The Church of England, which includes those who identify as Episcopalians or Anglicans, traces its roots to the second century, but is more commonly associated with the arrival in England of St. Augustine of Canterbury in 597. In the 16th century, the English Reformation moved the church away from papal authority and created a belief in royal supremacy. While churches across the globe are independent they share beliefs, worship practices and mutual understanding through their adherence to the Anglican communion.
The King James Bible, sometimes called the Authorized Version, is the primary translation approved for use by the Anglican church, and in most Protestant churches worldwide. It is named after King James I who ordered the translation at the Hampton Court Conference in January 1604. Originally published by the Church of England in 1611, the King James Bible was translated by 47 scholars from Greek Septuagint, Masoretic Hebrew, Latin Vulgate and Textus Receptus. While it is a translation from the original texts the king ordered the translators to ensure that the Bible followed the beliefs of the Anglican church.
Several other translations are approved for use by Anglicans and Episcopalians around the world. Which bible is selected depends on geography, culture and the beliefs or values of an individual congregation. Anglican churches tend to be divided into "high" (more closely linked to the Catholic roots) or "low" (more contemporary). This also factors into the selection of the bible edition for use in a parish. Some standard versions include: English Revision (1881), Jerusalem Bible (1996), Good News Bible (1976) and the New American Bible (1970).
Book of Common Prayer
The Book of Common Prayer (BCP) is the core doctrinal and liturgical book of the Anglican/Episcopal church. Written in 1549, followed by the development of "The Thirty Nine Articles" in 1571, the book underwent a final revision in 1662. The Book of Common Prayer unifies the worldwide Anglican church and provides many resources for communities and individuals seeking a prayerful life. According to the Episcopal church's main website, 70% of the BCP is composed of selections from the Bible.
The Bible Challenge
Bible readings are an important part of every Anglican worship service and most services include at least one reading each from the New and Old Testament, as well as the Book of Psalms. Bible study and discussions are a key component of the faith. Many Anglicans strive to read scripture daily. The Center for Biblical Studies sponsors The Bible Challenge which provides resources and tools for congregations to study the bible individually or in community.
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