Hello I've been confused by the amount of KJV bibles there are.

The AKJV means the authorised King James Bible but AKJV also stands for American King James Bible as well. From my understanding the Authorized KJV (1611) is the KJV but I've read that the 1611 version is not the KJV used today. Been told "Get a 1611 AKJV". So they are referencing a certain type of KJV. The website bible gateway has the AKJV and KJV as options as if they were different versions but I haven't noticed any differences in it yet. Except someone said the AKJV has British English? I looked at it on Wiki and the 1611 version has a section to itself and it doesn't seem this is the same KJV we use today? I'm confused how it is the same bible of 1611 we call the AKJV.


Then there comes the AKJV (American KJV), pure Cambridge, 1769, the NKJV (which I own) KJ21, MKJV, the MEV which seems to be a form of the KJV and others....seems like many versions exist. But is it just modernised text?

What is the difference between all of these? What KJV should I get? How can I tell the difference between a "1611 and a standard KJV" if they are different which they seem to be? (I own a KJV already) On Amazon if you look up 1611 KJV you find only a few results and they especially have 1611 on the cover.

Seems there is a conflict between the AKJV and the KJV being the same or not by searches I've done. Are they really the same or not? There also seems to be "counterfeits" used in stores (not illegal books just a fake KJV...not sure what they mean) http://www.biblebelievers.com/believers-org/counterfeit-kjv.html ???

  • 3
    I've never heard anyone speak of the "Authorised KJV" - it's either the "Authorised Version" or the "King James Version", but not a mix of the two. The 1611 KJV was the original version, but it was revised many times afterwards. I think the 1769 is the most common revision used now.
    – curiousdannii
    Apr 24, 2016 at 11:48
  • You mention too many versions in your question for anyone to give a reasonably complete answer in a reasonable length for this site. If you could narrow your question down a bit, it might be answerable here. But in quick answer: The Authorized Version is another name for the King James Version. Biblegateway doesn't make it entirely clear in its descriptions, but "AKJV" and "KJV" there are probably just two different editions of the same translation. Apr 25, 2016 at 1:11
  • The only thing I can contribute to the confusion is that the original KJV included the so-called "Apocrypha" (called "deuterocanonical books" by Eastern Orthodox), but most editions today do not.
    – user22553
    Jun 25, 2016 at 6:48
  • The AKJV might refer to American KJV rather than Authorised
    – One Face
    Mar 7, 2020 at 11:12

3 Answers 3


Your questions are:

  • What is the difference between the AKJV (American KJV), pure Cambridge, 1769, the NKJV (which I own) KJ21, MKJV, the MEV King James Versions?

  • What KJV should I get?

  • How can I tell the difference between a "1611 and a standard KJV"

I think the major differences are in the degree to which spelling has been modernized. The "original" 1611 KJV version can be found here and reads like this:

For God so loued þe world, that he gaue his only begotten Sonne: that whosoeuer beleeueth in him, should not perish, but haue euerlasting life.

[To answer the third question, I would say that if the text looks like something from Beowulf, then you probably are reading from the original 1611 text.]

Reprints of the 1611 edition were not tightly controlled. As a result, Cambridge University produced an updated "standard" text in 1760, while Oxford produced its own edition in 1769, which is the basis for most King James texts today. It reads, for example,

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Later editions marketed as the "King James Version" contain minor changes and corrections. The "Pure Cambridge Edition", published around 1900, for example, featured 6 changes from the 1769 Oxford version, with 30 reversals of the Oxford translations to the 1760 Cambridge translation.

The AKJV, NKJV, KJ21 and MKJV are all versions which purport to follow the original KJV translations, but substitute modern vocabulary and grammar.

One thing that all King James Versions have in common is that they are based on a particular set of Greek and Hebrew manuscripts that were consulted in the 17th century. The Hebrew text was not the "original" Hebrew, but rather a Masorah compiled by an Italian Jew, Jacob ben Hayyim ibn Adonijah, written in medieval Hebrew (which used an invented alphabet). The Greek manuscripts were from a limited 16th century Dutch collection compiled by Erasmus of Rotterdam.

  • About your parenthetical answer to the third question: I think Beowulf is considerably farther from current English than the KJV is. May 11, 2018 at 20:54
  • Regarding, "The Greek manuscripts were from a limited 16th century Dutch collection compiled by Erasmus of Rotterdam."; the KJV translators had access to several printed Greek text editions of Erasmus, Stephanus, Beza, as well as the Complutensian Polyglot Bible. Jul 2, 2019 at 16:38

AKJV usually stands for the Authorized King James Version, which is usually used in reference to the pure Cambridge edition (1901).

KJV tends to refer to either the 1769 Blayney edition or (more frequently) the 1873 Scrivener edition (also called the Cambridge Paragraph Bible).

The differences between all these versions are exceedingly small. The vast majority of differences are capitalization and punctuation differences. Scrivener tends to capitalize the first word in a verse if the previous verse ends in a colon or semicolon. Cambridge only capitalizes the first word if there is something like a period or question mark ending the previous verse.

Occasionally, the differences amount to a word level change in the text. According to my database, the first word change between the AKJV and KJV appears to be in Gen 5:3. AKJV reads “...in his own likeness, after his image...”. KJV reads “...in his own likeness, and after his image...”.

In total, the KJV has 789734 words. The AKJV has 789808 (74 more) words. As you can see from above, the number of word differences is more than 74 as sometimes the KJV adds words the AKJV omits.

As to which most closely represents the 1611... you’ve got to remember that the various 1611 printings varied more widely in spellings, capitalizations, and substituted words than do modern KJV editions today. All are attempts to faithfully reproduce the same translation.

In short, go with an AKJV or pure Cambridge (same thing). If you want to read a King James and the minor details really matter to you, the AKJV is the most recent (1901) and probably best it’s going to get.


I have a Bible since 1959 that is the authorized King James Version I believe it is the 1611. I can tell you from much study in New King James, King James Version, NIV, Standard Revised that in this Authorized King James version the difference is huge. In the 1611 it feels more truthful Bolder words were used they were set to type and translated milder (I suppose not to offend). Just for one example the story in Samuel about the hemorrhoids and the golden mice has in the 1700s been changed to boils and rats. It's difficult to think of our Lord with a sense of humor but it is distinctly shown in the 1611. Another thing is they break all the Jewish names and towns and all and any difficult word to enunciate down in such a way that you could say any of those words without being a scholar. There's a distinct difference, but unless you are in sincere study to know God you probably would not notice the differences.

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