What about that "archaic" word 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.”
ESV (NIV, NKJV, NASB) - "For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left unto the coming of the Lord, will not PRECEDE those who have fallen asleep."
In the context of this verse, the word “prevent” means “to come before” or “to precede”. Even those who criticize the “archaic” language of the King James Bible know that this was the meaning of the word in 1611.
The word "to prevent" can have the meaning of “to come before, or to precede.”
Let’s look at some English dictionaries to find the origin and meaning of this word and how it has evolved over time.
The English dictionaries all tell us that the word “pre-vent” comes from the Latin, as does much of the English language. It is made up of two words; “pre” meaning “before” and “venire” meaning “to come”. Thus it literally means “to come before another”.
Theologians still refer to “the prevenient grace of God”. The word “prevenient” is not an archaic word. Look it up in the dictionary. It means: 1. going before; preceding; hence 2. anticipating; expectant. 3. antecedent to human action: as, prevenient grace.
We can see both the original use and its later development when we talk about things like “using preventive measures” or “preventive medicine”. We “come before” or “do something first” in order to hinder or thwart certain outcomes.
Webster’s 1828 dictionary. To prevent: 1. TO GO BEFORE; TO PRECEDE.
“I prevented the dawning of the morning, and cried.” Psalm 119:147
2. TO PRECEDE, as something unexpected or unsought.
“The days of my affliction prevented me.” Job.30:27
3. TO GO BEFORE, TO PRECEDE; to favor by anticipation or by hindering distress or evil.
“The God of my mercy shall prevent me.” Psalm 59:10
Prevent us, O Lord, in all our doings, with thy most gracious favor.
4. To anticipate.
Their ready guilt preventing thy commands.
5. To preoccupy; to pre-engage; to attempt first.
Thou hast prevented us with overtures of love.
6. TO HINDER; TO OBSTRUCT; to intercept the approach or access of. No foresight or care will prevent every misfortune. Religion supplies consolation under afflictions which cannot be prevented. It is easier to prevent an evil than to remedy it.
The Oxford English dictionary continues to list “to come before, to precede” as one of the meanings of the word “to prevent” and doesn’t even label it as being “archaic”.
Webster’s New World Dictionary 1960 - To prevent: prae - before + venire, to come. 1. formerly, a) TO ACT IN ANTICIPATION OF AN EVENT or a fixed time. b) to anticipate a desire, want, objection, etc.). c) to anticipate in action. d) TO PRECEDE. e) to forestall; balk; frustrate. 2. to stop or keep from doing something. 3. to keep from happening; make impossible by prior action; hinder.
The American Heritage Dictionary of 1993 as well as the latest online edition:
1. To keep from happening: took steps to prevent the strike.
2.To keep (someone) from doing something; impede: prevented us from winning.
3. Archaic TO ANTICIPATE or counter in advance.
4. Archaic TO COME BEFORE; PRECEDE.
The English word “to prevent” meaning “to come before, to precede” is still found in some English translations even in modern times. It is found in the 1936 Jewish translation of the Hebrew Publishing Company in places like Psalm 51:10 - “The God of my mercy shall PREVENT me: God shall let me see my desire upon mine enemies.”; “...let thy tender mercies speedily PREVENT us; for we are brought very low.”
The 1950 Douay Version continues to use the word “prevent” in this way in such places as: “...the days of affliction have PREVENTED me.” Job 30:27; “the snares of death PREVENTED me”...”They PREVENTED me in the day of my affliction” Psalm 18:5, 18; “For thou hast PREVENTED him with blessings of sweetness” Psalm 21:3; “...his mercy shall PREVENT me” Psalm 59:10, and other places like Psalm 79:8, and Psalm 88:13 “and in the morning my prayer shall PREVENT thee.”
The 1950 Douay reads like the KJB in Psalm 119:147-148, "I PREVENTED the dawning of the morning, and cried; I hoped in thy word, Mine eyes PREVENT the night watches, that I might meditate in thy word."
The English Revised Version came out in 1885 and it continued to use the word “prevent” in the sense of “to come before; to precede” in such places as: Psalm 59:10 - “The God of my mercy shall PREVENT me: God shall let me see [my desire] upon mine enemies. “; Psalm 79:8 - “Remember not against us the iniquities of our forefathers: let thy tender mercies speedily PREVENT us: for we are brought very low.” and Amos 9:10 - “All the sinners of my people shall die by the sword, which say, The evil shall not overtake nor PREVENT us.”
The Douay-Rheims version reads as does the King James Bible in 1 Thessalonians 4:15 - “For this we say unto you in the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who remain unto the coming of the Lord, shall not PREVENT them who have slept.”
The Geneva Bible of 1599 and 1602 often uses the word “prevent” meaning “to come before, to anticipate, to precede”. Here are just a few examples: Psalm 119:147 - “I PREVENTED the morning light, and cried: for I waited on thy word.”; Psalm 18:18 - “They PREVENTED me in the day of my calamitie: but the Lord was my stay.”; Psalm 59:10 - “My mercifull God will PREVENT me: God wil let me see my desire vpon mine enemies.” And 1 Thessalonians 4:15 - “For this say we vnto you by the worde of the Lorde, that we which liue, and are remayning in the comming of the Lorde, shall not PREVENT them which sleepe.”
Also using the word “prevent” (besides the Geneva Bible) in 1 Thessalonians 4:15 and in many other places are the Bishops’ Bible 1568, the Douay Rheims 1582, and Whiston’s Primitive N.T. 1745 - “For this say we vnto you in the worde of the Lorde, that we whiche lyue, remayning vnto the comyng of the Lord, shall not PREUENT them which sleepe.” And when he was come into the house, Jesus PREVENTED him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers?”
Coverdale 1535, the Bishops’ Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible 1599, the Douay-Rheims, Mace’s N.T. 1729, and John Wesley’s N.T. translation 1755 ALL used the word “prevent” in the same way the King James Bible does in Matthew 17:25 - “And when he was come into the house, Jesus PREVENTED (anticipated) him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers?”
1 Thessalonians 4:15 "we...shall not PREVENT them which are asleep"
Not only does the King James Bible use the word "prevent", meaning "to come before others" but so do the following Bible translations - the Bishops' Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible 1587, Whiston's Primitive New Testament 1745, John Wesley's New Testament 1755, Thomas Haweis N.T. 1795, The Word of Yah 1993, The Tomson New Testament 2002 - "shall NOT PREVENT them which are asleep", The Evidence Bible 2003, Hebraic Transliteration Scripture 2010 - "shall not PREVENT them which are asleep", and The Work of God's Children Illustrated Bible 2011 - "we...shall NOT PREVENT them which are asleep."
"The word can mean a "pre-event", something that happens before something else, and it is used in this way in 1 Thessalonians 4:15. "For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not PREVENT (precede, come before, a pre-event) them which are asleep."
Even when others criticize this word, they know what it means. It is easy to just explain the meaning of the word in this context, then you understand it, and let it stand as is in the King James Bible. Young people and students learn hundreds of new vocabulary words at school and pick up new meanings for old words with their use of slang or whenever they learn a new area of interest.
Learning about Computers? What do these words mean? "Mouse, Cookies, Paste, Dashboard, Debugger, Emoticon, Firewall, Hardware, Joystick, Shortcut, Memory, Express, Port, Desktop, Virtual Reality, Web Ring, and Zip"? Why not apply these same learning skills to the most important Book on this earth - the Holy Bible.
What is the alternative? Update a few archaic words in the KJB? Who is going to do it? At what point do you stop “updating” it? Are you going to do away with all those “thee”s and “ye”s, even though they are far more accurate to the underlying Hebrew and Greek languages?
Are you perhaps going to use a different English Bible that nobody believes is the complete and 100% true words of God? Versions like the NASB, NIV, RSV, ESV, NKJV, Holman Standard differ among themselves by thousands of words (usually omissions), reject the Hebrew readings in numerous places, change the meanings of hundreds of verses and teach false doctrine.
Go to “the origianls”? I always find it highly ironic when those who criticize our King James Bible tell us we need to “go to the original Hebrew and Greek”. Both languages are far more “archaic” and hard to learn than anything you will find in the King James Bible, and besides this, the big question then becomes: “WHICH Hebrew and WHICH "THE" Greek are you talking about?” They never tell us because they don’t know.
If I have to choose between God’s pure words of absolute truth that is in a very few places perhaps harder to understand, Or to go with a watered down, Scripture removing, change the meanings, updated “modern speech” version that NOBODY believes is the inspired and 100% true words of God, it’s a slam dunk.
I’ll take God’s pure and perfect Book any day of the week - the Authorized King James Holy Bible.
By His grace, believing the Book,
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See Why “thee” and “ye” are far more accurate, and confusion results when you use the generic “you”
There is also a very good article about the language of the King James Bible found at the King James Version Today site. You can see it here:
And another excellent article by Dr. Ken Matto, called The Language of the King James Bible - An Excuse. It can be seen here: http://www.scionofzion.com/kj_language.htm