Just in time for the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, Lionsgate is set to release a docudrama that portrays the story of one of the most venerated books in history.
"KJB: The Book That Changed the World," hosted by award-winning actor John Rhys-Davies (The Lord of the Rings, Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade), walks viewers through history, explaining the origin, significance and impact of the King James translation.
"Its imagery, its language and its influence has been felt around the world for the past 400 years, it also claims to be the living Word of God," Rhys-Davies says.
The host recounts how the King James translation was birthed, beginning with the ascension of James I to the English throne in 1603, in short dramatizations of the events surrounding the Bible's creation.
He succeeded the throne at a time when the country was "at the center of a theological revolution."
A new Bible was proposed and affirmed during a conference with the English Puritans at the Hampton Court Palace, where a new Bible translation wasn't even on the agenda. The meeting was originally convened by King James in response to a series of requests for reform within the church by the Puritans, who differed with the Anglicans.
But it was there that John Rainolds, a Puritan, proposed a new translation.
King James wasn't satisfied with any of the existing English translations of the Bible. He particularly hated The Geneva Bible – "with a passion," as Rhys-Davies narrates in the film. He commissioned a new translation.
While King James continued to pursue his translation there were plots against him and his kingdom, including the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 – inspiration for the popular movie "V for Vendetta."
It took seven years to finish the translation. It was first published on May 5, 1611.
In honor of the 400th anniversary, many churches and organizations have created various projects commemorating the KJV.
Early this year the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan William, sent a message to the public where he called on believers to "celebrate the astonishing contribution made by that book four hundred years ago."
An updated version of the NIV was purposely published this year for the anniversary.
Thomas Nelson Publishers launched a website that offers a wide array of content, including videos, daily scripture verses, podcasts and more for the 400th celebration.
And the Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, offered his contribution as a patron of the King James Bible Trust and read for the YouTube Bible project from John 14. Interestingly, influential atheist Richard Dawkins also read from the KJV for the YouTube Bible project.
"You can't appreciate English literature unless you are steeped to some extent in the King James Bible," Dawkins said, according to the King James Bible Trust, which was established to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible. "We are a Christian culture, we come from a Christian culture and not to know the King James Bible, is to be in some small way, barbarian."
As the countdown continues with one month left, many more projects are in play in an effort to draw attention to the significant text. As Rhys-Davies highlights, "These texts define the way of salvation, and took you to the very gates of eternal life."
"KJB: The Book That Changed the World" will be available on DVD April 5.
On the Web: http://www.kjbthefilm.com/