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Kenneth N. Taylor, 88, whose Bible paraphrase helped pave the way for modern translations, is being remembered as a man of humility and vision.

Taylor, who died of heart failure June 10, paraphrased the King James Version in language his children could understand. That effort eventually became the Living Bible. A bestseller after its 1971 release, it has sold more than 40 million copies.

Noting that Billy Graham has called the Bible the world's best evangelist, American Bible Society president Gene Habecker said Taylor's work made a massive impact.

"It may be greater than Billy Graham," Habecker said.

The publication of the Living Bible spurred the formation of Tyndale House Publishers. With 260 employees, Tyndale releases 250 products annually, about 60 percent of them books. Its New Living Translation, the 1996 successor to Taylor's paraphrase, has sold more than 16.9 million copies. In recent years, the Carol Stream, Illinois-based publisher has sold more than 63 million copies of the Left Behind end-times novels and related products.

Taylor's son Mark, president of Tyndale, said many have emphasized his father's personal legacy.

"They made a point of talking about [his] personal interest in them and the time he spent praying with them," he said.

Kent Hughes, pastor of College Church in Wheaton, Illinois, Taylor's longtime church, noted that Taylor "was interested in people regardless of status."

In an article written last year for Wheaton College's alumni magazine, Ken Taylor predicted that not many would give his death more than a passing thought. "This is a reminder to me that we do not live for praise but to help others, so whatever needs doing must be done now," Taylor wrote. Despite his prediction, an estimated 1,000 people ...

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In the Magazine

August 2005

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