In 1604, 47 of the most brilliant scholars in history began working on the world’s most loved, cherished, and hated book. The King James Bible.
1. Lancelot Andrewes.
A very notable translator, Lancelot Andrewes, bishop of Winchester, probably contributed more to the translating work than any other man.
Lancelot Andrewes was an extremely brilliant man. He was learned in 22 languages. source
Laurence Chaderton came late to an earnest interest in scholarship. What became a life long thirst for learning began under the care of his tutor, Laurence Vaux. At age twenty-five he enrolled in Christ’s College, Cambridge in 1565. He must have been one of the oldest entrants. He graduated B.A. in 1568, proceeded M.A. in 1571, B.D. in 1578, and D.D. in 1613. He subsequently obtained his M.A. in 1571, B.D. in 1578, and D.D. in 1613.
The man who earned the title “Father of Arabic studies in England”, William Bedwell graduated B.A. in 1585 and proceeded M.A. in 1588. He was fortunate at Cambridge to come under the influence of some of the great mathematical and language scholars of his time.William Bedwell’s university record does not show his election to a fellowship of his college but he stayed at Cambridge for nearly twenty-three years and was most certainly employed as a teacher and scholar. Bedwell was a pioneer in Arabic studies, and became known as the foremost Arabist in England. With this skill, he was called upon to act as a translator of official documents and as an interpreter. When a Moroccan party arrived in England to visit Queen Elizabeth I, it was William Bedwell who met them first.
Young John was a child prodigy. He read his Bible through by age five and by six could “write Hebrew with an elegant hand” and had learned Greek. He was given a fine grammar school education and left for the university at Cambridge in 1574 at age fourteen. Early in his university studies his gift for languages was recognized by his teachers and he was asked to provide appropriate Greek epistles for celebratory occasions.
I have only named four of the 47 scholars who worked on the King James Bible. I have named a man fluent in 22 languages, a man who had four degrees, a man who earned the title “Father of Arabic studies in England” and a man who read through the Bible at age five, and was writing Hebrew at age six.
The time when the King James Bible was translated was a time of educational excellence. This is clearly seen in the work of these men.