King James Bible

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 11:00 am on 9th December 2009.

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Photo of David Simpson David Simpson Shadow Spokesperson (Education), Shadow Spokesperson (International Development), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Business, Innovation and Skills) 11:00 am, 9th December 2009

I agree with my hon. Friend about Her Majesty's words. This great country of ours has unfortunately moved away from many of those principles, but we certainly remember what she said.

Whenever we speak of putting words in someone's mouth, of seeing the writing on the wall or of casting the first stone we are quoting the King James Bible. When we speak of the salt of the earth or of the staff of life, we do likewise. When we speak of a thorn in the flesh or of being at our wits' end, we do the same. When we talk of an eye for an eye or of a lamb to the slaughter, it is because of the King James Bible.

When we talk of fighting the good fight or of going from strength to strength, it is because the King James Bible said it first. Whenever we mention babes and sucklings or the apple of our eye, we are merely repeating what has already been said in the King James Bible. When we say that someone is reaping what they sowed or that a leopard cannot change its spots, or we speak of the blind leading the blind, we are merely saying today what the King James Bible said first.

It is not only our literature and language that has been influenced by the King James Bible. It has had an extraordinary and beneficial influence upon political and constitutional affairs. It was the Bible of Milton and of the Protectorate; later, it was the Bible of the Glorious Revolution, which gave us a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy. It was the Bible of Whitefield and the Wesleys that saved this realm from the brutality and blood of the French revolution. It was the Bible carried by the founding fathers of the United States that helped to forge that land and give the world that great democratic powerhouse.

The King James Bible has also had an immense influence for good in social affairs. Hospitals were built, orphanages established and charities created as a result of its influence. The hungry were fed, the sick nursed and the poor given shelter, as people responded to its call to act.

Beyond all that, however, and above every other consideration, we must return to what is the highest and greatest of all of the benefits that the King James Bible has brought to men. Yes, the hungry were fed; but far greater than that, so were hungry souls. Yes, the sick were nursed; but so, too, were the spiritually sick, bruised and wounded. Yes, the poor were given shelter; but so were the poor and broken in soul. Lives that lay in ruins were made whole, and souls that were held in bondage were set at liberty. That was the greatest legacy and gift to the world of the King James Bible.

I commend the work of the 2011 Trust and Mr. Field. I also congratulate the BBC on its assurance that this important anniversary will be marked right across its output. We now need the Government to signal that they will do all that they can to commemorate the anniversary.