Experience over 4,000 years of History
Discover how the translation of the King James Version began, and explore the rich legacy of the Bible.
The History of the King James Bible... and its impact upon the Founding of the United States
- Protestant Reformation begins with Martin Luther posting his Ninety-Five Theses against the Medieval Catholic practice of selling indulgences.
- Luther publishes The Appeal to the German Nobility, arguing for church reform, including translating the Bible into the vernacular language. The resulting German Lutherbibel (1522/23) paves the way for translations into other European languages, including English.
- William Tyndale publishes his English translation of the New Testament.
- Mary Tudor succeeds Edward VI on the throne of England and implements policies that reinstate Roman Catholicism in England. Many Protestants flee England for other European cities.
- Mary Tudor is succeeded by Elizabeth I, who rejects Roman Catholicism and restores Protestantism to England.
- The Geneva Bible, an English translation, is published.
- The Bishop's Bible is published. It becomes the official Bible of the Church of England, but many continue to use the Geneva Bible.
- James VI, King of Scotland becomes James I, King of England, succeeding Elizabeth.
- James commissions a new Bible translation at the Hampton Court Conference.
- The translation editors convene at the Stationers Hall in London to finalize the manuscript for the King James Bible.
- The King James Bible is published by Robert Barker, whose family in 1577 had purchased monopoly rights to print Bibles in England.
- Production of the Geneva Bible in England ceases.
- Printing of the Geneva Bible ceases as its popularity wanes.
- The English monarchy is restored after a brief period of Parlimentary rule following the English Civil War.
- Benedict Spinoza publishes (anonymously) his Theological-Political Treatise.
- Publication of the King James Bible by Cambridge University Press begins.
- Continental Congress meets in Philadelphia. Discussion focuses on American grievances against the British and a boycott of British and Irish products.
- British efforts to quell rebellion in the colonies result in the final battles between the colonists and British soldiers.
- In January Thomas Paine publishes his pamphlet Common Sense making the case for American independence. July 4, Congress adopts the document later known as the Declaration of Independence.
- The first English-language Bible is printed in America. The choice of the King James Version for this printing helped to establish it as the preferred translation in the U.S. in subsequent years.
- Samuel Langdon delivers his sermon in support of the Constitution. The document takes effect after New Hampshire ratifies it.
- On April 30 George Washington is inaugurated in New York as the first president. He takes the oath of office with his right hand on an open copy of the King James Bible (printed in London in 1767), obtained at the last minute from a nearby St. John's Lodge.
- Thomas Nelson, the world's leading publisher of KJV Bibles, engages in a global celebration of the 400th anniversary of the King James Version.
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