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Copyright: © 2011 Jan White
400TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE BOOK THAT CHANGED THE WORLD
By: Jan White
The King James Bible, the best-selling book of all time, reaches a milestone this year. Special events are planned to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the KJV’s publication in 1611.
The Sunday Times of London reports that King James saw “his task as giving his newly acquired kingdom a beautiful gift that would also serve as a unifying force,” having been persuaded by the Puritans that a new translation of the Bible was needed.
Puritans sought to simplify and regulate forms of worship. When the Pilgrims, those Puritans who felt persecuted by the established church, decided to leave England to start a new life in the New World, they took the King James Bible with them.
The King James Bible Trust, organizing the anniversary events, describes the KJ Bible as the book that changed the world. “British sailors took the Bible on voyages around the globe; Through the work of the East India Company it was taken to India and to the colonies in Africa, Australia and New Zealand. This is one reason why English is now a world language,” according to www.kingjamesbibletrust.org.
In 1777, Congress voted to import 20,000 copies of the Bible from Scotland because shipments from England were cut off during the Revolutionary War. The Bible was the basis for religion, education, and colonial government.
Our sixth president John Quincy Adams once said, “The first and almost the only Book deserving of universal attention is the Bible.” President Calvin Coolidge has written, “The foundations of our society and our government rest so much on the teachings of the Bible that it would be difficult to support them if faith in these teachings would cease to be practically universal in our country.”
Another reason the King James Bible changed the world is summed up by Andrew Motion, Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom 1999-2009. “The King James Bible is a cornerstone of our culture and our language. Whatever our faith, whatever we believe, we have to recognize that the rhetorical power of this book, and in particular its power to fuse history with poetry, connects at the most fundamental level with our own history and poetry.”
Many words and phrases we use today come from the King James Bible. Have you ever called someone the “salt of the earth”? You’ve quoted from the KJV. To “turn the other cheek” or want an “eye for an eye” and many other familiar phrases come from the KJV.
How can you and I participate in the 400th anniversary celebration? Video yourself reading one chapter of the King James Bible, upload it to YouTube, and email the link to the website.
The YouTube Bible is an “ambitious project to create a complete reading of the King James Bible on YouTube.” People around the world are welcomed to contribute one chapter or several chapters. Approximately 50 of the 1189 chapters of the King James Bible have been recorded and posted at http://www.kingjamesbibletrust.org/community/the-youtube-bible.
The King James Bible, translated from Hebrew and Greek manuscripts by six groups of scholars, gave us an English version of the Word of God, which is “quick, and powerful….a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). It’s a book that continues to change my life because God’s inspired words teach eternal Truth.
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