By Joe Carter
[NOTE: Below is a story from the Gospel Coalition’s Joe Carter from the “just when you thought you’d seen/heard/read it all” files.–CJR]
The Story: A new revision of the King James Bible—dubbed the the Queen James Bible—edits out all references to homosexuality in order to provide a Bible translation “edited to prevent homophobic misinterpretation of God’s Word.”
The Background: The unnamed editors of the revision say they chose to use and retitle the King James Version to the Queen James Version because of the “obvious gay link to King James, known amongst friends and courtiers as ‘Queen James’ because of his many gay lovers.”
The website for the “big, fabulous Bible” claims that homosexuality was first mentioned in the Bible in 1946 in the Revised Standard Version:
There is no mention of or reference to homosexuality in any Bible prior to this—only interpretations have been made. Anti-LGBT Bible interpretations commonly cite only eight verses in the Bible that they interpret to mean homosexuality is a sin; Eight verses in a book of thousands!
Ironically, the site explains that they didn’t completely remove the offending verses because, “Revelation says not to ‘edit the book,’ and people often extend that to mean the entire Bible, not just the book of Revelation.” The editors then go on to say, “We edited the Bible to prevent homophobic interpretations. We made changes to eight verses.”
An example of one of their edits is Romans 1:27. Here is the verse in the KJV:
And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
And here is the new QJV translation:
Men with men working that which is pagan and unseemly. For this cause God gave the idolators up unto vile affections, receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
What It Means: In 1807 an English physician named Thomas Bowdler published The Family Shakspeare (sic), an edition of Shakespeare’s works edited to remove some of the more objectionable content and phrases. Bowdler’s work was designed to provide a more “appropriate” version of the classic texts for 19th-century women and children. In the preface to his work Bowdler announced his desire to make Shakespeare accessible “without incurring the danger of falling unawares among words and expressions which are of such a nature as to raise a blush on the cheek of modesty.” His name later became a verb, bowdlerize, and synonymous with expurgation of literature.
How times have changed. In our politically correct age, texts are bowlderized not because they contain works and expressions “which cannot with propriety be read aloud in a family” but rather because they offend the sensibilities of those who wish to engage in and apologize for immoral behavior.
What will we see next in this line of bowlderized bibles? Will we soon see a Emma Bovary Version that scrubs all references to adultery? A New Lucifer Translation that removes any references to pride? A Gordon Gekko Study Bible that teaches “greed is good?”
Perhaps instead of trying to justify one’s sinful behavior, the editors of the QJV should have spent more time reflecting on Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 4:1-2:
Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.
Joe Carter is an editor for The Gospel Coalition and the co-author of How to Argue Like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History’s Greatest Communicator.
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