The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams is celebrating the influence the King James Bible has had worldwide as its 400th anniversary approaches.
In his New Year's address to the public, he urged people to see some kind of "big picture" in a "big society" paralleled to their lives regardless of their personal beliefs.
"Whether you're a Christian or belong to another religion or whether you have nothing you'd want to call a religion at all, some kind of big picture matters," he said. "If we're going to talk about a 'big society,' that'll need a big picture, a picture of what human beings are really like and why they're so unique and precious. This year's anniversary is a chance to stop and think about the big picture – and to celebrate the astonishing contribution made by that book four hundred years ago."
Williams reminded the public that the King James Bible is like the story of the universe that remains relevant to people today despite its antiquity. "So reading the King James Bible told you that your life story was set within the biggest of pictures, the story of the whole universe."
"Four hundred years on that may feel quite remote," he continued. "You may be the sort of person who feels that you can make sense of your own story in your own terms. Or you may feel that there's only one big story and that's about money and whether I've got a job tomorrow or whether my children can afford higher education.
"But the trouble is that we so often don't have the kind of big picture that simply tells us that we matter, never mind what happens, that tells us there is something quite outside ourselves that can eventually make sense of things – even if, like some of the writers of the Bible, specially the Psalms, there are moments where all we can do is shout out in protest."
He ended his message by challenging readers to rediscover the words in the King James Bible by envisioning them in each person's life.
"May the New Year be a time to discover something of this vision in your life; a time to discover more of the meaning of another of the King James Bible's great words – the 'loving kindness' we all need to give and to receive."
The King James Bible project began in 1604 and was published on May 5, 1611 by instruction from the King of England at that time, James I.
Recently, Thomas Nelson Publishers launched a website in dedication to the KJV Bible's anniversary. The website offers a wide array of content, including videos, daily scripture verses, podcasts and more.
On the Web: www.kjv400celebration.com