Influence of the Authorized Version
400 years has passed since the King James, “Authorized Version”, translation of the Bible was released in 1611. In all of the history of the world in print, there has been no other text, to have such an influence on the entire world. Baylor University released this statement for an event they hosted to commemorate the King James Bible, “The need for such a celebration seemed obvious enough, given the translation’s vast importance in shaping Anglo-American culture and literature, language and politics” (Baylor University. N.p., 21 June 2011. Web. 24 Mar. 2017.)
Indeed no other bible has so permeated history as the King James. The King James Bible has become a household treasure. Family bibles in the King James Version have been passed from generation to generation. Songs have been written about it describing how families gather around the table to read from the Bible on a daily basis. The King James Bible has been in hospitals to hearten the sick, funerals to encourage the mourning, and battlefields to strengthen the resolve of soldiers. As the English language has gained dominance across the world as a “universal” language, so has the influence of King James spread and in turn changed the English language and its effect on the world. “The language and imagery of the King James translation has had a remarkable influence on the English-speaking cultures and literature,”(Harry Ransom Center. N.p., n.d. Web. 24)
From the King James Bible we have received many new words and phrases into the English language. These words and phrases have changed mankind’s perspective on life, God, and one another. Some of these words include Long-suffering, Busybody, Ungodly, Brotherly, and Apostleship. Some phrases introduced in to the common use that we still here today are such sayings as, “My brother’s keeper”, “No man can serve two masters”, and “Judge not that you be not judged”.
The sheer fact that it came into existence when it did is a testimony to the divine hand of God. Just as the Roman roads assisted in the spread of the gospel to all corners of the ancient world, the English language and movable typeset printing have spread the King James translation to every country in the world today. With this divine intervention the King James has influenced the way we look at our society to include, slavery, finances, leadership, language, and our relationship to God. The King James version gave the individual believer direct access to the teachings of Jesus. No other teacher in the history of the world has influenced mankind like the words Jesus spoke concerning love and the “be attitudes”. No other individual is quoted more, not Shakespeare, Plato, nor Homer.
While there are no original texts of the bible, that is; there are no know surviving manuscripts that were penned by the original writers, there is sufficient evidence in history and archeology that the King James translation is true to the Greek texts and shows that God has preserved his word through the ages.
“Evidence for the Bible can take many forms. There is, for instance, physical evidence. We have copies of the manuscripts and throughout history these copies show that the Bible has been transmitted accurately. Despite common skeptical claims that the Bible has often been changed through the centuries, the physical evidence tells another story. The New Testament records are incredible accurate. There are minor differences in manuscripts, called varants, but none of these variants impact or change the key Christian beliefs of claims.” (Focus on the Family. N.p., 24 Apr. 2009. Web. 25 Mar. 2017.)
There are over 5000 copies of the New Testament and fragments that contain portions of the text that have been preserved through history. While this may not seem like allot of references to base a good reconstruction of the text of the Bible; consider that there are less than 700 copies of Homer’s Iliad and far less of the writings of Aristotle. The sheer volume of texts available for comparison and contrast available to historically document the translation of the Bible is staggering in these terms. In addition, there were many eye witnesses of Jesus’ resurrection amongst the apostolic church who would have still been alive to repudiate the writings and letters passes through the early church. There is no biblical record of any of the apostles locating in Alexandria. Apollos is mentioned as coming from Alexandria and preaching an incorrect doctrine that had to be corrected by Aquila and Pricilla in Ephesus. (Acts 27.6)
The primary writings of the New Testament are from the Apostle Paul whose missionary headquarters were in Antioch. Antioch is the location referred to in the New Testament as the 1st place in which the believers were 1st called Christians. This is an important marker in history because when all of the text lineages are traced they come from one of two origins. The two origins of publications are Antioch and Alexandria. Other names for the Antioch text include the Byzantine text, Traditional Text, Apostolic Text, the Eastern text and the Textus Receptus or Latin “Received Text”.
The 1611 King James translation comes from a grouping of Greek texts commonly referred to as the Textus Receptus. This text is commonly referred to as the “Received Text”. The term Textus Receptus comes from Abraham Elzevir and Bonaventure in preface to a 1633 edition where they stated, “Textum ergo habes, nunc ab omnibus receptum: in quo nihil immutatum aut corruptum damus.” Which means “so you hold the text, now received by all, in which nothing corrupt.” (“Main Page.” Textus Receptus RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Mar. 2017.)
The Textus Receptus has been the standard for biblical translation for almost 2000 years. This grouping of manuscripts gains it name do to the fact that across all the texts samples used 95% of all the manuscripts used or referenced to the New Testament Greek Text are in basic agreement with the Textus Receptus. There have also been many manuscripts found since the printing of the King James Bible. The Dead Sea scrolls are one of the more famous findings. It is reported that factual evidence of the Dead Sea scrolls in comparison to the King James translation is considered 98.33 percent pure. (United Church of God. N.p., 23 Mar. 2011. Web. 24 Mar. 2017)
The King James Version of the Bible has been through time passed down through a divine lineage from the oral traditions of the ancient Hebrews and Greeks, to the modern King James translation as evidences through historical preservation and archeological evidence. This versions rendition of the truths of God has shed more insight into man’s reason for existence. The King James Bible has given the individual believe the knowledge and understanding of how to treat one another and how to relate to the God of the universe.
“Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin.” Harry Ransom Center. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Mar. 2017. <http://www.hrc.utexas.edu/exhibitions/2012/kingjamesbible/>.
“The Influence of the King James Version on English Literature.” The Influence of the King James Version on English Literature. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Mar. 2017. <http://www.bible-researcher.com/mcafee4.html>.
“How the King James Bible Changed the World.” Baylor Magazine, Summer 2011 | Baylor University. N.p., 21 June 2011. Web. 24 Mar. 2017. <http://www.baylor.edu/alumni/magazine/0904/news.php?action=story&story=95758>.
News, Good. “What’s the Difference Between Various Bible Versions?” United Church of God. N.p., 23 Mar. 2011. Web. 24 Mar. 2017. <https://www.ucg.org/the-good-news/whats-the-difference-between-various-bible-versions>.
“How Do We Know the Bible Is True?” Focus on the Family. N.p., 24 Apr. 2009. Web. 25 Mar. 2017. <http://www.focusonthefamily.com/faith/the-study-of-god/how-do-we-know-the-bible-is-true/how-do-we-know-bible-is-true>.
“Main Page.” Textus Receptus RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Mar. 2017. <http://textus-receptus.com/wiki/Main_Page>.
2 thoughts on “Influence of the Authorized Version”
Good article on the history of KJV. I prefer the language of the 1611 edition, over modern versions.