The King James Bible had an almost immediate impact on seventeenth-century England. In many churches and homes, the King James Version replaced existing versions of Scripture, including the Geneva Bible and the Bishops’ Bible. So from 1611 on, people who were literate likely grew up reading its words in their homes and in their churches. People who were illiterate likely grew up hearing its words read from the pulpit.
The language of the King James Bible seeped into public consciousness and usage. Writers and orators incorporated its phrasing into their own works. Even people who didn’t attend church and didn’t own a Bible became familiar with it. As English culture spread, so did the influence of the King James Version.
In Acts 1:8, Jesus instructs His disciples to carry His message “unto the uttermost part of the earth.” The King James Bible did just that. It reached the shores of North America in the mid-1600s. Before the American Revolution, copies of King James Bibles were imported to the New World from England. That changed when the United States declared its independence. In 1782, an American printer named Robert Aitken gained the support of the United States Congress to print the King James Bible stateside.
In the United States and elsewhere, the King James Bible was used as a textbook. Many people learned to read in its pages. For three hundred years, it was virtually the only Bible used in the English-speaking world. Eventually, it became the most widely printed book in history.
Though it was originally intended for Anglicans, it was adopted and embraced by a wide variety of other denominations, including Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Quakers, and Baptists. As missionaries from those (and other) denominations spread Christianity throughout North America, Africa, the Caribbean, and South Asia, they took the King James Bible with them.
Today, when Americans reach for their Bibles, more than half (55%) of them still reach for the King James Version. Many Christians were brought up with the King James Version and appreciate the familiarity of it. Its language is a part of their spiritual vocabulary.
In Psalm 119:1, David says, “Thy Word have I hid in mine heart that I might not sin against thee.” The cadence, rhythm, and flow of the King James Version has helped facilitate that “hiding” process in countless hearts. Its memorable phrasing has a timeless appeal.
Alexander Geddes, a Roman Catholic priest and translation scholar, summarized it best in 1792 when he wrote of the King James Bible:
“If accuracy, fidelity, and the strictest attention to the letter of the text, be supposed to constitute the qualities of an excellent version, this of all versions, must, in general, be accounted the most excellent. Every sentence, every word, every syllable, and every letter and point, seems to have been weighed with the nicest exactitude; and expressed, either in the text, or margin, with the greatest precision.”
Standing apart from all other KJV study Bibles on the market, the King James Study Bible, Full Color Edition is the only Bible featuring extensive commentary, doctrinal notes, archaeological insights, and time-tested study aids developed exclusively for the King James Version. Now available with stunning full color designs, Holy Land images, classic works of art, charts, and maps, the King James Study Bible, Full Color Edition guides you through the vivid beauty and authority of God’s Word as you grow in your biblical knowledge.