Kenneth Taylor, RIP

Oh, the joys of those who do not follow evil men's advice, who do not hang around with sinners, scoffing at the things of God: But they delight in doing everything God wants them to, and day and night are always meditating on his laws and thinking about ways to follow him more closely. They are like trees along a river bank bearing luscious fruit each season without fail. Their leaves shall never wither, and all they do shall prosper.

-- Psalm 1:1-3, The Living Bible

Kenneth Taylor, who published his paraphrase of Scripture as The Living Bible, passed away last week.

The Living Bible was the first Bible I really read for myself. My parents gave me a copy when I was eight -- an Easter gift if I remember correctly. When our VBS class memorized John 14:1-6, I was the oddball who memorized the LB version -- everyone else recited the King James. Up until I received a Scofield Study Bible in high school (KJV with dispensational premillenialist study notes), The Living Bible was how I got to know God's Word.

Christianity Today has posted several articles in tribute to Taylor: an obituary, an interview from 1979, and a review of his 1992 autobiography.

From that 1979 interview, some insight into Taylor's motivations for paraphrasing Scripture:

The children were one of the chief inspirations for producing the Living Bible. Our family devotions were tough going because of the difficulty we had understanding the King James Version, which we were then using, or the Revised Standard Version, which we used later. All too often I would ask questions to be sure the children understood, and they would shrug their shoulders—they didn't know what the passage was talking about. So I would explain it. I would paraphrase it for them and give them the thought. It suddenly occurred to me one afternoon that I should write out the reading for that evening thought by thought, rather than doing it on the spot during our devotional time. So I did, and read the chapter to the family that evening with exciting results—they knew the answers to all the questions I asked!

You'll find a more personal tribute to Taylor at Baylyblog, starting here. Tim Bayly is Taylor's son-in-law. (We all got acquainted with Tim and his brother David as they kept vigil outside Terri Schiavo's hospice in Pinellas Park, Florida, and reported their observations on their blog, back in March.)

For whatever God says to us is full of living power: it is sharper than the sharpest dagger, cutting swift and deep into our innermost thoughts and desires with all their parts, exposing us for what we really are. -- Hebrews 4:12, The Living Bible

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on June 14, 2005 4:58 PM.

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