According to the testimony of the Authorized King James Version translators themselves, the previous translations of the Bible (English and those of other nations) provided foundational translation work for the Authorized Version; the King James translators with the original languages (Hebrew and Greek) in hand, honed, burnished, and finished the translation work. They labored and willingly brought their work back to the anvil again and again until the work was done. The Authorized Version is the culmination of the translation work of nations and ages.

To confirm this assessment, find quotes below from (1) the title page of the Authorized Version, (2) "The Epistle Dedicatory" of the Authorized Version, and (3) "The Translators to the Reader" of the Authorized Version. After these sections, read on about the translators, the impact of the Authorized Version, strange fire after two and half centuries, chief adversaries of the translation, and King James himself standing as a bulwark of protection. We have much to be thankful for.


The title page of the Authorized Version of the Holy Bible testifies as to from what the King James translators translated--(1) the original tongues [Hebrew and Greek] (2) and with the former translations diligently compared and revised by the special commandment of the king.

Conteyning the Old Testament,
and the New:
Newly Translated out of the Originall
tongues: & with the former Translations
diligently compared and revised
: by his
Maiesties special Commandement

Appointed to be read in Churches.

Imprinted at London by Robert
Barker. Printer to the Kings
most Excellent Maiestie.
ANNO DOM. 1611.


The Epistle Dedicatory of the Authorized Version reveals that King James himself, "out of deep judgment apprehended how convenient it was, that OUT OF THE ORIGINAL SACRED TONGUES, TOGETHER WITH COMPARING OF THE LABORS, BOTH IN OUR OWN, AND OTHER FOREIGN LANGUAGES, OF MANY WORTHY MEN WHO WENT BEFORE US, there should be one more exact Translation of the holy Scriptures into the English Tongue."


At the time of the translation of the Authorized Version, the previous translations (not just in the English tongue but in foreign tongues also) provided foundational translation work for the Authorized Version; the King James translators did the finishing work. The King James translators, according to their own testimony in "The Translators to the Reader," built on the foundation of those that went before them (emphases ours)--

". . .we are so far off from condemning any of their labours that travelled before us in this kind, EITHER IN THIS LAND OR BEYOND THE SEA, either in King Henry's time, or King Edward's, (if there were any translation, or correction of a translation, in his time) or Queen Elizabeth's of ever renowned memory, that WE ACKNOWLEDGE THEM TO HAVE BEEN RAISED UP OF GOD FOR THE BUILDING AND FURNISHING OF HIS CHURCH, and that they deserve to be had of us and of posterity in everlasting remembrance."

". . . we do not deny, nay, we affirm and avow, that the very meanest translation of the Bible in English set forth by men of our profession. . . containeth the word of God, nay, is the word of God: as the King's speech which he uttered in Parliament, being translated into French, Dutch, Italian, and Latin, is still the King's speech, though it be not interpreted by every translator with the like grace, nor peradventure so fitly for phrase, nor so expressly for sense, every where. . . ."

". . . nothing is begun and perfected at the same time. . . so, if WE BUILDING UPON THEIR FOUNDATION THAT WENT BEFORE US, AND BEING HOLPEN BY THEIR LABOURS, do endeavour to make that better which they left so good; no man, we are sure, hath cause to mislike us; they, we persuade ourselves, if they were alive, would thank us. . . ."

"we never thought from the beginning that we should need to make a new translation, nor yet to make of a bad one a good one; (for then the imputation of Sixtus had been true in some sort, that our people had been fed with gall of dragons instead of wine, with whey instead of milk;) but TO MAKE A GOOD ONE BETTER, OR OUT OF MANY GOOD ONES ONE PRINCIPAL GOOD ONE, NOT JUSTLY TO BE EXCEPTED AGAINST; THAT HATH BEEN OUR ENDEAVOUR, THAT OUR MARK."

The King James translators (notable, learned, holy scholars) examined (1) the scriptures in the original languages in which they were written (Old Testament in Hebrew and the New Testament in Greek) (2) the previous English translations and (3) the translations of other nations. "The Translators to the Reader" reveals that they also consulted such other resources as they deemed useful. The following quotes come from "The Translators to the Reader" (emphases ours)--

"These tongues [speaking of Hebrew and Greek] therefore (the Scriptures, we say, in those tongues) we set before us to translate, being the tongues wherein God was pleased to speak to his Church by his Prophets and Apostles."

"Neither did we think much to consult the translators or commentators, Chaldee, Hebrew, Syrian, Greek, or Latin; no, nor the Spanish, French, Italian, or Dutch; neither did we disdain to revise that which we had done, and to bring back to the anvil that which we had hammered: but having and using as great helps as were needful, and fearing no reproach for slowness, nor coveting praise for expedition, we have at the length, through the good hand of the Lord upon us, brought the work to that pass that you see.


We see then that the Authorized Version is a result of work that was set forth by men of our profession who came from many nations and was finalized in the English nation by a group of what Alexander McClure called, "eminent divines," "ripe and critical scholars," and "good men." The following is excerpted from Mr. McClure's Translators Revived (emphases ours)--

HAVING thus traced the history of our Common Version, through the successive steps by which it has come down to us in its present shape, it remains for us to inquire as to the persons who put the finishing hand to the work, and to satisfy ourselves as to their qualifications for the task. It is obvious that this personal investigation is of the utmost importance in settling the degree of confidence to which their labors are entitled. Unless it can be proved that they were, as a body, eminently fitted to do this work as it ought to be done, it can have no claim to be regarded as a "finality'' in the matter of furnishing a translation of the Word of God for the English speaking populations of the globe.

It is exceedingly strange that a question of such obvious importance has been so long left almost unnoticed. Numerous histories of the Translation itself have been drawn up with great labor; but no man seems to have thought it worth his while to give any account of the Translators, except the most meagre notices of a few of them, and general attestations to their reputations, in their own time, for such scholarship and skill as their undertaking required. Even the late excellent Christopher Anderson, in his huge volumes, replete as they are with research and information upon the minutest points relating to his subject, allots but a page or two of his smallest type to this essential branch of it.

It is nearly twenty years since the writer of these pages began to consider the desirableness of knowing more of those eminent divines, and he has ever since pursued a zealous search wherever he was likely to effect any "restitution of decayed intelligence" respecting them. At first, he almost despaired of ascertaining much more than the bare names of most of them. But by degrees he has collected innumerable scraps of information, gathered from a great variety of sources; amply sufficient, with due arrangement, to illustrate the subject. His object is simply to shew, that the translators commissioned by James Stuart were ripe and critical scholars, profoundly versed in all the learning required; and that, in these particulars, there has never yet been a time when a better qualified company could have been collected for the purpose.

Of the forty-seven, who acted under King James's commission, some are almost unknown at this day, though of high repute in their own time. A few have left us but little more than their names, worthy of immortal remembrance, were it only for their connection with this noble monument of learning and piety. But their being associated with so many other scholars and divines of the greatest eminence, is proof that they were deemed to be fit companions for the brightest lights of the land. This is confirmed by the bet that, though the king designed to employ in this work the highest and ripest talents in his realm, there still many men in England distinguished for learning, like Broughton and Bedell, who were enrolled on the list of translators. It is but just to conclude, therefore, that even such as are now less known to us, were then accounted to deserve a place with the best. What we may know of the greater part of them, must lead to the highest estimate of the whole body of these good men.


1603Queen Elizabeth dies, James I crowned king of England

1604King James holds the Hampton Court Conference in January to hear of things pretended to be amiss in the church and to address Puritan concerns. It is at this conference that he commands the translation of the scriptures. The translators would be selected later in that same year. Note that The Authorized Version translators did not call themselves to the work of translation (like many seem to do today), they were called by special commandment of a King, King James I, the first king of Great Britian.

1611The Holy Bible published in May by the Church of England


Having been selected for the work by special commandment of the king and instructed to use the Bishop's Bible as the basis of their work, the translators, holy and deeply learned in languages, consulted the original languages (the Old Testament was written in Hebrew, the New Testament in Greek), earlier English and foreign versions, and such helps as they deemed useful. The translators rubbed and polished the translation, and, if any thing were "halting, or superfluous, or not so agreeable to the original," corrected the same and set the truth in its place (see "The Translators to the Reader"). The result of their work was the Authorized Version of the holy scriptures. The following excerpt, taken from Translators Revived, speaks of the impact of the Authorized Version (emphases ours)--

The printing of the English Bible has proved to be by far the mightiest barrier ever reared to repel the advance of Popery, and to damage all the resources of the Papacy. Originally intended for the five or six millions who dwelt within the narrow limits of the British Islands, it at once formed and fixed their language, till then unsettled; and has since gone with that language to the isles and shores of every sea. And now, during the lapse of almost two and a half centuries, it has gladdened the hearts, and still gladdens the hearts of millions upon millions, not only in Great Britain, but throughout North America and the Indies, in portions of Africa, and in Australia. At the present day, the English is probably the vernacular tongue of more millions than of any other one language under heaven; and the English Bible has brought and still brings home the knowledge of God's revealed truth to a myriad more of minds than ever received it through the original tongues. The Translators little foresaw the vast results and immeasurable influence of what they had thus done, both for time and for eternity. Venerated men! their very names are now hardly known to more than a few persons; yet, in the providence of God, the fruits of their labors have spread to far distant climes; have laid broad and deep the foundations of mighty empires; have afforded to multitudes strength to endure adversity, and grace to resist the temptations of prosperity; and only the revelations of the judgment-day can disclose how many millions and millions, through the instrumentality of their labors, have been made wise unto salvation. *Report of the Committee on Versions, made to the Board of Managers of the American Bible Society, and adopted May Ist, 1851.

Surely it is time, that the names of these venerated men were rescued from such unjust oblivion; and that at least some considerable part of those who have received such incalculable benefits at their hands, should know to whom they are so deeply indebted. The sensation of gratitude is one of pleasure; and it is hoped that this little book may serve to awaken it in many a bosom, both toward the men who wrought so good a work, "and made all coming ages their own," and toward Him who gave them their skill, and the opportunity to exert it in thus widely diffusing his saving truth.


Two hundred and fifty years after the Authorized Version was published, strange fire would appear. The first word of this strange fire was,


It was called the "Revised Version."

A cursory look at the dates reveals that from the 1800s and onward, we see continual, full frontal attempts to attack the word of God by

  • the setting forth of errors and lies (e.g., Darwinian evolution (which was added to the pre-existing "Copernican Revolution" to impudently lie against the Bible.) No matter how many proofs are exposed shewing that the theory of evolution is a lie, it will not go away because its existence satisfies those that will be rebels to the end) causing men to disbelieve the Bible and believe lies instead. Even church people started believing that science had the answers and started proclaiming the "gap theory" and heliocentrism.
  • attempts to replace the Authorized Version with the invention of so-called "authorized successors." King James is dead. He, in his royal person, specially commanded the translation of the Authorized Version. That is an historical fact. The name, and the document is as it stands. It cannot be replaced or updated. Stand on that fact.
  • sustained attempts to flood out the Authorized Version with a flood of unauthorized versions.
  • sustained attempts to obfuscate and make confusing God's word with scrambled up "Family Bibles," in-text references, center column references, study Bibles, chain link Bibles, the never-ending making of many unsound books, doctrinal schemes like dispensationalism, etc.
  • sustained attempts divert attention to "the Greek," "the Hebrew," "the manuscripts" to confuse the untaught, the unsuspecting, and the simple.


There were adversaries to the Authorized Version before it was even published.

Reading "The Epistle Dedicatory" and "The Translators to the Reader" (both found in earlier printings of the Authorized Version) reveals that there were adversaries to the Authorized Version before it was even released. The very first line (a subtitle) for "The Translators to the Reader," states "The best things have been calumniated."

Calumniated, pp. slandered; falsely and maliciously accused of what is. . .disgraceful. (ref. Webster's 1828)

That is how "The Translators to the Reader" starts out, "The best things have been calumniated." As we hold the Authorized Version of the Bible in our hands, we surely have an inestimable treasure in our hands and much to thank God for, for by his superintending hand, we have it today in spite of such a fierce and blood thirsty, murderous opponent. We much to be appreciative of considering what our fathers went through in order to deliver to us the word of God and the truth of his word--we are saved by faith alone, by the Christ alone, and hearken to the scriptures alone. William Tyndale was strangled and burned at the stake for translating the word of God into the English tongue. John Wycliffe lost his position at Oxford for speaking the truth--and then went on and translated the Bible--forty-four years after he died, Rome dug up his bones and burned them. Roman Catholics tried to kill King James and the British Parliament in the Gunpowder Plot in 1605, but by God's grace the plot was miraculously revealed to King James himself as related in his Workes beginning on page 223. Rome has persecuted, burned up, and tortured our people for centuries on end. Bernard Fresenborg, former Roman Catholic Priest, in his book "Thirty Years in Hell," (p. 277) states

Authentic history, and history that cannot be denied nor disputed, nor even questioned, gives the appalling record of 70,500,000 Protestants who were slain by the greatest curse the world has ever known--Roman Catholicism.
Romans 8:36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.


The translators named their chief adversaries in The Translators to the Reader. The following is the entire section under the title, "The unwillingness of our chief adversaries that the Scriptures should be divulged in the mother tongue" (emphases ours)--

¶ The unwillingness of our chief adversaries that the Scriptures should be divulged in the mother tongue, &c.

Now the Church of Rome would seem at the length to bear a motherly affection towards her children, and to allow them the Scriptures in their mother tongue: but indeed it is a gift, not deserving to be called a gift, an unprofitable gift: they must first get a licence in writing before they may use them; and to get that, they must approve themselves to their Confessor, that is, to be such as are, if not frozen in the dregs, yet soured with the leaven of their superstition. Howbeit it seemed too much to Clement the eighth that there should be any licence granted to have them in the vulgar tongue, and therefore he overruleth and frustrateth the grant of Pius the fourth. So much are they afraid of the light of the Scripture, (Lucifugae Scripturarum, as Tertullian speaketh) that they will not trust the people with it, no not as it is set forth by their own sworn men, no not with the licence of their own Bishops and Inquisitors. Yea, so unwilling they are to communicate the Scriptures to the people's understanding in any sort, that they are not ashamed to confess that we forced them to translate it into English against their wills. This seemeth to argue a bad cause, or a bad conscience, or both. Sure we are, that it is not he that hath good gold, that is afraid to bring it to the touchstone, but he that hath the counterfeit; neither is it the true man that shunneth the light, but the malefactor, lest his deeds should be reproved; neither is it the plaindealing merchant that is unwilling to have the weights, or the meteyard, brought in place, but he that useth deceit. But we will let them alone for this fault, and return to translation.


The Epistle Dedicatory of the Authorized Version reveals that there were active enemies to the translation--

And now at last, by the mercy of God, and the continuance of our labours, it being brought unto such a conclusion, as that we have great hopes that the Church of England shall reap good fruit thereby; we hold it our duty to offer it to Your Majesty, not only as to our King and Sovereign, but as to the principal Mover and Author of the work: humbly craving of Your most Sacred Majesty, that since things of this quality have ever been subject to the censures of illmeaning and discontented persons, it may receive approbation and patronage from so learned and judicious a Prince as Your Highness is, whose allowance and acceptance of our labours shall more honour and encourage us, than all the calumniations and hard interpretations of other men shall dismay us. So that if, on the one side, we shall be traduced by Popish Persons at home or abroad, who therefore will malign us, because we are poor instruments to make God's holy Truth to be yet more and more known unto the people, whom they desire still to keep in ignorance and darkness; or if, on the other side, we shall be maligned by selfconceited Brethren, who run their own ways, and give liking unto nothing, but what is framed by themselves, and hammered on their anvil; we may rest secure, supported within by the truth and innocency of a good conscience, having walked the ways of simplicity and integrity, as before the Lord; and sustained without by the powerful protection of Your Majesty's grace and favour, which will ever give countenance to honest and Christian endeavours against bitter censures and uncharitable imputations.

From what I've seen and read, those "self-conceited brethren" might well be the "Puritans"; their spiritual descendants seem to remain among us, still highly esteeming Oliver Cromwell as if the insurrection and regicide committed by Cromwell and his crew was good (they tried King James' son and successor, Charles I, and had him beheaded).


In reading The Translators to the Reader and The Epistle Dedicatory, we learn that King James stood as a wall and a bulwark protecting the work from that which would hinder it. The following is excerpted from The Translators to the Reader--

¶ His Majesty's constancy, notwithstanding calumniation, for the survey of the English translations

This, and more to this purpose, his Majesty that now reigneth (and long and long may he reign, and his offspring for ever, Himself and children and children's children always!) knew full well, according to the singular wisdom given unto him by God, and the rare learning and experience that he hath attained unto; namely, That whosoever attempteth any thing for the publick, (especially if it appertain to religion, and to the opening and clearing of the word of God) the same setteth himself upon a stage to be glouted upon by every evil eye; yea, he casteth himself headlong upon pikes, to be gored by every sharp tongue. For he that meddleth with men's religion in any part meddleth with their custom, nay, with their freehold; and though they find no content in that which they have, yet they cannot abide to hear of altering. Notwithstanding his royal heart was not daunted or discouraged for this or that colour, but stood resolute, As a statue immoveable, and an anvil not easy to be beaten into plates, as one saith; he knew who had chosen him to be a soldier, or rather a captain; and being assured that the course which he intended made much for the glory of God, and the building up of his Church, he would not suffer it to be broken off for whatsoever speeches or practices. It doth certainly belong unto kings, yea, it doth specially belong unto them, to have care of religion, yea, to know it aright, yea, to profess it zealously, yea, to promote it to the uttermost of their power. This is their glory before all nations which mean well, and this will bring unto them a far most excellent weight of glory in the day of the Lord Jesus.














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Keywords: Authorized Version, Authorized King James Version, KJV, King James Bible, 1611