Awhile back, while browsing at our local Goodwill store, I stumbled across a children's New Testament published in 1960, entitled The Children's 'King James' Bible. I think the single quotation marks around the words 'King James' are what first caught my attention, but as I looked inside the book, the Introduction made me even more interested. This is what I first read, from the middle of the Introduction:
"ABOUT THE NAME 'KING JAMES' IN THE TITLE: First, this children's version is called 'King James' as an attempt to identify it as the same type of translation that the beloved King James Version is. It is literal, it is honest, it tells you which are God's words and which have been added, it is reverent, it leaves none of God's words out."
In Matthew 5:9 (part of "the Beatitudes") the KJV reads, "Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God." The Children's 'King James' Bible's editors apparently thought the KJV was a bit too liberal in its gender language, because they change the verse to read, "Blessed are the peacemakers! for they shall be called the sons of God." Funny, they've kindly provided italics to let the kids know that "are" and "the" were added to the text, but there's no mention of the change from "children" to "sons."
The next thing I noticed about this particular Bible as I browsed through it at home was even more interesting: the Bible is illustrated with some somewhat peculiar illustrations. Wide-eyed character show the amazement of people seeing the mighty acts of Jesus--wait, where was Jesus? Skimming through the book, I couldn't find a single picture of Jesus...kind of odd for a children's illustrated Bible! It turned out, there was a reason for that, too. Further along in the Introduction, we read:
"There are no pictures claiming to be the Lord Jesus in the Bible. First, the publisher feels it is a violation of the Second Commandment to produce a picture of Jesus. Second, it is impossible for the grandest artist to portray the loveliness and godliness of Jesus Christ. Third, no one knows how He looked, for God saw fit to deprive us of any likeness of our Lord. The many pictures claiming to be Jesus are most confusing to children. Fourth, in all scenes where a picture of the Lord Jesus appears, the child does not learn much about what is going on--he only has eyes for this figure which is said to be Jesus."
The Introduction also explains that illustrations only accompany the stories that are added into the book. So the actual Bible text is illustration-free, with dozens of little illustrated stories inserted into the text. The Introduction carefully warns the children that, if they see illustrations, those are not God's words! I don't get this whole setup at all. We have here a Bible storybook and a sort-of-King James Bible, all wrapped into one. Meanwhile, the editor wants the kids to understand that not a single one of "God's words" has been left out! (Forget the fact that "God's words" in the New Testament were originally delivered in Greek.)
Truly I tell you, this Children's 'King James' Bible is one of the strangest Bibles in my entire collection. And I've got a few strange Bibles! Some day, I'll tell you about the Ferrar Fenton Bible, but that's a story for another time...