"Christians And The Internet" newsletter
CATI, Vol. 3, No. 10:  October 8, 2002



The latest revision of this issue of "CATI" can be accessed
online at http://traver.org/cati/archives/cati73.htm.  The
Web page edition makes it especially easy to visit the links.

Unless otherwise indicated, all material in this newsletter is
Copyright (C) 2002 by Barry Traver, All Rights Reserved.  See
the end of this issue for more information on "CATI."


(Internet links appear at the end of this article, after the
main story has been told.)

If you're a fan of the King James Version, read this article
anyway.  Unless you're an expert in the history of English
translation of the Bible, I think you're in for some rather
fascinating reading and for some surprises! (The same goes
for people who prefer another translation to the King James.)

So what Bible am I saying is better than the King James?  Is
it the New American Standard Bible?  Or the New International
Version?  Or the New King James Version?  Or the more recent
English Standard Version?  And how can we improve on the Bible
which was used by William Shakespeare, John Bunyan, John
Milton, and John Donne in England and which was brought to
Plymouth by the Puritans who came to America?

Well, actually I like (and use) all of the translations just
mentioned, but I have a different translation in mind.  (And
as for the question relating to Shakespeare, Bunyan, Milton,
Donne, and the American Puritans, we'll come back to that

Let's do a quick survey of some of the more important (or
better known) early printed editions of English translations
of the Bible.  (I admit that it's a simplification of the
situation, but it'll give you a rough idea of how events

There were two main streams involved within Protestantism.
One was more Puritan (or Calvinistic) in theology and
favored a republican form of government for England, and
the other was more Anglican (or semi-Arminian) in theology
and favored England's having a monarchy and an official
state church.  (I leave it up to you to figure out which
of these two groups King James favored!)

We begin our story with John Wycliffe, who was an early
English Reformer (he was known as "The Morning Star of the
English Reformation"), and he is reponsible for an English
translation's being completed about 1355.  (He himself
translated part or all of the New Testament, and Wycliffe
Bible Translators are so named in honor of Wycliffe's early

The Wycliffe translation was not published (i.e., printed),
however, until 1850, so let's look at the first translations
into English which were printed.  Wycliffe challenged the
Roman Catholic priesthood, and William Tyndale (another
early English Reformer did so as well.  (Tyndale was in
fact martyred in 1536 for having done so.)

Tyndale's Bible (1525) was the first printed English New
Testament.  His primary source was Erasmus's edition of
the Greek New Testament.  Miles Coverdale's Bible came
along in 1535, but Coverdale knew neither Hebrew nor
Greek.  His translation was based on Latin, German, and
English translations (i.e., Tyndale).  At the request
of Thomas Cromwell (yes, he's the one who urged Henry
VIII to proclaim himself head of the church), Coverdale
came out with what became known as the Great Bible in
1539 and what became known as Cranmer's Bible in 1540.

Short digression:  Cranmer here is Archbishop Cranmer,
and Cranmer's Bible featured an illustration on the
title page showing Henry VIII seated while Thomas
Cromwell and Archbishop Cranmer are giving out the
Bible to the people.

In 1560 came a translation that was not so supportive of
the King:  the Geneva Bible, a Bible more in the tradition
of the Reformers and Puritans.  (Notes in this Bible, for
example, state that at times it is right to disobey a
king.)  It is called the Geneva Bible because it was
translated by a committee made up of Protestant exiles
in Geneva (possibly including John Knox).  The Geneva
Bible is based on Tyndale, but is also influenced by
John Calvin's Institutes.  (One of the translators,
William Whittingham, who had previously published a
translation of the New Testament, was a brother-in-law
of John Calvin.)

Although little-known today, the Geneva Bible played
a very important part in the history of the English
translation of the Bible.  It was the first Bible to
be divided into numbered verses and the first Bible to
be set in roman type.  It had extensive notes that were
"Calvinistic" in perspective (as might be expected in
a Bible born in Geneva!).  It was the most widely read
Bible in private homes for fifty years at least, but
-- although a favorite translation of the people -- it
was not a favorite translation of the Anglican church
(or, as we shall see in a moment, of King James I).

Incidentally, many of the phrasings that people love
in the King James Bible were not original to the King
James Bible, but originally appeared in the Geneve
Bible.  (And still others go back to Tyndale's Bible.)
So the King James Bible cannot rightfully claim credit
for such renderings.  (What it can claim credit for is
its support of the removal of the Calvinistic notes of
the Geneva Bible and perhaps some toning down of the
Reformed/Puritan emphases.)

Back to our story.  The Geneva Bible enjoyed tremendous
success, but the Geneva Bible of 1560 was answered by
the Bishops' Bible of 1568 (instigated by Archbishop
Parker).  The Bishops' Bible built not so much on the
Geneva Bible, but on the more Anglican Great Bible and
Cransmer's Bible.  Important:  it is the Bishops' Bible
that later became the basis for the "Authorized Version,"
i.e., the version authorized by King James.

In spite of the challenge from the Bishops' Bible, the
Geneva Bible ruled supreme in the people's hearts for
fifty years.  The less Calvinistic King James Version
of 1611, however, gradually became (as the "authorized
version") the main English translation, and it has kept
that position for over three hundred years, only fairly
recently receiving serious challenge from many more
modern English translations, including the Revised
Standard Version (RSV) and other versions previously
mentioned (e.g., NASB, NIV, NKJV, ESV).

It seems ironic that some Calvinists are so strongly
supportive of the King James Version, when one of the
reasons why the King James Version came into existence
was to get away from the Calvinism of the Geneva Bible
(and, of course, from the notes indicating that it may
be right in certain circumstances to disobey the king).

Here's how the Geneva Bible translated Genesis 3:17:
"The eyes of them bothe were opened ... and they sowed
figge-tree leaves together and made themselves breeches."
Thus the Geneva Bible got a nickname:  "The Breeches

Do I have a better Bible than the King James to suggest?
You bet your breeches!  It's the Geneva Bible (i.e., the
Breeches Bible) which came before the King James Version.

Don't rush out to buy a copy immediately, however, because
you will have trouble finding it at a reasonable price at
your local bookstore (unless you don't mind paying one to
three hundred dollars).  If you do have an interest and the
money (and if you love good books), I suggest you check out
this Web page:

The Complete 1599 Geneva Bible $99.50

I'm fortunate in that I spent only $25 or so for a facsimile
of the 1560 edition, which was published by the University
of Wisconsin Press in 1969.  Here are some interesting
comments that appear on the book jacket for the University
of Wisconsin 1560 facsimile edition that I own:
The Geneva translators combined impeccable scholarship with
remarkable felicity of style....

The Geneva Bible was also exceptionally popular because of
its copious annotations and commentaries....

The Geneva notes were inevitably strongly Protestant and
somewhat Calvinist in tone.  The Bible's popularity was
greatest, therefore, wherever a strong Protestantism
prevailed.  It was the preferred Bible of the Puritan
clergy in England, Scotland, and America in its time....
However its Calvinist flavor provoked the ire of the
Anglican establishment....

The popularity of the Geneva Bible gradually declined
during the reign of Charles I, as the Authorized, or
King James, Version grew in favor.  But among scholars,
clergy, and the common people, there were some who still
used the Geneva Bible, complaining of the King James
Version that "they could not see into the sense of
scripture for lack of the spectacles of those Genevan
annotations."  Oliver Cromwell, too, continued to prefer
the Geneva Bible [and] issued to his troops in 1641 ...
a 16-page pamphlet made up of extracts from the Geneva

The influence of the Geneva Bible is evident in the
language of the greatest writers of its time.
Unquestionably, it was the version Shakespeare
used....  The Geneva Bible was also known and used
by the two great Puritan writers of the next century
--John Bunyan and John Milton.  Many writers of the
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries [including John
Donne] knew the Geneva Bible, and its influence on the
English language, both directly and through the great
writers who echoed it, is incalculable.

I didn't tell it that well, but I think you'll agree that the
story is a fascinating one full of surprises.

Now I have some good news for you.  On the Internet, not only
can you find more fascinating information about the Geneva
Bible, but also the Geneva Bible itself!  Am I suggesting that
you should read the Geneva Bible instead of the KJV, NASB,
NKJV, or ESV?  Of course not.  But it is a story of which we
ought to be aware.

I appreciate the literary beauty of the King James Version,
although much of that beauty was not original with the King
James Version, but goes back to the Geneva Bible or before
that to the Tyndale Bible.  And since I am concerned not
just with beauty, but with truth, I appreciate the way more
modern translations (including NASB, NIV, NKJV, and ESV)
help us to understand the Bible.

In my opinion, little is gained by pitting one translation
against another.  Rather, I would stress taking advantage
of the strengths of each.  What impresses me is not the
differences, but the unity.  Even where differences in
wording occur (perhaps because of the readings of different
manuscripts, I am not aware of any case where any major
theological doctrine is affected.

Some translations may be better than others for particular
purposes (and there may be significant problems in ssome
translations done by cults or Protestants who have a
defective view of the Scriptures), but I personally have
no hesitation in recommending any of the following English
translations:  King James Version (if supplemented by a
more modern translation as needed), New American Standard
Bible, New International Version, New King James Version,
or English Standard Version.  I see them all as the Word
of God given to us.

Finally, here are links to use if you'd like to explore


A Puritan's Mind: "The Geneva Bible" by C. Matthew McMahon

A Puritan's Mind: "An Introduction to the Geneva Bible" by
    Michael H. Brown

A Puritan's Mind: "The Original Geneva Bible" by Dr. Roger

Center for Reformed Theology and Apologetics: "The Geneva
    Bible: The Forgotten Translation" by Gary DeMar


The Geneva Bible: Sample Texts (Gen. 2:15-22; 3:1-7; Ps. 23;
    1 Cor. 13; Rev. 21:1-5)

Center for Reformed Theology and ApologeticsRTA: 1599 Geneva
    Bible (see links at bottom of page)

The Reformed Reader (Reformed Baptistt): 1599 Geneva Bible
    (click on appropriate link in left column)

ChristiansUnite.com: The 1599 Geneva Study Bible


Microsoft Office (also known as MS-Office) sets the standard,
but it is expensive (it can easily run from $300 to $450).
Those who want to be good stewards of the money God has
entrusted to them may want to consider whether there are
practical alternatives that are less expensive.

The purpose of this article is to provide a survey of free and
inexpensive office suites, most of which are MS-compatible.

Two definitions:  an "office suite" is an integrated set of
programs useful in the office (and often in the home).  Such
an "office suite" ordinarily includes a word processor, a
spreadsheet, and perhaps more (such as a graphics or photo
program or a presentation program).  "MS-compatible" means
essentially that a program can read and/or write files in a
format compatible with the corresponding MS-Office program
(Microsoft Word for word processing documents, Microsoft
Excel for spreadsheets, etc.).

Most of these office suites can be downloaded on the Internet.
Caution:  some of them can be long downloads, so if you have
a slow connection to the Internet, you may perhaps want to ask
a friend who connects at a faster speed to download the suite
for you.  (Another option is to order it on CD, but there is a
charge -- usually small -- associated with that.)

I'll be commenting here on seven office suites, most of which
are free.  (There are also free, MS-compatible, stand-alone
word processors available, but I may comment on them in some
future issue of CATI.)

One of the things I've discovered is that "free" software need
not be inferior to software-at-a-cost.  Some of the suites may
not contain alternatives for all of the programs in MS-Office
and some of the programs may not contain all of the features
of the related program in MS-Office, but in general I think
that you will be impressed with the power of these programs
and that you will find that they will do everything that you
(if you're like most people) need to do with such programs.

OK.  First, let's look at three office suites that are very
similar:  OpenOffice, StarOffice, and SOTOffice.  They are
MS-compatible.  The following Web page notes how OpenOffice
and StarOffice both present an alternative to MS-Office that
is well worth your consideration:

"Replacing Microsoft Office"

I have OpenOffice installed on our two main computers, even
though we also have MS-Office.  When Microsoft Word somehow
got corrupted on my wife's computer, OpenOffice became very
useful (especially for reading or modifying Microsoft Word
documents).  OpenOffice runs on Windows, Linux, and other
platforms.  It includes a word processor, a spreadsheet, a
presentation program, and a drawing application.  Here's the
home page for OpenOffice as well as other useful links to
discussions of OpenOffice:


"Considering OpenOffice.org" by Dan Farber (May 15, 2002)

"A Free Office Suite: A suite of feature-rich office
    productivity applications" by Anil Chopra (August 21,

"Free office suite reaches milestone release" by Matthew
    Broersma (May 2, 2002)

"OpenOffice.org--the people's StarOffice" by Todd Volz (May
    15, 2002)

OpenOffice is "open source," which means that anyone can see
the "inner workings" of the program and suggest improvements.
A key company that has done that is Sun, whose StarOffice 6.0
is not a free program:  it costs $74.95 (which is still quite
inexpensive, compared with MS-Office).  How do OpenOffice and
StarOffice differ?  Here's is Sun's answer:
StarOffice 6.0 software is a commercial product aimed at
organizations and consumers while OpenOffice.org 1.0 is
aimed at users of free software, independent developers and
the open source community. StarOffice includes licensed-in,
third-party technology such as: Spellchecker and thesaurus,
Database component..., Select fonts..., Select filters...,
[and] Integration of additional templates and extensive
clipart gallery.  In addition to product differences,
StarOffice offers: Updates/upgrades on CD, Sun installation
and user documentation, 24x7 Web based support..., Help desk
support, Warranties..., [and more]....


Here's the home page for StarOffice as well as other useful
links to discussions of StarOffice:


Review of Sun Microsystems StarOffice 6.0

"StarOffice suite may be bitter pill for MS to swallow" by
    Jonathan Blackwood (May 15, 2002)

"Why it's real hard not to try StarOffice" by David Berlind
    (May 16, 2002)

Partly based on OpenOffice, "SOT Office 2002 is a free
productivity suite for Windows and Linux."  It includes a
word processor, a spreadsheet, a presentation program, and
a drawing application.  Here's where you'll find their
home page:


Although not as well-known or as popular as OpenOffice and
StarOffice, SOT Office claims to have some advantages over
both (and over MS-Office as well):

Advantages over other office products:

Taking an independent approach from the preceding, 620Pro PC
Suite includes a word processor (MS-compatible), spreadsheet
(MS-compatible), and a graphics or photo editor.  It runs on
Windows.  The best way to learn about this office suite is
to take the guided tour (keep clicking on "More Info ..." at
the bottom right of each page until you complete the tour):

620PRO PC SUITE 2001 Home Page

As the site says, "This suite is COMPLETELY FREE for
commercial and non-commercial use," although also available
is a "PLUS" enhancement for $29.95, which will "add the
following professional features: thesaurus and hyphenation,
web photo album, mail merge with database support, RTF and
XML export, bar code support and text-to-speech."  Also
offered is "a low-cost, easy-to-use PDF conversion tool"
for $19.95.

There are three other products which deserve at least a
brief mention:  ThinkFree (free; runs in Windows or on
Macintosh; includes word processor, spreadsheet, and
presentation program), EasyOffice (standard version is
free; premium version is $39.95; runs in Windows; it is
not obvious what is included in the freeware version);
and Ragtime Solo (not really a suite, but instead a
single program with word processing, spreadsheet, and
graphics capabilities; runs on Windows and Mac; "free
of charge for non-commercial use").

ThinkFree Office Home Page

EasyOffice Download Page
EasyOffice Testimonial Page

RagTime Solo Home Page

ThinkFree Office and EasyOffice are MS-compatible, but that
feature is not claimed for RagTime Solo.

So Microsoft may set the standard with MS-Office, but other
useful office suites are available, and many of them are free,
as you have seen.  Most also allow you to exchange files with
someone who is using Microsoft Office.  Note well:  you do
NOT need to have Microsoft Word to read or write or modify a
Microsoft Word document.  Six of the seven products just
mentioned seem to provide that capability.  Most are free,
and the ones that aren't free are inexpensive (at least as
compared with Microsoft Office).

If you don't own Microsoft Office (or even if you do, but
are dissatisfied with Microsoft), try out one or more of
these programs.  You may find that investing in one of
these is a wise use of your time and your money (i.e., if
any money is required)!


Whether or not you like contemporary pop music, you cannot
deny that Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive" is certainly a
musical phenomenon.  Originally issued in 1979 (a hit song
then, earning her the title "Queen of Disco"), it continues
to be a popular song frequently heard over the airwaves
today.  (If you hate pop music, you can skip most of this
article, but you should read the P.S. at the end.)

One reason for its continued popularity is probably its
positive outlook, its commitment to continuing on in
spite of heart-breaking circumstances:

"Weren't you the one who tried to hurt me with goodbye?
Did I crumble, Did you think I'd lay down and die?
Oh no, not I. I will survive.
Oh as long as I know how to love I know I'll stay alive;
I've got all my life to live,
I've got all my love to give,
and I'll survive, I will survive. Hey hey."

The problem is that the optimism stated has no foundation or
solid base.  Without Christ, we have an arrogant presumption
or a Pollyanna-like sentimentality, and nothing more.  The
point is well made in the following video:

I Will Survive Alien Song Video Page

(See James 4:12-16 for a Biblical statement of my main point

But Gloria Gaynor changed (she became a "born-again" Christian
about twenty years ago), and she changed the lyrics to "I Will

"I will survive; He gave me life;
I stand beside the Crucified One;
I can go on; I will be strong;
For my strength to live is not my own;
I will survive!"

(See Philippians 1:20-21;4:13; etc.)

Although she is not Reformed in her theology, she is an
evangelical, "born-again" Christian who is very open about
expressing her faith.  For example, her continuing strong
Christian convictions come out (often in a very refreshing
way) in interviews she has granted (including those that
involve the secular news media), such as the following:

Girlposse.com: 15-Question E-Mail Interview with Gloria Gaynor

Soon Online: Gloria Gaynor Interview: Beyond Surviving

Sunday Telegraph: "The day I had my showdown with the Lord"

thecelebritycafe.com: Gaynor, Gloria - Disco Diva

Links to other interviews and articles can be found here:

gloriagaynor.com: Press Clippings

Let me provide an illustration of how direct she is when it
comes to expressing her faith.  Here are two responses to
questions asked in an interview by Dominick A. Miserandino
of thecelebritycafe.com:

DM) How much of an influence is religion in your day-to-day

GG) Oh everything! Actually it's not religion, because to me
religion is a bunch of man-made rules and regulations, and
what I have is a personal relationship with Christ where he
is my Lord and Savior, guard, guide and governor. And what I
do, I do because I love, honor and respect him. So that makes
a big, big difference.

DM) Do you find it hard to keep with your faith and have the
career your have?

GG) Not at all, I find it a lot easier because I don't have to
make decisions alone. I make decisions with his wisdom. When
you're being guarded, guided and governed by someone who is
omnipotent, it gets kind of difficult to go wrong by your own
stupidness ... which does happen from time to time.


I understand that Christian comedienne Chonda Pierce in her
video "be afraid ... BE VERY AFRAID" does a parody of Gloria
Gaynor's "I Will Survive" (although I have not tet seen the

CMCentral.com: video review

This (like the "Alien Song" video) is additional evidence of
the continuing popularity of the song.

I think the story of "I Will Survive" is a fascinating one.
The song - as sung by Gloria Gaynor - has itself already
survived for twenty-some years, and (as we have seen) it has
undergone a transition (although few may be aware of it) from
self-affirming to Christ-affirming.  To Him be the glory!

P.S. Whether or not you are a fan of Gloria Gaynor's "I Will
Survive" (and especially if you aren't), I think you'll enjoy
the "Alien Song" video, which was done by the same film studio
which produced the animated feature "Toy Story":

"Alien Song" video



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Unless otherwise indicated, all material in this newsletter is
Copyright (C) 2002 by Barry Traver, All Rights Reserved.