From “Translators to the Reader,” The Authorized Version (1611)
The Scripture saith not in vain, “Them that honor me, I will honor.” Neither was it vain word that Eusebius delivered long ago, the piety toward God was the weapon and the only weapon that both preserve the Emperor Constantine’s person, and avenged him of his enemies. But now what piety without truth? What truth (what saving truth) without the word of God? What word of God (whereof we may be sure) without the Scriptures?
The Scriptures we are commanded to search. They are commended that search and study them. They are reproved that were unskillful in them, or slow to believe them. They can make us wise to salvation. If we be ignorant, they will instruct us; if out of the way, they will bring us home; if dull, quicken us; if cold, inflame us.
“Take up and read, take up and read” the Scriptures for unto them was the direction, it was said unto St. Augustine by a supernatural voice. Whatsoever is in the Scriptures, believe me,” said the same St. Augustine; “there is verily truth, and the doctrine most fit for the refreshing and renewing of men’s minds, and so truly tempered, that everyone may draw from thence, that which is sufficient for him, if he come to draw with a devout and pious mind as true religion requires.” Thus St. Augustine and St. Jerome, “Love the Scriptures, and wisdom will love thee.”
The Authorized (or King James) Version of the Bible was the primary translation used by English-speaking Protestants for more than 300 years. Commissioned by King James I as a means of making peace between factions within the Church of England, it was prepared in four years by six committees of the era’s finest scholars, overseen by the Most Rev. Richard Bancroft, Archbishop of Canterbury. Its prefaces, the second of which is cited here, are anonymous.