Tag Archives: King James Bible

EVEN MORE words in the King James Version that now mean something else


Titlepage and dedication from a 1612-1613 King...

Title page and dedication from a 1612-1613 KJV

Continued from my first and second lists of such words:

moist fresh, Num 6:3. Hmm. Not everything in my fridge that is moist turns out to be fresh.

eloquent skillful enchanter, Isa 3:3. I’ve always suspected . . .

owl(s) ostrich(es), Deut 14:15; Job 30:29; Isa 13:21; 34:13; 43:20; Jer 50:39; Mic 1:8. Some major zoological confusion on this and the next one.

ox, wild antelope, Deut 14:15. Don’t try hitching this “ox” to your cart, unless you like bouncing across the veldt as cheetahs pursue you, trying to make a nice snack of you. Continue reading

Words in the King James Version that now mean something else: Have you ever run across these and wondered what they meant?


Titlepage and dedication from a 1612-1613 King...

The tantalizing opening pages of the 1611 KJV

Well, work on issue #100 of Christian History magazine, on the King James Bible, is almost completed. By March we expect to have it out to many previous subscribers, plus those of you who have signed up for a free copy here. Meanwhile, what with allotting pages to articles and moving things around, the following nifty “Did You Know” piece will likely be pushed out (it was squeezed out when I realized that one page was not enough space to do justice to the KJV’s fascinating chief translator, Lancelot Andrewes). So what better place to share it than here on Grateful to the Dead?

The following are just a few of the more than 500 words that could trip up modern readers of the King James Version, because they now mean something different—often very different!—than they did in the early 1600s when the KJV was being translated.

accursed devoted, Josh 6:17, 18; 7:1, 11–13, 15; 22:20; 1 Chr 2:7. This one shocked me!

addicted devoted, 1 Cor 16:15. And this one, though more understandable, could also cause considerable confusion in the modern reader. Continue reading

Printing imminent! Watch for Christian History magazine issue #100


The forthcoming issue #100 of (the reborn) Christian History magazine, on the history of the King James Bible, will be at the printer soon. The mailing list for the issue is finalized. This means that the special offer previously linked at this page to get on the mailing list for this issue is now closed.

I will be posting another link shortly where you can register your name and address to receive future information about the magazine.

In the longer term, if you are interested in the magazine and want to follow it in future, you can do so at the following site, which will be up and running sometime in March: www.christianhistorymagazine.org.

I understand that over 1200 people signed up through the web link previously on this page to receive this special CH issue. Thank you, all, for your interest in the magazine. I hope that once people have received this issue, many will sign up to continue receiving the magazine, so we can continue this tremendous resource into the future.

Both clear and rich: The language of the King James Bible (The making of the King James Bible, part II: Glimpses from Adam Nicolson)


Cover of "God's Secretaries: The Making o...

Nicolson's penetrating book on the King James Bible

Throughout his book God’s Secretaries, Adam Nicolson probes the culture of Jacobean England (that is, England under James I) for clues to the nature of the King James Bible—in particular the political, spiritual, and aesthetic commitments of those who translated it, and how those emerged in the way it was written, the rhetorical and poetic qualities of the language. Here are a few of those clues, which amount to a penetrating portrait of the language of the King James Bible–its sources and nuances:

“[James I’s] troubled upbringing had shaped a man with a divided nature. Later history, wanting to see him as a precursor for his son’s catastrophe, has chosen only the ridiculous aspects of James: his extravagance, his vanity, his physical ugliness, his weakness for beautiful boys, his self-inflation, his self-congratulatory argumentativeness. Some of that had been in evidence at Hampton Court. But there was another side to James which breathed dignity and richness: a desire for wholeness and consensus, for inclusion and breadth, for a kind of majestic grace, lit by the clarity of a probing intelligence, rich with the love of dependable substance, for a reality that went beyond show, that was not duplicitous, that stood outside all the corruption and rot that glimmered around him. These were the elements in James and in Jacobean court culture that came to shape the Bible which bears his name.” (60-61)

“[T]he method, staffing and manner of the King James Bible stemmed from James himself. Continue reading

The making of the King James Bible, part I: Glimpses from Adam Nicolson


Cover of "God's Secretaries: The Making o...

Mr. Nicolson's fine book

These are the first of a few goodies I’ll be posting from Adam Nicolson’s book God’s Secretaries: The Making of the King James Bible, of which I posted a brief review (really just a few observations) here.

“James himself would be quite open to an examination of the theological basis of the Church of England. It was one of his areas of expertise and he was relaxed and even intrigued by the idea of discussing doctrine and the form of church ceremonial. He had been brawling with the Scottish Presbyterians on these subjects for years.” (38)

“But now in the summer and autumn of 1603, the existence of a Protestant state church made the Puritans’ task extremely tender. Precisely because the head of the church was also the head of state, it was critical for their cause to separate theological questions from political. They had to establish themselves as politically loyal even while asking for changes to the state religion and the form of the state church. . . . The Puritans were teetering along a narrow rock ledge and they wrapped their suggestions in swathes of submissive cotton wool.” (38 – 9) Continue reading

In anticipation of the 400th anniversary of the King James Version: A brief review of God’s Secretaries


Frontispiece to the King James Bible, 1611, sh...

Frontispiece to the King James Bible, 1611, shows the Twelve Apostles at the top.

Sorry for the brief hiatus in blog posting—I’ve been off in Atlanta at the Society for Biblical Literature there—to be precise, at a symposium at that conference dedicated to the history of the King James Version of the Bible. Next year is the 400th anniversary of the first publication of the KJV, and scholarly and popular forces are massing to commemorate it.

A friend had written a paper on the history of the KJV (to be precise, a history of opposition to the KJV) but found himself unable to deliver it at Atlanta, and so asked me to go in his place. Among the high points of that visit was meeting Dr. David Norton, author of the forthcoming The King James Bible: A Short History from Tyndale to Today and other books on the KJV. Said a conferee: “In the field of KJV studies, Norton is #1, and there is no #2!” Norton is a gracious Brit now living in Wellington, NZ (of which he showed us a slide—LOTR country sure is beautiful).

For reasons I am not yet, as they say, “at liberty to divulge,” the King James Version of the Bible is my intensive study these days. One part of that has been to read the splendidly readable and informative book by Adam Nicolson: God’s Secretaries: The Making of the King James Bible (2003). Continue reading

Potpourri: Katrina’s fallout in a New Orleans parish, a post-Christian museum, Pentecostalism’s real birthplace, Corrie Ten Boom’s house, a Holy Land exhibit and three British kings


After Hurricane Katrina, I was working on putting together Christian History & Biography’s front-of-issue “candy bowl” of church-history-in-the-news pieces, and I ran across the story of the Roman Catholic Church’s decision to close St. Augustine parish. The tale of that decision’s aftermath made it into our “Living History” for Issue 90: Adoniram & Ann Judson: American Mission Pioneers. Since the story didn’t end there, I’ve inserted after the original article, below, an update that appears in Wikipedia about the fate of that parish.

Living History
Compiled By Chris Armstrong

In New Orleans, the saints go marching on.

Since Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, a small but vibrant Roman Catholic parish has entered the public eye. As the city’s Catholic hierarchy struggled to deal with widespread damage to church property, the St. Augustine parish was slated to close in March and merge with the much larger St. Peter Claver parish several blocks east. But parishioners and supporters protested. “There are people who have roots in this church who are all over the country,” New Orleans resident Joan Rhodes told The Louisiana Weekly. “You shut that down and you really are putting a knife in the heart of the culture.”

St. Augustine was founded in 1841 by slaves and free blacks and through the years has also welcomed Creole, Haitian, French, and Spanish worshippers. Today, one result of this unique cultural ministry has been a Sunday morning service belying “America’s most segregated hour,” as people of many backgrounds, races, and ages gather amidst the stained-glass saints and oil paintings of Christ to sway and clap under the leadership of one of the city’s best-known clergymen, 76-year-old Fr. Jerome LeDoux. In his 15 years at St. Augustine, Fr. LeDoux has established the parish as a focal point for New Orleans culture, integrating jazz music and African drumming and dancing into the worship, blessing local jazz groups, and holding festivals and special services to commemorate musicians such as Louis Armstrong. Continue reading