The Lord is my shepherd; I do not want him.
The LORD is my shepherd;We know of a man who thought he understood those English words. He said they meant this:
I shall not want.
The Lord is my shepherd;Can you see how someone might get that understanding from use of the word "want" in the KJV and more recent English versions which have the same wording (RSV, NRSV, ESV, NASB)? Such a person only understands that the word "want" means to desire something. They do not understand the obsolescing meaning of being in need of something.
I do not want him.
I find the following translations of Psalm 23:1 accurate, clear, natural, and meaningful in my dialect of English:
The LORD is my shepherd;I personally find wordings with semantic (not syntactic) double negatives more difficult to process mentally. The words "lack" and "nothing" are both semantically negative. So even though the following translations use no older English, they do not have as much immediate impact on me because the extra negative requires more cognitive processing time:
I have everything I need. (NCV, TEV, NLT)
The LORD is my shepherd.
I am never in need. (GW)
You, LORD, are my shepherd.
I will never be in need. (CEV)
THE LORD is my shepherd;Please note: I am not at all suggesting there is anything wrong with the immediately preceding wordings. I am only telling about the added cognitive processing complexity that they present for me. Your mileage may vary! For some people, using a wording that comes as close as possible to that of the KJV while still being in contemporary English has greater literary beauty. I respect that. Literary beauty is in the eye of the beholder (and some beholders have beautiful eyes!).
I lack for nothing. (REB)
The LORD is my shepherd,
I lack nothing. (NET, TNIV)
The LORD is my shepherd,
I shall not be in want. (NIV)
The Lord is my shepherd;
there is nothing I lack. (HCSB)
For me, Scripture speaks most clearly and powerfully to me when the words used in a translation are in common usage in my own dialect. This does not mean that the words must be colloquial or street language. It should mean that the meanings of words used in a translation are usually the primary meanings that those words have in my dialect.
How about you? Have you ever experienced that feeling of "Eureka! Oh, that's what the Bible verse means!", when you have read some passage expressed in good quality, respected contemporary English? Has your heart been stirred as hearts of Bibleless peoples around the world are stirred when they hear or read the Bible for the first time in their own language?
Perhaps your own heart is best stirred when using a Bible version that uses an older form of English. But if you were to conduct a Bible study for friends in your neighborhood, how do you think they would respond to such older English?