When the KJV turned 400 years old in 2011, there were a number of books published to celebrate and explore this historic, influential translation. One of those books was A Visual History of the King James Bible: The Dramatic Story of the World’s Best-Known Translation by Donald L. Brake. I picked it up earlier this year via a scratch and dent special through CBD, and I’m glad I did. It is chocked-full of interesting (and not-so-interesting) information about the history of the KJV.
Brake covers everything from the impetus for the translation to its modern form. He begins with a brief overview of the history of the English language and the first English translations of Scripture. Politics and religious factions caused a tug-of-war when it came to the production and acceptance of new translations. No English translation gained universal acceptance. While the KJV did not immediately gain the adoration of all English speakers, within 30 years it had supplanted most other prior translations, and only continued to gain more and more market share until it became the standard translation in the English speaking world with no serious challengers until the late 19th century.