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A King James Vocabulary Lesson

Modern-day readers of the KJV may have difficulties understanding the intended meanings of various passages.

In 2011, the Christian world celebrated the four-hundredth anniversary of the publication of the King James translation of the English Bible. The King James Version (KJV) has survived well and continues to stand as one of the more literal English translations. But as with all translations, any modern rendition of biblical language is accurate and fully dependable only “as far as it is translated correctly” (A of F 1:8).


Read this and other relevant chapters in Essential Tools for Understanding the New Testament, published by the BYU New Testament Commentary group.


Editor’s Note: The text of this post is taken from the above book and reprinted with permission. Stylistic references to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are in the original.


Table of contents


Accordingly, LDS scholars continuously revisit ancient and modern texts as they seek to uncover nuances and clarify details that help to reveal or express the full meaning of every word in the scriptures. In this endeavor, this BYU New Testament Commentary series offers new renditions of New Testament books, with convenient parallel comparisons to the King James text. Readers of these commentary volumes will also find detailed discussions of many translational challenges and their possible solutions, especially arising in the main trouble spots that have been detected and discussed by others.1 Of course, modern counterparts for most archaic or unfamiliar English words in the KJV can be found in footnotes of most Bible editions, including the LDS edition. But because some of these generally unfamiliar words appear multiple times in various spots in the Bible, we present here a convenient overview of these archaic words. In addition, a basic explanation for the thee/thou language is given. All this is offered in an effort to make modern readers more comfortable with King James idioms and manners of speech, since the KJV is still used by Latter-day Saints.

Modern-day readers of the KJV may have difficulties understanding the intended meanings of various passages for a number of reasons and on many different levels. For one thing, since 1611 the English language has changed significantly (as all languages do over time).

Learn more about “archaic,” “obsolete,” and “dead” words in the King James Bible.

In fact, some of the words in the KJV have dropped entirely out of modern English. In some cases, these words are simple, and the 1611 meaning may not seem to significantly alter the interpretation of the text today. But in other passages, even a slight misunderstanding of what one word might mean can change the doctrinal content of that passage significantly.

In addition, the translators in King James’s court were Shakespearean contemporaries speaking or influenced by Elizabethan English, and readers of the KJV encounter some of the same obscure words and rhetoric. Words such as “propitiation” (Rom. 3:25; 1 John 2:2) or “staunched” (Luke 8:44) may press the vocabulary limits of many modern readers.

Readers think that they understand what a word means.

Another stumbling block to correct understanding is inaccurate translations, which pose problems that readers may miss entirely. These words may have a perfectly clear meaning in English today, but they do not quite convey the actual meaning of the words in the Greek originals of New Testament writings. For example, the virtues listed in 1 Timothy 3:2–4 and Titus 1:7–9 that should be exemplified by a bishop might better be translated as “attentive” (instead of “vigilant”), “prudent” (instead of “sober”), “righteous” (not “just”), “a friend to strangers or foreigners” (not “a lover of hospitality”), and “not autocratic or egotistical” (instead of “not self-willed”). Significant practical and ethical distinctions turn on how these Greek virtues are understood and applied.

Other times, readers think that they understand what a word means, but they may not grasp what the word actually referred to two thousand years ago. For example, the word “lamp” is perfectly understandable today, but if a child thinks of a modern electric lamp, he or she will have a hard time making any sense of the ten virgins putting oil into their “lamps.”

In this short introductory chapter, we first look at problem words that fall into two categories: first, words that are now archaic and usually unfamiliar, especially to younger readers; and second, words that are easily misunderstood because their meanings have shifted.


Archaic Words

Some of the KJV’s words are archaic and unfamiliar to modern readers. Fortunately, there are not many of these unknown words to deal with in the KJV. Here is a compilation and explanation of such words:

  • Anon. In its earliest usage, it means “straightway,” “at once,” “forthwith,” or “instant.” Servants said this in reply to a command: “Immediately!” (Matt. 13:20).
  • To assay. This word can mean “to try on” (clothing, gloves, etc.), “to try or examine” (as in a courtroom), “to attempt” (with the connotation of being tempted), or, as in Saul’s case, “to try” or “to attempt” (Acts 9:26).
  • Divers in Elizabethan times meant “various” or “several,” but as opposed to “diverse,” it does not imply being different (Mark 8:3).
  • Draught. This refers to the disciples’ act of “drawing in” a fishing net (Luke 5:4). However, it has a very different meaning in Matthew 15:17, where “draught” refers to an “outhouse” or “privy.”
  • Fair shew. This expression refers to a “plausible” or “pleasing pretense” (Gal. 6:12).
  • Goodman of the house. The Latin word for “goodman” is pater familias, which means “man of the house” or “householder.” However, the root of the Greek word for “goodman” is the same as the word “despot,” likely implying a negative or tyrannical rule of the house (Matt. 24:43).
A man reading the King James Bible experiencing frustration by how hard the words are to understand.
An artificially-generated image of a man frustrated by the archaic language of the King James Bible. This KJV vocabulary lesson by BYU’s Jack Welch can make reading the Bible more rewarding.
  • To hale. In Acts 8:3, “to hale” means to “drag,” “pull,” or “draw away from” with force or violence. Thus Saul was not merely summoning the men and women to jail; he was physically dragging them by force.
  • Halt. In the context of Matthew 18:8, “halt” is coupled with “maimed,” and the two words’ meanings are subtly differentiated. “Halt” means “lame” or “crippled,” whereas “maimed” is used to describe mutilation or deformity.
  • To list. It means to “wish for” or “desire” something, much as the words “wish” and “want” today. One could “list” to taste a certain food or “list” to go to sleep when tired (Matt. 17:12).
  • Mote. In Matthew 7:3, the Savior is referring to a “minute particle,” “speck,” or “chip”—as small as flecks seen floating in a beam of light. It can also be used figuratively, referring to a “fault” or “blemish.”
  • To set at nought. When Herod “set Christ at nought,” it was not just an inconsequential brush-off (Luke 23:11). The Greek word means literally “from nothing.” In this sense, “to set at nought” means to “value at nothing” or “despise.” In its noun form, “nought” refers to “something that does not exist.”
  • To redound. When Paul teaches “that the abundant grace might . . . redound to the glory of God,” he means grace will “overflow” or “abound” (2 Cor. 4:15).
  • To shew again. When Christ told his disciples to “shew again,” he meant “to report,” “bring tidings” (from a person or a thing), or “make known openly” (Matt. 11:4).

People may think they understand, but they do not.

  • Sore. Derived from the German word sehr, “very,” “sore” is used in Matt. 17:6 as an adverb to intensify the Apostles’ fear. Some synonyms are “very,” “exceedingly,” “extremely,” and “severely.”
  • To straiten. The Savior feels “straitened,” which means “confined” or “pressed upon” on every side (Luke 12:50).
  • To trow. Like the German word trauen, it means “to trust.” In the context of one of Jesus’ parables, it is used to mean to “think,” “believe,” or “suppose” (Luke 17:9).
  • Ware. This is basically a shortened version of aware, with the same implicit meaning. It also denotes a conscious or cautious “awareness” (2 Tim. 4:15).
  • To wist. Christ corrects his mother, “Wist ye not,” meaning “Didn’t you know?” (Luke 2:49). The verb “to wist” is a cognate of the German word wissen. It means “to know” in the sense of knowledge or fact but does not refer to knowing people.
  • To wot. “To wot” implies a deeper understanding than “to wist”; it applies to something “perceived” or “discerned” (Acts 3:17).

Misunderstood Words

More problematic, however, are the words that people may think they understand, but they do not. These words can be particularly treacherous because readers can proceed reading with a misplaced sense of confidence. When readers come across these words, they need to do a double take, stop, and reprocess these words. They might look familiar, but for whatever reason, they are being used in an unfamiliar way. Here are a few examples:

  • To adventure. When Paul would not “adventure himself into the theatre” in Ephesus, it means he would not “give himself ” or allow himself to go inside there (Acts 19:31).
  • To approve. As used in Philippians 1:10, this word means to “test” or “evaluate.” It means more “to probe” rather than “approve.”
  • Convenient. The things “not convenient” in Ephesians 5:4 are “unbecoming,” “unseemly,” and “improper.”
  • Couch. This is a bed, not a sofa (Luke 5:19).

“Thee” is like “me.”

  • Emulation. By preaching to the Gentiles, Paul wishes to “provoke [some of the Jews] to emulation,” which means that he wants to make them jealous (Rom. 11:14).
  • Hard. When one building was “hard to” another, it means that they shared an adjoining wall (Acts 18:7).
  • Instant. This word can have a lot of meanings. Jesus’ accusers were “instant with loud voices,” meaning “insistent” (Luke 23:23). When Paul exhorts people to “continue instant in prayer,” the word means “persistent” (Rom. 12:12). When people besought Jesus “instantly,” it means “urgently” or “hopefully” (Luke 7:4). When the tribes of Israel served God “instantly,” it means “constantly” (Acts 26:7).
  • Lewdness. Lewdness today is defined as personal immorality or wickedness. In its earlier usage, however, “lewdness” meant “ignorant” or “unlearned” because of either ill-breeding or foolishness (Acts 18:14).
  • Mansions. In the Father’s house (his temple, which models his heavenly realms) are many “resting places” or “dwelling places,” but the Greek word monai, translated in John 14:2 as “mansions,” may refer to relatively ordinary-sized abodes, resting places, or waystations.
  • Matter. The “matter” in James 3:5 is literally “fuel.” A little fire can ignite a lot of fuel.
  • To observe. When Herod “observed” John the Baptist (Mark 6:20), the word means that Herod “respected” him. After all, he knew that he was “a just man and an holy.”
  • To occupy. The servants were not just to occupy the property but to “negotiate” or “manage” it, as in a business occupation (Luke 19:13).
  • To open. In Acts 17:3, this means to “explain,” as in “opening up one’s understanding.”
  • Particular. When Paul tells the Saints they are “members in particular” of “the body of Christ,” he means “individually,” not “especially” (1 Cor. 12:27).
  • Peculiar. Being a “peculiar people” (1 Pet. 2:9) does not mean being weird but being “distinctive,” especially in the sense of being “peculiar to someone” or “belonging to someone.” The word is borrowed directly from the Latin word peculia, which means “belongings” or “cattle.” In other words, “belonging to” points to a personal possession.
  • Perfection. To bring “fruit to perfection” in Luke 8:14 means to bring “to maturity.” The word “perfect” usually refers to completion or finishing, rather than being without error or defect.
  • Pitiful. Fortunately, when the Lord is “very pitiful,” it does not mean pathetic but “compassionate,” “tenderhearted,” or having pity on us (James 5:11).

With a little effort, this small hurdle can be removed.

  • To pray. “We pray you” means “we beseech you,” “we implore you” (2 Cor. 5:20).
  • To prevent. When Jesus entered the house, he did not “prevent” Peter, but he “spoke to him first” or “stood in front of him” (Matt. 17:25). The Latin translation of the Greek here uses the word praevenit, from which the English translators evidently got the idea of “prevent,” but the Latin literally just means “to come (venit) in front of (prae).”
  • To provoke. Again, the problem stems from a transliteration of the Latin. When we are to “provoke” one another to good works (Heb. 10:24), this does not mean that we should annoy but “call forth” or “challenge” each other. The Latin provocare means “to call (vocar) forth (pro).”
  • Seal. Whenever this word is used in scripture, it does not mean “to close,” as in “licking and sealing an envelope,” but rather it means to “stamp with an official seal or impression.”
  • Several. As used in the parable of the talents, each person was given an amount according to his “several ability,” which should not be understood to mean each one’s many abilities. This word means according to their “individual or personal abilities” (Matt. 25:15). Legally, when two people are obligated under a contractual liability that is denominated as a “joint and several” obligation, this means that the parties can be held liable either together—“jointly,” each contributing their own share—or “severally, individually”—meaning each for the whole amount. The word “several” in Matthew 25:15 is used in this personal sense.
  • Spent. When Paul says that he “will very gladly spend and be spent for you,” he is saying that he will “spend money freely and be completely used up” in the service of his brothers and sisters (2 Cor. 12:15).
  • Thought. The words “take no thought for your life” in the Sermon on the Mount actually mean “don’t be worried for the sake of your soul” (Matt. 6:25).
  • Virtue. When “virtue” went out of Jesus (Luke 8:46), he did not become what we would call less virtuous. In this case, virtue means “power” (the Greek word here is dynamis), and the Latin word translated as “strength” in this verse is virtutem, from which the English word directly derives.
  • Worship. Being promised to “have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee” (Luke 14:10) means to have the “respect” or “esteem” of the people who eat together with one another, as companions or close associates.

Using Thee/Thou Language

In his May 1993 general conference address, Elder Dallin H. Oaks encouraged Latter-day Saints to address God by using “special words that have been sanctified by use in inspired communications, words that have been recommended to us and modeled for us by those we sustain as prophets and inspired teachers.”2 In particular, he mentioned the use of the pronouns “thee,” “thou,” “thy,” and “thine” to show respect to God,3 even though those words may seem “archaic . . . unfamiliar and difficult.”4 Indeed, using these reverent forms of speech when addressing God in prayer or encountering them in the scriptures can be confusing or awkward. But with a little effort, this small hurdle can be removed for people who wish to use these pronouns more comfortably.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks discusses the value of KJV language in his 1993 general conference talk, “The Language of Prayer.”

The use of “thee” and “thou” has shifted somewhat over the centuries;5 however, the following six guidelines may be helpful in teaching people, especially readers for whom English is not their primary language. These few basic patterns may also prove useful in raising the comfort level of readers as they engage with the King James language, which is filled with such expressions.

Learn to appreciate the rhythm.

Reminders to use thee/thou language are not intended to create rigid constraints on the free flow of words, especially those of prayer uttered in love and humility before the Lord, for the essence of prayer is not found in the parts of speech but in the sincerity of a person’s heart. The following patterns, however, may increase familiarity with these forms and raise comfort levels, thus building confidence and openness in speaking this way before the Lord. Learning to use thee/thou language may also help English speakers as they strive to learn foreign languages, most of which also have two forms of “you” that are regularly used in particular circumstances, depending on local cultures.


Guideline 1

Thee is like me. Thy is like my. Thine is like mine.

In other words, in places where it would sound right to use the first-person pronouns “me,” “my,” or “mine,” it is appropriate to use the rhyming second-person forms. For example, a person would say, “Walk with me.” So, in speaking of God, one would say, “Walk with thee” (not “walk with thou”). Similar pairs illustrate this point further: People thank me / People thank thee. My mother knows me / My mother knows thee. This is my church / This is thy church. The glory be mine / The glory be thine.

Indeed, when praying, we can formulate a thought negatively in the first person and then resolve it positively in the second person with respect to God: That they will glorify not me, but thee. Not my will, but thy will be done. The thanks be not mine, but thine.

Obviously, thinking “not me, but thee” and “not my, but thy” can shift our attention away from ourselves and to our Father in Heaven. Speaking this way in prayer also reinforces the close relationship that God desires to foster between us and him, the me and thee.


Guideline 2

Use thine instead of thy when the next word starts with a vowel—that is, A, E, I, O, or U.

These cases are exceptions to the first guideline. Accordingly, thy son / thine only son. Thy word / thine own word. This rule is similar to what happens in using a or an. English usage requires the use of an when the next word begins with a vowel sounds: a son / an only son. A day / an extraordinary day.

When the main word begins with an h, the usage can go either way. The King James Version treats the initial h as a vowel, but modern usage is mixed: thy foot / thine hand (alternatively, thy hand). Thy mind / thine heart (alternatively, thy heart).


Guideline 3

Use thou as the subject of a sentence or of a dependent clause when you would normally use you in the singular. Ye is the plural form of you.

In grammatical terms, “thou” is the nominative form of this pronoun. This rule is a little more difficult to apply than the first rule because, as the following example shows, the same word “you” can be used either as a subject (in the nominative case) or as an object (in the accusative case): You [the subject] love us, and we love you [the object]. The first “you” in this example is doing the loving; the second “you” refers to the one who is loved.

This then becomes as follows: Thou [the subject] lovest us (see guideline 3), and we love thee [the object] (as stated in guideline 1). It also helps to note the similarity in spelling between “you” and “thou,” even though the letters -ou are pronounced differently. Nevertheless, these two words are closely related (through the German word for the familiar form of “you”: du).

This third rule is further illustrated by other examples: I am here / Thou art here. I see / Thou seest. You know our needs / Thou knowest our needs. You have given us / Thou hast given us.


Guideline 4

Use ye as the plural equivalent of thou.

The word “ye” is not likely to be used in prayers, but it appears frequently in scripture. For example,6 when Jesus instructs individuals how to pray alone in their closets, he says, “When thou prayest.” When he instructs people regarding group prayers, he says, “After this manner therefore pray ye” (3 Ne. 13:6, 9).


Guideline 5

When thou is the subject, the indicative verb ends in -st or -t.

For example: You have / Thou hast. You had / Thou hadst. You would / Thou wouldst (or wouldest). You should / Thou shouldst (or shouldest). You know / Thou knowest. You love / Thou lovest. “Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee” (John 21:16).

A simple -t is added to the end of some English verbs where the -s has dropped out: You will / Thou wilt (not willst). You are / Thou art (not arst).

Other verbs remain the same as in normal speech.7 Even a verb in the imperative mood with “thou” as the subject does not change: “Father, glorify [not glorifieth] thou me with thine own self ” (John 17:5).

One of the best ways to learn to appreciate the rhythm and distinctive sound of thee/thou language is to read the scriptures out loud. Especially rich is the entire chapter of John 17, where Jesus prays to the Father. The King James translation renders Jesus’ words as follows: “I have finished the work which thou gavest me” (v. 4). “They have believed that thou didst send me” (v. 8). “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world” (v 15). “Sanctify them through thy truth” (v. 17). “That the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me” (v. 23).


Guideline 6

When the word who stands in place of thou or refers to God, the verb that follows may likewise end in -st or -t.

For example, our Father, [thou] who art in heaven. But this usage is flexible—in the sacrament hymn we sing, “O God the Eternal Father, who dwells (not dwellst) amid the sky.”8

These six guidelines are the main rules a person needs to know to use thee/thou language. Strictness is not crucial; many variations exist within the King James Version of the Bible. And if ever in doubt, we can usually avoid awkward or uncertain constructions by rephrasing while still retaining the respectful tone. For example, to avoid a sentence like “We ask thee that thou mightest lend us thy mercy,” we might say simply, “We ask thee to lend us thy mercy” or just “Please lend us mercy.” The Lord, who looks upon the heart, will understand and answer the humble prayer that is offered with real intent.


Conclusion

Word studies are important building blocks in our ability to read and understand the scriptures. Without too much difficulty, readers can notice the few archaic words in the KJV and learn their meaning. More effort is required to detect words that appear to be clear and readily understood but may say something quite different or even unexpected.

A few short studies of Greek New Testament words have been published in the Ensign, and this explanation of the use of thee/thou language has been published in the Religious Educator.9 Nevertheless, more work on word usages would yet sharpen our understanding of truths contained in the New Testament. The publication of this multivolume commentary on the New Testament, covering every word and phrase in the writings of the early Apostles and disciples who followed the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the meridian of time, hopefully brings to light the meaning of many obscure words and phrases in the New Testament, helping to illuminate and clarify the wording of the King James Version for faithful modern readers.


Archaic words

WordDefinitionRef.
anonimmediatelyMatt. 13:20
to assayto attempt, tryActs 9:26
diversvarious, severalMark 8:3
draughtthe act of drawing a netLuke 5:4
draughtan outhouse, privyMatt. 15:17
fair shewa plausible pretenseGal. 6:12
goodmanman of the house, despotMatt. 24:43
to haleto drag, draw, pullActs 8:3
haltcrippled, deformedMatt. 18:8
to listto wish, will, desireMatt. 17:12
motea speck, chipMatt. 7:3
to set at noughtto value at nothing, despiseLuke 23:11
to redoundto abound, overflow2 Cor. 4:15
to shew againto reportMatt. 11:4
sorevery, exceedingly, extremely, severelyMatt. 17:6
to straitento make tense, confineLuke 12:50
to trowto think, believe, supposeLuke 17:9
wareaware, conscious, cautious2 Tim. 4:15
to wistto knowLuke 2:49
to wotto perceive, discern, knowActs 3:17

Familiar Words with Unexpected Meanings

WordDefinitionRef.
to adventureto arrive, happenActs 19:31
amazedafraid, confounded, bewilderedMark 6:51
to approveto testPhilip. 1:10
convenientbecoming, seemly, properEph. 5:4
couchbedLuke 5:19
dogperson who is wicked in some wayRev. 22:15
emulationenvy, jealousyRom. 11:14
hardclose, nearActs 18:7
instantinsistentLuke 23:23
instantpersistentRom. 12:12
instantlyurgently, hopefullyLuke 7:4
instantlyconstantlyActs 26:7
lewdnessignorant, unlearnedActs 18:14
mansionsdwelling or resting placesJohn 14:2
matterfuelJames 3:5
to observeto respect, treat with reverenceMark 6:20
to occupyto negotiate, manageLuke 19:13
to opento expound, interpret, explainActs 17:3
in particularindividually1 Cor. 12:27
passionsufferingActs 1:3
peculiardistinctive, belonging to1 Pet. 2:9
perfectionmaturityLuke 8:14
pitifulcompassionate, tenderheartedJames 5:11
to prayto beseech, implore2 Cor. 5:20
to preventto questionMatt 17:25
to provoketo call forth, challenge, inciteHeb. 10:24
to sealto stamp with official seal or impressionJohn 3:33
severalindividualMatt 25:15
spentconsumed2 Cor. 12:15
straitnarrow, strictMatt. 7:13
to taxto register or enroll in a listLuke 2:1–5
thoughtworry, anxiety, melancholyMatt. 6:25
virtuepower or energy in a miraculous senseLuke 8:46
worshiphonor or respectLuke 14:10

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About the author

John W. Welch is a member of the BYU New Testament Commentary Series Board of Editors. He is the author of several books and articles, including “A King James Vocabulary Lesson” published in Essential Tools for Understanding the New Testament. Welch was also a founding director of the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS), and preceded Steven C. Harper as Editor-in-Chief of BYU Studies.


Further reading

Understanding the KJV vocabulary resources

Sources

  1. Some of the sources referenced for this article are Dewey M. Beegle, God’s Word into English (Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans, 1960); Ronald Bridges and Luther A. Weigle, The Bible Word Book (New York: Thomas Nelson and Sons, 1960); Alan S. Duthie, How to Choose Your Bible Wisely, 2nd ed. (Carlisle, U.K.: Paternoster, 1995); Melvin E. Elliott, The Language of the King James Bible (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1967); Jacobus A. Naudé, review of Kenneth L. Barker, The Balance of the NIV: What Makes a Good Translation, Review of Biblical Literature (2002), https:/www.sblcentral.org/home/bookDetails/1068; William Aldis Wright, The Bible Word-Book (London: Macmillan, 1884). I acknowledge the assistance of Kelsey Draper in researching several parts of this chapter.
  2. Dallin H. Oaks, “The Language of Prayer,” Ensign 23, no. 5 (May 1993): 15–16.
  3. On the rules of English grammar in the 1830s pertaining to the use of thee and thou in respectful discourse, see Noah Webster, An Improved Grammar of the English Language (New Haven, Conn.: Hezekiah Howe, 1831), 25; Samuel Kirkham, English Grammar (Rochester, N.Y.: W. Alling, 1835), 142–47.
  4. Oaks, “Language of Prayer,” 16.
  5. The use of you began to replace thou and ye as nominatives in the fourteenth century, eventually becoming common in sixteenth-century speech. Yet “for a long while the old and the new forms often alternated with each other,” and by the eighteenth century, you became the standard in English prose. George O. Curme, A Grammar of the English Language (Essex, Conn.: Verbatim, 1977), 2:15–16; see also 2:527–29; and J. N. Hook and E. G. Matthews, Modern American Grammar and Usage (New York: Ronald Press, 1956), During Elizabethan times, when the King James Version of the Bible was being produced, “there is strong evidence that, while the older ‘eth’ ending continued to be written, it was pronounced as if it were ‘-s.’” Alister E. McGrath, In the Beginning: The Story of the King James Bible and How It Changed a Nation, a Language, and a Culture (New York: Doubleday, 2001), 272. Considering this, we cannot insist that the distinctions between these forms must be rigidly or dogmatically enforced.
  6. “In Biblical language ye is now uniformly employed as nominative [plural] and you as dative and accusative [plural]. . . . In the original text of [the King James] version this usage was not so uniform, as there were in it a number of you’s where we now find ye.” Curme, Grammar, 2:15.
  7. For a chart of the full inflection of English verbs, see Curme, Grammar, 1:327–33.
  8. “O God, the Eternal Father,” Hymns of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1985), no. 175.
  9. John W. Welch, “New Testament Word Studies,” Ensign 23, no. 4 (April 1993): 28–30; John W. Welch, “Word Studies from the New Testament,” Ensign 25, no. 1 ( January 1995): 28–30; John W. Welch, “Teaching the Usage of Thee and Thou,” Religious Educator 4, no. 1 (2003): 49–53.

2 replies on “A King James Vocabulary Lesson”

There are better translations. I don’t know why the lds church would try to hold on to this one when it has many weaknesses. Let’s move on to a better one.

Really Why do we need a guide to reading an archaic Bible or assistance in prayer language ? I joined the Church five decades ago and have been reading the Bible in understandable English since then I use you and your in personal prayer at home and when with others not at Church When I am at church I usually use thee and thy sometimes intermingled with you and your I do not find this offensive to Father in heaven My hope has been that someday we will have a BOM in Modern English for those who feel comfortable reading the scriptures in a language they can understand Those who prefer could could continue using the “traditional” version

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