MAJESTIC LEGACY

The remarkable story of the four-hundred year impact of the King James Bible.

Compiled by
Dr. Phil Stringer




DEDICATION

This work is dedicated to Pastor Shay Mahurin.
It was through his preaching from the King James Bible that I was born again!



PREFACE

Those who use the King James Bible are accustomed to hearing it criticized. Self-proclaimed rationalists, modernists, evangelicals, and even some fundamentalists delight in belittling and criticizing the King James Bible. Cults, representatives of major world religions, and secularists alike commonly attack the King James Bible and look down upon those who respect it as the Word of God in English.

All of a sudden, this constant barrage of criticism of the King James Bible (often referred to as the KJB throughout the rest of this monograph) is suffering some degree of disruption. As the four hundredth anniversary of the release of the KJB approaches, attention is being focused on the incredible influence of the KJB over the last four hundred years. Some of the criticism is being replaced by a serious look at the literary, political, linguistic, and cultural influence of the KJB.

Hopefully, equal attention will also be placed upon the spiritual impact of the King James Bible.

INTRODUCTION

The influence of the King James Bible can be traced in many areas. Its legacy is unmatched in Western Civilization. According to Vanderbilt University Press, the King James Bible is the best-selling book of all times.1 According to historian Adam Nicholson, more than five billion copies of the King James Bible have been sold over the last 399 years.2 According to Nelson publishers, the King James Bible is the most frequently quoted document in existence.3 Donald L. Brake calls the KJB the “most famous and influential Bible in English history.”4 The Story of English, (a history of the English language), goes even farther, calling the KJB “Probably the single-most influential book ever published in the English language.”5 This reference makes every other English Bible translation seem minor in significance.

Adam Nicholson describes the KJB “as the richest, most passionate (and most bought) of all works of English prose. It is full of grandeur and a vivid heart-gripping immediacy.”6 As the King James Bible approaches its anniversary, there is increasing focus of its incredible impact. In 2011, it will have been the dominant English Bible translation for four hundred years. Hundreds of English Bible translations have been offered to replace it. It outlasts them all. The KJB is used all over the world and its influence is felt everywhere. Christopher Anderson writes that the KJB “is the only version in existence on which the sun never sets.”7

Every American president, except one (Franklin Pierce) has taken his oath of office with his hand on the King James Bible. Arthur Cleveland Coxe stated, “The Holy Scriptures, as translated in the reign of King James the First, are the noblest heritage of the Anglo-Saxon race.”8

The 1995 edition of Compton’s Encyclopedia calls the KJB “the most influential book in the history of English civilization.”

THE BEAUTY OF THE KING JAMES BIBLE

C. S. Lewis complained that the KJB was too beautiful to serve as a common edition of the Bible.9 Has such a “complaint” ever been made about any other English Bible translation?

The Merit Students Encyclopedia describes the KJB this way:

“The greatest English Bible is the Authorized, or King James, Version. Based on Tyndale’s translation and original texts, it was produced in 1611 by six groups of churchmen at the command of King James I. The King James Bible became the traditional Bible of English-speaking Protestants. Its dignified and beautiful style strongly influenced the development of literature in the English language. The influence can be seen in the works of John Bunyan, John Milton, Herman Melville, and many other writers.”

Actor Charlton Heston described the beauty of the King James Bible in his autobiography:

“. . .the King James translation has been described as ‘the monument of English prose’ as well as ‘the only great work of art ever created by a committee’. Both statements are true. Fifty-four scholars worked seven years to produce the work from its extant texts in Aramaic, Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and English. Such an undertaking can be expected to produce great scholarship, but hardly writing as spare and sublime as the King James. . .

The authors of several boring translations that have followed over the last fifty years mumble that the KJV is ‘difficult’ filled with long words. Have a look at the difficult long words that begin the Old Testament, and end in the Gospels: ‘In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; darkness was upon the face of the deep.’ And ‘Now, of the other things which Jesus did, if they should be written every one, I suppose the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Shakespeare aside, there’s not comparable writing in the language, as has been observed by wiser men than I.

Over the past several centuries it’s been the single book in most households, an enormous force in shaping the development of the English language. Carried around the world by missionaries, it provided the base by which English is about to become the lingua franca of the world in the next century. Exploring it during this shoot (Ten Commandments) was one of the most rewarding creative experiences of my life.”10

H. L. Mencken wrote about the KJB, “It is the most beautiful of all the translations of the Bible; indeed, it is probably the most beautiful piece of writing in all the literature of the world.”11

Dr. William Faber, a Roman Catholic priest, wrote about the KJB:

“It lives on the ear like a music that can never be forgotten, like the sound of church bells, which the convert hardly knows how he can forego. Its felicities often seem to be almost things rather than words. It is a part of the national mind and the anchor of national seriousness. The memory of the dead passes into it. The potent traditions of childhood are stereotyped in its verses. The power of all the grief and trials of a man is hidden beneath its words. It is the representative of his best moments; and all that there has been about him of soft, and gentle, and pure, and penitent, and good speaks to him forever out of his English Bible.”12

Interestingly enough, a beautiful translation was not a conscious goal of the KJB translators. It was simply a by-product of an accurate translation.

Historian Alister McGrath writes:

“Yet there is no evidence that the translators of the King James Bible had any great interest in matters of literature or linguistic development. Their concern was primarily to provide an accurate translation of the Bible, on the assumption that accuracy was itself the most aesthetic of qualities to be desired. Paradoxically, the king’s translators achieved literacy distinction precisely because they were not deliberately pursuing it. Aiming at truth, they achieved what later generations recognized as beauty and elegance. Where later translations deliberately and self-consciously sought after literary merit, the king’s translators achieved it unintentionally, by focusing on what, to them, was a greater goal. Paradoxically, elegance was achieved by accident, rather than design.”13

President Ronald Reagan described his feelings about the beauty of the King James Bible:

“What would you say if someone decided Shakespeare’s plays, Charles Dicken’s novels, or the music of Beethoven could be rewritten and improved?. . . Writing in the journal The Alternative, Richard Hanser, author of The Law and the Prophets and Jesus: What Manner of Man is This? has called attention to something that is more than a little mind boggling. It is my understanding that the Bible (both the Old and the New Testaments) has been the best-selling book in the entire history of printing.

Now another attempt has been made to improve it. I say another because there have been several fairly recent efforts to ‘make the Bible more readable and understandable’. But as Mr. Hanser so eloquently says ‘For more than three and a half centuries, its language and its images have penetrated more deeply into the general culture of the English-speaking world, and been more deeply treasured, than anything ever put on paper.’ He then quotes the irreverent H. L. Mencken, who spoke of it as purely a literary work and said it was, ‘probably the most beautiful piece of writing in any language’.

They were, of course, speaking of the Authorized Version, the one that come into being when the England of King James was scoured for translators and scholars. It was a time when the English language had reached its peak of richness and beauty.

Now we are to have The Good News Bible which will be in ‘the natural English of everyday adult conversation’. I’m sure the scholars and clergymen supervised by the American Bible Society were sincerely imbued with the thought that they were taking religion to the people with their Good News Bible, but I can’t help feeling we should instead be taking the people to religion and lifting them with the beauty of language that has outlived the centuries.”

(radio address aired on September 6, 1977)

J Issacs, in his essay, “The Authorized Version and After” (1940), exclaims:

“The Authorized Version is a miracle and a landmark. Its felicities are manifold, its music has entered into every blood and marrow of English thought and speech, it has given countless proverbs and proverbial phrases even to the unlearned and the irreligious. There is no corner of English life, no conversation ribald or reverent it has not adorned. It has both broadened and retarded the stream of English speech. It is more archaic in places than its forerunners, and it is impossible for us to disentangle from our ordinary talk the phrases of Judea, whether Hebrew or Greek, whether of the patriarchs, the prophets, the poets, or the apostles. Only the closest scrutiny can give precision to the rhapsodical vagueness with which the Authorized Version is worshiped at a distance.”14

Joseph Addison, famous eighteenth Century British essayist, dramatist and political leader wrote:

“It happens very luckily, that the Hebrew idioms run into the English tongue with a particular grace and beauty. Our language has received innumerable elegancies and improvements, from the infusion of Hebraism, which is derived to it out of the poetical passages on Holy Writ. They give a force and energy to our expressions, warm and animate our language, and convey our thoughts in more ardent and intense phrases, than any that are to be met within our own tongue. . .How cold and dead does a prayer appear that is composed in the most elegant and polite forms of speech which are natural to our tongue when it is not heightened by the solemnity of phrase which may be drawn from the sacred writings.”15

Charles A Dinsmore, for many years professor at Yale Divinity School, in his great work, The English Bible as Literature, wrote of “the unique and sovereign greatness of our standard English Version,” saying:

“It is unlike any other book in our language, and in charm and power is above them all.”16

Thomas B. Macaulay, the author of the classic multi-volume History of England, comments that the translators of the Authorized Version produced a book which:

“. . .if everything else in our language should perish, would alone suffice to show the whole extent of its beauty and power.”17

Many authors have remarked upon the beauty of the KJB. But the remarkable influence of the KJB goes far beyond its beauty.

THE LINGUISTIC INFLUENCE OF THE KING JAMES BIBLE

The KJB was a pioneer in English literature. It was the first example of major English prose to be based primarily upon Anglo-Saxon words rather than Latin words. This approach would become standard in the English language because of the influence of the KJB.

The King James Bible used short phrases joined together by conjunctions like and. We take this for granted today because it is basic English. However, before the KJB, English prose was much wordier and much harder to read.

Paul Cross writes: “Whether we live in England or America, Australia or Africa, Canada or the Caribbean, the English language was largely shaped by one book—the King James Version of the Bible.”18

In 1611 only one nation on the planet spoke English. Today dozens of nations have English as their official language and many more use English as a secondary language.

Literary figure Matthew Arnold wrote (of the KJB):

“He (the translator) will find one English book and one only, where, as in the Iliad itself, perfect plainness of speech is allied with perfect nobleness; and the book is the Bible.”19

In 1906, Ira Maurice Price, writing in The Ancestry of Our English Bible wrote:

“For almost three centuries the Authorized, or King James, Version has been the Bible of the English-speaking world. Its simple, majestic Anglo-Saxon tongue, its clear, sparkling style, its directness and force of utterance have made it the model in language, style, and dignity of some of the choicest writers of the last two centuries. Its phrasing is woven into much of our noblest literature; and its style, which to an astonishing degree is merely the style of the original authors of the Bible, has exerted very great influence in molding the ideal of simplicity, directness, and clarity which now dominates the writing of English. It has endeared itself to the hearts and lives of millions of Christians and has molded the characters of leaders in every walk of life. During all these centuries the King James Version has become a vital part of the English-speaking world, socially, morally, religiously, and politically.”20

The simple, direct, clear form of expression that English is famous for (or used to be famous for) is the product of the influence of the King James Bible. This directness is one reason (along with the financial influence of the U.S.A. and Britain and television) why English has become the second language to the world.

Robert Alter, wrote about Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, “. . .though one might argue that the very use of a language that is both plain and dignified, resonant in its very ordinariness, is in part inspired by the dictation of the King James Version.”21

Alter also writes:

“The King James Version of the Bible, once justifiably thought of as the national book of the American people, helped foster, at least for two centuries, a general responsiveness to the expressive, dignified use of language, to the ways in which the rhythms and diction of a certain kind of English could move readers.”22

Parataxis (the use of short, clear, complete sentences) became common in American literature and in everyday common American speech because of the influence of the King James Bible.

Historian Mark A Noll writes:

“Because the KJV was so widely read for religious purposes, it had also become a source of public ideals. Because it was so central in the churches, and because the churches were so central to the culture, the KJV functioned also as a common reservoir for the language. Hundreds of phrases (clear as crystal, powers that be, root of the matter, a perfect Babel, two-edged sword) and thousands of words (arguments, city, conflict, humanity, legacy, network, voiceless, zeal) were in the common speech because they had first been in this translation.”23

The King James Bible became the source of “sacred linguistics” for western civilization. “With the Puritan adoption of the King James Bible, the words of 1611 became America’s sacred lexicon, the language in which divinity addressed humanity.”24

As Alister McGrath writes: “The Bible changed a nation, a language and a culture.”25

THE INFLUENCE ON WESTERN CULTURE OF THE KING JAMES BIBLE

The Anglo-Christian culture, known as Western Civilization, has promoted prosperity and freedom around the world for almost four hundred years. This culture was created by the King James Bible and was made possible by the bonding influence of a shared Bible.

Professor Russell Kirk wrote:

“The book that was to exert a stronger influence than any other in America was not published until 1611, a few years after the first Virginian settlement: the ‘King James’ translation of the Bible, the Authorized Version prepared by English scholars for King James I. Read from American pulpits and in the great majority of American households during colonial times, the Authorized Version shaped the style, informed the intellect, affected the laws, and decreed the morals of the North American colonies.”26

Barrett Wendell, a professor of composition at Harvard for twenty years, observes,

“The King James Bible is probably the greatest masterpiece of translation in the world; it has exercised on the thought and the language of English-speaking peoples an influence which cannot be overestimated.”27

The influence of the King James Bible on the development of the United States of American is hard to over-estimate. In the Bible of America, P. Marion Simms wrote, “No nation in all history was ever founded by people so dominated by the Bible as America.”28 Primarily that Bible was the King James Bible.

Historian Paul Johnson wrote:

“Hence Americans never belonged to the religious category who seek certainty of doctrine through clerical hierarchy; during the whole of the colonial period, for instance, not a single Anglican bishop was ever appointed to rule flocks there. What most Americans did belong to was the second category; those who believe that knowledge of God comes directly to them through the study of Holy Writ. They read the Bible for themselves, assiduously, daily. Virtually every humble cabin in Massachusetts colony had its own Bible. Adults read it alone, silently. It was also read aloud among families, as well as in church, during Sunday morning service, which lasted from eight till twelve (there was more Bible-reading in the afternoon). Many families had a regular course of Bible-reading which meant that they covered the entire text of the Old Testament in the course of each year. Every striking episode was familiar to them, and its meaning and significance earnestly discussed; many they knew by heart. The language and lilt of the Bible in its various translations, but particularly in the magnificent new King James Version, passed into the common tongue and script. On Sunday the minister took his congregation through key passages, in carefully attended sermons which rarely lasted less than an hour. But authority lay in the Bible, not the minister, and in the last resort every man and woman decided ‘in the light which Almighty God gave them’ what the Bible meant.”29

Historian Benson Bobrick describes the impact of the KJB on western culture:

“Next to the Bible itself, the English Bible was (and is) the most influential book ever published. It gave every literate person complete access to the sacred text, which helped to foster the spirit of inquiry through reading and reflection. These in turn accelerated the growth of commercial printing and the ever-widening circulation and production of books. Books ‘formerly imprisoned in the libraries of monasteries’ were, as one contemporary put it, ‘redeemed from bondage, obtained their enlargement, and freely walked about in the light.’

Once the people were free to interpret the Word of God according to the light of their own understanding, they began to question the authority of their inherited institutions, both religious and secular, which led to reformation within the Church, and to the rise of constitutional government in England and the end of the divine right of kings. Although the vernacular Bible had begun as a pillar of support for England’s monarchical authority and independence from the pope, in the end it contributed to and justified defiance of the monarchy itself.

Only in England was the Bible in any sense a ‘national possession,’ in that it seemed to exist apart in English as an original work of art. Indeed, not even Luther’s version (despite its impact on the development of the German language) may be compared to the English Bible in this way. Englishmen looked to and cherished their Bible—as the ground and inspiration of their lives—overseas, even as it came to live in their own language with more abiding force ‘than the greatest works to which their authors were giving birth.’ In some indefinable way, it managed to incorporate into their own history ‘a living memory of the central part of the world,’ so that, over time, ‘the deeds and thoughts of men who had lived thousands of years before in the eastern Mediterranean came to color the everyday thought and speech of Britons to the same degree,’ wrote the great historian G. M. Trevelyan, ‘as they are colored in our own day by the commonplace of the newspaper press.’ Beyond the shores of Albion, it fortified the spirit of the pioneers of New England, helped to shape the American psyche, and through its impact on thought and culture eventually spread the world over, ‘as wide as the waters be.’”30

In Pen of Iron, Robert Alter wrote:

“But it was in America that the potential of the 1611 translation to determine the foundational language and symbolic imagery of a whole culture was most fully realized.”31

William Lyon Phelps wrote:

“The Bible is not only the foundation of modern English; it is the foundation of Anglo-Saxon civilization.32

On the three hundredth anniversary of the King James Bible, Cleland Boyd McAfee wrote, The Greatest English Classic, A Study of the King James Version of the Bible and Its Influence on Life and Literature. He describes the influence of the King James Bible on western culture.

“And it would not be surprising if it should have such influence. It is the one great piece of English literature which is universal property. Since the day it was published it has been kept available for everybody. No other book has ever had its chance. English-speaking people have always been essentially religious. They have always had a profound regard for the terms the institutions, the purposes of religion. Partly that has been maintained by the Bible; but the Bible in its turn has been maintained by it. So it has come about that English-speaking people, though they have many books, are essentially people of one Book. Wherever they are, the Bible is. Queen Victoria has it nearby when the messenger from the Orient appears, and lays her hand upon it to say that this is the foundation of the prosperity of England. But the poor housewife in the cottage, with only a crust for food, stays her soul with it. The Puritan creeps into hiding with the Book, while his brother sails away to the new land with the Book. The settler may have his Shakespeare; he will surely have his Bible. As the long wagon-train creeps across the plain to seek the Western shore, there may be no other book in all the train, but the Bible will be there. Find any settlement of men who speak the English tongue, wherever they make their home, and the Bible is among them. When did any book have such a chance to influence men? It is the one undisturbed heritage of all who speak the English tongue. It binds the daughter and the mother country together, and gathers into the same bond the scattered remnants of the English-speaking race the world around. Its language is the one speech they all understand. Strange it would be if it had not a profound influence upon history.”33

On the three hundredth anniversary of the KJB, President William Howard Taft wrote:

“The publication of this version of the Holy Scriptures in 1611 associates it with the early colonies of the English people upon this continent. It became at once the Bible of our American forefathers. Its classic English has given shape to American literature. Its spirit has influenced American ideals in life and laws and government.

I trust that this celebration may continue and deepen the influence of the Bible upon the people of this Republic.”34

Men learned about limited government, liberty, personal faith in Christ, and responsibility to God from the King James Bible. Speaking about the tercentenary anniversary of the King James Bible, Woodrow Wilson said:

“The Bible is a book which reveals men unto themselves, not as creatures in bondage, not as men under human authority, not as those bidden to take counsel and command of any human source. It reveals every man to himself as a distinct moral agent, responsible not to men, not even to those men whom he has put over him in authority, but responsible through his own conscience to his Lord and Maker. Whenever a man sees the vision he stands up a free man, whatever may be, Denver, 7 May 1911.”35


THE LITERARY INFLUENCE OF THE KING JAMES BIBLE

Historian Alister McGrath declares of the KJB, “It did not follow literary trends; it established them.” He also wrote:

“The two greatest influences on the shaping of the English language are the works of William Shakespeare and the English translation of the Bible that appeared in 1611. The King James Bible—named for the king of England who ordered the production of a fresh translation in 1604—is both a religious and literary classic. Literary scholars have heaped praise upon it. Nineteenth-century writers and literary critics acclaimed it as the ‘noblest monument of English prose.’ In a series of lectures at Cambridge University during the First World War, Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch declared that the King James Bible was ‘the very greatest’ literary achievement in the English language. The only possible challenger for this title came from the complete works of Shakespeare. His audience had no quarrel with this judgment. It was the accepted wisdom of the age.

The King James Bible was a landmark in the history of the English language, and an inspiration to poets, dramatists, artists, and politicians. The influence of this work has been incalculable. For many years, it was the only English translation of the Bible available.”36

William Lyon Phelps was the Lampton Professor of English Literature at Yale University for 41 years. He was a graduate of both Yale and Harvard. He was the author of numerous books about English and American Literature. In 1921 he wrote the following about the King James Bible:

“Priests, atheists, skeptics, devotees, agnostics, and evangelists, are generally agreed that the Authorized Version of the English Bible is the best example of English literature that the world has ever seen. . .

Every one who has a thorough knowledge of the Bible may truly be called educated; and no other learning of culture, no matter how extensive or elegant, can, among Europeans and Americans, form a proper substitute. Western civilization is founded upon the Bible. . .I thoroughly believe a knowledge of the Bible without a college course is more valuable than a college course without the Bible. . .

The Elizabethan period—a term loosely applied to the years between 1558 and 1642—is generally regarded as the most important era in English Literature. Shakespeare and his mighty contemporaries brought the drama to the highest point in the world’s history; lyrical poetry found supreme expression; Spencer’s Faerie Queene was a unique performance; Bacon’s Essays have never been surpassed. But the crowning achievement of those spacious days was the Authorized Translation of the Bible, which appeared in 1611. Three centuries of English literature followed; but, although they have been crowded with poets and novelists and essayists, and although the teaching of the English language and literature now gives employment to many earnest men and women, the art of English composition reached its climax in the pages of the Bible. . .

Now, as the English speaking people have the best Bible in the world, and as it is the most beautiful monument erected with the English alphabet, we ought to make the most of it, for it is an incomparably rich inheritance, free to all who can read. This means that we ought invariably in the church and on public occasions to use the Authorized Version; all others are inferior.”37

He also wrote about the King James Version, “. . .it is the most important and the most influential book in English literature. . .”38

The New World Encyclopedia declares this about the literary influence of the King James Bible:

“The King James Version has proved to have been an influence on writers and poets, whether in their literary style, or matters of content such as the images they depicted, until the advent of modernism. Although influenced by the Bible in general, they likely could not have helped being influenced by the style of writing the King James Version used, prevalent as it was during their time. John Hayes Gardiner of Harvard University once stated that ‘in all study of English literature, if there by any one axiom which may be accepted without question, it is that the ultimate standard of English prose style is set by the King James version of the Bible.’ Compton’s Encyclopedia once said that the King James Version ‘. . .has been a model of writing for generations of English-speaking people.

A general effect of the King James Version was to influence writers in their model of writing; beforehand, authors generally wrote as scholars addressing an audience of other scholars, as few ordinary peasants were literate at the time. The King James Version, as it was meant for dissemination among the ordinary man and to be read by preachers to their congregations, could not afford the luxury of using such a technique. The simpler, more direct style used by the translators of the King James Version so influenced authors that their prose began to address the reader as if he or she was an ordinary person instead of a scholar, thus helping create the idea of the general reader.”

Author Robert Alter is well known for his book Pen of Iron: American Prose and the King James Bible.

Reviews of his book are very instructive:

Robert Alter’s Pen of Iron is an expanded, book-length version of the Spencer Trask Lectures given by the author at Princeton University in April, 2008. The subject: the pervasive influence of the King James Bible in American literature from its 1611 publication in England to the present day.

Alter defines the influence of the King James Bible in two ways: As a rich source of ideas, images, and metaphors about God and man, and as a manual of style for a distinctive, classical way of writing. Alter pursues his thesis through a series of examples spanning American literature: Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, William Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom!, Saul Bellow’s Seize the Day, Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead, and Cormac McCarthy’s The Road.

In each example, Alter traces elements of plot, language and style back to the bedrock of the King James Bible. As American culture has become more secular, these associations have become less distinct, but Alter argues the King James Bible continues to have an influence as part of our common literary heritage. Customer review:

“As a leading scholar and translator of the Bible, who is also deeply knowledgeable about American literature, Robert Alter is ideally suited to study this complicated inheritance. . . Pen of Iron makes a convincing case that it is impossible to fully appreciate American literature without knowing the King James Bible—indeed, without knowing it almost instinctively, the way generations of Americans used to know it.” (Adam Kirsch, New Republic)

“Alter’s intelligent treatments of several major works—principally Moby Dick, Absalom, Absalom!, Seize the Day, and Marilynne Robinson’s justly applauded novel, Gilead (2004)—does more than simply explain allusions to biblical texts. He is interested in the ways in which American writers incorporate the stylistic traits of the King James Version for their own purposes, even when they are not themselves rooted in a Christian or biblical world view. (Barton Swain, New Criterion)

“Alter’s book is tightly focused and sweeping in the specificity of its claims. He takes a commonplace of conventional wisdom—the ubiquity the Bible once had in American elite culture—to argue that the Kings James translation created the ‘foundational language and symbolic imagery’ of the whole American culture, especially its prose fiction. (David E. Anderson Religion and Ethics Newsweekly)39


THE KING JAMES BIBLE AND LITERACY

The King James Bible was translated to be read by the average man. The sponsorship of this translation by the King of England made it safe to own in the average home. Other English Bibles had been made available to the English people but there were always local sheriffs, bishops and abbots to persecute Bible owners, even if the national government was not doing so. Now that a Bible, designed for the average man, was sponsored by the King—no sheriff, bishop or abbot was bold enough to persecute private citizens for owning a King James Bible.

It is no accident that literacy flourished as the King James Bible became available. Historian Adam Nicholson writes about the King James Bible:

“It is surely no coincidence that its creation coincides with the first great surge in literary levels in England.”40

Historian John Strype (1643-1737), as quoted by Alexander W. McClure, described the influence of the KJB on literacy in England:

“It was wonderful to see with what joy this book of God was received, not only among the learned sort, but generally all England over, among all the vulgar and common people; and with what greediness the Word of God was read, and what resort to places where the reading of it was! Everybody that could, bought the book, or busily read it, or got others to read it to them if they could not themselves. Divers more elderly people learned to read on purpose; and even little boys flocked among the rest to hear portions of the Holy Scriptures read.”41


THE SURVIVAL OF THE KING JAMES BIBLE

Over 1,000 English translations of the Bible have been produced since 1611. Hundreds of them are documented in Margaret T. Hills’ 1961 book, A Bibliography of Editions of the Bible or The New Testament. Many of these translations have been promoted as the translation that will replace the King James Bible. Few of them are still in print.

In 1876 John Read Dore wrote Old Bibles. One of the purposes of this book was to prepare the English speaking world for the replacement of the King James Bible by the English Revised Version.

He wrote:

“The frequent notices published in the newspapers during the last few years, of the progress being made by the two companies appointed by the Convocation to revise the translation of the Old and New Testament, have called attention to the fact that before long, the Bible to which English-speaking people have been accustomed for the last 265 years, will cease to be the Authorised version, and a new one will take its place.”42

He also wrote:

“It is hard to realize the fact that the days of our present version of the Bible are numbered, and in a few years at the most, it will be superseded by a new translation, and be valuable to collectors only, as a copy of one of the disused English versions.”43

Of course the English Revised Version has long been out of print while millions of copies of the KJB are produced every year.

In 1952, the Rev. Howard Crosby observed that the Revised Standard Version would win universal acceptance within a decade or so after “the old grannies and croakers were dead.”44 He expected the KJB to die with them. The RSV has since been replaced by the New Revised Standard Version. The KJB still outsells the NRSB by a wide margin.

Historian Adam Nicholson writes:

“Of course, alongside this history of dissatisfaction with the inherited text, and of constant attempts to renew it in the light of current fashion, the King James Bible persisted, the touchstone, the national book, the formative mental structure for all English-speaking people. For generation after generation, it gave the English, and the English in America, a template against which to measure their own utterances.”45

How do you explain the four-hundred year survival of the King James Bible? Few translations have ever continued in use for one hundred years. There is no purely human explanation for the continued influence of the King James Bible.

THE SPRITUAL INFLUENCE OF THE KING JAMES BIBLE

The spiritual impact of the King James Bible dwarfs the influence of any other English translation of the Bible. It dwarfs the influence of any other vernacular translation.

When the Bible became a daily part of the common English home, it was the King James Bible that people were reading.

John Richard Green writes:

“No greater moral change ever passed over a nation than passed over England during the years which parted the middle of the reign of Elizabeth from the meeting of the Long Parliament. England became the people of a book, and that book was the Bible. It was as yet the one English book which was familiar to every Englishman, it was read at churches and read at home, and everywhere its words, as they fell on ears which custom had not deadened to their force and beauty, kindled a startling enthusiasm.”46

Jeremy N. Morris wrote:

“Even so, for all the disagreements between different groups of Protestants, something like a common Evangelical culture was coming into being. It had common spiritual resources, for one thing. Chief among these was, of course, the Bible, almost always in the English-speaking world in the King James Version of 1611.”47

England’s common Christian culture was largely shaped by the King James Bible. This culture was later transferred to many of the nations that developed from Great Britain’s colonies.

The Great Awakening swept through England and its colonies on the Atlantic seaboard from the 1720s through the 1770s. Millions of people professed faith in Christ. Church attendance in evangelical churches became common; a daily Bible reading became normal. Literacy rates dramatically rose as people longed to read the Bible.

One common denominator in the Great Awakening was that everyone in the English-evangelical world was using the same Bible—the King James Bible.

In 1857, Arthur Cleveland Coxe wrote:

“And now, after two hundred years of the sending forth of colonies, the Anglo-Saxon people dwell in every latitude and longitude; they mingle their blood with other races, and yet remain one with the parent stock. Time, indeed, is working changes; and far-severed branches of the same original family must have their own household feelings, and immediate ties of home. It is not altogether true, alas! that this mighty people have all ‘one LORD, one faith, one baptism.’ If it were so, the world would be their easy conquest for the Cross. They do not pray the same prayers, nor with one heart and one mouth, confess the same form of sound words.’ But as yet, over and above the common spirit of their laws, they hold fast the great Charter, from which their free laws have proceeded; they possess the same Bible.”48

Arthur Cleveland Coxe also wrote this about the King James Bible:

“Can it be necessary to argue that no one can inflict a graver wound on the unity of a race, and on all the sacred interests which depend on that unity, under GOD, than by tampering with the English Bible? By the acclamation of the universe, it is the most faultless version of the Scriptures that ever existed in any tongue. To complain of its trifling blemishes, is to complain of the sun for its spots. Whatever may be its faults, they are less evil, in every way, than would be the evils sure to arise from any attempt to eradicate them; and where there is so much of wheat, the few tares may be allowed to stand till the end of the world. Two centuries, complete, have identified even its slightest peculiarities with the whole literature, poetry, prose, and science, as well as with the entire thought and theology of those ages, and the time, to all appearance, is forever past, when any alteration can be made in it, without a shock to a thousand holy things, and to the pious sensibilities of millions.”49

The King James Bible was clearly the Bible of the Great Awakening.

In the United States, a Second Great Awakening took place in the 1820s and 1830s. Again, the entire nation was influenced by evangelical preaching from the King James Bible.

A Third Great Awakening took place from the 1850s through the 1870s. Again, the entire nation felt the influence of evangelical preaching from the King James Bible.

The King James Bible was clearly the Bible of the Great Awakenings. Since a multitude of English Bibles have become common in the English speaking world, nothing similar to the Great Awakenings has taken place.

The aftermath of the first Great Awakening was the modern missions movement. In the late eighteenth century, pioneers like William Carey and Adoniram Judson called the attention of the English speaking world to the cause of missions. Missionaries would circle the globe preaching the Gospel, translating the Bible and planting churches.

These missionaries were quick to promote the need for vernacular Bible translations. Because of this, some have balked at suggesting that the King James Bible was the Bible of the modern missions movement. However, the early leaders of this movement were men saved under the preaching of the King James Bible. They were trained under the teaching of the King James Bible. They were called to the mission field under the preaching of the King James Bible. Often, they translated the King James Bible into vernacular languages.

The early English speaking missionaries were joined by a few German, Dutch and Scandinavian missionaries. However, the vast majority of the early missionaries were products of the influence of the KJB. It was truly the Bible of the modern missions movement.

The King James Bible has impacted many other vernacular Bible translations. As the modern missions’ movement sent missionaries around the world, the need for vernacular translations of the Bible was obvious. Very few of the missionaries were Greek and Hebrew scholars. Many of the early translations were done from the King James Bible. A few were done from the Lutheran German Bible or the Italian Diodati Bible.

Sir Winston Churchill wrote:

“In the crowded emigrant ships which sailed to the New World of America, there was little room for baggage. If the adventurers took books with them, they took the Bible, Shakespeare, and later Pilgrim’s Progress; and the Bible they mostly took with them was the Authorized Version of King James I. About ninety million copies are thought to have been published in the English language alone. It has been translated into more than seven hundred and sixty tongues. The Authorized Version is still the most popular in England and the United States. This may be deemed James’ greatest achievement, for the impulse was largely his. The Scottish pedant built better than he knew. The scholars who produced this masterpiece are mostly unknown and unremembered. But they forged an enduring link, literary and religious, between the English-speaking peoples of the world.”48

The early translation philosophy of the American Bible Society was to translate from the King James Bible. This policy was later changed to use the Greek and Hebrew Traditional Texts whenever possible. However, all translations were to be judged by the King James Bible. If the vernacular translation disagreed with the King James Bible, it was assumed that the translators had misunderstood the original.

It comes as a surprise to many that the vast majority of vernacular Bibles used in the world are translated from English Bibles. In recent years, many translations have been done from the American Standard Version, the Revised Standard Version, Today’s English Version and the New International Version. However, for the first 150 years of the modern mission movement, the King James Bible was the most common source text for vernacular translation.

Few missionaries have mastered Greek, Hebrew and the vernacular language of their mission field.

Without the preaching of the King James Bible there would have been no modern missions movement. Without the King James Bible as a source text, the modern missions movement would have produced very few vernacular Bible translations. Even today, it appears that churches which use the King James Bible often contribute much more per person to missions than churches which do not.

The King James Bible deserves to be called “The Bible of Modern Missions.”

As we approach the four hundredth anniversary of the KJB, many religious leaders contend that people cannot understand the KJB today. Some church growth “experts” claim that you cannot build a church using the KJB. However, many growing churches—(especially among independent Baptists) are using the KJB. It appears that “bus kids” often have less trouble understanding the KJB than many seminary professors and religious leaders.

Millions around the world still testify to the impact of the King James Bible upon their spiritual life. Two centuries of criticism has not hindered the blessing that the King James Bible is in their life.

How do you explain the four hundred year influence of the King James Bible? Surely, it is more than a purely human phenomena!

CONCLUSION

Pastor Dave Sorenson says it well,

Now the question must be asked, is the supremacy of the King James Bible a fluke of history or has God had something to do with it? Only a secularist can allege that the flourishing of the KJB over the past 400 years was a coincidence. Who wins the Super Bowl may be a fluke of history. Who is hired as dogcatcher in Dubuque, Iowa, may be a coincidence. Who wins a junior high girls basketball game may be of no concern to God. But to suggest that the preparation, purification, and distribution of the most widely published version of God’s Word in history is a coincidence is folly. In the greater perspective of history, it should be apparent that God was involved in every step of the preparation, purifying, and publishing of the King James Bible.

God certainly knew in advance the wide-spread distribution and influence the KJV would have. To the contrary, it would seem that God so-ordained it. Can we assume therefore that He had nothing to do with its historic usage and popularity? There was no such thing as double inspiration or advanced revelation to the KJV translators. However, having said that, it would seem apparent that God has providentially worked behind the scenes in not only purifying and preparing the underlying Hebrew and Greek texts, but also in this dispensation, God has ordained the local church of the New Testament. He has ordained a greater ministry of the Holy Spirit. And, He has exalted His Word. There can be no other conclusion except that God has had a direct and providential hand in the development and propagation of the most widely used version of His Word in human history.”51

Historian Gustavus S. Paine draws a similar conclusion:

“Are we to say that God walked with them in their gardens? Insofar as they believed in their own calling and election, they must have believed that they would have God’s help in their task. We marvel that they could both submerge themselves and assert themselves, could meekly agree yet firmly declare, and hold to the words they preferred as just and fitting. At the same time they could write and they could listen, speak clearly, and hearken to the sounds they tested, as well as to the voice of what they deemed the divine Author. And that must have been the secret of their grace and their assurance: they agreed, not with other men like themselves, but with God as their guide, and they followed not as thinking themselves righteous but as led by a righteousness beyond them. They knew that human beings are but worms, but that man when he is good and docile may mount up with wings as eagles, to be the child of God.”52

First of all the translators saw themselves as having the sacred task of reproducing God’s original words in English. This task left them in awe of God’s Word as they translated every word.

Even skeptic George Bernard Shaw wrote:

“The translation was extraordinarily well done because to the translators what they were translating was not merely a curious collection of ancient books written by different authors in different stages of culture, but the Word of God divinely revealed through His chosen and expressly inspired scribes. In this conviction they carried out their work with boundless reverence and care and achieved a beautifully artistic result. . .they made a translation so magnificent that to this day the common human Britisher or citizen of the United States of North America accepts and worships it as a single book by a single author, the book being the Book of Books and the author being God.”53

Historian Adam Nicholson describes the attitude of the KJB translators:

“Those who originally wrote the words of the Bible had been God’s secretaries, as loyal, as self-suppressing, as utterly disposed to the uses of the divine will as those royal secretaries, the Cecils, had so conspicuously been to Elizabeth and James. Self-abnegation in the service of greatness was the ideal.

Secretaryship is one of the great shaping forces behind the King James Bible. There is no authorship involved here. Authorship is egotistical, an assumption that you might have something new worth saying. You don’t. Every iota of the Bible counts but without it you count for nothing. The secretary knows that. Like Robert Cecil, he can be clever, canny, resourceful and energetic but, for all the frustrations, he does not distort the source of his authority. A secretary, whether of God or of king, is in a position of dependent power. He has no authority independent of his master, but he executes that authority without hesitation or compromise. He is nothing without his master but everything through him. Loyalty is power and submission control. For this reason, biblical translation, like royal service, could only be utterly faithful. Without faithfulness, it became meaningless.”54

As Nicholson writes:

“The English is there to serve the original not to replace it.”55

Historian Alister McGrath wrote:

“The central objective of the king’s translators was scholarly accuracy—the finding of proper English words and phrases to render the original Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic. Sense and meaning took priority over elegance.”56

This sense of reverence for the Word of God created an attitude rarely found in Bible translators today. Their sense of awe and responsibility in their roles as Bible translators sets them apart from most Bible translators today. This attitude bonded the translators to the original text.

Secondly, the training and scholarship of the translators of the KJB is without equal.

In the classic book, Translators Revived, Alexander W. McClure writes:

“As to the capability of those men, we may say again, that, by the good providence of God, their work was undertaken in a fortunate time. Not only had the English language, that singular compound, then ripened to its full perfection, but the study of Greek, and of the oriental tongues, and of rabbinical lore, had then been carried to a greater extent in England than ever before or since. This particular field of learning has never been so highly cultivated among English divines as it was at that day. To evince this fact, so far as necessary limits will admit, it will be requisite to sketch the characters and scholarship of those men, who have made all coming ages their debtors. When this pleasing task is done, it is confidently expected that the reader of these pages will yield to the conviction, that all the colleges of Great Britain and America, even in this proud day of boastings, could not bring together the same number of divines equally qualified by learning and piety for the great undertaking. Few indeed are the living names worthy to be enrolled with those mighty men. It would be impossible to convene out of any one Christian denomination, or out of all, a body of translators, on whom the whole Christian community would bestow such confidence as is reposed upon that illustrious company, or who would prove themselves as deserving of such confidence. Very many self-styled ‘improved versions’ of the Bible, or parts of it, have been paraded before the world, but the religious public has doomed them all, without exception, to utter neglect.”57

McClure then proceeds to provide the qualifications of the men who produced the King James translation. No other team of translators of any book, of any kind, in the history of the world possessed greater qualifications. The King James translators have many critics. It would be an interesting exercise to compare the qualifications of the critics with the qualifications of those that are being criticized.

It is impossible to explain the four hundred years of influence of the King James Bible in purely human terms. Alexander W. McClure states it well in Translators Revived:

“Not that the Translators were inspired in the same sense as were the prophets and apostles, and other ‘holy men of old.’ Who ‘were moved by the Holy Ghost’ in drawing up the original documents of the Christian faith. Such inspiration is a thing by itself, like any other miracle; and belongs exclusively to those to whom it was given for that high and unequalled end.

But we hold that the Translators enjoyed the highest degree of that special guidance which is ever granted to God’s true servants in exigencies of deep concernment to his kingdom on earth. Such special succors and spiritual assistances are always vouchsafed, where there is a like union of piety, of prayers, and of pains, to effect an object of such incalculable importance to the Church of the living God. The necessity of a supernatural revelation to man of the divine will, has often been argued in favor of the extreme probability that such a revelation has been made. A like necessity, and one nearly as pressing, might be argued in favor of the belief, that this most important of all the versions of God’s revealed will must have been made under his peculiar guidance, and his provident eye. And the manner in which that version has met the wants of the most free and intelligent nations in the old world and the new, may well confirm us in the persuasion, that the same illuminating Spirit which indited the original Scriptures, was imparted in rich grace to aid and guard the preparation of the English version,”58

Theologians will debate what terms should be used to define the nature of the divine influence upon the King James Bible. While the theologians are debating, people all over the world will be allowing the King James Bible to speak to their hearts.

While some religious leaders dream of finally producing the English Bible that will finally replace the KJB, little children will be memorizing its rhythmic words.

While university professors in England and the United States complain that the King James Bible cannot be understood, new Christians around the world will be rejoicing in the enlightenment they find in their daily devotions.

The hand of God is the only possible explanation for the majestic four-hundred year legacy of the King James Bible.

Endnotes

  1. Allen, Ward, Translating for King James, Vanderbuilt Press, 1969, back cover.
  2. Nicholson, Adam, 2003 Interview with Given Ifill, Online News Hour.
  3. Nelson Publishers, Advertisement for KJV400 Celebration in the History Channel Magazine.
  4. Brake, Donald L., A Visual History of the English Bible, Baker books, 2008, p. 235.
  5. McCrum, Robert, The Story of English, 1986, p. 109.
  6. Nicholson, Adam, The Greatest Story Ever Written, July 15, 2002, Internet article.
  7. Thuesen, Peter J., In Discordance with the Scripture, Oxford, 1999, p. 36.
  8. Coxe, Arthur Cleveland, An Apology for the Common English Bible, Vance Classic Reprints 48, 1857. p. 5.
  9. Lewis, C. S., introduction to the Letters to Young Churches by J. B. Philips.
  10. Heston, Charlton, In the Arena, Simon and Schuster, 1995, p. 554-5.
  11. Paine, Gustavus S., The Men Behind the King James Version, Baker Book House, 1959, p. VIII.
  12. Paine, Gustavus S., The Men Behind the King James Version, Baker Book House, 1959, p. VIII.
  13. McGrath, Alister, In the Beginning, Doubleday, 2001, p. 254-5.
  14. Bruce, Frederick. F., History of the Bible in English, Cambridge, 2002, p. 26.
  15. Rosenau, William, Hebraisms in the Authorized Version of the Bible, 1900, p. 14.
  16. Dinsmore, Charles, The English Bible as Literature, Houghton, Miflin, 1931, p. VIII.
  17. Price, Ira M. , The Ancestry of Our English Bible, Harper and Brothers, 1906, p. 4.
  18. Cross, Paul, Spiritual Reflections: What’s Been the Impact of the King James Bible? Sept, 17, 2010, Internet article.
  19. McGrath, Alister, In the Beginning, Doubleday, 2001, p. 218.
  20. Price, Ira M., The Ancestry of Our English Bible, Harper and Brothers, 1906, p. 276-7.
  21. Chanes, Jerome, If English Was Good Enough for Jesus Christ, August 25, 2010, Internet article.
  22. Altar, Robert, Pen of Iron, American Prose and the King James Bible, Princeton University Press, 2010, p. 41.
  23. Noll, Mark, The American Biblical Tradition, July 7, 2006, Internet article.
  24. Thuesen, Peter J., In Discordance with the Scriptures, Oxford Press, 1999, p. 30.
  25. McGrath, Alister, In The Beginning, Doubleday, 2001, front page.
  26. Kirk, Russell, America’s British Culture, Transaction Publications, 1993, p. 22.
  27. Wendell, Barrett, A Literary History of America, T. Fisher Union, 1901, p. 5.
  28. Simms, P. Marian, The Bible in America, Wilson-Erickson, 1936, p. 14.
  29. Johnson, Paul, A History of the American People, Harper Collins, 1997, p. 40.
  30. Bobrick, Nelson, Wide as the Waters, Penguin Books, 2001, p. 11-12.
  31. Robert, Pen of Iron, American Prose and the King James Bible, Princeton             University Press, 2010, p. 1.
  32. Phelps, William Lyon, Reading the Bible, MacMillan Company, 1919, p. 15.
  33. McAfee, Cleland B., The Greatest English Classic,
  34. From a statement released by the White House for Tercentenary Celebration of the King James Bible.
  35. From a speech delivered on the Tercentenary Anniversary of the King James Bible, in Denver on May 7, 1911.
  36. McGrath, Alister, In the Beginning, Doubleday, 2001, p. 1 and 3.
  37. Phelps, William Lyon, Human Nature in the Bible, Scribner and Sons, 1922, p. 13-14.
  38. Phelps, William Lyon, Reading the Bible, MacMillan, 1919, p. 10.
  39. Customer reviews posted on Amazon.com.
  40.  Nicholson, Adam, God’s Secretaries, Harper Collins, 2001, p. 236-7.
  41. McClure, Alexander, Translators Revived, Maranatha Publications, no date given, p. 38.
  42. Dore, John R., Old Bibles, Pickering, 1876, p. 100.
  43. Dore, John R., Old Bibles, Pickering, 1876, p. Vii.
  44. Thuesen, Peter J., In Discordance with the Scriptures, Oxford Press, 1999, p. 49.
  45. Nicholson, Adam, God’s Secretaries, Harper Collins Publishers, 2001, p. 236-237.
  46. Green, John Richard, A Short History of the English Speaking People, Chapter 8 as quoted by Ian Paisley, My Plea for the Old Sword.
  47.  Morris, Jeremy N. Renewed by the Word, Hendrickson, 2005, p. 69.
  48. Coxe, Arthur Cleveland, An Apology for the Common English Bible, Vance Classic Reprints, No. 48, 1857, p. 7.
  49. Coxe, Arthur Cleveland, An Apology for the Common English Bible, Vance Classic Reprints, No. 48, 1857, p. 8.
  50. Churchill, Winston, Churchill’s History of the English-Speaking Peoples, Commager, One volume edition, Mead and Co., 1965, p. 160.
  51. Sorenson, David H., God’s Perfect Book, Northstar Ministries, 2009, p. 135-6.
  52. Paine, Gustavus, The Men Behind the King James Version, Baker Book House, 1959, p. 169-170.
  53. Paine, Gustavus, The Men Behind the King James Version, Baker Book House, 1959, p. 182-3.
  54. Nicholson, Adam, God’s Secretaries, Harper Collins, 2003, p. 184.
  55. Nicholson, Adam, God’s Secretaries, Harper Collins, 2003, p. 210-211.
  56. McGrath, Alister, In the Beginning, Doubleday, 2001, p. 254-255.
  57. McClure, Alexander W., Translators Revived, Maranatha Publishers, no date given, p. 248-249.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. Phil Stringer is the pastor of the Ravenswood Baptist Church of Chicago. He is a former Bible college president.

He has been in full-time ministry for 36 years and has served as a youth pastor, evangelist, college professor and administrator, and pastor. He was ordained by the Lifegate Baptist Church in 1975.

Pulpit Ministry

He has spoken at over 350 churches, schools and colleges. He has spoken in 46 states and several foreign countries including Canada, Mexico, Vietnam, Syria, The Philippines, The Bahamas, Barbados, Trinidad, Suriname, Guatemala, South Korea, and Grenada.

Teaching Ministry

Dr. Stringer is a visiting professor at Landmark Baptist College (Manila), Asia Baptist Bible Seminary (Manila), Midwestern Baptist College (Pontiac, Michigan), and Dayspring Bible College (Lake Zurich, Illinois). He has taught courses at fourteen colleges.

Boards

He serves on the Advisory Councils for First Light Baptist Mission, The Graceway Bible Society (Canada), Shalom Native Mission, The Bible Nation Society and The Dean Burgon Society. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Heritage Baptist College (Franklin, Indiana). He is a member of the Board of Directors, Indiana Fundamental Bible College, (New Paris, Indiana). He is the President of the William Carey Bible Society.

Author

He is the author of several books and booklets including: The Faithful Baptist Witness, The Transformation, Fifty Demonstrations of America’s Christian Heritage, The Bible and Government, Biblical English, The Real Story of King James The Means of Inspiration, A History of the English Bible, In Defense of I John 5:7, Misidentified Identity, Many Infallible Proofs, The Westcott and Hort Only Controversy, The Scripture Cannot Be Broken, Ready Answers, The DaVinci Code Controversy and The Messianic Claims of Gail Riplinger.

He has also written 22 college course curriculums including: Biblical Interpretation, Homiletics, Inspiration of Scripture I, Inspiration of Scripture II, Baptist History, U. S. History I, U. S. History II, Book of Revelation, Daniel, Joshua, Ezekiel, Zechariah, Hosea, World History I, World History II, Christ in The Old Testament, The Christian Philosophy of History, Marriage and the Family, Christian Evidences, and Bible College Administration (editor), Spiritual Leadership and The Life of Paul.

He has also written high school curriculums on World History, Current Events,
U. S. History, Baptist History and Government. He has also written one elementary school curriculum on U. S. Presidents.

Education

He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Bible degree from Indiana Baptist College in 1975. He received a Masters degree in Christian Education from Freedom University in 1980. He received a Doctor of Philosophy degree in English Bible from Landmark Baptist College in 1997. He received a Doctor of Religious Education degree from the American Bible College in 2004.

Awards

Dr. Stringer was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity by the Asia Baptist Bible College in 2002. He was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Literature by the American Bible College in 2002. In 2007, he was awarded the Heritage Baptist University Alumni educator of the year award. In 2008, he received the Hoosier Hills Baptist Camp pastor of the year award.





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