Remembering Ken Taylor
(The creator of The Living Bible, Kenneth Taylor, died in his Wheaton home last Friday, June 10 at age 88. The funeral service will be 10:00 a.m., tomorrow, June 15, at Edman Memorial Chapel, Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois. Read more info at Kenneth N Taylor and Christianity Today.)
We pause in the midst of our hurried business to honor a man who was passionate for engaging his generation in the Bible and who found expression for that passion in publishing The Living Bible, which for millions became an “on ramp” to the super highway of the Bible.
When we look back at a life well-lived, a number of attributes stand out in bold relief.
We admire his good sense. Dr. Taylor came to see the unvarnished reality that the KJV, as fine a translation as it had been for it’s time, would never “speak” to his children or even to a lot of adults. While others embraced the mystical notion that a translation could be good for you even if you couldn’t understand it, he had the good sense to look to his own children and admit that daily Bible reading wasn’t producing the desired affect. He understood that the “spirit of the incarnation”—God coming down to our level—needed to be applied to Bible translation.
We admire his resourcefulness in finding ways to make the Bible accessible when others felt it was best to leave well-enough alone. When others didn’t share the vision of God’s Word in decipherable language, Dr. Taylor turned the family’s kitchen table into the publisher’s office and the garage into the distribution center.
We admire his courage. I was a college student when The Living Bible released and remember well the criticism heaped on the paraphrase and on Dr. Taylor himself. The critics accused him of playing fast and loose with the Bible. But Dr. Taylor was indomitable. One wonders if he named his fledging new company Tyndale because he knew in small measure the persecution of attempting to make the Bible accessible to the masses.
We will miss Ken Taylor’s influence. In his place may God raise up like-minded and like-hearted men and women to carry on the work of making the Word accessible to the next generation.
Paul J. Caminiti
VP and Publisher, Bibles