Monday, January 25, 2010

The Book of Eli: Which Bible Version?

There has been some debate over which version of the Bible Eli actually read and carried. I just watched the movie last night, and being a student of the Bible versions issue, I think I can answer.

The first clue we get is when he quotes Psalm 23 to Solara. His quotation is definitely from the old King James Version.
The second clue we get is when Eli and Solara approach Alcatraz island, and he calls out that he has a King James Version of the Bible.
The third clue we get is when Eli begins to recite the entire Bible to the librarian. It sounds like the old King James until the second verse of Genesis 1 when he uses the word "hovered" instead of "moved." This quotation is the New King James Version.
The last clue we get is when the librarian places the finished Bible on the shelf. The binding reads "New King James Version."

The Bible Eli carried was definitely NKJV, not KJV.
If the story were real life, I would account for the contradictory clues by noting that Psalm 23 has been a favorite passage of the church for a long time and is included in many liturgies. As such, the old KJV rendition of it would be more familiar to the memory.
Eli's announcement at Alcatraz that he has a King James Version of the Bible is simple generalization. Unless you have immersed yourself in a study of Bible versions and texts, or happen to be affiliated with the "King James Only" crowd, the NKJV is merely an updated KJV, for all intents and purposes.


Anonymous said...

wow! nkjv is not an updated version of kjv. please research more on the subject.

David T. said...

@anonymous: Are you King James Only?

Lauren Spencer Havris said...

When Eli quotes part of the 23rd Psalm to Solara, it is NOT the King James poetic-"old English" text. Yes, he tells the guards at Alcatraz he has the KJV. Later, when they put it on the shelf it says "New King James..." Considering this is Hollywood, it probably has nothing to do with the NKJV...I believe the characters in this movie are just paying homage to Eli. The bible may have been in this movie, but the only savior was Eli. And, that, sadly, is about the best we can expect. So, in a nutshell, I don't think Eli was carrying any real life translation.

Anonymous said...

God has preserved His Word in the authorized KJV, and it does not need updating. ALL of the modern versions are what man thinks the scriptures mean, therefore All of the modern versions are MAN'S word and as such, they are corrupt. This especially applies to the NIV. Yes, I am definitely part of the KJV only crowd. The only reason for the existence of any version other then the KJV is the root of ALL evil......The love of money. There are many thousands of manuscripts that agree with the KJV. There are but a few that agree with the modern version. Do some research on Westcott and Hort, and you will see corruption at its finest(or is it worst?).

mike said...

I agree to mccoy346, the NIV version has been corrupted. For example, the Holy Trinity is missing in 1 John chapter 5:7, the "Blood" of Christ is missing in the epistle of Paul to the Collosians (1:20), the name Lucifer is missing in Isaiah 14:12), and many more verses gone and/or changed!

David T. said...

@mccoy346/mike/other kjvos:
I invite you to look at the New Bible Versions and KJV Controversy links on the right sidebar.

Will Kinney said...

Hi saints, Bible believers and bible agnostics. I have seen the movie twice and enjoyed watching it. But it does give a confused message about which "the" Bible he was using. The NKJV is NOT the same as the King James Bible. One brother calls the NKJV "the marijuana version", and he has a good point.

Here is my own study on the NKJV with several concrete examples showing why it is NOT the inerrant words of God, but is a poor imitation.

Is the NKJV the inerrant and 100% true Bible? Not a Chance!

"He that hath ears to hear, let him hear." Luke 8:8

God bless.