“God’s Secretaries: The Making of the King James Bible” by Adam Nicholson

As a family, we have concluded that the best (audio) books for travel are non-fiction. (The exception being Arthur Conan Doyle, and we’ve got him memorized…) Faced with a trip of ten hours duration over a two-day period, we chose God’s Secretaries by Adam Nicholson. It kept us interested.

The creation of the King James Bible contradicts the notion that nothing good can be done by a committee. The churchmen involved did not think of themselves as writing a new translation of the Bible, but rather were told to reconcile inconsistencies so everyone would share the same text. Nicholson says “It…is one of the greatest of all monuments to the suppression of ego.” 

When I hear passages from the King James Bible, to me they sound and feel “right”. Why? I think the Bible I heard as a child was the King James version. Often I wasn’t really paying attention, but I believe it settled into my subconscious, and I recognize it unwittingly.

Oddly, when I was given a Bible in Sunday school, it was NOT the King James but the New Revised Standard.

I enjoyed this book and recommend it to anyone who is curious about the Bible. In our public discourse, it is so commonly referenced, but to me it seems to be rather little read.

If YOU read the Bible, I’d love to hear what version you use, and why!

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2 thoughts on ““God’s Secretaries: The Making of the King James Bible” by Adam Nicholson

  1. I think I did most of my Bible reading in that same RSV, maybe the New RSV when I was at school. I’d prefer the KJV, I think, and I’ve got one, but it’s too bulky to read casually in, which is a big drawback. I’ve never thought much of updating the language; it’s not as though it’s ever going to be easy reading, something you don’t have to put much thought into. Same goes for Shakespeare, I think, and even Chaucer.

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