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Despite its popularity, there are many lesser known things about King James Bible (KJV) that would interest a devout Christian or someone who is just curious about the subject.

In my 15 years of reading, I have come across several little known facts about the King James Bible. In this blog, I will be sharing with you the collection of these rare facts.

lesser known things about King James Bible

21 Important but Lesser Known Things About King James Bible

I have been personally using the King James Version for well over a decade now. Despite the availability of other versions, I have strong reasons for sticking to King James Bible.

The KJV has been such an essential part of my life that digging more into it was obvious. Here are some of the lesser known things about King James Bible that I came across in my journey.

1. King James Bible is Not the First English Translation of the Bible Approved by the Church Leaders

Prior to the King James Version (KJV) , there were several translations of the Bible. However, they did not receive the approval of the Church.

Contrary to what many people believe, the King James Bible is not the first translation of the Bible that was approved by the Church. KJV is the third translation such translation in the English language that was approved by the church leaders in England.

The first English translation came out in 1535. It was called “The Great Bible” and was commissioned by King Henry VII. The second translation was the “ Bishop’s Bible” commissioned in 1568 by the Church of England.

2. The 47 translators of the King James Bible Were Given a Set of Fifteen Clear Instructions 

The translation of the Bible was started under King James I in the year 1604 and the project ended in 1611. The translators of the Bible were very carefully selected. Although initially 54 scholars were selected for the task, finally 47 Hebrew and Greek Scholars were actively engaged in the translation.

All the translators were carefully selected and given a set of 15 clear instructions before the translation. These instructions mainly came from religious authorities and the king. The main amongst which was that it had to be kept as close to the original as possible.

3. The King James Bible Was Intended to Be Read Aloud to People

Of the lesser-known things about King James Bible, this is what I found the most interesting. At the time when this version was popular, Bibles were not very commonplace and the illiteracy was high. Only a few rich folks could afford to own and read a bible.

Therefore, the King James Bible was intended to be read aloud to people. If you think about it, this justifies its poetic language and style of the KJV Bible. In fact, the title page of the earlier versions of  the  KJV carries the words phrase “Appointed to be read in Churches”

_King James Bible 1772 was meant to be read aloud

4. The First Two Editions of the  King James Bible Were the “He” and “She” Bibles

Although the first edition of the King James Bible had several errors, one of particular interest is what led to the “He” and “She” Bibles.

The first edition of the Bible in 1611 changed gender in one of the lines in the book of Ruth. The book of Ruth 3:15, had printed “and he went into the city,”  instead of “and she went into the city.”

The error was fixed in the second edition. Therefore, people having the first edition were said to have the “The Great He Bible” Bible and those with the second own a “The Great She Bible” Bible.

5. The “Wicked Bible” reprint of the KJV was printed  for over a Year

The early translations of the Bible had a lot of errors and some of them led to many infamous prints. One such error in the reprint of the King James Version in 1631 led to the  “Wicked Bible” or ” Adulterous Bible” or “Sinners’ Bible.

The error occurred when the print missed out printing of “not” in the injunction against adultery in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:14). Instead of “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” the print had “Thou shalt commit adultery.”

The printers of the Bible realised their mistake after a year and were fined £300 for the error. Their printing licence was also subsequently cancelled.

6. The Original King James Bible Has Undergone as Many as 100,000 Changes

I have met a few Christians who believe that the King James Bible we have today is the same as the King James Bible published in 1611. This is not true at all.

Like in the case of many first translations, the 1611 Edition of the King James Bible had several problems including several printing errors and spelling mistakes.  The King James Version has been revised three times and around 100,000 changes were made to the original one.

7. The Two Longest Words in the King James Bible Are Each 18 Characters Long Names

The longest words in the King James Bible are names that have 18 characters each. The names are “Mahershalalhashbaz” and “Jonathelemrechokim”.

While the name Mahershalalhashbaz is mentioned in Isaiah 8:1, the name Jonathelemrechokim can be found in Psalms 56: 1-13.

8. The Reasons for Commissioning the King James Bible Were More Political Than You May Know

King James had ordered the commissioning of the Bible in 1604 when he realised that it could help strengthen his political power and bring an end to the constant scuffle between the Christian groups.

At that time a version of the Bible by the Puritans was popular. This version minimised the divine right of kings, which King James wasn’t very happy about. King James worked together with different Christian groups until they produced a different version of the Bible, now we know as the King James Version.

lesser known things about king james bible

9. Most Catholics Keep Away from the King James Bible

Although the Church does not require Catholics to follow a certain version of the Bible, most Catholics I know tend to stay away from the King James Version of the Bible.

Most Catholics prefer the Catholic bIble, while the protestants go in for the King James Version of the Bible.

10. The King James Version Played an Important Role in Shaping The Language We Use Today

The King James Version is iconic work in itself which holds not only an important part of the religious history but is also an indispensable part of the cultural history.

Many historians and researchers are of the opinion that the King James Version of the Bible has had a significant in the way the English language has been shaped. Quick fact: Did You Know the phrases such as  “the root of all evil.” owes its origin to the King James Bible?

Here are some my favorite other phrases from the King James Bible are

How the Mighty Have Fallen 
Dreamer of dreams
Left hand know what thy right hand doeth
The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak
Love thy neighbour as thyself
In the twinkling of an eye
From strength to strength

11. The number of Very Old Words in the King James Version is only around 100

I meet a lot of people in the Mass who complain about how they wouldn’t even think about reading the King James Version of the Bible because ‘they hear’ it has a lot of difficult words.

Well, having read the KJV multiple times,  I can assure you, there are not many archaic words in the King James Version. There are around 100 such words in the KJV and you will find the meaning in any good dictionary. Several editions come with a glossary or reference for these words.

12. Words in Italics in King James Bible were not part of the Original Bible

The King James Bible has been translated from the original scriptures written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. Sometimes during translation, it is difficult to find the exact phrase.

Therefore, the translators of the KJV added words in Italics to help the readers understand the meaning of the sentence more clearly and to make it more readable. The translators did their best not to change the meaning of the original sentences and hence the use of Italics was deemed more appropriate.

13. The Original Title of the Book wasn’t the King James Bible, it was 31 words Long!

The original Title of the King James Bible was “THE HOLY BIBLE, Conteyning the Old Teſtament, AND THE NEW: Newly Tranſlated out of the Originall tongues: & with the former Tranſlations diligently compared and reuiſed, by his Maiesties ſpeciall Comandement.

This name was used for several years. It was only in 1814 that this version of the Bible came to be known as the “King James Version” or “Authorized Version.”

KJV 1611

The Title Page of the King James Bible Imprinted at London by Robert Barker, Printer to the King

14. The King James Bible is Supposedly the Only Translation of the ‘Received Text’

Many scholars of the  King James Bible are of the view that the New Testament in the King James Bible is the only correct English translation of the Greek Text, “Textus Receptus” or “Received Text.”

This Received text is particularly considered to be very accurate and inspired. They are also believed to comprise of over 95 per cent of the existing manuscripts, which is quite an achievement in itself.

15. The King James Bible is Much Shorter than the Catholic Bible

One of the most interesting Lesser known facts about the King James Bible is that is shorter than the Catholic Bible. The main reason for this difference is the lack of some books in the King James Version of the Bible.

While the Catholic Bible has 46 Books, the King James Bible has 39 books. The KJV does not have the 7 books on Apocrypha.

16. The King James Bible is the Largest Selling Version of the Bible

Everyone is aware f the fact that Bible is the most selling book of all time. Of the many are aware of the lesser known things about the King James Bible is that is the most popular and the largest selling Version of the Bible. More than fifty percent of all Bibles sold are the King James Version.

Many estimates suggest that since its first publication in 1611, more than 10 million copies of the King James Bible have already been sold! Note that this does not include KJVs distributes during missionary work.

lesser known things about king james bible

17. The Original King James Bible had an Apocrypha

The 1611 version of the King James Bible contained the Apocrypha. Even after its publication, the Apocrypha remained a part of the Bible till the next 50 years.

In the later versions, the Apocrypha was removed as the Protestant Christians did not regard the apocryphal books as uniquely inspired and authoritative.

18. The Shortest Verse in The King James Bible has 2 Words & the Longest Verse has 78

The Shortest Verse of the King James Bible is John 11:35, “Yahushua wept”

The longest Verse is Esther 8:9,

“Then were the king’s scribes called at that time in the third month, that is, the month Sivan, on the three and twentieth day thereof; and it was written according to all that Mordecai commanded unto the Jews, and to the lieutenants, and the deputies and rulers of the provinces which are from India unto Ethiopia, a hundred twenty and seven provinces, unto every province according to the writing thereof, and unto every people after their language, and to the Jews according to their writing, and according to their language.”

19. The Translators of the KJV Bible  were not Paid “Directly” for the Translation 

The scholars who translated the King James Version were not paid a direct sum of money for their work. However, the Bishops through their letters encouraged others to hire them for well-paying translation jobs.

While many scholars were promoted through the royal patronage, several others were supported by the colleges at Oxford and Cambridge.

20. The King James Bible has a Copyright Claim in a Few Countries, for the Rest, it’s in Public Domain

The King James Bible can be printed and reproduced without a copyright claim in most parts of the world. However, in the United Kingdom, the Crown has the authority of issuing licenses for publishers under a patent.

The publishers must own a license before printing the copies of King James Version of the Bible. The patents are held by different publishers in different countries under the United Kingdom.

21. The King James Verison of The Bible was so Prominent that it Influenced the Catholic Bible 

After its publication, the King James Bible became very prominent. Its dominance prompted the Catholic Church to seek their own revision of the Bible.

The result of this was the Douay-Rheims Bible, which many experts believe that it was more closer to the King James Bible than its souce.

I hope you enjoyed reading my blog. In case you know of any other lesser known things about the King James Bible, I would love to know them. Please share them below in the comment section.