Mark 1:7 “the LATCHET OF WHOSE SHOES I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose.”
Are the words "LATCHET" and “SHOES” inaccurate in the King James Bible? Did people in Old and New Testament times really wear SHOES?
At one of the Facebook forums a guy named Barry C. posted: "And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose SHOES I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose.' Mar. 1:7- Jesus wore shoes with latchets? So much for a "perfect" translation."
Let’s examine this man’s point to see if it has any merit. It should first be pointed out that this professing Christian does not believe that any Bible in any language is the complete and infallible words of God. So, his only recourse is to pick and choose among the thousands of variant readings and different words and go by his own understanding to determine which individual words he thinks are the best ones to use for any verse he finds in the various, often wildly contradictory bible versions on the market today.
Does he hold up any single Bible version as being the absolute Standard of God’s written Truth? Not a chance! But he wants you to think that he somehow has a deeper understanding of what God REALLY wanted to tell us in His Book.
Instead of criticizing the the King James Bible out of his own ignorance, he would be much better off by learning more about his own English language.
The phrase about the “SHOES” of Jesus is found 4 times in the gospels. It is found in Matthew 3:11, Mark 1:7, Luke 3:16 and John 1:27. It is one of the very few verses that is found in all four gospel accounts.
Let’s take the one found in Mark 1:7 and examine it more carefully. In Mark 1:7 we read of John the Baptist: “And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the LATCHET OF WHOSE SHOES I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose.”
What we find when we look up the definition of the English word “shoe” in any good dictionary is that it means simply “an outer covering for the human foot, made of leather, canvas, etc. and usually having a stiff or thick sole and a heel: sometimes restricted to footwear that does not cover the ankle, as distinguished from a boot.” Webster’s New World College Dictionary 4th edition.
The Compact Oxford English Dictionary defines the word shoe as - noun “1 a covering for the foot having a sturdy sole and not reaching above the ankle. 2 a horseshoe.”
As for the English word “latchet” the American Heritage Dictionary of the English language has this one definition listed online - “A leather thong or strap used to fasten a shoe or sandal on the foot.”
Likewise the Merriam- Webster online Dictionary, 11th edition has this one definition of the word "latchet" - “a narrow leather strap, thong, or lace that fastens a shoe or sandal on the foot.”
This young man needs to learn more about his own English language. A latchet is not only some sort of a mechanical snap and a shoe encompasses much more than the latest style of Reeboks or Buster Brown’s.
Let’s look at some other Bible translations to see how they translate these and other passages.
Mark 1:7 - The NKJV sides with the RSV, ESV, NIV, NASB (THONGS OF SANDALS) saying: “There comes One after me who is mightier than I, whose SANDAL STRAP I am not worthy to stoop down and loose.”
However even the NKJV, ESV and the NASB contain the word “shoes” in their modern translations. “Over Edom I will cast out my SHOE” Psalm 60:8, Psalm 108:9 (NKJV, ESV, NASB), Isaiah 20:2 “take your SHOES off your feet”; Ezekiel 24:17, 23 “put your SHOES on your feet” (ESV, NKJV, NASB), and Luke 10:4 “carry no SHOES” - NASB 1995. Luke 15:22, Ephesians 6:15 "and put your SHOES on your feet" ESV
Other Very modern versions like the Amplified has the word shoes in it some 13 times, while the 2011 ESV has shoes in it six times - Psalm 60:8, 108:9; Ezekiel 24:17, 23; Luke 15:22, and Ephesians 6:15.
ESV 2011 - Ezekiel 24:17, 23 - ‘Sigh, but not aloud; make no mourning for the dead. Bind on your turban, and put your SHOES on your feet; do not cover your lips, nor eat the bread of men."
ESV 2011 - Luke 15:22 - “But the father said to his servants, 'Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and SHOES on his feet.”
ESV 2011 - Ephesians 6:15 - “and, as SHOES for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.“
Many Bible translations both old and very modern side with the King James Bible’s reading of “the LATCHET OF WHOSE SHOES."
Wycliffe 1395 - “Y am not worthi to knele doun, and vnlace his schoone.” With modern spelling the Wycliffe bible reads: “I am not worthy to kneel down, and unloose the thong of his SHOES.”
Tyndale’s New Testment 1525 - “whose SHUE LATCHET I am not worthy to stoupe doune and vnlose.”
Coverdale’s bible 1535 - “and to lowse vp ye LACHET OF HIS SHUE”
The Great Bible 1540, Matthew's Bible 1549, the Bishops’ bible 1568, The Geneva Bible 1587 - “whose SHOES LATCHET I am not worthy to stoupe downe, and vnloose.”
John Wesley’s translation of 1755, and Mace’s translation 1729, Whiston's N.T. 1745, Worsley Version 1770 - “the LATCHET OF WHOSE SHOES I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose.”
The Douay-Rheims bible 1610 - “the LATCHET OF WHOSE SHOES I am not worthy to stoop down and loose.”
Webster’s Bible translation 1833, Living Oracles 1835 - “the LATCHET OF WHOSE SHOES I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose.”
John Etheridge Translation from the Syriac 1849 - “the LATCHET OF WHOSE SHOES I am not worthy to bow myself to unloose.”
The English Revised Version 1881 - “the LATCHET OF WHOSE SHOES I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose. “
The American Standard Version 1901 - “There cometh after me he that is mightier than I, the LATCHET OF WHOSE SHOES I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose.”
Lamsa’s 1936 translation of the Syriac Peshitta - “the strings of whose SHOES I am not good enough to bend down and untie. “
Bible in Basic English 1961 - “whose SHOES I am not good enough to undo.”
Goodspeed 1923, J.B. Phillips 1962, New Life Version 1969 , New English Bible 1970 - “help Him take off HIS SHOES.”
The 1987 Amplified Bible has "shoes" 14 times, as in Isaiah 5:27 - "nor is the girdle of their loins loosed or the LATCHET (thong) of their SHOES broken", and Exodus 3:5 - "God said, Do not come near; put your SHOES off your feet, for the place on which you stand is holy ground.”
The Complete Jewish Bible 1998 has "shoes" 16 times, as in Exodus 12:11 - "your SHOES on your feet and your staff in your hand", and Deuteronomy 29:4 - “I led you forty years in the desert. Neither the clothes on your body nor the SHOES on your feet wore out.”
Easy to Read Version 2001 - “untie HIS SHOES. “
Worldwide English New Testament 1998 - “and untie HIS SHOE strings.”
The World English Bible has the word “SHOES” in it 20 times, as in Exodus 12:11 - “This is how you shall eat it: with your belt on your waist, your SHOES on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste: it is Yahweh’s Passover.”
Updated Bible Version 2004 - “the lace of whose SHOES I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose.”
The KJV 21st Century Version 1994 and the Third Millenium Bible 1998 - “There cometh after me One mightier than I, the strap of whose SHOES I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose.”
Dan Wallace’s NET 2006 version has "shoes" in Jeremiah 2:25, and reads: “Do not chase after other gods until your SHOES wear out and your throats become dry.”
The Jubilee Bible 2010 - "the LATCHET OF WHOSE SHOES I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose."
The 2011 Common English Bible has the word "SHOES" 5 times - Psalm 60:8; 108:9; Isaiah 20:2; Ezekiel 24:17 and Ephesians 6:15 - Psalm 108:9 - “But Moab is my washbowl; I’ll throw my SHOE at Edom. I shout in triumph over Philistia!”
The Names of God Bible 2011 has SHOES 6 times, as in Acts 12:8 - “ The angel told him, “Put your SHOES on, and get ready to go!”
The Voice 2012 has SHOES 8 times, as in 2 Chronicles 28:15 - “The chiefs dressed the naked prisoners with clothes and SHOES from the spoils, fed them, anointed their heads with oil”
The International Standard Version 2014 has SHOES 3 times, as in Deuteronomy 29:5 - “Though I’ve led you for 40 years in the desert, neither your clothes nor your SHOES have worn out.”
The Holy Bible, Modern English Version 2014 has SHOES 14 times, as in 1 Kings 2:5 - “He spilled their blood on the belt that was around his waist and on the SHOES of his feet.”
Other English Bibles that read "THE LATCHET OF WHOSE SHOES I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose" in places like Mark 1:7 are The Word of Yah 1993 - “the latchet of Whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose.”, Revised Webster's Bible 1995, God's First Truth 1999, The Tomson New Testament 2002 - “whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to stoop down, and unloose.”, The Evidence Bible 2003, Bond Slave Version 2009, Hebraic Transliteration Scripture 2010 - "the LATCHET OF WHOSE SHOES".
There is absolutely nothing wrong or inaccurate about the phrase found in the King James Bible (and MANY others as well) where John the Baptist says that he is unworthy to unloose the LATCHET of His SHOES.
Just a little more knowledge about our own English language goes a long ways in clearing up many alleged errors or inaccuracies the bible agnostics ignorantly bring up against it.
The King James Bible is always right.
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