Introduction to the Translators' Preface

At a conference with church authorities in 1604, the newly appointed King James I ordered a new, uniform translation of the Bible into English. The translators were allowed to use previous translations at their liking, such as Tyndale's, Matthew's and the Geneva Bible. The Preface contains much information on the considerations the translators had to make to accomplish their task. They also defend the idea of translating the holy text into 'vulgar' English.

There were 47 translators, who worked in 6 teams in Westminster, Cambridge and Oxford. It took 4 years to produce the first, preliminary translation, and nine more months for review and revision. The first edition was published in 1611. In most later editions the preface was not included.