I Kings 1:1 - 6
(Great Bible, December, 1541 Printing)
Notes on this Example

NOTES on this Example:
  • It's an "A" — that big design under the picture. It's a big capital "A", and if you stare at it long enough, you can see it. It goes with the "Nd" in smaller letters to its top right, and starts this book with "ANd Kynge David ...".

  • Many fine woodcuts adorned the various printings of the Great Bible. The one shown here — King David and Abishag — is typical.

  • Protestants may find it strange to see the Book of III Kings. In the Great Bible, books maintained the same name as they had in earlier Versions — in which I & II Samuel are named I & II Kings. The Protestant books of I & II Kings are then called III & IV Kings. We know this may sound confusing, but trust us — this is indeed the book of I Kings in Protestant Bibles; in Eastern Orthodox and Slavonic Bibles, it's still III Kings.

  • Although Scripture is divided into paragraphs, note that there are no verse numbers; these were not developed for another decade. Each chapter was divided into 5 or 6 sections called lecterns -- lettered "A" through "F" or "G" or however long the chapter was. Note the "A" in the right margin where scripture begins. Under this arrangement, the entire text in this example would be referred to as III Kings 1:a.

  • The spelling on this example is interesting. In one place the word "damsel" is spelled "damosell" and at another place it is spelled "damosel"; "king" is spelled "kyng" and also "kynge". Is it any wonder this stuff can be hard to read?

  • It would be a long time before an English Dictionary would be published, so words were simply spelled as they sounded (more or less). Don't be thrown by words like fyftie (fifty), fayre (fair), or wolde (would). Don't let the extra letters confuse you in words like servauntes (servants) and runne (run).
If you are having trouble reading this text,
CLICK HERE for a quick lesson in Old English.