The King James Bible, also known as the Authorized Version (AV), was commissioned by King James I of England in 1604.
King James’ primary motivation was to produce an English Bible that would be acceptable to all parties within the Church of England and would help unify religious factions by providing a standardized text.
The work was entrusted to about 47 scholars, all members of the Church of England, divided into six groups. They worked in three locations: Oxford, Cambridge, and Westminster.
Sources used for the King James Bible
The translators used the available English translations, most notably the Tyndale Bible and the Bishop’s Bible. They also referred to the original Hebrew texts for the Old Testament and Greek manuscripts for the New Testament.
The translation was completed in 1611, seven years after the commissioning.
Renowned for its majesty and poetic nature, the King James Bible’s language has influenced English literature and culture in profound ways. Phrases from the KJV have become commonplace in the English language.
Impact of KJV
The KJV has been one of the most printed and distributed books in the world. Its influence is seen not only in religious contexts but also in literature, art, and culture.
The King James Bible underwent several revisions, most notably in 1629, 1638, and 1769, to correct typographical errors and improve its clarity.
While the KJV is revered for its literary qualities, it has been criticized for inaccuracies when compared with older manuscripts discovered later, such as the Dead Sea Scrolls. However, it remains a significant and authoritative text in many Christian denominations.
The King James Bible laid the foundation for many subsequent English translations of the Bible. Its enduring legacy can be seen in its continuous print and use, even four centuries after its first publication.
The King James Bible stands as a massive achievement in the history of English translation and has had a lasting impact on Christianity, English language, and literature.