This year, 2011, marks the 400th year that the King James Version (KJV) or Authorized Version (AV) has been in existence. There were several celebrations, such as this one in Westminster Abbey, attended by Queen Elizabeth and this one at the Morris Cultural Arts Center. The KJV was begun in 1604 and finished in 1611. The bible was designed to replace the Bishop’s bible and eventually replaced the Geneva bible as well.
The King James Version translators used 1598 and 1588/89 Greek editions of Theodore Beza as well as the 1550 Greek Textus Receptus of Stephanusas the source for the majority of the New Testament text. Both used the earlier work of Dutch scholar and Catholic Priest Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus. The Old Testament was taken primarily from the Hebrew Rabbinic Bible by Daniel Bomberg.
The KJV is one of the most loved and most used bible translations still today. The English used is a little archaic in some places, yet still scores a 5.8 on the Flesch-Kincaid grade level reading scale. This is by far an easier to read and comprehend edition of the bible than most modern translations such as the New International Version (8.4), New American Standard Bible (6.1), Today’s English Version (7.2) and New King James Version (6.9).
The KJV has come under attack within the last century by various critics who say the underlining Greek and Hebrew texts used were substandard. Of course these same critics are also quick to defend the likes of men like Wescott and Hort, Church of England scholars who did not believe in the divine inspiration of the scriptures.
All-in-all I recommend the KJV and it’s modern day sucessor the NKJV as great bibles for study, memorization and preaching.