This year marks the 400th anniversary of the King James Version of the Bible. It may not have been the first translation of the Bible into English, nor even the most accurate, but it has been the most influential and well-loved version of the Bible in the English-speaking world.
It also gave us many phrases which are so well used that most people today don’t even realise that they are from the Bible like ‘the powers that be’ or a ‘good Samaritan’ or ‘turn the other cheek’.
King James’ instructions to scholars to translate the Bible four hundred years ago inspired subsequent generations to interpret it again and again into contemporary English, allowing the words and teaching of Jesus to endure.
Biblical beliefs and Christian ideas influenced the development of our society – and whatever our views about colonialism, these beliefs and ideas went out across the world along with copies of the King James Bible. It truly was a book that changed the world.
And the Bible, the ‘Word of God’, is still a book that changes lives. It changed my life as I met God through its stories, letters, poetry, revelations and prophetic words. It changes my life daily if I let the word ‘dwell in me richly’, as St Paul puts it in his letter to Christians in the church of Colossae.
This year has been designated the ‘Year of the Bible’ and many events are being organised by churches and across the country to celebrate and commemorate. I’m inviting everyone from the church or parish to send me three of your favourite Bible verses, from any version of the Bible, and later on this year, we’ll hold a ‘Bible Celebration’ in which we announce the ten most popular verses. Ask your friends and family members for their choices too. You can hand them into church or put them in the vicarage letterbox or by posting them in a comment below.
I look forward to hearing from you!