Poll Reveals King James Bible's Enduring Popularity
A recent poll indicates that the King James Bible is still popular, 400 years later.
According to the recent study by LifeWay Research, 62 percent of American adults own a King James Version Bible and 82 percent of those who read the Bible at least once a month own a KJV.
"Christians believe that God's Word is truth and that truth is conveyed through language. It is hard to overstate the influence of the KJV not just on language and idioms, but because it brought the Word of God to English-speaking peoples in the first widely available format,” Scott McConnell, director of LifeWay Research, stated.
Just over a quarter (27 percent) said they never read the 400-year-old Bible and found the language difficult to understand while 16 percent consider the language to be outdated.
The King James Bible translation project began in 1604 and was published on May 5, 1611, by instruction from the King of England, James I.
Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research, remarked on the importance of the KJV as it “brought the scriptures to the common woman and man,” he wrote on his blog. “It helped shape the spiritual and biblical views of a generation – at a time when the British Empire was a powerful influence, so in the providence of God, that Bible would travel the world.”
This year marks the 400th anniversary of the popular translation, which has been commended by Christians and atheists alike.
And with biblical illiteracy being pervasive in the U.S., the anniversary provides an opportunity to raise the importance of Bible knowledge in churches, Stetzer noted.
According to an earlier LifeWay study, only 16 percent of regular church attenders read the Bible daily.
“The power and inherent truth of Scripture comes from having God as its author,” said McConnell.
“One’s willingness to engage the Bible determines its effect upon a life. Numerically, Bible ownership is similar to the percentage of Americans who indicate they are Christian. But owning a Bible and reading it are two different things.”
The study showed that women own an average of 4.7 Bibles compared with men who own 3.6 and 72 percent of women own a KJV while 62 percent of men own a copy of the version.
Women also proved to more active readers of the Bible where 60 percent admitted to reading the Bible one or more times a month compared to 46 percent of men.
The study also found that younger Americans were less likely to be versed in the KJV. Only 56 percent of adults under 35 years of age own a KJV, while 67 percent of those aged 35 to 54 own a copy and 76 percent of Americans 55 years and older own the 17th century version.
And it’s not because the translation is hard to understand that younger people are not engaging it. Only 21 percent of the younger cohort said they found the language “hard to understand,” compared with 31 percent ages 35 to 54 who said the same and 28 percent 55 and older.
Overall, 31 percent of Americans said they found the language to be beautiful.
The poll was conducted on 1,004 adult Americans aged 18 and over by telephone in March.