John 1:12 KJV

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

'To those who received Him, even those who believed on His name' sounds like some receive Him as Lord while others only believe on His name for salvation. It does not seem like all believers follow Christ but they believe.

Sort of like the thief on the cross who believed but never had a chance to follow Jesus aka be a disciple.

That word even has stumped me for quite a while and it's only in the KJV.

  • 1
    Rather than a separation, the 'even' makes those who receive Him equivalent with those who believe on His name. This is already manifest in the text and so redundant and probably added for intended clarity. Oct 16, 2023 at 12:23
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    – agarza
    Oct 16, 2023 at 13:27
  • Look carefully at the KJV text - the word "even" is in italics and thus was added by the translators to make the English flow better - it is thus not part of the Greek text.
    – Dottard
    Oct 16, 2023 at 21:38

2 Answers 2


The word, "Even" is not in the Greek text. The Byzantine Greek reads:

“Οσοι δὲ ἔλαβον αὐτόν, ἔδωκεν αὐτοῖς ἐξουσίαν τέκνα θεοῦ γενέσθαι, τοῖς πιστεύουσιν εἰς τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ·” (John 1:12 GNT-BYZ)

I was wondering if the Byzantine stream would have contained some sort of ascensive particle ("even") that would have led the KJV translators to add, "even." But the words in the Byzantine stream stack up perfectly with our standard Greek texts today (UBS/NA).

So, for my own part, I'm mystified as to why the KJV translators added the word.

The only grounds I can think of would be that they are trying to explain what context "“αὐτοῖς” (John 1:12 GNT-BYZ)" "to them" connects with “τοῖς πιστεύουσιν” (John 1:12 GNT-BYZ) "to those who believe." But putting an ascensive use (even those) is really adding more than the Greek text will bear.


It's also in other versions like RV, ASV, NASB in italics and bracketed, denoting that it's an addition by translators.

Authorised KJV also has italics words for such words. The Greek "kai" for and is sometimes translated as even, but it's not in this verse. It is solely for the English style purpose to emphasize or rather simply as epexegetical (explanatory) word like "that". However, such overly literal translation that corresponds to the Greek phrase structure caused such rendering; it is unnecessary and outdated. Greek sentence structure is very flexible and different from English. I would encourage KJV readers to switch to the better ESV. Notice, how the ESV simplifies the sentence in a flow:

ESV: But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.
NASB: But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, [even] to those who believe in His name

Cambridge Dictionary defines Even:

even adverb (MORE EXACTLY)
used when you want to be more exact or detailed about something you have just said: I find some of his habits somewhat unpleasant, disgusting even. She has always been very kind to me, even generous on occasion.

even as
at the same time as: I tried to reason with him, but even as I started to explain what had happened he stood up to leave.

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