It's only in the King James and the New King James, but why is Jesus' name in all caps?

And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.Matthew 1:21

And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. Luke 1:31

It isn't like this anywhere else in the Bible. The word in the Greek is the same as in other instances of the name. Why? And why only in the KJV?

  • The only other ALL CAPS was, when He said 'before Abraham, I WAS', or I AM in the NKJV Commented May 6, 2021 at 17:10

5 Answers 5


I'm pretty sure this is just a typesetting decision---more akin to using quotation marks.

For example, when the Gospels say what was written on the sign above Jesus' cross, they tend to typeset the message in all caps:

And the superscription of His accusation was written over, THE KING OF THE JEWS. Mk 15:26

And a superscription also was written over Him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS. - Lk 23:38

And set up over His head His accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS - Mt 27:37

And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS. -Jn 19:19-20

On the other hand, an identical construction occurs only a few verses before the Lk passage for John:

But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. - Lk 1:13

One other thing to consider, since Jesus' name is Semitic---and in Mark's case its meaning has bearing on the story ("for he will save his people from their sins")---it may be because it was in a different language (though of course, still written in the Greek script). The difficulty here is that the KJV doesn't capitalize transliteration elsewhere.


Having a closer look at the Greek lexicon and interlinear Bible shows that Iesous is translated to JESUS and to Jesus.

What I have found is that Mathew puts more of an emphasis on Christ the child instead of the event of the birth itself.

It could also very well be that the authors/translators are trying to convey importance by using uppercase letters. Here's a study done by a woman by the name of Suzanne McCarthy. website.

  • When you say "authors," are you talking about the Evangelists Matthew and Luke? Was the original Greek all caps, too? I doubt it. I'm thinking this was a decision by the translators, much like with "LORD" in the Old Testament.
    – dleyva3
    Commented Aug 27, 2011 at 7:17
  • 1
    I was thinking translators, I can adjust. Commented Aug 27, 2011 at 7:20
  • 1
    There was only one "case" in Greek of this time---we call it the Uncial script. Later MSS used another script we call "minuscule" which is, basically, lowercase. Commented Jun 24, 2013 at 4:09

It seems to be the choice of the publisher of your particular translation of the Bible.

The original 1611 edition of the King James Version/ Authorized Version had the word "Jesus" with a majuscular "J" followed by miniscular "esus."

See this link: http://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Matthew-Chapter-1_Original-1611-KJV/


First some background

In many places in the bible you will see LORD used to refer to God. This is actually referring Jehovah. The KJV authors didn't want to write it all out so they just used LORD instead.

However, I cannot seem to find any indication that this is the case in this passage. It seems to be a typesetting curiosity and nothing more. Its also not repeated in other English translations so its significance is relegated only to the KJV.

  • 1
    It's also important to keep in mind that the Hebrew Name of God, the so-called tetragrammaton, was considered too holy to pronounce by Elizabethan-era Christians. The same is true of Jewish tradition today. Accordingly the word LORD is presented as a stand-in, just as the Jews use "adonai" ("my lord") or "hashem" ("the name") today. Along the same lines, look through the New Testament for places where Jesus said, "I am he." That is the Greek translation for the holy Name, and boy-oh-boy, does he stir up trouble with the temple bigshots when he says that.
    – user116
    Commented Aug 28, 2011 at 1:17

It is not a typesetting decision.

This is the First time the name Jesus is used in Matthew. It is IN BOLD PRINT OR CAPS because it is a substitution.

The name Jesus did not exist in the Original writings. Notice it is followed by a colon. What is written to the right of the colon defines the meaning of the name. English names do not have meanings but Hebrew names do. The name should be YAHUSHUA. Yahushua means YAH or YAHWEH SAVES Isaiah 43:11


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