The Authorized Version of the Bible, popularly known as the King James Version, is a literary landmark that will never be surpassed in the English language; but sadly, it is falling out of use. At least part of the reason, I am convinced, is the antiquated typography that plagues most editions. So why not publish an AV in paragraph form?
It has finally happened. After years of moaning about the absence of an edition of the Authorized Version set in modern type, paragraphed and punctuated, I am now the proud owner of one: Today's King James Version, published in Bath, England by an outfit called Bible First. This edition is nicely bound (although the imprinting is not crisp) and was produced in honor of Queen Elizabeth II's jubilee.
As you can see from the photo above, the typeface is modern, the text is paragraphed and the punctuation follows contemporary usage. This makes the classic AV text, a landmark in English literature, more accessible to today's reader -- and it also makes it easier for the Bible student to grasp the flow of the text, which is no longer interrupted by a carriage return at the start of each new verse. The commonly held belief that modern readers cannot comprehend the archaic language of the KJV is, in my view, exaggerated. Yes, there are readers who find it difficult, but that is no reason for more capable students to deny themselves its pleasures. An edition like this is long overdue; it eliminates an unnecessary barrier for the modern reader in approaching this excellent work.
Is Today's KJV perfect? Not quite. What is really needed is a "critical edition" of the KJV, with notes at the bottom explaining difficult words and phrases, much as a critical edition of Chaucer or Shakespeare does. But Today's KJV is, so far as I know, the only edition that offers the traditional text in a contemporary setting. The question is, how do you get one? They are not widely available in the States. In fact, I had never heard of it until Nicholas Gray at R.L. Allan's did the leg-work and located it for me. Much thanks to Nicholas for all the help! If you'd like a copy, I suggest that you get in touch with him. The cost was just under $100, including shipping.
TBS NT - Paragraphed Edition
The Trinitarian Bible Society also publishes a New Testament with paragraphed text, pictured at right. While the typeface is a little archaic, I find this edition more readable than Today's KJV, perhaps because it is presented in a single column format. The paperback binding is not especially nice, but the trim size of the volume is just right and makes for pleasurable handling. If this edition were extended to include the entire Bible and offered in a quality binding, it would be very close to ideal.
Of course, the ultimate paragraphed KJV is the New Cambridge Paragraph Bible, which will hopefully be offered in hand-sized additions in the future.