Why Thee, Thou, Thine, and Thy need to be in your Bible, and why “you” (etc.) is not a modern equivalent.
- So what about Thee and Thou?
- A common complaint about the KJV is that it has “thee and thou” making it sound old. Even though these words don’t harm the understanding of the text, people want them removed.
- What these words are NOT (in biblical use):
- Not a reference to Deity.
- Does not signify some kind of special relationship between people.
- Not “prayer” language.
- Follies of modern Bible translations:
- Old New American Standard (pre 1995) confused the use of these words by restricting them to addressing God.
- New King James Version presents false information about Thee, Thou, and Ye in its preface.
- NKJV editors claim to be updating the KJV but demonstrate clearly that they did not understand the language of the KJV.
- Genesis chapter 3 in the KJV shows us that these words have nothing to do with special relationships or prayer to God.
- Thou is a pronoun for God (Ge 3:9), for Man (Ge 3:12), and for the Devil (Ge 3:14)
- Not conversational English in 1611.
- As we will soon see, these words became “archaic” before the KJV was translated.
- Thee, Thou, Thy and Thine are not the same as You, Ye, Your, and Yours.
- Thee ≠ You.
- 1Cor 12:21 demonstrates that Thee and You are different words.
- Thee = Singular (the hand).
- You = Plural (the feet).
- There are 385 verses in the KJV with both singular and plural appearing in the same verse.
- A closer look at Thou (etc.), history in English
- This information comes from the Oxford English Dictionary (Second Edition).
- Singular vs. Plural
- Thee, Thou, Thy, Thine = Singular
- You, Ye, Your, Yours = Plural
- Thou and its cases thee, thine, and thy were ordinary speech in Old English (pre-12th century)
- Became archaic during Middle English (pre-15th century)
- Use of Thee (etc.) to indicate singular was no longer the common purpose of the word by Modern English (15th century)
- Thee (etc.) was dropped by English speakers and writers before even Wycliffe’s and Tyndale’s English translations.
- Thou (etc.) Revived by Bible Translators
- Biblical Greek and Hebrew maintain a clear distinction between singular and plural personal pronouns and adjectives.
- Tyndale’s translation (early 16th century) maintained this Holy Ghost inspired distinction.
- He used Thee (etc.) for singular.
- He used You (etc.) for plural.
- Tyndale used words archaic even by 16th century standards in order to faithfully translate Scripture.
- The Authorized King James Bible is the seventh translation (from original languages) to retain the use of these archaic words in order to properly translate Scripture.
- Wycliffe’s translated of the Latin Vulgate (14th century) did this too. As the OED makes clear, these words were already uncommon by that point.
- Singular vs. Plural is an important distinction inspired by the Holy Ghost.
- Saying “who cares” is saying that it doesn’t matter what was inspired.
- Dropping this during translation introduces confusion in the text.
- English Standard Version confuses the Lord’s speech to Simon in Luke 22:31-32.
- King James Bible makes the distinction between the group of Disciples (Lu 22:31) and Simon (Lu 22:32) perfectly clear.
- ESV footnote demonstrates the shortcomings of the ESV approach to “easier more modern” translation.
- NKJV doesn’t even bother with a footnote after leaving a mess in the text.
- KJV is clear about the distinction between Joshua and Israel in Joshua 1:1-9. Modern translations do not provide enough information in the text to distinguish between promises for Israel and promises for Joshua.
- Final review: Singular vs. Plural.
Singular Plural Thee
Thy Your Thine Yours
T = Singular
Y = Plural