Translation Method for the King James Bible

From "Answers To Your Bible Version Questions" ©2001 David W. Daniels.
Reproduced by permission

Question: What was the method the King James translators used to translate the Bible?

Answer: King James had no part whatsoever in the translation of the Bible that now bears his name. But there were 47-54 scholars, however, whom God used to bring us His preserved words in English.

Translating the Authorized Version

54 scholars were appointed in 1604, and a few overseers were also present, who went from group to group. In time through death the number of translators diminished to 47. They were given three locations to work: Oxford, Cambridge and Westminster. And two groups worked at each location, making a total of six groups. The Bible was also divided up into six sections. Each group took one section, working on one book at a time.

First, each translator made his own translation of the book, which was reviewed by each other member of the group. Then the whole group reviewed the book. When they all agreed on the translation, they sent it to the other five groups for evaluation. Those groups then returned it to the original committee, marking anything they disagreed with. The original group would then go over the book again.

When all six committees finished with the book, it was sent, with any differences that were left, to a special committee made up of one leader from each of the six groups. They solved any remaining problems, and the book was sent to the printers.

But they did not work in secret, as did the "Revisers" in 1871 - 1881. At any time, the translators could ask an outside scholar for his understanding, and anyone could find out about the progress. The churches were kept informed at all times1.

In all, every single verse of the Bible was carefully examined and decided upon a total of fourteen times, by as many as 50 or more people! This made it impossible for any one translator to impose his personal viewpoint on a passage. He had to have logical reasons for a translation that were good enough to persuade every other scholar before it could be written into the text. There was no "private interpretation" here!
(2 Peter 1:20-21)

God superintended the translation, so that what we need to know from the Bible has been accurately translated for us. We do have translated in English for the world, God's perfectly preserved words.

God bless you as you read and believe them.

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