The Reason For The "Thee's" And "Thou's"
-EST & -ETH
Italics & Quotes
Lester Roloff 0nce said; "The Bible - we don't need to rewrite it, we need to reread it!."
The reason for the "Thee's" & "Thou's" .
Satan, Catholic tyrants, and Alexandrian philosophers have continually atacked it, faithful servants have lost their lives for it, but God has kept his promise and preseved His words. He assembled the best scholars in history to translate it into the world's language (English) in its purest form, so that the common man can hold the Word of God in his hands. Yet, people moan about the "thee's" and "thou's" ! Some ignorant "scholars" say "Why not just use you?", the unlearned scholars fail to realise that the use of "thee" & "thou" is one of the strongest reasons for using the AV. The word you is actually used 2,004 times in the Authorised Version, the thee's, thou's, and ye's are used for accuracy and directness of translation.
It is often said that the AV is written in 16th/17th century English, but "Thee, Thou, Thy, Thine, etc" were never common street English, even in the times of Queen Elizabeth I. The pronoun "You" started to be used instead of "Thou" towards the end of the 13th century. "Thou, Thee, Thy, Thine, etc" are not archaic or obsolete English. Archaic, or "olde Englishe" are words that have been replaced by another word, such as Shambles being replaced in modern use by the word market. Archaic is also things like Chaucer as originally written.
The King James was written in high English, a very precise form of our language, a poetic form that is used in religious language and love poetry. Every language including the Hebrew of the Psalms has special poetic forms (see Gesenius', Hebrew Grammar, sect. 2,q-r; etc.). "Thou, thee, thy, thine, etc" were a poetic device used by the AV translators to reflect the use of singular 2nd person pronouns from Hebrew and Greek, for accuracy of translation. The AV correctly informs us on what was the proper original sense.
The AV translators desired an accurate, word-for-word translation of the Hebrew and Greek text. They wanted to stick closely to the Biblical usage of the singular and plural distinctions in the second person forms of pronouns and verbs, if they used the one-word "you" throughout, they would not be able to do this. If "You" is used for the singular as well as the plural: it becomes an ambiguous word. In Luke 22.31,32,
"The Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have YOU, that he may sift YOU as wheat,"
"you" here referring to Peter and the other disciples;
"But I have prayed for THEE, that THY faith fail not: and when THOU art converted, strengthen THY brethren."
"thee " and "thy" referring to Peter only. Satan's desire was directed to all the apostles, but the Lord prays for each individually. Such distinctions are completely lost when "you" is used throughout.
When thou, thee, thy, are replaced by you, your, the translation is liable to produce an erroneous impression on the reader, and have limited value in the exact study of Scripture.
The Greek and Hebrew language contain a different word for the second person singular and the second person plural pronouns. In modern English, the second person pronoun is expressed with one word, whether in the singular or the plural. That word is "you." Most other European languages have both a singular and a plural pronoun in the second person, as well as in the first and third persons. The first person singular pronoun in the nominative case, for example, is "I," while the plural is "we." The third person singular pronoun (also in the nominative case) is "he," while the plural is "they." Modern English, however, has only "you" for all its second person pronoun uses. High English uses "thou" for the second person singular, and "you" for the plural.
If it begins with "t" (thou, thy, thine, thee) it's SINGULAR,
but if it begins with "y" (ye, you, your) it's PLURAL.
In this way, the AV lets us know whether the Scripture means a singular "you" or a plural "you." "Thou" or "thee" mean one person's being addressed, and "ye" or "you" mean several. This feature often helps us to better interpret God's Word.
Here is a quick rundown for the non-grammarians. A "pronoun" is a word that "stands in for" another noun or noun-phrase. A "personal pronoun" is one which stands for a person. The personal pronouns are classified as first person, second person and third person by their relationship to the one speaking. The speaker himself and any others he chooses to include as part of his "group" is called first person. The person(s) TO WHOM the speaker is speaking is called second person. The person(s) ABOUT WHOM the speaker is speaking is called third person. Thus we have the following table which we can construct in English, once we differentiate between the purpose of the various pronouns:
|1st||singular||I||Me||My (or mine)|
|plural||We||Us||Our (or ours)|
|2nd||singular||Thou||Thee||Thy (or thine)|
|plural||Ye||You||Your (or yours)|
|plural||They||Them||Their (or theirs)|
|NOM=nominative = case of the subject||OBJ=objective = case of the object of the verb, indirect object of the verb or object of a preposition||POSS=possessive = case of possessing or sourcing.|
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The preface of the NIV rightly points out that the ancient tongues (Hebrew & Greek) did not use a special form of the word "you" to address God. However, a cursory reading of the AV will soon clarify the fact that it is the modern translations which have attempted to keep "thee and thou" when addressing God and "you and you" when addressing mortals. That is NOT the case with the AV. The AV usage is simply a reflection of the singular 2nd person pronouns used in the Hebrew and Greek in which the Scriptures were originally written by the inspiration of God. However, if you read through the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures you will never find a single instance in which God is addressed using a 2nd person PLURAL pronoun. Not once!
Some examples of the ambiguity that arises from not properly translating singulars and plurals.
In Luke 22:31, the NIV rightly explains in a footnote that the term "you" as used in that verse is plural. But then it FAILS to mention that in verse 32, the word "you" is singular in Greek! Of course, those who use the AV have no difficulty discerning that even without footnotes!
"THOU shalt speak unto him, and put words in his mouth; and I will be with THY mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach YOU what YE shall do."
The THOU, THY refer to Moses himself, but YOU refers to the entire nation of Israel which would be instructed by the spokesman Aaron. It becomes quite difficult to tell who is being addressed without being able to distinguish properly between singular and plural pronouns.
"This shall be a continual burnt offering throughout YOUR generations at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD where I will meet YOU, to speak there unto THEE."
The you, referring to the children of Israel, is explained in the following verse, but THEE refers to Moses, who had the holy privilege of hearing the words of God directly (Leviticus 1:1).
2 Samuel 7:23,
"And what nation in the earth is like THY people, even like Israel, whom God went to redeem for a people to himself, and to make him a name, and to do for YOU great things and terrible, for THY land, before THY people, which THOU redeemedst to THEE from Egypt."
Here David is in prayer to God, speaking TO God in the second person singular (THY, THOU). David also speaks ABOUT God in the third person--"God, himself, him," a change of style that hardly marks prayers today. The people of Israel are referred to in the second person--YOU, even in a prayer. Consider what confusion could result if this important distinction were done away with by using YOU, YOUR throughout? It could be incorrectly thought that David was praying in part to the nation -- or that the land belonged to the people and not to God. Either misconstruction invites error.
"Jesus saith unto him, THOU has said: nevertheless I say unto YOU, hereafter shall YE see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven."
THOU refers to the High Priest. YE and YOU refers to all who will see Him in the day of His glory (Revelation 1:7), it can be open to some interpretation, but AT LEAST include all those who were standing there IN ADDITION to the high priest.
"Marvel not that I said unto THEE, YE must be born again." The message was spoken to the individual Nicodemus, but obviously the message has a wider application, referring to all men. So also in John 3 verse 11, we read: "I say unto THEE...that YE receive not our witness."
1 Corinthians 8:9-12,
"Take heed lest...this liberty of YOURS.... If any man see THEE which hast knowledge... through THY knowledge...but when YE sin."
The plural form likely refers to all church members, but the singular form to those individuals in responsibility. In verse 13, Paul even brings the principle home to himself!
2 Timothy 4:22.
"The Lord Jesus Christ be with THY spirit. Grace be with YOU." (Contrast 1 Timothy 6:21.)
The singular refers to Timothy, to whom alone the Epistle was written (2 Timothy 1:1). But the plural refers to others who were also included in Paul's final greetings, "Priscila and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus" (4:19).
"All that are with me salute THEE. Greet them that love us in the faith. Grace be with YOU all."
Here, the singular refers to Titus, but the YOU to the church in Crete (1:5), and to all who loved Paul in the faith.
"Having confidence in THY obedience I wrote unto THEE, knowing that THOU wilt also do more than I say .. I trust that through YOUR prayers I shall be given unto YOU ... There salute THEE ... the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with YOUR spirit."
The singular refers to Philemon, but this short letter was also addressed to "Apphia ... Archippus ... and to the church in thy house" (v. 2). Thus the plural form is used in verses 3 and 25 where grace is offered, and in verse 22 where fellowship with the whole church is expected, as well as with Philemon as an individual.
Get out a "modern" translation that has dropped the use of the 2nd person singular/plural distinction and compare the above passages along with Numbers 16:8-11; Deuteronomy 4:3; 1 Kings 9:5-6; Isaiah 33:2-4; Matthew 5:39; Matthew 6:4-7; Matthew 11:23-24; Matthew 18:9-10; Matthew 18:22-35; Matthew 20:21-22; Matthew 23:37-38; Mark 14:37-38; Luke 5:4; Luke 6:30-31; Luke 9:41; Luke 10:13-14; Luke 16:25-26; Luke 22:31-32; John 1:50-51; James 2:16; etc. Replacing "thou/thee/thy/thine" with the ambiguous "you" does not clarify, but muddies the Scriptures, and conveys half-truths.
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-EST & -ETH
Adding "-s" and "-es" to words make them plural, but in modern English we have no such suffix to prevent confusion between the rendering of a noun in its plural form and the rendering of a verb in its active and onging form. The old English made this distinction by use of an "-eth" or "-est" ending.
For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.
None of us liveth to himself means that life is ongoing. Such a one is in the continual process of being alive. no man dieth to himself tells us that he is in the continual process of dying. If the translators used the more broadly understood "No man lives to himself, and no man dies to himself." the full meaning of the verse is lost, "No man dies to himself" means the act of dying.
So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these?
To revise the word lovest, to "Do you love me?" is to miss the whole point. Jesus doesn't want to know if there are moments when Peter loves Him. He wants to know if Peter possesses a constant, ongoing love for His redeemer.
He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee.
Peter's reply is a testimony to his understanding that Jesus' knowledge of his heart is continuous.
By using Jesus saith, instead of Jesus said, takes the story out of the past-tense mode and presents it in such a way as to make us eyewitnesses to the action. The word endings "-est" and "-eth" help to make the King James Bible so very meaningful.
Italics & Quotes
The use of italics in the AV is also a great help. Anyone who has ever translated from one language to another knows that words must be added to the finished work to complete the sentence structure of the new language. All translators do this when translating the Bible. For example:
Psalm 23:1 reads "The LORD is my shepherd" in the AV, the translators added the word "is" to complete the sense of the sentence.
Psalm 23:1 in the NIV reads, "The LORD is my Shepherd."
The AV translators were men of integrity, so they italicized words that do not appear in the original language. The new translations do not do this, so you dont know what words have been added.
Should we take the Italics out?
Well for one, who would decide which italicized words to keep and which to take out, and if we took them all out we would have problems such as in II Samuel 21:19, where we have:
"And there was again a battle in Gob with the Philistines, where Elhanan the son of Jaaroregim, a Bethlehemite, slew the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the staff of whose spear was like a weaver's beam."
Taking the italicized words out would have the Bible saying that Elhanan killed Goliath, when everyone knows that I Samuel 17 says that David killed Goliath.
The best reason for not meddling with God's choice of words for His Bible, and leaving the italics in, comes from the Apostles Peter and Paul and the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.
In the AV, Psalm 16:8, reads:
"I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved."
Notice that the two words "he is" are in italics, yet when we find the Apostle Peter quoting this verse in the New Testament in Acts 2:25 we find it says:
"For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved:"
So here we find the Apostle Peter quoting Psalm 16:8 italicized words and all!
Now let us look at the same phenomena concerning the Apostle Paul, who often quoted from the Old Testament in his writings. In doing so, he quoted as did the other New Testament writers, directly from the Hebrew Text. We have several of Paul's quotes which contain words not found in the Hebrew original. For example, in Romans 10:20 Paul quotes Isaiah 65:1.
Romans 10:20 "But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me."
Isaiah 65:1 "I am sought of them that asked not for me; I am found of them that sought me not: I said, Behold me, behold me, unto a nation that was not called by my name."
Notice the words "them that" exist only in the italics of the AV, yet in Romans 10:20 Paul quotes as though they were in Isaiah 65:1. The same is true of I Corinthians 3:20, which is a quote of Psalm 94:11, look it up and you will find that the word "are" supplied by the translators, is quoted by Paul.
In I Corinthians 9:9. Paul quotes from Deuteronomy 25:4:
"For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen?"
Deuteronomy 25:4: "Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn."
Paul quotes the words "the corn" just as if they had been in the Hebrew original even though they are only found in the italics of the AV.
The Lord Jesus Christ also quoted from what appears to have been the Authorised Version. We find Him quoting a word that was not in the "originals" and only exists in the italics found in the AV.
Deuteronomy 8:3. "And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live."
Notice that the word "word" is in italics, meaning that it was not in the Hebrew text. Upon examination of Deuteronomy 8:3 in Hebrew one will find that the word "dabar" which is Hebrew for "word" is not found anywhere in the verse. Yet in His contest with Satan we find Jesus quoting Deuteronomy 8:3 as follows:
Matthew 4:4. "But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God."
Jesus quotes the entire verse including the AVs italicized word! Even an amateur "scholar" can locate "ramati", a form of "rama", which is Greek for "word", in any Greek New Testament.
The retelling of Acts 9 by Paul in Acts 22, in any version follows the AV rendition of Acts 9. It includes Paul's salvation "What shall I do, Lord? And the Lord said unto me" (v10) which is omitted in the NIV, NASB and others.
Luke would proclaim versions such as the NASV and the RSV as corruptions and the AV as authentic:
Luke makes the following statement: "The former treatise have I made, 0 Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen:" Acts 1:1,2
"The former treatise" is the Gospel of Luke which Luke wrote to a believer named Theophilus (who apparently was an early Christian who had never personally met the Lord while He was on this earth). Theophilus was the recipient of both the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles. Luke states that his "former treatise" told "of all that Jesus began both to do and teach". The things which Jesus began to do are first recorded in Luke 2:41-52 in which He was left behind in Jerusalem when Joseph and His mother left to return to Nazareth. Luke's gospel is the only one of the four gospels which records any of Christ's actions prior to His baptism at the age of thirty years old. (Matthew 3:16, Mark 1:9 and John 1:29-34). Luke then deals the death blow to the famous Nestle's Greek New Testament and also the NASV etc, he continues with, "until the day in which he was taken up". Luke's gospel ends with Christ being "carried up into heaven " in Luke 24:51. Thus, Luke states that his gospel begins with the earliest acts of Christ and ends with His ascension. Therefore, any Greek manuscript or manuscripts, no matter what their age, containing the Gospel of Luke which omits either of these accounts is not authentic. In an examination of the 23rd Edition of Nestle's Greek Text we find that the Greek words, "Kai anepheroto eis ton huranon," "and was carried up into the heaven" are not found in this text.
The footnote in the critical apparatus indicates that the authority for removing this phrase is no more than manuscript (MS) Sinaiticus, D, one majuscule MS known as number 52 and one 5th century palimpsect (a MS which has been erased and written over top of). The phrase "and carried up into heaven" is found in B, C, E, F, G, H, L, S, T, V, Y, Z, Delta, Theta, Psi, and Omega plus papyrus p75, and most remaining witnesses. Yet on the basis of only two MSS the scholars of the secret Lockman Foundation have omitted this phrase from Luke 24:51 in the New American Standard Version (NASV). Hence, the NASV is not truly a reliable translation. The Communistic liberal scholars of the Revised Standard Version (RSV) also omit the phrase, thus agreeing with the conservatives of the NASV that Christ did not ascend bodily into heaven.
If Luke, the writer of the Gospel of Luke and the book of the Acts of the Apostles, could examine a King James Bible and a New American Standard Version he would declare the New American Standard Version a fraud and proclaim the King James Bible as authentic.
"So if the AV was good enough for Paul, it's good enough for you, huh" jeers the KJV critics, a statement that is usually made in a sarcastic manner in the hope that it will embarrass Bible believers in their belief, well, a true Bible-believer can not only trust the AV as a superior translation, he can also truly say that it is a fact that the AV was not only good enough for Paul, but it was good enough for Peter, Luke, and the Lord Jesus Christ too.
The AV also does not use quotation marks, because the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts do not have them. The reader is allowed to determines where a quotation begins and ends by the context of the text, and all the other means of interpretation at his disposal. The new versions have inserted quote marks according to the translators' interpretations of the various passages. John 1:15-18 and 3:27-36 are good examples of places where the length of the quotation is a matter of interpretation.
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The overall reading level of the AV is within the reach of anyone with an average education. It is written on an 8th to 10th grade level. This has been proven from computer analysis made by Dr. Donald Waite. He ran several books of the KJV through the Right Writer program and found that Genesis 1, Exodus 1, and Romans 8 are on the 8th grade level; Romans 1 and Jude are on the 10th grade level; and Romans 3:1-23 is on the 6th grade level.
Dr. Donald Waite says, "I know hundreds of people whose intelligence and educational levels have not reached as high as some of these [modern version proponents who claim the KJV is hopeless antiquated] ... people who say they can't understand this King James Bible, yet these people do understand it. How do you figure that out? Remember 1 Cor. 2:14 which states, `But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.' This verse is still true, regardless of which translation is used" (Waite, Defending the King James Bible, pp. 50,51).
Dr. Waite continues: "Some people say they like a particular version because they say it's more readable. Now, readability is one thing, but does the readability conform to what's in the original Greek and Hebrew language? You can have a lot of readability, but if it doesn't match up with what God has said, it's of no profit. In the King James Bible, the words match what God has said. You may say it's difficult to read, but study it out. It's hard in the Hebrew and Greek and, perhaps, even in the English in the King James Bible. But to change it around just to make it simple, or interpreting it, instead of translating it, is wrong. You've got lots of interpretation, but we don't want that in a translation. We want exactly what God said in the Hebrew and Greek brought over into English" (Ibid., pp. 241,242).
Because we have been left without a standard text of Scripture, not many people today can memorize and quote scripture anymore. There are too many versions to chose from, and when the supposed authorities all disagree on what it says, we are left with confusion. The poetic musical phrasing of the King James makes it easier to memorize than the modern versions which cast seeds of doubt.
The AV brings reverence to God, and spiritual beauty to the soul. It is an accurate translation, and time-honoured. It would not take much to educate children to the use of "thee " and "thou" in worship.
Proverb:22:28: "Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set."
Job:24:2: "Some remove the landmarks; they violently take away flocks, and feed thereof."
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ation was extraordinarily well done because to the translators what the were translating was not merely a curious collection of ancient books written by different authors in different stages of culture, but the word of God divinely revealed through His chosen and expressly inspired scribes. In this conviction they carried out their work with boundless reverence and care and achieved a beautifully artistic result...they made a translation so magnificent that to this day the common human Britisher or citizen of the United States of North America accepts and worships it as a single book by a single author, the book being the Book of Books and the author bei