Skip to main content

The King James Version & Later Omitted Passages

The King James Version (KJV) of the Bible, completed in 1611, is renowned for its scholarly rigour and textual accuracy. However, modern versions of the Bible have seen several passages from the KJV omitted. I will list and examine some of the most notable of these omissions and the implications they have for our understanding of the Christian faith.

The first significant omission concerns the Johannine Comma (1 John 5:7-8). In the KJV, these verses read: "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one." This passage, which explicitly articulates the doctrine of the Trinity, is absent from most modern Bible versions. The reason for this omission is primarily textual. The Johannine Comma is not present in the earliest Greek manuscripts of the New Testament, and regarded by some scholars as a later addition to the text.

Another significant omission is the longer ending of Mark's Gospel (Mark 16:9-20). In the KJV, Mark's Gospel concludes with a detailed account of Jesus' post-resurrection appearances and His ascension into heaven. However, most modern Bibles either omit these verses entirely or include them with a note showing that they are not found in the earliest manuscripts. Omitting these verses has significant theological implications, as they contain the only New Testament reference to believers speaking in tongues and handling snakes.

The story of the woman taken in adultery (John 7:53-8:11), also known as the Pericope Adulterae, is another passage that is absent from many modern Bibles. This story, which features Jesus' famous admonition, "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her," is one of the most well-known and loved passages in the New Testament. However, like the Johannine Comma and the longer ending of Mark, it is not found in the earliest manuscripts and is considered by many scholars to be a later addition.

Other significant doctrinal omissions include, and are absolutely not limited to:

  • Devils only being cast out by prayer and fasting (Matthew 17:21): The omission of this verse with Jesus instructing his followers on the only way to cast out particularly malignant devils should be of particular concern to Christians. We need to keep our spiritual arsenal sharp.
  • The angel stirring the pool of Bethesda (John 5:4): This verse, which explains the preceding verse about the invalids waiting for the moving of the waters, is omitted in many modern versions because of its absence in the earliest manuscripts.
  • The man working on the Sabbath (Numbers 15:32-36): This passage tells the story of a man stoned to death for gathering wood on the Sabbath, it is omitted in some modern versions.
  • The Amalekite who claimed to have killed Saul (2 Samuel 1:1-16): This passage is omitted in some modern versions, critical of its controversial nature and its historical accuracy.
  • The prayer of Manasseh (2 Chronicles 33:18-19): This prayer, attributed to the wicked King Manasseh, is omitted in many modern versions. It is not in the Hebrew Masoretic Text, but is included in some versions of the Septuagint and in the Apocrypha.
  • The woman who anoints Jesus (Luke 7:36-50): Some modern versions omit this passage, possibly because of confusion with similar accounts in the other Gospels.
  • The rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31): This passage, which tells the story of a rich man who ends up in torment in the afterlife and the poor man Lazarus who ends up in Abraham's bosom, is omitted in some modern versions. Some scholars believe this story was not originally part of Luke's Gospel.

These omissions raise important questions about the reliability of modern Bible versions and the nature of biblical authority. If passages that were once considered integral parts of the Bible are now regarded as later additions, it only serves to undermine our faith in the Holy Bible as the inspired word of God. In conclusion, while the omission of passages from modern Bible versions may be disconcerting to some, they remind us of the richness and complexity of the King James Version, including these passages confirms it as the most valuable resource for understanding God’s word.