Department of Minor Annoyances

The Gideon Bible in a hotel room is a great comfort to those of us who like to read at bedtime but sometimes forget to pack a suitable book. But the dumbed-down New King James Version is an abomination to the Lord, and to the Muses.

Here’s a sample, first in the real King James Version and then as it appears in my hotel Gideon.

Therefore I say unto you,

Take no thought for your life,

what ye shall eat,

or what ye shall drink;

nor yet for your body,

what ye shall put on.

Is not the life more than meat,

and the body than raiment?

Behold the fowls of the air:

for they sow not,

neither do they reap,

nor gather into barns;

yet your heavenly Father feedeth them.

Are ye not much better than they?

Which of you by taking thought

can add one cubit unto his stature?

And why take ye thought for raiment?

Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow;

they toil not, neither do they spin:

And yet I say unto you,

That even Solomon in all his glory

was not arrayed like one of these.

Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field,

which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven,

shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

Therefore take no thought,

saying, What shall we eat?

or, What shall we drink? or,

Wherewithal shall we be clothed?

For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:

for your heavenly Father knoweth

that ye have need of all these things.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness;

and all these things shall be added unto you.

Take therefore no thought for the morrow:

for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself.

Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

becomes:

Therefore I say to you,

do not worry about your life,

what you will eat

or what you will drink;

nor about your body,

what you will put on.

Is not life more than food

and the body more than clothing?

Look at the birds of the air,

for they neither sow nor reap

nor gather into barns;

yet your heavenly Father feeds them.

Are you not of more value than they?

Which of you by worrying

can add one cubit to his stature?

So why do you worry about clothing?

Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow:

they neither toil nor spin

and yet I say to you

that even Solomon in all his glory

was not arrayed like one of these.

Now if God so clothes the grass of the field,

which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven,

will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

Therefore do not worry, saying,

“What shall we eat?’

or “What shall we drink?’

or “What shall we wear?

For after all these things the Gentiles seek.

For your heavenly Father knows

that you need all these things.

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,

and all these things shall be added to you.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow,

for tomorrow will worry about its own things.

Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

For an appropriate comment on the literary quality of the New King James Version, see see John 11:35

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com