Queen Celebrates Anniversary of King James Bible, 1611 Translation is 'DNA' of English Language

In celebration of the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, Queen Elizabeth II participated in a ceremony held at England’s famed Westminster Abbey.

Dr. Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, highlighted the importance of the King James Version to every future translator attempting to keep the Bible modern and relevant.

“The temptation is always there for the modern translator to look for strategies that make the text more accessible and when that temptation comes, it doesn't hurt to turn for a moment… to this extraordinary text,'' said Williams, according to The Associated Press.

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Attending the service, along with the Queen, were members of the royal family, including Prince Charles and Prince Philip, and around 2,000 other guests. The churchgoers watched as the 1611 translation was presented to the altar.

The King James Bible represents a significant achievement for England. The version was created by 47 of the country's brightest scholars, and it was compiled in Oxford, Cambridge, and Westminster. The King James Bible was published after 7 years of intelligent deliberation and translation, and the translation was eventually read in every Anglican Church in the country.

Dr. Williams commented on the “extraordinary” and “abiding importance” of the King James Bible. Contrary to popular belief, its meaning extends to more than just pastors, priests, and places of worship. The King James Version’s magnitude affects even secular speech today.

Because an earlier form of English was used in 1611 when the King James Bible was completed, and as the English language evolved, many popular phrasings in the text became engrained in British and American English.

The broadcaster of the ceremony, Melvyn Bragg, called the King James Bible the “DNA of the English language,” and the title is quite fitting, considering the various expressions English borrowed from its pages.

Phrases, such as “the powers that be,” “signs of the times,” and “the writing on the wall,” were taken directly from the King James Bible. Other widespread idioms like, “God helps those who help themselves,” and the “Golden Rule” are not exactly biblical canon, but they are based on biblical ideas nonetheless.

The King James Bible was originally translated from two separate languages: the Old Testament from Hebrew, and the New Testament from Greek. It was not the first version of the Bible in English, but by the 1700s, it was widely accepted for use in Anglican and Protestant churches.

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