King James Translation

Content Author: 
Reagan, David
  1. Call for a New Translation
    1. The Millenary Petition
      1. When Queen Elizabeth died in 1603, James (who already had been King of Scotland) became James I of England
      2. Shortly after he became King of England, James received the Millenary Petition from the Puritans <fn>footnote content</fn>
      3. The petition received its name from the fact that it had 1,000 signers making up one-tenth of the English clergy
      4. The petition requested the removal of all popish elements from the worship of the church and the adoption of hyper-Calvinistic articles of faith
      5. King James would not grant these requests but he did arrange for a hearing for the Puritans.  This was the Hampton Court Conference.
    2. The Hampton Court Conference
      1. Held in 1604 outside of London because of the plague
      2. Purpose – for the statement and discussion of the divergent views of rival parties in the Church of England
      3. James met before a group of 50 or 60 high churchmen and four Puritans who had been allowed to come to the conference
      4. The Puritan leader, Dr. John Reynolds, President of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, raised the subject of the imperfection of the current bibles.
      5.  King James supported the idea of a new translation as long as it was free from marginal commentary as found in the Tyndale and Geneva Versions
      6. The Puritans received no other support or comfort from King James at the conference 
  2. The Translation Itself
    1. The Work of Translation 
      1. The plan for translation was drawn up in 1604
      2. Actual work began in 1607
      3. Fifty-four men were chosen, but because of deaths, etc., only about forty-seven did any work
      4. The translators included Hebrew and Greek professors from both universities and practically all the leading scholars of the day.
      5. The translators were placed into one of three companies, which in turn were divided into six groups: two at Westminster, two at Oxford and two at Cambridge.
      6. Each group translated a section of the Bible separately and then all of the groups went over the work of each other group.
      7. Learned men outside the selected translators were invited to give their opinions.
      8. Final revision was done by a committee made up of two members from each of the three companies.
      9. In the original plan, the bishops and the king were to be allowed to review the translation, but there is no record of them ever having anything to do with it.
      10. The translating work took a total of two years and nine months
      11. Approximately 60% of the text of the English Bible had reached its final literary form before the King James Version was produced – mostly from the Tyndale and Geneva Versions.
    2. Preface to the Translation
      1. Called The Translators to the Readers
      2. Written by Dr. Miles Smith
      3. Principles of the translation
        1. To make one principle good translation out of the many good ones
        2. To place a variety of senses in the margin
        3.  To keep some of the established ecclesiastical terms: baptism, chucrh, etc.
        4. To avoid obscure terms
        5. To use a variety of synonyms
          1. “We have not tyed our selves to a uniformitie of phrasing or to an identitie of words”, but have adopted each passage to “the tone of its surrounding ideas.”
          2. Isaiah 35:10 and 51:11 are identical in Hebrew but in English the first has a light, musical air while the second carries an eloquent mood
          3. One Greek word (katargeo- to make void) occurs 27 times in the New Testament and is rendered 17 different ways in the English.
      4. Approach of the translators – “And in what sort did these assemble?  In the trust of their own knowledge, or of their sharpness of it, or deepness of judgment, as it were in an arm of flesh?  At no hand.  They trusted in him that hath the key of David, opening and no man shutting; they prayed to the Lord…” 
  3. Early Results
    1. Unusual Editions
      1. The “Wicked Bible” of 1641 left “not” out of the seventh commandment concerning adultery
      2. The “Printers Bible” misprinted Psalm 119:61 – “Printers have persecuted me without a cause.”
    2. The Success of the Translation
      1. No decree by either King, Parliament or Convocation was ever made ordaining its use
      2.  The title page stated, “Appointed to be read in churches”.  This was the only indication of any authorization.  King James approved the work of translation but God and His people approved the finished product.
      3. The Bishop’s Bible was not printed after 1606.
      4. The Geneva Bible was last printed in 1644.
      5. Between 1611 and 1644, the British and Foreign Bible Society enumerates 15 editions of the Geneva Bible and 182 editions of the Authorized Version.
      6. The King James Bible was not seriously challenged by another version for 250 years.
David Reagan

Daily Proverb

Proverbs 31:10

Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.