Jesus Christ Savior | The King James Version (KJV), also known as the King James Bible (KJB) or simply the Authorized Version (AV), is an English translation of the Christian Bible for the Church of England, begun in 1604 and completed as well as published in 1611 under the sponsorship of King James VI and I. (Image: Frontispiece to the King James’ Bible, 1611, shows the Twelve Apostles at the top. Moses and Aaron flank the central text. In the four corners sit Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, authors of the four gospels, with their symbolic animals. At the top, over the Holy Spirit in a form of a dove, is the Tetragrammaton “יהוה” (“YHWH”). The title page text reads: THE HOLY BIBLE, Conteyning the Old Teſtament,AND THE NEW: Newly Tranſlated out of the Originall tongues: & with the former Tranſlations diligently compared and reuiſed, by his Maiesties speciall Comandement. Appointed to be read in Churches. Imprinted at London by Robert Barker, Printer to the Kings moſt Excellent Maiestie. ANNO DOM. 1611 . At bottom is “C. Boel ſecit in Richmont.“)
The history of the English Bible is intimately intertwined with the history of the Reformation. Following the death of the Tudor Queen Elizabeth, James VI of Scotland became the Stuart King James I of England in 1603. He served until his death in 1625, when he was succeeded by his son, Charles I. It was a time when the English language reached its greatest expression in the works of William Shakespeare (1558-1616) and the King James Bible.
King James as head of the Church of England commissioned a group of bishops and scholars to establish an authoritative translation of the Bible from the original languages into English in 1604. There were several English versions available, either as translations of the Latin Vulgate or from the 1516 Greek-Latin parallel New Testament of Erasmus; the ones that follow influenced the King James scholars. John Wycliffe produced a hand-written English translation of the Latin Vulgate in 1384. William Tyndale, an English Lutheran, brought the first printed version of the New Testament into England in 1526. His colleague, Miles Coverdale, completed Tyndale’s work, which formed the basis for the Great Bible (1539), the first authorized Bible in English, which was placed in every church in England. When the Catholic Queen Mary came to the throne in 1553, further work had to be done on the European continent, and the Geneva Bible, the first to have numbered verses, was published in 1557. Beginning with the Protestant Elizabethan era in 1558, the English Catholic Douay-Rheims Bible, a translation of the Vulgate, had to be produced on the European continent as well, the Old Testament completed at Rheims, France in 1582, and the New Testament completed at Douay, France in 1609.
The Authorized King James Version of the Holy Bible was published in 1611. The King James Bible originally included the Apocrypha but in a separate section. A literary masterpiece of the English language, the King James Bible is still in use today.
Our anonymous author is a physician and a Masters graduate in Theology and Christian Ministry from Franciscan University, Steubenville, Ohio. He teaches Sunday Bible Class at St. James Catholic Church and serves both Pastoral Care and the Medical Staff at St. Joseph’s Hospital.