Friday, September 11, 2009

Another Reason to Like the KJV, from Luke 22:31-32

I wrote once before that I prefer to use the King James Version of the Bible, and gave some reasons for doing so.

This evening I was continuing to read the phenomenally well-written book, Not By Chance, by Dr. Layton Talbert, on the subject of the providence of God. On pp. 175-6, in a discussion of Luke 22:31-32, Dr. Talbert made some simple yet significant observations. First, read the verses, noting the italicized words; then read what he wrote:

31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:
32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.

Despite our modern impatience with the "thee's and thou's" of Scripture, the effort to eliminate this archaism necessarily sacrifices an element of accuracy and understanding. In modern English we use "you" for both singular and plural. The advantage of the older English in the Authorized Version is that you always know whether the pronoun (in Greek or Hebrew) is singular or plural. "Thee" and "thou" and "thy" always signify a singular pronoun in the original, whereas "you" and "ye" and "your" always indicate a plural. Unfortunately, modern English versions erase that distinction by the use of "you" for both singular and plural. Many English readers are unaware of this distinction even when they read the KJV.

Peter was not the only one to be sifted by Satan. Luke 22:32 reads, "Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you [plural; that is, all of the disciples], that he may sift you [plural] as what." Jesus was informing and warning Peter—even in the face of Peter's promise of loyalty to the death—that Satan desired all of the disciples to test them to the uttermost. Moreover, the vocabulary and tense of the phrase "hath desired" indicate that Satan's desire had, in fact, already been granted. Satan had sought and already obtained permission from God to test any and all of the disciples.

...."But," Jesus adds to Peter (Luke 22:32), "I have prayed for thee [singular; that is, "for thee, in particular, Peter"] that thy [singular] faith fail not: and when thou [singular] art converted [that is, turned around after this trial], strengthen thy [singular] brethren" who were also severely tried.

[All emphases are in the original text.]
This is a great book. You can purchase it here. I hope to teach a S.S. series on the topic this winter and will be blogging about elements of it as I go along. Great stuff!

No comments: