Another King James Bible Believer

Some Thoughts on the “archaic” Language of the King James Bible.


“Should we dump the King James Bible because of archaic language?”

Short video (2 1/2 minutes) by Jack McElroy and David Daniels



Hi all. What I find to be interesting and I think is a very significant "coincidence" is that the KJB critics, the Bible agnostics and the unbelievers in an inerrant Bible often complain about the "archaic" language of the King James Bible and they tell us "We don't talk that way today. We need a bible in modern English we can all understand." 

IF a Christian REALLY believes the Bible is the infallible words of God, then the "old fashioned language" is not an issue at all. Sure, the King James Bible has some words that are older or have different meanings than we may be familiar with. 

But people are learning new vocabulary or new meanings to English words all the time in any field of study, be it sports, biology, the sciences, mathematics, medicine or just about anything imaginable. If you are interested in something, you learn the meaning of the words that are found in this field of interest. Even when you start using the computer we have to learn some new words or different meanings to words we already knew - Words like "mouse", IPad, "Kindle", Office, Word, "paste". 

When we ask the King James Bible critics and those who complain about "that old fashioned, archaic language" to show us what they think IS the inerrant words of God, they usually end up referring us back to "the" Greek and "the" Hebrew (although they don't tell us WHICH "the" Greek and "the" Hebrew they refer to.)

Well, both "the" Greek and "the" Hebrew that were used to translate the Bible into other languages are themselves "archaic" forms of the language.  

The people who speak modern Hebrew and modern Greek do NOT speak the way biblical Greek and Hebrew are written.

The spelling is different. The vocabulary is different. The way they are spoken is different. But they CAN understand the biblical Greek and Hebrew - the Greek with a bit more practice and training.  Modern Greek is really quite a bit different than biblical Greek.

But think about this.  It is the same with the English text of the King James Bible. 

It is slightly "archaic" with all those "thee, thou, thy, and ye"s in there, but this is actually far more accurate than the generic "you" of today's modern English.  

See "Why all those "thee"s and "ye"s are more accurate."

Yet English speaking people can understand the language of the King James Bible and know what it says.

The Hebrew speaking Jews and the Greek speaking Greeks of today can understand the older and more archaic forms of their own languages, and no Bible believing Hebrew or Bible believing Greek would even THINK of "updating" or abandoning  their Hebrew O.T. or their Greek N.T.

Do you see the pattern here?  God sees the end from the beginning and he knew that his true words would be preserved in a slightly "archaic" form in the last days.

This is actually a good thing.  When we read the King James Bible, it is written like no other book.  We know just from the sound of it, that it has been around for a long time.  It contains timeless truths.  Eternal truths.

And the fact that it does not read like today's newspaper is a good thing.  It has the sound of authority and you have to stop and think about what it is saying.  The words begin to sink down into your mind and heart.

Linguistic scholar A.T. Robertson made the following important observation about the King James Bible: "No one today speaks the English of the Authorized Version, or ever did for that matter, for though, like Shakespeare, it is the pure Anglo-Saxon, yet unlike Shakespeare IT REPRODUCES TO A REMARKABLE EXTENT THE SPIRIT AND LANGUAGE OF THE BIBLE" (A Grammar of the Greek New Testament, p. 56).

The KJB is far easier to memorize and quote from than the modern speech versions are, precisely because it IS different and it has a musical cadence to it.  The King James Bible was written to be read out loud. They did it this way on purpose.

And when the preacher or Bible teacher stops quoting God's words and begins to give us his own words and thoughts, we can immediately tell the difference between the two, just because of the way it is sounds and it spoken.

I believe these are GOOD things and God's own deliberate pattern.

Think about it.

"He that hath ears to hear, let him hear."  Luke 8:8

For more on this, See Archaic and Inerrant" beats "Modernized and Wrong" Any Day of the Week.

What about that archaic word WOT and WOTTETH?

The old English word “WOT” is found 10 times in the King James Bible.  Six times in the Old Testament (Genesis 21:26; 44:15; Exodus 32:1, 23; Numbers 22:6; Joshua 2;5) and 4 times in the New Testament (Acts 3:17; 7:40; Romans 11:2, Philippians 1:22).  

“And Abimelech said, I WOT not who hath done this thing: neither didst thou tell me, neither yet heard I of it, but to day.”  Genesis 21:26

“And now, brethren, I WOT that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers.”  Acts 3:17

The verb “wotteth” is found one time and is used in Genesis 39:8 - “Behold, my master WOTTETH not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand.”

It simply means TO KNOW. It comes from the English verb “TO WIT”, which in turn means “to know”.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary - wot - present tense first and third person of WIT.

Oxford Dictionary - wot - archaic to know.

Webster’s 1828 Dictionary - WOT, verb intransitive To know; to be aware.

Not only does the King James Bible use this older word WOT meaning “to know” but so too do the following Bible translations. I won’t list all the times they use it; just an example or two.

Wycliffe bible 1390 - “for we WOT not, what hath befallen to this Moses” (Exodus 32;23), Coverdale 1535 - “Abner sayde: As truly as thy soule lyueth O kynge, I WOTE not.” (1 Samuel 17:55), The Great Bible 1540, Matthew’s Bible 1549, the Bishops’ Bible 1568 - “where is Habel thy brother? Which sayde I wote not: Am I my brothers keper?” (Genesis 4:9), the Geneva Bible 1599 - “But he denied before them all, saying, I WOT not what thou sayest.” (Matthew 26:70) and others,  The Revised Version 1885 - “And now, brethren, I WOT that in ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers”, The Ancient Hebrew Bible 1907, The Clarke N.T. 1913 - “WOT ye not what the scripture saith of Elijah? 

What About the archaic word "carriages" as used in Acts 21:15 and 1 Samuel 17:22?

Acts 21:15 “we took up our CARRIAGES”


“And after those days we took up our carriages, and went up to Jerusalem.”  Acts 21:15


What are “carriages”? 


Daniel Webster’s 1828 Dictionary


5. That which is carried; burden; as baggage, vessels, furniture, etc.

“And David left his CARRIAGE in the hands of the keeper of the CARRIAGE.”  1 Samuel 17:22.

Webster’s Dictionary 1913 

Carriage - Noun. 1. That which is carried; burden; baggage.

“David left his carriage in the hand of the keeper of the carriage.”  1 Samuel 17:22

“After those days we took up our carriages and went up to Jerusalem.”  Acts 21:15

Easton Bible Dictionary - carriage

 The phrase in Acts 21:15 “We took up our carriages” it means “We packed up our baggage.”

It is admittedly an archaic usage of the word that means “baggage, or burdens to be carried”.  

It is not a wrong translation. You just have to learn the older meaning of this word and then you understand it. 

And you don't "need to carry a dictionary around with you when you use the King James Bible" either, as some bible agnostics mock.  Just as you don't need to carry around a dictionary when you talk about art, or cooking, or mechanics or physics, or carpentry.  If you are not familiar with a certain word, you look it up once, learn the meaning of the term and go forward.  

Not only does the King James Bible use the word “carriage” to mean “that which is carried, a burden to be borne, goods, or baggage” but so to do Wesley’s New Testament 1755, The Bill Bible 1671, and The Bond Slave Version 2012.

The  “archaic” English word “to ear” meaning “to plow, or cultivate”

The admittedly archaic verb “to ear” occurs a few times in the King James Bible. It simply means “to plow”.

The prophet Samuel tells the children of Israel what the king they asked for will be like, saying: “And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them TO EAR HIS GROUND and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots.” 1 Samuel 8:12

“For these two years hath the famine been in the land: and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be EARING nor harvest.” Genesis 45:6

“ Six days thou shalt work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest: IN EARING TIME and in harvest thou shalt rest.” Exodus 34:21

“ The oxen likewise and the young asses that EAR THE GROUND shall eat clean provender, which hath been winnowed with the shovel and with the fan.” Isaiah 30:24


The verb form “to ear” is directly related to the noun “ear” whose meaning is “The EARS of a cereal plant such as wheat or barley are the parts at the top of the stem, which contain the seeds or grains.”

Webster’s 1913 Dictionary

to ear - to plow or till; to cultivate.

Webster’s 1828 Dictionary

EAR, verb transitive [Latin aro.] To plow or till.

All Words.Com

to ear - 1. (Archaic) To plough.

Let’s take a closer look at this verb as it is used in 1 Samuel 8:12

“And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them TO EAR HIS GROUND and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots.” 1 Samuel 8:12

The reason I chose this particular passage is to point out something that is done by several modern versions in verse 16 of this same chapter.

There we read in the King James Bible - “And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your GOODLIEST YOUNG MEN, and your asses, and put them to his work.”

This is the Hebrew text and also the reading found in the Geneva bible, the RV, ASV, NKJV, NASB, ESV, Holman.

However such versions as the NIV 2011, New Life Version 1969, RSV 19146-1971, NRSV 1989, Good News Translation 1992, God’s Word Translation 1995, New Century Version 2005, Dan Wallace’s NET version 2006, Easy-to-Read Version 2006, Common English Bible 2011, Names of God Bible 2011, The Voice 2012, International Children’s bible 2015, New Living Translation 2015 say:

“he will take THE BEST OF YOUR CATTLE and donkeys for his own use”.

Then they footnote that this reading comes from the so called Greek Septuagint, but that the Hebrew reads like the KJB has it.

In fact, ALL of these modern versions like the NASB, NIV, ESV, Holman, NET etc. often reject the Hebrew readings and even add hundreds of words to the Hebrew texts.

For proof of this you can see - “The NIV, NASB, ESV, NET, Holman Standard and other Vatican Versions reject the Hebrew Texts. Part One - Genesis through Psalms”

And “NIV, NASB, ESV, NET and other Vatican Versions Reject the Hebrew  - Part Two. Proverbs through Malachi”

Yet those who promote these modern versions don’t seem to mind all these scores of places where they reject the inspired Hebrew readings and add to them, but will raise a Big Stink about the King James Bible’s use of a few “archaic” words.

It may surprise you to learn how many Bible translations use the word “to ear” meaning “to plow or cultivate.” Not only does the King James Bible use this word “to ear” or “earing and harvest” but so too do the following Bible translations -

Coverdale 1535, The Great Bible 1540, Matthew’s Bible 1549, the Bishops’ Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible 1599, Douay-Rheims Bible 1610, The Ancient Hebrew Bible 1907 - “TO EAR his ground and to reap his harvest”, God’s First Truth Translation 1999 - “and will make him captains of them over thousands and over fifties, and set them TO EAR HIS GROUND, and to gather in his harvest”, The Revised Geneva Bible 2005 and The Hebrew Transliteration Bible 2010 and The Biblos Bible 2013! - “and to EAR his ground and to reap his harvest”.

Articles on some “archaic” words.

Thou and Ye


Why those "thee"s and "ye"s are more accurate.


1 Peter 3:1 "Likewise ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands: that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the CONVERSATION of the wives: While they behold your chaste CONVERSATION coupled with fear."

Philippians 3:20 "For our CONVERSATION is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ."

to Suffer

“Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.”  Mark 10:14

to Let

 “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now LETTETH will LET, until he be taken out of the way.”  2 Thessalonians 2:7


James 5:11 - "the Lord is very PITIFUL, and of tender mercy."

to Prevent 

1 Thessalonians 4:15 KJB - “For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not PREVENT them which are asleep.”

Example vs. Ensample - Is there a real difference?

See also "Neesings, Habergeon and Leasing"


What About The English Word BEWRAY, as in “…for thy speech BEWRAYETH thee.”  Matthew 26:73?


 What about that archaic word “listeth”?

The archaic word “listeth” occurs just two times in the King James Bible. It is an older English word that simply means “to will” or “to wish”.

Oxford Dictionary - to list - verb, archaic = Want; like.
 ‘let them think what they list’

American Heritage Dictionary. to list, verb - list·ed, list·ing, lists

transitive verb - To be pleasing to; suit.

intransitive verb - To be disposed; choose.

noun - A desire or inclination.

Webster’s Dictionary 1828 - LIST, verb intransitive

Properly, to lean or incline; to be propense; hence, to desire or choose.

Let other men think of your devices as they list

The wind bloweth where it listeth. John 3:8.

The verb "to list" is found twice in the King James Bible, in John 3:8 and James 3:4.

“The wind bloweth where it LISTETH, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” John 3:8

“Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor LISTETH.” James 3:4

Other English bibles that use the word “listeth” are Tyndale 1524 (Matthew 20:15 “is it not lawful for me to do as me listeth with mine own?”, John 3:8 and 1 Corinthians 7:36 “let him do what he listeth he sinners not”), Coverdale 1535, The Great Bible 1540, Matthew’s Bible 1549, the Bishops’ Bible 1568, the Douay-Rheims 1582, the Geneva Bible 1587, (John 3:8 and James 3:4), the Beza N.T. 1599, Mace N.T. 1745, Wesley N.T. 1755 (James 3:8), Worsley N.T. 1770, the Thomson Translation 1808, The Revised Translation 1815, The Revised N.T. 1862, the Revised Version 1881 (John 3:8), and The Clarke New Testament 1913 - “the wind bloweth where it listeth”

Here is a handy online site that lists the meanings of the words found in the King James Bible that some people may not be familiar with.

King James Bible Wordlist & Definitions



God bless. 


Here is a handy online site that lists the meanings of the words found in the King James Bible that some people may not be familiar with.

King James Bible Wordlist & Definitions