Early Colonists And The Authorized Version

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Categories: AV 1611 - New Versions

Joshua 4:5 And Joshua said unto them, Pass over before the ark of the LORD your God into the midst of Jordan, and take ye up every man of you a stone upon his shoulder, according unto the number of the tribes of the children of Israel: 6 That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones? 7 Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever.

God wants us to remember His works, and His mercies. We need to teach His wonderful works to future generations. These stones in Joshua’s day were a memorial. They would last. But they had to be explained to the future children so that God could be glorified, and they would know what God has wrought.

It is for this reason that the holiday of Thanksgiving is so wonderful. Not only do we need to remember where we came from, and how and why America was blessed, but we need to teach these things to our children. We must not let Thanksgiving become “Turkey Day.”

In short, America has been blessed, because America was founded upon the Bible! The Bible is the ultimate memorial. It is our inspired memorial of the great things God has done towards man:

Deuteronomy 6:6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: 7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up….
10 And it shall be, when the LORD thy God shall have brought thee into the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildedst not,11 And houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not; when thou shalt have eaten and be full; 12 Then beware lest thou forget the LORD, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage….
14 Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you;15 (For the LORD thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the LORD thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth.

Just like Israel of old, Christians in America are forgetting God. We are forgetting where we came from; why our nation was blessed. Where is the Bible today in the lives of most people, even Christians? Churches which preach the Bible are despised. The Spirit is not discerned; it is seen as hatred. It is interesting that the lost people that were helping the original Pilgrims wrote that the Pilgrims were lazy and hateful. Cain hated Abel. Marvel not if the world hate you, believer. It hated Jesus before it hated you!

Christians must get back to the Bible. We must rejoice in the Word of God, and teach it to our children. We must not forget what God has done:

“We have a Divine Book – the Holy Scripture – which has preserved for us the great and glorious facts of revelation in their integrity and purity. We must never suffer this sacred monument either to be altered or added to….IT IS NOT ENOUGH, HOWEVER, TO PRESERVE THE LETTER OF SCRIPTURE UNIMPAIRED, and to fence it round with our respect and veneration, as it would not have been enough for the children of Israel to have simply guarded against destructive forces the twelve stones of commemoration. It was needful, further, that the story of the great miracle should be repeated day by day…No other priesthood can be a substitute for the priesthood of every man in his own household. Let every Christian father himself tell to his children the story of salvation, taking it from the pure source of Holy Scripture…” (“The Pulpit Commentary”)

Therefore, we must not forget the Bible. It was the Bible that made America great:

“Modern study of the Sun began in 1611 with observations of sunspots by Galileo and his contemporaries and their discovery of solar rotation from the sunspot motions.” (http://gme.grolier.com/gme-ol/gme-jam/planets/solar/docs/sunstud.htm)

Was it simply a coincidence that modern study of the sun began in 1611, the same year the AV was printed? Notice another historical fact:

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The Authorized Version began to be translated in 1607 – the same year
that first colony was founded in the New World at Jamestown!

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Was this simply another historical coincidence? This timing has been seen as a great work of God’s Providence by others:

“The Holy Scriptures, as translated in the reign of king James the First, are the noblest heritage of the Anglo-Saxon race. Contemporary with the rise of Colonial emigration from the great hive of parent life and enterprise, the English Bible, of that epoch, would seem designed, by Providence, to be the parting blessing of the Mother of nations to her adventurous progeny…” (A. Coxe, 1857)

It was the AV that made America great:

“It (i.e. the AV) is rightly regarded as the most influential book in the history of English civilization.”
(Compton’s Encyclopedia)

“The King James Bible is the cornerstone of Anglo-Saxon civilization. Over a period of some three hundred and thirty years nearly twelve generations of English-speaking peoples have come to know the Bible in this incomparable translation. Our economic systems, our literary and cultural pursuits are rooted in this single fructifying source.” (“The Dallas Morning News,” 1941)

Yet, today, when the Pilgrims are mentioned, there is a great, MISLEADING HALF-TRUTH that many are promoting. Notice an example of this half-truth:

“In 1620 the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth with their Bibles and a conviction derived from those Bibles of establishing a new nation. The Bible was not the King James Version.” (Gary DeMar, “The Geneva Bible: The Forgotten Translation,” www.reformed.org)

I wonder how many “Thanksgiving sermons” contained a sentence or two that stated that the early Pilgrims who came over on the Mayflower did NOT possess or use the Authorized Version? These preachers have simply repeated what they have heard from others. Notice the REAL truth about the Bibles the Pilgrims had when they arrived on the Mayflower:

“Among the books in Pilgrim Hall are four Bibles of unusual interest. One belonged to Governor William Bradford, the Pilgrim Governor, and ONE TO JOHN ALDEN. These are among the very few objects existing today which we feel reasonably sure ‘came over in the Mayflower.’…John Alden’s Bible, rather surprisingly, is the ‘King James’ version authorized by the Church of England….No. 90 in the Pilgrim hall catalogue designates the Bible which once belonged to John Alden. Some of the leaves are missing, but the colophon at the end of Revelation shows that the New Testament was printed in London by Robert Barker, ‘Printer to the Kings most excellent Majestie,’ in 1620. The Concordance was printed by Bonham Norton and John Bill in 1619. This is not a Geneva Bible, but the ‘King James’ or ‘Authorized’ version….the firm of Barker in London printed both King James and Geneva Bibles, sometimes using the same decorative material for both.” (http://www.pilgrimhall.org)

The early Pilgrims had both versions! Although the AV was new at the time, it would quickly outshine them all and become the cornerstone of civilization in the New World. Therefore, W.A. Criswell was correct when he stated:

“And when they [the Pilgrims] came to America, they brought with them this Bible, the King James Version of the Word of God. It had been placed in their hands, been translated just nine years earlier….So the little colony began with the Christian home, built around the Bible; with a Christian church, preaching the infallible Word of God; and a school whose textbook was the King James Version of the Bible.” (W.A. Criswell)

Of course, the Pilgrims were not limited to only the books that they were able to bring over on the original Mayflower voyage. For example, William Brewster, their beloved minister, had a regular supply of books shipped to him, yearly:

“While living in his log house in Plymouth, built by his own hands, he [Brewster] yearly received supplies of newly published books in Latin and English, and his library was inventoried at his death in 1644 at four hundred volumes.” (Lyman Denison Brewster, “William Brewster, The Mayflower Descendant,” 1902)

Although the Plymouth Pilgrims used the AV and the Geneva (e.g. Gov. Bradford’s “Journal” quotes the Geneva version), the Massachusetts Bay Puritans, on the other hand, used the AV as their primary text (not the Geneva). The same thing is true of the separatists and the first BAPTISTS in the New World who went out into the wilderness from them. For example, John Wheelwright’s Fast Day Sermon in 1636 quoted from the AV, not the Geneva. Likewise, John Clarke (1609-1676), who is called the father of American Baptists, used the AV instead of the Geneva (see his “Ill-Newes From New England”). And the rest is well-known history. The AV would soon become “Our Version,” and its fruit and authority in the lives of American Christians has been thoroughly documented elsewhere.

Therefore, when your children ask you, “What meaneth this black Book? Why do I have to sit still in church as this old, black Book is read and preached?,” we must answer that this Holy Bible was here from the start! It is God’s Book. It soon out shined all other versions. They decreased and it increased; and so did our nation as long as it believed, honored and OBEYED this Holy Bible.

Author: Pastor Joey Faust