Mark 400th Anniversary of King James Version by Studying Bible


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It is not by chance or coincidence that we have the Bible today,” says Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He explains that the Bible exists because of the obedience of righteous individuals who followed promptings to record sacred experiences and teachings, as well as the faith and courage of others who later sacrificed much to “protect and preserve” the Bible. Credit is also due, he says, to men such as John Wycliffe, William Tyndale, and Johannes Gutenberg, who translated and published the Bible in languages that ordinary people could understand and read. “I believe even the scholars of King James had spiritual promptings in their translation work,” he says.

Knowing the Scriptures

Read messages about the scriptures that today’s prophets and apostles have given during general conference.

May 2, 2011, marks the 400th anniversary of the first publication of the King James Version of the Bible. Throughout the world, people of many religious and nonreligious backgrounds are already commemorating the publication of the Bible with symposia, celebrations, concerts, speaking competitions, and more. Members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles suggest another way to mark the occasion: by developing a love for the Bible as we study the life and ministry of the Savior and the words of the ancient prophets and apostles.

How grateful we should be for the Holy Bible,” Elder Ballard says. “I love the Bible, its teachings, its lessons, and its spirit. . . . I love the perspective and peace that come from reading the Bible.”

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles agrees. “We love and revere the Bible,” he says. “It is always identified first in our canon, our ‘standard works.’” He reminds us that the Restoration came about because Joseph Smith studied the Bible and exerted faith in the promise made in James 1:5 that God will answer our prayers.

Recalling the events of history that paved the way for the Restoration, Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speaks with gratitude for all who made possible the translation and publishing of the Bible. Because of their work, the King James Version of the Bible was available for anyone to read—and because it was available to young Joseph Smith, the true Church was restored to the earth. “Is it any wonder that the King James Version is the approved English Bible of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints today?” Elder Hales asks.

We must ever remember the countless martyrs who knew of [the Bible’s] power and who gave their lives that we may be able to find within its words the eternal happiness and the peace of our Heavenly Father’s kingdom,” Elder Ballard says.

President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, shares a story about viewing a centuries-old family Bible and finding a quote on the title page that said, “The fairest Impression of the Bible is to have it well printed on the Reader’s heart.” He follows with this scripture (2 Cor. 3:2-3): “Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men: Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in the tables of stone, but in fleshly tables of the heart.”

The best way for us to honor and remember those whose sacrifices not only allow us to read the Bible in our language, but also to enjoy the blessings of the Restoration of the gospel, is for us to know the Bible and its accompanying scriptural texts. By knowing and loving its teachings, we show our appreciation.

Consider the magnitude of our blessing to have the Holy Bible and some 900 additional pages of scripture,” says Elder D. Todd Christofferson. “May we feast continuously on the words of Christ that will tell us all things we should do.”

The Bible and the Book of Mormon

As separate testaments of Jesus Christ, the Bible and the Book of Mormon support rather than supplant each other. Elder Russell M. Nelson explains, “Scriptural witnesses authenticate each other. This concept was explained long ago when a prophet wrote that the Book of Mormon was ‘written for the intent that ye may believe [the Bible]; and if ye believe [the Bible] ye will believe [the Book of Mormon] also.’ Each book refers to the other. Each book stands as evidence that God lives and speaks to His children by revelation to His prophets.”

The King James Bible and the Restoration

Religious scholars presented LDS perspectives at a Brigham Young University symposium, The King James Bible and the Restoration, in February 2011. Learn more below.