The Book That Changed The World: The Amazing Tale of the Birth of the King James Bible

I was sent a copy of the DVD The Book That Changed the World:  The Amazing Tale of the Birth of The King James Bible which will be available today.  John Rhys-Davies does the presentation and the movie is filmed on location in the very buildings where it all took place 400 years ago!

The story starts in 1603 with Queen Elizabeth on her death bed finally revealing to Robert Cecil that her pick to succeed her to the throne is James the VI, her second cousin.  James has already been King of Scotland since July of 1567 at the tender age of 13 months.  His mother, Mary Queen of Scots, a staunch Catholic who practiced her faith in private to keep some peace, was forced to abdicate and she never sees her son again.  She is later executed for treason.
Though born a Catholic, James is quickly made into a Protestant at his coronation.  James is raised in isolation with no family or friends, just the power-hungry regents who control the throne until he's of age.  But the regents are aware of their great responsibility to the young King and so George Buchanan is brought back to Scotland to tutor him.
Buchanan is a Calvanist who already has a reputation not only in Scotland, but across Europe as a great intellectual.  Though probably a violent and strict teacher (not uncommon for the time), his goal, in his own mind, was to produce a godly monarch.
By the time he is a teenager, James becomes a rebellious student who has his own ideas about theology.  And as he matures, he assumes more responsibility as a monarch.  He marries Anne of Denmark in 1584 and starts his family.
In 1601, King James attends an assembly held in the Burnt Island Church and half-heartedly a call is put out for a new translation of the Bible.  A committee is appointed to appoint another committee to appoint another committe and the idea is lost, but the seed has been planted in King James.  Sounds like liturgy meetings I used to attend!
On March 26, 1603 receives word from Robert Carey that the Queen is dead and that James is her successor.  Initially there are high expectations for the new King.  His biggest problem is being a united leader of both church and state which leads him to the translation of a new Bible.
The Bishop's Bible was the only Bible allowed in English churches.  King James viewed this translation as a lazy work.  The Puritans had their own translation called the Geneva Bible which was notorious for its side notes from those who despised the monarchy.  If King James disliked the Bishop's Bible, he hated the Geneva Bible even more for those side notes.
In 1604 at Hampton Court, at the request of the Puritans, James agrees to call a summit about the translation of the Bible.  The Bishops are not pleased!  After hearing both sides he forces them to work together on the new translation that will be read in all the churches and to make sure the work is without bias to either side, King James will supervise.
But the English Catholics were losing patience with their Scottish King.  They wanted to bring England back to Catholicism and an extremist group devised a plan to dig a tunnel under Westminster Abbey to blow it up with the use of gun powder.  But the group abandons the tunnel in favor of leasing a cellar right in Westminster Abbey.  The House of the Lords Chambers is directly above it!
Francis Tresham, one of the conspirators, was having doubts.  His wife's brother was to be at the opening of the State Parliament on November 5.  An anonymous note was sent to Lord Monteagle (Francis' brother-in-law) warning him not to attend, but not disclosing why.  Lord Monteagle brings the note to Robert Cecil and the assumption is that there is a plot to assassinate the King.
A search is underway in the underground at Westminster Abbey and at midnight, October 27, 1604, Robert Cecil and his men make the horrific discovery that they would have been blown to bits!
In the aftermath of the plot, an unfortunate Jesuit priest by the name of Henry Garnet is executed for treason because he heard the last confessions of the conspirators and did not disclose the plot because of the sacrament.
Robert Cecil declared that November 5 should be celebrated from then on and a strange celebration it continues to be!  Though it may be viewed as anti-Catholic, I just found it to be a little bizarre.
But back to the King James Bible.  Despite the outside strife, the translators continue their work and their own transformation towards each other begins to unify them.  It takes 50 scholars and seven years to complete, but what emerges is a text meant to be read out loud.
One of the highlights of the film is John Rhys-Davies reading excerpts from the King James Bible.
The Bible didn't sell well and King James' popularity took a nose dive and his political troubles began to increase, but the King James Bible is his true legacy and memorial.  James dies in 1625 never knowing the impact of his "child."
I enjoyed this movie.  It was entertaining as well as informative.  The King James Bible has been in households all over the world.  In our "new and improved" and "throw-away" society, the King James Bible has endured in its original form.
As a child I tried to read the King James Bible.  It was difficult at best, but I found that this film has sparked my interest in this translation.  Because I own several Bibles it should be interesting to compare them.
Now if only I had John Rhys-Davies voice!

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