Below is an excerpt of a talk given by the evangelical giant of England, D. Martin Lloyd Jones, in a rally at the Royal Albert Hall in 1961. His logic is superb and wise. He only addresses the AV from the standpoint of its dignity and majesty. When the greater accuracy and reliability of the manuscript evidence is considered, the AV is truly the greatest English Bible of all times. Please note the reference to the manner in which George Whitfiueld preached – not down to the language of the street, but up to the majestic language of the KJV (JLO):
“I suppose that the most popular of all the proposals at the present moment is to have a new translation of the Bible…. The argument is that people are not reading the Bible any longer because they do not understand its language – particularly the archaic terms – What does your modern man….know about justification, sanctification, and all these biblical terms? And so we are told the one thing that is necessary is to have a translation that Tom, Dick, and Harry will understand, and I began to feel about six months ago that we had almost reached the stage in which the Authorized Version was being dismissed, to be thrown into limbo of things forgotten, no longer of any value. Need I apologize for saying a word in favor of the Authorized Version in this gathering…?
“It is a basic proposition laid down by the Protestant Reformers, that we must have a Bible ‘understanded of the people.’ That is common sense…we must never be obscurantists. We must never approach the Bible in a mere antiquarian spirit… but it does seem to me that there is a very grave danger incipient in so much of the argument that is being presented today for these new translations. There is a danger, I say, of surrendering something that is vital and essential….
“Take this argument that the modern man does not understand such terms as justification, sanctification, and so on. I want to ask a question. When did the ordinary man ever understand these terms?… Did the colliers to whom John Wesley and George Whitefield preached in the 18th century understand? They had not even been to a day of school…they could not read, they could not write. Yet these were the terms that were used. This was the version that was used – the Authorized Version. The common people have never understood these terms…We are concerned here with something that is spiritual; something which does not belong to this world at all; which, as the Apostle Paul reminds us, the princes of this world do not know. Human wisdom is of no value here – it is a spiritual truth. This is the truth about God primarily, and because of that, it is a mystery…
“Yet we are told – it must be put in such simple terms and language that anybody taking it up and reading it is going to understand all about it. My friends, this is sheer nonsense. What we must do is to educate the masses of the people up to the Bible, not bring the Bible down to their level. One of the greatest troubles today is that everything is cheapened. The common man is made the standard of authority; he decides everything, and everything has to be brought down to him….
“Are we to do that with the Word of God? I say No! What has happened in the past has been this – ignorant, illiterate people, in this country and in foreign countries, coming into salvation have been educated up to the Book and have begun to understand it, to glory in it, and to praise God for it, and I say that we need to do the same at this present time. What we need is therefore, not to replace the Authorized Version….we need rather to reach and train people up to the standard and the language, the dignity and the glory of the old Authorized Version.”