore I count all things to be but loss for the excellent knowledge of Jesus Christ my Lord; for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but as dung, that I may gain Christ,
9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own, derived from the law, but that which arises from faith in Christ—the righteousness which comes from God through faith:
10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
12 Not that I have already attained this or am already perfect, but I press forward to appropriate it, because I have been appropriated myself by Christ Jesus.
13 Brethren, I for one do not consider myself to have appropriated this; my one thought is, by forgetting what lies behind me and straining to what lies before me,
14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
15 Therefore let all of us who are mature believers cherish these thoughts; and if in any respect you think differently, that also God will make clear to you.
16 But whatever be the point that we have already reached, let us persevere in the same course.
17 Brethren, unite in following my example, and fix your eyes on those who are living by the pattern which we have set you.
18 For there are many—of whom I have often told you, and now tell you even with tears—who are living in enmity to the cross of Christ:
19 Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, these men of earthly mind!
20 For our citizenship is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:
21 Who shall transform the body of our lowness, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the operation of his power, whereby he is able to subject all things unto himself.
So then, my dear brethren, whom I am longing to see—you who are my joy and my crown, stand fast in union with the Lord, dear friends.
2 I beg of Euodia, and I beseech Syntyche, to be of one mind in the Lord.
3 And I entreat you also, my sincere companion, help those women who have laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement and the rest of my fellow labourers, whose names are in the book of life.
4 Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.
5 Let your forbearance be known to everyone; the Lord is at hand.
6 Never be anxious, but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever is honest, whatsoever is just, whatsoever is pure, whatsoever is lovely, whatsoever is of good report; if there be any virtue, and if anything worthy of praise, think on these things.
9 The things which you have learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, these do, and the God of peace shall be with you.
10 I rejoice in the Lord exceedingly, that now at length you have revived your thoughtfulness for my welfare. Indeed you have always been thoughtful for me, but you lacked opportunity.
11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
12 I know both how to be brought low, and I know how to abound: (everywhere, and in all things I am instructed) both to be full, and to be hungry; both to abound, and to suffer need.
13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
14 But you were kind enough to take your share in my trouble.
15 You Philippians are well aware that in the early days of the gospel, when I had left Macedonia, no church but yourselves had any financial dealings with me;
16 even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent money more than once for my needs.
17 Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.
18 But I have all, and abound: I am filled, having received from Epaphroditus the things you sent, an odour of sweetness, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God.
19 And my God shall supply all your needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
20 Now unto God our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
21 Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren who are with me greet you.
22 All the saints here greet you—especially the members of Caesar’s household.
23 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
                                                                              * * * * *
Again, I kept track of which versions I utilized (whole verses or most of a verse):

Rheims NT: 34 verses (33% of 104 verses)
King James (AV): 33 (32%)
Moffatt 15 (14%)
Weymouth: 12 (11%)
20th Century NT 8 (8%)
Young’s Literal Translation 2 (2%)

Thus, 65% (or almost two-thirds) of the work for this letter remains King James / Rheims (in roughly equal parts), with the remaining 35% is early 20th century revision of Elizabethan language in some fashion (“Victorian” language).

For Mark, chapters 1-4, the “Elizabethan” percentage was a little lower (53%) and the Weymouth / 20th Century percentage considerably higher (31% compared to 19%). So there will be some variability, but the general proportion seems clear: half or more Elizabethan, which is what I’m striving for (maintenance of the grandeur of the Olde English). Here is the grand total of all eight chapters:

King James (AV): 74 verses (29.25% of 253 verses)
Rheims NT: 73 verses (28.85%)
Weymouth: 37 (15%)
20th Century NT 29 (11.46%)
Moffatt 28 (11.07%)
Young’s Literal Translation 12 (5%)

This adds up to a 58% Elizabethan proportion, and 42% Victorian. It looks, then, like it will be around 40% substantial revision of passages for the entire New Testament. That’s roughly how much of the old language (in my judgment) needed to be updated, for the sake of clarity and understanding.

Now, to give readers an idea of how I’m going about this, there was one passage (Philippians 3:21) where I combined three different translations. I think, in this example, my reasoning or selection process will be pretty clear and straightforward, in accordance with my stated goals. I generally select one version for one verse. Frequently, a few words are used from a different version, for clarity’s sake. Sometimes it is roughly half one version and half another. But in this (rare) case, three versions were used:

KJV: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

Rheims: Who will reform the body of our lowness, made like to the body of his glory, according to the operation whereby also he is able to subdue all things unto himself.

Young’s Literal Translation: who shall transform the body of our humiliation to its becoming conformed to the body of his glory, according to the working of his power, even to subject to himself the all things.

Victorian King James Version: Who shall transform the body of our lowness, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the operation of his power, whereby he is able to subject all things unto himself.
The “base” (as usual in this work) is KJV (sort of like the primer paint, to which colors are then added). From Rheims (a quite similar rendering, as usual, because it often drew from KJV in the 18th century Challoner revision) came the more descriptive word, “operation” (rather than “working”), “lowness” (rather than “vile”), and the omission of the semi-archaic / not strictly necessary “even” near the end. And from Young’s Literal Translation came the key descriptive words, “transform” (rather than “change” or “reform”) and “his power” and “subject” (rather than “subdue”).
The final selection also took account of the RSV and NASB versions (I mentioned in the Introduction that I would consult them). NASB contained “transform,” “power,” and “subject.” RSV has “lowly,” “power,” and “subject.”

This provides a clear and straightforward illustration of the “selection philosophy” I am utilizing. Front and center are beauty and tradition in linguistic expression, while maintaining literal translation and accuracy to the ears of the modern reader.

I believe I’ve succeeded in my task; thanks be to God, and that this New Testament offers something fresh and different: enough so to justify its creation.

* * * * *

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