Archbishop puts his faith in the King James Bible

PEOPLE of all faiths, and even those who do not identify with a particular religion, should still take a close look at the King James Bible, which "can still move and even shock us", the Archbishop of Canterbury will say.

Dr Rowan Williams will put the book, which is 400 years old this year, at the heart of his New Year message on TV today.

"Things move on but it's good for us to have some long-lasting furniture in our minds, words and images that have something a bit mysterious about them and that carry important experiences for us that we can't find words of our own for," he will say.

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To help make sense of their lives, the archbishop urges people to ensure that some kind of "big picture" matters for them, regardless of their beliefs.

He will say: "When we try to make sense of our lives and of who we really are, it helps to have a strongly defined story, a big picture of some kind in the background. As the King James Bible took hold of the imaginations of millions of people in the English-speaking world, it gave them just that - a big picture, a story in which their lives made sense.

"Whether you're a Christian or belong to another religion or whether you have nothing you'd want to call a religion at all, some sort of big picture matters. If we are going to talk about a 'big society', that will need a big picture … of what human beings are really like and why they're so unique."