Which is easier to read, Shakespeare or the King James Version of the Bible?
I’d say that the Bible is easier to read. Shakespeare is great. I really do like reading his works, but the language is extremely hard to understand. For example,
“…Out of this silence yet I picked a welcome;
And in the modesty of fearful duty
I read as much as from a rattling tongue
Of saucy and audacious eloquence.
Love, therefore, and tongue-tied simplicity
In least speak most, to my capacity.”
–A Midsummer Night’s Dream—Act V, Scene I
“But come, I’ll tell thee all my whole device
When I am in my coach, which stays for us
At the park gate; and therefore haste away,
For we must measure twenty miles today.”
–Merchant of Venice—Act III, Scene IV
To read an entire play with this language and style is definitely harder than reading the KJV of the Bible.
Psalm 23 (KJV of the Bible)
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.”
Of course, the contexts of the two works are completely different, and they were written hundreds of years apart. Nevertheless, the Bible’s language is easier. Why?
I think that the answer is that we have more of an affinity to the Bible than to Shakespeare. We can’t relate to Shakespeare, whereas we can more easily relate to the Bible. According to a study done by a writer, the most read book in the world is the Bible!
Why is this? Why does the Bible, written 2,000 years ago, still rank as the #1 book in the world? Shakespeare isn’t even in the top ten and probably not in the top twenty either. The fact of the matter is, that unless you are assigned to read it for school, or you are really, super interested in 16th and 17th century literature, you probably aren’t going to be reading a Shakespeare play. The Bible remains the most widely read book and in my opinion is much easier to read than Shakespeare.