Changes in the King James Version

In 1769 the Oxford University Press published an edition of the King James version in which many small changes were made. These changes were of five kinds: 1. Greater and more regular use of italics; 2. minor changes in the text; 3. the adoption of modern spelling; 4. changes in the marginal notes and references; and, 5. correction of printers' errors. This edition soon came to be known as "The Oxford Standard" edition, because it was widely accepted as a standard text by commentators and other publishers. The editions of the King James version published in our century generally reproduce this Oxford edition of 1769, with or without the marginal notes. The following information is given so that the reader may gain an accurate impression of how far the modern editions differ from the original King James version of 1611.


The King James version was originally printed in the type style known as "black letter," which has the following appearance:

The booke of the generation of Iesus Christ

Words of the translation which were supplied to make the sense clear, but which were not represented in the Greek text used by the translators, were often set in small "roman" type:

When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled.

In later editions, the ordinary text was set in roman type, with the supplied words in italics:

When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled.

This typographical feature was not employed very consistently in the 1611 edition; in many places the supplied words are not indicated as one might expect. This inconsistency was probably the fault of the printer's compositors, who very often modified even the spelling of words in order to lengthen or shorten a line of type.

The editors of the 1769 Oxford edition undertook, therefore, to regularize the use of italics by italicizing all words of the translation which did not have a counterpart in the text of Stephens 1550. Consequently, modern editions of the King James version are much more heavily italicized than the original: In Matthew, the 1611 edition uses roman type 69 times, whereas the more exact 1769 edition uses italics 384 times. The reader should be aware of the fact that the King James version is not, strictly speaking, a translation of Estienne 1550; and so in some cases the modern italics are misleading if used as an indication of the readings upon which the version is based. For example, in Mark 8:14 the modern editions italicize the words the disciples because they are not in Estienne, but it is evident that here the King James translators were following, as usual, the text of Beza 1598, where the words hoi mathetai are found. The following is a complete list of such cases.

S - Stephens 1550
B - Beza 1598
E - Elzevir 1624
C - Complutensian Polyglot 1522
Er - Erasmus 1527
Vul - Clementine Vulgate 1592
Tyn - Tyndale 1535
Gen - Genevan Bible 1560
Bish - Bishops Bible 1568

Mark 8:14 Modern editions italicize the disciples, in accordance with S E. But the text of 1611 was probably based upon B.
Mark 9:42 Modern editions italicize these, in accordance with S B E. But the text of 1611 was probably based upon C Vul.
John 8:6 Modern editions italicize as though he heard them not at end of verse, in accordance with S B E. But the text of 1611 was probably based upon C S1546 S1549 and the Bishops' Bible.
Acts 1:4 Modern editions italicize them after assembled together with, in accordance with S E. But the text of 1611 was probably based upon B.
Acts 26:3 Modern editions italicize because I know, in accordance with S E. But the text of 1611 was probably based upon B.
Acts 26:18 Modern editions italicize and before to turn, in accordance with S E. But the text of 1611 was probably based upon B.
1 Cor 14:10 Modern editions print the words of them in ordinary type, in accordance with S B E. But the text of 1611 had them in italics, in accordance with Vul.
Heb 12:24 Modern editions italicize that of before Abel, in accordance with S B E. But the text of 1611 was probably based upon Er.
1 John 3:16 Modern editions italicize of God after love, in accordance with S E. But the text of 1611 was probably based upon C B.
Rev 11:14 Modern editions italicize and before behold, in accordance with S. But the text of 1611 was probably based upon B Vul.
Rev 19:18 Modern editions italicize both before free, in accordance with S B E. But the text of 1611 was probably based upon C.


The following list includes all changes to the text of 1611 which do not involve the correction of obvious errors of the press (examples of which are given in § 5 below), or changes of spelling, capitalization, and punctuation. Most of these changes were made with reference to the text of Estienne 1550, and with a view to greater clarity or accuracy. The changes marked with an asterix "*" are all those which are considered improper or unnecessary by F.H.A. Scrivener, an eminent authority on the text of the KJV, in his book, The Authorized Edition of the English Bible (1611), its subsequent Reprints and modern Representatives. (Cambridge: University Press, 1884).

* Mat 3:12 Add he before will burn up. Rejected by Scrivener.
Mat 6:3 Add hand after right. Approved by Scrivener.
* Mat 9:34 Omit the before devils.
* Mat 12:23 Add not before this the son.
* Mat 13:6 Read had no root instead of had not root.
Mat 16:16 Add the before Christ.
Mat 16:19 Add and before whatsoever thou shalt loose.
Mat 26:75 Read word instead of words.
Mat 27:22 Read Pilate saith instead of Pilate said.
* Mat 27:52 Add the before saints.
Mark 2:4 Add the before press.
Mark 5:6 Read he ran instead of he came.
* Mark 6:7 Read he called instead of he calleth.
* Mark 6:53 Read Gennesaret instead of Genesareth. 1611 followed another source. 1769: S B E. 1611: Er Vul.
Mark 10:18 Read [there is] none good but one instead of there is no man good, but one.
Mark 11:8 Read branches off the trees instead of branches of the trees.
Luke 1:3 Add all before things.
Luke 1:74 Read hand instead of hands.
Luke 3:21 Omit and before it came to pass.
* Luke 8:8 Add had before said.
* Luke 11:16 Read others instead of other.
Luke 17:34 Add and before the other shall be left.
* Luke 18:9 Read others instead of other.
Luke 19:9 Read a son of Abraham instead of the son of Abraham.
Luke 20:12 Read sent a third instead of sent the third.
Luke 23:19 Read cast into prison instead of cast in prison.
John 5:18 Transpose not only because he to because he not only.
John 7:16 Add and said after Jesus answered them.
John 8:30 Read these words instead of those words.
John 11:3 Read his sisters instead of his sister.
* John 11:34 Read They said unto him instead of They say unto him.
John 12:22 Read tell Jesus instead of told Jesus.
John 15:20 Read than his lord instead of than the Lord.
* John 16:25 Add but before the time. 1611 followed another source. 1769: S B E. 1611: Er Vul.
John 21:17 Read He saith unto him instead of he said unto him.
Acts 2:22 Add and before wonders.
* Acts 5:34 Add the before law.
Acts 7:35 Read by the hand instead of by the hands.
Acts 8:32 Read his shearer instead of the shearer.
* Acts 10:9 Add top after upon the house.
* Acts 18:5 Add the before spirit.
* Acts 19:19 Transpose also of them to of them also.
* Acts 24:14 Add in before the prophets.
Acts 24:24 Read Jewess instead of Jew.
Acts 27:18 Read And we being exceedingly tossed with a tempest, the next [day] instead of And being exceedingly tossed with a tempest the next day.
Rom 3:24 Read Christ Jesus instead of Jesus Christ.
Rom 4:12 Add who before also walk.
Rom 6:12 Transpose reign therefore to therefore reign.
* Rom 7:2 Read law of her husband instead of law of the husband.
Rom 7:13 Transpose Was that then to Was then that.
Rom 11:28 Read for your sakes instead of for your sake.
Rom 12:2 Read and acceptable instead of that acceptable.
Rom 14:6 Read regardeth the day instead of regardeth a day.
Rom 14:10 Add for before we shall all stand.
* 1 Cor 4:9 Read appointed to death instead of approved to death.
1 Cor 7:32 Read things that belong instead of things that belongeth.
1 Cor 10:28 Add for before the earth is.
1 Cor 12:28 Read helps, governments instead of helps in governments.
* 1 Cor 13:2 Read have not charity instead of have no charity.
* 1 Cor 14:15 Add I before will pray.
* 1 Cor 14:18 Read than ye all instead of than you all.
1 Cor 14:23 Read one place instead of some place.
1 Cor 15:6 Read After that instead of And that.
1 Cor 15:41 Read and another glory of the moon instead of another of the moon.
1 Cor 15:48 Add also before that are earthy.
1 Cor 16:22 Read anathema, Maranatha instead of Anathema Maranatha.
* 2 Cor 5:1 Read made with hands instead of made with hand.
2 Cor 5:2 Read groan, earnestly desiring instead of groan earnestly, desiring.
2 Cor 5:20 Omit that before be ye reconciled.
2 Cor 8:21 Add also before in the sight.
2 Cor 9:5 Add and before not.
2 Cor 9:5 Add as before of covetousness.
2 Cor 9:6 Add also after reap twice.
2 Cor 11:26 Read journeyings instead of journeying.
2 Cor 11:32 Add of the Damascenes after the city.
* Gal Title Add the Apostle before to the Galatians. 1611 followed another source. 1769: E. 1611: S.
Gal 3:13 Add a before tree.
* Gal 5:15 Add that after take heed.
* Eph 1:9 Read hath purposed instead of had purposed.
Eph 4:24 Read the new man instead of that new man.
* Eph 6:24 Add Amen at end of verse. 1611 followed another source. 1769: S E. 1611: Vul.
Phil 4:6 Read requests instead of request.
2 Th 2:14 Read our Lord Jesus Christ instead of the Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Tim 1:4 Add godly before edifying.
* 1 Tim 2:9 Read shamefacedness instead of shamefastness.
2 Tim 1:7 Add and before of love.
* 2 Tim 1:12 Omit I before am persuaded.
2 Tim 2:19 Read this seal instead of the seal.
2 Tim 4:8 Add all before them also.
2 Tim 4:13 Add and the books after bring [with thee].
Heb 3:10 Read their heart instead of their hearts.
Heb 8:8 Add with before the house of Judah.
Heb 11:23 Add were before not afraid.
Heb 12:1 Omit unto before the race.
James 5:2 Add are before motheaten.
1 Pet 2:1 Add all before evil speakings.
1 Pet 2:5 Read sacrifices instead of sacrifice.
1 Pet 2:6 Add also after Wherefore.
* 1 Pet 5:10 Read called us unto instead of called us into.
1 John 2:16 Add and before the lust of the eyes.
* 1 John 3:17 Read have need instead of hath need.
1 John 5:12 Add of God after hath not the Son.
Jude 1:25 Add both before now and ever.
Rev 1:4 Add which are before in Asia.
Rev 1:11 Add unto before Philadelphia.
Rev 5:13 Add and before honour.
Rev 5:13 Add and before glory.
Rev 12:14 Read fly instead of flee.
Rev 13:6 Read them that dwell instead of them that dwelt.
* Rev 17:4 Read precious stones instead of precious stone.
* Rev 22:2 Read on either side instead of of either side.


The following lists show every instance of altered spelling, capitalization, and punctuation from the first chapter of Matthew.


It will be noticed below that fourteen is spelled two different ways in the 1611 edition: This is because early printers employed various spellings according to the requirements of space, i.e., they would lengthen or shorten the words orthographically in order to present the text in neatly justified columns. The ampersand (&) was frequently used instead of the word and for the same reason. Another graphic abbreviation sometimes used is the form ye (properly pronounced, the) instead of a fully written the.

begate/begat     dreame/dream hee/he sleepe/sleep
bin/been feare/fear knewe/knew sonne/son
booke/book foorth/forth publique/publick     tooke/took
borne/born foureteene/fourteen     shee/she untill/until
childe/child fourteene/fourteen sinnes/sins &/and


The use of capital letters in the 1611 edition was somewhat irregular, but in general it may be observed that, in addition to proper nouns, common nouns referring to important persons were often capitalized, after the custom of the times. Pronouns referring to persons of the Trinity were not capitalized. Because each verse of the translation was printed as one paragraph, the first word of every verse was also capitalized. Below are listed all changes from the first chapter of Matthew.

1611 1769
Angel of the Lord     angel of the Lord
holy Ghost Holy Ghost
his Name Jesus his name JESUS
Behold, a Virgin Behold, a virgin


The 1611 edition was more heavily punctuated than our modern editions, as is generally true for older books; but it appears that sometimes the punctuation was influenced by mere considerations of space, as in the second example below.

1611 So all the generations from Abraham to David, are fourteene ...
1769 So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen ...
1611 Then Joseph her husband being a just man, and not willing ...
1769 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing ...
1611 That which is conceived in her, is of the holy Ghost
1769 That which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost


In the first edition of the King James version, marginal notes indicating various renderings or readings appeared in 775 places in the New Testament. Of these notes, 34 evidently referred to various readings of the Greek manuscripts. They appear in the following places: Mat 1:11, 7:14, 24:31, 26:26; Mark 7:3, 9:16; Luke 2:38, 10:22, 17:36; John 18:13; Acts 13:18, 25:6; Rom. 5:17, 7:6, 8:11; 1 Cor. 15:31; Gal. 4:15, 4:17; Eph. 6:9; 1 Tim. 6:5; Heb. 4:2, 9:2; James 2:18; 1 Pet. 1:4, 2:21; 2 Pet. 2:2, 2:11, 2:18; 2 John 1:8; Rev. 3:14, 6:8, 13:1, 13:5, 17:5.

The editors of the 1769 edition left all of the original marginal readings and renderings unchanged, but added 87 more notes, of which 17 referred to various readings of the Greek manuscripts. The following is a list of all notes added to Matthew.

1:20 Gr. begotten.
1:21 That is, Saviour.
5:22 That is, Vain fellow.
6:1 Or, righteousness.
10:10 Gr. a staff.
10:25 Gr. Beelzebul.
12:24 Gr. Beelzebul.
14:6 Gr. in the midst.
16:22 Gr. Pity thyself.
21:19 Gr. one fig tree.
22:26 Gr. seven.
23:23     Gr. anethon, dill.
24:33 Or, he.
28:19 Or, make disciples, or, Christians of all nations.

Below are listed all of the alternatives added to the margin in 1769 which evidently refer to various readings of the Greek text.

Mat 6:1. Read righteousness instead of alms. 1769 margin: Vul. Text: S B E.
Mat 10:10. Read a staff instead of staves. 1769 margin: S B E. Text: C S1546 S1549.
Luke 22:42. Read willing to remove instead of willing, remove. 1769 margin: S B E. Text: unknown.
John 7:50. Read to him instead of to Jesus. 1769 margin: S B E. Text: Tyndale.
Acts 7:44. Read who spake instead of speaking. 1769 margin: S B E. Text: Vulgate.
Acts 8:13. Transpose miracles and signs to signs and miracles. 1769 margin: S B E. Text: unknown.
Acts 8:13. Add great before miracles. 1769 margin: S B E. Text: unknown.
2 Cor 10:10. Read saith he instead of say they. 1769 margin: S. Text: B Vul.
Heb 10:2. Omit not and render For then they would have ceased to be offered. Because. 1769 margin: B E Vul. Text: S.
Heb 10:17. Add Then he said at beginning of verse. 1769 margin: no editors. The note evidently refers to the reading of the recently discovered Harclean Syriac version. Text: S B E.
James 4:2. Read ye envy instead of ye kill. 1769 margin: Er. Text: S B E.
2 Pet 1:1. Read Simeon Peter instead of Simon Peter. 1769 margin: S B E. Text: C Vul.
2 Pet 1:1. Read righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus instead of righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus. 1769 margin: S. Text: unknown (B E read of our God and our Saviour Jesus).
2 John 1:3. Read shall be with instead of be with. 1769 margin: S B E. Text: Vulgate.
2 John 1:12. Read your joy instead of our joy. 1769 margin: Vul. Text: S E B.
Rev 15:3. Read nations instead of saints. 1769 margin: C. Text: S B E.
Rev. 15:3. Read ages instead of saints. 1769 margin: Vul. Text: S B E.
Rev 21:7. Read these things instead of all things. 1769 margin: C Vul. Text: S B E.
Rev 22:19. Read from the tree of life instead of out of the book of life. 1769 margin: C Vul. Text: S B E.


The total number of references to the Apocrypha in the margins of the Old and New Testaments of the King James version as printed in 1611 is 113. Of this number, 102 are in the Old Testament, and 11 in the New. The New Testament passages with references to the Apocrypha are as follows:

Mat 6:7 Ecclesiasticus 7:14
Mat 23:37 2 Esdras 1:30
Mat 27:43 Wisdom 2:15-16
Luke 6:31 Tobit 4:15
Luke 14:13 Tobit 4:7
John 10:22 1 Maccabees 4:59
Rom 9:21 Wisdom 15:7
Rom 11:34 Wisdom 9:13
2 Cor 9:7 Ecclesiasticus 35:9
Heb 1:3 Wisdom 7:26
Heb 11:35         2 Maccabees 7:7


The following changes are all from Matthew.

4:25 great great great
5:47 do you do ye
8:25 awoke, saying     awoke him, saying
21:20 away? away!
26:34 might night


For the student who wishes to learn more concerning the history of the King James version, the following books will be of interest.

Geddes MacGregor, A Literary History of the Bible from the Middle Ages to the Present Day. Abingdon Press: Nashville, 1968. An excellent layman's history of the English versions up to 1961. The original KJV prefix, The Translators to the Reader, is given in an appendix.

The Holy Bible, an Exact Reprint Page for Page of the Authorized Version Published in the Year MDCXI. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1833. Reprinted by Thomas Nelson in 1993 as The Holy Bible, 1611 Edition. This is an edition of the King James version which exactly reproduces the spelling, punctuation, marginal notes, and chapter headings of the first edition. An exhaustive collation with the printing of 1613 was prefixed to the Oxford edition, but left out of the Nelson reprint. The following paragraph from Scrivener, The Authorized Edition of the Bible, p. 35, describes the interesting circumstances surrounding the publication of this reprint. "For many years which followed the publication of the edition of 1769, even after its glaring imperfections had become in some measure known, the King's Printer and the two English universities continued to reproduce what was in substance Dr Blayney's work, when the public attention was claimed in 1831 by Mr Curtis of Islington, who complained that all modern reprints of Holy Scripture departed widely from the original edition of 1611, to the great deterioration of our Vernacular Translation [The Existing Monopoly an inadequate protection of the Authorized Version of the Scripture, &c. By Thomas Curtis, London, 1833, 8vo]. It is needless to revive the controversy that ensued, in which the case of the priveleged presses was successfully maintained by Dr Cardwell in behalf of Oxford, by Dr Turton for Cambridge, in the pamphlets which have been already cited in this section [Oxford Bibles, 1833. By Edward Cardwell; and Text of the English Bible Considered, 2nd edition, 1833. By T. Turton]. The consequent publication of the standard text in the Oxford reprint of 1833, which we have found so useful, virtually settled the whole debate, by shewing to the general reader the obvious impossibility of returning to the Bible of 1611, with all the defects which those who superintended the press had been engaged, for more than two centuries, in reducing to a more consistent and presentable shape."

F.H.A. Scrivener, The Cambridge Paragraph Bible. Cambridge: University Press, 1873. This book is a critical edition of the Authorized Version.

F.H.A. Scrivener, The Authorized Edition of the English Bible (1611), its subsequent Reprints and modern Representatives. Cambridge: University Press, 1884. This is the definitive work on the textual sources and history of the Authorized Version.

Luther Weigle, ed., The New Testament Octapla: Eight English Versions of the New Testament in the Tyndale-King James Tradition. New York: Thomas Nelson & Sons, 1962. Full parallel texts of Tyndale 1535, Great Bible 1540, Geneva Bible 1562, Bishops' Bible 1568, Rheims 1582, King James version (represented by Scrivener's edition of 1873), American Standard Version 1901, Revised Standard Version 1960.