The King James Bible is 400 years old today...
Arguably the most influential book translation in the history of mankind, the Authorized King James Version was first published on May 2, 1611 by Robert Barker, the King's Printer, after an exhaustive seven year effort by 37 scholars of the day. By the way, all of those scholars were members of the Church of England...for what it's worth.
The King James Version had a rough beginning because after the good King James (eye roll) commissioned the Hampton Court Conference to undertake the translating task, work was delayed several months due to an outbreak of that nasty thing called the plague back in post-Middle Ages Europe.
The Puritans were not very happy...about the plague or the church at the time.
But, that's what kicked off the whole endeavor from the start. As Jimmy the First (James I) was travelling to London to officially stake claim to his new headgear, the crafty Puritans hit him up early with an official list of complaints called the Millenary Petition. Seems they weren't very thrilled with the direction of the Church of England at the time because it was too closely resembling that other church headed up in Rome. Henry VIII had made it perfectly clear during his reign half a century earlier that the throne in England was not under papal authority, so he went and started his own church...sorta. Roman Catholic Cardinal Thomas Wolsey had made Henry mad because he wouldn't let him divorce his first wife, Queen Catherine. How dare he? Also, the ruler just prior to Jimmy was Elizabeth #1, and she had basically just put a temporary bandage on the Protestant-Catholic open wound to get her through until she handed the baton to someone else.
So, those crazy Tudors had stirred up a religious cage-match just before James was coming to power, and he needed to calm things down between the Puritans (who denied being separatist from the Church of England), the Anglo-Catholics and all the other confused subjects in between. Hey...they carried pitchforks too you know.
So exactly what didn't the Puritans find to their liking to go crying to Jimmy about in the first place?
Knowing James was an avid debater and a little insecure in his own place between Heaven and throne(see Basilikon Doron), the Puritans jumped on board early with a list of complaints about the Church of England that included women administering baptism, bowing when the name of Jesus was spoken, the word Absolution, and reserved buggy spots near the entrance to the churches for all priest. Okay. I made that last one up, but they didn't like the title Priest either...for real.
Long story short, Jimmy tried to make everyone happy with the Hampton Court Conference, and he succeeded for the most part mainly because he convinced the translators to be completely accurate in their translating and to take...their...time. When all was said and done, most of England and Scotland mourned the death of James in 1625. Although, the Protestants and Catholics are still bitterly divided in Ireland after 400 years. Some things I guess just can't be fixed with time.
From all of this mass confusion, we have the Authorized King James Version of the Holy Bible. It's a darn good thing the Holy Spirit of God was directing the whole process from start to finish... darn good thing.