The year was 1611 and 54 Englishmen based in Oxford, Cambridge and Westminster had just completed the most literal translation of a very important book… A book that would go on to become the best-selling book in history. A book that would unite people across Europe and elsewhere. A book that, although previously translated, would become the book of the world and influence greatly the way the English speak and our language. That book is… The King James Bible.
It was a countryside wroth with discord and upheaval. In a castle, on a hill, overlooking a town, a baby was born to a woman in a small ante chamber off a main bedroom. This was no ordinary woman and this was no ordinary countryside. The baby would go on to rule this rebellious country and succeed his godmother as ruler of a great land.
The countryside was the Scottish Highlands and the woman was Mary Queen of Scotland. The castle was Edinburgh Castle and the baby was Prince James. The godmother was Elizabeth I of England. In just a few months, the baby would become King James VI of Scotland and then a few years later he would be crowned James I of England.
On June 19, 1566 at Edinburgh Castle in Edinburgh Scotland, Mary Queen of Scots gave birth to James. At age 13 months, Prince James would be crowned James VI of Scotland in a small Protestant Church outside Stirling Castle in Scotland. James took the throne at such a young age due to the forced abdication of his mother and thus would never see her son again. Religion and politics were extremely intertwined and Scotland was a hotbed of rebellion; this was just another such incident. James would eventually take over the English throne in 1603 upon the death of Elizabeth I.
It was this King James, the son of Mary and the godson of Elizabeth, that would order a new translation of the Bible. It was this James that would oversee all of the 54 men who worked diligently across the country to translate the bible in its most literal version. It was this James that gave the world such a book that would unite a peoples and literally change the way the English spoke. It was this James that gave us the most popular book of all time. It was this James, who was born in a small ante chamber, in a castle, on a hill that would give us the King James Bible.
Happy 400th Birthday to the King James Bible (1611-2011)
In Dec 1998, on a visit to Scotland, I stood in that same small ante chamber in Edinburgh Castle where James was born and looked out the very window that his mother would have looked out of. It was a very strange feeling to think that just a few hundred years back in the exact same room such a historic moment took place. Below is my view from that window…
Another view of Edinburgh from the walls of Edinburgh Castle…