A History of the English Bible (King James)

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Nearly 200 edition of English Bibles were printed under Queen Elizabeth.  Most were editions of the Geneva Bible with all its notes and commentary. Others were New Testaments and Bishop’s Bible editions.  Demand was growing for the English Bible along with a disillusion with the Roman Catholic practices of the Church of England.

In 1603 King James was heading to his inauguration in London when he was presented with the Millenary Petition signed by 1000 ministers, hence the name Millenary.  This led to the Hampton Court meeting on January 16, 1604. King James called this meeting to hear our the petition from the Puritan preachers and other Church of England pastors. He brought forward four headings: (1) purity of doctrine; (2) the ministry; (3) the reform of church government, and (4) the amendment of the Book of Common Prayer. 

James rejected all the requests to change the Church of England.  When it came to religious matters King James held to freedom of religion. He did not intervene in church matters. But one thing came of the Hampton Court meeting. John Reynolds, director of Corpus Christi College, a puritan, suggested that an English Bible be set forth without all the notes of the Geneva Bible and correcting the mistakes in English Bibles.

In 1604 plans were drawn up for this translation. There were 50 translators divided into six companies. (See attached Instructions to the Translators). Four more men would be added because certain translators died during this 7 year work.

  • Westminster group I – 10 translators working on Genesis -2 Kings
  • Cambridge group I – 8 translators working on 1 Chronicles – Song of Solomon
  • Oxford group I – 7 translators working on Isaiah – Malachi
  • Cambridge group II – 7 translators working on the Aporcypha
  • Oxford group II – 11 translators working on Matthew – Acts and Revelation
  • Westminster group II – 7 translators working on the New Testament epistles

The Gunpowder Plot

  • The Jesuit Plot to assassinate King James. On the night of 4th/5th November 1605, Guy Fawkes was caught with thirty-six barrels of gunpowder in the cellars beneath Westminster. The idea was to blow up the House of Lords at the opening of Parliament on the 5th November, and to assassinate King James I.
  • Pop Culture – November 5, Guy Fawkes Day. V for Vendetta with Natalie Portman.

Translation mistakes corrected

  • 2 Samuel 21:19 David didn’t kill Goliath?
  • Easter corrected
  • The evidence
    • The Greek word in Acts 12:4 is pascha and appears 29 times in Greek manuscripts. 28 times pascha is translated passover and one time it’s translated Easter in the King James Bible.  This is for very good reason.
    • Consider the complaint that the Greek word for Easter is not in the text, so there is no reason to translate pascha to Easter.
    • Let’s read starting in Acts 12:1.  Notice the parenthesis is a personal note from the Holy Spirit to the reader in 12:3.  So what is the relationship of days of unleavened bread to the passover?
    • Leviticus 23:5-6 In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD’S passover. 6 And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread.
    • Numbers 28:16-17 And in the fourteenth day of the first month is the passover of the LORD. 17 And in the fifteenth day of this month is the feast: seven days shall unleavened bread be eaten.
    • So we ask, what is the Greek word for Easter
    • The complaint that pascha is not the Greek word for Easter is answered this way.
    • If you were going to say Easter in Greek, how would you say it?
    • There is no Greek word for Easter!  So the English is more precise than Greek in this matter!

Easter is one example of diligent Bible study that led to correct interpretation and translation in the King James Bible.  Almost all new versions of the Bible in English since 1900 revert back to errors, such as Passover, that were corrected in the King James Bible.