On This Day In History: The King James Bible Is Published For The First Time In London – On May 2, 1611
AncientPages.com - On May 2, 1611, the King James Bible was published for the first time, and it was England's authorized version of the Bible, translated from the original Greek and Hebrew languages into English at the request of King James I of England.
The King James Bible - John Speed's Genealogies recorded in the Sacred Scriptures (1611), bound into first King James Bible in quarto size (1612). Jeremylinvip - CC BY-SA 3.0
Other English versions of the Bible existed at the time, but King James did not like the most popular translation, the Geneva Bible. Geneva Bible was significant historical work, but King James did not like specific marginal notes in the book, which encouraged disobedience to kings.
Therefore, King James willingly agreed when a scholar, Dr. John Reynolds, proposed a new English translation of the Bible at a 1604 conference of church authorities at Hampton Court Palace.
In June 1604, fifty-four of England's most prominent linguists and scholars gathered into six panels to translate certain groups of Old Testament and New Testament books, along with the Apocrypha, into English.
Later, the Apocrypha was dropped from the following editions.
The title page's central text is: "THE HOLY BIBLE, Containing the Old Testament, AND THE NEW: Newly Translated out of the Original tongues: & with the former Translations diligently compared and revised, by His Majesties special Commandment. Appointed to be read in Churches. Imprinted in London by Robert Barker, Printer to the Kings most Excellent Majestie. ANNO DOM. 1611 ." At the bottom is: "C. Boel fecit in Richmont." Image credit: - Public Domain
King James agreed to the new Bible translation. The translators dedicated their work "to the highest and mighty prince James," the King James Version was never officially recognized by the king, nor was it ever authorized as the only text permitted to be read in a church.
Then a seven-year project governed by particularly rigorous translation rules. Of the original 54 men chosen to translate the King James Bible, only 47 finished the translation. The translators were scholarly men who were experts in biblical languages.
After the translations were done, a committee of 12 - two translators from each of the six panels - reviewed the translation.
This new version did not include the translators' personal eccentricities and political prejudices.
The King James Version of the Bible soon replaced other versions and became the leading text for private use.
The King James Bible is still found in many homes and churches today.