New Covenant Ministries
for God is one of the most important characteristics a believer
can have. In fact, it is a miracle of grace to possess such an attitude.
It is a fruit of the new birth. It is the result of the Holy Spirit
making real to the heart and mind the sovereignty and holiness of the triune
Scripture, by teaching and inference,
emphasizes the importance of our being reverent toward God.
Ecclesiastes 5:2 says, "Be not rash with thy mouth,
and let not thine heart be hasty to utter anything before God: for God is
in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few."
One of the
frequently-used arguments against using any Bible translation
but the King James Version is that "modern English translations undermine
reverence toward God" because they do not use the words "thee," "thou," and
"thine" when addressing the members of the Trinity. [Although it
must be acknowledged that at least the NASB uses these words when God is
Although this seems like a substantial
reason for using only the KJV, it does not hold up under close scrutiny for
a very simple reason: the KJV itself does not use those words to indicate
reverence toward the triune Godhead. In
"thine" are used in the KJV when people speak to God, when
he speaks to them, when people speak to each other,
and even when God speaks to the DEVIL
Examples will help readers to see
this clearly. Genesis chapter three informs us
of the fall of man into sin, and the attempt of Adam and Eve to hide from
God. Verse nine of that chapter says, "And the
LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, 'Where are thou?'"
Verse thirteen says, "And the LORD God said unto
the woman, 'What is this that thou hast done?'"
Even more striking is that
fact that we read in Genesis 3:14
and 15 what God said to the devil:
And the LORD God said unto the serpent,
hast done this,
art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon
go, and dust shalt
eat all the days of
life: And I will put enmity between
and the woman, and between
seed and her seed; it shall bruise
shalt bruise his heel.'
Examples abound in the KJV where
the words in question are used in conversation between humans.
2 Samuel 12:13 reads, "And David said unto Nathan,
'I have sinned against the LORD.' And Nathan said unto David, 'The LORD also
hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.'" Acts
16:31 says, "And they said, 'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and
thou shalt be saved, and thy house.'"
The foregoing quotations of Scripture
are only a few of the literally scores (would hundreds be an
exaggeration?) of examples in the KJV which prove that the words "thee,"
"thou," and "thine" were not used by the highly esteemed translators
of the KJV to show reverence to the members of the Holy Trinity.
Rather, those words were used in ordinary
conversation in England at the time of the translation of the beloved
KJV. And, if we may use the KJV as a source of evidence,
there was no special language used in prayer during that time.
In Summary, reverence toward the
members of the Godhead was shown in prayer by the manner in which the prayer
was said, rather than by the words which were used. Humility before God is
a matter of the attitude of heart one has, and is not dependent upon special
words for its expression. An attentive reading of the great human prayers
recorded in Scripture will reveal this to be true. Read 1
Kings 3, Ezra 9, Nehemiah
9, and Daniel 9 for examples. Although
the words in question are found in these prayers, it is only because those
words were used in conversation and in prayer when the KJV was
The foregoing discussion was raised
to point out that modern English Bible translations are not irreverent if
they do not use certain words when God is being spoken to. Therefore, Bible
translations must be accepted or rejected for more substantial reasons than
Accuracy of translations, usefulness
to the general public, the reliability of the manuscripts from which a
translation is made, and the theological presuppositions of the translators
are factors that should be considered when Bible translations are being
discussed, not the presence or absence of the words
"thee," "thou," and
written by Bruce Oyen Pastor, Fellowship
Baptist Church, Miles City MT
This Page was Created on 27 November 1998