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.
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
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
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
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
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
(radio address aired on September
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
As Alister McGrath writes: “The
Bible changed a nation, a language and a culture.”25
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
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
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
“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
William Lyon Phelps wrote:
“The Bible is not only the
foundation of modern English; it is the foundation of Anglo-Saxon
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
“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
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.
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
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
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
“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
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
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
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
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!
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
“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
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
“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
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
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
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.
- Allen, Ward, Translating for King James,
Vanderbuilt Press, 1969, back cover.
- Nicholson, Adam, 2003 Interview with Given Ifill,
Online News Hour.
- Nelson Publishers, Advertisement for KJV400
Celebration in the History Channel Magazine.
- Brake, Donald L., A Visual History of the English
Bible, Baker books, 2008, p. 235.
- McCrum, Robert, The Story of English, 1986, p.
- Nicholson, Adam, The Greatest Story Ever Written,
July 15, 2002, Internet article.
- Thuesen, Peter J., In Discordance with the Scripture,
Oxford, 1999, p. 36.
- Coxe, Arthur Cleveland, An Apology for the Common
English Bible, Vance Classic Reprints 48, 1857. p. 5.
- Lewis, C. S., introduction to the Letters to Young
Churches by J. B. Philips.
- Heston, Charlton, In the Arena, Simon and
Schuster, 1995, p. 554-5.
- Paine, Gustavus S., The Men Behind the King James
Version, Baker Book House, 1959, p. VIII.
- Paine, Gustavus S., The Men Behind the King James
Version, Baker Book House, 1959, p. VIII.
- McGrath, Alister, In the Beginning, Doubleday,
2001, p. 254-5.
- Bruce, Frederick. F., History of the Bible in
English, Cambridge, 2002, p. 26.
- Rosenau, William, Hebraisms in the Authorized
Version of the Bible, 1900, p. 14.
- Dinsmore, Charles, The English Bible as Literature,
Houghton, Miflin, 1931, p. VIII.
- Price, Ira M. , The Ancestry of Our English Bible,
Harper and Brothers, 1906, p. 4.
- Cross, Paul, Spiritual Reflections: What’s Been the
Impact of the King James Bible? Sept, 17, 2010, Internet article.
- McGrath, Alister, In the Beginning, Doubleday,
2001, p. 218.
- Price, Ira M., The Ancestry of Our English Bible,
Harper and Brothers, 1906, p. 276-7.
- Chanes, Jerome, If English Was Good Enough for
Jesus Christ, August 25, 2010, Internet article.
- Altar, Robert, Pen of Iron, American Prose and the
King James Bible, Princeton University Press, 2010, p. 41.
- Noll, Mark, The American Biblical Tradition,
July 7, 2006, Internet article.
- Thuesen, Peter J., In Discordance with the
Scriptures, Oxford Press, 1999, p. 30.
Alister, In The Beginning, Doubleday, 2001, front page.
Russell, America’s British Culture, Transaction Publications,
1993, p. 22.
Barrett, A Literary History of America, T. Fisher Union, 1901,
P. Marian, The Bible in America, Wilson-Erickson, 1936, p. 14.
Paul, A History of the American People, Harper Collins, 1997,
Nelson, Wide as the Waters, Penguin Books, 2001, p. 11-12.
Pen of Iron, American Prose and the King James Bible,
Press, 2010, p. 1.
William Lyon, Reading the Bible, MacMillan Company, 1919, p. 15.
Cleland B., The Greatest English Classic,
a statement released by the White House for Tercentenary Celebration of
the King James Bible.
a speech delivered on the Tercentenary Anniversary of the King James
Bible, in Denver on May 7, 1911.
Alister, In the Beginning, Doubleday, 2001, p. 1 and 3.
William Lyon, Human Nature in the Bible, Scribner and Sons,
1922, p. 13-14.
William Lyon, Reading the Bible, MacMillan, 1919, p. 10.
reviews posted on Amazon.com.
Adam, God’s Secretaries, Harper Collins, 2001, p. 236-7.
Alexander, Translators Revived, Maranatha Publications, no date
given, p. 38.
John R., Old Bibles, Pickering, 1876, p. 100.
John R., Old Bibles, Pickering, 1876, p. Vii.
Peter J., In Discordance with the Scriptures, Oxford Press,
1999, p. 49.
Adam, God’s Secretaries, Harper Collins Publishers, 2001, p.
John Richard, A Short History of the English Speaking People,
Chapter 8 as quoted by Ian Paisley, My Plea for the Old Sword.
Jeremy N. Renewed by the Word, Hendrickson, 2005, p. 69.
Arthur Cleveland, An Apology for the Common English Bible,
Vance Classic Reprints, No. 48, 1857, p. 7.
Arthur Cleveland, An Apology for the Common English Bible,
Vance Classic Reprints, No. 48, 1857, p. 8.
Winston, Churchill’s History of the English-Speaking Peoples,
Commager, One volume edition, Mead and Co., 1965, p. 160.
David H., God’s Perfect Book, Northstar Ministries, 2009, p.
Gustavus, The Men Behind the King James Version, Baker Book
House, 1959, p. 169-170.
Gustavus, The Men Behind the King James Version, Baker Book
House, 1959, p. 182-3.
Adam, God’s Secretaries, Harper Collins, 2003, p. 184.
Adam, God’s Secretaries, Harper Collins, 2003, p. 210-211.
Alister, In the Beginning, Doubleday, 2001, p. 254-255.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.