Another King James Bible Believer


Genesis 1:28 Replenish or Fill the earth?

Genesis 1:28  - Replenish or Fill the earth?

In Genesis chapter one verse 28 there is a word that is frequently attacked in the King James Holy Bible. God told Adam and Eve: "Be fruitful, and multiply, and REPLENISH the earth, and subdue it."

Bible agnostics (i.e. they don't know which readings are right and they invariably do not believe that ANY Bible in ANY language is the complete, inspired and 100% true words of God) like to criticize the King James Bible for saying "replenish the earth", thinking that this expression implies that there was a previous race of men or even angels on the earth before Adam was created, in spite of the fact that Adam is called "the first man" in 1 Corinthians 15:45 and Jesus said: "Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife...?" (Matthew 19:4.) and "But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female" (Mark 10:6).

There were no races of men or angels living on the earth before Adam.

If one would just take the time to look in a dictionary like Webster's Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary they would learn that the first definition of the word "replenish" is "to fill with persons or animals, to stock". The second definition is "to fill again".

Adam was simply being told to fill or stock the earth with people, not to fill it again.  A little knowledge about our own English language will go a long way in clearing up many of these alleged "errors" in the Book of books.

Merrian Webster Online Dictionary

Main Entry: re·plen·ish

Pronunciation: ri-'ple-nish

Function: verb

Etymology: Middle English replenisshen, from Middle French repleniss-, stem of replenir to fill, from Old French, from re- + plein full, from Latin plenus -- more at FULL

transitive senses

1 a : to fill with persons or animals : STOCK b archaic : to supply fully : PERFECT c : to fill with inspiration or power : NOURISH

2 a : to fill or build up again <replenished his glass> b : to make good : REPLACE

intransitive senses : to become full : fill up again

"REPLENISH" is also the reading found in the Great Bible (Cranmer) 1540, the Bishop's Bible 1568, the Douay-Rheims Bible of 1609, Webster's 1833 translation, The Longman Version 1841, the Revised Version 1885, the American Standard Version of 1901, The Ancient Hebrew Bible 1907, The Modern Reader's Bible 1907, both the 1917 Jewish Publication Society and 1936 Hebrew Publishing Company, New York, The Word of Yah 1993, the 1994 KJV 21st Century Version, the 1998 Third Millennium bible, The Sacred Scriptures Family of Yah 2001, the Bond Slave Version 2009, the New European Version 2010, the Biblos Interlinear Bible 2011 - "REPLENISH the earth", and the Modern English Version 2014 - "REPLENISH the earth".  

And the Interlinear Hebrew Old Testament - "and REPLENISH the earth and subdue it"  You can see it here -


"Replenish" was not "just the old word for fill" as some assert, because Wycliffe 1395, Coverdale 1535 and the Geneva Bible 1599 all read "FILL the earth".  So the King James Bible translators made a conscious and deliberate choice to use the word "replenish".  The word "replenish" in the King James Bible is an exact synonym of the word "fill".

The same word is used in Genesis 9:1 where God tells Noah and his sons "Be fruitful, and multiply, and REPLENISH the earth." He is simply saying "Fill the earth with persons and animals."  

This same Hebrew word #4390 man-leh is translated as both "replenish" and "fill."  This same word is translated in the KJB (and many others as well) in such a variety of ways as: "to replenish, to fill, accomplished, expired, full, to be at an end, gather, to consecrate, to give in full tale, and to furnish".  

This same Hebrew word is translated 5 other times in Scripture as "REPLENISHED", and it simply means "TO HAVE FILLED".  See Isaiah 2:6 "because they be REPLENISHED from the east", Isaiah 23:2; Jeremiah 31:25 "I have REPLENISHED every sorrowful soul"; Ezekiel 26:2 and 27:25.

As for synonyms, ALL Bible translations, and even the Hebrew and the Greek themselves when relating the same events (1 and 2 Kings compared to 1 and 2 Chronicles) or in the Greek with the 4 synoptic gospels, all of them frequently use different words that mean essentially the same things = synonyms.

How many different Hebrew or Greek words in the translation of your choice are translated by such things as "love, God, hell, mercy, fools, liars, sin, kill, life, death, soul, faithful and truth"?


Other English Bibles that also say "REPLENISH the earth" in Genesis 1:28 are The Word of Yah 1993, The Sacred Scriptures Family of Yah 2001, the Bond Slave Version 2009,  Biblos Interlinear Bible 2011 - "REPLENISH the earth", and the Modern English Version 2014 - "REPLENISH the earth and subdue it." 


John Calvin translates the Hebrew Scriptures into Latin saying: “dixitque ad eos Deus, Crescite, et multiplicate vos, et REPLETE terram, et subjicite eam” - ‘And God said, Be fruitful, and multiply, and REPLENISH the earth, and subdue it.”  Then his commentary reads: “Here Moses would simply declare that Adam with his wife was formed for the production of offspring, in order that men might REPLENISH the earth.”  As you read on it is obvious that Calvin was not talking about  the REpopulation of the earth, but the initial filling or stocking it with people.

Matthew Henry likewise comments on Genesis 1:28 saying: “God, having made them capable of transmitting the nature they had received, said to them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and REPLENISH the earth. Here he gave them, 1. A large inheritance: REPLENISH  the earth; it is this that is bestowed upon the children of men.”

John Wesley comments on Genesis 1:28 - “He created him male and female, Adam and Eve: Adam first out of earth, and Eve out of his side. God made but one male and one female, that all the nations of men might know themselves to be made of one blood, descendants, from one common stock, and might thereby be induced to love one another. God having made them capable of transmitting the nature they had received, said to them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and REPLENISH the earth - Here he gave them, 1. A large inheritance; REPLENISH the earth, in which God has set man to be the servant of his providence, in the government of the inferior creatures, and as it were the intelligence of this orb.”

John Gill makes no attempt to “correct” the King James Bible’s reading of “replenish” but simply expounds the Scripture fully understanding the meaning of the English word “replenish”.  He comments: “and God said unto them, be fruitful, and multiply, and REPLENISH the earth:... it is a direction and an advice to what was proper and convenient for the increase of mankind, and for THE FILLING OF THE EARTH with inhabitants.”

Most modern versions say "to fill" which is fine, but the KJB is not in error. Words have more than one limited meaning. People like to pick out a little word like this in the KJB, and on the basis of their limited understanding of the English language, reject or criticize the King James Bible as being the inspired and infallible words of God and embrace instead a false modern version that contains errors, false doctrines and omits thousands of God's inspired words. This is the logic of unbelief.

Even if we use the word "fill", this word too can mean to "refill" or to "fill again".  When you last went to the gas station to "fill" your tank, did you buy a brand new gas tank each time, or did you refill the old one?  How about when you ate a meal and "filled" your stomach?  Don't you mean you "refilled" it?

In Genesis we see that God told Adam and Noah to "replenish" the earth.  In both cases, God was merely telling them to stock it or fill it with people. Here is a well done 5 minute video by Kent Hovind explaining Genesis 1:28 "replenish the earth".


For a well done and more exhaustive study on this verse and the meaning of "replenish the earth" by John Hinton, Ph.D. of Bible Restoration Ministry see this article at the KJV Asia site:

Will Kinney

 Return to Articles -