The KJO sect tells us that God promised to preserve His Word and that he has done so in the KJV. If that is so, where was God’s Word preserved between the time that it was inspired and the time that it came off the press as the Authorized Version. Obviously God is not the one who is neglecting to tell the truth. Therefore, the other party must be. So what is the truth? It is very simple. The Old Testament was preserved in the Masoretic Text but translated into Greek, the Septuagint. The Septuagint was quoted many times in the New Testament as the inspired authors penned the words. As both the Hebrew and Greek languages faded into obscurity in most parts of the world, the Bible was translated into Latin, the Latin Vulgate. For 1200 years the Word of God was preserved in the Latin Vulgate. The New Testament was translated from the Latin into English in 1582 in Rheims, and the Old Testament in 1609 in Douay. For centuries, therefore, the Word of God was preserved for Catholics in the "Douay-Rheims" version of the Bible. The Old and New Testaments were translated from the Hebrew and Greek into English in 1611.* For centuries, therefore, the Word of God was preserved for Protestants in the “Authorized” version of the Bible. For those Catholics who wanted a Bible translated directly from the Hebrew and Greek, the “Confraternity” version was prepared. For those Catholics who wanted a more contemporary translation, the “New American” version was prepared. For those Catholics who wanted a yet more contemporary translation, the “New American” version is being revised. The revised Psalms and the revised New Testament are currently available, further preserving the Word of God. For those Protestants who wanted a more contemporary translation, the “Revised” version was prepared. For those Protestants who wanted a translation that reflected the view of the American revisers, the “American Standard” version was prepared. For those Protestants who wanted a yet more contemporary translation, the “Revised Standard” version was prepared. For those Protestants who wanted a more literal translation, the “New American Standard” version was prepared. For those Protestants who wanted a yet more contemporary but very literal translation, the “New American Standard Updated” version was prepared, further preserving the Word of God. For those who wanted an ecumenical translation, the “Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition was prepared, further preserving the Word of God. For those Catholics who wanted a Bible translated in simplified English, a “Good News Bible, Catholic Edition was prepared. For those Protestants who wanted a Bible translated in easier to read English, the “New International” version was prepared. For those Protestants who wanted a Bible translated in simple English, the “Good News” version was prepared. For those Protestants who wanted a Bible translated in simple English, but disliked the “Good News” version, the “New Century” version was prepared, first for children and then marketed for adults. For those Protestants who wanted a paraphrased Bible, the Living Bible, Paraphrased was prepared. For those Protestants who wanted a paraphrastic translation of the Bible, the “New Living Translation” was prepared. For those Catholics and Protestants who were still not satisfied, numerous other versions have been prepared. *Several translations of the Bible preceded the Authorized King James Version. The following paragraphs are taken from the article "English Versions" by Sir Frederic G. Kenyon in the Dictionary of the Bible edited by James Hastings, and published by Charles Scribner's Sons of New York in 1909. (The copyright is expired) Taverner's Bible (1539) Matthew's Bible formed the basis for yet another version, which deserves brief mention, though it had no influence on the general development of the English Bible. Richard Taverner, formerly a student of Cardinal College [Christ Church], Oxford, was invited by some London printers ("John Byddell for Thomas Barthlet") to prepare at short notice a revision of the existing Bible. In the Old Testament his alterations are verbal, and aim at the improvement of the style of the translation; in the New Testament, being a good Greek scholar, he was able to revise it with reference to the original Greek. The New Testament was issued separately in two editions in the same year (1539) as the complete Bible; but the success of the official version next to be mentioned [the Great Bible] speedily extinguished such a personal venture as this. Taverner's Bible is sometimes said to have been the first English Bible completely printed in England; but this honor appears to belong rather to Coverdale's second edition. Matthew's Bible (1537) In the same year as the second edition of Coverdale's Bible another English Bible appeared, which likewise bore upon its title-page the statement that it was "set forth with the king's most gracious license." It was completed not later than August 4, 1537, on which day Cranmer sent a copy of it to Cromwell, commending the translation, and begging Cromwell to obtain for it the king's license; in which, as the title-page prominently shows, he was successful. The origin of this version is slightly obscure, and certainly was not realized by Henry when he sanctioned it. The Pentateuch and New Testament are taken direct from Tyndale with little variation (the latter from the final "GH" revision of 1535). The books of the Old Testament from Ezra to Malachi (including Jonah) are taken from Coverdale, as also is the Apocrypha. But the historical books of the Old Testament (Joshua through 2 Chronicles) are a new translation, as to the origin of which no statement is made. It is, however, fairly certain, from a combination of evidence, that it was Tyndale's (see Westcott, 3rd ed., pp. 169-179). The style agrees with that of Tyndale's other work; the passages which Tyndale published as "Epistles" from the Old Testament in his New Testament of 1534 agree in the main with the present version in these books, but not in those taken from Coverdale; and it is expressly stated in Hall's Chronicle (completed and published by Grafton, one of the publishers of Matthew's Bible) that Tyndale, in addition to the New Testament, translated also "the v bookes of Moses, Josua, Judicum, Ruth, the bookes of the Kynges and the bookes of Paralipomenon [Chronicles], Nehemias or the fyrst of Esdras, the prophet Jonas, and no more of ye holy scripture." If we suppose the version of Ezra-Nehemiah to have been incomplete, or for some reason unavailable, this statement harmonizes perfectly with the data of the problem. Tyndale may have executed the translation during his imprisonment, at which time we know that he applied for the use of his Hebrew books. The book was printed abroad, at the expense of R. Grafton and E. Whitchurch, two citizens of London, who issued it in London. On the title-page is the statement that the translator was Thomas Matthew, and the same name stands at the foot of the dedication to Henry VIII. Nothing is known of any such person, but tradition identifies him with John Rogers (who in the register of his arrest in 1555 is described as "John Rogers alias Matthew"), a friend and companion of Tyndale. It is therefore generally believed that this Bible is due to the editorial work of John Rogers, who had come into possession of Tyndale's unpublished translation of the historical books of the Old Testament, and published them with the rest of his friend's work, completing the Bible with the help of Coverdale. It may be added that the initials I.R. (Ioannes Rogers), W.T. (Tyndale), R.G. and E.W. (Grafton and Whitchurch), and H.R. (unidentified, Henricus Rex?) are printed in large letters on various blank spaces throughout the Old Testament. The arrangement of the book is in four sections: (1) Genesis -- Canticles, (2) Prophets, (3) Apocrypha (including for the first time the Prayer of Manasses, translated from the French of Olivetan), (4) New Testament. There are copious annotations, of a decidedly Protestant tendency, and Tyndale's outspoken Prologue to the Romans is included in it. The whole work, therefore, was eminently calculated to extend the impulse given by Tyndale, and to perpetuate his work. The Great Bible (1539-1541) The fact that Taverner was invited to revise Matthew's Bible almost immediately after its publication shows that it was not universally regarded as successful; but there were in addition other reasons why those who had promoted the circulation and authorization of Matthew's Bible should be anxious to see it superseded. As stated above, it was highly controversial in character, and bore plentiful evidence of its origin from Tyndale. Cromwell and Cranmer had, no doubt, been careful not to call Henry's attention to these circumstances; but they might at any time be brought to his notice, when their own position would become highly precarious. It is, indeed, strange that they ever embarked on so risky an enterprise. However that may be, they lost little time in inviting Coverdale to undertake a complete revision of the whole, which was ready for the press early in 1538. The printing was begun by Regnault of Paris, where more sumptuous typography was possible than in England. In spite, however, of the assent of the French king having been obtained, the Inquisition intervened, stopped the printing, and seized the sheets. Some of the sheets, however, had previously been got away to England; others were re-purchased from a tradesman to whom they had been sold; and ultimately, under Cromwell's direction, printers and presses were transported from Paris to London, and the work completed there by Grafton and Whitchurch, whose imprint stands on the magnificent title-page (traditionally ascribed to Holbein) depicting the dissemination of the Scriptures from the hands of Henry, through the instrumentality of Cromwell and Cranmer, to the general mass of the loyal and rejoicing populace. [A special copy on vellum, with illuminations, was prepared for Cromwell himself, and is now in the library of St. John's College, Cambridge.] The first edition of the Great Bible appeared in April 1539, and an injunction was issued by Cromwell that a copy of it should be set up in every parish church. It was consequently the first (and only) English Bible formally authorized for public use; and contemporary evidence proves that it was welcomed and read with avidity. No doubt, as at an earlier day (Philippians 2:15), some read the gospel "of envy and stife, and some also of good will"; but in one way or another, for edification or for controversy, the reading of the Bible took a firm hold on the people of England, a hold which has never since been relaxed, and which had much to do with the stable foundation of the Protestant church in this country. Nor was the translation, though still falling short of the perfection reached three-quarters of a century later, unworthy of its position. It had many positive merits, and marked a distinct advance upon all its predecessors. Coverdale, though without the force and originality, or even the scholarship, of Tyndale, had some of the more valuable gifts of a translator, and was well qualified to make the best use of the labors of his predecessors. He had scholarship enough to choose and follow the best authorities, he had a happy gift of smooth and effective phraseology, and his whole heart was in his work. As the basis of his revision he had Tyndale's work and his own previous version; and these he revised with reference to the Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, with special assistance in the Old Testament from the Latin translation by Sebastian Münster published in 1534-35 (a work decidedly superior to the Zurich Bible, which had been his principal guide in 1534), while in the New Testament he made considerable use of Erasmus. With regard to the use of ecclesiastical terms, he followed his own previous example, against Tyndale, in retaining the familiar Latin phrases; and he introduced a considerable number of words and sentences from the Vulgate, which do not appear in the Hebrew or Greek. The text is divided into five sections -- (1) Pentateuch, (2) Joshua -- Job, (3) Psalms -- Malachi, (4) Apocrypha, here entitled "Hagiographa," though quite different from the books to which that term is applied in the Hebrew Bible, (5) New Testament, in which the traditional order of the books is restored in place of Luther's. Coverdale intended to add a commentary at the end, and with this view inserted various marks in the margins, the purpose of which he explains in the Prologue; but he was unable to obtain the sanction of the Privy Council for these, and after standing in the margin for three editions the sign-post marks were withdrawn. The first edition was exhausted within twelve months, and in April 1540 a second edition appeared, this time with a prologue by Cranmer (from which fact the Great Bible is sometimes known as Cranmer's Bible, though he had no part in the translation). Two more editions followed in July and November, the latter (Cromwell having now been overthrown and executed) appearing under the nominal patronage of bishops Tunstall and Heath. In 1541 three editions were issued. None of these editions was a simple reprint. The Prophets, in particular, were carefully revised with the help of Münster for the second edition. The fourth edition (November 1540) and its successors revert in part to the first. These seven editions spread the knowledge of the Bible in a sound, though not perfect, version broadcast through the land; and one portion of it has never lost its place in our liturgy. In the first Prayer Book of Edward VI the Psalter (like the other Scripture passages) was taken from the Great Bible. In 1662, when the other passages were taken from the version of 1611, a special exception was made of the Psalter, on account of the familiarity which it had achieved, and consequently Coverdale's version has held its place in the Book of Common Prayer to this day, and it is in his words that the Psalms have become the familiar household treasures of the English people. With the appearance of the Great Bible comes the first pause in the rapid sequence of vernacular versions set on foot by Tyndale. The English Bible was now fully authorized, and accessible to every Englishman in his parish church; and the translation, both in style and in scholarship, was fairly abreast of the attainments and requirements of the age. We hear no more, therefore, at present of further revisions of it. Another circumstance which may have contributed to the same result was the reaction of Henry in his latter years against Protestantism. There was talk in Convocation about a translation to be made by the bishops, which anticipated the plan of the Bible of 1568 [the Bishops' Bible]; and Cranmer prompted Henry to transfer the work to the universities, which anticipated a vital part of the plan of the Bible of 1611; but nothing came of either project. The only practical steps taken were in the direction of the destruction of the earlier versions. In 1543 a proclamation was issued against Tyndale's versions, and requiring the obliteration of all notes; in 1546 Coverdale's New Testament was likewise prohibited. The anti-Protestant reaction, however, was soon terminated by Henry's death (January 1547); and during the reign of Edward VI, though no new translation (except a small part of the Gospels by Sir J. Cheke) was attempted, many new editions of Tyndale, Coverdale, Matthew, and the Great Bible issued from the press. The accession of Mary naturally put a stop to the printing and circulation of vernacular Bibles in England; and, during the attempt to put the clock back by force, Rogers and Cranmer followed Tyndale to the stake, while Coverdale was imprisoned, but was released, and took refuge at Geneva. The Geneva Bible (1557-1560) Geneva was the place at which the next link in the chain was to be forged. Already famous, through the work of Beza, as a center of Biblical scholorship, it became the rallying place of the more advanced members of the Protestant party in exile, and under the strong rule of Calvin it was identified with Puritanism in its most rigid form. Puritanism, in fact, was here consolidated into a living and active principle, and demonstrated its stength as a motive power in the religious and social life of Europe. It was by a relative of Calvin, and under his own patronage, that the work of improving the English translation of the Bible was once more taken in hand. This was William Whittingham, a Fellow of All Souls' College, Oxford, and subsequently dean of Durham, who in 1557 published the New Testament at Geneva in a small octavo volume, the handiest form in which the English Scriptures had yet been given to the world. In two other respects also this marked an epoch in the history of the English Bible. It was the first version to be printed in roman type, and the first in which the division of the text into numbered verses (originally made by Robert Stephanus for his Greaco-Latin Bible of 1551) was introduced. A preface was contributed by Calvin himself. The translator claims to have made constant use of the original Greek and of translations in other tongues, and he added a full marginal commentary. If the matter had ended there, as the work of a single scholar on one part of the Bible, it would probably have left little mark; but it was at once made the basis of a revised version of both Testaments by a group of Puritan scholars. The details of the work are not recorded, but the principal workers, apart from Whittingham himself, appear to have been Thomas Sampson, formerly dean of Chichester, and afterwards dean of Christ Church, and A. Gilby, of Christ's College, Cambridge. A version of the Psalter was issued in 1559 [the only two extant copies of it belong to the Earl of Ellesmere and Mr. Aldis Wright], and in 1560 the complete Bible was given to the world, with the imprint of Rowland Hall, at Geneva. The Psalter in this was the same as that of 1559; but the New Testament had been largely revised since 1557. The book was a moderate-sized quarto, and contained a dedication to Elizabeth, an address to the brethren at home, the books of the Old Testament (including Apocrypha) and New Testament in the same order as in the Great Bible and our modern Bibles, copious marginal notes (those to the New Testament taken from Whittingham with some additions), and an apparatus of maps and woodcuts. In type and verse-division it followed the example of Whittingham's New Testament. The Genevan revisers took the Great Bible as their basis in the Old Testament, and Matthew's Bible (i.e. Tyndale) in the New Testament. For the former they had the assistance of the Latin Bible of Leo Juda (1544), in addition to Pagninus (1527), and they were in consultation with the scholars (including Calvin and Beza) who were then engaged at Geneva in a similar work of revision of the French Bible. In the New Testament their principal guide was Beza, whose reputation stood highest among all the Biblical scholars of the age. The result was a version which completely distanced its predecessors in scholarship, while in style and vocabulary it worthily carried on the great tradition established by Tyndale. Its success was as decisive as it was well deserved; and in one respect it met a want which none of its predecessors (except perhaps Tyndale's) had attempted to meet. Coverdale's, Matthew's, and the Great Bible were all large folios, suitable for use in church, but unsuited both in size and in price for private possession and domestic study. The Geneva Bible, on the contrary, was moderate in both respects, and achieved instant and long-enduring popularity as the Bible for personal use. For a full century it continued to be the Bible of the people, and it was upon this version, and not upon that of King James, that the Bible knowledge of the Puritans of the Civil War was built up. Its notes furnished them with a full commentary on the sacred text, predominantly horatory or monitory in character, but Calvinistic in general tone, and occasionally definitely polemical. Over 160 editions of it are said to have been issued, but the only one which requires separate notice is a revision of the New Testament by Laurence Thomson in 1576, which carried still further the principle of deference to Beza; this revised New Testament was successful, and was frequently bound up with the Genevan Old Testament in place of the edition of 1560. The Bishops' Bible (1568) Meanwhile there was one quarter in which the Geneva Bible could hardly be expected to find favor, namely, among the leaders of the Church of England. Elizabeth herself was not too well disposed towards the Puritans, and the bishops in general belonged to the less extreme party in the church. On the other hand, the superiority of the Genevan to the Great Bible could not be contested. Under these circumstances the old project of a translation to be produced by the bishops was revived. The archbishop of Canterbury, Matthew Parker, was himself a scholar, and took up the task with interest. The basis of the new version was to be the authorized Great Bible. Portions of the text were assigned to various revisers, the majority of whom were bishops. The archbishop excercised a general supervision over the work, but there does not appear to have been any organized system of collaboration or revision, and the results were naturally unequal. In the Old Testament the alterations were mainly verbal [stylistic], and do not show much originality or genius. In the New Testament the scholarship shown is on a much higher level, and there is much more independence in style and judgment. In both, use is made of the Geneva Bible, as well as of other versions. The volume was equipped with notes, shorter than those of the Geneva Bible, and generally exegetical. It appeared in 1568, from the press of R. Jugge, in a large folio volume, slightly exceeding even the dimensions of the Great Bible. Parker applied through Cecil for the royal sanction, but it does not appear that he ever obtained it; but Convocation in 1571 required a copy to be kept in every archbishop's and bishop's house and in every cathedral, and, as far as could conveniently be done, in all churches. The Bishops' Bible, in fact, superseded the Great Bible as the official version, and its predecessor ceased henceforth to be reprinted; but it never attained the popularity and influence of the Geneva Bible. A second edition was issued in 1569, in which a considerable number of alterations were made, partly, it appears, as the result of the criticisms of Giles Laurence, professor of Greek at Oxford. In 1572 a third edition appeared, of importance chiefly in the New Testament, and in some cases reverting to the first edition of 1568. In this form the Bishops' Bible continued in official use until its supersession by the version of 1611, of which it formed the immediate basis.