I read the wicked Bible verse from the original “Wicked Bible” of 1631 earlier this month. This was the King James Bible with the most famous typographical error of all time: Exodus 20:14 reads “Thou shalt commit adultery.” The omission of the little word “not” from the seventh commandment brought outrage and a heavy fine toward the king’s printers. I was in Waco, Texas with the family and was able to take some time to view the rare Bible display being hosted at Baylor University in early April. This is the 400th Anniversary Year of the first printing of the King James Version of the Bible. I viewed with amazement the detail and large size of an actual first edition of that 1611 Bible. This all is part of a touring display of rare Bibles, scrolls and influential books. I saw bits of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Biblical manuscripts, Hebrew torahs that were hundreds of years old, the Geneva Bible that came over with the Pilgrims, as well a number of other significant works like Milton’s Paradise Lost and Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. There was even a working replica of the Gutenberg press and a copy of a Gutenberg Bible.
Biblical scholars were on hand to provide a richer context for each of the items we were viewing. Baylor was holding a two day seminar, which I was unable to attend, that addressed the profound influence the King James Version has made on the world and the shaping of America in particular. Steve Green, owner of Hobby Lobby, has been purchasing what is becoming one of the largest collections of Bibles, manuscripts and related materials in the world. A larger display of this collection will be presented in Oklahoma City in mid-May.
The King James Bible was my first Bible, and probably yours also. We memorized favorite verses and understood its Elizabethan English without much trouble. With the explosion of modern translations in the last 50 years the King James Bible has become less used and less understood. I discovered it was time to change to a different version when I repeatedly found myself having to translate its old English words into modern words in order to convey the meaning of very important passages. For old time’s sake and to celebrate 400 years, get out your King James Bible and read Psalm 27, Romans 8, and 1 Corinthians 15. You will be amazed.
Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Thank God for His Word. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.