King James Bible's Impact on Society

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This year marks the 400th anniversary of the King James Version of the Bible - the first widely distributed Bible for English-speakers around the world.

Ed Stetzer, from LifeWay Research, recently spoke with CBN News about how the KJV Bible has influenced the world.

Stetzer spoke more with CBN News about the KJV's impact on the world. Click play for his comments.

"It became a shaping tool," Stetzers said.
 
From the way people speak to the way people write, the KJV Bible has helped to shape today's society. 

When the KJV was first published, it had a great spiritual impact.

"It gave the the English-speaking world a common language, a full translation of the scripture," Stetzer said. "That shaped them theologically."

And as Stetzer explained, it helped to propel the missions movement forward.

But not only did the KJV have a spiritual impact, it also had a literary impact. Many common phrases that are still used today come straight out of the King James Bible.

"Phrases like 'judge not lest ye be judged' - these are phrases that we use today that actually came out of and were shaped by the King James Bible," Stetzer said.

Even though it's been around for awhile, the KJV is still relevant to many.

A recent LifeWay Research study found that about 62 percent of adults own a KJV Bible. Twenty-three percent of those surveyed said they found the translation easy to remember, aiding people in memorizing scripture. 

When creating the KJV, translators went back to the original languages of the text, like Hebrew and Greek, for the best translation possible. And other translations since, such as the NIV, have done the same.

"What I would encourage people to do is find a bible translation that is true to it's translation methodology, that is robust in it's engagement with the original language, but at the same time is readable to the modern reader," Stetzer said.

Stetzer said he wants readers to be able to experience that same thing the people who first the KJV experienced: the word of God in their own language.

Today, Eighty-nine percent of American households own at least one Bible. But there is a significant gap in Bible ownership between those who read the Scriptures regularly.

"I think there is a big difference between ownership and engagement of the scripture text," Stetzer said.

"And I think what we want to encourage people to do is not simple to own a Bible but to be owned by the Bible, to actually walk through it, to have it change and to shape our way of thinking," he continued.

Stetzer said he hopes the anniversary of the KJV Bible will help encourage people to open up their Bibles and see what they have to offer.

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