Example vs. Ensample - Is there really a difference?
Occasionally you will run into a fellow King James Bible believer who insists there is a very real, although subtle, difference in meaning between “example” and “ensample.”
One such person argues: "An ‘ensample’, defined by biblical precept, is a person that one can pattern oneself after in every way, if possible, because he is precisely what one is supposed to be.”
So an "‘ensample" is a pattern we are to follow because that is how we are supposed to be? Really?
Then how does this theory fit with 2 Peter 2:6 “And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them and ENSAMPLE unto those that after should live ungodly”
A pattern we should follow?
1 Corinthians 10:11 as “ENSAMPLES”. (they murmured and were destroyed of the destroyer ) “Now all these things happened unto them for ENSAMPLES”
And many times the word EXAMPLE is used in a positive sense of something we should follow and emulate.
1 Timothy 4:12 “be thou an EXAMPLE of the believers”
“Take, my brethren, the prophets…for an EXAMPLE of suffering affliction” in James 5:10
So, let’s take a closer look at these two words and how they were used in previous English Bibles and in the King James Bible itself.
Let me state my conclusion from the beginning. I believe they are merely synonyms - two words that mean the same thing. They are just two different ways of spelling the same word, and there is no appreciable difference in meaning between the two.
The KJB uses the word “ensample” only 3 times - Philippians 3:17 “walk as ye have us for an ENSAMPLE”, 2 Thessalonians 3:9 - “to make ourselves an ENSAMPLE unto you” and 2 Peter 2:6 “And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them and ENSAMPLE unto those that after should live ungodly”
And it uses the plural of this word - "ensamples” 3 times. 1 Corinthians 10:11 - things happened unto them for ENSAMPLES”, 1 Thessalonians 1:7 - “that ye were ENSAMPLES” to all that believe” and in 1 Peter 5:3 - “but being ENSAMPLES to the flock”
Both words were used interchangeably in previous English translations. The Greek words used are also interchangeable.
The word tupos is # 5179 and is found 16 times in the underlying Greek N.T. It is translated as “EXAMPLES” in 1 Corinthians 10:6 “Now all these things were our EXAMPLES” BUT in the same chapter 1 Corinthians 10:11 as “ENSAMPLES”. (they murmured and were destroyed of the destroyer ) “Now all these things happened unto them for ENSAMPLES”
It is also translated as EXAMPLE in 1 Timothy 4:12 “be thou an EXAMPLE of the believers” BUT as “ENSAMPLE” in Philippians 3:17 “mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ENSAMPLE”
It is also translated as “the PRINT of the nails” (John 20:25), “FIGURES which ye made to worship” (Acts 7:43), “make it according to THE FASHION that he had seen” (Acts 7:44), “he wrote a letter after this MANNER” (Acts 23:25), “who is the FIGURE of him that was to come” (Romans 5:14), “that FORM of doctrine” (Romans 6:17), “shewing thyself a PATTERN of good works” (Titus 2:7) and “according to the PATTERN showed to thee in the mount”.
The other underlying Greek word is # 5262 hupodigma. It is used 6 times and is translated as “EXAMPLE” in Hebrews 4:11 “the same EXAMPLE of unbelief”, “who serve unto the EXAMPLE and shadow of heavenly things” (Hebrews 8:5) and “Take, my brethren, the prophets…for an EXAMPLE of suffering affliction” in James 5:10, BUT it is also translated as ENSAMPLE in 2 Peter 2:6 where we read: “making them an ENSAMPLE unto those that after should live ungodly.”
This same word is also translated as “that the PATTERNS of things in the heavens” in Hebrews 9:23.
The English Dictionaries.
The Online Etymology Dictionary
ensample (n.) - “precedent to be followed, illustrative instance; a pattern, model," c. 1300, variant of asaumple, from Old French essample "example" (see example). The survival of this variant form is due to its use in New Testament in KJV (1 Peter v.3).
Webster’s 1828 Dictionary
Ensample - ENSAM'PLE, noun [ Latin exemplum.] An example; a pattern or model for imitation.
Being ensamples to the flock. 1 Peter 5:3.
ENSAM'PLE, verb transitive To exemplify; to shew by example. This word is seldom used, either as a noun or a verb.
Webster’s New World College Dictionary 4th edition
ensample - Noun (plural ensamples)
1600, Edward Fairfax, The Jerusalem Delivered of Tasso, Book IX, xxviii:The bold ensample of their father's might Their weapons whetted and their wrath increas'd.
Verb (third-person singular simple present ensamples, present participle ensampling, simple past and past participle ensampled)
(obsolete) To exemplify, to show by example. Origin - Old French ensample.
Merriam Webster Dictionary
Definition of ensample
archaic : example, instance
Collins English Dictionary -
noun - an archaic word for example
Definition from Wiktionary
n. An example; a pattern or model for imitation.
v. To exemplify, to show by example.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
n. An example; a pattern or model for imitation.
transitive v. To exemplify, to show by example.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
To exemplify; show by example.
n. A sample or specimen; an instance; a typical example.
n. A pattern or model; a guiding example.
Info please Dictionary -
Pronunciation: (en-sam'pul), [key]
— n. Archaic. example.
I see no real difference in the meaning. If you go back and compare previous English bibles you will see that both spellings were acceptable English, and where one English translation uses "example" another has "ensample", and vice versa.
I personally think this is much ado about nothing.
The word "ensample" is only found 3 times in the KJB and the plural "ensamples" is found likewise only 3 times.
Let's just look at one of these "examples" for now and compare them.
The Geneva bible rarely uses the word "example" - just twice that I know of.
But it used the word "ensample" many times, where the KJB now has "example".
1 Corinthians 10:6 (Geneva)
Nowe these things are our ENSAMPLES, to the intent that we should not lust after euil things as they also lusted.
1 Corinthians 10:11 (Geneva)
Nowe all these things came vnto them for ENSAMPLES, and were written to admonish vs, vpon whome the endes of the world are come.
Philippians 3:17 (Geneva)
Brethren, bee followers of mee, and looke on them, which walke so, as yee haue vs for an ENSAMPLE.
1 Thessalonians 1:7 (Geneva)
So that ye were as ENSAMPLES to all that beleeue in Macedonia and in Achaia.
2 Thessalonians 3:9 (Geneva)
Not because we haue not authoritie, but that we might make our selues an ENSAMPLE vnto you to follow vs.
1 Timothy 1:16 (Geneva)
Notwithstanding, for this cause was I receiued to mercie, that Iesus Christ should first shewe on me all long suffering vnto the ENSAMPLE of them, which shall in time to come beleeue in him vnto eternall life.
1 Timothy 4:12 (Geneva)
Let no man despise thy youth, but be vnto them that beleeue, an ENSAMPLE, in worde, in conuersation, in loue, in spirit, in faith, and in purenesse.
Titus 2:7 (Geneva)
In all things shewe thy selfe an ENSAMPLE of good woorkes with vncorrupt doctrine, with grauitie, integritie,
Hebrews 4:11 (Geneva)
Let vs studie therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same ENSAMPLE of disobedience.
James 5:10 (Geneva)
Take, my brethren, the Prophets for an ENSAMPLE of suffering aduersitie, and of long patience, which haue spoken in the Name of the Lord.
1 Peter 2:21 (Geneva)
For hereunto ye are called: for Christ also suffred for you, leauing you an ENSAMPLE that ye should follow his steppes.
1 Peter 5:3 (Geneva)
Not as though ye were lords ouer Gods heritage, but that yee may bee ENSAMPLES to the flocke.
2 Peter 2:6 (Geneva)
And turned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrhe into ashes, condemned them and ouerthrewe them, and made them an ENSAMPLE vnto them that after should liue vngodly,
Jude 1:7 (Geneva)
As Sodom and Gomorrhe, and the cities about them, which in like maner as they did, committed fornication, and followed strange flesh, are set foorth for an ENSAMPLE, and suffer the vengeance of eternall fire.
Likewise the Bishop's Bible 1568 did not use the word "example" very much, but "ensample" was used more frequently, and in some cases where it used "ENSAMPLE", the KJB now has "example"
John 13:15 (Bishops)
For I haue geuen you an ENSAMPLE, that ye shoulde do as I haue done to you
Romans 15:5 (Bishops)
The God of pacience and consolation, graunt you to be lyke mynded one towardes another, after the ENSAMPLE of Christe Iesu
1 Corinthians 10:6 (Bishops)
These veryly are ENSAMPLES to vs, to thintent that we shoulde not lust after euyll thynges, as they also lusted
1 Corinthians 10:11 (Bishops)
All these thinges happened vnto them for ENSAMPLES: but they are written to put vs in remembraunce, whom the endes of the worlde are come vpon
Philippians 3:17 (Bishops)
Brethren, be folowers together of me, and loke on them which walke so as ye haue vs for an ENSAMPLE
1 Thessalonians 1:7 (Bishops)
So that ye were an ENSAMPLE to all that beleue in Macedonia and Achaia
2 Thessalonians 3:9 (Bishops)
Not but that we had auctoritie, but to make our selues an ENSAMPLE vnto you to folowe vs
Hebrews 4:11 (Bishops)
Let vs studie therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same ENSAMPLE of disobedience
1 Peter 2:21 (Bishops)
For herevnto veryly were ye called, for Christe also suffered for vs, leauyng vs an ENSAMPLE, that ye should folowe his steppes
1 Peter 5:3 (Bishops)
Not as though ye were Lordes ouer God his heritage: but that ye be an ENSAMPLE to the flocke
2 Peter 2:6 (Bishops)
And turned their cities of Sodome & Gomorrhe into asshes, ouerthrewe the, dampned them, and made of them an ENSAMPLE vnto those that after shoulde lyue vngodly
Jude 1:7 (Bishops)
Euen as Sodome and Gomorrhe, and the cities about them, which in lyke maner defiled them selues with fornication, and folowed straunge fleshe, are set foorth for an ENSAMPLE, and suffer the payne of eternall fyre
TYNDALE bible 1524
And Tyndale used "ensample" in other places where the KJB has "example"
Genesis 48:20 (Tyndale)
And he blessed them sainge. At the ENSAMPLE of these the Israelites shall blesse and saye: God make the as Ephraim and as Manasses. Thus sett he Ephraim before Manasses.
Exodus 28:15 (Tyndale)
And thou shalt make the brestlappe of ENSAMPLE with broderd worke: eue after the worke of the Ephod shalt thou make it: of golde, Iacyncte, scarlet, purple ad twyned bysse shalt thou make it.
Deuteronomy 28:37 (Tyndale)
And thou shalt goo to wast ad be made an ENSAMPLE ad a gestyngestocke vnto al nacions whether the Lord shall carye the.
Matthew 1:19 (Tyndale)
The Ioseph her husbande beinge a perfect ma and loth to make an ENSAMPLE of hir was mynded to put her awaye secretely.
Luke 17:30 (Tyndale)
After these ENSAMPLES shall it be in the daye when the sonne of man shall appere.
John 13:15 (Tyndale)
For I have geven you an ENSAMPLE that ye shuld do as I have done to you.
Romans 2:20 (Tyndale)
an informer of them which lacke discrecio a teacher of vnlearned which hast the ENSAMPLE of that which ought to be knowen and of the truth in the lawe
1 Corinthians 10:6 (Tyndale)
These are ENSAMPLES to vs that we shuld not lust after evyll thinges as they lusted
1 Corinthians 10:11 (Tyndale)
All these thinges happened vnto them for ENSAMPLES and were written to put vs in remembraunce whom the endes of the worlde are come apon.
Philippians 3:17 (Tyndale)
Brethren be folowers of and me loke on them which walke even so as ye have vs for an ENSAMPLE.
1 Thessalonians 1:7 (Tyndale)
so that ye were an ENSAMPLE to all that beleve in Macedonia and Achaia.
1 Timothy 1:16 (Tyndale)
Notwithstondinge for this cause was mercy geve vnto me that Iesus Christ shuld fyrst shewe on me all longe pacience vnto the ENSAMPLE of them which shall in tyme to come beleve on him vnto eternall lyfe.
2 Timothy 1:13 (Tyndale)
Se thou have the ENSAMPLE of the holsome wordes which thou heardest of me in fayth and love which is in Iesu Christ.
Hebrews 4:11 (Tyndale)
Let vs study therfore to entre into that rest lest eny man faule after the same ENSAMPLE in to vnbelefe.
Hebrews 8:5 (Tyndale)
offer giftes which prestes serve vnto ye ENSAMPLE and shadowe of hevenly thynges: even as the answer of God was geven vnto Moses when he was about to fynnishe the tabernacle: Take hede (sayde he) that thou make all thynges accordynge to the patrone shewed to the in the mount.
Hebrews 11:19 (Tyndale)
for he cosidered that God was able to rayse vp agayne fro deeth. Wherfore receaved he him for an ENSAMPLE.
James 5:10 (Tyndale)
Take (my brethren) the prophettes for an ENSAMPLE of sufferynge adversitie and of longe pacience which spake in the name of the lorde.
2 Peter 2:6 (Tyndale)
and turned the cities of zodom and Gomor into asshes: overthrewe them damned the and made on them an ENSAMPLE vnto all yt after shuld live vngodly.
Jude 1:7 (Tyndale)
eve as Sodom and Gomor and the cities aboute them (which in lyke maner defiled them selves with fornicacio and folowed straunge flesshe) are set forth for an ENSAMPLE and suffre the vengeaunce of eternall fyre.
See also “Some Thoughts on the “archaic” Language of the King James Bible.”