After I was converted just over fifty years ago, I was instructed by the pastor to read the Bible regularly. As a teenager I began to read the King James Version of the Bible faithfully. In the beginning it was extremely difficult. However, as I continued to read the King James Version of the Bible, I learned to change many of the words and word endings that are no longer in use today. After a while changing the words became automatic enabling me to read and more clearly understand the Bible. I remember thinking back then, as a teenager, that someone needed to update the language in the Bible.
As I was celebrating my fiftieth spiritual birthday in June of 2014, I was thinking back to those days and the impact the King James Bible had on my life and ministry. It occurred to me that the English of the Authorized King James Version still has not been updated. Many new translations have been published since I was saved, but no one has simply updated the English in the Authorized King James Version. So, I set out on a mission to do on paper what I learned to do in my head fifty years ago.
The Authorized King James Version has had several revisions since it was first printed in 1611. There were minor revisions with the printings between 1611 and 1616. The first major revision was in 1629, and included the removal of the Apocrypha. There were other major revisions in 1638 and 1762. The last major revision was in 1769. This 1769 revision is what has been called the Authorized King James Version ever since.
There is a tremendous difference between the 1611 and the 1769 editions of the Authorized King James Version because 158 years had passed and the English language had changed significantly. It has been 246 years since that 1769 revision and the English language has changed tremendously in those 246 years.
An update of the English is not a new translation and does not alter the message of the original translation. It simply makes it more readable for today’s Bible reader.
Updating the language of the Authorized King James Version from its 1769 English to present day English is in reality a means of preserving the Authorized King James Version in the face of all the new translations. This project will preserve the Authorized King James Version for many generations to come.
James G. Cox, Editor
The spelling of many words in the English language has changed over the years. The shape of some of the letters in the English language has changed since 1611 as well. Check out the pages from the 1611 Authorized King James Version. In these brief passages you will see the tremendous difference between the English of 1611 and the English of today. Many letter and spelling changes came about in the 1769 revision of the English. The 1769 revision is what is known as the Authorized King James Version today.
There have been no updates of the English in the Authorized King James Version in the past 240+ years until now. The King James Bible for Today is to the 1769 King James Version what the 1769 was to the original 1611 King James Version.
These are the kinds of updates that have been made from the old to the new in the King James Bible for Today. These types of changes do not alter the translation nor change the meaning of the Authorized King James Version. These changes simply make the Authorized King James Version more readable for today’s Bible readers.
You can read more in our FREE publication entitled "A Brief History of The English Bible." You can view the publication below or click here to download a printable copy.
In addition, the books of John and Romans are available on our free downloads page.
Examples of words whose meaning has changes:
The English language has change greatly in the past 400+ years. Here are few examples of the changes that have occurred over the years since 1611.
Meaning In 1611
Allow or permit
To share with
Rapid or fast
Strange or weird
Talk with someone
Enduring pain or discomfort
Giving to meet a need
Have a conversation
To stop from happening
Word from 1611
Word used today
Sample Pages from the 1611 King James
These sample pages highlight the language used in the 1611 version of the King James Bible. It is easy to see how there have been some subtle and some significant changes in spelling and dialect compared to today's written and spoken English.