Another King James Bible Believer


What about the word "Whosoever"?  Is it accurate "to the Greek"?

What about the word "Whosoever"?  Is it accurate "to the Greek"?


Revelation 22:17 “And WHOSOEVER will, let him take the water of life freely.



A similar phrase is found in John 3:16 “…that WHOSOEVER believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”


I have heard the objection raised that both of these are not the right translation.  They tell us that the “literal” expression in Revelation 22:17 is “the one willing, let him take the water of life freely” — ο θελων


and that John 3:16 “literally” says “the one believing should not perish” — πας ο πιστευων εις αυτον. 

(Actually a literal translation would be the nonsensical "all the one believing on him")

Yet most Bibles in history have translated these two phrases as “whosoever”.

A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament by William Arndt and F. Wilbur Gingrich, University of Chicago Press 1957 on page 553 discusses the use of the relative pronoun “o” and tell us that it is often used in places like Matthew 5:22 “whosoever is angry” = “EVERYONE who is angry”; Romans 2:1 “whosoever thou art that judgeth” and they say for Matthew 10:40 “WHOEVER receives you”, though here the KJB has “he that receiveth you.”

The idea is that the specific is applied to the general. If we were to translate Revelation 22:17 in a strictly wooden literal manner, it would come out to teach error rather than truth. 

It “literally” would be “And HE THAT IS WILLING, let him take the water of life freely.”  Yet there is not just one individual who is willing and all the others are not.  

There are some versions that do translate it this way - “and he who is willing, let him take the water of life freely.” or even “he who desires”.  Among these are Young’s, the RSV. 

Others like the Complete Jewish Bible 1998, the New Living Translation 2015, New International Reader’s Version 2014 have  a complete paraphrase - “LET ANYONE WHO DESIRES drink freely from the water of life.”

Likewise in John 3:16 wouldn’t even make sense if it were “literally” translated. “πας ο πιστευων εις αυτον” would then come out to read “ALL THE ONE BELIEVING into him” or possibly “EVERYONE THE ONE believing in him”

So the specific is put for the general, and no particular person is in mind. So both phrases correctly become “WHOSOEVER”.

Not only does the KJB translate Revelation 22:17 as WHOSOEVER will, let him take” (Or, Whoever is willing, let him take) but so too do the following Bible translations - 

Tyndale 1534, Coverdale 1535, The Great Bible 1540, Matthew’s Bible 1549, the Bishops’ Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible 1587, The Beza N.T. 1599, Mace N.T. 1729, Haweis N.T. 1795, The Revised Translation 1815, Webster’s Bible 1833, Living Oracles 1835, The Pickering N.T. 1840, The Longman Version 1841, The Commonly Received Version 1851, The Boothroyd Bible 1853, The Revised N.T. 1862, Noyes N.T. 1869,  The Alford N.T. 1870, The Revised English Bible 1877, Weymouth N.T. 1903, The Clarke N.T. 1913, The Moffatt N.T. 1913, the NKJV 1982, Amplified Bible 1987, Good News Translation 1992, The Word of Yah N.T. 1993, 21st Century KJV 1994, The Third Millennium Bible 1998, God’s First Truth 1999, New Century Version 2005, The Resurrection Life N.T. 2005, The Pickering N.T. 2005, Holman Standard 2009, the Jubilee Bible 2010, Expanded Bible 2011, The Mounce N.T. 2011, The Bond Slave Version 2012, The Pioneer’s N.T. 2014, and The International Children’s Bible 2015.


Versions like the NASB translate the same form of Greek words as “whoever” in places like 1 John 5:1 - WHOEVER believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and WHOEVER loves the Father loves the childborn of Him.

And the ESV in places like 1 John 5:10 -  WHOEVER believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. WHOEVER does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son.

Or Dan Wallace’s NET version - Romans 2:3 - And do you think, WHOEVER you are, when you judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself, that you will escape God’s judgment?

Or the NIV in places like John 3:36 - WHOEVER believes in the Son has eternal life, but WHOEVER rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them. 

Even Young's "literal" has "WHOEVER"

Young’s “literal” -

Luke 12:10 - “and every one WHOEVER shall say a word to the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven to him…

 και πας ος ερει λογον

Acts 2:21 -  “and it shall be, every one -- WHOEVER  shall call upon the name of the Lord, he shall be saved.

πας ος αν επικαλεσηται το ονομα κυριου 

Romans 10:13 - for every one -- WHOEVER shall call upon the name of the Lord, he shall be saved.'

 πας γαρ ος αν επικαλεσηται το ονομα κυριου σωθησεται

There is absolutely nothing wrong at all with the way the King James Bible (and many others) has both John 3:16 and Revelation 22:17 as WHOSOEVER believeth and WHOSOEVER will, let him take the water of life freely.  

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

Will Kinney  

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