Did the translators of the Authorized Version claim to be inspired by God?
No. But Biblically that does not mean that they could not have been
The men on the translation committee of the King James Bible were, without
dispute, the most learned men of their day and vastly qualified for the
job which they undertook. They were overall both academically qualified by
their cumulative knowledge and spiritually qualified by their exemplary
Among their company were men who, academically, took a month's
vacation and used the time to learn and master an entirely foreign
language; wrote a Persian dictionary; invented a specialized mathematical
ruler, one was an architect; mastered oriental languages; publicly debated
in Greek; tutored Queen Elizabeth in Greek and mathematics; and of one it
was said, "Hebrew he had at his fingers end". Yet head
knowledge can be a curse if not tempered by a fervent, pious heart.
In this, the spiritual realm, they were light years ahead of many
today who flaunt their education yet fail in any attempt at a practical,
This company was blessed with men known for their zeal and tact in
debating and converting Romanists to Christ. They spent hours in private
and family devotions. Many did the work of evangelism and even that of
missionary representatives of later Queen Elizabeth. One, lived to the age
of one hundred and three years. In the closing years of his life, after
preaching for two full hours he said to his congregation, "I will no
longer trespass on your patience" to which the entire congregation cried
out with one consent, "For God's sake go on". He then continued his
exposition of the Word of God at length.
Yet humanity was a universal trait shared among them as is so amply
revealed in the Epistle Dedicatory. "So that if, on the one side, we shall
be traduced by Popish Persons at home or abroad, who therefore will malign
us, because we are poor instruments to make God's holy Truth to be yet
more and more known unto the people, whom they desire still to keep in
ignorance and darkness; or if, on the other side, we shall be maligned by
self conceited Brethren, who run their own ways, and give liking unto
nothing, but what is framed by themselves, and hammered on their anvil;"
Yet, in spite of their outstanding character, they never claimed divine
inspiration. (A claim which, if they had made, would over
joy their detractors as evidence of a prideful spirit.) They never even
claimed perfection for their finished work.
Does this mean that, because they did not claim God's
hand in translating the Scripture that He could not be or was not in
control of their commission? For the answer we must look to the Bible, our
final authority in all matters of faith and
When John the Baptist was accosted by the Levites in John chapter one
and asked if he was Elijah (John 1:21) he answered that he was not
Elijah. Yet in Matthew chapters 11:7-14 and 17:10-13 Jesus Christ plainly
stated that John was Elijah.
Did John the Baptist lie? No. Did Jesus Christ lie? Of course not. The
answer is very simply that John was Elijah but he
didn't know it! Thus we see from our Bible example
that a man can have God working through him and not know it. Likewise, God
could easily have divinely directed the King James translators without
their active knowledge.