Rare Bibles Come to Life

King James Bible Exhibit Opens in New York

“Lord, open the King of England's eyes!”

These were the final words uttered by William Tyndale as he burned at the stake, convicted for his work in translating the Bible into English. Little did he know that God would answer that prayer within 50 years, and the resulting translation would bear the next king's own name.

The King James Bible was a first. Published in 1611, the KJB was unparalleled by the other translations of its day. Anyone—rich or poor, young or old, clergy or layman—could read and understand God's Word. The KJB's language laid the foundation for expressions we still use today, from “pearls before swine” to the “skin of your teeth.” And 400 years later, its impact is still rippling across the world.

American Bible Society celebrated the KJB's anniversary on July 9 and 10 with On Eagle's Wings, organized by the Museum of Biblical Art (MOBiA). An academic symposium, featuring speakers, such as N.T. Wright, explored the context of the translation, while the premiere of “KJB: The Book that Changed the World” (directed by Norman Stone) illuminated the KJB's creation process and significance.

MOBIA also launched a KJB exhibit that is running through Oct. 16 in New York, praised by The National Review as “utterly fascinating.” The exhibition explores more than 50 Bible editions from 1440 through 1999 and boasts five new works by noted painter Makoto Fujimura created specially for the occasion.

ABS has also released a full-color, 168-page catalog written by Dr. Liana Lupas, curator of ABS's Rare Bible Collection, that details the key events and historical background leading up to the KJB's completion. The catalog is available from MOBIA's bookstore for $29.95.

Although the initial event has ended, ABS's celebration of God's Word continues. The KJB is at the bedrock of Western society, and has been a priceless asset of the Church since its inception. In modern times, it continues to penetrate the hearts of millions with the timeless truth of God's Word.

Check out the beautiful work of Makoto Fujimura below:

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