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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

King James Bible 400th anniversary and William Tyndale

King James Version of the Bible is 400 years old this year! It was begun in 1604 and completed in 1611.

The King James wasn't the first English Bible, just the first "authorized" by the leader of the English Church, who was also the king, by the way. In 1525, William Tyndale, an English contemporary of Martin Luther, translated the New Testament. Tyndale was the first to translate large parts of the Bible into English, for normal laypersons. During  Tyndale's time the English language was scorned as a barbarous language of plowmen and commoners. If you could afford a copy of the scriptures it would most probably be in Latin. Some English translations had been made as far back as the seventh century, but Tyndale's was the first English translation directly using Hebrew and Greek texts. Tyndale's translation was the first printed Bible in English. John Wycliffe had translated the Bible 150 years before, but it was in Middle English, never printed on a printing press and never widely distributed because the press didn't exist yet.

In 1535, Tyndale was arrested by church authorities, and a year later strangled and burned at the stake. His crime? Publishing the scriptures of the New Testament in English.

The fifty-four independent scholars who created the King James Version of the bible in 1611 drew significantly on Tyndale's translations. One estimation suggests the New Testament in the King James Version is 83% Tyndale's, and the Old Testament 76% his.

The King James Version has helped form our language, given context to our literature, inspired our music, and for centuries was the one book a family owned and read before all others.

I personally love the New King James version because the old King James beautiful poetic language still comes through minus the thees, and thous. Also words like "speaketh" became "speaks"
The 130 translators of the NKJV believed in unyielding faithfulness to the original Greek, Aramaic, and Hebrew texts including the Dead Sea Scrolls.


I got my info from:
The Story of The Bible
Wikipedia®
biblicalscholarship.com

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