What is the purpose of a King James Bible dictionary?


Quick Answer

The purpose of a King James Bible dictionary is to provide the contemporary equivalents and definitions for many of the words used in the King James Version, or KJV, of the Bible. KJV dictionaries can be found both online and in print.

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Full Answer

In the late 16th century, a faction within the Church of England known as the Puritans perceived problems with the predominant version of the Bible at that time, the Bishops' Bible of 1568. Consequently, the King James Bible was initially commissioned in 1604 at the Hampton Court Conference in London. The first completed edition of this new version appeared seven years later in 1611.

Over four hundred years later, the KJV remains one of the predominant versions used by modern day Christians. However, the English language has changed since the days of King James I of England. The KJV uses many archaic words that are no longer in our vocabulary, such as 'jangling' and 'subtil'. Similarly, many words have new spellings four centuries later. For example, 'sunne' is now spelled 'sun'.

Finally, the KJV uses archaic expressions that are unfamiliar to audiences today. For instance, part of 1 Corinthians 13:4 in the King James Bible reads: "Charity vaunteth not itself." This expression has no meaning to the layperson. The purpose of a KJV dictionary is to translate many of these archaic words and phrases to help modern readers understand the version.

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