Who Translated the King James Bible

Who Translated the King James Bible

The King James Bible is one of the most influential and widely read books in English literature. It is also a remarkable achievement of translation, involving dozens of scholars and years of work. Here are some of the main facts about who translated the King James Bible and how they did it.

The King James Bible was commissioned by King James I of England in 1604, who wanted to create a new and authoritative English version of the Bible that would unify the Church of England and settle the religious disputes between different factions.

The translation was done by a team of 47 scholars, who were divided into six groups, two each working at Westminster, Oxford, and Cambridge. They were mostly clergymen from the Church of England, but also included some Puritans and other dissenters.

Some of the famous translators of the King James Bible were:

Lancelot Andrewes (1555-1626), the director of the First Westminster Company, which translated the first 12 books of the Old Testament. He was a renowned scholar, preacher, and bishop, who also supervised the translation of the Apocrypha.

John Bois (1560-1643), a member of the First Cambridge Company, which translated the books from Chronicles to Ecclesiastes. He was a prodigy who learned Hebrew at the age of six and Greek at the age of nine. He also wrote a detailed account of the translation process.

John Rainolds (1549-1607), the president of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, and the leader of the First Oxford Company, which translated the Gospels, Acts, and Revelation. He was a Puritan leader who proposed the idea of a new translation to King James at the Hampton Court Conference in 1604.

Miles Smith¬†(1554-1624), a member of the Second Oxford Company, which translated the Prophets. He was an expert in Hebrew, Chaldee, Syriac, and Arabic.¬†He also wrote the preface to the King James Bible, known as "The Translators to the Reader‚ÄĚ.

William Bedwell (1561-1632), a member of the Second Cambridge Company, which translated the Apocrypha. He was a pioneer in Arabic studies and produced a lexicon and grammar of that language. He also left behind many manuscripts on biblical and oriental subjects.

The translators used various sources for their translation, including the original Hebrew and Greek texts, the Latin Vulgate, the Septuagint, and previous English versions such as the Great Bible, the Bishops’ Bible, and the Geneva Bible. They also consulted with other experts and scholars from different fields and languages.

The translation process was supervised by Richard Bancroft, the archbishop of Canterbury, who set the rules and guidelines for the translators. He also reviewed and revised the final draft of the translation before it was published.

The translation was completed in 1611, after seven years of work. It was printed by John Norton and Robert Barker, who were the official printers of the king. The first edition contained 80 books, including 39 books of the Old Testament, 14 books of Apocrypha, and 27 books of the New Testament13.

The translation was praised for its beauty, accuracy, and clarity of language. It became the standard English Bible for the next four centuries, and influenced many writers, poets, artists, and thinkers. It is still widely used and admired today by many Christians around the world.


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