This is the day that … Kenneth Taylor was born, in 1917.
It was at family devotions that one of his children asked him the meaning of a verse in the King James Version of the Bible. When he had explained it the children retorted: “Well, Daddy, if that’s what the verse means, why doesn’t it say so?
As a result Kenneth Taylor would sit in the Chicago-bound train day after day armed with Bible, notebook and pencil. And in 1962 he had paraphrased the Epistles. He called his book Living Letters, and took it to a publisher. And another. And another.
Their refusals did not dampen his enthusiasm. He took out a bank loan and published it himself. It sold slowly at first – and then Billy Graham decided to give it free to those who wrote in to his telecasts. Half a million copies were printed and sent to viewers.
Taylor then tackled the Gospels … and the rest of the New Testament … and the Psalms. And kept on going.
In 1971 The Living Bible was published by Tyndale House, his own book company.
“In the first 27 months Tyndale House sold 13 million copies of The Living Bible.”
In 1986 Moody Monthly reported that 33 million copies had been sold, and “profits go largely to fund paraphrases in other languages.”
Kenneth Nathaniel Taylor died at age 88, on June 10, 2005.
Personal Note from Chris – My dad used Living Letters because he loved the idea that God’s Word could be made accessible. However there were many nay-sayers. Some questioned how a Bible could use the word ‘boomerang’ and be taken seriously.
When I turned up at church with a Living Bible I was asked, “What do you feed it?” I didn’t get the joke.
I loved the sense of God’s Word being so easy to read.
Then came all the talk about how a ‘paraphrase’ was not a REAL Bible.
Now, everyone takes for granted their easy access to so many translations. Enjoy the privilege. It did not come easy.