I’m not a preacher, so I might come at this from a different angle.
But, sparked by innocuous changes I noticed between different editions of the ESV (I think mine is 2001) I sort of slid quickly into a pile of textual debates. Always stiff arming that tangled topic in the past I figured it was time to dig around and I got more than I bargained for.
Without special training in languages and the minutia in ancient grammar, it’s a tough thing to wade through without holding on to someone else’s hand. Unless you’re going to go it alone, you have to trust someone’s argument for or against this or that.
The long and short of it is that I shifted to the KJV. At least experimentally. Funny enough, it wasn’t necessarily a textual argument that swayed me (not to say there isn’t any sway to be swug) but rather the mere fact that the KJV was more or less the only real pre-modern English translation readily available, and I’ve had it more or less up to here with not only the never ending translations (even inside one translation) but almost all of these updates are done from within modernism. I’m growing more and more convinced that such changes are less helpful to me than not.
That’s not to say anything about the importance of translation into the vernacular or that a new translation cannot be an improvement on an old translation (if that’s the goal, then translate on!) as much as I do think there is something about the current environment that has sort of soured the air, or at least gives us a high probability that the newest changes/updates, are coming from suspect regions. Even if the translator is solid, again, the air may have a funk that the translator can’t help but, even accidentally incorporate. Maybe that’s unfair, but again, I have no knowledge of these languages.
Also, though I’m aware that many faithful men have contributed to new translations, you can’t get around the fact that most of these are produced, not by the church but by publishing houses. Each one looking for their marketing niche.
I didn’t grow up with any hardcore KJV-onlyism. You could find it if you looked, sure, but I was never subjected to it (like my wife and others I know) so I don’t have the allergic reaction many people might who have come out of a tradition like that. So the pre-modern translation (so many words free from modern/post modern baggage!), the stability of it (yes I know it’s gone through changes too), the lack of marketing niche aims, the fact that it’s been around the block and whatever errors or issues folks have with it are out there for all to see and have been for centuries, and throw in for good measure the use of it by nearly every English-speaking preacher/teacher/author/theologian/hymnwriter/etc that can be found on paper, and you have yourself an incredible commonality and connection with English-speaking saints of the past, which is important (even if it’s a lower level) to me as a man of English heritage. That, plus the little I’ve learned from all of the textual issues involved (not much, and I’m not quite “for” one or the other as of yet), all added up and I made the shift to the KJV.
As an aside, the biggest hindrance by far for me with the KJV wasn’t the old language, but the formatting. Hands down. The staccato verse by verse layout and the horrible eyes-sore phonetic ‘aides’ and italics, while I understand the purpose of all of that, did not help me in the least open and read. So I didn’t really make the shift until I found a good format of the KJV, which I found in the New Cambridge Paragraph Bible.
(I just looked over this…Sorry for the lengthy ramble!)