“Zeal To Promote The Common Good” The Story Of The King James Bible -- By: Michael A. G. Haykin

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 15:4 (Winter 2011)
Article: “Zeal To Promote The Common Good” The Story Of The King James Bible
Author: Michael A. G. Haykin

“Zeal To Promote The Common Good” The Story Of The King James Bible1

Michael A. G. Haykin

Michael A. G. Haykin is Professor of Church History and Biblical Spirituality at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is also Adjunct Professor of Church History and Spirituality at Toronto Baptist Seminary in Ontario, Canada. Dr. Haykin is the author of many books, including “At the Pure Fountain of Thy Word”: Andrew Fuller As an Apologist (Paternoster Press, 2004), Jonathan Edwards: The Holy Spirit in Revival (Evangelical Press, 2005), The God Who Draws Near: An Introduction to Biblical Spirituality (Evangelical Press, 2007), and Rediscovering the Church Fathers: Who They Were and How They Shaped the Church (Crossway, 2011).

The sixteenth century was one of the great eras of English Bible translation. Between 1526, when William Tyndale’s superlative rendition of the New Testament was printed, and 1611, when the King James Bible (KJV), or Authorized Version, appeared, no less than ten English-language Bible versions were published.2 The translators of the KJV were quite conscious of their deep indebtedness to this beehive of translation activity that preceded their work. As they noted in the “Preface” of the KJV, drawn up by the Puritan Miles Smith (1554-1624), who had been among those responsible for the translation of the Old Testament prophets and who had also taken part in the final revision of the entirety of the Old Testament, they had not sought to “make a new translation.” Rather, it had been their “endeavor” or “mark” to “make a good one better, or out of many good ones, one principal good one.”3 And of those many good versions that preceded the KJV, two especially deserve mention in any sketch of the history of the KJV: Tyndale’s New Testament and the Geneva Bible.

William Tyndale And His Duty

“Widely acknowledged as the most formative influence on the text of the King James Bible,”4 the New Testament of William Tyndale (c.1494-1536) comprises some four-fifths of the KJV New Testament.5 Tyndale’s deep-rooted conviction, formed by the early 1520s, that the Scriptures were essential to the reformation of the church in England had led him ultimately to Germany, where, a competent die-cutter and printer, Peter Schoffer the younger, published the Tyndale New Testament in 1526 at his print-shop in Worms. Schoffer initially ran off a print-run of either three or six thousand copies.You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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