Purified Seven Times

Is the King James Bible the Seventh English Translation?

With reference to Psalm 12:6, it has been proposed by some that the King James Bible is the seventh major translation in the English language. Others have pointed out that there are more than seven translations and that the King James Bible is at least the tenth translation in English, not the seventh. It is observed that the following translations were available before the translation of the King James Bible: Wycliffe, Tyndale, Coverdale, Matthews', Taverner's, Great, Geneva, Bishops', and the Rheims. While it is likely that each of these played some role during the translation of the King James Bible, it is historically documented that six of these were particularly used, thus making the King James Bible seventh in this line. Rules number 1 and 14 of the Instructions to the Translators sheds light upon this:

1. The ordinary Bible read in the Church, commonly called the Bishops' Bible, to be followed, and as little altered as the original will permit.

14. These translations to be used, when they agree better with the text than the Bishops' Bible: Tyndale's, Coverdale's, Matthew's [Rogers'], Whitchurch's [Cranmer's], Geneva."

It is likely that Wycliffe's is not included in this list because it was translated from the Latin Vulgate rather than the Hebrew and Greek texts while the Taverner's Bible is likely not included because it is a minor revision of the Matthew's Bible. As for the Rheims it was a translation of the Latin Vulgate by the Roman Catholic Church. In the Translators To The Readers of the King James Bible the Roman Catholic translation was spoken of somewhat critically. It makes sense then that these three translations would not be included in the list of translations prior to and leading up to the translation of the King James Bible.
This page was last updated: 2/3/2017
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