The Westminster Abbey service Wednesday included the church's most senior clerics, Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury, and John Sentamu, the archbishop of York, The Guardian reported. Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, the former Catholic archbishop of Westminster, honored one of the most important Protestant books.
The translation was ordered by King James I and presented to him in 1611. Like the plays of William Shakespeare, which date from the same era, it helped shape the English language.
The committee met at the abbey to read their translation aloud -- as it would be read in Anglican churches -- before it was printed.
"We have all suffered from a mindset in the last couple of centuries that has assumed there is an end to translating and understanding and thus that there is something wrong with any version of a text that fails to settle disputes and to provide an account of the truth that no one could disagree with," Williams said in his sermon.
"But what the 1611 translators grasped was that hearing the word of God was a lifelong calling that had to be undertaken in the company of other readers and was never something that left us where we started."