King James Bible Believers



King James Onlyism In Scotland


Laurence M. Vance

This article is an abridged version of essay eleven in the collection of fifteen essays on the Authorized Version by Laurence M. Vance entitled King James, His Bible, and Its Translators. This 172-page book can be ordered from Vance Publications.




                               King James Onlyism In Scotland


It has previously been shown that the origin of “King James Onlyism” goes back, not to the beginning of the “King James Only” movement in the twentieth century, but four hundred years earlier to King James himself. The king desired “one uniform translation,” and for the “whole church to be bound unto it, and none other.” This opinion soon spread into Scotland.


Most people are aware that King James (1566-1625) became king of England in 1603, after the death of Queen Elizabeth (her aunt, Margaret Tudor [1489-1541], the sister of Henry VIII [1491-1547], was the great-grandmother of King James). What many people are not aware of, however, including some Bible-believing Christians, is that when James became King James I of England in 1603, he had already been King James VI of Scotland since 1567. Thus, he was both King James VI & I. Scotland is today part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The United Kingdom (or the UK) is made up of the regions of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.


The first complete Bible printed in Scotland—a reprint of a 1562 Geneva Bible—was not published until 1579. It was dedicated to the young king, who was then a boy of thirteen: “To the richt excellent richt heigh and michtie prince Iames the Sext King of Scottis.” Other editions of the Geneva Bible were printed in Scotland in 1601 and 1610. In 1611, an enactment by the Synod of St. Andrews, referring to the 1610 Geneva Bible, stated: “For as much as it was thought expedient that there be in every Kirk a common Bible, it was concluded that every brother shall urge his parishioners to buy one of the Bibles lately printed by Andro Hart.”


After the publication of the Authorized Version in 1611, and after William Laud (1573-1645) became the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1633, a notable change was made concerning the Bible to be used in the churches of Scotland. The introduction of the Authorized Version into Scotland can be traced back to the 1628 publication of the New Testament, printed by the Heirs of Andro Hart. The coronation of Charles I (1600-1649) at Edinburgh in 1633 was the occasion for the publication of the entire Bible. It was printed by Robert Young (d. 1643), the royal printer. The king and his archbishop wanted the Scots to use the Episcopal form of worship, thus completing the uniformity between the churches of the two kingdoms. Laud revised a book of canons given by the bishops to the king, who instructed Laud that it should “be well fitted for Church government, and as near as conveniently may be to the Canons of the Church of England.” The resulting Canons and Constitutions Ecclesiastical of 1636 specifically mandated that the Bible to be used in Scotland “shall be of the translation of King James.”


Although some in Scotland regarded the new version as standing in need of revision, and even offered a detailed list under five headings of various proposals for revision, nothing ever came of this either. And two hundred years later, in Article III of the constitution of the National Bible Society in Scotland, which was formed in 1861 from the National, Glasgow, and Edinburgh Bible Societies, we read: “The only version of the  Holy Scriptures, in the English language, which the Society shall circulate or hold in stock shall be the Authorized Version.”


So not only is this statement in the Scottish Canons one of the earliest references to the Bible of 1611 as that of King James, it is also the origin of “King James Onlyism” in Scotland. Once again, therefore, we see that “King James Onlyism” was not invented by some over-zealous modern defender of the Authorized Version. This opinion began with King James himself and soon spread throughout the realm.





John Wycliffe 1320-1384

John Wycliffe 1320-1384

John 10:9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.







View      Guest Book      Sign


Web site

Vance Publications