2011 marks the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible also known as the Authorized Version (AV). The actual birthday is May 5, 2011.
The King James Version holds a unique position in Christian history, secular history, literature, and technology. It has often been described as the single most important publication in all of history.
Importance ~ Without doubt it is the most important English translation of the Holy Bible.
Impact ~ It has made a profound impact on the English language and on literature!
Uniqueness ~ There were in fact other English Bible translations prior to the KJV and many since. It is also interesting to note that it was not the most popular translation when it was published. But no one translation nor one book has impacted the world like the KJV.
Longevity ~ The KJV is nearly twice as old as the United States. The Declaration of Independence, our national Constitution, and our Bill of Rights are youngsters compared to the KJV Bible.
Popularity ~ For many decades it was the best-selling book in the world. Estimates are that somewhere between 2.5 and 6.5 billion copies have been sold.
Survival ~ Arguably no other book has suffered such ferocious attacks or has been so closely scrutinized. Attacks have continued for four centuries by many enemies. Most of those foes are gone but this book lives on.
Debate ~ Avid readers have always discussed its meaning. Some take it at face value for what the words say. Others have gone to significant lengths to find a secret code locked in its pages. An extreme example is when some speculated that William Shakespeare—who was 46 at the time—was one of the master translators of the KJV. Their reasoning: The 46th word of the 46th Psalm is the word “shake” and the 46th word from the end of the 46th psalm is “spear.”
On-Going Fan Club ~ There are many Christians alive today who believe the KJV is the only acceptable Bible version. Virtually all theologians hold the KJV in high regard.
Errors ~ Conservative Christians believe the Holy Bible to be the God-inspired (literally “God breathed”) Word of God without error in the original manuscripts. But that does not mean that translations are flawless. The KJV we read today is not identical to the original KJV. Literally hundreds of changes have been made to the vocabulary, spelling, punctuation, and grammar. Also printer errors have been corrected.
Probably the worst printer error occurred in 1631 when the royal printers left out the word “not” in the seventh of the ten commandments. It read, “Thou shalt commit adultery.”
Another famous error was what became known as the Vinegar Translation which instead of including the parables of the vineyards it included the parables of the vinegar.
Selected passages from the KJV ~ “All Scripture [original manuscripts] is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Tim 3:16-17).
“For the Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do” (Hebrews 4:12-13).
“Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth forever” (1 Peter 1:23).
Closing Questions ~ Are you born again? Do you possess eternal life so that you will also live and abide forever? If not click here.