Eleven Places Where the 1611 KJV Has Textual Critical Notes

by Apr 13, 2018KJV7 comments

A friend of mine sent me these eleven places where the 1611 KJV has textual critical notes, places where the translators or editors felt it important to tell readers when the Greek New Testament manuscripts to which they had access included variant readings. Such notes are not a new invention.

(NT examples HT: Andy Efting)

As best I can tell, having checked David Norton’s New Cambridge Paragraph Bible, there are four places in the Old Testament (1 Chron 1:6, 7; Ezra 2:33; 10:40) and two in the Apocrypha (1 Esdras 5:25; 8:2) where the KJV translators did the same thing.

Read More 

Review: Why I Preach from the Received Text

Review: Why I Preach from the Received Text

Why I Preach from the Received Text is an anthology of personal testimonies more than it is a collection of careful arguments. It is not intended to be academic, and I see nothing necessarily wrong with that. But it does make countless properly academic claims, and...

Great Quote from Timothy George

Great Quote from Timothy George

Timothy George in his Galatians commentary in the NAC: The fact that this word [Abba] is given here [in Gal 4:6], and also in Rom 8:15, in both Aramaic and Greek indicates the bilingual character of early Christian worship. Throughout the history of the church various...

Review: The Inclusive Language Debate by D.A. Carson

Review: The Inclusive Language Debate by D.A. Carson

The Inclusive Language Debate: A Plea for Realism, by D.A. Carson (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1998). Don Carson's prose is elegant, and his pace is perfect. He briskly moves the reader through a narrative of the conflict among evangelical Christians over so-called...

Leave a comment.

  1. Grant Jones

    Hello Mark, speaking of critical notes or judging, why do so many people think they are being Biblical when they say, “Judge not, lest ye be judged.”? That verse is nowhere in the Bible! It actually says: “Judge not, that be be not judged”

  2. Grant Jones


  3. ajmacdonaldjr

    All Cambridge KJV reference Bibles have the original translators’ text critical notes and variant readings in them. There’s a big difference in philosophies between the people involved in determining the autographic text in the 1600s and today’s text critics. Their presuppositions and assumptions are as different as night and day. In the 1600s, people were readily able to identify the autographic text within the extant apographs and the translations these people produced (like the KJV) were (and still are) considered authentic representations of the autographic text. You may want to read “The Inspiration of Scripture: A Study of the Theology of the Seventeenth Century Lutheran Dogmaticians” by Robert Preus.

  4. Andy Efting

    Yes, I find that aspect of my Cambridge KJV Bible helpful as well.

    However, if they were “readily able to identify the autographic text” why the need for including textual variants? The fact that they viewed their translations as authentic despite uncertainty regarding some of the readings seems to be the right position, and not at all different than how I view the ESV.

  5. OSchrock

    This is very interesting! Thanks for posting!

    I may be wrong, but I think you could add Judges 19:2 and Psalm 102:3 to the list for the Old Testament.

  6. Mark Ward

    Thank you for this, Omar!

    But I confess to being a bit uncertain how to interpret the marginal notes here. I don’t see any Kethiv-Qere readings at these two places. The note at Judges 19:2 may simply mean that they are offering an alternate way to interpret the beth preposition:

    And the one at Psalm 102:3 probably represents inconsistent use on the part of the translators of the phrase “some read.” I think that instead of meaning, “Some Hebrew manuscripts read…,” they mean, “Some interpreters read…”

    So though it would be fascinating to find textual notes in the OT (or even Apocrypha) in the 1611 KJV, I’m not convinced we’re there yet! I don’t feel fully confident in my skills in OT textual criticism, so I’d love to be corrected by someone who is! I did check Brannan and Loken’sLexham Textual Notes on the Bible, and neither passage showed up. I also checked Keil and Deilitzsch, who seem pretty up on Hebrew niceties, and they didn’t mention textual problems in either place.

  7. OSchrock

    Ok. Yes, I see where the Judges passage is probably just a question of interpretation and not textual criticism. I assumed that note on Psalms 103:2 “Some read” was referring to “some Hebrew manuscripts” but your explanation makes sense, especially since there since we’re not aware of any textual variants there.


  1. 54 sermons, articles, and other useful items from around the Web - […] Eleven Places Where the 1611 KJV Has Textual Critical Notes (in other words, even the KJV translators openly acknowledged…
  2. KJV-Only People Are Asking the Same Questions I Am about the Readability of the KJV – By Faith We Understand - […] Christians have commonly objected to those marginal (“popup”) notes, but the KJV translators did basically the same thing. The…
  3. Why Do Our TR-Only Brothers Reject the NKJV with Such Passion? The Trinitarian Bible Society’s “Examination of the New King James Version” | By Faith We Understand - […] of textual variants is appropriate and even needed in the margins of English Bible translations. The KJV translators thought…