The Holy Bible, King James Version Revised

Introductory Notes

The King James Bible

          In its day, the King James Version of the Bible (KJV) was the best, most authentic and authoritative translation of the ancient scriptures ever produced; and it remained so for over 250 years. The discovery of older manuscripts than the translators of the KJV had access to, and the investigations of biblical scholars in the 19th and 20th century have left little doubt that the KJV contains a large number of textual inaccuracies. In the response to this overwhelming evidence, the 20th century has seen the publication of a vast number of new translations, most of which are much more accurate than the old KJV, although not one of them can match the literary excellence of the KJV.

          The KJV is a work of unsurpassed literary value, on a par with the works of Shakespeare. No one could estimate the role that the KJV has played in the development of our civilization. It is an irreplaceable literary treasure. But like many other works of art and treasures from the past, it is in need of restoration in order to assure its continued use and appreciation. It would be an inestimable loss to the English speaking world if the many defects of the KJV were to cause it to fall into total disuse and to be replaced by the vastly inferior modern versions.

          Nevertheless, the Bible is more than a work of literature. It is a living book, meant to continue as a spiritual guide to every succeeding age. Any Bible in English is, after all, a translation, and as such is expecteded to convey the original text as accurately and as vitally as possible. Because the source of the KJV is of even greater import than its literary value, the resulting translation must be subordinated to the demands of accuracy. A proper approach suggests, therefore, that the text of the KJV be corrected, but also that its literary value be retained if possible.

          Until the present edition, all subsequent revisions of the KJV have gone far beyond the minimal correction of the text needed to eliminate errors. In so doing, they have invariably destroyed the unique qualities, the style, the rhythms and the cadences that so distinguish the KJV. By making only those corrections that are absolutely necessary, it is hoped that this revised edition of the KJV will retain everything that so uniquely constitutes the KJV, and will at the same time provide the substance of the text in as accurate a form as possible. Whereas some few of the beautiful passages in the original KJV are lost by correcting their errors, many more are gained by bringing to light the truths of the original sources long hidden from view. This is especially true in the book of Proverbs.

          The books of the Bible presented on this Website have been selected from a complete manuscript for this revised and corrected edition. It is hoped that facilities will be made available to present the complete Bible at some time in the future.


Editorial Methods

          In making changes in the text of the King James Version (KJV), the primary principle has been to leave the original text untouched unless one of the following conditions obtains:

  • Later Biblical scholarship indicates the original KJV is in error.
  • A word or phrase in the original KJV is now considered obsolete or so changed in meaning as to be confusing to the reader.
  • A word in the original KJV is now spelled differently.

          In some cases, minor changes in punctuation and in the choice of articles and conjunctions have been made that substantially clarify the meaning of the text without altering the style and beauty of the original. It should be noted that whereas obsolete words have been replaced, no changes have been made in words designated as ARCHAIC. Archaic English is well understood in our modern age, and there is no need to eliminate it. Moreover, it is the conviction of the editor that to eliminate the archaic words and phrasing, as has been done in many modern versions claiming association with the KJV, would utterly destroy the essential beauty of the KJV text.

          In correcting errors in the KJV text, the editor adopted the most conservative approach possible. A very large number of modern translations, scholarly editions and studies were consulted, and no changes were made unless all reputable modern sources agreed that the KJV was in error. If even one of those reputable sources agreed with the KJV, the word or passage was left unchanged. When changes were made, every effort was made to use words derived from the Middle English vocabulary and to retain the style of the original. Words were not eliminated merely because their meaning was popularly unfamiliar. The standard adopted was the Merriam-Webster New Collegiate Dictionary. If the meaning of the KJV word was listed as a non-obsolete meaning in that dictionary, the word was left untouched. Thus, words such as "meat," meaning food, and "corn," meaning the grain of a cereal crop of a particular region, were left untouched, since these are legitimate, standard meanings for those terms. The spelling of Old Testament names was used wherever these names occur in the New Testament. The British form of spelling for certain words, such as "labour," has been retained. In some cases, whole verses have been omitted because they did not appear in the oldest manuscripts. When that occurred, the preceding verse was subdivided, with a portion replacing the omitted verse in order to retain a consecutive numbering.

          The editor makes no pretensions of being a Biblical scholar or even an expert in the ancient languages. The editor is a librarian, and prepared this revised edition of the KJV by relying on scholarly work already performed by others. As merely an editor and compiler, he made no attempt to interject his own theories of Biblical interpretation. Personal information about the editor is available by clicking on the name listed below. Visitors may send their comments, questions, suggestions and any criticisms by clicking on the email address listed below.


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