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Should children study the KJV?

As I am contemplating what textbooks we will use next year for our homeschooling (yes, I plan this far ahead so that I can take advantage of winter and early spring sales as I find them), I’ve been increasingly impressed with Memoria Press. I’ll be reviewing their history curriculum as part of my Teaching Your Child to Love History series, but right now I’m looking into their Bible program. (We currently use their Latin and their Literature curricula and love them both!)

I had originally decided not to use their Bible program, or Christian Studies, as they are titled, because they rely solely on the King James Version. I don’t have a problem with the King James Version. It’s the one I grew up with and the one I memorized out of for the first 22 years of my life. However, I now prefer the English Standard Version or the New American Standard Bible for my personal reading and memorization. I believe that it’s good for children to read the Bible in a modern translation for various reasons that I won’t get into here. (Our kids have the Seek and Find Bible, which is the full text of the ESV, for their personal reading and to take to church, and I’m very happy with it.)

However, this article by Memoria Press authors Cheryl Lowe and Martin Cothran, which explains their rationale for choosing the KJV for their curriculum, is causing me to consider if perhaps my children would benefit from learning from the King James at least in their formal academic setting.

Lowe and Cothran say,

In formal education . . . there are certain things we are looking for which the King James Bible possessed to a greater degree than other translations of the Bible.

First, its innate poetic and literary quality set it apart from other translations. Second, its historical influence on English literature far surpasses that of other versions. Finally, the unique structure and memorability of its language make it particularly suited to the needs of an academic environment.

I’d encourage you to read the whole article and let me know what you think. I’d love feedback from other parents who’ve thought through this issue, especially as regards an educational setting.

About Becky Aniol

Becky holds a bachelor's degree in English literature and music, a master's degree in Christian education, and is currently pursuing a PhD in Christian education. She taught classical upper school grammar, literature, and history and lower school composition and grammar for two years, elementary school music for one year, and Kindermusik classes for four years before the birth of her children. She now loves staying home with her four children, Caleb, Kate, Christopher, and Caroline and homeschooling them classically.