Is the Bible the divine and inspired word of God? The debate has raged for centuries now, but the discovery of the earliest known version of the King James Bible may now shed some light on the true origin of the most important book in Christianity.
Researchers at Cambridge University found this long-lost King James Bible mislabeled inside an archive at Cambridge. It shows–as every writer and editor knows– that writing is a process of revising, cutting, and rewriting. Why would the Bible not be the same, seeing as how it’s also a book? Well, some fundamentalist Christians claim that it was handed down directly from God. But the discovery at Cambridge proves that to be highly unlikely.
The notebook which held this draft was discovered by American scholar Jeffrey Alan Miller, who is an assistant professor of English at Montclair State University.
Miller first located the unassuming notebook not knowing what it was because it was incorrectly labeled. That’s why no one has found it until now. It had been erroneously cataloged in the 1980s as a “verse-by-verse” Biblical commentary with “Greek word studies, and some Hebrew notes.” As Miller tried to figure out exactly which passages of the Bible the commentary was referring to, he came to the startling realization that it was no commentary at all — it was an early draft of a large part of the King James Version of the Bible.
How did Miller feel when he first realized what he was holding in his hands?
“There was a kind of thunderstruck, leap-out-of-bathtub moment. But then comes the more laborious process of making sure you are 100 percent correct.”
Further examination of the notebook indicated that people were assigned individual sections of the Bible and then worked on them almost entirely by themselves. Imagine such an undertaking!
No doubt this new information will rankle conservative Christians who insist on believing that the Bible was handed down on angel wings directly from God Himself. Does this lessen the power and the truth of the words which teach love, caring for others, and comfort to millions? Far from it. It should instead teach us that people, perhaps inspired by their deep love of the message of the Gospel and God, merely wanted to share that message with others.
And yet….I can already hear Mike Huckabee, Pat Robertson, and their ilk claiming it’s all a big liberal conspiracy.
God help us all.
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