The Unusual History Of The King James Bible

on-this-day“How odd that the most famous Bible in history should bear the name of a hard-drinking, foul-mouthed, ego-driven homosexual who rejected all demands for reform within the church.

“James VI of Scotland, son of imprisoned Mary, Queen of Scots, was raised in drafty Scottish castles by self-serving lords. He grew up religious and well-trained in theology. He went to church every day. But he was rude, rough, loud, conceited, and bisexually immoral. He was also shrewd.

“At age 37 he managed to succeed his cousin, Elizabeth I, as England’s monarch. As he traveled from Scotland to London, he met a group of Puritans bearing a ‘Millenary Petition’ signed by nearly 1,000 pastors. It demanded renewal within the church. The Puritans, stirred by the Geneva translation of the Bible and by Foxe’s popular Book of Martyrs, wanted to purify the church. The established clergy opposed Puritan demands, and the new king realized his kingdom was torn.

“He convened a conference for church leaders at his Hampton Court estate on January 12, 1604, and the Puritans vigorously presented their concerns. James rejected their requests, sometimes thundering against them, white with rage. At the conclusion of the conference he flung his arm toward the Puritans, shouting, ‘I shall make them conform or I will harry them out of this land, or do worse.’ Many of the dispirited Puritans, abandoning hope for the Anglican Church, began worshiping in small groups as they felt the Bible taught them. They were tagged Separatists, but from these persecuted cells came the Baptists in 1611, the Pilgrims who fled to America in 1620, and other dissenting groups.

“But on one issue at Hampton Court the king and Puritans had agreed. When Puritan John Rainolds requested a new translation of the Bible, James promptly approved it, saying, ‘I have never yet seen a Bible well-translated. But I think the Geneva is the worst.’ Seven years later the Authorized Version was unveiled, ironically making vice-prone King James one of the best-recognized names in English church history.” —Robert Morgan, On This Day

11 Quotes From “The Duty Of Pastors”

The Duty Of PastorsJohn Owen has some fascinating insights on pastors and ministers (hint: they’re not the same thing) in his book The Duty Of Pastors. Here are some of the quotes I liked from this book. Remember this book was written in the 17th-century, so don’t let the Old English keep you from discovering the rich truths in these passages.

“Why should any speak where the Holy Ghost is silent? … Where things are obscured, it is a safer way to prove the practice of men by God’s precept, charitably supposing them to have been obedient, than to wrest the divine rule to their observation, knowing how prone men are to deify themselves by mixing their inventions with the worship of God.”

“The lights which God maketh are sufficient to rule the seasons for which they are ordained. As, in creating of the world, God ‘made two great lights, the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night;’ so, in the erection of the new world of His church, He set up two great lights, the lesser light of the Old Testament to guide the night, the dark space of time under the law, and the greater light of the New Testament to rule the glorious day of the gospel. And these two lights do sufficiently enlighten every man that cometh into this new world. There is no need of the false fire of tradition where God sets up such glorious lights.”

“All faithful ministers of the gospel, inasmuch as they are ingrafted into Christ and are true believers, may, as all other true Christians, be called priests; but this inasmuch as they are members of Christ, not ministers of the gospel. It respecteth their persons, not their function, or not them as such.”

“Thus, this metaphorical appellation of priests is, in the first place an intimation of that transcendent privilege of grace and favour which Jesus Christ hath purchased for everyone that is sanctified with the blood of the covenant.”

“Not to lose myself and reader in this digression, the sum is, the unspeakable blessings which the priesthood of Christ hath obtained for us are a strong obligation for the duty of praise and thanksgiving; of which that in some measure we may discharge ourselves, He hath furnished us with sacrifices of that kind to be offered unto God.” 

“That the name of priests is nowhere in the Scripture attributed peculiarly and distinctively to the ministers of the gospel as such. … And yet, when Christ ascended on high, He gave some to be prophets, for the edification of His body, Eph. iv. 11; none, as we find, to be priests. Priests, then (like prelates), are a sort of church-officers whom Christ never appointed.”

“Never fear the equity of what God sets thee upon. No excuses of disability or any other impediment ought to take place; the Lord can and will supply all such defects.”

“God never sendeth any but whom He doth so extraordinarily and immediately call and ordain for that purpose; and that this may be manifested unto others, He always accompanieth them with His own almighty power, in the working of such miracles as may make them be believed, for the very works’ sake which God by them doth effect.”

“We do not read of any such miracles wrought by the prophet Amos, and yet he stands upon his extraordinary immediate vocation, ‘I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet’s son, but the Lord took me,’ etc. It sufficeth, then, that they be furnished with a supernatural power, either in, 1. Discerning; 2. Speaking; or 3. Working. … The sum is, that seeing such men pretend that their revelations and miracles are from heaven, let us search whether the doctrine they seek to confirm by them be from heaven or no.”

“There is a general obligation on all Christians to promote the conversion and instruction of sinners, and men erring from the right way.”

“For a public, formal, ministerial teaching, two things are required in the teacher: first, Gifts from God; secondly, Authority from the church (I speak now of ordinary cases). He that wants either is no true pastor.”

Be sure to check out my review of The Duty Of Pastors by clicking here.

The Duty Of Pastors (book review)

The Duty Of PastorsJohn Owen is one of the influential and powerful voices of the Puritans from the mid-17th century. One of the things that makes him influential is the source of his wisdom: Everything he writes is thoroughly grounded in Scripture. This is especially true for his book The Duty Of Pastors.

Originally this book was entitled The Duty Of Pastors and People Distinguished. As you might be able to tell from this original title, Owen lays out from Scripture the roles of ministers and pastors. These two titles and roles are distinct, although many people want to lump them together. Owen points out that any one who is a Christian can minister to people (and thus be called a “minister”), but there are special God-appointed roles for those called “pastors.”

Owen writes, “The first and principal duty of a pastor is to feed the flock by diligent preaching of the Word.” Indeed, this is one of the main thing which distinguishes pastors from ministers.

Owen also takes to task those in religious circles who would put artificial (in other words, things not commanded in Scripture) barriers for people to answer God’s call to the pastorate.

This is not a very long book, but given that fact that it is older, it is a bit of a challenging read. But for anyone who is interested in the roles of pastors and ministers, or for anyone who wants to know how to support their pastors, The Duty Of Pastors is well worth your time and effort.

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