Posted by: baptistthinker | November 25, 2010

The Upcoming 400th Anniversary of the King James Version of the Holy Bible

In little more than a month, 2011 will be upon us. Whatever else the new year brings, it brings us to a celebration of the 400th anniversary of the translation of the King James Version of the Bible, also known as the Authorized Version. This will be of particular interest to King James Only Baptists, as well as celebrated by publishing houses, Bible translators, and various theologians.

I grew up in a family and church that used the King James Version. My pastor was King James Preferred(and it was all we were permitted to use in our Christian school and church Sunday School), and my dad was King James Only. Many of the visiting pastors and evangelists who came to our church were King James Only, sometimes of the more pushy sort. So I grew up King James Only as well, and briefly attended two King James Only Independent Baptist Bible colleges.

While I am not King James Only today, I still enjoy reading the King James Version from time-to-time. The King James Version is the translation that I tend to think of Bible verses in, then I have to look them up in the KJV, and find the reference so I can look it up in my ESV.

On my shelf behind me, I have several books regarding the King James Version, the texts it uses, and the history behind it. I also have a few copies of the King James, including the last actual Bible that I actively used when I was King James Only.

I think that during 2011, I’m going to celebrate in my own way. I’ll switch back to the King James Version as my primary translation for personal study and use, although I’ll probably use my ESV at church. Approximately 1/3-1/2 of my personal theological library is made up of books that use the King James Version for Biblical references, most of the works being written pre-20th century. I’ll read my books that discuss the issues of Bible translation, as well as those that focus on the history behind the King James Version. Many of the books in my theological library are written by Puritans, Anglicans, or 19th century Baptists(like Spurgeon). So I’ll work on reading through those as well.

I already am of the opinion that as a literary work, the King James Version tends to stand above most other translations, particularly when it comes to the Poetry Books. The language is obviously loftier than most other translations, and while it’s rather early Modern English, it’s still mostly readable if one has a good dictionary that accurately renders the meanings of certain words that are in the King James Version(you wouldn’t believe some of the horrible sermons that I’ve hard that were based on a misreading of a verse because the preacher substituted today’s meaning of the word for the original meaning).

As I read through the issues surrounding the origins, translation work, and related aspects of the KJV, I think I’ll blog a little about those. Being from a KJV-Only background, those aspects are of particular fascination for me. I’ll make sure to write a blog post prior to getting started on this that discusses the King James Only controversy and some of the camps within KJV-Onlyism.



  1. Your history parallels mine. Looking forward to your posts on this subject. I still preach from the King James, and memorize from it. However I often quote from the ESV, and read it devotionally.

  2. My history is similar, though no one ever declared themselves KJV-only; simply KJV-preferred.

    I think it’s time for the KJV to be an asset, but not for primary use – I know few people who are KJV-preferred or KJV-only who would also regularly read Shakespeare or other English works from the early 17th century.

    It is a great translation and a great English work. It is beautiful in its language and should be treasured. I look forward to heralding it in 2011 as well, though I don’t think I’ll switch to KJV fully through the year.

    Thanks for the post!

  3. For more news about the 400th anniversary of the 1611 King James Version Bible, be sure to visit the new website. As was done for the Gutenberg Bible, a leather-bound leaf book is being issued. Two big surprises:

    1. The leaf book’s authors have compiled the first worldwide census of extant copies of the original first printing of the 1611 King James Version (sometimes referred to as the “He” Bible). For decades, authorities from the British Museum, et al., have estimated that “around 50 copies” of that first printing still exist. The real number is quite different.

    2. As well, one of the authors has discovered the exact price at which the first KJV Bibles were sold back in 1611. That price has eluded experts for generations. The finding was quite a surprise!

    For more information, you’re invited to contact Donald L. Brake, Sr., PhD, at or David Sanford at

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