The King James Bible

Dr. Carl Trueman, Professor of Historical Theology and Church History at Westminster Theological Seminary, describes the historical context leading up to the creation of the King James Bible. This year marks the 400th anniversary of the influential translation, and Dr. Trueman has appeared in a film detailing its birth. The movie, KJB: The Book that Changed the World is wonderfully done. Join us for this fascinating discussion of this incredibly influential translation.

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Christ the Center focuses on Reformed Christian theology. In each episode a group of informed panelists discusses important issues in order to encourage critical thinking and a better understanding of Reformed doctrine with a view toward godly living. Browse more episodes from this program or subscribe to the podcast feed.

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Andrew Cas

8 years ago

I use the Genva 1599 edition, so that would be three people that are known, it is a reprint from Tolla Lega Jerry Johnson pushes it, I know of two other people who use it here in Australia. The only thing I don’t like about it is the preface and how goes on about USA and the Genva bible and the bible could restart some kind of biblical renewal.

Benjamin P. Glaser

8 years ago

I would be curious to find out what Dr.Trueman (or anyone else for that matter) believes why modern translations fail miserably in their prose in comparison to the King James Bible.

John Stebbe

8 years ago

Dr. T. made reference to Dickens’ “A Child’s History of England.” Never read it, and it sounded intriguing, coming from Dickens. So I found it as a free download in iBooks. I am enjoying it. Here’s a quote which you won’t find in today’s history texts: “Such was the improved condition of the ancient Britons, fifty-five years before the birth of Our Saviour, when the Romans, under their great General, Julius Cæsar, were masters of all the rest of the known world.


8 years ago

Enjoyed the broadcast. Thanks for the labors. There has been an odd silence among evangelicals on the 400th anniversary milestone of the KJV while secularists have gladly acknowledged its cultural and literary impact. Example: The cover article in the December 2011 “National Geographic” is devoted to the KJV anniversary.

I do question the repeated charge that James was a “homosexual.” This seems to be anachronistic. I am not claiming that James was a saint, but I am guessing there has probably been a “modern” misreading of signs of friendship and affection between James and his courtiers. My guess is that this has been gleefully promoted by those who have wanted to take the shine off the KJV. I would like to see a historian trace the roots of this charge, including when it first surfaced. My guess is that it is relatively recent. As Trueman acknowledges, James was, after all, quite happily married.

I appreciate Trueman’s appreciation of the KJV, but he also exhibits some of the annoying schizophrenic tendencies of contemporary evangelicals when discussing this classic Reformation translation (cf. Leland Ryken’s “The Legacy of the KJB”). On one hand, he praises its unequalled majesty, but on the other he claims it is outdated and archaic. Why is the KJV so appropriate to read at weddings, funerals, and formal occasions, but not as a regular part of Lord’s Day worship or in private devotion? Is there an occasion where reverence is more vital than in ordinary Lord’s Day worship? For those who celebrate Christmas liturgically, for example, I feel sorry for churches that will abandon the KJV rendering of Luke 2 which describes the shepherds as being “sore afraid” (KJV v. 9) for the pedestrian renderings of modern versions which describe those same shepherds as being “filled with fear” (ESV v. 9). The examples, of course, could be multiplied.

The discussion also failed to touch on the central issue of text. The KJV (like all the vernacular translations of the Reformation era) is based on the traditional text (MT of OT and TR of NT), while the modern translations (except for the NKJV) follow the modern critical text. I’d love to see this overlooked topic meaningfully addressed on the Reformed Forum.


8 years ago

In case anyone is curious or does not have one, you can download the king james bible here http://tinyurl.com/8xjadnp

Just spreading the word!


8 years ago

One can read Steven Coston’s book labelled King James unjustly accused.
The accusations came several years after his death.
Obviously, they were false accusations made by those jealous for court positions.



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