I received a Christmas gift of "The Timeless Writings Of C.S. Lewis" . He is not normally my cup of tea . But he had some insightful things to say every now and then . He wrote an introduction to J.B. Phillips translation of the epistles back in 1947 . Here are some of his more cogent points . Dozens of sincerely pious people in the sixteenth century shuddered at the idea of turning the time-honoured Latin of the Vulgate into our common and ( as they thought ) 'barbarous' English . a sacred truth seemed to them to have lost its sanctity when it was stripped of the polysyllabic Latin , long heard at Mass and at Hours , and put into 'language such as men do use' -- language steeped in all the commonplace associations of the nursery , the inn , the stable , and the street . The answer then was the same as the answer now . The only kind of sanctity which Scripture can lose ( or , at least , New Testament scripture ) by being modernized is an accidental kind which it never had for its writers or its earliest readers . The New Testament in the original Greek is not a work of literary art : it is not written in a solemn , ecclesiastical language , it is written in the sort of Greek which was spoken over the Eastern Mediterranean after Greek had become an international language and therefore lost its real beauty and subtlety . In it we see Greek used by people who have no real feeling for Greek words because Greek words are not the words they spoke when they were children . It is a sort of 'basic' Greek ; a language without roots in the soil , a utilitarian , commercial and administrative language . Does this shock us ? It ought not to , except as the Incarnation itself ought to shock us . The same divine humility which decreed that God should become a baby at a peasant-woman's breast , and later an arrested field-preacher in the hands of the Roman police , decreed also that He should be preached in a vulgar , prosaic and unliterary language ... When we expect that it should have come before the world in all the beauty that we now feel in the Authorized Version we are as wide of the mark as the Jews were in expecting that the Messiah would come as a great earthly king .