KING JAMES BIBLE

The King James Bible holds an important place within Christ Church North Adelaide. We use it to study the Word of God and in our church service readings. 

This page is designed to give a very brief history of the King James Bible and the place it holds in the Anglican Communion. If you have any further questions, please speak to one of our Priests, who will be more than happy to answer them for you.

A BRieF HISTORY

Prior to 1611, four major English Bible transitions were in circulation; the Matthew Bible (1537), The Great Bible (1539), which was the first official English Church Bible, the Geneva Bible and the Bishops’ Bible of 1568 (a revision of the Great Bible). However all of these Bibles can trace their heritage to the English Translation by William Tyndale (1525).

An interesting fact: The first ever recorded translation of the Bible into English took place in the 15th century with the John Wycliffe’s Bible of 1409. However the text was banned due to both political and religious in-fighting in England at the time.

An interesting fact: William Tyndale translated the new Testament into English using Hebrew and Greek texts in 1525, but was burnt as a martyr before he could complete the Old Testament.

An interesting fact: The Great Bible was commissioned by King Henry VIII.

The King James Bible was commissioned by King James I (King James VI of Scotland). King James was adamant firstly that his   Bible would conformed to the traditions and laws of the Church of England and secondly would contain no marginal notes (which was an issue with the Geneva Bible). 

Forty Seven scholars were commissioned to undertake the translation. The text of the Bishops' Bible served as the primary guide for the translators. But, if the Bishops' Bible was deemed problematic, translators were permitted to consult the Tyndale Bible, the Coverdale Bible, Matthew's Bible, the Great Bible, and the Geneva Bible. 

The scholars worked in six committees, two based at University of Oxford, two at the University of Cambridge, and two at Westminster. The committees included scholars with Puritan sympathies, as well as High Churchmen. 

By 1608 the translations were complete. It then took three additional years for a General Committee of Review to work, and in 1611, the text was ready to be printed. 

The original printing of the King James Bible was done by the Kings Printer and sold for the hefty sum of ten shillings. However in 1629 the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge successfully managed to gain the rights to print the Bible. By 1631 every Church of England parish had a King James Bible. 

An interesting fact: The words “The King James Authorized Version” first appeared in the 1814 reprint of the text.

In modern times, principally after World War Two, a plethora of Bibles version became available, many using the King James Bible as their starting point, these include the Revised Standard, the New English, the New International and the New King James

As you can see from this brief history, much scholarship and dedication has gone into the creation of the King James Bible, making just as relevant today as it was in 1611.