King James Bible Released on This Date in 1611

The original King James Bible was officially introduced by the Church of England on May 2, 1611. At the beginning of King James I’s reign in 1603 A.D., he commissioned an English translation of the Bible from a committee of 54 scholars. This significant undertaking was called the “Authorized Version,” later known as the “King James Bible.” King James intended for his version to replace the 1560 Geneva Bible, the most popular Protestant translation at that time.

This new “translation to end all translations” (for a while at least) took into consideration: The Tyndale New Testament, The Coverdale Bible, The Matthews Bible, The Great Bible, The Geneva Bible, and the Rheims New Testament. A thorough examination of the 1611 King James Bible shows that its translators seemed to be influenced more by the Geneva Bible than by any other source. Even so, the King James version is highly regarded as a masterpiece of English literature due to its flowing language and rhythmic prose.

The King James Bible took seven years to complete and was the third official English version of the sacred text; the first having been the “Great Bible” commissioned by the Church of England during the reign of King Henry VIII, and the second having been the Bishop’s Bible of 1568. Now the most popular Bible translation, the King James Version was not an overnight success. (In fact, the Geneva Bible remained popular for decades after the KJV’s original release! The Geneva also holds the honor of being the first Bible taken to America, and the Bible of the Puritans and Pilgrims.)

First printed by the King’s Printer, Robert Barker, the original folio book of the King James Bible was quite large: approximately 17″ tall, 30″ wide when opened, and it weighed nearly 30 pounds. The folio also contained informational materials including a note on the translation, a map of the Holy Land, a calendar of the church year, and an extensive genealogical chart from Adam and Eve to Christ. These original 1611 Bibles were expensive and were chained to the front pulpit of churches, to prevent them from being stolen.

Today, the King James Bible is described as the most important and influential printed book in the English language, reigning supreme over other translations. The Internet age has also greatly increased its reach. Tracking down a biblical reference is now just a matter of typing key words or phrases into an internet search engine. Mobile applications for iPhones and iPads are available for Bible lovers on the go. A “Twitter Bible” summarizes over 31,000 Bible verses into nearly 4000 short-form tweets. The YouTube Bible is the King James Bible Trust’s ambitious project to create a complete reading of the King James Bible on YouTube.

The Trust’s mission is to leave a lasting legacy for future generations, by ensuring that this great work of literature and learning is still read and taught in years to come. Anyone who values education should certainly read the world’s most popular book and all-time best seller. You will gain life-long knowledge and wisdom from reading the Bible cover to cover. The King James Bible is the most widely known and quoted version of the Bible, and has shaped both Western culture and the English language.

References:

King James Bible Trust – See a digital reproduction of the King James Bible as it appeared when it was published in 1611. Read and search the King James Version online. Experience life in 1611. Learn about Bible heroes through the ages. View the YouTube Bible (they still need people to contribute chapters to this ongoing project).

King James Bible Online – The 1769 Oxford ‘Authorized edition’ of the King James Bible and the original 1611 King James Bible. Try the Bible comprehension questions at the end of each chapter, and a Bible trivia quiz (sort by difficulty, category, subject or book). View commentaries, interact by leaving Bible comments, and add the Bible to your website!

King James Audio Visual Bible – Read the entire King James Version of the Bible from the convenience of your computer – also compatible with iPad, iPhone, and Android. Contains the Holy Scriptures with audio narration, maps, dictionaries, and other resources. Published by the King James Bible Society.

English Bible History – The fascinating story of how we got the Bible in its present form.

King James Bible Timeline – This page was made in commemoration of the 400th Year Anniversary of the Authorized King James Version of the Bible.

Prepare for College: Read the Bible – English professors from leading colleges and universities all agree: “Knowledge of the Bible is a deeply important part of a good education.”

KJB: The Book That Changed the World – In this DVD, acclaimed actor John Rhys-Davies visits landmarks, explains relics, and leads us back into a darker time to discover this fascinating tale of saints and sinners, power and passion, as the greatest translation of Holy Scripture emerges into a world and culture that would never be quite the same again.

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