Is Shakespeare’s Name in Scripture?

In preparing my current series of sermons for The Donelson Fellowship from Psalm 46, I’ve come across a mystery connected with this passage. It has to do with the rendering of Psalm 46 in the King James Version, which was authorized by King James I of England in 1604, completed around 1610, and published in 1611.

If you start with the first word of Psalm 46, “God,” and count 46 words into the text. You’ll come to the work “shake.” Now go to the end of Psalm 46 and count back 46 words, and you come to the word “spear.”


Now consider the fact that at the time the King James Version was being readied for publication, England’s foremost literary figure, William Shakespeare, would have been 46 years old.

Shakespeare was popular in the court of King James I in London, and since he was renowned for his literary skill, there are scholars (or at least conspiracy theorists) who find it likely he was asked to review some of the newly-translated Bible passages and to make literary suggestions before final publication. If so, suggest these scholars, perhaps this was his subtle way of signing his name, so to speak.

In other words, one of the great mysteries of literary history is whether William Shakespeare managed to find a way to put his name in the Bible—in the King James Version at least. We don’t know for sure. It’s an intriguing historical mystery. But I know one thing. Your name is in Psalm 46, and my name is there. This is a Psalm for us, it was written with you and me in mind. Its purpose it to impart strength to us. Whoever translated it, Psalm 46 is a literary masterpiece that speaks to us with words of supernatural strength.

Click here for my pulpit messages from Psalm 46.