Study Notes on the History of KJV.I
have found that I keep coming back to the sequence of events leading up
to the publishing of the first King James Bible, or as we normally say
it - King James Version (KJV).
I have put down some
of the facts as I have come across them, but I have no doubt that they
are far from complete.
they help to make the point that our English Bibles have "evolved" (and
are continuing to evolve) rather than come through some spontaneous
birth. As we look backward, we can only see Bibles that men have
produced that are only partially accurate, and far from
for all sorts of reasons.
While many improvements
made over the years, I look forward to the day when I can hold in my
hand, an English Bible that is as accurate as man (with God's
inspiration) can make it.
|Prior to 600 AD||English not
|600 AD to 1382||English the language of the common people for many centuries. Nobles spoke French, the clergy Latin. A few books of
the Bible translated into English, and all from the Latin Vulgate. None
translation into English, but from the Latin Vulgate. It was - all 80 books - hand written|
Bible||Incomplete OT translated
from the Hebrew and the NT from Erasmu's third edition Greek. Started some
corrections like "congregation" instead of "church", and "elder"
instead of "priest".|
|1534||Best revision of
|1535||The Coverdale Bible||No Hebrew or
Greek used, but did use many other books. First complete Bible printed in the English language.|
|1535||The Matthew Bible||Used Tyndale's
NT and Coverdale's OT. Added about 2000 notes.|
|1539||The Great Bible||Basically
the Matthew Bible without the notes, and written on large sheets of
paper - hence "Great" Bible. They were chained up in every church.|
|1560||The Geneva Bible||A translation
from Hebrew and Greek.|
First English Bible with verse
First Bible to America - via the Pilgrims.
popular with the lower classes - but rejected by clergy, because it was
too Calvinistic [salvation by grace].
First translation done by a committee.
on the Great Bible. I get the impression that the Bishops were trying
to write their own job description back into the Bible. It was not a
good translation, and did nothing to draw people away from the Geneva
|1610||The Rheims Douai Bible||From the Latin
Vulgate and especially for Catholics.|
|1611||The King James
by King James and under his imposed conditions.|
was to be based on the Bishop's Bible, and was to retain all the
ecclesiastical words. It also tried to draw the best from the Matthew,
Geneva, Rheims-Douai, the Great Bible, and especially the English (but not the accuracy)
of the Tyndale Bible. Besides the current translations, they also
used the less than perfect Stephanus Text of 1550, and the current
above history is very brief, but it does show that many men have made
attempts to get the original Scripture into the English language.
process of doing this is not easy.
To give some idea
of the complexities, let me quote from the Encyclopedia Britannica,
1965, Page 3-581.
of the Bible is fraught with special problems, in addition to those
present in the translation of any literary classic.
the knowledge of not one but two major languages, Hebrew and Greek, and
an awareness of the distinctiveness of Aramaic alongside Hebrew. To
render biblical terms appositely into another language, the translator
ought to be able to presuppose the presence in that language of the
technical terms for the myriad theological, liturgical and mystical
concepts throughout the Old and the New testaments. On the
hand, such technical terms cannot appear in a language until it
possesses and absorbs a translation of the Scriptures.
read that last line again. It encapsulates the problem
He is saying that you cannot translate the Scriptures until the people
can talk about what is in the Scriptures.]
There is therefore a
continuous reciprocity between the history of biblical translations and
the history of language.
[Today the English language is refined and
very usable. However, the understanding of what the original Scriptures
are trying to tell us is so far behind, that no accurate translation is
possible. The translators of today usually believe in the Trinity
(which the original Bible does not support), do not keep the Friday
night to Saturday night Sabbath, and do not keep the Holy Days of Lev
23, so it is impossible for them to make an accurate translation. We
now have the language, but we do not - in my view - have the men who are immersed
enough in obeying God's law (see the Big Ten) to be able to make a
In addition, few books contain the
variety of literary forms present within the Bible. [Please see
Appendix 6 in the Companion Bible.] If the translator ignores the
unique patterns of Hebrew poetry or of Hebrew historiography
prophetic denunciation, he will falsify the meaning of the text. Each
portion of the Bible contains special pitfalls for the translator, and
the history of biblical translations is filled with the sometimes comic
pictures of scholars falling into these pitfalls."
the KJV is no exception. It breaks the rules many, many times.
summary. No English translation of the original Bible is entirely accurate.
That is why we prefer to take the overview and look for
That way - we believe - there is less chance of getting caught in
Satan's traps - planted by men with "good" intentions no
but still a corruption of the original.
you look at how the English Bibles of today have been handed down to us
over the centuries, the many "possible" early texts to start from, and
the many different translation men have arrived at, there is just no
way that we can claim the every single word of our English Bibles is
Yet - the majority of people do that today.
My guess is that they want to be able to use the words of "men" to overrule the words of God.
have been told (Deut 8:3, Mat 4:4) to live by the words that come from
God's mouth - the words of instruction spoken by God. However, men
don't want to do that, so by claiming every verse in the Bible has
equal weight, they can use the words written by men to overrule the
words spoken by God.
The classic example is how Sunday keepers
use the words/actions of lesser men to "get around" the clear
instructions from God - the fourth Commandment.
Yes - there is
truth in today's English Bibles, but to complicate things, it is mixed
up with the errors of men. We have to carefully extract the truth, NOT
assume that it is all truth.
Orchard Oct 2014
this information is made freely available (Mat 10:8b) , and can be printed out, it is
done with the understanding that there will only be fair and honest use
material, and that it will be copied in full with no alterations.