My answer was to point to William Tyndale, the first English translator of the Bible. I like this lively description, by Alice Brewer, apparently aged 10, in the Tyndale Archive: "To a 15th century farmer, the Bible was just a big book full of unreadable words and made-up rules. This was because priests in those times insisted on the Bible being in Latin. They said the Bible was a holy book, and shouldn’t be allowed to be read by any old sinful peasant. Really, they wanted it to be in a language only they could understand so they could make up a bunch of silly laws to suit themselves, then get away with it by saying "It says so in the Bible." They thought no-one would ever know different, and no-one would ever try and reveal the truth. And no-one did, until Tyndale came along...." (http://www.tyndalearchive.com/Brewer/Alice/WilliamT.htm)
|From the Tyndale archive|
One of my favourite verses which I still prefer in that version over any other is: Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.' Might be a good motto for this year.
However the fact that there are versions which are now more comprehensible to people at large does not diminish or undermine the unique importance of the AV. Its influence on language, literature, culture, ethics and in fact on the whole of our heritage is unparalleled. But Rowan Williams pointed out its most significant contribution, which he summarised as: "for people to make sense of their lives, it helps to have a strongly defined story in the background, that tells us that we all matter" - whether we feel it or not, and whatever our circumstances. As well as referring to the Psalms, he showed us the words, "For God so loved the world... that he gave his only begotten Son." That is why we all matter.
I trust you enjoy 2011 and know, without doubt, that you matter, you are infinitely significant.