King James Bible Translators

The title page to the 1611 first edition of the Authorized Version Bible by Cornelis Boel.
The title page to the 1611 first edition of the Authorized Version Bible by Cornelis Boel

The King James Bible (KJV) is an English translation of the Christian Bible, the third officially approved by the English Church.  The first was the Great Bible under direction of King Henry VIII and published in 1537.  The second was the Bishop’s Bible in 1568.  Both drew heavily on the work of William Tyndale, but changes were made in those passages that did not conform to the doctrine of the Church of England.

King James
King James

In 1604 King James convened the Hampton Court Conference where a new English version was conceived in response to the Puritan faction of the Church who took issue with the earlier translations.  The work was completed in 1611 and by the nineteen century KJV had become the standard for the English speaking people around the world.

At least sixty men were directly involved in the translation of the King James Bible.  Most were Translators, while a few were project overseers, revisers and editors.  Some served in several roles.  Who were these men?  What were their backgrounds?  What did they share?  In what ways were they different?  They were a diverse group.  While some were born in large cities and towns, most were from small villages scattered throughout England. Several were the children of university graduates, but most were the sons of mariners, farmers, schoolteachers, cordwainers (leather merchants), fletchers (makers of bows and arrows), ministers, brewers, tailors, and aristocrats. All were members of the Church of England, but their religious views were widespread.  Some were ardent Puritans, others staunch defenders of the religious establishment.  Some believed in pre-destination and limited salvation as taught by John Calvin, while others believed in self-determination and universal access to heaven as taught by Jacobus Arminius.

For the 400th anniversary of the publication of the KJV, the Mormon Historic Sites Foundation supported the research to identify as many as possible the Bible translators and the publication of their biographies.

Articles & Resources

400 Years of the King James Bible

400 Years of the King James Bible
Ensign Magazine, August 2011
by Richard N.W. Lambert & Kenneth R. Mays
Click here to read article

King James Bible Translators Website