King James I (1566 to 1625) authorized the Bible known as the King James Version.
King James I (1566 to 1625) authorized the Bible known as the King James Version.

Episcopalians trace their ancestry from the Church of England. As such, the English Bible, particularly the authorized King James Bible, is the Episcopalian Bible. Anglicans first arrived in North America via the English Puritans and Pilgrims. Although they distanced themselves from the Church of England, they retained the King James Bible. In contemporary times, more modern translations have been used by some Episcopalians.

Early Translations

By the third century B.C., Jews in Alexandria saw a need for a Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible. In A.D. third century, the theologian Origen undertook a more accurate Greek translation of the New Testament for early Christians. Latin translations began in A.D. first century, as Christianity spread throughout the Roman Empire. In 382, Pope Damasus authorized the production of an official Latin Bible. During the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century, Martin Luther translated the Bible into German. By the early 17th century, the Church of England authorized the English King James Bible.

The Episcopalians

The Church of England began in the 16th century when Pope Clement VIII refused to annul the marriage between Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon. The English Church separated itself from the Roman Catholic Church, and the English monarch became the head of the Church of England in 1534. The Episcopal Church began in America shortly after the Revolutionary War, when anti-British sentiment was high. The church sought to separate itself from the Church of England and its head, the English monarch. In modern times, the Episcopal Church belongs to the worldwide Anglican Communion because of its ancestry from the Church of England.

King James Bible

In 1603, the Scottish king, James VI, united the English crown and became King James I. He soon assembled a group of scholars and ordered that a new and more accurate English Bible be produced to replace other English-language versions. In 1611, the authorized King James Bible became the Anglican Bible and the primary English Bible. Separatist Puritans and Pilgrims soon brought the King James Bible to the American colonies. The Church of England also arrived in America with loyalist British settlement. Following the American Revolution, Anglicans in America wished to distance themselves from the Church of England and formed the Episcopal Church, from the Episcopal form of church governance.

Modern Translations

In addition to the authorized edition of the King James Bible, the modern Episcopal Church has approved other translations including the 1901 American Revision, the 1952 Revised Standard Version, the 1976 Good News Bible, the 1990 New Revised Standard Version and others. In 2011, after a four-year effort among 120 scholars, a new translation from the Greek and Hebrew texts was released. This new Bible, called the Common English Bible, is believed to be the most accurate English translation available.