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A ‘Wicked Bible’ for the 21st century?

The Queen James Bible



Published: 21 February 2013 (GMT+10)

In 1631, a printing of the King James Bible went horribly wrong, when the verse “Thou shalt not commit adultery” was misprinted “Thou shalt commit adultery.” The printers were fined £300 (a very large sum at the time), and most of the copies were recalled and burned. This edition was called ‘The Wicked Bible’ or ‘The Sinners’ Bible’ because of the typo.

The Wicked Bible was the result of a mistake, but a new translation of the King James Bible has a very deliberate change to several verses. The “Queen James Bible” ‘reinterprets’ several verses that have traditionally been read as prohibiting homosexual practices.

VerseTraditional KJV translation‘Queen James’ translation
Genesis 19:5 And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? Bring them out to us, that we may know them. And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men that came in to thee this night? Bring them out unto us, that we may rape and humiliate them.
Leviticus 18:22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is an abomination. Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind in the temple of Molech: it is an abomination.
Leviticus 20:13 If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them. If a man also lie with mankind in the temple of Molech, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
Romans 1:26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against their nature: Their women did change their natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise men, left of the natural use of the woman, burned in ritual lust, one toward another;
Romans 1:27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust toward one another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. Men with men working that which is pagan and unseemly. For this cause God gave the idolators up unto vile affections, receiving in themselves that recompence of their errors which was meet.
1 Corinthians 6:9–10 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolators, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the Kingdom of God. Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolators, nor adulterers, nor morally weak, nor promiscuous, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the Kingdom of God.
1 Timothy 1:10 For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;
Jude 1:7 Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth … Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after nonhuman flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

Translation versus interpretation

The editors’ notes state:

The Bible is the word of God translated by man. This (saying nothing [sic] countless translations and the evolution of language itself) means that the Bible can be interpreted in different ways, leading to what we call “interpretive ambiguity.”

There is an Italian word play, “Tradutori? Traditori!” which translates, “Translators? Traitors!” which is most appropriate in this case. The ‘interpretive ambiguity’ the translators cite, in practice, becomes a blank check to blatantly rewrite the verses, citing cultural context, alternate meanings of the word, and other ‘magic decoder rings’ that make the verses say something other than what they clearly do. While ‘something is always lost in translation’, most texts don’t really allow for all that much ‘wiggle room’ as far as meaning. Just for the sake of example, here is the Greek text of Romans 1:26–27:

διὰ τοῦτο παρέδωκεν αὐτοὺς ὁ θεὸς εἰς πάθη ἀτιμίας: αἵ τε γὰρ θήλειαι αὐτῶνμετήλλαξαν τὴν φυσικὴν χρῆσιν εἰς τὴν παρὰ φύσιν, ὁμοίως τε καὶ οἱ ἄρσενες ἀφέντες τὴν φυσικὴν χρῆσιν τῆς θηλείας ἐξεκαύθησανἐν τῇ ὀρέξει αὐτῶν εἰς ἀλλήλους, ἄρσενες ἐν ἄρσεσιν τὴν ἀσχημοσύνηνκατεργαζόμενοι καὶ τὴν ἀντιμισθίαν ἣν ἔδει τῆς πλάνης αὐτῶν ἐν ἑαυτοῖς ἀπολαμβάνοντες.1

Now the ‘Queen James’ version does the following inexcusable things to this text.

  1. The phrase διὰ τοῦτο παρέδωκεν αὐτοὺς ὁ θεὸς εἰς πάθη ἀτιμίας (dia touto paredōken autous ho theos eis pathē atimias) has been moved from the beginning of the thought to the end, removing the causal link to the preceding thoughts. In the Greek, “this reason” is “they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator” (v. 25). But in the QJV, “this reason” becomes “men working with men that which is pagan and unseemly and pagan”. It also changes the sense of πάθη ἀτιμίας (pathē atimias, meaning “passions of dishonour”) from homosexual behaviour in general to pagan worship. This sort of ‘cut and paste’ job would receive a failing grade in Greek 101, and is deeply unethical.
  2. They did not translate τέ (te), which although a small word is not insignificant, since it is a connective meaning “both and”.
  3. The QJV changes ἀφέντες (aphentes) from an active participle (“leaving”) to a passive (‘left of’). One wonders whether this was deliberate or whether the QJV translators are simply so inept that they don’t know the difference. There are many perfectly good ways to express the passive idea of deprivation; the active participle of ἀφίημι (aphiēmi, depart or dismiss) is not one of them.
  4. “Ritual” lust is nowhere in there; it’s purely read into the text.

In short, in this case, every single change they made was an inexcusable bastardization of the text which is apparent to anyone who has the most basic knowledge of Koinē Greek and translation principles.

Much could also be said about the Hebrew butcherings as well. The Levitical texts didn’t mention the temple of Molech at all. The revisionism implies that the only reason that the text condemned homosexual behavior was that it was practiced in pagan temple. But it was the reverse, the pagan temple practices were condemned partly because they included homosexual behavior. By the ‘logic’ of the ‘translators’, child sacrifice is also allowable as long as it wasn’t in Molech’s temple.

Rewriting Scripture is not the answer

For the majority of history, it’s been assumed that Scripture condemned homosexuality, both Old Testament and New Testament. People have disagreed that homosexuality is sinful, and they had the integrity to simply state that they thought Scripture was wrong. Maybe Paul just wasn’t enlightened enough, or the ancients had no conception of a committed homosexual relationship. But the QJV goes one step further and tries to write that condemnation of homosexuality out of Scripture entirely.

A good translator does not try to impose his or her own agenda onto the text, but is conscious that a translator’s job is to communicate the thoughts of the document as fluently as possible in the receptor language (the language into which the document is translated). This is why we’ve been uniformly critical of translations which seek to impose their own agenda on the text, whether feminism, conservatism, or anything else.

The translator of an ancient text like those of Scripture faces many challenges—when does one translate an unintelligible metaphor into something that the audience will understand, for instance? There is legitimate room for interpretation when the language has more than one possible meaning (but some of this may be intended, so ambiguity should be left in the translation if possible).

People who want to communicate their own thoughts should be authors, and not try to impose them on texts in spurious translation. This QJV is no exception.


  1. This particular passage has no significant variants, so the UBS text does not differ from the TR, which forms the Greek textual basis for the King James Version. Return to text.

Helpful Resources

Christianity for Skeptics
by Drs Steve Kumar, Jonathan D Sarfati
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Readers’ comments

David F.
in response to Hugh P. Thank you for your reminder that we are indeed supposed to be spreading the good news, and indeed all are invited to become followers, brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ and co inheritors of His inheritance: eternal peace in the kingdom of heaven. The good news must remain truthful however, or it will be offering something that is wrong and people will be betrayed by this falsehood and by those spreading it. I would no sooner worship Satan alongside Christ than promote condone or accept versions of the bible which allow what God has not allowed, or disallow what God has allowed. If Christ Himself drew Saul to become a brother of His and promote the good news, Paul originally being intent on stopping the spread of this good news even if it meant Christians were to die then Christ would certainly accept shoplifters, abortionists, homosexuals, mass murders anyone, into the kingdom and into his loving presence if they repented and worshipped Him as their saviour and King.
Diane D.
The Greek word "arsenokoitai" is in some NT pasages translated "homosexual" and in others "perverts."
I suggest getting a copy of [removed as per feedback rules]
We are supposed to be spreading the good news- That Jesus rose from the dead, that resurrection power and the BLESSING is available to WHOSOEVER believes in Jesus. What are LGBTIA people if not whosoevers? It's sad and sick to see this website struggling to bring hatred and condemnation for an already targetted group of people. LGBTIA teens are already more likely to commit suicide due to bullying and you're contributing to that.
Do you also justify racism with the old excuse that Noah cursed Canaan to be a hewer of wood and carryer of water and that's why slavery is justified? Do you promote anti-Semitism because some Jews at Jesus's trial shouted "His blood be on us and our on our children!" ?
Lita Cosner

Thanks for these thoughts. First, let me be clear: we would never condone any form of bullying or abuse towards people who practice homosexuality. Jesus taught that we should treat others as we want to be treated, and that includes all sorts of people.

This article was criticizing an illegitimate translation of the Bible. The Bible condemns homosexual behavior. That is not up for debate. Now, does that mean we hate and abuse homosexuals? Absolutely not! I believe Jesus died to save homosexuals and all sorts of other sinners; I'm one of those other sorts of sinners, so I certainly can't revile someone who just happened to pick a different sin from me. People who practice homosexuality need the Gospel. That's the loving response. Salvation is available freely to anyone who trusts in Jesus--I totally agree. But Jesus isn't content to leave us where we are. When I became a Christian, the Holy Spirit began working in my life to kill all sorts of sins, outward and inward. I couldn't harbor unforgiveness anymore, because that's not what a Christian does. I couldn't lie anymore, because that's inconsistent with following Jesus, who is 'the Way, the Truth, and the Life". Jesus died to save us from sin; how is engaging habitually and identifying oneself with a sinful lifestyle consistent with that?

And even the most cursory perusal of our resources should make it clear that we completely reject any form of racism.

I hope this clears up any confusion.
Hugh P.
In describing the tranlsator's task you say "a translator’s job is to communicate the thoughts of the document". I don't think that's quite correct, although I know what you mean. It gives the translator too much room to decide for himself what the thought of the inspired biblical writer is, which is what the translators have done in this version. "Communicating the thoughts of the document" is much more the task of the preacher and the commentator. The tranlator's job is to tranlsate the words and sentences as accurately as possible - even, indeed, if he doesn't agree with them. It includes, as you rightly say, leaving ambiguity in the translation if it's there in the original. How utterly essential it is for us to have the pure Word of God.

Thank you, and praise God, for your continuing ministry.
S. B.
The mere fact that homosexuals feel the need to change the Bible to eliminate the condemnation of homosexual behaviour is an admission that they themselves recognise the incompatibility of their own behaviour with the moral standards set by God in scripture. God loves and can change all sinners and give them a new heart, but he will not tolerate any sinful behaviour, including the homosexual act which is explicitly condemned and an abomination to the Lord. Woe to anyone who seeks to corrupt God's word for ANY reason.
David F.
Hopefully even people who sin, habitually or occasionally, ones is the same as the other according to Romans 3:23, anyway hopefully even these people will realise that over two thousand years followed by a rewriting should arouse some suspicion. I found that the last example quoting the rewriting of the verse from Jude to be discriminating against bestialists. This was being done by people trying to hide their own sins and misleading others into believing this is acceptable while at the same time condemning others for their sins. If I was to alert someone just over the speed limit that an object was on the road, or police or were nearby they would be thankful that I helped them slow down maybe averting a crash or a minor temporary punishment, but, alert someone to eternal rewards or punishment and see if you are thanked?
Hugh W.
Yes, we must never do a make-over on God's Word to make it mesh with our views. God's ways are higher than our ways. The core reason why homosexual practice is evil lies in Gen 2:27 "God made humankind in His own image, male and female He created them." Heterosexuality is the image of God, and homosexuality misrepresents God's image. This is a mystery and I won't press the details too far, but the big warning is: When you justify homosexuality you blaspheme God. That's the biggest NO-NO of all.
David M.
There seems to be a certain poetic justice or irony in that “Wherefore also God did give them up, in the desires of their hearts, to uncleanness, to dishonour their bodies among themselves; who did change the truth of God into a falsehood, and did honour and serve the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed to the ages. Amen.” (Rom 1:24-25).

Those that reject God their creator and thus their correct and fitting creaturely relationship to Him, God gives them over to an unnatural relationship between themselves, rather than the God ordained male – female relationship which Jesus states was from the beginning of creation (Mat 19:4).
R. P.
Koodos to you guys for pointing out the problem, verifying the issue of a gay friendly Bible, a cult group I know mentioned it. Interesting. I wonder if they have non-trinity friendly Bibles out there, again an example of where someone intentionally leads people astray. I was advised that your thinking should line up with the Bible, here's my council: don't have the Queen James Bible for anything; consider it contaminated evidence, but use the NIV, Amplified, and RSV and others of good repute to act as a checks and balances so that you don't put your trust in one translation. Why? The Amplified Bible assumes that Behemoth and Leviathan are respectively hippos and crocodiles, so again, don't put your trust in one translation, even better learn the original languages. As for those who translate the Bible, let the original speak for itself and not your own thinking. This must be what it means to line up your thinking with the Bible; the truth is so simple it's easy to follow, but we like to puff ourselves up like leavened bread and be 'sophisticated.' Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you when you do either so you don't get in error, don't count on your checks and balances system, if you need the Blood of the Lamb because you are not perfect, don't assume your Bible reading checks and balances system is infallible either. Shalom!
Robert S.
The translators of the 'Queen James' Bible should know that those who alter God's word for their own ends (Woe to those who call evil good and good evil. Isaiah 5:20) are called in the Scriptures the 'ungodly.'

If the righteous one is scarcely saved, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear? 1Peter 4:18

In the translators' attempt to downplay the seriousness of sin, we see the devil’s influence in action i.e. “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not…’?” Genesis 3:1
A. R.
It simply cannot be emphasized enough that there is no textual basis for these alterations. This is nothing short of changing the words of Scripture, and it must be exposed as such.
Cindy B.
The Word of God was written to change us (the sinner);
NOT for us to change The Word of God.

Just more apostasy rearing its ugly head in these end times. It will not prevail.

Forever O Lord,
Thy Word is settled in heaven. Ps. 119:89
Cindy B.
The Word of God was written to change us (the sinner);
NOT for us to change The Word of God.

Just more apostasy rearing its ugly head in these end times. It will not prevail.

Forever O Lord,
Thy Word is settled in heaven. Ps. 119:89
john P.
One wonders if these persons either know or care what John has to say in Revelations Ch 22 verse 19 ("And if anyone takes away from the Words of the Book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the Book of Life, and out of the holy city , and of the things having been written in this Book")-The Literal Translation of the Holy Bible.
God grant they find out and repent before it is too late for them to recant this abomination.
To deliberately mis translate the bible as these have done can be seen as blasphemy. Sadly this is another symptom of people caving into the "world" and one more reason why CMI's ministry is so important.
The next most important events in human history is not that far away, it seems- the Rapture followed by the Tribulation, Jesus ruling for a thousand years and the new heaven and the new earth are ever closer.
Homosexuality, lesbianism ,and other such perversions are strongly condemned by God and there is no way of getting around that despite these peoples' attempt, and as I said, it can be seen as blasphemy.
Robert S.
It is easy to see that the translators are trying to downplay the seriousness of sin.

But in so doing, they are undermining God's authority and his commmands, and are consequently condemning his judgement on sin/crime (and thereby also undermining the need for salvation).
This allows the readers of this translation ('Queen James') to develop and harbor a false sense of personal righteousness.

God confronted Job (40:8) about this same foolishness when he asked him:

"Would you indeed annul my judgement? Would you condemn me that you may be justified?"

In essence, those who alter God's word to suit their own views are trying to rebuke and correct him.

"Shall the one who contends with the Almighty correct him? He who rebukes God let him answer it." Job 40:2
Evan B.
How about for once we just have a straight-up, "no strings attached" (that is, to say, no changing the words to suit the translator's ideals), properly and fully translated word-for-word Bible? Is it too much to ask?
Lita Cosner
In theory, most everyone would prefer this. But in practice, it's impossible to translate without some interpretation sneaking in. So if you want to read a 'word-for-word' Bible, the best thing you can do is learn Greek and Hebrew (and that's not a sarcastic recommendation!).
Ian N.
They don't even do a good job of protecting themselves, since in 1 Corinthians 6:9 they translate one word as promiscuous. They are still condemning their lifestyle since Homosexuals are extremely promiscuous. In trying to not condemn themselves they still condemn. It is really laughable.

Also according to their standard, then bestiality is all right as long as it doesn't occur "in the Temple of Molech". This would be funny if they weren't serious.
Ben K.
2 Timothy 4:3,4

"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables."
Hans G.
What means here 'Queen James Bible'? Sounds like an gender issue; King version needs a Queen version just to keep the balance........Or is it based on: we females can do it better?
Or does the devil uses 'Eve' again to sneak into Adams behavior and seduce him to unrighteousness? This fits very much our time and the devils activity to undermine 'Adam'......it worked before.
Lita Cosner
They call it 'Queen James' because they think that King James was homosexual (this has been contested by some historians).
Andrew S.
Changing the Bible because it does not agree with a person's desire for homosexuality to be a legitimate behavioral choice is reminiscent of a child's tantrum when a parent doesn't let them have their own way.

It would be akin to changing a history text book to remove all references to William Wilberforce's role in ending slavery just because some want the slave trade to legally continue in Britain, despite the terrible consequences that would follow.

This is not an act based on solid intellectual grounds and sound logical reasoning; it is a case of trying to silence the opposition when the battle cannot be won.

The Bible speaks clearly about the issue of homosexuality because the behavior, when logically played to its conclusion, brings negative outcomes ranging from physical/psychological damage to sociological damages too.

As a parent would warn a child not to put their hand into a fire knowing the consequence of such an act, God too established a clear teaching on homosexuality for the same reasons since much more is on the line.

if anyone is allowed to alter passages that don't agree with what they want, then why not apply the same logic to other areas of life too. A pedophile should be able to change the law so they can impose their perversion upon the innocent, etc. The reasons why you wouldn't want this to happen are obvious in the same way that the consequences of ignoring God's word is also obvious.

furthermore, altering the texts to suit ones own desires means creating a god of one's own design - a god that does not represent the genuine article. Reality exists independently of one's own mind; alterations will not produce any kind of universal truth in the same way that me believing that i can naturally fly will allow me too.
John E.
It isn't as if the Bible doesn't warn against this.

From the Old Testament:
Deuteronomy 4:2 "Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the Lord your God that I give you."

From the New Testament:
Revelation 22:18-19 "I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll."

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