What Kind of English is the King James Bible?

A common charge against the King James Bible is that it is written in Old English and thus reads like an entirely different language. Actually, the King James Bible was translated from 1604-1611 which falls within the time frame of "Early Modern English." Old English (Anglo-Saxon) is from c.450-1100 B.C., followed by this would be Middle English from c.1100-1400 B.C., followed by Early Modern English from c.1480-1650, which progressed to Modern English around 1650-present.

Others call King James English "Elizabethan English" signifying the approximate time period the King James Bible was translated. While this, along with "Early Modern English" are more accurate than "Old English," they still do not do justice to the actual language of the King James Bible.

When the word of God comes into a language, it has the tendency to shape that language. The best of translations are not merely a rigid translating of the Bible into that language, but a shaping and molding of that language to conform to the word of God. Hence it would seem that the word of God has a sanctifying effect upon that language.

[Anglo-Saxon Photocopy]

[John Wycliffe Photocopy]

[King James 1611 Photocopy]

[King James 1769 Photocopy]

This page was last updated: 2/3/2017
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