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Historic Bible club

October 2011 | by Matthew Pickhaver

Historic Bible club

To celebrate the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible Version, a special holiday Bible club was held at Oulton Broad Free Presbyterian Church, at the end of July.
    It had the theme, ‘Faith, flames and fervour: how we got the Bible in English’. The weekly Kidz Klub had already enjoyed a term-long series, dealing with everyday sayings from the AV, such as ‘apple of the eye’, ‘rise and shine’, ‘salt of the earth’ and ‘love covers a multitude of sins’.
    In the first session of the week, ‘From Moses to the Middle Ages’, we travelled in time through 1600 years and 66 books, meeting some of the 40 men who, as our memory verse put it, ‘spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost’. We continued past the Latin Vulgate and even read samples in Anglo-Saxon.
    On day 2 we looked at the life of John Wycliffe, the first person to translate the whole Bible into English — a work completed in 1382. The Lollard preachers that followed him were persecuted and his works destroyed, although ‘the Word of our God shall stand for ever’.
    Next came ‘God’s outlaw’ — the story of William Tyndale and his determination to translate the Bible into English from the original languages. We saw how his prayerful choice of words laid the foundations and how God answered the prayer he uttered before his martyrdom in 1536: ‘Lord, open the king of England’s eyes’. The memory verse was John 10:27.

Touching on the Reformation under Edward VI and Mary’s ‘reign of terror’, we arrived at King James I and the AV. We met some of the men chosen to work on it, including Lancelot Andrews who could speak 21 languages.
    We learned something of the impact the AV has had on our nation. Summing up, we asked why so many had given their lives (or life’s work) so we could have a Bible in English. We decided it was because they knew how important its message is.
    Thirty-five children attended in total, including some new faces; and the majority returned their daily memory verse booklets completed. They took part in many games, quizzes and crafts to earn points, to see which team would fill their ‘Great Bible’ with all of its 66 books first.
    On the final day, everyone contributed to a collage showing Wycliffe, Tyndale and two of King James’s ‘Bible men’, which is now on display at the church above a copy of the Trinitarian Bible Society’s English Bible history timeline. Every child was also presented with a TBS ‘1611-2011’ commemorative bookmark.
    The youngsters listened well and were surprised to learn that for so long in our land the Bible in English was forbidden. One 10-year-old girl said it made her want to spend the rest of her summer holiday reading it, and she took a John’s Gospel. We pray that all of these children would learn to love God’s Word.
Matthew Pickhaver