QUESTION: Should we remove the italicized words from the Bible?



The italicized words in the King James Bible are words that were added by the translators to help the reader. This is always necessary when translating from any language to another because word meanings and idioms change. So, to produce a more readable translation, the King James translators (1604 - 1611) added certain words to the Bible text. Unlike all other dishonest ‘bibles’ that don’t have italics, the translators were honest in putting these words in italics.


Imagine the reader’s confusion if the translators had not used italics.

Here are some examples of the many hundreds:


Psalm 3:8 (KJB) “Salvation belongeth unto the LORD: thy blessing is upon thy people. Selah.”


Without the italics, the reading implies that the Lord needs to be saved!

Psalm 7:11 (KJB) “God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.”


Is God angry with the righteous every day? No, the correct reading is as the King James has it

"God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day."

If there were no italics the verse would read “God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry every day.” What does that mean? Is God angry with the righteous every day? Is God just angry every day? All other versions, while casting stones at the King James Bible for including italics, are deceitful, as they omit them entirely. Italics are vital for any translation to give the proper meaning.

Psalm 12:5 (KJB) “For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now will I arise, saith the LORD; I will set him in safety from him that puffeth at him.”


The verse makes no sense without the italics

Psalm 18:3 (KJB) “I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.”


We have God commanding men to call upon Him to be praised. If we leave the italics in place, the verse makes perfect sense and gives the praise to God. Otherwise we have people calling on the Lord so that they can be praised by the Lord.



Just from these few examples in Psalms alone, it is clear that the italics are essential. Hundreds of such examples could be presented. Some suggest that some of the italics could be omitted, but who makes that choice, and where do we draw the line? The moment we agree to changing any italicizes words, we open the door for Satan. This we cannot do, so the best option is to leave the Authorized Version as it stands.


Not only does confusion arise when the italicized words are omitted, contradictions also arise.

For example, omitting the italicized words from 2 Samuel 21:19 would give Elhanan credit for slaying Goliath, yet everyone knows that it was David who slew Goliath (1Sam 21:9).  


2 Samuel 21:19 (KJB) “And there was again a battle in Gob with the Philistines, where Elhanan the son of Jaareoregim, a Bethlehemite, slew the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the staff of whose spear was like a weaver's beam.”

1 Samuel 21:9 (KJB) And the priest said, The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom thou slewest in the valley of Elah, behold, it is here wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod: if thou wilt take that, take it: for there is no other save that here. And David said, There is none like that; give it me.



Psalm 16:8 (KJB) “I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

When Peter quotes this verse in Acts 2:25 he also quotes the italicized words

Acts 2:25 (KJB) “For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved:”

Why did Peter quote these words if they weren't in the original manuscripts? Should we omit the italics? Of course not.


Deuteronomy 25:4 (KJB) “Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn.”

1Corinthians 9:9 (KJB) “For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen?”

If these words do not belong in Deuteronomy 25:4, why did Paul quote them?


Psalm 14:1 (KJB) “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.”

Without the italics this verse lays itself open to the interpretation that the fool is just defying God. Without the italics “There is”, it makes no sense.
To say that the italics weren’t in the TR and therefore shouldn’t be in the AV defies logic. An example from another language is the one word “
toothbrush” which is Spanish requires three words of ‘cepillo de dientis’, that is, ‘the brush of the tooth’. These three words are needed in Spanish to say the very same thing which one word covers in English. This is called accurate translating!

1 John 2:23 (KJB) “Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.

The italics of 1John 2:23 were placed there by the translators despite not being found in the TR. However, God’s word was vindicated two centuries later, when a manuscript was found with the exact italicized words of I John 2:23 contained in it.


1.Take all the italics out of the Bible?
2. Leave some italics in but take others out? Which ones?
3. Leave all the italics in.

 You don’t have to be a linguistic giant to claim that the italicized words don’t belong in the King James Bible. This criticism comes from people who hate the King James Bible’s authority! Of course, they will vehemently deny this with their mouths but God looks at their dark hearts (Heb 4:12).


 Which Bible Should I Study? 
 “The King James Bible” 

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Dear Reader, please read on …

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Harley Hitchcock



Australian Bible Ministries, PO Box 5058 Mt. Gravatt East, 4122 Qld, Australia