The Authorized Version (AV), commonly known as the King James Version (KJV) or King James Bible (KJB), is an English translation of the Christian Bible for the Church of England begun in 1604 and completed in 1611. First printed by the King's Printer Robert Barker, this was the third translation into English to be approved by the English Church authorities. The first was the Great Bible commissioned in the reign of King Henry VIII, and the second was the Bishops' Bible of 1568. In January 1604, King James VI of Scotland and I of England convened the Hampton Court Conference where a new English version was conceived in response to the perceived problems of the earlier translations as detected by the Puritans, a faction within the Church of England. James gave the translators instructions intended to guarantee that the new version would conform to the ecclesiology and reflect the episcopal structure of the Church of England and its belief in an ordained clergy. The translation was done by 47 scholars, all of whom were members of the Church of England. In common with most other translations of the period, the New Testament was translated from Greek, the Old Testament was translated from Hebrew text, while the Apocrypha were translated from the Greek and Latin. In the Book of Common Prayer (1662), the text of the Authorized Version replaced the text of the Great Bible – for Epistle and Gospel readings – and as such was authorized by Act of Parliament. By the first half of the 18th century, the Authorized Version was effectively unchallenged as the English translation used in Anglican and Protestant churches. Over the course of the 18th century, the Authorized Version supplanted the Latin Vulgate as the standard version of scripture for English speaking scholars. Today, the most used edition of the King James Bible, and often identified as plainly the King James Bible or King James Version, especially in the United States, remains the standard text of 1769, edited by Benjamin Blayney and Francis Sawyer Parris at Oxford.
The title of the first edition of the translation was "THE HOLY BIBLE, Containing the Old Testament, AND THE NEW: Newly Translated out of the Original tongues: & with the former Translations diligently compared and revised, by his Majesties special Commandment". The title–page carries the words 'Appointed to be read in Churches' and F.F. Bruce suggests it was "probably authorized by order in council" but no record of the authorization survives "because the Privy Council registers from 1600 to 1613 were destroyed by fire in January 1618/19".
For many years it was common not to give the translation any specific name. In his Leviathan of 1651, Thomas Hobbes referred to it as the English Translation made in the beginning of the Reign of King James. A 1761 "Brief Account of the various Translations of the Bible into English" refers to the 1611 version merely as a new, compleat, and more accurate Translation, despite referring to the Great Bible by that name, and despite using the name "Rhemish Testament" for the Douay–Rheims Bible version. Similarly, a "History of England", whose fifth edition was published in 1775, writes merely that new translation of the Bible, viz., that now in Use, was begun in 1607, and published in 1611.
King James's Bible is used as the name for the 1611 translation (on a par with the "Genevan Bible" or the "Rhemish Testament") in Charles Butler's Horae Biblicae (first published 1797).