Editorial: Celebrating The 400th Anniversary Of The King James Bible -- By: Stephen J. Wellum

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 15:4 (Winter 2011)
Article: Editorial: Celebrating The 400th Anniversary Of The King James Bible
Author: Stephen J. Wellum

Editorial: Celebrating The 400th Anniversary Of The King James Bible

Stephen J. Wellum

Stephen J. Wellum is Professor of Christian Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Dr. Wellum received his Ph.D. degree in theology from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and has also taught theology at the Associated Canadian Theological Schools and Northwest Baptist Theological College and Seminary in Canada. He has contributed to several publications and a collection of essays on theology and worldview issues.

2011 marked the four hundredth anniversary of the King James Bible, the best-selling book of all time. Given its enormous impact and importance, around the world numerous remembrances and celebrations have taken place, academic conferences held, and books published marking this historic milestone. From England to America, from Canada to the Netherlands, from Ireland to Australia and New Zealand, people have commemorated and given thanks to God for the production of the King James Bible. Even Brigham Young University and the Vatican sponsored exhibits marking this historic occasion. All of these celebrations are a vivid testimony to and reminder of the incredible impact the King James Bible has had on the church, the larger English cultures, and even the world.

Not wanting to let this important anniversary and historical occasion go unnoticed, we decided to devote an issue of SBJT to this very subject. In our articles and forum pieces, our authors reflect on the impact the King James Bible has had on the church and the world from a variety of angles. Some authors set the historic context which resulted in the production of the translation in 1611, particularly its relation to William Tyndale’s translation of the NT into English in 1525 and the Geneva Bible which was produced in 1560. Other authors, while building on this history, reflect more on some of the contemporary issues surrounding the King James Bible such as its role in fundamentalism, the ongoing debate over the textual superiority of the translation, various fallacies associated with the King James Bible, as well as the worldwide impact the translation has had, indeed more than this, the impact that the Bible in general has had on the world and beyond the borders of the church.

As one reflects on the historic circumstances in which the King James Bible was produced, as with most events in history, they are never neat and tidy. This is certainly true in regard to the production of the King James Bible. As the historical story is

recounted, it is beyond question that the translation was produced in the midst of controversy turmoil, and political upheaval. ...

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