King James Translators - Lancelot Andrewes

October 13, 2015 (David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143,

The following is excerpted from THE GLORIOUS HERITAGE OF THE KING JAMES BIBLE (D. Cloud). The King James Bible is not merely another translation. Its history is one of the most fascinating chapters of church history and reads almost like a novel. This book traces this glorious heritage, beginning with the Wycliffe Bible of the 14th century. Every English-speaking believer should know this history; yet, sadly, even in the staunchest Bible-believing churches it is rare to find someone who is informed about the great price that was paid to provide us with an excellent Bible in our own language. Chapters include the Wycliffe Bible (1380), the Tyndale New Testament (1526), the Coverdale Bible (1535), the Matthew’s Bible (1537), the Great Bible (1539), the Geneva Bible (1557), the Bishops Bible (1568), and the King James Bible (1611). Under the section on the KJV we look at the spiritual and literary and scholarly climate of that day, the amazing translation process itself, the peerless translators, the nature of the translation, Tyndale’s influence, and the KJV’s worldwide influence. We also answer the following questions: Was King James a homosexual? Hasn’t the KJV been revised and updated in thousands of places? Could the KJV be revised again? Is the King James Bible inspired? Isn’t the KJV too antiquated and difficult to read? The author has studied this history diligently. He has a massive private library of materials on this subject dating back to the 16th century and has researched the subject in many parts of the world, including England, Wales, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy. Illustrated. 228 pages. Available in print and eBook editions.

HISTORY OF THE KING JAMES BIBLE (DVD). This presentation covers the fascinating history of the King James Bible from the 15th to the 17th centuries. We preached the lectures at a Bible Conference in Singapore in recognition of the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Bible. The messages cover John Wycliffe, William Tyndale and the King James translators. 2.5 hours on one DVD. This set comes on one DVD. The download set consists of 3 individual .mp4 video files._____________________________

The translators of the King James Bible were scholars of the highest caliber. Many of them were among the very top scholars of England and Europe. As a body they were masters not only of Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, and Latin, but also of the cognate or associate languages that are necessary for research into ancient documents relative to the Bible. These include Persian, Coptic, Syriac, Armenian, and Chaldee. Many of the KJV translators were men of unusual piety, as well, and were bold in their denunciation of “popery.”


Lancelot Andrewes (1568-1626) was Master of Pembrooke Hall, Cambridge, chaplain to Queen Elizabeth, Dean of Westminster Abbey, bishop of Chichester (from 1605) and bishop of Ely (from 1609). A “formidable scholar,” he was the master of 15 languages. “Scholars of the greatest eminence, such as Casaubon, Grotius, and Vossius, have eulogised his extensive attainments.” Of Andrewes, it was said that “such was his skill in all languages, especially the Oriental, that, had he been present at the confusion of tongues at Babel, he might have served as Interpreter-General.”

“Once a year, at Easter, he used to pass a month with his parents. During this vacation, he would find a master from whom he learned some language to which he was before a stranger. In this way after a few years, he acquired most of the modern languages of Europe” (McClure, Translators Revived). Further, “Young Andrewes eschewed ‘games or ordinary recreations’ and preferred walking by himself or with a selected companion ‘with whom he might confer and argue and recount their studies’” (Opfell, The King James Bible Translators, p. 28).

Is this how the average contemporary Bible scholar spends his teenage years? Is it not, rather, wasted on rock & roll, video games, television, Hollywood movies, dating, and other carnal activities, perhaps glossed over with a veneer of churchianity?

Andrewes’ friends included many famous men of literature, including Francis Bacon, Isaac Casaubon, and John Chamberlain.

On trips to northern England, sponsored by the Earl of Huntingdon, Andrewes saw many converted to the Word of God through his preaching. McClure says Andrewes was called the “star of preachers.” Thomas Fuller says that he was “an inimitable preacher in his way.” There was music in his preaching and doubtless some of Andrewes’ lyrical music passed into the King James Bible. Here is an excerpt from a sermon on Christmas 1609:

“Men may talk what they will, but sure there is no joy in the world to the joy of a man saved: no joy so great, no news so welcome, as to one ready to perish, in case of a lost man, to hear of one that will save him. In danger of perishing by sickness, to hear of one will make him well again; by sentence of the law, of one with a pardon to save his life; by enemies, of one that will rescue and set him in safety. Tell any of these, assure them but of a Saviour. It is the best news he ever heard in his life.”

Andrewes spent many hours each day in private prayer and devotion and family worship and was “given to hospitality.”

In 1610 Andrewes, apparently at the urging of King James, published
Responsio ad Apologiam Cardinalis Bellarmine, which was a reply to the Roman Catholic Jesuit apologist.


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