King James Bible Translators
Personal and Family Life
Andrew Bing was born about 1574 in the city of Cambridge. He was the second son of Thomas and Katherine (Randolph or Rendell) Bing. His father, educated at Peterhouse College, Cambridge, became master of Clare College, and regius professor of law. Andrew was one of twelve children.
Coming from the family environment he did and growing up in Cambridge, it is no surprise Andrew Bing became an outstanding student, scholar, and churchman.
One contemporary observer described Bing as "tall and of a smiling countenance". During his life he held many church offices of responsibility in south east and south central England. He lived past the midpoint of the 17th century, dying at age seventy-eight in 1652 at Winterton, Norfolk where he had once served as the parish priest. He was probably unmarried. Religiously, Bing was a conformist.
Andrew Bing embarked on his university education in 1587 as a student at Clare College where his father was serving as master. However, he graduated B.A. while a student at Peterhouse College in 1591, proceeded M.A. in 1594, B.D. in 1602, and D.D. in 1606.
Andrew Bing's first academic office came in 1591 as a fellow of Peterhouse. Bing was serving in this position when his father, Thomas, died in 1599 leaving the mastership open. Andrew was also serving at the time as a chaplain to Archbishop Whitgift, who was also his godfather, and may have been considered as a candidate to succeed his father. He was only twenty-five at the time which, despite his early attainments, was judged as too young for the office. He was, however, soon the beneficiary of a number of ecclesiastical appointments including vicar of Everton, Huntingdonshire (1599), rector of Broughton, Buckinghamshire (1600), prebendary at York (1600) and Southwell, Nottinghamshire (1605), and subdean at York (1606). His election as regius professor of Hebrew occurred in 1608 while translating the Bible. In 1618 he became archdeacon of Norwich and rector of Winterton, Norfolk, and in 1627 he became rector of East Dereham, in the same county.
On one occasion King James I recommended Bing for a position, stating he was "well acquainted with Dr. Bing's worth" and that he knew he would be "an honor and ornament to the [university] if they choose him".
There is historical mention of Andrew Bing as a professor of Hebrew at Trinity College, and as a colleague there of fellow Translator John Richardson. While Andrew Bing had church responsibilities that took him away from Cambridge on occasion, it appears most of his adult life was associated with the university as a scholar and teacher.
Andrew Bing and the Translation
Andrew Bing was not thirty years of age when selected as one of the Translators, and he was one of the youngest to receive this honor and responsibility. He was assigned to the First Cambridge Company responsible for translating 1 Chronicles through the Song of Solomon in the Old Testament. The director of the company was the renowned Hebraist, Edward Lively who was likely one of Bing's mentors at the university.
Lively died near the beginning of the translation, and his loss was felt deeply by all the Translators, especially by those in his own company. Some accounts indicate William Eyre then joined the company, whose members included John Richardson, Lawrence Chaderton, Francis Dillingham, Thomas Harrison, Roger Andrewes, and Robert Spaldinge. All of these men were well known and respected within the scholarly community. Chaderton, the oldest of the group, was nearly three times Andrew Bing's age. Andrew Bing contributed the energy of his youth, and helped add a diverse perspective to the translation effort.
The position of regius professor of Hebrew at Cambridge was conferred only on those who demonstrated exceptional understanding and skill in this ancient language. Edward Lively occupied this chair for many years. As the regius professor of Hebrew, Bing was particularly qualified for the portion of the Old Testament assigned to his company, which was rooted in Hebrew.
Andrew Bing was young enough that he, unlike most of the Translators, lived through the Civil War and into the Cromwellian period of English rule. Because Bing had been a supporter of the policies of Archbishop Laud, in time he lost all, or nearly all of his church positions. The fact that he was buried in Winterton, the parish where he served during his later years, speaks of his attachment to the people there, and their affection for him.