The Value of “Thou,” “Thee,” and “Thy”

(This post had its origins in a question on a previous post.  I thought it was worth making into a front page article.)

We use the Authorised (King James) Version for our Bible translation in our church.  There are many factors in choosing a Bible translation.  I’m not going to speak to them all in this post!  But I would like to address one thing that many people cite as a reason to use a more modern translation — the use of antiquated words such as “Thou,” “Thee,” and “Thy.”

Certainly, these words sound strange to the modern ear.  We don’t go around using them in daily conversation.  Wouldn’t it be better if we just went to using “you”?  Well, there would be something to be gained in that.  If we want modern readers to understand the Bible, it would help to use words that modern readers know, wouldn’t it?  But something would be lost, too.  So I’d like to take a post to briefly show the value of these old words, and why I’m persuaded their presence in the Authorised Version is a plus rather than a minus.

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We Rest On Thee!

Today, I preached on Isaiah 26:3:  “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. “

We closed by singing “We Rest On Thee.”  It is often sung to the tune Finlandia.  Because we use Finlandia for “Be Still My Soul,” we decided to set this one to Mendelssohn’s  lovely piece, Consolation (embedded video with music below):

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“I Will Exalt….”

One voice says, “I will exalt me.”

Another voice says, “I will exalt Thee.”

Isaiah 25:1

O LORD, thou art my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things; thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth.

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The Death of Freedom

“Legal action against Christian bakers is ‘a crushing blow to religious liberty,'” says the headline on Christian Today’s website.  They are wrong — it is a crushing blow to all liberty.  If the action is successful, freedom of speech in Britain is dead.

Most, on reading the headline, would think, “Oh, this is another case of a Christian baker refusing to do a cake for a ‘homosexual wedding.'”  Those cases are bad enough, but this is (remarkably) even more chilling.

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Shebna’s Tomb — “What Hast Thou Here?”

The Bible in the British Museum

© Trustees of the British Museum

© Trustees of the British Museum

“This is [the tomb of Shebna]yahu who is over the house. There is no silver and gold here, only [his bones] and the bones of his maidservant with him. Cursed be the man who opens this.” (The wording in brackets is missing on the inscription and has been supplied.)

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Echoing Down the Ages

Two thousand years ago, the Lord Jesus Christ asked a question.  Few were prepared to answer it then, and few want to answer it today — but still, it echoes down the ages, slicing through human hypocrisy today, just as it has ever since He first asked it.

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An Evolutionary Problem — Which Evolved First?

Seen on a sign at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Edinburgh:

Plants and Pollinators.  One can’t live without the other.

So which evolved first?

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