Beyond the launch of a special 400th anniversary edition of the King James Version and presentations explaining the development of the landmark Bible, the Canadian Bible Society (CBS) is seizing the opportunity to underline the spirit behind the King James Version, which is still at the heart of its mandate.
“It may have been called the Authorized Version, but it wasn’t immediately widely accepted” explains Joel Coppieters who directs the Scripture Resources department at CBS. “When it appeared in 1611, the controversial new Bible brought the Word of God to the common people, in a language they could understand. A lot of the religious elite thought it just wasn’t right to have God speaking in street English!”
The mandate CBS shares with sister societies who work in over 200 countries around the world insists that God must speak “the language of the street and of the heart”, that the Bible must be made easily available and accessible to every man, woman and child.
Sometimes that means publishing it in the right language through the hard work of translation. While the initial impetus for the CBS translation center in Kitchener-Waterloo was providing the Bible to First Nations’ Canadians in their heart language, the expertise, tools and resources developed by the Canadian team is now supporting over 400 translation projects around the world.
Sometimes the mandate means addressing economic issues.
“The Bible Societies believe that everybody should be able to buy a Bible for less than the cost of one day’s worth of food” Coppieters explains. “And we work creatively with printers, paper suppliers, designers, typesetters and even shipping companies to develop and provide Bibles as affordably as possible to people who can afford to purchase them. Where money becomes a prohibitive issue, we wisely invest resources provided by our donors – and revenues generated from sales – in strategic subsidized distribution initiatives.”
The 400th Anniversary Edition of the KJV which CBS produced in collaboration with the Bible Society in Britain also celebrates the impressive contributions which it made to the English culture and language. It includes an impressive collection of phrases from the KJV which have found their way into common English use; my brother’s keeper, in the twinkling of an eye, no shadow of turning …
The concordance, illustrations, charts and other study tools included will make the new edition a useful addition to any Bible scholar’s bookshelf.
The official launch will be held on March 11th at the Thomas Fisher Rare Books Collection at the University of Toronto where an ongoing exhibit from February 7th to June 3rd will mark the development of the English Bible and its wide impact. The evening will include a unique presentation and an opportunity to get a privileged inside glimpse at one of the most extensive collections of rare Bibles in North America … including an original 1611 KJV.