Christian Life 

Highland MSP affirms value of the Bible

In the 400th anniversary year of the printing of the King James Bible, Dave Thompson MSP led the debate in the Scottish Parliament on the day that the 'People's Bible' was being presented in Westminster Abbey with the Queen present.

first published 19/11/11

 Dave Thompson MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch
Dave ThompsonTO mark the important 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, Dave Thompson, the SNP parliamentarian who represents Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, prompted a debate on the floor of the Scottish Parliament.

In the course of the year a 'People's Bible' initiative to collect individual hand-written Bible verses throughout Scotland, England and Wales, the ‘People’s Bible’ project and Mr. Thompson’s motion, submitted during that period, offered the view:

‘that the [Scottish] Parliament applauds the accomplishment of the People’s Bible in travelling over 5,500 miles since June 2011 and recording 18,320 verses in over 60 towns and cities in Scotland, including Fort William and Portree; considers that the People’s Bible has prompted Scots throughout society and across the country to discover and rediscover the Bible; looks forward to the Scottish finale at Stirling Castle in November; hopes that the People’s Bible will be a catalyst for renewed interest in reading the Bible, and believes that the transformative and lasting impact of the King James’ Bible on Scottish language, culture and education can be mirrored in the influence of the People’s Bible on the people of Scotland today.’

As a result of the motion – submitted during the period when the project visited his own constituency of  – the date the MSP was given for the subsequent debate coincided with the presentation of the People’s Bible in Westminster Abbey with the Queen Elizabeth II present.
Though he was delighted with this providential and parallel arrangement, it was inevitable that some who would have wished to be present in Scotland on the day were involved in the Abbey event. He commented: “It is fitting that my motion will be heard at Holyrood on the day of the initiative’s finale at Westminster Abbey but unfortunately this means that the majority of those involved will not be able to attend Parliament as they will be in London.” However he felt privileged to have the opportunity to affirm the place that the Bible has in the life and history of Scotland; and in his own life. “The arrival of the first printed Bible had a huge impact on society and the presence of a copy in homes and schools across the country helped to educate the population of Scotland and the wider world.”

In using the People’s Bible as a ‘springboard’ to talk about the transformative influence of the Bible on Scottish culture and society, he pointed to the “riches and blessings that have been ours in abundance because we held fast to Biblical truth”. But also outlined the contrast with how our beliefs and our respect for God’s Word has slipped in our contemporary world.

microphoneIn a subsequent interview with Christians Together the Highland MSP asked for prayer within the Christian community that: “I will have the strength, the courage and the wisdom to make sure that I keep the Lord in the centre of everything that I do.”

Other parliamentarians spoke during the debate including MSPs John Mason (SNP) and Murdo Fraser (Con.)

Palace of Hampton Court
Hampton CourtFootnote: On his ascension to the English throne King James (VIth of Scotland; 1st in England) instigated the new King James Version in the context of uniting the opposing camps within the Church of England and the Puritans respectively.

The germ of the idea was first planted in the King's mind during a General Assembly of the Church of Scotland at St. Columba's parish church in the village of Burntisland in Fife in 1601.

However it was only three years later, by which time James was resident in England, that the intention was put into effect during a conference in Hampton Court Palace.
Though first published in England in 1611, it was not until 1633 that the first edition was printed in Scotland in conjunction with the Scots coronation in that year of Charles I.

In 1620, the Pilgrim Fathers sailed to America carrying copies with them, and through this, the global spread of the Christian message and the English language, as found in the poetry of expression in this most modern version, was assured.

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Christians Together, 19/11/2011

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