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Transcribing the King James Bible by hand


Phillip Patterson has spent the last four years transcribing the King James Bible by hand, all 921,820 words. He has continued despite an illness which has brought him to the brink of death. If he has to, he works in his bed. When he can, Phillip works outside. Image by Laura Glazer

We wrote about the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, at the beginning of 2011. This story seemed like a good way to end for it reflects the interest in the King James Bible outside Britain, and contains an end and a beginning.

In an entry published in St. Peter's Press, the monthly newsletter of St. Peter's Presbyterian Church in Spencertown, New York, which he attends, Phillip wrote:

For many of us the waning days of winter have not simply been filled with difficult weather but full of personal turmoil as well. There were moments when my own soul was too weak to find the strength to write from my King James Bible. Thus I had failed to recall that the Bible is a strength unto itself.

Then on a forgiving afternoon I found myself turning the few pages of Lamentations. There my eyes casually fell upon a verse that read Thou drewest near in the day that I called upon thee: thou saidest fear not. I believed those words and began to write again. I cannot say that all my trials are behind me. Nonetheless, I am assured that there is solace before me.

The King James Bible has infused Phillip's own words with music. It has been infusing English literature with spirit and music for 400 years.

He hopes to live long enough to write the luminous last line: The grace of our lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

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