Another King James Bible Believer


The Greek Definite Article is not used in the same way as the English Definite Article.

The Greek Definite Article is not used in the same way as the English Definite Article.

Definite articles are not used the same way in Greek as they are in English. There is NO Bible translation out there I am aware of that always translates the Greek definite articles, nor should they always be translated.

Here's a quote from Dana and Mantey's "A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament", p. 150-151. "It is important to bear in mind that we cannot determine the English translation by the presence or absence of the article in Greek. Sometimes we should use the article in the English  translation when it is not used in the Greek, and sometimes the idiomatic force of the Greek article may best be rendered by an anarthrous noun in English."

The Definite Article in Greek

Does the KJV fail to translate the Greek article properly?

It is often alleged that the KJV erroneously translates the Greek definite article (ο, η, τό) as an English indefinite article (a, an).  An example is in Matthew 5:1: “he went up into a mountain.”  The Greek says, “ανεβη εις το ορος,” which has the definite article “το” preceding “mountain (ορος).”  

The KJV is not in error.  The definite article in Greek can function as a categorical article having a qualitative force (Daniel Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics at 228), in which case the English indefinite article would be a valid translation.  

As with Greek, the English definite article (the) can also be used to determine the category and nothing more.  For example, we might say “On sunny days, people go to the beach.”  

Despite the definite article - “the beach” - no specific beach is implied.  Thus we are actually saying, “On sunny days, people go to a beach.”  “The beach” is a categorical determination, not a determination of a specific beach.  

The definite article’s purpose is only to determine the specific category, and not to determine the specific thing in the category. 

 Likewise, when Matthew 5:1 says, “ανεβη εις το ορος,” “το” can be translated with the English indefinite article, signifying that the category of the location was a mountain as opposed to something else (e.g. town, beach).  The NIV, which attempts to convey the sense of the passage, agrees with the KJV and reads, “he went up on a mountainside.”  

So also read Tyndale 1524, Coverdale 1535, The Great Bible 1540, Matthew’s Bible 1549, the Bishops’ Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible 1587, The Beza N.T. 1599, Whiston’s N.T. 1745, Living Oracles N.T. 1835, The Pickering N.T. 1840, Rotherham’s Emphasized bible 1902, The NKJV 1982, God’s Word Translation 1995, Worldwide English N.T. 1998, The Koster Scriptures 1998, God’s First Truth 1999, The Tomson N.T. 2002, The Resurrection Life N.T. 2005, The Common English Bible 2011, Names of God Bible 2011, The Work of God’s Children bible 2011, The Voice 2012, The Far Above All Translation 2014, The Hebrew Names Version 2014, The Translator’s Bible 2014, The Modern English Version 2014 and The New Matthew Bible 2016.

Not even the Holy Ghost Himself, Who inspired the Scriptures, uses the definite articles in such a precise and consistent manner as the King James Bible critics assume.  

Many times in the synoptic gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, when the same exact events are being related, sometimes the definite articles are used in the one but not in the other. 

For example - In Matthew 17:1 we read “And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart.”

If we were to put the definite articles in this verse it would read: “Then after six days THE Jesus taketh THE Peter, and James and John and THE brother of him and bringeth them up into a high mountain apart.”

Yet in Mark the exact same even is recorded as: “After six days THE Jesus taketh THE Peter, THE James and (THE - Critical text) John and leadeth them up into an high mountain...”

But the same event in Luke 9:28 is recorded in the Greek texts as: “he took Peter and John and James and went up to THE mountain to pray.”

Not one of these three inspired recordings of the same event consistently uses the definite articles in the same places and hardly any Bible translation in any language even puts them into their translation.

There are many other examples of this type of thing, but one is found in Ephesians 3:11.  Here we read in every Bible translation I looked at (ASV, NASB, NKJV, NIV, ESV, Holman and even Young's) "According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord." Yet the "literal Greek" with the definite articles would be "...which he purposed in THE Christ Jesus THE Lord of us."

If your pastor or Bible teacher starts “correcting” your King James Bible with his schoolboy “the Greek really says” mumbo jumbo, get yourself a different pastor.

All of grace, believing the Book - the King James Holy Bible.

Will Kinney

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