Does the Bible have errors, since it says that corn existed in the Middle East over 2,000 years ago?
by Rich Deem


The word "corn" appears 102 times in 94 verses in the KJV Bible. How is this possible, since corn was never in the Middle East until introduced from the Americas many centuries later? However, you will not find the word "corn" in any of the modern translations of the Bible. Why is this? Here is a list of every instance of the word "corn" in the KJV Bible, listing the original Hebrew and Greek words from which it came:





Changed meanings

An unusual thing one notices in the definitions above is that the word translated "corn" sometimes refers to threshing. Now, "real corn" is not usually threshed. This kind of treatment is usually reserved for grains like wheat or barley. Another peculiar verse is found in the book of John:

Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. (John 12:24)

What is a "corn of wheat?" This seems to make no sense from our common use in American English. Maybe the word "corn" is not really referring to maize?

It turns out that there is a very simple explanation why the word "corn" is found in the KJV Bible. The reason is that the word "corn" has existed in the English language for a very long time - even before Europeans "discovered" maize in the Americas. Were these people using their psychic powers to know what would be found in the future? No! Actually, like many other English words found in the KJV, the word "corn" had a different meaning in 1611 than it does now (at least in American English). The word "corn" used to refer to any grain, but especially wheat. When the early English settlers came to the Americas, they needed a word for the new grain that the native Americans ate. They called it "Indian corn," which translated into our common English, meant "Indian grain." The word "Indian" was eventually dropped, and maize is now called "corn." Here is an explanation from a website that has more information:

The process is even more clearly shown in the history of such words as corn and shoe. Corn, in orthodox English, means grain for human consumption, and especially wheat, e. g., the Corn Laws. The earliest settlers, following this usage, gave the name of Indian corn to what the Spaniards, following the Indians themselves, had called ma�z. The term appears in Bradford's "History of Plymouth Plantation" (1647) and in Mourt's "Relation" (1622). But gradually the adjective fell off, and by the middle of the eighteenth century maize was called simply corn and grains in general were called breadstuffs. Thomas Hutchinson, discoursing to George III in 1774, used corn in this restricted sense, speaking of "rye and corn mixed." "What corn?" asked George. "Indian corn," explained Hutchinson, "or, as it is called in authors, maize." (from Changed Meanings,

Conclusion Top of page

Because of the problem of changed meanings and numerous other original manuscript problems, I am very hesitant to recommend the KJV Bible for Americans to read. Unless one is an expert in 15th century Shakespearian English (or was educated in the UK), one is going to get confused by many of the words and make serious mistakes in term of understanding what the Bible actually says. I received an email from one of our readers in the UK, who indicated that "corn" still has the meaning of "wheat" in England. Therefore, readers in England do not have issues understanding the KJV as it is properly understood. So, if you know "proper English," then you should be able to read and understand the KJV translation without difficulty. Keep reading the KJV if you prefer. However, if you are a "lazy" American, like me, please select another Bible translation—at least until thou can understandeth and rightly divide the word of truth.

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Last Modified November 21, 2011


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