Did King James Translators Change the Names of God in the Bible?

The King James verses the Geneva Bible. Were there changes made to God's names during the Bible's translation to English, or is this a myth?


Vincent Rhodes

6/17/20242 min read

green ceramic mug beside book
green ceramic mug beside book

The Controversy Surrounding King James Bible Translation

The translation of the Bible by King James in 1611 has been a topic of much debate and discussion over the years. One particular point of contention is the claim that the names of God were altered by the translators. This issue has led to questions about the authenticity and accuracy of the King James Bible compared to other translations, such as the Geneva Bible.

The Geneva Bible vs. King James Bible

The Geneva Bible, first published in 1560, predates the King James Bible by several decades. Known for its extensive marginal notes and scholarly approach, the Geneva Bible was widely read and used by early Protestant reformers. One of the key arguments is that the Geneva Bible retained the original names of God, whereas the King James Bible supposedly made changes.

However, upon close examination, it becomes evident that both the Geneva Bible and the King James Bible use similar names for God, such as 'God,' 'Lord,' and 'Jehovah.' The primary differences between these translations lie in language updates and stylistic choices rather than significant alterations of divine names.

Why the Perception of Change?

The perception that the King James translators changed the names of God may stem from a broader mistrust of the translation process itself. The King James Bible was commissioned by King James I of England, and some critics argue that political and ecclesiastical influences may have impacted the translation. Additionally, the King James Bible aimed to standardize and unify religious texts, which could have led to minor adjustments in language to fit the vernacular of the time.

Despite these concerns, historical and textual evidence suggests that the translators of the King James Bible made a concerted effort to remain faithful to the original Hebrew and Greek manuscripts. The translation committee included some of the most learned scholars of the time, who worked diligently to produce a text that was both accurate and accessible.

Conclusion: A Matter of Interpretation

In conclusion, the claim that the King James translators changed the names of God appears to be more of a misconception than a substantiated fact. Both the Geneva Bible and the King James Bible use similar names for God, and any perceived changes are likely due to linguistic and stylistic differences rather than intentional alterations. Understanding the historical context and the intentions behind these translations can help clarify these misconceptions and appreciate the efforts made to preserve the sacred texts.