Founder of Tyndale House Publishers, Dr. Kenneth N. Taylor died June 10, 2005 at 88 in in Wheaton, IL, after making far-reaching contributions for Christ worldwide through his paraphrased version of the Bible, which sold 40 million copies to date.
In addition, in 1950, Taylor founded the trade association, Christian Booksellers Association and the missions organization, Evangelical Literature Overseas and Short Terms Abroad, which merged with Intercristo in 1976, according to Christianity Today.
However, Dr. Taylor is most-known for his paraphrased translation, The Living Bible. His son Mark Taylor, President of Tyndale said, "Making Scripture accessible for all people was my father's passion." Many, many people have told him, 'I became a Christian when I read The Living Bible,' or 'My first Bible was the green padded Living Bible.' Even at 88 years old, his enthusiasm and fervor for his work never waned," according to Religion Journal.
Born out of a desire to make the Bible accessible to his children during the time when the King James Version was still widely used, The Living Bible sold 40 million copies since 1971, though millions more of Living Letters, (New Testament epistles and other parts) have been sold after 1962.
"Dr. Taylor came to see the unvarnished reality that the KJV, as fine a translation as it had been for its time, would never "speak" to his children or even to a lot of adults. While others embraced the mystical notion that a translation could be good for you even if you couldn't understand it, he had the good sense to look to his own children and admit that daily Bible reading wasn't producing the desired effect," stated Paul J. Caminiti, the Vice President and Publisher of Bibles, Zondervan.
Though no publisher would accept the translated Letters into modern English, Taylor and wife, Margaret, published 2000 copies with the support of Paul Benson of Lithocolor Press, who agreed to wait until the copies sold for payment, thus began a family operation named Tyndale House Publishers. It was named after the 16th century reformer William Tyndale, who was martyred for translating the Bible into English.
It was not until Billy Graham used Living Letters on his evangelistic television broadcasts that demand for the self-published books rose. In 1971, when the fully translated Living Bible was released, it stayed at the top of the best-seller's list for three years.
Dr. James C. Dobson, founder and chairman of Focus on the Family, voiced great appreciation and admiration for his friend.
"Not only did he demonstrate a deep commitment to God's Word and an unwavering devotion to the Lord, but he also evidenced a desire to help families live according to the principles laid out in Scripture. His impact on the Kingdom simply cannot be overstated," adding that it was Dr. Taylor's generous support that allowed Focus to survive in the days of its infancy.
Tyndale is one of the country's largest Christian publishing houses, having published the Left Behind series and many applauded children's books, The New Living Translation (a translation and not a paraphrase), and Bringing Up Boys.
From the start of the project, Taylor and his wife deposited all profits from The Living Bible into a trust, the Tyndale House Foundation, which supports mission projects worldwide.
The son of a pastor, Taylor was born on May 8, 1917, in Portland, Ore., and grew to have deep faith and respect for the Bible from when he was young. He went on to graduate from Wheaton College in 1938, and attend Dallas Theological Seminary for three years and graduate from Northern Baptist Seminary in 1944.
Towards the end of his education, he began his career as editor of HIS magazine and later became the director of Moody Press. He was the author of many best-selling children's books, including The Bible in Pictures for Little Eyes and My First Bible in Pictures.
Millions of people around the world are familiar with Tyndale products. The company's 260 employees produce 250 new products every year.
Taylor is survived by his wife, Margaret, ten children, 28 grandchildren, and 22 great-grandchildren.