A monument for King James


Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Oddly enough, there’s no monument or remembrance of any significance for the man whose Bible translation bears his name, King James. The movie King James Bible tells the amazing story of this King who succeeded Queen Elizabeth. He was first crowned as Scotland’s king at the age of 13 months and had the innate God-given ability to seek peace and unity for his people. Yet there is a monument: the much-loved bible translation that bears his name.

Through his influence and leadership, he challenged both the Catholic church and the Puritans and set the course for these opposing sides to work together on a new English translation. It took 50 scholars seven years to complete this work.  In this time the Bible was checked and triple checked against the Hebrew and Greek Bible text.  

Even though today we have many bibles that have study notes in the margins, King James was opposed to having any commentary added to this new version. The previous translation, used by Protestants, the Geneva Bible had commentary in its margins.  However certain kings in the scripture were called tyrants and King James believed in the divine right of Kings.  He opposed the commentary, so it came out. https://founders.org/2011/10/12/the-geneva-bible-and-its-influence-on-the-king-james-bible/

What I liked about the movie was this little boy, deprived of his mother, treated roughly by his teacher, still stood firm and strong and wanted peace and unity for the United Kingdom. The teacher instilled in him a love for literature, which led to his interest in seeing an excellent translation.  God led this man through his circumstances, created this interest, and this led to the quality of the Bible with its poetic language and strong prose.

I came to appreciate the collaborative nature of this translation because of the movie.  I appreciated how God directed King James’ steps. It gives me encouragement in the little things because it was the childhood experiences that eventually made King James who he was, then influenced a highly regarded and excellent translation.

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