The King James Version was the first English translation authorized by the Church of England.
The King James Version was the third such official translation into English. The first was the Great Bible, commissioned in 1539 by the Church of England during the reign of King Henry VIII. The second was the Bishop's Bible of 1568. In January 1604, King James I of England convened the Hampton Court Conference where a new English version was commissioned in response to problems with the earlier translations cited by the Puritans, a vocal faction within the Church of England.
Who authorized the King James Version of 1611?
There is no printed record of anyone officially authorizing the translation. In 1662, an Act of Parliament authorized inserting the text of the 1611 version into the Church of England’s Book of Common Prayer – the only official act on record. According to scholar David Norton, editor of the 2005 New Cambridge Paragraph Bible edition of the King James Version: "Authorized Version became the common English name in the 19th century. There is no record of official authorization by King, Parliament or Church, however, the statement on the original title-page, ‘appointed to be read in Churches’ means much the same as ‘authorized.’ The phrase, ‘authorized and appointed’ was used for the fourth and sixth editions of the Great Bible and for later editions of the Bishops’ Bible. I suspect that the words were nearly synonymous. Clearly, ‘authorized’ didn’t carry the weight we now give it."
What was the title of the first printed edition of the King James Bible?
For many years it was common not to give the translation any specific name. In 1651, Thomas Hobbes referred to it as “the English Translation made in the beginning of the Reign of King James.” A 1761 book, A Brief Account of the Various Translations of the Bible into English , refers to the 1611 version as the “new, compleat, and more accurate Translation.” A History of England published in 1775, refers to a “new translation of the Bible, viz., that now in Use, was begun in 1607, and published in 1611.” The earliest recorded use of the term “King James Version” is found in A Historical Sketch of the English Translations of the Bible, published in Massachusetts in 1815. "King James Version" showed up in the Oxford English Dictionary for the first time in 1824.
John Wycliffe, who was one of the earliest translators of the Bible into English was martyred because of his beliefs, practices and teachings.
John Wycliffe was an English theologian, lay preacher, translator, reformist and university professor who was a dissident in the Roman Catholic Church during the 14th century. He annoyed the Vatican by calling for all church teaching to be Bible-centered and was a vocal advocate for translation of the Bible into the common tongue. He completed his English version from earlier Latin translations in 1382. Although Church officials were greatly irritated with him, he was never excommunicated, but did suffer persecution and censure – yet enjoyed the favor of the King. On December 28, 1384, he suffered a stroke and died three days later. Foxe's Book of Martyrs, published in 1563, records how on May 4, 1415, two decades after his death, the Church’s Council of Constance declared Wycliffe “a stiff-necked heretic and under the ban of the Church.” In 1428 at the command of Pope Martin V, his remains were dug up, burned and the ashes cast into a nearby river.
William Tyndale, who was one of the earliest translators of the Bible into English was martyred for his beliefs, practices and teachings.
True. William Tyndale (1494-1536) was influenced by the work of Desiderius Erasmus, who centuries earlier had translated the New Testament into easily understandable, everyday Greek for the common man. Tyndale was the first to translate large sections of the Bible into commonly spoken English, aimed at the non-scholar. He was also the first English translator to draw directly from ancient Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek texts instead of St. Jerome's Latin translation of those manuscripts. Tyndale also took advantage of the new printing press technology, which allowed for his translation’s wide distribution. All of this was without the church's permission, which curried ill favor for him. Unlike Wycliffe, he did not have the King's protection. Indeed, in 1530, Tyndale published The Practyse of Prelates, opposing Henry VIII's divorce on the grounds that it violated scriptural law. The king was not amused and Tyndale fled into exile. In 1535, he was arrested by church authorities and jailed in the Castle of Vilvoorde outside Brussels, Belgium, for over a year. He was tried and convicted of heresy, strangled and burned at the stake in 1536.
William Tyndale’s English-language translation of the Bible could not be used by King James' translators since it was:
Tyndale’s translation of the Bible, which used common-day English to better communicate to non-scholars, actually became the foundation of the King James Version. The fifty-four independent scholars assigned to create the KJV left behind notes indicating that they drew significantly on Tyndale's work. One estimation suggests the New Testament in the King James Version is 83 percent Tyndale's work, and the Old Testament 76 percent.
King James VI of Scotland was the great-grandson of King James I.
False. They are the same person. He was the son of King Henry VIII and ruled over Scotland as King James IV. When he rose to the throne of England, he took the title King James I of England.
The Puritans’ objections to earlier English translations were based on heresies found in the "Great Bible" and the "Bishops’ Bible."
False. The Puritans were sticklers for accuracy. Here are a few examples of the Puritans’ objections, which were passed along to the King James translators: In Galatians 4:25 of the Bishops' Bible, the Greek word "susoichei," according to the Puritans, “is not well translated as now it is, bordereth neither expressing the force of the word, nor the apostle's sense, nor the situation of the place.” Psalm 106: 30 of the Great Bible reads: “Then stood up Phinees and prayed,” although the Hebrew literally says that he “executed judgment.”
King James did not attempt to influence the translators or ask them to reflect his personal theological views.
King James cited two passages in the Geneva Bible where he found the marginal notes offensive, such as Exodus 1:17, where the Geneva Bible commended the example of civil disobedience showed by the Hebrew midwives, and also II Chronicles 15:16, where the Geneva Bible had criticized King Asa for not having executed his idolatrous grandmother, Queen Maachah. Additionally, he gave the translators instructions designed to guarantee that the new version would conform to the teachings of the Church of England. Certain Greek and Hebrew words were to be translated in a manner that reflected the traditional usage of the church. For example, the Greek word for “immersion” became a brand-new English word “baptism,” which could mean immersion or sprinkling.
Today’s Authorized King James Version is out of copyright and can be printed by anyone without permission.
False. It can be printed anywhere in the world without permission except within the United Kingdom where the Crown holds a perpetual copyright that does not expire.
King James appealed to the public to help pay for the cost of the translation.
On July, 22, 1604, King James sent a letter to Archbishop Bancroft asking him to contact all English churchmen requesting that they make donations to his project: “Right trusty and well beloved, we greet you well. Whereas we have appointed certain learned men, to the number of 4 and 50, for the translating of the Bible, and in this number, divers of them have either no ecclesiastical preferment at all, or else so very small, as the same is far unmeet for men of their deserts …” In other words, they needed to be paid – and he wanted everyone to chip in.
The King James Version used by millions today is unchanged from the 1611 translation.
New Page 1 False. In 1760, Cambridge University Press released an updated version reflecting changes in official spelling and word use which was the 22-year work of scholar Francis Sawyer Parris. Another update was printed by Oxford in 1769, edited by Benjamin Blayney with comparatively few changes from the 1760 edition. Here are the first three verses of I Corinthians 13 in both versions: The 1611 version: Though I speake with the tongues of men & of Angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brasse or a tinkling cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophesie, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge: and though I have all faith, so that I could remoove mountaines, and have no charitie, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestowe all my goods to feede the poore, and though I give my body to bee burned, and have not charitie, it profiteth me nothing. The 1760 version: Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.