How to read the King James Version of the Bible.

I've heard lots of excuses why people read other transalations. Now, I'm not one of those who think that the KJV is better than the hebrew or greek or that think your doomed to hell if you ever read another version, but considering the serious theological errors in ALL of the modern version with the exception of the KJV, I have always used it and encourage others to.

"But it's so hard to understand," People say. Actually once you overcome a few minor hurdles the KJV is not only easy to understand, it comes closer to representing the original languages than any other English version.

Other than names and a few archaic nouns and verbs, the following make up the entirety of what most people have problems with. It's not that hard to grasp the syntax.

Thou, Thee, You, Ye
Ever wondered (if you've studied other languages) why English is one of the few languages with out a different singular and plural second person singular? The French have vous and nous, the Spanish have usted and ustedes. But we just have you. (Of course down South here we've attempted to correct this flaw by adopting the word ya'll, as a plural form of you, and some areas up North occasionally will use the word yous, as in "yous guys") Well, we used to have four word for the first person: singular, plural, subjective and objective. (If you don't understand the difference between subjective and objective, I is the subjective form ("I give it to you") and me is the objective ("you give it to me").

In King James English thou is the second person singular subjective.
"But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it:.." Ge 2:17a
Thee is the second person objective
"And I will put enmity between thee and the woman..." Ge 3:15a
Ye is the second person plural subjective.
"...Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?" Ge 3:1
You is the second person plural objective.
"And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed..."Ge 1:29 (note: He is addressing both Adam and Eve.)

As far as understanding goes, the objective and subjective are really just parts of grammer and since in English, sentence placement is more rigid than in greek( for example, If the phrase "thee throw to I" were in the greek equivelent it would be OK grammer, and would be understood as "I throw to thee", but in English we would still need to place the words like this, "I throw to thee") it's easy to figure out what's being said.

Reread the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. chapters 5,6 and 7) now with the knowledge that you and ye are plural and thee and thou are singular. Does it add to the message? (it helps me to substitute ya'll for you and ye as I read it.)

Thy, Thine, and Mine
Thy and thine mean your or yours, thy word is your word. This is thine is this is yours. Of course when the noun begins with a vowel, thy becomes thine as in thine anger.

My and mine work the same way, just as in modern English, my word, this is mine, but unlike modern English, KJV would say mine anger.

...eth, ...est, etc
There are alot of words that end with eth in KJV English. Do you remember learning verb tenses in grade school? This is the same stuff. Take the word answer. There are three tenses: past, present and future and three persons: first(I, me or we), second(you) and third(he, she or they). Here is how the word answer works with each tense and each person:

  Past Present Future
First person I answered I answer I shall answer
Second person thou answeredst
or thou answered
thou answerest
(or answerest thou)
thou shalt answer
Third person he answered he answereth he shall answer

Notice how thou seems to always add a t or st somewhere.
But notice that whether you know what the correct tense form of the verb is, the text is still understandable.

Now...Dost thou think thou shalt understand thy Bible when next thou takest it up?

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