Thursday, January 19, 2012

Happy Birthday, KJV

Question: What translations are in the congregation today?
If had asked, 30 years ago? What would have been the answer?
" " " 60 years ago? Probably almost 100% King James Version

The Bible is the most printed and distributed book in history.
The King James Version is the most printed and distributed Bible in history. (may be the most printed book)

May 5, 1611 - the first King James Version Bible came off the press. There are about 200 complete first edition KJV Bibles still remaining - in good condition for $125, to $400,000.00 each.


In March, 1603, Queen Elizabeth I of England died. Her nephew James VI of Scotland was named the new English ruler and became James I of England.

He inherited a divided kingdom. 770 years earlier, Henry VIII broke from the Catholic Church (1534) and formed the Church of England (Anglican). So, there were three distinct religious groups in England. Many devout Catholics were upset because they'd been ousted by the formation of the new Anglican church and they were no longer in control. There were the Anglicans and also the Puritans - who wanted further reform than what King James had already enacted.

All three camps had their own scripture translation. The Geneva Bible - printed in 1568 - the Bible of the Puritans as well as Shakespeare. This was the first translation to have chapter and verse divisions.
Then there was the Bishops Bible - 1568 - which was the Anglican Church translation.
And finally the Douay Rheims - 1582 - which was the Catholic Bible.

This was more than religious division. In that day there was no separation of church and state. Therefore, identify your denomination equaled identify your political persuasion!!

King James wants a unified England, so decides a new translation will help:
1) provide a single scripture for public reading (church, state, university, etc.) - the Bible of England.
2) be a symbol of unity in his (new) kingdom. (Compare it to our modern day US flag)
3) edify his subjects (Bible reading is a good thing)
4) displace the (popular) Geneva Bible!! (James appreciated its scholarship but despised its politics) He believed it was anti-king, seditious.
5) Pacify the Puritans - who wanted more reform.

In 1604 King James gathered the best Bible scholars in England and then authorized, organized, funded a NEW translation. (No Catholics were included in this group of scholars)

His Rules (there were 12 - been condensed to 5 here).

He insisted on:
1. Cooperation. There were 6 groups of scholars - each with a Bible section, compared within the companies. Then all companies gathered and READ ALOUD, argued, amended, etc.

From conception to publish took 7 years.

2. Accuracy BEST scholars - (lists = 47 to 54) The general editor was Lancelot Andrews - spoke 15 modern and 6 ancient languages, photographic memory, began each day with 5 hours of prayer, still set aside time each day to receive "any Londoner in need of solace or advice".

3. Readability
On one hand, the KJV was not written in the vernacular of the day (it was formal, majestic, musical)
But, it was the vocabulary of the day, therefore, readable, and comprehensible...
Preface to the 1611 version: "we desire that the Scripture may speak like it selfe, that it may bee understood even of the most vulgar." (vulgar meaning common)

He also insisted it be........
4. Anglican (conservative, traditional, Church of England)
Therefore the Greek word Ecclesea was translated "church" not "congregation" (as per the Puritans)
And the Greek word Baptiso was translated "baptize" not "immerse" - as the Anglican church sprinkled, and he didn't want the word immerse in this translation.

5. Without Commentary - except to explain the Hebrew or Greek)

The result was the 1611 King James Version.

#1. This is not the King James Bible that you own, carry - there have been many modifications, revisions, etc.
A) the Appocrapha - till the mid 19th. Century most KJV's contained 80 books vs. the 66 in it now.
B) Word changes - more than 300 words no longer mean the same thing they did back in the 1600s. Example: KJV - Heb. 4:12 - "quick" (Compare the word "gay" - it's meaning 50 years ago and it's meaning today.)
C) Spelling, punctuation, italics, etc. - approximately 25,000 changes in the KJ New Testament since 1611. None affects any major doctrine.

#2. This is NOT the Bible Jesus Carried (or Paul)
#3. This is NOT the 1st. English translation - translations go all the way back to the 7th century.
#4. This is NOT an infallible translation
Examples: Printer's Errors
a. Judas Bible 1611 - Matt. 26:36 - "then cometh Judas..." -(then cometh Jesus)
b. Printer's Bible 1612 - "Psalm 119:161 - "printers have persecuted me..." (Princes have persecuted me)
c. Wicked Bible 1631 - Ex. 20:14 - thou shalt commit..." (thou shalt not commit adultery)
d. Sin On Bible 1716 - John 8:11 "go and sin on more" (go and sin no more)
e. Vinegar Bible 1717 - Chapter Heading - Luke 20 - "parable of the Vinegar" (Parable of the vineyard)
f. Fools Bible 1763 - Psalm 14:1 - "There is a God" - (there is no God)
g. Lions Bible 1804 - 1 Kings 8:19 "out of thy lions" - (out of thy loins)
h. Owl Bible 1944 - 1 Pet. 3:5 - "in subjection to thine owl husband" (in subjection to thine own husband)

#5. It DID become the most popular translation.
The Geneva Bible was user friendly - common language, margional notes, chapter and verse division. Affordable - week's wages for a common laborer.
BUT, it became illegal to print, then to import, and then to own!!!!

#6. The KJV became the most influential English Bible in history.
For many,
#7. it became THE Bible. "but, ..... the Bible says....." (King James Version trumped the original manuscripts)


King James Bible has had (still has) tremendous impact on society, not primarily because it's the King James Version but because it's the Word of God!!
"What if the Geneva Bible had not been banned???" The power is not in the translation, but in God's Word.
Isa. 55:10-11 - (KJV) 10For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:

11So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

2 Tim. 3:16 - (KJV) 16All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

So, Should I use the KJV?

Answer: it's your choice... is the message clear? Is it your preference? BUT..... don't declare it "the ONLY valid, true expression of God's Word".

And remember - the point, purpose of any translation is to present the Word as clearly as possible without compromising the message.

AND, whatever translation you choose, USE IT!!!!
Because in scripture we learn about God and Christ.
In the scripture we encounter God and Christ

And (finally) whatever you choose/use, whatever you learn about God, whatever you experience with God, neither your translation, your knowledge, your experience commends you to God. For that only comes through His grace expressed in His Son, Jesus Christ.

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