Kenneth Nathaniel Taylor, who founded Tyndale House Publishers after he had been unable to find a company willing to publish his Bible paraphrases, died at age 88 on Friday. Tyndale House is now a leading publisher of Christian books and resources. Taylor's biblical paraphrase, which became The Living Bible, sold more than 40 million copies in North America alone. In 1950, Taylor also founded the Christian Booksellers Association, a trade association of Christian stores, publishers, and other retail companies now known simply as CBA. He also created the missions organizations Evangelical Literature Overseas and Short Terms Abroad (which merged with Seattle-based Intercristo in 1976).
While we at Christianity Today gather comments and remembrances from those who knew Taylor well, here is a brief biographical sketch from the Kenneth Taylor collection at Wheaton College, from which Taylor received his B.S. in zoology from in 1938 and an honorary doctorate in literature in 1965:
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Kenneth Nathaniel Taylor was born May 8th, 1917, in Portland, Oregon, to George and Charlotte Taylor. The senior Taylor, an aggressive soulwinner, pastored the Queen Anne Hill United Presbyterian Church where the family resided in the parsonage next door. Later they moved to Seattle, then Beaverton, Oregon.
Kenneth, eagerly attending Sunday school, was early impressed with the inestimable value of Scripture. He once saw his father accidentally drop a Bible; and with almost ceremonial gentility, the Reverend Taylor picked it up from the floor. Kenneth respected the Word, but he wrestled with archaisms in the King James Biblea certain portent of future editorial tasks. As publisher and writer, he would similarly honor the Bible and its effective ...