When Queen Elizabeth I died in 1603, Scotland and England united under King James VI of Scotland who then became King James I of England, the first of the Stuart line.
Who was the King James of the King James Version of the Bible?
James, born a Catholic but raised a Protestant, ascended to the Scottish throne in 1567 at the age of one when his mother, Mary Queen of Scots, was imprisoned and forced to abdicate.
The idea of researching and writing a new translation of the Bible was broached at a religious conference in Aberdour, Fife. The Scottish Reformation was finished before the English Reformation. Puritans and Scottish Presbyterians wanted a new Bible that would not carry the same structure of the Bishops' Bible and the Anglican Church.
The other translations available were the Tyndale version and the Geneva Bible. King James argued that ekklesia in Matthew 16:18 which referred to Christ building His "congregation" in the Tyndale translation, should be translated "church." And James didn't like the Geneva Bible's translation of Matthew 2:20 which seemed to brand all kings as tyrants.
In 1604, at the Hampton Court Conference, James authorized theologians to start a new translation for all English-speaking parishes. Forty-seven scholars were convened, worked for seven years, and produced The King James Authorized Version of the Bible in 1611. (The first English translation of the Bible, the Tyndale, was produced just 85 years earlier).
Its dedication read: "To the most High and Mighty Prince James, by the grace of God, King of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, &c."
Though his translation of the Bible remains his most famous legacy, James also approved the flag for Great Britain, sponsored William Shakespeare as a playwright, expanded trade with India, and was the namesake for the first permanent colony in the New World (Jamestown).
Not all was positive in his reign, however. James was widely unpopular and made many enemies in Parliament. He may have been bisexual. He opposed the Pope's power and wrote against Catholicism's influence in politics. That, combined with his holding fast to the idea that kings were only responsible to God (the divine right of kings), led to an assassination attempt. In 1605 a group of Catholics attempted to kill James, his wife, his son, and Parliament. The Gunpowder Plot, now remembered as Guy Fawkes Day, failed.
What are some of the English words used in the KJV that have changed in meaning since it was translated?
What is the KJV only movement? Should we only use the King James Version of the Bible?
Why are there so many Bible translations?
What are the different English Bible translations?
What Bible translation should I use?
Truth about the Bible