By Laura Roberts
2011 was the 400th anniversary of the completion of the King James Bible, the most widely read English translation ever produced. Now that 2012 has begun, I thought it would be interesting to research a little more about the history of Bible translation in my tok ples, or vernacular language, English. I am truly blessed as an English speaker, because I have many translations of the Bible available to me.
The first entire translation of the Bible in English was completed by John Wycliffe, an English priest, in the 1380’s. During the time of the Reformation, men such as William Tyndale and Miles Coverdale worked to make the Bible available to the English-speaking world. Then in 1604, King James I of England commissioned a committee of fifty men to create a revision of earlier Bible translations. The King James or Authorized Version was completed in 1611. (World Book Encyclopedia, 1986, vol. 2, pgs. 222 c-d)
In recent times, a plethora of English translations have been produced. This morning I went on a Christian bookstore’s website and found over twenty translations and paraphrases for sale, and I’m sure that there are many more available (www.christianbook.com). I am grateful for the access we have to God’s Word in English, especially since English is so widely spoken. However, it grieves me that there are so many people in the world that do not have even one translation of the Bible in their language. How can a person really know Jesus well without access to His Word? We have been blessed in the English-speaking world. It is time for us to bless others with access to the Word of God. That is why we do what we do in Pioneer Bible Translators.