Bible chapter and verse references have been printed on the face of this year’s Christmas stamps, unveiled by Royal Mail to mark 400 years of the King James Version.
The series of seven stamps feature Bible references taken from the gospels of Matthew and Luke. The stamps also include pictures of nativity scenes.
Royal Mail, which alternates between religious and secular themed stamps each Christmas, released the new designs last week.
Stephen Agar from Royal Mail said: “Christmas stamps help deliver festive messages of good cheer and celebration across the UK and around the world.
“This year’s stamps feature scenes from the Nativity, together with the Gospel references from the King James Bible which inspired them.”
Royal Mail also commented that many of the KJV’s “distinctive sayings have found their way into our everyday way of speaking, with more than 200 phrases such as ‘the apple of my eye’, a ‘den of thieves’ or ‘the land of the living’ have become part of modern English”.
Last year it was revealed that Royal Mail was to commemorate the KJV anniversary, following numerous requests from the public.
Mervyn Storey, MLA for North Antrim, was one of those who called for the stamps. He said “the King James Version didn’t just influence our literature and language”, it also “had a beneficial influence upon political and constitutional affairs”.
Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London has also marked the anniversary with a cover-to-cover reading of the text.
And in their festive messages The Queen and the Archbishop of Canterbury also celebrated the occasion.
Work on the KJV began in 1604, at the request of James I of England and VI of Scotland, and carried on until 1611.
A team of 47 of the best Bible scholars of the day worked on translating the text into English, and the King James translation became the version read by many English speaking nations.